Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Fatwa On Poco-Poco?

Why the question mark?
Because there was a report earlier quoting Perak Mufti Harussani Zakaria that the Perak Fatwa Committee has ruled that poco-poco, a popular dancercize, especially among ladies (generally 40 and above) is haram because it has Christian elements.

Of course, there was an uproar because many people wondered why and how the fatwa came about.
A fatwa on poco-poco? Oh, please.
Is it harmful to the ummah? What damage has poco-poco inflicted on society?

Christian elements? Adoi.

Anyway, I digress.

Of course, reporters had to get the good mufti to explain, or whatever. But, it seemed, he refused to take any calls.
I was made to understand that he slammed the phone on a reporter.
I was also made to understand that he (according to him) was misquoted and his remarks were taken out of context. Whatever that means.

Today, two people (with authority on Islam) commented on the Perak fatwa.

Former Perlis Mufti Mohd Asri said in his blog that there was no rational reason for the dance to be banned by the Perak Fatwa Committee if it did not involve alcohol or free sex.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Dr Mashitah Ibrahim said poco-poco was just another form of exercise and should not be banned nationwide.

I suppose the less said the better but this is no small matter. This fatwa banning poco-poco makes no sense. With all due respect.

Read my column HERE.

Eskay Met With Bloggers...

..including Syed Azidi, otherwise known as Kickdefella.

As we all know, Eskay is one of the Datuk Trio (Datuk T) -- the guys behind the sex video purportedly of an opposition leader having sex with an unknown prostitute.

The original copy of the video is now with the police as investigations are underway.

Eskay is Shazryl Eskay Abdullah - sports physiotherapist, businessman and friend to many politicians. The other two are former Malacca chief minister and Risda chairman Rahim Thamby Chik and Perkasa treasurer Shuaib Lazim.

DSAI diehards are up in arms against the trio, accusing them of fixing DSAI (who is said to resemble the guy in the video or vice versa). Some have wished them hell, and worse.

According to Syed Azidi, Eskay met with some bloggers two days ago and told them about his relationship with DSAI.

At the end of it, he has 5 questions for the Opposition leader.

Read Kickdelfella Lima Soalan Untuk Anwar

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

MACC-led High-Powered Task Force Cripples Syndicate..

Kudos to the team!

After a month of surveillance on several companies and individuals suspected of corrupt practices, under-declaring Customs duties, tax evasion, money laundering and illegal remittance of funds overseas, the team carried out raids on private homes and companies coast-to-coast.

(According to the Star "billions of ringgit have been siphoned by way of tax evasion, money laundering and illegal outflow of funds here by a syndicate with tentacles in many organisations.")

Yesterday, the team arrested a senior Customs officer (a datuk) and his wife, who is also a senior Customs officer. They are being remanded for four days.

The couple, in their 50s, will facilitate investigations into their suspected involvement in corruption and money laundering activities.

MACC prosecuting officer Raja Mohd Shasrizam Raja Nik Mahmud said the couple were being investigated under Section 17(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009.

The prosecution had requested for a seven-day remand order, but the court allowed them only four days.

The operation, jointly conducted by the MACC, Inland Revenue Board, Customs Department and Bank Negara Malaysia, saw raids carried out in four states - Penang, Johor, Selangor and Pahang. They also froze 150 bank accounts to facilitate investigations.

He said they also raided the offices of 84 forwarding agents.

Also read this report HERE.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Oh, That Sex Video.....

Now that we know there's a bad bad video of a man who resembles DSAI having sex with a woman, are we to sweep it under the carpet?

(A police special task force is investigating the case. The video is with them)

It depends on whether you support the man or not. It boils down almost to that.

But here's a perspective by NST columnist Umapagan Ampikaipakan:

"Is it important? Of course, it is. Not just because sex sells newspapers. Not just because sex gets the hits. But because the moral issues of our time have moved from those which were social to those that are very personal. Because we live in a time where public persons are not allowed private lives. Where every aspect of their being is scrutinised. Because rightly or wrongly, we want them to be everything that we are not. We expect them to be better. The argument of being "merely human" no longer applies.

Is it news? Of course, it is. Because "conversation may be compared to a lyre with seven chords -- philosophy, art, poetry, love, scandal, and the weather". Because we live in a time where gossip is often mistaken for gospel, where informed rumours are accepted as fact. And it is the role of the media to tune out all the noise in an attempt to uncover the truth. Because the consequences of these events can make or break a politician. It can forever divert the course of our politics.

Does it matter? Of course, it does. In a democracy, if the majority of the voting public believe that adultery is a crime, shouldn't they be entitled to know whether a potential leader is unfaithful to his wife?"

Read his column HERE.

It's also interesting that the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism wants the government to take “swift and firm action” against the people behind the scandal.

It president Rev Dr Thomas Philips described the episode as “sad, sordid" that had once again brought Malaysia to prominence for the wrong reasons.

The people behind the scandal would be the three trio of datuks - Rahim Thamby Chik, Eskay Abdullah and Shuaib Lazim.

I agree that these tiga sekawan should be dealt with for having in their possession the video and being behind this this ...this thing.

I'm sure we want so many questions answered..about who, what and how. Most importantly, why.

So, shouldn't the government verify whether the video is authentic because if it isn't, then the trio obviously was attempting to portray DSAI as a ...oh, you know.

As expected, the statement yesterday by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nazri Abdul Aziz that the Datuk T trio can be protected under the law attracted response.

Yusmadi Yusoff (PKR-Balik Pulau) the trio cannot be protected under the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 as they do not meet the requirements in the law.

Today, Nazri said that they cannot be protected under the Whistleblower Protection Act but might be under the Witness Protection Act if there was a case to answer,
Read the Bernama report HERE.

Meanwhile, I heard that the Datuk T trio are fearing for their safety. They're all at home and they can see so many people outside.

They are afraid to leave their houses.

Bung Oh Bung...

"Women drivers are slow at the wheel and oblivious on the roads. Some women drivers drive slowly and seem oblivious to traffic.When you honk at them, they get agitated with some even showing hand gestures to other drivers."

Uttered by none other than that "notorious" member of parliament from Sabah (Kinabatangan), Bung Mokhtar Radin.

But, you know what, I wasn't angry at all.

Not outraged.

I should be, I know.

He's made a lot of women very p*ssed!

Hah, padan muka.

But I admit to being a little amused.

It's Bung Mokhtar who said this-lah. Don't take what he says seriously.

I know, I know. He is a member of parliament.

He's a politician-lah.

But I hear he's a really nice guy and very popular with his constituents.

Perhaps, it's just that he may not articulate his points as well as others.

But, are responsible for what you say!

The Family And Social Networking....

Rather, the destructive effects of social networking....

This seems serious.

The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry is going to carry out an "awareness programme on the negative effects of the social media on family institutions".

Minister Shahrizat Jalil told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
She was replying to Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa (Pas-Parit Buntar) who wanted to know if there were efforts being carried out to make the public aware of the effects of social networking on families and marriages..

Shahrizat said the programme -- "Sekata: Keselamatan Keluarga Tanggung Jawab Kita" (Family Safety is Our Responsibility) -- would be implemented at the grassroots level with the cooperation of some 150 non-governmental organisations.

"The government is aware that the extensive use of social websites can be detrimental, especially in the context of family and marriage.

"When family interaction and recreational activities are replaced with cyber activities, sooner or later it will affect the family's function and system," she said.

She pointed out that Malaysia has some 9.5 million people on Facebook, and the majority of the active users were those between 18 and 34 years old.

Shahrizat said the ministry, through the National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN), had taken steps to educate family members and couples on the implications of social network abuse.

This included a family education programme to strengthen moral values, counselling services to individuals and couples with problems arising from Internet abuse, and the e-parenting portal as a medium to guide and channel positive information to families and parents.

So far 4,610 LPPKN programmes have been implemented from 2006 to 2010, which have benefited some 490,000 family members.

Romancing Sarawak (1)

I don't think I've ever posted anything on Sarawak here. Now that the state election is less than 3 weeks away, I thought I'd write something about this really beautiful state.
Sarawakians account for some of my very good longtime friends.
Besides, it's my adopted state.

Let me tell you about my very first encounter with Sarawakians, rather, with Iban.

Before 1973, I had never met anyone from Sarawak. However, looking back, I might have, in standard one. I remember her -- Juana Masang.
Then, I had not thought about how "different" her name was. But very much later during those reflective moments, I figured she could have been from Sarawak. Although until today, I cannot confirm that.
I never asked her where she was from because, when you're 7 years old, that didn't figure. I never thought she was any different from me. As far as my little mind was concerned, she could not have been from anywhere but Petaling Jaya. Just like me.

I was in my first year of pre-university at UiTM (then ITM). If I had continued my sixth form at a regular school, I don't think I'd ever get to meet this colourful bunch of classmates.

I had never, before that, met an Iban or a Bidayuh, or any Sarawak native or pribumi. It just never happened. PJ and Sarawak were worlds apart. Besides, those days, travel to East Malaysia was not affordable. You'd never think of going for a holiday to Sarawak.

Back to Sarawakians, I do remember a painting by (the late) Hussein Anas of a Kelabit woman, I believe.
It was such a beautiful painting that its somewhat ethereal image still remains in my mind and memory.

I never thought these classmates of mine looked any different, although their names did strike me as a little "strange". And they spoke English and Malay in a very thick accent.
When I first heard them talking, I thought they had been in Germany for a long time.

Of course, none of them had ever been to Germany.
To my surprise and, of course, fascination, they were all from Sarawak. Some, from the interior and lived in longhouses.
Interesting, I thought. So curious, I wanted to know more.
And so began my journey to know more about Sarawak and its people.

Over the two years I got to know them, I learnt very quickly that given the opportunity, anyone can shine and achieve success.

When I continued my tertiary education, I befriended more Sarawakians -- Malays Chinese, Iban, Kelabit, Orang Ulu, Bidayuh and Melanau.

In fact, I learnt a few phrases in the different dialects. Especially how to say "I love you".....

The friends I knew have all gone far and achieved success. They were all so bright and have done their home state proud.

Yaah. Agi Idup Agi Ngelaban!

And of course, how can I forget "Ngap Sayot!"

We'll Make Sure It's Not Another Genocide.... Bosnia, US president Barack Obama declared on Monday.

He is vigorously defending the US military action against Libya.

"President Barack Obama sought to strike a delicate balance, justifying his decision to use force in Libya while assuring a doubtful nation that the U.S. military actions would be limited and low-risk. Obama built his case for intervention by arguing that swift intervention in Libya was necessary to avert a humanitarian catastrophe on the scale of the 1990s Bosnia genocide. But while Obama repeatedly attacked Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi for creating that impending catastrophe, he insisted that international military action would stop well short of toppling the Libyan dictator, and declared that U.S. allies would soon take over leadership of the operation.

"I said that America's role would be limited; that we would not put ground troops into Libya; that we would focus our unique capabilities on the front end of the operation, and that we would transfer responsibility to our allies and partners. Tonight, we are fulfilling that pledge," Obama said, saying the 28-member NATO alliance would take over command of all military functions in Libya starting on Wednesday.

With Gadhafi's forces closing in on the rebel stronghold of Benghazi ten days ago, "the United States and the world faced a choice," Obama said at the National Defense University. "Gadhafi declared that he would show 'no mercy' to his own people. He compared them to rats, and threatened to go door to door to inflict punishment."" - The Envoy.

Read the rest HERE.

Also read the AP report HERE.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor : 1932 - 2011

I grew up knowing everything about movie star and Hollywood great - the very beautiful Elizabeth Taylor, although I've only watched a handful of the films she starred in.

I do know the number of marriages she had and who her ex-husbands were. Who doesn't?
And all learnt during an era where there were no internet, E-news, twitter and God-knows-what-else.

Just this morning I caught a bit of "True Hollywood Story" about her on Astro (channel 712). She was a true movie star of Hollywood glamour and glitz. And she was probably the last one...

Los Angeles Times hailed her as "the woman who invented celebrity".

"The creature of Hollywood was one of the biggest believers in movie dreams and lived in dramatic fashion to the point where it was hard to know where the movie left off and her life began."

it HERE.

Elizabeth Taylor died on Wednesday, at 79, of congestive heart failure.

She was laid to rest Thursday afternoon at Forest Lawn Cemetery, in Los Angeles


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sex, Video And Datuk T

Datuk T, who's in possession of that scandalous sex video, issued a press statement today in which he is calling for the media fraternity and NGOs to immediately form an independent publlic commission to investigate the authenticity of the tape.

Here's his statement:

"Now that Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim has lodged a police report denying that he is the man in a sex video screened to media personnel on Monday, I presume that he and his wife are not interested to receive a copy of the recording from me next Monday.
Therefore I am calling on the media fraternity and NGOs to immediately form an independent public commission to investigate the authenticity of the tape.
The commission can engage forensic experts from whichever country to verify the authenticity of the recording.
I will hand over the original recording to the public commission.
I will also hand over the Omega watch that was found in the room where Anwar was caught on video with a foreign prostitute.
The commission can send the watch to forensic experts to find if DNA found on the watch matched Anwar's.
Let the public and the world be the judge.
I am not going to hand over this recording to the police as Dato' Seri Anwar would only divert attention claiming that the police are in cohorts with the government if the outcome of the investigation did not favour him.
Therefore I have decided not to hand over the recording to the authorities.
I will hand it to the proposed public commission comprising the media and NGOs."

Monday, March 21, 2011

So What Now, Datuk T?

We'd all like to know.

By now, everyone knows that Datuk T is the guy who's got the original video showing a man who resembles opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim having sex with a "hooker from China".

Datuk T said he will be handing over a copy of the video a week from yesterday (Monday March 21) to Anwar and wife to ascertain that the man in the video is Anwar. Or not.

If it's true that the man is Anwar, Datuk T wants both husband and wife to quit politics within 7 days OR ELSE! - he plans to hand over the original video to an NGO to initiate investigations into the authenticity of the recording.

Well, a week's not up yet. Yesterday Anwar vehemently denied "this scurrilous attack".

He told a packed press conference that he was at home with PKR staff, his wife, children, grandchildren and tweeting on that day and at that time.

He hasn't seen the video. But what's there to see if you know you're not the one.

So, what now?

The mysterious Datuk T. Refused to disclose his identity, nor his contact number.
Familiar but couldn't quite place him.
Malay. In his late 40s. Maybe older. Dark, medium height and built, moustached and was wearing a cap and tinted glasses. Soft-spoken.

Yesterday, under a shroud of secrecy, he called media representatives for a "sneak preview" of the sex video, at Carcosa Seri Negara (no less, no sh*t) in Kuala Lumpur.

Now, who is Datuk T? Who the **** is Datuk T?
No one seemed to know. No one seemed to recognise him. Nor any of his four friends/colleagues.

Will he now be sending a copy of the video to Anwar and wife?

Wonder how he'll be doing it.

On Anwar's side, he plans to lodge a police report at the Dang Wangi police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur at 10.30am today.'s just another sex video. To each, his or her own.

For Pas, the party wants to sever ties with Anwar if the sex video is authentic. That means, if that guy is indeed their friend and ally.

Pas ulama council chief Harun Taib says it is a serious matter.

The DAP's stand is, I believe, that if it is indeed Anwar, then he should do the right thing - step down.

Meanwhile, what's your next move, Datuk T?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Lat Kampung Boy: Sebuah Muzikal...

Catch it at Panggung Sari, Istana Budaya, Kuala Lumpur, from March 16 to April 3.

The story of the famous cartoonist, Datuk Mohd Nor Khalid or better known as Lat, is being brought to stage in a musical production titled “Lat Kampung Boy Sebuah Muzikal”. The musical is based on Lat’s best-selling graphic novel The Kampung Boy, which was produced in 1979. The Kampung Boy has been translated into 13 major languages including Arabic, German, Korean and Spanish and is sold in more than 10 countries.

The two-and-a-half hour musical tells the story of Lat’s early years where he grew up in a small village in Kota Baru till the peak of his career as a cartoonist. Actor/singer Awie will be playing the Lat’s role while singer Atilia will be playing Lat’s wife. Others in the production include Omar Abdullah, Sandra Sodhy, Douglas Lim and Jalil Hamid.

The musical is being produced by the Malaysian National Institute of Translation (ITNM) and Tall Order Productions Sdn. Bhd. (TOP) in collaboration with the Ministry of Information, Communication and Culture.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

A Doctor In The House

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad may revisit "The Malay Dilemma". A "Malay Dilemma 2", perhaps?

"When the Malays were poor, they were in a dilemma. When they are rich, they're in a bigger dilemma", Malaysia's former prime minister said at the launching of his memoir, "A Doctor in the House", at Mid Valley, Mega Mall in Kuala Lumpur thi afternoon. It was held outside the MPH Store.

Dr Mahathir said this when responding to question on whether he'd be writing another book to, perhaps, elaborate on some of the subjects in his book.

He said he didn't think he'd be writing another similar one but did not dismiss the idea of revisiting "The Malay Dilemma", a controversial book he wrote in 1970.

I was told people were waiting in line as early as 8am outside MPH in MidValley, Mega Mall today to buy a copy of Dr Mahathir's book -- hardcover and 809 pages.

The copies, (@RM100) were snapped up so fast.

Really good reading -- all 62 chapters. Just take your pick of the issue of your choice -- "I am A Malay", "In the Political Wilderness", "Ops Lallang" or..."Anwar's Challenge".
And it's very much his style. It's like you can hear him narrating his life and the events to you.

Some people may find remarks by the Tun potentially slanderous. Asked about it, he responded to the effect "so, sue me."

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Celebrating Women: 100 years On...

"This year marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.
The day was commemorated for the first time on 19 March 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, following its establishment during the Socialist International meeting the prior year.
More than one million women and men attended rallies on that first commemoration.

Since then, International Women’s Day has been celebrated in many countries around the world.

It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political.

It is an occasion for looking back on past struggles and accomplishments, and more importantly, for looking ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities that await future generations of women.

In 1975, during International Women’s Year, the United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day on 8 March.

Two years later, in December 1977, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.

In adopting its resolution, the General Assembly recognized the role of women in peace efforts and development and urged an end to discrimination and an increase of support for women’s full and equal participation.

International Women’s Day has assumed a new global dimension for women in developed and developing countries alike.

The growing international women’s movement, which has been strengthened by four global United Nations women’s conferences, has helped make the commemoration a rallying point to build support for women’s rights and participation in the political and economic arenas.

It is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities." -- UN Women

Happy International Women's Day!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Communication Tools: Boon and Bane

Last night I scolded my daughter. There were heated exchanges between us. Thankfully she was not rude. Even if she were, I would not know because I couldn't hear the harshness, if indeed there was.

For how could I get a sense of the tone of those words she used.

We were sms-ing each other. In the car. In case, you're wondering, neither of us was driving.

Now how crazy was that? Not about us not driving, but the sms-ing in the car.

I'm not sure if all this new age mother-daughter communication is a good thing, you know.
I'd like to give her a face-to-face telling-to but, sms-ing seems easier and I can say a lot of things without any interruption and get my message across.

And so can she.

The good thing is that my daughter and I have a good relationship. No, no, I'm not her friend. I'm her mommy.

We do talk to and with each other a lot. But sometimes, I think sms-ing gets the message through, loud and clear without me having to raise my voice.

But then, there was the other day at lunch, when, the moment we took our seats, we took out our BBs, and started checking our tweets, smses, and God-knows-what-else.

And then the text message popped up :"What are you going to order, mommy?"

The 21st century....sigh.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Don't Wait Until The Last Minute, Ok?

It is a Malaysian malaise, for sure. Putting off things, including important ones, until the eleventh hour.

Last weekend when Pos Malaysia counters were opened nationwide for people to pay their fines and so on, not so many turned up. But on Monday, the last day, there was mayhem. Also made worse by a systems breakdown.

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein announced a "reprieve" -- an extension of a week.
Traffic counters nationwide are now open (until March 10) from 8am to 10pm daily.

Let's see how the crowd is on that last day.

So, go now, if you have not settled your fines.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Unrest In Libya Pushes Oil Prices... a two-and-a-half year high.

From the New York Times:

Just when oil markets appeared to be calming, crude oil prices surged again on Tuesday as the potential for more oil shipment disruptions spread across the Middle East and North Africa.

With Libya’s oil exports almost entirely halted for the last several days, renewed unrest in Oman, Iran and Iraq rattled oil traders. An interruption of shipments from any of those countries would further tighten oil supplies, even as Saudi Arabia has rushed to fill the vacuum of Libyan supplies by pumping more oil from its fields.

The worries about the oil supply rippled through other markets, with stock markets turning lower on concerns that the higher cost of energy would slow economic recovery.

The rest of the story HERE

Stay Out and Stay Away -- Gaddafi to US and Nato

"We will not accept an intervention like that of the Italians that lasted decades. We will not accept a similar American intervention. This will lead to a bloody war and thousands of Libyans will die if America and NATO enter Libya." - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

As the embattled Libyan president launches counter-offensives against rebels, revolutionaries and freedom-fighters, the US, Britain and other NATO countries are drawing up contingency plans to impose a no-fly zone over Libya to prevent Gaddafi's air forces from striking these forces.

The US is moving naval and air forces closer to Libyan shores and is calling for Gaddafi to give up power immediately. But any no-fly zone would need a mandate from the U.N. Security Council, where veto-holding Russia opposes the idea.

Okay, so the US is still trying to play sheriff of the world. At this time, it has lost much credibility to denigrate or chastise any foreign country.

And to prepare to attack Libya, a sovereign country, the US must think the world is blind to its own sinister agenda.

Let the people of Libya decide their future and shape their own destiny. The US cannot make an arbitrary decision here.

The US tricked and deceived the world about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, invaded the country and had Saddam Hussein executed, now leaving much of Iraq in disarray and a real mess, except where the oil pipelines are....

Well, it ain't happening again. We can't be tricked.

The US has no right to attack Libya. So what if Gaddafi is delusional? Let his people, the Libyan political process and the UN deal with him. The UN is already tightening the screws on Libya.

But, really...who can stop the US from doing what it wants to do?

Read Dr Mahathir's point of view

Read what the Star's Bunn Nagara has to say

Read the NST's editorial HERE

Read The Guardian's Seumas Milne commentary.