Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Get Them Criminals And Make Us Feel Safe (Again)...

What happened to Dickson Wong could happen to you, your child, or a loved one.

It does sound like a cliche but I daresay that we are now living "in dangerous times". No exaggeration. I will tell you why later.

First - I'll continue with Dickson's tragic story.

The 22 year-old student died of head injuries sustained during a robbery in an alley in Taman Mayang, Petaling Jaya early Saturday (Oct 26) morning. He died without regaining consciousnes.

He was attacked by four men on two motorbikes. Passersby found him and took him to hospital.

Dickson was from Sibu, Sarawak. The criminals took all his belongings that he was left with no identification card. He was only identified the following day. His family was only made aware of
the attack on him through the newspapers.

But they managed to be with him at the hospital.

We all should be able to relate to this story, because we either have a brother, a nephew or a son -- just like Dickson.

So why do I say that we are living in "dangerous times"?

For one -- there have been so many cases of violent snatch theft and robbery that we have begun to look at everything around us just to know why and to find answers so that we can avert, avoid and prevent....
We all have been made to feel so unsafe and helpless.

And Dickson's case shows that the situation is not getting any better.

I don't have to cite cases. We have read them in the newspapers - print and online, or on  crime awareness and crime prevention websites. You have known some victims personally. Or like me -- you have been a victim yourself.

As for the police -- well, I know that they have said many things. I won't go into that because it will be like a broken record.

I do know that they have, under the NKRA to curb crime, install several features in housing estates to make it safer.

For instance in Taman Tun Dr Ismail where I live, we have more street lights and safety fences along main roads.

I'm not sure if these have helped to reduce the crime rate in our neighbourhood. But judging by the occurrences of break-in, snatch theft and robbery...

But the very good thing about TTDI is that we have a very proactive residents' association and police team who work closely together.

Also the residents themselves as a whole are a concerned lot and are active on their neighbourhood  watch website.
Most of them look out for each other.

Apparently this is not enough because TTDI continues to be a favourite target of snatch thieves and burglars -- as are some other neighbourhoods.

So, my question is -- Why is there no stopping these criminals? Why do we feel that no where is safe in the Klang Valley (and elsewhere in the country,I might add).

Some people blame drugs/drug abuse. Others feel we are victims of our own success -- affluent communities invite bad hats.

And then, of course, some blame all the ills on an inefficient police force.

We can blame everyone and everything under the sky and till the cows come home, can't we?
I don't have the answers.

But the reality is, these cases seem to be happening almost every other day. Just look at the statistics,

We despair over these cases, especially the fatal ones.

The other day, I attended a gathering of TTDI women residents and an officer of the Brickfields
police (because TTDI comes under Brickfields) on "Amanita" - an initiative under the NKRA to have home-makers (housewives) be the eyes and ears for the police in curbing crime.

The rationale is that these ladies are often at home while most others are at work and therefore can see the goings-on in their neighbourhoods.

I don't quite agree entirely but that will be in a later posting.

The lady officer -- Puan Azlin -- spoke on how we all have to do our part to prevent crime. How we must always be alert, be careful and cautious at all times, install safety and security features at our home including having a hailer or have with/on us safety gadgets such as angel alarm for our kids, pepper spray, as examples.

Frankly, it was nothing (except that Angel alarm for our kids and the hailer at home) that I have not heard or been advised before.

To be honest - at this point in our lives -- we are doing all that and more. Come on.

How much more? We have made our homes into fortresses,. Yet we are violated.

We take care not to walk along lonely and dark streets. Yet we are attacked.

We lock our car doors and hide our handbags. Yet we are attacked at traffic lights.

We are neither safe on the streets, in the park, in the neighbourhood, in our car and worse of all, in our own homes.

So, don't keep telling us to be careful and to do this or that.

Tell us that YOU are going all out to catch the criminals. To hunt them down. No rest until you nab them.

Tell us too that the task force you have set up is already in action to do this. To come down hard on these criminals that have been getting away with murder.

Let me relate to you my sister's case. It was in section 16, PJ where my sister, Nina and her family live. It happened late last year. She and her 16 year-old daughter were attacked right in front of the gate of their home by four guys on 2 motorbikes.

These guys came to both sides of the front windows of Nina's car. They smashed the windows.

Mother and daughter (who have basic martial arts skills) put up a fight but were no match to their armed assailants. Both sustained some injuries but were more shaken than anything

My sister found out later that the neighbours living on the other streets had all been victims.

Yet, no real action had been taken by the police to prevent recurrences.

The attack on my sister and daughter was just waiting to happen.
What was more disappointing was the fact that my niece managed to locate her snatched IPod using ICloud.

You'd think that with this information, the police would have taken follow-up action.

Sorry. But none whatsoever.

Sometimes I wonder what is the police stand on this besides their official one.

I'm sure they care and are concerned.

My point of view: that the bad guys have no fear of the police. Emboldened further by their drug-induced state, I imagine.

To the police -- declare war on these crimes that have made Malaysians feel absolutely unsafe to a point that many have joined in the chorus saying that Malaysia is no longer safe.
We know, of course, that Malaysia is still a very safe country.

Yet, why do we feel that nowhere is safe -- not even neighbourhoods that are considered "safe" and "nice"?

Call to arms, if you must. I will support the police on this.
Desperate times call for desperate measure.

We have the right to security and safety in our homes, streets, neighbourhoods and playgrounds.

We have done all we could to protect ourselves and our families. But, clearly there is just so much we can do.

In the process, we have become a frightened and helpless lot, resigned to have our homes and personal security violated.

Consider a "wise" advice -- to leave some valuables including your car keys in your living room  within sight of any intruder so that they'd be satisfied and not angrily invade your bedroom for what they could not get. How scary is that?

To the police, I ask - will you regard Dickson's case as just another snatch theft? Will his case be consigned to your dusty brimming files?

Will you hunt down his perpetrators?

Dickson had so much to live for.

His death should serve a purpose so that he would not have died in vain.

But I suppose that maybe too much to ask.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Salam Maal Hijrah

Selamat Menyambut Awal Muharram, wahai sahabat2 Muslimin dan Muslimat ku.
Semoga tahun baru ini akan membawa lebih kesejahteraan, kebahgiaan dan segala-gala kebaikan dan yang bererti bagi kita semua. Inshalllaah. Amiin.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Happy Deepavali!

To my Hindu brothers and sisters...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Policies Favouring The Malays Have Something To Do With "Soaring Crime"?

"..some say the country’s ethnic-based policies that favor majority Malays are partly to blame...(for soaring crime in Kuala Lumpur and urban areas across peninsular Malaysia).."

This is a line from a New York Times article - "Wave of High-Profile Crime Have Put Malaysians on The Defensive" by Thomas Fuller.

Now, how do you make sense of that sentence?  -- that "ethnic-based policies" favouring the Malays are partly to blame?

Fuller must have meant the New Economic Policy. What else could he be referring to?
The NEP was introduced in 1971 and we know why it was introduced, don't we?
And how long ago was that?

Fuller, in the second para of his article, acknowledged that Kuala Lumpur used to be "considered one of Asia;s safest cities".

And yes, I'm sure he meant that KL had been that during the time and duration the NEP and related policies were put in place.

But, he was discussing the current situation.

So, what is the connection between "ethnic-based policies favouring Malay" and "soaring crime" in KL et al...

What a load of bull!

Fuller attributed it to  "some" people...

So, he must have spoken to some Malaysians.

What kind of Malaysians, I wonder? You can't quite tell but among the people he quoted were  DAP's Tony Pua and two from the National Defense University of Malaysia - criminologist Teh Yik Koon and professor Ahmad Ghazali Abu Hassan.

But none of them actually blame these policies for the soaring crime although the good professor was quoted by Fuller to have  suggested that the "system of preference for Malays should be modified to address inequality within our society, without identifying race.”

Ahmad Ghazali said ethnic Indians were particularly in need of help and that he still believes  that poverty is the root cause of the rising crime.

Here is the article:

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia’s population has tripled over the past four decades. Its largest city, Kuala Lumpur, a place once so sparsely populated that it looked like a botanical garden, has exploded into a cosmopolitan metropolis of shopping malls, luxury hotels and sprawling suburbs.

But with modernity and urbanization came an unwanted corollary: a soaring crime rate that has blighted Kuala Lumpur, previously considered one of Asia’s safest cities, and other urban areas across Peninsular Malaysia. It is hard to find someone in Kuala Lumpur today who does not have a story about a purse snatching, a burglary or worse.

“Whatever defense we put up is not enough,” said Chong Kon Wah, a British-trained engineer who was burglarized twice at his home in the Kuala Lumpur suburbs and robbed once while in his car — all within 10 days in August.

Residents in middle-class and wealthy neighborhoods have begun to gate their communities, often without local government permission. And the demand for personal guards has soared, with the number of certified security companies nationwide more than tripling over the past decade to 712 from 200, according to the Security Services Association of Malaysia, which trains guards.

Read the full article HERE.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Chin Peng

When opposition (read:DAP) supporters, members and some of its leaders came out making a controversy of Malaysian Communist Party leader Chin Peng with suggestions that he was a hero as much as those who fought in the struggle for independence from British colonialists, I was stumped. 

I was even more stumped when people actually bought that rubbish. Hey, I am still alive. I was around when we were still under threat of communist insurgency. Reports of people killed by communist terrorists were not figment of anyone's imagination.

How they and their self-serving "intellectuals", "academcians" and "thinkers" bent backwords to rewrite history.

The things they do to instigate hatred.

I will say no more because Anak Si Hamid has articulated it well..couldn't have said it better myself.

Here is an excerpt of her posting:

History, as we know, is written by the winners. So, our analysis of history, its events and personalities, needs to be considered within a clearly-stated context to be understood.  In particular, who stands to benefit from the writing?  And who defines the terms: who defines the crooks and the heroes, the monsters and the saints, the terrorists and the freedom fighters?

Take those last two labels.  They have been bandied about, and manipulated (implicitly and explicitly) to fit into many different agenda by accredited academics and other opportunistic 'rogues, rascals, and scallywags'.   "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter"- how many times have we heard that cliché?  Often, no doubt, when talking about Palestine. And increasingly, nowadays, when talking of our own recent history here in Malaysia.

Now that LCP has departed, there seems to be a revival of the urge to rewrite Malaysia's history - most especially that of the period from 1930, through the Japanese Occupation and the 'Emergency' to Merdeka. And especially the role of LCP.  So how do we make sense of the various events and personalities that make up that history over that time?  Perhaps we need to look at the context - the context of both time and space.

In particular, the time of the post-1948 Emergency (or perhaps 'Insurrection" is a better word) coincided with the demands and wars for independence from European imperial powers.  It was also the period of the Cold War between two competing ideologies, Communist and the (so-called) Free World - and it especially saw the rise of Communist China and the war in Korea.  But the 'Emergency' had a longer  (and more particular) formative history than this.
You can read the full article HERE.

Hello Again!

If you've been wondering where I've been in the last two months, wonder no more...

I haven't left the country. I have been busy, though.

Yes, I'm still alive and kicking.

So, here I am.

Hello, again.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Salam Aidilfitri

How time flies. Begitu pantas masa berlalu...

After a month of a blessed Ramadan, it is time to celebrate Syawal. So here's wishing my Muslim brothers and sisters a wonderful Hari Raya Puasa. Ampun maaf zahir dan batin..

And a Happy holiday, everyone!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Malaysia's clash of cultures
By Jonathan Kent
BBC, Kuala Lumpur

When it comes to interpreting Islam, many Malaysians are torn between their own culture, Western influence and a growing trend towards copying all things Arabic.

A few days ago I visited P Ramlee's old house in Kuala Lumpur.

Kuala Lumpur skyline
Modernisation has been rapid
Unless you are from this part of the world you probably will not have heard of him.
But in Malaysia, more than 30 years after his death, he is still an icon.
In life he was Malaysia's Elvis and Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant and Irving Berlin all rolled into one. His modest bungalow is now a museum.
But when I visited I was alone, apart from an attendant who seemed to be hiding under his counter.
So I wandered around looking at photos from P Ramlee's films and listening to his wonderful singing voice.
'Gentle and sensual'
One of the reasons I look forward to the holidays here is because the local TV stations always screen a good selection of his movies.

P Ramlee
P Ramlee was an actor, singer, comedian, songwriter, screenwriter and film director
My favourite is the comedy Madu Tiga - or Three Honies - made in 1964.
P Ramlee plays a married man who decides to take a second and then a third bride, all with the collusion of his first wife's mischievous father.
But despite his best efforts to keep the three from finding out about one another, inevitably they meet, become friends and finally gang up on him.
It is a cautionary tale.
But what is most striking about P Ramlee's films from the 1950s and 1960s is their depiction of Malay life.
His movies are gentle and sensual, the people relaxed, fun-loving and charming. There are even jokes about gin.
Shadow puppetry
One can still catch glimpses of a Malaysia P Ramlee would have recognised, in backwaters like the east coast state of Kelantan.

Processional carving representing the head of Garuda
Hindu influence can be seen in carvings
I had travelled deep into its countryside looking for Dollah Baju Merah-Abdullah, who wears a red shirt. He is the last performer of the local brand of Wayang Kulit: shadow puppetry.
"I can't speak well," he told me, when he came out onto the porch of his little wooden house to greet me and he tapped his chest.
"I've been ill," he said.
He was not up to giving a demonstration but half-heartedly pulled out a couple of puppets from a box to show me.
I could see instantly why his is a dying art. The puppets depict heroes and gods from the Hindu epics the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
The local government in Kelantan put a stop to Dollah's performances. Likewise traditional dance.
They are considered un-Islamic.
Foreign endorsement
Elsewhere in Kelantan I met up with Nik Rashidee, the custodian of an astonishing collection of Malay woodcarvings assembled by his late brother Nik Rashidin, the greatest carver of his age.
Among the antique pieces the Hindu influence is obvious: carvings of Garuda (a Hindu deity and king of the birds) and dagger handles in the shape of Shiva's head.

Traditional Terengganu Malay wooden houses
Traditional carving is a dying art in Malaysia
They were not even exhibited in Malaysia until they had already been shown at the British Museum.
It took the endorsement of a foreign institution before locals even started to wake up to their beauty.
All these crafts are being destined to oblivion, not just by conservative Muslims who dress in the Arabic style and frown on their own culture, but also by Malaysia's rapid modernisation.
Malay people seem to love the new and shiny, not the old.
Whirlwind of change
At the same time they have been consumed by a wave of Islamicisation that swept across the world from the 1970s, a wave ridden by Malay politicians who after the Iranian revolution decided it was that, or be drowned by it.
"Now we understand what it is to be proper Muslims," people tell me, and in this rapidly developing country many have found in their faith a still centre in a whirlwind of change.
But it is not just traditional arts that are under pressure.
Looking at posters from P Ramlee's movies, I realise that films like these could not be made today.
"All we can do these days is tut tut at one another," a Malay friend tells me.
Across the country one sees the evidence of a culture of disapproval.
Young Malay women wear headscarves drawn tight around their faces; something their grandmothers never did.
Nightclubs are raided by the religious police, couples are prosecuted for holding hands and Muslims are sentenced to be whipped for drinking beer.
This is not policy. This comes from the conservative grassroots.
Behind closed doors
The federal government seems unsure how to respond.
Those who raise their voices against the new breed of religious teacher, schooled in Egypt, Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, are shouted down. "Kaffir," they scream.
And jokes about gin are just not seen as funny.
But the saddest encounter I had in Kelantan was with a criminal lawyer.
"What keeps you busy?" I asked.
"Rape," he said. "It's all rape."
Incest, drugs and rape afflict the Malay community far worse than Malaysia's large Chinese and Indian minorities.
Piety in public. Acts that lead to self-loathing behind closed doors.
There is a sense that the Malays are a people increasingly adrift, and as at ill at ease with themselves now, as their grandparents' generation appeared content.
It would have broken P Ramlee's heart.