Tuesday, November 06, 2007

test

Hi guys.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Hello again!

Gosh.. 2 months of no update. Definitely the longest hiatus in my blogging history so far. Well, anyways, Fotopage has been updated.

Til we meet again!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

New Amsterdam

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francois Truffaut,
Robert Zimmerman and de Niro
Paris, Texas - end of the world

New York, New York,
good bye girl

And they meet
on Blaker Street
or the Park that is Central
oh no
I watched the sun go down
down down beneath the ground
and it's a new day,
it's a new dawn,
in New Amsterdam

The stranger in the moonlight,
looks stranger in the moonlight

And we meet
on Blaker Street
or the Park that is Central
oh no
I watched the sun go down
down down beneath the ground
and it's a new day,
it's a new dawn,
in New Amsterdam

New Amsterdam by Travis

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Pesta Buku Antarabangsa KL 2007

..I Am Muslim - Dina Zaman & Singapura: Basis Israel Asia Tenggara oleh Rizki Ridyasmara

Pesta Buku Antarabangsa KL di PWTC telah menjadi acara tahunan yang wajib sejak lebih kurang 5 tahun yang lepas bagi saya. Sebenarnya pagi tadi agak keberatan nak pergi sebab melihatkan masih banyak buku-buku di rak buku yang masih belum disentuh (!) Minggu lepas pulak saya baru saja beli buku 'Tamerlene - Sword of Islam, Conquerer of the World' oleh Justin Marozzi di MPH. Buku pemberian bos saya, '7 Habits of Highly Effective People', juga masih belum dibaca.
Seperti biasa, saya hanya pergi sendirian ke PWTC. Senang. Hampir 4 jam 'lepak' kat sana. Berkali-kali saya ingatkan kepada diri sendiri, 'beli buku yang betul-betul rasa nak beli!' Akhirnya saya berpuas hati dengan dua buah buku (gambar atas) iaitu buku terbaru kolumnis Malaysiakini, Dina Zaman - 'I Am Muslim' dan satu lagi buku terbitan Khalifa, Jakarta iaitu 'Singapura: Basis Israel Asia Tenggara' oleh Rizki Ridyasmara.
Terkejut seketika apabila melihat buku tersebut di rak buku di salah sebuah gerai buku di PWTC tadi. Tak sangka buku tersebut ada dijual di Malaysia. Pertama kali saya mendapat tahu tentang buku 'Singapura: Basis Israel Asia Tenggara' ialah daripada weblog YB Husam Musa beberapa bulan lepas.
Petikan daripada mukasurat belakang buku tersebut;

"Israel lebih hebat dibanding AS. Di Vietnam, AS mengirim 6,000 penasehat militer membantu Presiden Ngo Dinh Diem dan gagal. Di Singapura, Israel hanya mengirim 18 perwira untuk membangun angkatan perang negara ini. Hasilnya fantastis, angkatan perang Singapura menjadi kekuatan militer yang tercanggih ..." - Lee Kuan Yew, From Third World to First.

"Yang bisa membantu Singapura hanyalah Israel. Sebuah negara kecil yang dikepung oleh negara-negara Muslim..." - Menteri Pertahanan Singapura, 1965.
Artikel berkaitan

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Boy with No Name

The Boy with No Name
Travis - The Boy with No Name

Wuhoo! One of my favorite band, Travis, has finally came up with a new album, entitled, The Boy with No Name! Thanks to Bali though, for without me looking at his ym status awhile ago, I wouldn't have found out about it and downloaded it via torrent.
According to wikipedia, 'The album is due for release on May 7, 2007 in the United Kingdom and May 8, 2007 in the United States'. But well, as usual, you can always get it first on the internet. Torrent rocks! :P
Travis - Closer

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Muslim world needs another Mahathir Mohamad to stand up to the West

By Kaleem Omar

The Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) countries are at sixes and sevens these days and seem unable to make a convincing case for the legitimate rights and concerns of the Muslim world in its dealings with the West, and, more particularly, with the United States, where most Muslim nations continue to be regarded by the neo-con Bush administration and its cohorts in the pro-Israeli sections of the American media as “terrorist” states or states providing “support” or “safe havens” to anti-Western terrorists.

The OIC itself has become a largely ineffectual organisation concerned more with the minutiae of drafting hollow-sounding resolutions and summit declarations than with matters of substance. The OIC was unable to do anything to prevent the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 or the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. Nor was it able to do anything to prevent the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in the summer of 2006.

Nor has the OIC been able to take any steps to persuade Israel to stop its brutal military actions and acts of state terrorism against the Palestinian people or the building of a monstrous Apartheid Wall around the West Bank on land stolen from the Palestinians.

The OIC has also not been able to take any steps to persuade India to stop its reign of terror in occupied-Kashmir – in which more than 70,000 innocent Kashmiri Muslim civilians have been killed by Indian troops since December 1989. India’s reign of terror has turned occupied-Kashmir into a territory resembling a concentration camp, while the OIC has sat by looking the other way and twiddling its thumbs.

This is not to say that the OIC countries could have taken on the US militarily to prevent it from invading Afghanistan or Iraq; but the OIC oil-exporting countries could certainly have acted in concert with non-Arab members of OPEC to impose an oil embargo on the oil-hungry United States (the world’s biggest consumer and importer of oil) to put pressure on it to desist from its misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Instead of taking any such steps, however, the OIC oil-exporting countries have been content to cash in on the rise in oil prices triggered by the Iraq war, earning a windfall of hundreds of billions of extra dollars in the process. The oil-exporting OIC countries seem to be totally unconcerned by the fact that those windfall profits have been earned at the cost of the lives of hundreds of thousands pf innocent Iraqi civilians that have been killed during the US’s invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Now, Iran seems to be next on the list of OIC countries against which the Bush administration is planning military action – using as an excuse Iran’s uranium enrichment programme, which Iran says is meant entirely for peaceful purposes and aimed at producing fuel for the nuclear power plant it is building with Russian help, but which the United States claims is actually aimed at producing nuclear weapons.

The Bush administration used the cooked-up charge that Saddam Hussein’s regime possessed “weapons of mass destruction” including nuclear weapons (now known as “weapons of mass disappearance”) as an excuse to invade and occupy Iraq in 2003.

Now, four years later, the Bush administration seems to be getting ready to play the same “nuclear weapons” card as an excuse to attack Iran. Meanwhile, the OIC, as usual, is sitting doing nothing and looking the other way as Washington’s orchestrated drum-beat for an attack on Iran grows louder and louder.

This sorry state of affairs underscores the need for the OIC countries to find another leader of the caliber, stature and independent-mindedness of former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to represent the Muslim world in its dealings with the United States and other Western countries.

Mahathir Mohamad, 82, stepped down as his country’s prime minister in November 2003, after 22 years in office, making him Asia’s longest-serving leader,

In his book “The Malay Dilemma” published in 1969, before he became prime minister, he wrote that the Malays had been marginalised during the colonial era (when the then-Malaya was a British colony) and castigated them for apathetically accepting second-class status.

Mahathir towered over his country’s politics for more than two decades, His pragmatic policies won him much popular support and helped transform Malaysia into an Asian economic tiger. Thanks to his policies, Malaysia, today, is the most technologically advanced and most industrially developed OIC country.

Throughout his tenure as prime minister, Mahathir continued to create waves with his frequent barbed comments about the West and its policies towards developing countries.

In his opening address at the 10th session of the OIC summit in Putrajaya, Malaysia, on October 16, 2003, Dr Mahathir was again at his acerbic best. To thunderous applause from the gallery, which included representatives of 57 Muslim nations plus Russian President Vladimir Putin and Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Mahathir let fly with a stinging statement.

“We are actually very strong,” he said. “1.3 billion people cannot be simply wiped out. The Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million. But today the Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them.”

His comments created a storm of criticism in the West, but Mahathir said later that such criticism only showed that the Jews did indeed rule the world.

Four days later, in a speech in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta on October 22, 2003, he launched another blistering attack on the West, accusing countries that he called the “great practitioners of democracy” of “terrorising the world.”

Dr Mahathir did not name the countries. But he is an outspoken critic of Israel, the United States and Australia. He criticised states that launched “massive retaliation” for terrorist acts.

“We see states launching massive retaliation, not just to curb suspected terrorists, but his family, his home, his village and his town. It would be ridiculous to think that such attacks do not terrorise the innocent,” he said.

Mahathir Mohamad has long been a champion of the economic rights of developing countries and one of the most outspoken critics of the West’s policies, including globalisation.

On October 20, 2003, just eleven days before he was due to step down as Malaysia’s prime minister, he reflected in an interview with the Bangkok Post on his 22 years at the helm and – as always – spoke his mind: on terrorism, global trade and democracy.

Mahathir transformed Malaysia from a tin and rubber-producing economic backwater into the 17th biggest trading nation in the world and a model of development for other developing countries.

After becoming prime minister in 1981, Mahathir set about putting his ideas into practice, following the example set by Japan, transforming Malaysia from an economic backwater, an exporter of rubber and tin, into a manufacturer of electronic equipment, steel and cars.

His prestige projects included the world’s tallest buildings – the Petronas Towers – and the transformation of a palm oil plantation near the capital, Kuala Lumpur, into the world’s first “Multimedia Super Corridor” – a cyber powerhouse intended to rival California’s Silicon Valley.

With an average annual income of $ 7,500 per capita (ten times Pakistan’s), Malaysia, today, is a rapidly industrialising country, exporting electronic equipment, petroleum and liquefied natural gas, chemicals, palm oil, wood and wood products, rubber, textiles and a wide range of other products.

Mahathir’s policies have also given the country an infrastructure as good as that of most developed nations, with modern highways, airports, ports, telecommunication and internet networks, power grids, schools, colleges, hospitals and some of the world’s best tourist resorts.

When the Asian economic crisis erupted in June 1997, (triggered by the collapse of the Thai baht), Mahathir blamed foreign currency traders, including US-based financier George Soros, for what he termed a worldwide Jewish conspiracy.

“We are Muslims and the Jews are not happy to see Muslims progress,” he said in October 1997. We may suspect that they have an agenda but we do not want to accuse them…If viewed from Palestine, the Jews have robbed Palestinians of everything but they cannot do this in Malaysia, so they create a financial crisis instead.”

Mahathir was heavily criticised by some in the West for those remarks, but he remained characteristically unrepentant and continued to lash out at the West’s economic policies, which he said were aimed at keeping developing countries poor and making the rich countries even richer.

http://thenews.jang.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=45451

Saturday, March 17, 2007

300 Spells "War" For Iranian Culture



300 Spells "War" For Iranian Culture

Iran denounced Hollywood's latest blockbuster film 300, depicting the 480 BC battle between the Persian army and a band of Greeks, as "hostile behaviour which is the result of cultural and psychological warfare," according to a Reuters report.

Last week's North American opening of 300, while Tehran is embroiled in a standoff with Western nations over its nuclear program, led Iran and its film fans to see the movie as a Western effort to vilify their nation through history.

The film sold an estimated US$70 million worth of tickets in its first three days, setting a new record for a March release, the film's distributor Warner Bros. Pictures said on Sunday.

But Iranians were clearly offended at the way their ancestors were portrayed in the film, inspired by the tale of 300 Spartans under King Leonidas who held out at Thermopylae against a Persian invasion led by Xerxes in 480 BC.

The government, lawmakers, and Iranian Web logs (blogs) denounced the movie, which depicts the huge Persian army as ruthless but repeatedly outsmarted by the Greeks who are only defeated in the end by treachery.

Even though the film by US director Zack Snyder has only just hit theaters in the US, poor-quality pirated copies are already available in the Iranian capital.

Government spokesman Gholamhossein Elham branded it an insult against Iran, where the first Persian empire emerged to become the world's most powerful in the sixth century BC before it was conquered by Alexander the Great two centuries later.

"Not only would no nation or government accept this, but it would also consider it as hostile behavior which is the result of cultural and psychological warfare," he told a regular press briefing on Tuesday.

"Following the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Hollywood and cultural authorities in the US initiated studies to figure out how to attack Iranian culture," said Javad Shamqadri, a cultural advisor to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, according to a BBC report. "Certainly, the recent movie is a product of such studies," Shamqadri said.

Daily newspaper Ayandeh-No carried the headline "Hollywood Declares War on Iranians," BBC noted.

The paper said, "It [300 ] seeks to tell people that Iran, which is in the Axis of Evil now, has for long been the source of evil, and modern Iranians' ancestors are the ugly murderous dumb savages you see in 300."

Four MPs urged Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Mohammad Hossein Saffar-Harandi to ask other Muslim countries not to show "this anti-Iranian Hollywood movie," ISNA news agency said.

Iranians take great pride in their history and the empire they founded, and any perceived slight against that heritage often sparks criticism across the political and social spectrums.

An Iranian circulated a petition against the film on the Internet, saying the film was both "fraudulent and distorted," according to a Reuters report.

"It is a proven scholarly fact that the Persian Empire in 480 BC was the most magnificent and civilised empire," the protest letter to the filmmakers said.

Western historians have often said the battle was the first major conflict between the East and the ancient Greek city states, seen as the cradle for Western values.

This is not the first time Iran has protested over its portrayal in films made in the West.

There was outrage over the 2004 epic Alexander which showed the Macedonian general easily conquering the Persian Empire.

Positive Reviews in the West

In contrast to the angry reaction in Iran, 300 has earned largely positive reviews in North America, despite or because of its decapitations and battlefield carnage.

Scottish actor Gerard Butler stars as Leonidas, the hunky king of the Spartans, who leads 300 of his warriors to glorious death at the Battle of Thermopylae against a massive Persian army commanded by the fey king Xerxes (Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro). Zack Snyder (director of Dawn of the Dead ) directed the adaptation of comic book writer Frank Miller's graphic novel.

Audiences were "hungry to go to something that looks this unique," said Mark Canton, one of the film's producers.

Even though 300 is tailor-made for male moviegoers, it also rated highly with women, because the filmmakers enlarged the role of Leonidas' queen (played by Lena Headey) to make her a "true partner" of the king, Canton said.

The opening for 300 ranks as the third-highest for an R-rated movie, behind The Matrix Reloaded (US$91 million) and The Passion of the Christ (US$83 million).

300 also opened in a few small Asian markets and it would reach Britain in two weeks, said Canton. Action-packed period epics, such as 2004's Troy, often do much better overseas.

The moment I read the synopsis on the net, about the war between Sparta and Persia, I knew that this is another Hollywood propaganda against the so-called axis of evil - Iran. I've been meaning to look up for such article about the movie and finally I found one today. Still haven't watch the movie yet tho. Here's another Saturday column from Dato' Johan Jaafar on the same subject.

"AS he advanced (with his army)… the forests were converted into open plains; the earth shook, and the hills moved; the lofty grounds became levelled and the road rocks flew off in shivers, and the large rivers were dried up to the mud."

The army of King Darius of Persia facing Alexander the Great at the battle of Gaugamela? Or King Xerxes swarming King Leonidas and his Spartan warriors at the narrow pass of Thermopylae? No, it was an excerpt from our Sejarah Melayu or The Malay Annals, the most celebrated of historiographies ever written in the history of the Malay court. It was the story of Raja Suran, whose army was rampaging city states with its might.

The chronicler of Sejarah Melayu was Tun Sri Lanang, believed to be the one of the Bendahara of the Johor Sultanate. He wrote with a mission: To provide legitimacy to his kings and their ancestors.

Little wonder they traced the lineage of Malay kings to as far as Iskandar Zulkarnian (as Alexander is known among the Malays).

Raja Suran, a descendant of Alexander, was an Indian king, but as recounted by Sejarah Melayu, he was very much part of the Malay court history.

Sejarah Melayu is mostly history but partly fiction. One has to discern which is history and which are myths, legends or court gossip.

The stories in Sejarah Melayu are episodic, so they are potentially "cinematic". Many anecdotes from the book have been made into local films — the strong man Badang, the story of Singapura dilanggar todak (Singapura attacked by swordfish) and, of course, the clever boy (Hang Nadim) killed by the king, not to mention the evergreen lore of Puteri Gunung Ledang.

For the record, there are various versions of Sejarah Melayu, the above text is from Dr John Leyden’s translation of 1821. When it was published, it had an introduction by no less than Sir Stamford Raffles.

But it is the description of Raja Suran’s army, among other things, that had baffled me since I first came across the book decades ago. How could one film such a sequence?

Filmmaking back then was about actors and action and little else. Yes, movie is magic for it creates a make-believe world one would never imagine possible. We feast on illusions of reality when, in fact, we are merely watching recreations.

But filmmaking has improved by leaps and bounds. One would never imagine making The Lord of the Rings the way Peter Jackson did.

All those thousands (perhaps millions) of warriors and fighters of all shapes and sizes would not have been possible without the advancement in computer-generated images (CGI). Jackson’s own Weta Digital was responsible for the CGI effects you see in the trilogy. The Two Towers alone contains 600 effects shots.

The Matrix Reloaded was another landmark in film technology. In the second segment of the Matrix trilogy produced and directed by the Wachowski Brothers, the incredible "Burly Brawl" scenes were done with the latest state-of-the art technology.

Actor Keanu Reeves (Neo) is seen fighting not one but hundreds of Hugo Weavings. And of course, The Matrix, the first film, made famous the "bullet-time" sequence.

Watching 300 reminded me of what the future of filmmaking holds. I am sure 300 is rewriting filmmaking. It has the look, the beauty and the style that is redefining future filming. 300 is not about the incredible story of human bravery but how the story is told. It is not about what one can achieve from technology but how technology is changing the film world — for better or worse.

I have a lot of complaints about 300 — particularly the glamorous violence and the stereotyping of Leonidas’ nemesis, the Persians. But let’s concentrate on how the story of the Spartan king and his 300 warriors comes alive on screen.

It would not have been possible had special effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen not come out with Jason and the Argonauts in 1963. Star Wars (directed by George Lucas), The Abyss (James Cameron) and The Matrix and Sin City (co-directed by Frank Miller from his graphic comic and Robert Rodriquez) all have perfected the art of special effects.

Poor Ralph Bakshi. He attempted to film The Lord of the Rings in 1978. He didn’t do justice in adapting the novel nor enlivened the screen with the kind of effects Jackson had at his disposal three decades later.

But he did something that started many people thinking about a new possibility — combining animation and live action in cinema. His experiment was, to say the least, awkward. But it was precisely that awkwardness that inspired the director of 300, Zack Snyder, to render live action with virtually nothing but digital technology.

Why spend so much money to send expensive actors to remote locations? Snyder locked himself and his actors in a warehouse in Montreal and later spent a full year choreographing 10 special effects companies to assemble the digital puzzle. Nothing is real except the main characters in 300.

Everything else was created digitally — landscapes, even people, horses and elephants. It is a film devoid of sets. Everything is computer- generated.

Editing, too, was more painting than traditional "cutting" of film sequences shot.

The film maintains its graphic comic look while pursuing a new and visually stunning cinematic style. And it cost a lot less.

Who cares who was Leonidas or Xerxes or if the bulging bodies of Spartan warriors are attracting more buzz than the only significant lady character in the movie (that of the Queen of Sparta played by Lena Heady).

Or whether the real King Xerxes was actually androgynous as depicted by scene-stealer Rodrigo Santoro. The way I see it, 300 is the future of filmmaking.

The next time anyone wants to film the story of the invading army of Raja Suran,
just think digital. It could be shot with a "digital backlot" approach the way 300 was. In the case of 300, it turned out to be a visual feast, yet remained faithful to the original text. Any takers among our filmmakers? (Source: NST)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Lama tak update

Explosions in the Sky - First Breath After Coma

Finally, an update, just for the sake of me wanting to update this blog.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Bernama: Instilling Nationalism Through Jawi

By Melati Mohd Ariff

KUALA LUMPUR, 21 Feb (Bernama) -- The Jawi script is very much a Malay heritage. It was once held in high esteem by the Malays who practised this calligraphic style in their writings that fanned nationalism across the archipelago, but it is fast forgotten now.

Jawi (Malay words written in Arabic calligraphy) was widely used, especially during the golden era of the Malay Sultanate of Melaka, from as early as the 15th century not only in matters relating to religion but also in all administration and cultural affairs.

Malaysians today have taken the Jawi script for granted and are probably not aware that up to the 1960's Jawi was widely used in the Malay language.

The Jawi script also played a significant role in fanning Malay nationalism and the struggle for independence with the emergence of countless periodicals and newspapers using the Jawi script as early as the 19th century.

MERDEKA, MERDEKA, MERDEKA

The writer was overcome by nostalgia upon reading the Utusan Zaman newspaper dated Sept 1, 1957 (6 Safar, 1377).

'Merdeka', 'Merdeka', 'Merdeka' in Jawi were splashed across the front page accompanied by a prominent picture of Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj at the independence proclamation ceremony.

Under the sub-title "Upacara Yang Bersejarah Dan Mengharukan Sekali, Meriah Dan Penuh Dengan Kegembiraan" (A Historic, Poignant and Grand Ceremony Filled With Joy), the significance of the proclamation of independence for The Federation of Malaya was highlighted.

The same edition's front page also published the content of the Proclamation of Independence signed by Tunku Abdul Rahman as the Prime Minister of The Federation of Malaya.

The proclamation states: Commencing on Aug 31, 1957, based on the agreement signed between the Queen and the Sultans of the states of Malaya, the Malay states of Johor, Pahang, Negeri Sembilan, Selangor, Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan, Terengganu and Perak and also states previously known as the Straits Settlement of Melaka and Penang, should become a new federation known as The Federation of Malaya.

The proclamation of independence of The Federation of Malaya itself was prepared in Jawi.

Utusan Zaman was the Sunday edition for Utusan Melayu and both were very influential newspapers back then and solely used the Jawi script.

Utusan Melayu was first published in Singapore on Nov 7, 1907. The first edition of Utusan Melayu in Malaya was published on May 29, 1939 under the leadership of the late Yusoff Ishak (who became the President of Singapore from Dec 3, 1959 to Nov 23, 1970). Utusan Zaman began publication on Nov 5, 1939.

Important treaties between the Malay Sultans and the Portuguese, Dutch and British were also executed in the Jawi script.

Among these treaties was the Pangkor Treaty of 1874, which paved the way for British intervention in Perak.

Besides these documents, correspondence between the two parties were also conducted in the Jawi script.

TRACING THE ORIGINS OF THE JAWI SCRIPT

The Jawi letters have been in existence in the Malay archipelago for centuries. It shares a strong bond with the Arabic script, which made its way to the Malay archipelago together with Islam, disseminated by Muslim traders and missionaries of Arab, Indian and Chinese origins in the 7th century.

Prior to the Arabic script, the Malays were using the "rencong (sharp-pointed) script" written on bamboo stems and leaves. This was followed by the "kawi" and "palava" writings, both of Indian origin.

With the coming of Islam, the Malays tried to use the palava or kawi characters to write about Islam, but both were unsuitable as they could not properly pronounce the verses of the Quran and Hadis.

"The situation prompted the Malays to experiment with Arabic characters. Hence, the Jawi script is truly the creation of the Malays even though it is based on the Arabic script," said Dr Hashim Musa, former lecturer with Universiti Malaya's Malay Studies Academy who has written a book, "The History of the Development of the Jawi Script".

He said the Malays eventually included several letters to conform with the Malay syllables, which are 'che', 'nge', 'pa', 'ge' and 'nye'. The letter 'vi' was later introduced in the 1990's by the Malay language custodian, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.

The earliest evidence of the existence of the Jawi script was the discovery of inscriptions on a stone dated 702H (1303 AD) and according to Hashim, Sanskrit words could still be seen on the inscribed stone.

But the modern day Jawi script is due to the initiative taken to systematise the Jawi script by none other than Zainal Abidin Ahmad, the leading Malay literary figure or better known as Pendeta Za'ba, who produced the "Daftar Ejaan Melayu Jawi-Rumi" (Jawi-Roman Spelling Register), which he worked on in 1938 and only printed in 1949.

MUSHROOMING OF JAWI MAGAZINES AND NEWSPAPERS

The dawn of the era of periodicals and newspapers written in Jawi began as early as the 19th century. It started with "Jawi Peranakan" published in Singapore in 1876, which became the first Malay newspaper in Malaya.

This was followed by various publications. Among the prominent ones besides Utusan Melayu and Utusan Zaman were Melayu Muda, Melayu Raya, Pelita Malaya, Perkhabaran Dunia, Perubahan Baharu, Saudara, Suara Melayu, Warta Kinta, Warta Malaya and Warta Negara.

Among the popular magazines that used the Jawi script was the well-known "Majalah Guru" (Teacher's Magazine), a voice for the Malay teachers who were the writers as well.

Teachers in those days played a crucial role in spearheading the independence movement through the publications where apart from articles related to the issues of the day, they also carried short stories and poems.

According to notes in the second edition of the Catalogue on Malay Magazines and Newspapers produced by the Malaysian Archives, Majalah Guru was published in six stages. This magazine was printed in Jawi from Nov 1, 1924 to Jan 1, 1950 and was continued in the Romanised edition until the end of 1968.

Another magazine, which was equally inspiring, was Warta Ahad that started publication in Singapore on May 5, 1935 by Warta Malaya Press Ltd. Its editorial line-up included Datuk Onn bin Ja'afar and Abdul Rahim Kajai.

UTUSAN MELAYU THE SACRED VOICE

Utusan Melayu was synonymous with the Jawi script. Its prominence before and after independence was undeniable. It's a pity that this newspaper's strong influence slowly diminished when Romanised writing became dominant especially after the declaration of the 1963 Official Language Act.

Former editor-in-chief of the Utusan Melayu Group Tan Sri Mazlan Nordin, when met recently at a forum here, stressed that Utusan Melayu played a very influential role in the rise of Malay nationalism.

He said, among others, Utusan Melayu forged the voice of the Malays to stand up against the Malayan Union and the Malayan Communist Party.

Mazlan, who was the editor-in-chief of Utusan Melayu from 1973 to 1982, said the newspaper also helped to champion the rights of the Malays who were being marginalised.

"In that respect, we must remember the role of Utusan Melayu and the Jawi script and also the other newspapers such as Warta Malaya and Majlis. We must be grateful to these Jawi newspapers for their significant role, especially on the road to independence," he added.

INDEPENDENCE AND PATRIOTISM

One of the independence figures from Melaka Datuk Wira Borhan Md Yaman also spoke highly of the dignified role of the Jawi-scripted Malay newspapers such as Utusan Melayu, Utusan Zaman and Warta Ahad (magazine) in instilling the spirit of independence.

"A lot of articles were written on current issues such as poverty and the backwardness of the Malays, besides analysing education matters and calling on all Malays to unite.

"The writings also touched on how inferior the Malays were under colonisation compared to their fate during the glorious days of the Melaka Sultanate. Those brilliant writers then were not adequately paid but they continued writing for their own satisfaction and for their sheer concern for the nation and race," said Borhan after recalling the great names such as Pendeta Za'ba, Pak Sako (Ishak Haji Muhammad) and Keris Mas (Kamaluddin Muhamad).

Another Jawi script advocate, Muhammad Mokhtar Taib or better known as Pak Matlob, shared Borhan's views.

"The newspapers highlighted the despondency of the people under colonisation and also the many weaknesses in society. Generally, the Malays at that time had only primary-level education and were only eligible to become office boys or clerks," said Pak Matlob who received the Exemplary Teacher Award on May 16, 1998.

According to Pak Matlob whom the writer met after the launching of a campaign to promote Jawi, here, recently, the critical writings became a push-factor for the Malays in their quest for independence and in the defence of their dignity.

"In those days, the Malays lacked self-esteem. The gap between those living in the villages and urban areas was glaring. The Malays then were mostly fishermen and farmers.

"Poverty was a big issue and the Malays realised that they could only change their fate through independence," said Pak Matlob who has penned numerous books for various levels, especially on the Jawi script.

Among the writers he admired was his own teacher from the Sultan Idris Teachers Training College (SITC), the late Ahmad bin Abdullah who wrote under the name of Ahmad Bakhtiar.

"His writings were sincere and in most of them he compared the life of the Malays with others', in a way to stimulate thinking," he said.

The Jawi script has indeed contributed immensely to the political and mental development of the Malays. Hence, it's only apt that the Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry revive its glorious days. -- Bernama

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Faces of Terengganu

Check out my new mini online gallery. It's actually just a minor revamp of the old website though, nothing much. The first page is about our field trip to Terengganu during my uni days. But don't expect frequent update there. hehe :p
The Shins - Turn on me

Monday, February 19, 2007

The World is Flat and Globalization

I'm currently half way finishing off reading 'The World is Flat', a book written by award winning author, Thomas Friedman. It has been on my to-buy booklist since early last year and only managed to buy it few weeks ago. But anyway, it's all good. It's such a coincidence too that bits of the things that were written in the book are somehow related to my current job industry - Ajax, VOIP, salesforce.com etc. I'm not going to write much about the book though, but all i can say is that it is highly informative. If you want to get a glimpse of how globalization and the flat world works, then this book is a must.
Before reading this book, I had never thought that America too is under threat of globalization (after all they're the one who started it) - like the threat of losing traditional middle class jobs being outsourced to China and India; because I used to believed that globalization is basically just a one way street, meaning, from West to East, ie Western multinationals exploiting third world nation's natural resources, cheap labor force and such.
I like one section in the book on 'India versus Indiana: Who is Exploiting Whom?' where Tom posed an intesting question to ponder on;

..are those Indian engineers now exploiting the people of Indiana by offering to revamp their ... for much less money than an American consulting firm? Or were the people of Indiana exploiting those cheaper Indian engineers? Who is exploiting whom in this story?

With whom does the traditional Left stand in this story? With the knowledge workers from the developing world, being paid a decent wage, who are trying to use their hard-won talents in the developed world? Or with the politicians of Indiana, who wanted to deprive these Indian engineers of work so that it could be done, more expensively, by their constituents?

"Professor Sandel argued that what I called collaboration could be seen by others as just a nice name for the ability to hire cheap labor in India. You cannot deny that - when you look at it from an American perspective, But that is only if you look at it from one side. From the Indian worker's perspective, that same form of collaboration, outsourcing, could be seen as another name for empowering individuals in the developing world as never before.."

That particular case became a hot political issue a few years back between the so-called champions of free trade Republican and the pro-labor Democrats. To me, to put it in simple words of what the Indian consulting firm did, they beat the Americans at their own game. Same thing like what Indian steel giant, Lakhsmi Mittal did in Europe. Globalization is no more a one-way street. Yes. But, although I like and agree much of what being written in that book, I'm certainly not an advocate of free trade and open market, as what Tom self-declared in his book. There are things which I believe the government need to have a hand in business and trade. I believe in a controlled capitalism system. Not to be confused with a socialist type state-controlled economy. Or whatever term you wish to name it. For instance, China is no longer considered as a Communist state, as they are already extremely embracing capitalism now, or as what they call it the Chinese style political economy.
A totally open and free market system would only bring disaster to developing countries. There is absolutely no such thing as an absolute free trade, even the champions of free trade in America still practices protectionism, while at the same time demanding poorer countries to open up their market and lower their tariffs. A clear double standard! Well, not much of a surprise coming from America.

Hamas-Fatah dan Persetujuan Mekah

Satu analisis menarik daripada Zin Mahmud, wartawan Utusan tentang isu perbalahan Hamas-Fatah di Palestin yang berakhir dengan termeterainya Persetujuan Mekah yang dicetuskan oleh Raja Arab Saudi, Raja Abdullah. Walaupun masih banyak lagi usaha yang perlu dilakukan untuk memastikan hubungan baik Hamas-Fatah, tapi sedikit sebanyak dengan adanya persetujuan ini yang menggariskan beberapa aspek penting perkongsian kuasa dan penubuhan kerajaan campuran di Palestin akan dapat memberi sinar harapan baru kepada rakyat Palestin dalam merintis jalan damai. [baca lanjut..]
Suka saya memetik sebahagian tulisan beliau yang mengulas dari aspek sejarah negara Palestin yang telah diceroboh;

"..Hakikatnya walaupun Palestin tidak mengiktiraf Israel, tetapi rejim Zionis sudah menguasai Palestin. Begitu juga walaupun Israel tidak mengiktiraf Palestin, kerajaan Hamas sudah dipilih rakyatnya.

Bagi mereka yang menjunjung sejarah, Israel sememangnya tidak boleh diiktiraf. Tanah-tanah Israel itu adalah milik kedaulatan Palestin. Britain yang menguasai Palestin selepas kejatuhan Khalifah Uthmaniah ekoran Perang Dunia Pertama memegangnya sebagai mandat, iaitu amanah. Maka secara demokratik, ia perlu mengembalikannya kepada rakyat Palestin. Apabila rakyat Palestin mahukan sebuah negara merdeka dan berdaulat, maka itulah yang patut diwujudkan.

Tetapi selepas Perang Dunia Kedua, Britain menyerahkan mandat itu kepada Zionis untuk dijadikan Israel. Ia merupakan suatu pengkhianatan dan adalah zalim untuk sesiapa mengiktiraf Israel. [..]"

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Shins, Arcade Fire and etc

Hooray, another new set of mass download via torrent during the past week! I think I seriously in need of an external hard disk. About 46.6% from my 150mb of harddisk space is used for my mp3 storage and I have only about 3.3% free space left. heheh :p

The Shins - Wincing the Night Away (2007)

Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
Mika - Life In Cartoon Motion
Muse - Black Holes and Revelations
Bloc Party - A Weekeend In The City
The Shins - Wincing the Night Away
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! - Some Loud Thunder

Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank

The Shins - Turn on me

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Harry Lee, Tunku Abdul Rahman dan A. Samad Said

Semalam saya sempat menonton dokumentari, 'History of Singapore' di Astro. Ia adalah dokumentari 3 episod yang disiarkan tiga hari berturut-turut di Discovery Channel bermula Selasa lepas. Dalam siri kedua dokumentari tersebut,semalam, ada satu babak yang menarik perhatian saya, iaitu petikan video Lee Kuan Yew sewaktu kempen pilihanraya 1959. Apa yang menariknya? Lee Kuan Yew, atau Harry Lee (nama beliau sebelum menyertai politik), berucapdi atas pentas dalam Bahasa Melayu.. di hadapan ribuan rakyat Singapura yang majoritinya bukan Melayu. Antara petikan ucapan beliau yang sempat di dengar, di awal ucapan beliau, "Saudara, saudara..." "Merdeka! sekali lagi semangat.. Merdeka!"
Terharu mendengarkan ucapan beliau dalam bahasa Melayu, walaupun dapat mendengar beberapa patah cuma. Sesuatu yang sangat jarang hendak ditemui di mana-mana majlis (melainkan majlis kerajaan) walau di Malaysia sekalipun sekarang ini. Roh Bahasa Melayu kini umpama dicabut secara perlahan-lahan, semakin dipinggirkan, tidak lagi menjadi bahasa ilmu. Adakah Bahasa Melayu di abad 21 ini hanya layak sebagai bahasa perbualan, bahasa kedai kopi semata-mata?
Esok pula jam 8.30 malam di RTM - wawancara bersama Perdana Menteri Malaysia pertama, Allahyarham Tunku Abdul Rahman. Wawancara ini dirakam pada tahun 1985, lima tahun sebelum beliau meninggal dunia. Inilah juga kali pertama rakaman ini disiarkan kepada umum.
Musykil juga, kenapa sebelum ini rakaman video itu tak pernah disiarkan?
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Satu-satunya buku bertulisan jawi di rak buku saya, '13 Mei:Sebelum dan Selepas' tulisan Allahyarham Tunku Abdul Rahman masih lagi belum di baca..Bila agaknya entah.
Petang tadi pulak beli buku terbaru karya SN A. Samad Said, 'Dari Salina ke Langit Petang' (Wira Bukit,2007) di Ujanailmu.
Sebuah buku autobiografi Pak Samad, yang mana menurut beliau;
Buku dari abad lalu..
"'Dari Salina ke Langit Petang' adalah satu-satunya buku saya yang tidak diulangcetak selama dua dekad. Sebagai sebuah autobiografi seni ia menekuni jalan awal saya ke dunia kesusasteraan sejak dekad lima puluhan abad lalu. Hampir tidak ada yang disembunyikan di sini sehingga jika seseorang rajin dan tekun menelitinya, ia akan sekali lalu dapat menyerapi dunia seorang sasterawan yang seniman dengan segala rahsia kehidupan dan seninya.
Dalam buku ini secara tekun saya cuba menjejaki kembali tapak-tapak awal saya meredahi ? dan kemudiannya melestarikan ? dunia kehidupan dan seni. Sejak awal seorang ibu menyuapkan nasi ke mulut anaknya dengan iringan kisah Batu Belah Batu Bertangkup membawa kemudiannya kepada anak itu sendiri mencari dan memilih pula bahan-bahan bacaannya, segalanya dirakamkan semesra mungkin dalam 'Dari Salina ke Langit Petang'.
..Selama dua puluh tahun buku ini terbengkalai secara "sia-sia". Kini ia mendapat nafasnya kembali. Dan memang pun saya berharap buku yang tertulis dalam abad lalu ini akan lebih bererti kepada pembaca dan penulis abad ini."

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Tun Dr. Mahathir on leadership..

Petronas Twin Towers
..Petronas Twin Towers (one of the most important legacy of Tun Dr. Mahathir)
[Sony Erricson k750i.06-Feb-2007.8.05pm]
"I think if you want to develop a developing country, you need a real sense of direction. If somebody doesn't give you a sense of direction, everybody would be going all over the place and nothing could be done.

When you give direction, that direction may be wrong; but if you don't give direction, some of the things they do will be wrong. If you are going in 10 separate ways, nine of them would be wrong. It is far better to give direction, and if it is wrong, well, as you go along, you correct it.

When I decided to build a national car, people said it was 'stupid' - You are a Third World country, how can you build a car?' Well there were problems along the way, but as you go along, you solve [them]. That's what leadership is all about! If you don't know how to solve problems, then you shouldn't be a leader."
~Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.
Taken from Off The Edge magazine (Feb2007:issue26).

Other quotable quotes from Tun Dr. Mahathir in this blog;
Tun Dr. M on Srebrenica
Tun Dr. M on the US presidential elections
Tun Dr. M on 'trusting your memory'
Agh, damn it, I wanted to go to the War Criminal Forum, in PWTC! but that means I will have to skip work for that, which is.. not quite possible. Sigh.

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Mufti of Perlis on NST

Young, dynamic and outspoken Perlis Mufti, Dr. Asri Zainul Abidin, writes about the general misconception about Malay and Islam, following the outgoing debate on the media of the need of the Chinese Muslim community to build a Chinese mosque.

IN my observations, among the serious misunderstandings involving religion is the use of the term "Malay" as synonymous with Islam and "Chinese" with infidel.

There are Malays who describe a new Muslim convert as masuk Melayu (becoming Malay) or sometimes say that he is "not Muslim but Chinese!" For them, the Chinese represent the infidels and Malays embody the Muslims.

To make matters worse, some Malays label the converted Chinese as mualaf and, more disparagingly in the northern Peninsula dialect, Mat Loh.

Malays assume they are the only pure Muslims, although Chinese Muslims may have stronger faith.

To some Malays, Chinese Muslims are not authentic and are seen merely as hitchhikers.

However, many Chinese who have converted to Islam are more pious, while many Muslim-born Malays are of questionable devotion. Malay attire such as kain pelikat, baju melayu and samping are not the garments worn by the Prophet.

But Malays perceive their clothing as Islamic because it is from Malay culture.

Islam does not impede a culture which is not against its teachings. In the past, Malays perceived the use of chopsticks as wrong because it was associated with Chinese culture.

Actually, there is no difference between eating with one’s fingers or using cutlery, or chopsticks. The Prophet called on Muslims to invoke Allah’s name, use their right hand and only eat permissible food.

The Prophet once told a young Umar Abi Salamah when the latter was about to eat: "Dear child, say Allah’s name, eat with your right hand and consume what is close to you." (Hadith of al-Bukhari and Muslim).

Malays will normally
ask Chinese Muslims to change to Arabic names, as if the name Ah Chong, Ah Seng, Lim or Koh would mean they were unIslamic.

Maybe because such names do not sound Arabic, the Malays feel awkward about them.

Sadly, the Malays do not feel the same way about names such as Awang, Leman, Seman and others which are not Arabic either. In reality, there are many Malay names which do not have any meaning in Arabic and some have bad meanings if they are translated.

Still, it is all right for the Malays because they are, after all, Malay names.

Again, are Malays Islam and Islam Malays? The Prophet did not ask those who embraced Islam to change their names as long as they did not have bad meanings.

For instance, the name Umar was used during the pre-Islamic Jahiliyyah period and remained when the person became a Muslim.

I do not stop any Chinese Muslim from changing his name, especially if the new name will make him feel closer to the Muslim community.

Still, they must be given the choice to do so. If the changed names only make non-Muslim Chinese afraid of embracing Islam and fearful that their families will disown them, is it wrong for them to maintain their Chinese names?

If Awang can keep his name, why not Ah Chong?

An assumption that Islam mirrors Malay characteristics has dire consequences in many areas, especially when some Malays themselves act against the teachings of Islam.

Fortunately, most Malays still adhere to the teachings of Islam.

A strong faith is the saving grace in the hereafter.

However, we cannot ignore the fact that many Malays practice syirik (polytheism) and ridicule Allah’s commandments and the Sunnah (teachings of the Prophet).

These Malays are only Muslim in name.

From the perspective of history, the majority of the Chinese in Malaysia are non Muslims. The call of Islam does not seem to reach them. Perhaps this is because the
Malays have not effectively imparted the correct form of dakwah (missionary work).

Instead, many Malays portray an attitude that is against Islam.

Although the Malays can discuss many things with the Chinese, including the political party they should vote for, the Malays do not seem capable of presenting the greatness of Islam and inviting the Chinese to follow their religion.

Since many Malays contradict the teachings of Islam, the majority of the Chinese have misconceptions about Islam or abhor the idea of embracing Islam.

Islam is against negative traits such as laziness, apathy, envy and the like. Unfortunately, many Malays possess such attributes.

For instance, many Malay students are left behind in their studies. If they are set against the Chinese, either at school or university, many of the Malays will lag.

Also, most Malays are not interested in acquiring true Islamic knowledge. They would rather listen to Israiliyyat stories (derived from the Bible and Jewish folklore, used to help "fill in" the details especially when the passage is a narrative piece, which were traditionally deemed helpful or at least not harmful but could cloud the meanings of the Quran), fables and advice which are not founded in the Quran and Sunnah.

They prefer easy instruction without research and thought. At public libraries, the number of Malays using these facilities is still small. Chinese students diligently acquire knowledge, whereas many of their Malay counterparts are distracted by other things.

Some Malay parents will seek out blessed raisins and water for their children just before sitting for examinations to bring on good results. In the end, only those who study hard will excel, not the ones relying on blessed raisins and water.

The non-Muslim Chinese will reject Islam when they witness the Malays’ dependence on such practices but still fail to do well in their examinations.

Academically strong Muslims will not rely on water that was blessed with the Surah Yassin (one of the most important chapters in the Quran). Previous generations excelled because they stressed the importance of knowledge and were sincere in their efforts to acquire it. They were not merely focused on getting a certificate. Such qualities led to the creation of a powerful civilisation of knowledge in Islam.

Sometimes we as Muslims should praise the Chinese. Their children can still do well in their undertakings with neither high education nor paper qualifications. They either inherited the skills from their parents or from practical learning. Many successful Chinese businessmen are masters in their respective fields without having official paper qualifications. This trait is highly regarded by Islam. The religion urges its followers to rely on Allah and to increase their knowledge. In Surah Taha (verse 113) God says: "(Say Muhammad) Oh Lord, increase my knowledge."

Based on what I have mentioned above, how can the Malays bring the non-Muslim Chinese closer to Islam and convince them that Islam has shaped the Malays to become noble human beings? The Chinese businessmen are better managers and portray strong positive traits compared with their Malay counterparts — to the extent that many Malays have more confidence in Chinese businessmen than their own. Where are people like Abd al-Rahman bin Auf, a Muslim role model of doing business? Maybe the Chinese, the majority of whom are non-Muslims, have a keener insight into Abd al-Rahman’s business acumen than the Malays.

There is much else that I can say, to the point that I am inclined to think that if the Malays were not Muslim, there would be little else they can be proud of. If the Chinese can receive Islam in its true form, they will have much to offer.
(NST)

See his ceramah videos posted on youtube as well. ;)

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Quote of the week

"The government is careful in spending money because it has very little money. It(the plane) was not bought by the government, it was bought by somebody else. That somebody else is 100 percent owned by the government," he added.

Tun Dr.Mahathir, in his usual sarcastic views, was replying a comment made by Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi when he denied the government bought the RM200 million jet.

"Why do we (the government) have to buy aircraft? If we buy, we have to undertake repairs and expend on many other things. "If is preferable to lease, and when there are repairs to be made, the lessor has to provide a replacement aircraft for our use," he told reporters on Monday. Abdullah had pointed out that Penerbangan Malaysia stood to gain from the lease, just as it earned from the lease of aircraft to MAS.

Let's have a look at Dato' Kadir Jasin's analysis on this issues. Read up his blog for more details.

1. PM kata kerajaan tak beli tapi sewa;
2. Yang beli adalah Penerbangan Malaysia Berhad (PMB);
3. PMB adalah anak syarikat milik penuh Khazanah Nasional Berhad (KNB);
4. KNB dimiliki kerajaan melalui Menteri Kewangan Diperbadankan (MKDp - Minister of Finance Incorporated);
5. Pengerusi KNB adalah PM;
6. Menteri Kewangan adalah PM;

The interesting thing about this issue is that, it was first brought up in the internet by bloggers, not from the mainstream medias. And I think that shows how greatly the influence of blogs in Malaysia. This is the second time in which the government replies from an issue that came up from blogs. The previous was the controversial RM3 million Turkish yacht. One issue after another, Pak Lah's credibility as Prime Minister is slowly crumbling.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Mat Salleh, The Man Who Antagonised The British

"That night he (Mat Salleh) and his wife fled. He did not die here. The one died here is not Mat Salleh but his deputy. My grandmother stated that my grandfather himself saw Mat Salleh making his escape.

"However, my grandmother did not reveal where Mat Salleh died," said Petrus to Bernama.

Another interesting piece of historical finding. So Mat Salleh didn't get killed and managed to escape? I hope Petrus grandmother's version of story is reliable enough to convince local historian and the public.

By Nashir Mansor (via Bernama)

KOTA KINABALU, Jan 31 (Bernama) -- Till today nobody knows the fate that befell Datu Muhamad Salleh Datu Balu a.k.a Mat Salleh after he led an uprising against the British in Tambunan near here more than 100 years ago.

According A.R Dunlop, the man who led the British North Borneo Chartered Company's (BNBCC) troops during the assault on Mat Salleh's fort in Kampung Tibabar, Tambunan, 81 km from here, he died there after a bullet hit his temple.

Dunlop who later became a historian stated in his records that the incident occurred on 31 January 1900.

Though more than a century has passed, Petrus Podtung Kuyog, 73, from Kampung Tibabar, the grandson to one of Mat Salleh's followers, begged to differ on the fate that befell the warlord.

Petrus asserted that he could clearly recall the accounts narrated by his grandmother, Giok, on Mat Salleh's fate.

"That night he (Mat Salleh) and his wife fled. He did not die here. The one died here is not Mat Salleh but his deputy. My grandmother stated that my grandfather himself saw Mat Salleh making his escape.

"However, my grandmother did not reveal where Mat Salleh died," said Petrus to Bernama.


Petrus stated that his grandfather Panjuran Bungkahou was one of Mat Salleh's faithful followers involved in the skirmish with the Sikh and Dayak soldiers of BNBCC. In the incident Panjuran was shot on the right toe.

THE RISE AGAINST BNBCC

Mat Salleh and his followers were hunted down by the BNBCC troops following the murder of two Dayak businessmen in Mat Salleh's settlement in Sungai Sugut.

Mat Salleh who was to succeed his father as the head of Sungai Sugut settlement, however denied that he was behind the murders. It was believed that his followers were involved.

Being the head of the settlement his father collected taxes from traders who came there to trade and at the same time protected the local traders from being exploited. But Mat Salleh and his followers were unhappy that the poll tax and the boat tax on local traders plying Sungai Sigut imposed by BNBCC diminished the rights of the locals.

When attempts by Mat Salleh and his followers to meet Governor Charles Vandelleur Creagh in Sandakan over the murder and the tax were rejected by the company, Mat Salleh was left dejected and knew that the company was up to something.

Mat Salleh was proven right when on 29 August 1895 the company sent troops to Pulau Jambongan to arrest him on allegations that he created a ruckus in Sandakan.

Mat Salleh's village was attacked, robbed and the houses razed with many of his personal belongings confiscated. Nevertheless, Mat Salleh managed to escape and BNBCC offered a $500 reward for anyone who captured Mat Salleh, dead or alive.

MAT SALLEH DECLARES WAR ON BNBCC

Following the incident, Mat Salleh declared a war on the company and launched a series of attacks on the company's interests in Ulu Sugut between August 1895 and September 1896. Mat Salleh and his followers attacked and destroyed a settlement in Pulau Gaya on 9 July 1897.

However, the odds did not favour him in Ranau where he was defeated on 5 January 1898. After a peace negotiation in Palatan, Ulu Menggatal, with William Clark Cowie, BNBCC's Managing Director in London, Mat Salleh agreed to retreat to Tambunan and he set up his base there.

During the negotiation Mat Salleh is said to have told Cowie: `At any rate, you will have to admit that your company cannot prevent us from dying for what we think as our rights.

However, peace was short-lived when BNBCC decided to set up its administration centre in Tambunan, a move that violated the agreement reached between Mat Salleh and Cowie.

According to available historical facts and the verbal accounts handed down by Petrus' grandmother, Mat Salleh declared that he was the sole ruler of Tambunan and with the backing of the majority of the Dusun Tagas people he revolted against the British authority.

Tregonning K.G in his book `Under The Chartered Company Rule' (1958), stated that Mat Salleh had more than 1,000 followers from the Dusun community and 300 from the Bajau when he set up forts in several locations in Tambunan. Among Mat Salleh's followers were Mat Sator, Mat Daud, Kamunta, Santara and Langkap but their details remain sketchy.

VILLAGERS ACCEPT HIM WITHOUT RESERVATIONS

According to Petrus, when Mat Salleh and his followers first reached Kg Tibabar, he was well received by the villagers who were unhappy with the tax imposed by the British company.

It was compulsory for the villagers to pay a poll tax of $1.50 that according to Petrus is equivalent to RM1,500 today. The villagers were against the tax as it involved a hefty sum.

Mat Salleh and his followers made their way into the hearts of the villagers by showing high respect to the villagers.

He is said to have met the village head beforehand, but it could not be ascertained what transpired in their meeting, before setting up fort in the village.

"When Mat Salleh arrived here, he met with the village head and asked for permission to set up a fort. The kampung folks must have agreed. How can an outsider set up a fort here if the villagers did not agree to it in the first place," asked Petrus, describing Mat Salleh and his followers' arrival as related by his grandmother.

Though the Tambunan dwellers at that time were not adherents of any faith and knew that Mat Salleh is a Muslim from the Suluk and Bajau ethnicity, they received him with an open heart.

The support from the Kadazandusun, especially from the Dusun Tagas sub- ethnic group in Tambunan, is nothing new for Mat Salleh because he also enjoyed their support previously when he set up forts in Sungai Sugut and Ranau.

PETRUS IS SURE THAT MAT SALLEH SURVIVED

According to Petrus, he too believes like what his grandfather said that Mat Salleh did not die at his stronghold. Had not Mat Salleh escaped from the village, the villagers would have fought along with him until the end.

"The villagers knew that he was fighting for their rights. He himself was not in favour of the poll tax imposed by the British. He also wanted to defend the rights of the indigenous people," said Petrus. Mat Salleh's struggle and valour, and the fact that the different ethnic groups united under him, is something that Petrus will never forget in this life.

Historians like D.S Ranjit Singh described Mat Salleh as an exemplary figure for the coming generations due to his courage and the principles he espoused.

Though there is no official record on what happened to Mat Salleh after the Kampung Tibabar confrontation, the only reminder of his legacy today is the memorial in this village built to honour him.

Lima Tahun

shahnon's weblog version 3 (2002)
..weblog version3 (Dec 2002)
Today marks the fifth anniversary of my online presence on the world wide web. I still find it amazing how fast time flies by. It all started with just a personal website back in February 2002 and in September of that same year I started to blog, manually. You name it, I've tried most of the popular free web hosting services back then, from tripod to geocities to pitas blog and finally, blogger and my own domain name.
Farhan, sambung la tulis blog balik. hoho.
These are few interesting quotes on 'time' which I found on the web;
"There is one kind of robber whom the law does not strike at, and who steals what is most precious to men: time." ~Napoleon I, Maxims, 1815
"Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you." ~Carl Sandberg (quotegarden.com)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sultan Mahmud, Hj. Abdul Rahman Limbung dan lain-lain

Artikel Johan Jaafar dalam kolum mingguan beliau di NST menarik minat saya untuk menulis di blog ini. Beliau menulis tentang banjir yang berlaku di Kota Tinggi dan juga cerita sejarah bandar Kota Tinggi itu. Topik makam Sultan Mahmud dan makam Megat Seri Rama, atau lebih dikenali sebagai Panglima Bintan menjadi perbualan dikalangan penduduk Kota Tinggi kerana makam Sultan Mahmud tidak terjejas akibat banjir tetapi makam Panglima Bintan pula tenggelam, kononnya makam Panglima Bintan tenggelam akibat daripada penderhakaan beliau kepada Sultan. Tetapi pada saya ianya akibat daripada faktor geografi setempat, tidak lebih daripada itu.
Saya berminat dengan tulisan Dato' Johan berkenaan pembunuhan Sultan Mahmud Mangkat Dijulang, waris terakhir daripada kesultanan Melayu Melaka. Menurut beliau, cerita bagaimana Sultan Mahmud dibunuh adalah akibat daripada dendam Panglima Bintan kepada Sultan Mahmud yang membunuh isteri beliau, Wan Anum. Wan Anum yang ketika itu sedang sarat mengandung, mengidamkan buah nangka. Kebetulan pula buah tersebut hendak diberikan kepada Sultan. Seorang pegawai istana yang bersimpati telah memotong sebahagian daripada buah tersebut dan berikannya kepada Wan Anum. Sultan Mahmud murka apabila mendapat tahu hal tersebut, kerana Sultan tidak sepatutnya memakan bekas makanan rakyat biasa. Apabila diberitahukan oleh Wan Anum kepada Sultan bahawa buah itu untuk anak dalam kandungannya, Sultan tidak percaya dan meminta agar dibelah perutnya sebagai bukti.
Panglima Bintan berasa sangat terkejut apabila mendapat tahu berita tersebut, lalu bertindak membunuh Sultan Mahmud ketika baginda sedang diarak (dijulang) ke masjid pada hari Jumaat. Maka, Sultan Mahmud mangkat ketika dijulang.
Cerita ini mengingatkan saya kepada ayat Dato' Khalid Ibrahim (kini Bendahari Parti Keadilan Rakyat), dalam wawancara beliau dengan majalah Off The Edge (Dec 2006), apabila beliau menyebut;

"Malays, basically, only support the winner..it's very traditional..if the sultan is killed by his brother and the brother becomes the sultan, the scene of the killing is not relevant, they will support the new sultan"

Zaman itu adalah di mana era Sultan berkuasa mutlak. Segala titah Sultan adalah undang-undang. Segala tingkah laku Sultan tidak boleh dipersoal. Itu adalah norma kehidupan dulu yang harus diterima. Sebab itulah pada zaman dulu sesiapa yang menderhaka tidak mendapat tempat dalam masyarakat. Zaman itu istilah revolusi belum wujud. Malah revolusi besar boleh dikatakan tidak pernah wujud di bumi Nusantara ini. Kalau ada pun, ianya tidak begitu memberi impak yang besar. Tidak ada penentangan secara terang-terangan terhadap raja-raja Melayu kerana masyarakat Melayu secara umumnya masih bersifat feudalistik. Masih menyayangi raja-raja Melayu. Di Brunei, pada dekad 1960-an, cubaan Parti Rakyat pimpinan Azahari untuk menggulingkan kerajaan telah gagal. Sultan Brunei telah mendapat bantuan ketenteraan dari negara-negara Komanwel, seperti Britain dan Australia. Parti-parti Melayu berhaluan kiri juga kurang mendapat tempat di hati rakyat. Laungan perjuangan untuk membentuk sebuah gagasan 'Melayu Raya', yang menggabungkan negara Indonesia dan Malaya juga menemui kegagalan.
Sebab itu saya selalu berpendapat bahawa dalam membuat kajian ilmiah tentang zaman Melayu lama, haruslah dilihat dari perspektif zaman itu sendiri. Kita tidak boleh mengkaji sejarah dulu tetapi mengambil kira faktor semasa dalam membuat pertimbangan. Sebab itu pada saya, tindakan Hang Tuah membunuh Jebat walaupun Tuah sendiri dalam dilema adalah sesuatu yang diterima masyarakat dalam konteks Melaka kurun ke-15, kerana berlaku derhaka kepada raja adalah sesuatu yang paling tidak diingini.
Pada saya mengangkat karya agung 'Hikayat Hang Tuah' yang telah diiktiraf oleh UNESCO sebagai salah satu karya sastera agung dunia yakni setaraf dengan karya Ramayana dan Mahabrata, adalah jauh lebih penting. Walaupun begitu saya masih terbuka untuk membaca kajian-kajian terbaru tentang Hikayat Hang Tuah ini, kerana karya ini adalah manuskrip sastera, bukannya sejarah. Atas sebab itu saya boleh menerima idea-idea baru seperti yang ditulis oleh U-Wei Saari dalam teater beliau, 'Wangi Jadi Saksi' baru-baru ini, yang mana dalam pementasan tersebut U-Wei menunjukkan bagaimana Jebat tidak mati ditangan Tuah, tapi di tangan pembesar Sultan berketurunan Jawa, Patih Kerma Wijaya. . [baca posting blog tentang teater Wangi Jadi Saksi untuk ulasan lanjut]
Satu lagi contoh mudah ialah ketika penentangan Haji Abdul Rahman Limbung di Kuala Berang, Terengganu. Kita tahu daripada buku-buku sejarah bahawa Haji Abdul Rahman Limbung menentang British kerana tidak setuju dengan cukai tanah baru yang dikenakan. Penduduk-penduduk kampung telah mengusahakan tanah sawah mereka sejak berkurun-kurun lamanya, tiba-tiba apabila British datang, mereka sewenang-wenangnya mengenakan cukai.
Tetapi bukan isu itu yang ingin saya ceritakan di sini, tetapi tentang isu mentaliti feudal/bangsawan rakyat. Walaupun telah jelas Sultan Terengganu dan pembesar Melayu bersekongkol atau dalam kata lain diperalatkan oleh penjajah British, tetapi penduduk Kuala Berang tidak menunjukkan penentangan yang jelas kepada Sultan. Mereka tetap bersikap defensive, berlembut, berdiplomasi dan masih menaruh harapan terhadap raja mereka seperti dialog ringkas pada watak Lebai Hasan di dalam novel 'Tangisan Bangsaku' oleh Arifin Ngah di bawah. (sebuah novel sejarah Pemenang Anugerah Sastera Darul Iman IV, yang mengisahkan tentang sejarah penentangan Haji Abdul Rahman Limbung);
Kata Mat Solah, "Tidakkah baginda tahu, rakyat di Telemung ini menangis kerana kezaliman penjajah itu?"
"Boleh jadi baginda tidak tahu" Lebai Hasan seperti mencari alasan. Dia yakin Sultan tidak sekejam itu.
"Sudah jelas Sultan membuat sokongan kepada Inggeris di depan beribu-ribu rakyat. Ya, tak berselindung lagi, baginda tak menyebelahi rakyat," kata Tuk Pitas dengan kesal.
"Tapi, kita tak boleh salahkan sultan. Baginda seperti terpaksa. Tak ada sokongan di belakang baginda. Baginda keseorangan. Pembesar terpengaruh dengan pangkat kemuliaan dan harta benda. Mana ada kuasa nak halang Inggeris?" Lebai Hasan masih membuat alasan. [petikan daripada Tangisan Bangsaku (ms. 267/268)]
British pandai menggunakan helah memperalatkan raja Melayu dan berselindung disebalik kata-kata seperti; ini penderhakaan kepada Sultan. Semua tindakan British telah mendapat persetujuan Sultan. Samalah seperti kisah Mat Kilau yang dituduh menderhaka kepada Sultan.
Akhir kalam, "Raja Adil Raja Disembah, Raja Zalim Raja Disanggah".

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Buy Sell Trade



I managed to sold off few of my books (and mom's old novels) to the shop above, in ss15. Actually i've brought along about 10kilos of various kinds of old books to get rid off but I was told that they only accept novels. Damnn. So yeah, only 6 books were accepted then, and they pay me RM6. Terry Brookes's 'Elfstone of Shannara' is priced at RM3. I think I could've sell it for a better price at ebay or something, ya?
I wanted to sell my dad's Kodak digicam (EasyShare DX6440. 4mp) too, but they could only offer me about RM180-200. So I said to him that I would think about it first. In the mean time, any takers here? :)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Mat Kilau

"see, who would have thought I too will live to see this country's independence" Mat Kilau to his son in-law, Abu Bakar.
This is an interesting piece of analysis by Bernama on Mat Kilau. I personally think that more academic research should be done about him. The special thing about him is that, he is the only one our many national heroes in late 19th century of the likes of Dato Bahaman and Tok Gajah that lived to witness our nation's independence.
KUANTAN, Jan 10 (Bernama) -- Out of the many Malay warriors of Pahang who stood up against the British in the late 1880s, only one lived to witness with his very own eyes the nation's independence. It's no more than Mat Kilau, the son of a local chieftain Imam Perang Rasu (a.k.a Tok Gajah), one of the Malay warriors who rebelled between 1880s and 1890s when the colonial masters extended their rule to Pahang.
..Moreover, Mat Kilau even had the opportunity to shout the magical word "merdeka" on 31 August 1957, something that his contemporaries like Datuk Bahaman, Haji Abdul Rahman Limbong and Tok Janggut or the earlier ones like Datuk Maharaja Lela and Dol Said did not live to see.
..Mat Kilau's obscurity, much to anyone's surprise, is equally legendary. The feared warrior went into oblivion for more than half a century as he was on the run after the British put a prize on his head and branded him as among those who betrayed the sultan."

Despite all this, it took him 12 years after independence to actually made a public declaration about who he really is;

"He waited almost 12 years after merdeka to come out in the open that he is
Mat Kilau as he feared that the sultan hasn't forgiven him," he said.

But,

"..Unfortunately 10 days after the confirmation, Mat Kilau died on 16 August 1970 at his home in Kampung Batu 5. He is said to have died at the age of 122 based on his estimated birth year of 1847.He was buried with full honours befitting a national hero at his birthplace of Kampung Masjid Pulau Tawar, Jerantut."

wikipedia: Mat Kilau

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Malik Imtiaz dan Lelaki Mengaku Nabi

Bernama: Lelaki Mengaku Nabi Dibenar Mohon Cabar Undang-undang Jenayah Syariah

PUTRAJAYA, 3 Jan (Bernama) -- Mahkamah Persekutuan di sini hari ini membenarkan permohonan seorang lelaki, yang menghadapi tuduhan mendakwa dirinya nabi dan menghina ajaran Islam, mencabar beberapa peruntukan dalam Enakmen Jenayah Syariah Selangor.

Abdul Kahar Ahmad, 56, dari Kampung Kemensah, Ampang, diberi tempoh 60 hari mulai hari ini untuk memfailkan petisyennya itu.

Abdul Kahar menamakan kerajaan Selangor sebagai responden.

Peguamnya Malik Imtiaz Sarwar berkata tuduhan terhadap Abdul Kahar kononnya dia menyebarkan ajaran salah, menghina dan melanggar ajaran Islam dan bertindak menyalahi fatwa dan Mufti, bukannya kesalahan mengikut ajaran Islam. (??)

Dalam afidavit mereka, Abdul Kahar dan Mazli berkata hanya Parlimen diberi kuasa menggubal undang-undang jenayah, dan oleh itu, Dewan Undangan Negeri Selangor tidak ada kuasa membuat peruntukan berkenaan kerana masing-masingnya merupakan peruntukan undang-undang jenayah.

Panel lima hakim diketuai Ketua Hakim Negara Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim juga membenarkan kerajaan Malaysia mencampuri prosiding berkenaan.

Kerajaan Selangor diwakili Penasihat Undang-undang Negeri Datuk Zauyah Be Loth Khan manakala Peguam Kanan Persekutuan Azizah Nawawi mewakili kerajaan.

Pertama sekali, saya bukan seorang yang arif dalam selok belok undang-undang negara, tapi saya tak faham dengan peguam Malik Imtiaz ni apabila beliau bertindak jadi peguambela kepada Abdul Kahar Ahmad, seorang yang mengaku sebagai nabi. (??) Bodoh ke gila. Memanglah beliau kata hendak mencabar undang-undang Jenayah Syariah negara, tapi itu soal lain, yang jelasnya dalam kata simple orang biasa, beliau adalah peguam kepada seorang lelaki yang terang-terang sesat. Apa pula implikasi atau kesan kepada undang-undang syariah kita andai kata beliau menang kes ini? Anyone care to enlighten me more regarding this case?

Sedih juga orang macam ni ada tempat dalam akhbar NST - Beliau turut mempunyai kolum mingguan di NST. Sebagai rekod, beliau adalah salah seorang pendokong kuat IFC - Interfaith Commision.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Malcolm X's Letter from Makkah

Interesting reading. Read on. (taken from IslamOnline.net)

The following is Malcolm X’s (al-Hajj, Malik al-Shabazz) letter to his assistants in Harlem during his pilgrimage to Makkah in April of 1964: Never have I witnessed such sincere hospitality and overwhelming spirit of true brotherhood as is practiced by people of all colors and races here in this ancient holy land, the home of Abraham, Muhammad and all the other Prophets of the holy scriptures. For the past week, I have been utterly speechless and spellbound by the graciousness I see displayed all around me by people of all colors.
I have been blessed to visit the holy city of Makkah; I have made my seven circuits around the Ka'aba, led by a young Mutawwaf (guide) named Muhammad; I drank water from the well of the Zamzam. I ran seven times back and forth between the hills of mount al-Safa and al-Marwa. I have prayed in the ancient city of Mina, and I have prayed on mount Arafat.

There were tens of thousands of pilgrims, from all over the world. They were of all colors, from blue-eyed blondes to black-skinned Africans. But we were all participating in the same ritual, displaying a spirit of unity and brotherhood that my experiences in America had led me to believe never could exist between the white and non-white.

America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem. Throughout my travels in the Muslim world, I have met, talked to, and even eaten with people who in America would have been considered white - but the white attitude was removed from their minds by the religion of Islam. I have never before seen sincere and true brotherhood practiced by all colors together, irrespective of their color.

You may be shocked by these words coming from me. But on this pilgrimage, what I have seen, and experienced, has forced me to rearrange much of my thought-patterns previously held, and to toss aside some of my previous conclusions. This was not too difficult for me. Despite my firm convictions, I have always been a man who tries to face facts, and to accept the reality of life as new experience and new knowledge unfolds it. I have always kept an open mind, which is necessary to the flexibility that must go hand in hand with every form of intelligent search for truth.

During the past eleven days here in the Muslim world, I have eaten from the same plate, drunk from the same glass, and slept on the same rug - while praying to the same God - with fellow Muslims, whose eyes were the bluest of blue, whose hair was the blondest of blond, and whose skin was the whitest of white. And in the words and in the deeds of the white Muslims, I felt the same sincerity that I felt among the black African Muslims of Nigeria, Sudan and Ghana.

We were truly all the same (brothers) - because their belief in one God had removed the white from their minds, the white from their behavior, and the white from their attitude.

I could see from this, that perhaps if white Americans could accept the Oneness of God, then perhaps, too, they could accept in reality the Oneness of Man - and cease to measure, and hinder, and harm others in terms of their “differences” in color.

With racism plaguing America like an incurable cancer, the so-called “Christian” white American heart should be more receptive to a proven solution to such a destructive problem. Perhaps it could be in time to save America from imminent disaster - the same destruction brought upon Germany by racism that eventually destroyed the Germans themselves.

Each hour here in the holy land enables me to have greater spiritual insights intowhat is happening in America between black and white. The American Negro never can be blamed for his racial animosities - he is only reacting to four hundred years of the conscious racism of the American whites. But as racism leads America up the suicide path, I do believe, from the experiences that I have had with them, that the whites of the younger generation, in the colleges and universities, will see the handwriting on the walls and many of them will turn to the spiritual path of truth - the only way left to America to ward off the disaster that racism inevitably must lead to.

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds.
Sincerely,
al-Hajj, Malik al-Shabazz (Malcolm X)