Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Punishing Bad Neighbours

THE HAGUE: Amsterdammers guilty of really unacceptable behaviour towards their neighbours will from next year be removed from their homes and made to live together in special housing complexes, the city said on Friday.

"It happens that people are intimidated, persecuted by their neighbours and find themselves in such an unbearable situation that they decide to move," said Tahira Limon, spokeswoman for Amsterdam's Labour mayor Eberhard van der Laan.

"That's an upside-down world," she said.

"We feel that it is the people behind the intimidation who are really unacceptable, and not the victims who must leave their homes," she said.

This city has around seven cases of such extremely anti-social behaviour each year from the 13,000 complaints that police receive.

"We're talking here about really extreme cases that cannot be resolved any other way," Limon said.

The anti-social residents will be housed in shipping containers or caravans that will be placed in sparsely populated parts of town so that they can easily be monitored.

They will have to stay in the cooling off units for six months at most after which they can move into another normal home, but not in the neighbourhood they came from, said Limon.

"The aim of this project is to be able to reinsert people in society, not to isolate them for life," she said.

"The ultimate aim is for them to go and live normally in traditional housing," she said.

The so-called reception centres will consist of a maximum 10 housing units, city hall said in a document outlining the project and seen by AFP.

The city wants to set up two such centres, one for people living alone and one for extremely disruptive families with multiple problems.

While evicting someone from a rented property would apparently not pose much of a legal problem, evicting someone from a property that they own may prove problematic, the city said.

Temporary reception sites will be set up in the coming weeks and permanent sites chosen during 2013.
(source:AFP report)

Sitar Legend Ravi Shankar Dies

(AFP report)
Legendary Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar, a major influence on musicians ranging from The Beatles to violinist Yehudi Menuhin, has died at the age of 92 after surgery in the United States, his family said..

Shankar, the father of the American singer-songwriter Norah Jones, died Tuesday in a hospital in San Diego, California, where he had recently undergone heart-valve replacement surgery.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hailed Shankar as a national treasure and global ambassador of India's cultural heritage.

"An era has passed away... The nation joins me to pay tributes to his unsurpassable genius, his art and his humility," he said.

Shankar, who had houses in both California and India, was born into a high-caste Bengali Brahmin family in the Hindu holy city of Varanasi in northern India on April 7, 1920.

He taught close friend the late Beatle George Harrison to play the sitar and collaborated with him on several projects, including the groundbreaking Concert for Bangladesh in 1971. The Beatles called him "The Godfather of World Music".

Shankar, a three-time Grammy winner, also played in front of nearly 500,000 people at the Woodstock Festival in New York state in 1969 -- one of the most iconic cultural events of the century, which also featured Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.

In a statement released from New York via his official Twitter feed, Shankar's wife Sukanya and his daughter Anoushka described him as a husband, father, and musical soul.

"His health has been fragile for the past several years and (last) Thursday he underwent a surgery that could have potentially given him a new lease of life," they said.

"Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the surgeons and doctors taking care of him, his body was not able to withstand the strain of the surgery. We were at his side when he passed away.

"Although it is a time for sorrow and sadness, it is also a time for all of us to give thanks and to be grateful that we were able to have him as a part of our lives."

His family and the Ravi Shankar Foundation said he had been suffering respiratory and heart problems.

The statement said that Shankar performed his last concert on November 4 in Long Beach, California, with Anoushka, also a sitar player.

Memorial plans would be announced shortly, it said.

"Mourn (the) passing of a musical genius and gentle soul," Nirupama Menon Rao, the Indian ambassador to the United States, said on her Twitter feed.

Sanjay Sharma, whose family made sitars for Shankar for more than 30 years, told AFP that their client was demanding but appreciative.

"He was the biggest innovator in music," Sharma told AFP. "He wanted to revolutionise the sitar as an instrument. It was very challenging to work with him but every moment spent with him will be god's valuable gift for our family."

A Changing Britain


 (AFP Report)

LONDON: The population of England and Wales swelled between 2001 and 2011 after an influx of 2.9 million people born abroad, while the number of Christians plunged, according to census data published Tuesday.

The figures from the March 2011 census paint a picture of a changing population, with more foreign-born residents and fewer people of faith.

The population of England and Wales was 56.1 million, an increase of 3.7 million or seven per cent since 2001.

The number of foreign-born residents rose by 63 per cent from 4.6 million in 2001 to 7.5 million a decade later. They now account for 13 per cent of the population, up from nine.

White Britons now make up 80 per cent of the population, at 45.1 million people, down from 87 per cent in 2001. Some 2.5 per cent are ethnic Indian, 2.0 per cent ethnic Pakistani.

Indians accounted for the biggest number of those born abroad, rising 52 per cent to 694,000.

The number of Poles saw a 10-fold increase from 58,000 in 2001 to 579,000 last year and they now make up one per cent of the population.

The Pakistani-born population rose by 56 per cent to 482,000. Ireland, Germany, Bangladesh, Nigeria, South Africa, the United States and Jamaica made up the rest of the top 10.

Forty per cent of all foreign-born individuals arrived since 2004, when the European Union expanded to include eastern European countries.

Foreign-born women have a higher birth rate and the percentage of total births to non-UK-born mothers rose from 18.3 per cent in 2004 to 24.3 per cent in 2011.

"These statistics paint a picture of society and help us all plan for the future using accurate information at a local level," said census director Guy Goodwin from the Office for National Statistics.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg of census statistics," he added.

The percentage who identified themselves as Christian dropped from 72 per cent to 59 per cent, while atheists rose from 15 per cent to a quarter of the population.

The fastest-growing religion was Islam, which increased by 75 per cent in 10 years to 2.7 million adherents, or 4.8 per cent of the population.

Some 1.5 per cent of the population said they were Hindus, while 0.8 per cent said they were Sikhs.

In London, white Britons are no longer the majority. They now account for 3.7 million Londoners, or 44.9 percent of the capital's population.

Other whites account for 14.8 percent of Londoners. Asians make up 16.9 per cent, while people who identified themselves as black account for 11.2 per cent.

Some 61.1 per cent of London residents were born in England, followed by 3.2 per cent born in India, 1.9 per cent in Poland and 1.6 per cent in Ireland.

Twenty-six per cent (848,000) of London households contained a resident whose main language was not English.

The percentage of married people dropped below 50 per cent, from 50.9 to 46.6, while the percentage of people divorced rose from 8.2 to 9.0 per cent.

The wealth held by the richest 10 per cent of households accounted for 44 per cent of overall wealth. The entry bar was £967,000. That held by the poorest 50 per cent of households accounted for 10 per cent.

Among the more curious statistics, around 177,000 people claimed to follow the Jedi religion from the Star Wars films. Some 6,242 identified their religion as heavy metal, while 1,893 claimed to be Satanists.

Despite having two cathedrals and more medieval churches than anywhere north of the Alps, some 42.5 per cent of people in Norwich, eastern England, said they had no religion, the highest proportion in the census.



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Gaza Resistance..

"Resistance for us is a means and not an end. I am speaking to the whole world through the media.
If the world finds a means, without resistance or bloodshed, to return Palestine and Jerusalem to us, and the right of return, and to end the Zionist occupation then we welcome it.
We tried you [the world] for 64 years and you have done nothing. So if we resort to resistance do not blame us. 
If we found another way without war we would have seized it, but the history of nations shows that there is no victory or liberation without resistance, without battles, without sacrifice." - Hamas leader Khaled Meshal’


Monday, December 10, 2012

Taylor's University's Shame..

By Juana Jaafar

I was at Taylor’s University Lakeside Campus a week ago for the World Universities Peace Invitational Debate (WUPID).

The four day event was proudly hosted by Taylor’s University which opened its doors to debate teams from Malaysia and abroad. Sadly, the organisers and participants witnessed a most unfortunate incident during our lunch break on the very first day of the event (Saturday, 1 December 2012).

I was dining with other debate adjudicators at around 2:15pm when, from the corner of my eye, I noticed a woman sitting alone at a nearby table. She looked quite ill. I quickly walked over to check on her and found that she was very weak and salivating from one side of her mouth. I immediately thought she must have had a stroke.

She was a worker at the campus food court, Recezz, and her uniform was drenched in sweat and saliva.

Her colleague soon came along and said the woman had collapsed in the wash room. She was carried out to the food court to rest.

When the adjudicators and I asked how long she had been in that state, and if anyone had called for an ambulance, we were told the poor woman had been sitting there since about 10:00am. We were also told that her employer promised to take her to the hospital, at some point. My colleagues and I were outraged!

Apparently it was the third time the woman collapsed on the job, and this time the right side of her body was completely paralyzed.

One of the adjudicators telephoned for an ambulance while a couple of us sought after the employer.

He was on site and aware we were tending to his worker. Not once did he check on on her, rather he watched from afar while the rest of us tried to help her.

When approached, he merely stirred his drink and nonchalantly told us he would take her to the hospital when he was not busy. He certainly was not busy at the time we confronted him and seemed quite disinterested in the commotion.

The other workers told us they had urged their employer to take the woman to hospital quickly, but he refused. With help from other sympathetic workers we tried to keep her as comfortable as possible while waiting for the ambulance. She was in fact in pain from the fall in the wash room.

Her colleague helped gather her things and prepared her documentation—she is an Indonesian citizen. What happened to her was really tragic, and I hate to think she was not given immediate help because she was a foreign worker.

The ambulance came about half an hour later. It was terribly embarrassing having to tell our Australian colleague it was common for an ambulance to take that much time to arrive. It was even more embarrassing that he, and other guests from abroad, found out that the woman had been sitting there in the food court for more than four hours without help from a single soul.

Is this who we are as Malaysians?

Are we so oblivious to the suffering of those around us? Or are we just cruel? I direct these questions particularly to the students and staff who were at the food court during the four hours the woman was sitting there. What exactly is being taught at Taylor’s University?

The management of the University has a lot to account for. What happened to that woman is a clear sign of negligence by the University; one that boasts state-of-the-art facilities but with abysmal surveillance.

The incident suggests that someone could very well drop dead on campus without anyone noticing.

The seriousness of the case above could in fact have led to death.

The woman could have died in the wash room or at the food court, in full view of everyone there.

This also raises questions about the University’s health and safety training for campus workers.

There are signages indicating a Health Service Centre that operates from 8am to 6pm but not one worker on that day thought of getting help from the Centre, or the security services.

Do they not know these services exist on campus? Why were the workers so disempowered to take action in an emergency situation? Were they not given basic training?

I note again that it was the organisers and volunteers of WUPID, an external organisation, who called and waited for the ambulance at the campus entrance; not any of the security personnel or the woman’s direct employer.

Her employer did not even escort her to the hospital.

I urge Taylor’s University to look into this case. The woman is a victim of negligence and the University must be held accountable.

 Not only should the University be responsible for her medical care and expenses at the University Malaya Medical Centre where she was taken, it must see that her employer’s contract at the food court is terminated.

 He is certainly not fit to be an employer nor a member of the Taylor’s campus community.
Or is he?


Juana Jaafar is a Taylor’s College alumnus (American Degree Programme). She was a member of the WUPID adjudicating core.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Not Compulsory For Muslim Pupils to Wear The Tudung...

This is what  Deputy Education Minister Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi, said.
 These girls should not be forced to cover their heads in school.
 They are, however, encouraged to wear tudung and baju kurung but are still given an option to wear the pinafore.

The wearing of tudung shouldn't be an issue, Puad said.


In a circular issued by the Education Ministry in 1993, it stated that schools didn't have the authority to enforce their own uniform code on students.
Under the circular, three uniform options were given to students pinafore and blouse, baju kurung, kain sarung and tudung, baju kurung and kain sarung.
The circular also mentioned that students were required to follow the uniform code set by the ministry and that they should not be pressured into donning the tudung.

Read the rest of the Star report HERE.


It's all so nice in theory but the the truth is that some (could be many) non-religious national schools have their own interpretation of "encourage to wear".
I tell you,  some of these schools are run by religious zealots. Some principals are holier-than-thou. In some schools, the ustaz  calls the shot.

No no no..I am not talking rubbish here. Do a survey and you'll see that I'm not talking ****.

Muslim girls are not forced to wear tudung, you say?  Like I said, it depends on who runs the school.

You see,  some principals and teachers are known to shame these girls into wearing the tudung. Or they put the fear of God and religion on them.
Harassing constantly and relentlessly.
It's an unfair and one-sided battle of wit, patience and will in which the pupils usually lose.
Of course, there are some pupils who put up a strong resistance.

Many Muslims believe (citing hadith and quranic verses) that it is their responsibility and duty to remind others to be good Muslims - by pointing out sins such as not wearing tudung or not performing prayers or not fasting.

So, I suppose when you are a principal holding this belief and you are in position to make rules consistent with your beliefs, then you will "enforce" a ruling compelling Muslim girls to wear tudung.

Under such circumstances, some girls are known to wear  tudung only in school, dismissing it as part of the uniform.

The problem arises when pupils refuse to wear and are subjected to ridicule, shame and constant pressure from the school authorities as well as their own holier-than-thou peers.

That is why many Muslim parents send their daughters to private schools.

It may seem such a triviality but some girls just cannot take that kind of "torment". And in this day and age, private education is not unreachable or inaccessible.

People do have choices.


Superbikers Reply...

"Everyone of us,  Superbikers club Malaysia members are very experienced riders where we have toured many countries on our motorcycles according to the law and our slogan from the beginning has always been "SAFETY, COURTESY & HONOR" - Iskandar Zurkanain Mohamed of Superbikers Club Malaysia.

On Dec 3,  I posted "A Citizen Against Big Bikes On Highways", featuring a letter from a reader of the NST.

I got in touch with the Superbikers Club Malaysia on this and they responded.

Iskandar further said big bikers always strive to achieve zero mishaps on every trip or adventure.

"We think what Mohd Ghazali Osman wrote was totally from his opinion. Accidents happen and can occur to anyone/motorist, whether it's on 2 wheels or 4 wheels.

"We, as motorists can be as cautious as we can but there are still times that accidents cannot be avoided.

"This is a very subjective matter as we know that accidents on the road does not only happen to big motorcycles on highways only, it can happen to anyone, anywhere.

"For Mohd Ghazali Osman, I don't know why he is so upset with big bikers and why he wants us to be banned from using the highway.

"It's a pointless debate and he should at least look at the whole situation and not just big bikes.
We have seen and heard of so many accidents involving all kinds of vehicles and we never blamed any of them as accidents can happen anytime and anywhere."

******


Thursday, December 06, 2012

Selangor Against AES

This I totally disagree with the Selangor Government.

Tomorrow,  speed cameras that were installed at the Km6.6 of the South Klang Valley Expressway and at the Km301.6 of the North-South Expressway, will be removed.
State executive councillor in charge of local government Ronnie Liu said this yesterday.

 Read it here.

 Meanwhile, Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim said the Selangor government has decided to "cover" two Automated Enforcement System (AES) cameras in the state tomorrow.
He said the government was left with no choice as the Transport Ministry had not responded to letters sent by the respective local councils asking the ministry to follow procedure and apply for a development order to install the cameras.

"We have passed the first stage, which was to write letters. The second is to cover the cameras so that it will not function and if there is still no application by the Transport Ministry within 14 days, we will make several decisions, including the possibility of dismantling the cameras," he said after presenting appointment letters to some 400 village chiefs yesterday.

*******

Okay, here's the thing...you want to attack the federal government over the contract and the payments made to the company, go ahead. Really. If you are convinced that there was so much abuse and so on, do what you have to do.

But let the AES run its course.

I am tired of expressing my views about why I'm okay with these cameras and catching speeding cars.

It doesn't matter whose idea it was for the AES -- if the Selangor Government was the one that had come up with it, I'd support it as well.

As I have said, it is about saving lives, stupid!

Here is what Transport Minister Kong Cho Ha said.

 It's a Provocation!!!

I say it's a cheap political gimmick and outright vandalism. Shame on you, Pakatan! 

Monday, December 03, 2012

A Citizen Against Big Bikes on Highways

Encik Mohd Ghazali Osman from Ipoh, Perak wrote to the NST calling for big bikes to be banned from our highways and for big bikers to pay toll (Dec 3 2012).

I think what Encik Mohd Ghazali is really against are convoys of big bikes on highways . He has a point there and I do agree because convoys of big bikes, no matter how well-managed they are on highways do present some nuisance to motorists although I understand that convoys are usually organized in the name of charity.

I do not, however agree that they should be banned from highways because in all those cases mentioned by Encik Mohd Ghazali,  the bikers were not at fault.

The thing is big bikers are generally careful riders and are very safety-conscious -- for themselves and other road-users..

They don't ride and make a nuisance of themselves on the highways, putting others in danger.

I understand his concern, but I don't quite agree.

Here's his letter:

Big and powerful motorcycles are not safe or suitable for Malaysians. You may think I am just making two sweeping statements in one sentence but the facts are there for all to see.

A super biker was involved in a fatal accident. About two weeks ago, another fatal accident happened in the east coast.
Over the years, there have been a number of fatalities involving big bikes. The statistics may be low but even one fatality is a loss to everybody.
Riding in a convoy is a dangerous practice. If the mistake does not occur from outside the convoy, it can happen from within the convoy.
All it takes is for one rider to be careless and a fatality can happen. Since convoys tend to travel very fast there is no way a biker can take evasive action to prevent himself from hitting the bike in front of him.
The size of the bike makes it unsuitable for the physical features of a Malaysian. Most of us have small physiques compared with Americans and Europeans. Although we look smart and macho on these mean machines, that is exactly what they are -- mean machines.
With such powerful engines these bikes can roar off to an explosive start that no ordinary person can handle.
In China, all types of motorbikes are banned from using super highways. They are allowed only on old roads which are equivalent to our old federal roads.
We should do the same, too, as this may reduce accidents among motorcyclists and we know that the highest rate of fatalities involve motorcyclists.
Besides, since they don't pay toll, why should they enjoy the same kind of facilities as those driving cars who pay high toll rates.
I believe that motorists are made to pay a small amount to toll operators for the loss of revenue from motorcyclists.
It is about time motorcyclists are made to pay if they want to use the highways. They may protest against this idea but, it is not fair they get free rides on the highways.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The President's Speech

Predictably, Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak  delivered a fierce and highly-charged speech at the opening of the party's general assembly in PWTC this morning.

Firing the troops for war, as it were.

His voice was two decibles higher, I think.


Umno must win and be given the mandate to lead. In order to do that it has to be strong. So let's cut the chase -- stop all this politicking and sabotaging. Step in line, be disciplined, be loyal
 if you want to win this war.

The dynamics and demographics of Malaysia has changed -- so Umno has got to win the hearts and minds of not just the Malays but the non-Malays -- the rural and urban rakyat. The young. The fence sitters and the new 2.9 million new voters.

Umno is the rakyat's champion and together with its coalition partners -- is the choice for a better future for the rakyat,

It was not lost on so many people when the secretary-general (who spoke just before Najib) ended his speech with "Hidup Umno, Hidup Barisan, Hidup Malaysia!".

And then the party president ended on the same note.

My imagination, perhaps. But didn't it use to have "Hidup Melayu" in the past?

He certainly set the tone.

Here is the full text of Najib's speech..


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Umno's Biggest Challenge..

THE Umno general assembly this time will be the last before the general election. I'm saying it because analysts said the same thing of the party general assembly last year. But there was no general election.

This assembly is therefore crucial. Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak has already made it clear ahead of the assembly that Umno has to show not only to the Malays but the rest of the country that it is stronger and more solid now to face the general election.

"What is this general assembly about? Simple, it is about the general election and it is about making sure Umno remains in power," a senior Umno leader  told this blogger...

Najib has been in full gear the past three years touring the country, going to the ground to meet the people and at the same time implementing the government and economic transformation programmes. Besides fulfilling his international engagements, including buttressing relations with the US in 2010.

This is the final home stretch for Umno. Now it is up to Umno delegates to take it up from there.

Some Umno leaders this blogger spoke to said they hoped the Umno president will be forthright in his address which will set the tone for the assembly,

"I think his forthrightness will be appreciated", said former Wanita Umno chief Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz.

"It is a bitter medicine that we have to swallow. At this time, he has to be cruel to be kind. For Umno, it is make or break. We have to regain our lost ground", she added.

In previous assemblies, the party president had always called for the party to close ranks, to be united, to put party interst above self and so forth.

After 1999, when the party  faced losses in the general election,  a recurring message had been reform reinvention, re-engineering, renewal, rejuvenation and revival.

Political observers and analysts had a field day making their assessments -- protest against Anwar Ibrahim's sacking, rejection of Umno by Malays and so forth.

But in 2004, Umno and the BN swept the general election with a landslide victory and increased popular votes.

This was after Tun (then Datuk Seri) Dr Mahathir passed the premiership to Tun (then Datuk Seri) Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Again analyses abound -- feel good factor, Pak Lah being the benign face of Umno, rejection of PAS Islam,  endorsement of Umno's moderate brand of Islam, Pak Lah's promises to fight corruption and so forth,

BN won 198 of the 219 seats in parliamnent with Umno 109, increasing its number from the last elections. MCA and MIC too gained a few more seats.

PAS won only seven (Opposition leader Hadi Awang lost his parliamentary seat), DAP got 12 and Keadilan lost four of the five seats contested (Dr Wan Azizah Ismail was the sole Keadilan MP in parliament).

Then, four years on, it was a drastic change, a shocking scenario.

In 2008 general election which everyone calls a political tsunami, the  BN lost five states.  It won 140 of 222 parliamentary seats - (Umno 79, MCA 15, MIC 3 and Gerakan 2).  Keadilan won 31, PAS 23 and DAP 28. With a total number of 82, they quickly cobbled up a "pakatan".

So many factors conspired to bring down the BN. Many said the oppositon won by default because the BN was arrogant,  because of the son-in-law (Khairy Jamaluddin who is Pak Lah's son-in-law), Hindraf and so forth.

Whatever.

It is no different this time. Najib's message is for Umno to be stronger and more united. But circumstances are not the same.

After the devastation in 2008, it is not, and cannot be,  business as usual for Umno although Umno, pointed out an observer, had always delivered. It is clearly the strongest component in the coalition.


"We are facing a different Malaysia. Umno cannot be rallying for the Malays only. It should appeal to the non-Malays as well. More so now, with MCA and MIC in a weakened position," said a senior Umno leader.

Najib has set the tone since he took over as PM and party president.


"He is the face of Umno and he is the face of the BN. He is a popular leader. Anywhere he goes, people support him. He has convinced people that he is the leader and the champion of Malays and non-Malays. If this were a  prime ministerial race, he will win. But I cannot say the same about Umno," said a senior MCA leader.

The rest of the country will be keenly following -- as always -- proceedings in the Umno general assembly which begins on Thursday at the Putra World Trade centre in KL.

 Malays and non-Malays will want to know what Umno is made up of, Has it reformed? Is it sensitive to changes in the country.

For one thing, Umno has got to convince the Malays-- who are so divided that it is the only party that can represent and protect their interests. And we're not talking just about rural Malays but also those in ubran areas.

For another, Umno has got to strike a balance -- promoting Malay interest but at the same time convincing non-Malays that it is also there for them. That is a just party for all.

"The history of Umno is one of inclusiveness, as evident since we achived independence when the Malay leaders invited the non-Malays to be part of the Malayan government in power-sharing and guaranteed their rights and interests.

"People have forgotten this and the opposition has exploited this and have kept smearing Umno with a racist label, relentlessly pushing that perception.

"This is the time for Umno to remind Malaysians that the party looks out not just for the Malays but everyone else, that proposals and propositions in the assembly translate to national policies for everyone's interest," said an Umno veteran.

Umno should be reminded of the 2006 general assembly when it for the first time it was telecast live.

Passionate debates on driving the Malay agenda spooked non-Malays who perceived them to be extremist.

All said and done, post assembly, Umno leaders and members have got to work hard for Umno to be returned to power and for the mandate from the rakyat.
They have to reach out to the people because that was how PAS, DAP and PKR did it in 2008.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Truce In Gaza

After eight days of fighting --punishing Israeli airstrikes on Gaza and a barrage of Hamas rocket fire on Israel -- a ceasefire was invoked.

So far 161 Palestinians, including 71 civilians, 37 of whom were children, were killed. Thousands others were injured.

On the Israeli side,  two soldiers and four civilians, were killed and dozens others wounded by rockets fired into residential neighbourhoods.

So far five Israelis and 162 Palestinians including 37 children children were killed.  Thousands of Palestinians were injured.

But how long the Egyptian-brokered truce will last remains to be seen. But for now, let's hope everyone abides by the truce.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

It Is Not A War. It Is Murder...

says author Noam Chomsky

Chomsky Statement on Israel's War on Gaza


Prof. Noam Chomsky
November 17, 2012
(WASHINGTON DC) - The following statement by Noam Chomsky indicates a different stand toward Israeli aggression than Prof. Chomsky has revealed in the past:

"The incursion and bombardment of Gaza is not about destroying Hamas. It is not about stopping rocket fire into Israel, it is not about achieving peace.

The Israeli decision to rain death and destruction on Gaza, to use lethal weapons of the modern battlefield on a largely defenseless civilian population, is the final phase in a decades-long campaign to ethnically-cleanse Palestinians.

Israel uses sophisticated attack jets and naval vessels to bomb densely-crowded refugee camps, schools, apartment blocks, mosques, and slums to attack a population that has no air force, no air defense, no navy, no heavy weapons, no artillery units, no mechanized armor, no command in control, no army… and calls it a war.

 It is not a war, it is murder.

When Israelis in the occupied territories now claim that they have to defend themselves, they are defending themselves in the sense that any military occupier has to defend itself against the population they are crushing. You can't defend yourself when you're militarily occupying someone else's land. That's not defense. Call it what you like, it's not defense.”

Israel. Murderer.

Who is Doing the Killing in Gaza? Noam Chomsky and Others Challenge World's Media



(LONDON) - The degree of terror felt by ordinary Palestinian civilians in Gaza is barely noticed in the media, in stark contrast to the world's awareness of terrorised and shock-treated Israeli citizens.

WHILE COUNTRIES across Europe and North America commemorated military casualties of past and present wars on November 11, Israel was targeting civilians.

On November 12, waking up to a new week, readers at breakfast were flooded with heart rending accounts of past and current military casualties.

There was, however, no or little mention of the fact that the majority of casualties of modern day wars are civilians.

There was also hardly any mention on the morning of November 12 of military attacks on Gaza that continued throughout the weekend.

A cursory scan confirms this for Canada's CBC, Globe and Mail, Montreal's Gazette, and the Toronto Star. Equally, for the New York Times and for the BBC.

According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) report on Sunday November 11, five Palestinian civilians including three children had been killed in the Gaza strip in the previous 72 hours, in addition to two Palestinian security personnel.

Four of the deaths occurred as a result of Israeli military firing artillery shells on youngsters playing soccer. Moreover, 52 civilians had been wounded, of which six were women and 12 were children. (Since we began composing this text, the Palestinian death toll has risen, and continues to rise.)

Articles that do report on the killings overwhelmingly focus on the killing of Palestinian security personnel. For example, an Associated Press article published in the CBC world news on November 13, entitled 'Israel mulls resuming targeted killings of Gaza militants,' mentions absolutely nothing of civilian deaths and injuries. It portrays the killings as 'targeted assassinations.' The fact that casualties have overwhelmingly been civilians indicates that Israel is not so much engaged in "targeted" killings, as in "collective" killings, thus once again committing the crime of collective punishment.

Another AP item on CBC news from November 12 reads 'Gaza rocket fire raises pressure on Israel government.' It features a photo of an Israeli woman gazing on a hole in her living room ceiling. 

Again, no images, nor mention of the numerous bleeding casualties or corpses in Gaza. Along the same lines, a BBC headline on November 12 reads 'Israel hit by fresh volley of rockets from Gaza.' Similar trends can be illustrated for European mainstream papers.
News items overwhelmingly focus on the rockets that have been fired from Gaza, none of which have caused human casualties. What is not in focus are the shellings and bombardments on Gaza, which have resulted in numerous severe and fatal casualties. It doesn't take an expert in media science to understand that what we are facing is at best shoddy and skewed reporting, and at worst willfully dishonest manipulation of the readership.

Furthermore, articles that do mention the Palestinian casualties in Gaza consistently report that Israeli operations are in response to rockets from Gaza and to the injuring of Israeli soldiers. However, the chronology of events of the recent flare-up began on November 5, when an innocent, apparently mentally unfit, 20-year old man, Ahmad al-Nabaheen, was shot when he wandered close to the border. Medics had to wait for six hours to be permitted to pick him up and they suspect that he may have died because of that delay.

Then, on November 8, a 13-year-old boy playing football in front of his house was killed by fire from the IOF that had moved into Gazan territory with tanks as well as helicopters. The wounding of four Israeli soldiers at the border on November 10 was therefore already part of a chain of events where Gazan civilians had been killed, and not the triggering event.

We, the signatories, have recently returned from a visit to the Gaza strip. Some among us are now connected to Palestinians living in Gaza through social media. For two nights in a row Palestinians in Gaza were prevented from sleeping through continued engagement of drones, F16s, and indiscriminate bombings of various targets inside the densely populated Gaza strip.

The intent of this is clearly to terrorise the population, successfully so, as we can ascertain from our friends' reports. If it was not for Facebook postings, we would not be aware of the degree of terror felt by ordinary Palestinian civilians in Gaza. This stands in stark contrast to the world's awareness of terrorised and shock-treated Israeli citizens.

An extract of a report sent by a Canadian medic who happened to be in Gaza and helped out in Shifa hospital ER over the weekend says: "the wounded were all civilians with multiple puncture wounds from shrapnel: brain injuries, neck injuries, hemo-pneumo thorax, pericardial tamponade, splenic rupture, intestinal perforations, slatted limbs, traumatic amputations. All of this with no monitors, few stethoscopes, one ultrasound machine. …. Many people with serious but non life threatening injuries were sent home to be re-assessed in the morning due to the sheer volume of casualties. The penetrating shrapnel injuries were spooky. Tiny wounds with massive internal injuries. … There was very little morphine for analgesia."

Apparently such scenes are not newsworthy for the New York Times, the CBC, or the BBC. 
Bias and dishonesty with respect to the oppression of Palestinians is nothing new in Western media and has been widely documented. Nevertheless, Israel continues its crimes against humanity with full acquiescence and financial, military and moral support from our governments, the U.S., Canada and the EU.

Netanyahu is currently garnering Western diplomatic support for additional operations in Gaza, which makes us worry that another Cast Lead may be on the horizon. In fact, the very recent events are confirming such an escalation has already begun, as today's death-count climbs. The lack of widespread public outrage at these crimes is a direct consequence of the systematic way in which the facts are withheld and/or of the skewed way these crimes are portrayed.

We wish to express our outrage at the reprehensible media coverage of these acts in the mainstream (corporate) media.

We call on journalists around the world working for corporate media outlets to refuse to be instruments of this systematic policy of disguise. We call on citizens to inform themselves through independent media, and to voice their conscience by whichever means is accessible to them.  


Hagit Borer, U.K.
Antoine Bustros, Canada
Noam Chomsky, U.S.
David Heap, Canada
Stephanie Kelly, Canada
Máire Noonan, Canada
Philippe Prévost, France
Verena Stresing, France
Laurie Tuller, France

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Salam Maal Hijrah!

To my Muslim friends ..

Selamat Menyambut Awal Muharram..

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Friday, November 09, 2012

It's About Saving Lives, Stupid!

LET me tell you about a country that has devised a tool to catch criminals in the act of breaking the law, writes Rita Sim (columnist with the New Straits Times)

This tool enables enforcement authorities to track down wrongdoers in many locations, punish them and effectively reduce deaths of innocent people.
For some reason, however, there are people opposing the use of this tool. They say that the tool will "burden" the criminals.
They say that there should be signs put up to alert wrongdoers about the tool, so that they can avoid them (and go on to commit the same atrocity elsewhere, presumably).
The country is Malaysia. The tool is the Automated Enforcement System (AES) and the "criminals" are drivers who speed on the road and run red lights, putting themselves and other road users in danger.
As for those opposing the AES? They are the usual suspects -- political players who see the potential to cause disruption and cast doubt on the project by making opaque statements about "having the people's best interests at heart".
 
 
I couldn't agree with her more. And not because she's my old school mate. Because she is right.
All that I have read and heard is from people attacking the project because it went to the BN's cronies, and that they don't want to enrich the cronies. 
And some petty issues about unsuitable locations of the cameras. Really petty.
 
What's your problem? You don't speed, they don't get rich.
As for the poor locations -- oh. just get over it.
 
Honestly, I don't care who got the project. Someone or other will get the project. Crony, cronies. Or not.  
By the way, that word "crony" is so overused and misused.
 
So, get your politics out of the equation.
 
Never mind that AES  will discourage people from speeding. Isn't that a good thing?
 
Statistics have shown that most fatal accidents were caused by human error which really, means speeding and recklessness.
 
And for heaven's sake, you have a state assemblyman Chang Lih Kang (PKR-Teja) smugly refusing to pay seven fines totalling RM2,100 which he claimed were issued under the AES.
Wow. What a hero!
And then you have Mahfuz Omar (Pas) instigating people to not pay the fines and that he would get 100 lawyers to help the people.
Wow. What a hero!


The number of fatal accidents in the country is alarmingly high. Everyone should be concerned.
I'm sure we all are - except for some idiotic people bent on playing politics.
It seems  most Malaysians want or need to blame someone.
Poor enforcement, poor roads ..poor everything. Never themselves.
So, just blame the weather-lah.
 
We have good roads, you can't deny that. We can improve on enforcement. 
But when enforcement is stepped up,  the very people who cry "bribery" and "corruption" are the very people ready to give "duit kopi".
In this scenario I always believe that no giver,. no taker. And you should always report corrupt officers.
  
The truth is, generally speaking, most Malaysians are horrid and nasty people behind the wheel or on the motorcycle.. They are inconsiderate, they blithely and cavalierly and knowingly break the law - like running the traffic lights, making illegal turns or u-turns and mostly speeding, even on neighbourhood roads.

And motorcyclists are another story altogether. They follow no rules.

We should worry that one day we will all be so immuned to grisly accidents, that we don't care, until of course, it happens to our family.
 
So, enough already. If it can help save lives,.why don't we just give AES a chance?
 

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Obama Re-elected for Second Term.

 "Tonight, in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come." - President Barack Obama - acceptance/victory speech, Nov 6, 2012.

President Obama won re-election for a second term, defeating Republican challenger Mitt Romney, with broad support from women, young voters and minorities in Democratic strongholds and key battleground states.

He notched the decisive 270-vote threshold in the Electoral College with victory in swing state Ohio,  and a later in another swing state -- Virginia which gave him 303 electoral votes.

Romney obtained 206.

Read Obama's victory speech HERE.

And Romney's concession speech HERE.

Undoubtedly, it was a very tight race. And as Obama said "a long campaign is now over".

It has been described as a grueling campaign  that set the stage for the Nov 6 showdown.

More than USD1 billion was poured into the campaign - by far the most expensive. 
 The presidential election officially kicked off in January 2012. In the run-up, three presidential debates and one vice-presidential debates were held.

Obama's win over the electoral colleges was sizeable.

There was a broad range of interesting analyses of the outcome. One of the points made was that Romney won mostly the white vote and fared poorly among African Americans and minorities. 

A study of the results also showed that he lost the youth vote by a huge margin.

One analyst said that had there been a high percentage of white voters in some of the states, Romney would have won.

One concluded that race factored signifcantly in the election.
 
Expectedly, some Republican leaders are now talking about "reinventing" the party, that they must now look at the "changing demographics"...in states that have a sizeable number of non-white ethnic groups such as Latinos, Asians and African Americans.


The elections over, both sides will be conducting a post-mortem. But more importantly, Obama has a gargantuan task before him --  fixing the economy at home and, foreign relations.

And facing a house divided (with Congress held by Republicans, and the Senate, Democrats.)




Monday, November 05, 2012

Han Suyin (September 12, 1917 – November 2, 2012)

Eurasian author Han Suyin whose real name was Rosalie Elisabeth Kuanghu Chow died on Nov 2 at her home in Lausanne, Switzerland. She was 95.

She was best remembered for her best-selling semi-autobiographical novel “A Many-Splendored Thing".

Bapak had an entire collection of her books, one of which, for me stood out. It was  "And The Rain My Drink", a  novel she wrote when she was married to Leon F. Comber, a British officer who worked in the Malayan Special Branch in Johor after the World War Two.
Han Suyin's pseudonym was Elizabeth Comber.

Some people believe that the book - a vivid depiction of  pre-independent Malaya - was also semi-autobiographical as Han Suyin used to work at the Johor Bahru General Hospital during the Emergency.


Here is The Washington Post article on her death.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Glorious Haj

Millions of pilgrims from across the globe began leaving the holy city of Mecca at dawn on Wednesday headed for the holy sites of Mina, Muzdalifah and Arafat to begin their Hajj.

After a  night in Mina, they  left for the Mount of Arafat in the early hours today.

The Hajj is the great pilgrimage to Mecca -  a journey that every Muslim, with the means to, must make before they die.


The passage to Mina marks the official launch of the hajj on the eighth day of the Muslim calendar month of Dhul Hijja.
The day is known as Tarwiah (Watering) as pilgrims in the past stopped at Mina to feed their animals and stock up for the following day's trip to Mount Arafat.

"O my Lord, here I am at Your service, here I am.
There is no partner with You, here I am.
Truly the praise and the provisions are Yours,
 and so is the dominion and sovereignty."

Whose Moderate Muslim?

 By Iain Buchanan
 
Who gets to decide what a “moderate Muslim” is? In this extended piece, Iain Buchanan argues that as the West demands Muslims fit themselves into its definition of the moderate Muslim, it ignores that it has itself failed to abide by its own standards. The way to initiate true dialogue between moderates, he says, is for the West to take steps to address its own failures.

 
This is a tiresome time for Muslims. Especially in the West. Collectively, they are seen as wild, narrow-minded, and unevolved; a relic society still stuck in the Middle Ages. They are the world's biggest troublemakers, a demographic time-bomb in the heart of Europe. So Muslims have a great deal to account for, a great deal to live down. Of course, there are many Westerners who are happy to accommodate Muslims in the world they both share -- even cheek by jowl in the same city or state. But there is a quid pro quo. To be accepted by civilised society, Muslims must declare their peaceful intentions, their integratedness, their moderation. "Moderate Muslims", as it were, must wear on their arms the badge of a yellow crescent.

But what, exactly, is a "moderate Muslim"? Our definition of what a "moderate Muslim" is will depend on our definition of many other things. Firstly, it will depend on who demands the definition, and what they want from it. Secondly, it depends on the definitions of the two extremes between which "moderate" sits. Thirdly, it depends on the qualities – social, political, ecological, religious – that are being calibrated and tested for "moderation". So it is, perhaps, a thankless exercise. There can be a great many definitions of just what a "moderate Muslim" is. And there will never be agreement between all these definitions -- or those who make them. After all, we make of words exactly what we want to make of them.

"Moderation", like honesty, should be a virtue we can all agree upon, whatever our religious calling. It is, after all, the mark of a good human being – treating others fairly, making modest demands on our fellow beings and on the rest of God's creation, whether it be the land we occupy, the trees we use, the creatures we eat. Moderate people do not exploit, over-eat, abuse living things, waste resources. Moderate people are sympathetic, understanding, and calmly disposed. Moderate people do not make war, torture, or oppress ...

We could go on. But it would be evading the real issue. And the real issue is not a question of moderate human beings. It is a question of moderate Muslim human beings – and a question, ultimately, of geopolitics. And, ultimately, the issue is the right of the Christian West to pass judgement on others, and to demand their submission to a view of the world that the Christian West holds. For the growing demand for Muslim moderation is not so much a Muslim initiative, for Muslim benefit-it is much more a reactive demand to Western pressure, which seeks definitions and undertakings that please the Christian West.

At a simplistic level, there seems little to argue about. Christian Westerners, for the most part, consider a "moderate Muslim" to be the kind of Muslim they can live with: one who is quiet and unassuming, loyal, predictable, law-abiding, unthreatening in any way. This sounds reasonable enough, at least within the Christians' own lands. But the world is much bigger than the Christians' own lands: there are Muslim lands, and the lands of many others, often with very mixed populations. And the Christians have long had a decisive (and often very destructive) presence in all of these lands – as well as an unfortunate tendency, still, to want their writ to run over every single one of them. And so, at the very least, if Muslims accept a Western-defined "moderation" for themselves, perhaps they should examine more carefully the credentials of their definers.

Historically, of course, there is a problem. Whatever Christianity is as a religion, its followers have all too often been anything but "moderate" in their dealings with one another and their dealings with everyone else. For well over a thousand years, Christian history has been defined by the unholy marriage of power and the Bible. All too often, the gospel of the poor and needy has been suppressed, and Christians have shown themselves to be brutal, greedy, and war-mongering – and have justified their actions on the basis of holy scripture. Perhaps this only proves that human beings devise their holy scriptures to serve human ends – and that those ends are sometimes good and sometimes bad. Or perhaps it demonstrates that, however virtuous and well-intentioned their scriptures, human beings will usually be led by their baser instincts, and will readily misinterpret the book they claim inspires them. Clearly, there is a disconnection between what people say they believe, and what they do. And that disconnection has been particularly strong in European (and Christian) history.

And the reason is not hard to see. Over the centuries, as European (and eventually American) culture came to dominate the world, its use of the Christian gospel as motif and justification expanded dramatically. As powerfully as its secular patrons, the Gospel came to represent the hegemony of an imperial culture over a diverse but subservient world. In profound and complex ways, the Christian gospel became so institutionalised, as part of the dominant culture, that it became hard to tell where the West's secular personality ended and its spirituality began. And this conflation has had the direst effects -both on the integrity of Western and non-Western cultures alike, and on the reputation of the Christian gospel itself. Above all, it is essential to recognise that, all too often, what is seen as the Christian way is in fact the way of Western culture – and what is seen as Western culture is often, in many a mangled form, the Christian way as well.


Read the article HERE

lain Buchanan is the author of Fatimah 's Kampung (Consumers Association of Penang, 2008) and The Armies of God (Citizens International, 2010).

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Bad Bad Palm Oil...

This lowdown on palm oil is featured in an article listing the 6 worst natural ingredients.
Well, either it is part of a smear campaign against palm oil and Malaysia (as a producer of palm oil) or simply a poorly-researched piece.

Here's what is said: (I will "bold" the contentious bits)

Behind the label: Palm oil became the go-to replacement for partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) instituted trans-fat-labeling rules on processed foods, but that replacement didn't do much for public health.

A number of studies suggest that palm oil is as bad for your heart as the trans fats hidden in by partially hydrogenated oils.

The most recent, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, found that it raised bad LDL cholesterol levels as much as partially hydrogenated soybean oil.

In addition to its heart-damaging health problems, enormous tracts of rainforests and peat bogs have been razed or filled in to make room for palm oil plantations.

Peat bogs are ecologically valuable, because they sequester globe-warming carbon dioxide, and rainforest destruction has led to the endangerment of 140 animal species in Indonesia and another 50 in Malaysia, the world's two largest producers of palm oil.
 
Your move: Palm oil is mostly used in crackers, cookies, and other baked goods, so scrutinize labels. Safflower or sunflower oil are healthier and don't carry the problems associated with other genetically modified vegetable oils made from corn, canola and soy.

If your favorite product does contain palm oil, call the manufacturer and ask how it was sourced. Some companies use palm oil produced under an industry group called the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, which is trying to develop standards that would protect vital species habitats.

KUALA LUMPUR - in the Top 10 City Skylines

This is not an official list. It's not been endorsed by any recognized body or association. This list of top 10 city skylines was offered by online travel consultants Cheapflights.com.
Reuters published the list but  has not endorsed it.

Anyway, KL is eighth on the list of top 10 city skylines. Here's what is said of our capital city skyline.

"There's something particularly majestic about Kuala Lumpur's defining skyscrapers, the Petronas Towers. Malaysia Truly Asia, as the tourism board's tagline goes, is a wonder of multiculturalism, awe-inspiring landscapes and white-sand islands (our picks are Langkawi and Borneo). But Kuala Lumpur, one of the fastest growing cities in the area, quickly gives visitors a faster paced perspective on the country. The Petronas and Kuala Lumpur towers both illuminate each evening, providing a taste of what's to come in this cultural mecca."

See the list HERE.

Top of the list is Hong Kong. KL comes after Chicago and beat Shanghai and Moscow.

Steady-lah.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Never Hurt A Robber, Burglar or Intruder...

...because he maybe killed in the process and you can be charged for murder.

Crazy, right?

Well, apparently not.

As the case of brothers Frans Hiu, 22, and Dharry Frully Hiu, 20 who were found guilty of a crime they committed two years.

The High Court in Shah Alam sentenced them to death on Oct 18..

The brothers  were jointly charged with ha­­­­­ving a common intention in the murder of 26-year-old R. Khartic at a shophouse in 3A Jalan 4, Taman Sri Sungai Pelek in Sepang at 11am on Dec 3, 2010.

They were caretaker of the premises.

Justice Nurchaya Arshad ruled that the prosecution had successfully proven the case beyond reasonable doubt and sentenced the men to death.

Read it HERE

Okay. Do you get the feeling that there's something not right about this case -- the charge and the conviction. How the two boys (they are Indonesians) got to be charged under that particular section  of the penal code that is punishable by death.

I'm no lawyer but ...

Anyway, weren't these boys defending themselves against an intruder who broke into their "home"?

What were they supposed to do?

What are we supposed to do when someone breaks into our home?

What kind of signal is the court sending?

But I'm glad several groups are calling for a judicial review into the death sentence.

In my humble opinion,  the sentence is extreme. But why were they charged under that section in the first place?

Is there something only the court - the judge, prosecutors and the boys' lawyers - knows?


Friday, October 19, 2012

Alvin and Vivian

...are two young lovers who have an active sex life and want to share it with the rest of the world .


So, they uploaded their explicit sex  acts on Facebook for all to see, and enjoy, as they did.


Well..they caught the attention of people. Not that people are voyeurs but Alvin and Vivian think it's cool for everyone to watch them in the privacy of their bedroom and in the full glory of their nakedness.

Today, the very young couple is famous...or infamous - depending on where you're standing.

You might say Alvin and Vivian "tak malu" or "tak ada malu" for exhibiting their private moments (in the bedroom) and for basking in, unabashed, their new-found and almost instant, er..fame or infamy.

One thing - they are unrepentant.

Although, they must have some sense of  something...because they "blurred out the critical parts" and have already deactivated their erotic blog after the furore it had caused.

Here is their story...

and here.

and here.

what about here from Vivian

here too...

so why are you oldies and dinosaurs fretting about? Don't be unsporting.  Alvin's and Vivian's peers are okay with their exploits. Read THIS.

It seems, psychologists have studied people like Alvin and Vivian. There's a reason for their open display of their sex play. Could they be crying for attention?.Read it here.

You know if you ask me -- I'd let them be. Although I must confess, I wondered "what were they thinking?"

 Yes. they are budak2 yang tak malu, aren't they?  But they're not too young, nor too naive, to not know the consequence of their action. They should.  If they didn't or don't, then they must be so thick-skinned. Surely the overall reaction to what they had done would be an indication.

They're certainly different from a lot of kids I know.
We should know - and I did when I was at their age -- what is right and wrong, what is acceptable and what is not.

Yes, we live by our own definition but we do not live alone in our own little island. Yes, we should push the parameters, the barriers...but we do need to conform to certain norms.


Alvin and Vivian can't be that dense, that stupid. Vivian from Johor, after all, is a graduate. And Alvin is an Asean scholar, reading, for heaven's sake, law at Singapore's NUS.

They know what they are doing, surely. What they had done.
So, it is their choice to have made public what is supposed to be sacredly private.
(Unless they were high on something which I seriously doubt. Just high on a lot of love and lust.)

Certainly,  I wouldn't want my kids, my nieces or nephews to do what Alvin and Vivian had done. No right-thinking person would want that.  It is not acceptable - in any society in this modern, yes, modern world..

And it has nothing to do with being prudish, liberal, modern or whatever. Make no mistake about that.

Neither has it got to do with upbringing as we have read the response from their families.

 Alvin and Vivian clearly and I say this without prejudice - are shameless. Unashamed. 

 We can admonish them -- we already have -- and tell them off. But really...that's all that we can do. Besides, their parents sudah marah.

As for Alvin, we'll see if NUS will deal with him when he goes back to college. I hear they've called to meet him.

And the Malaysian government is keenly following his case.

I read somewhere that a deputy minister had called for action to be taken against these two kids because they have shamed the country. 
Oh really..The only ones they have shamed are themselves. So, please, let's not waste anybody's time in taking action against them in the name of the country.

So, is all this fuss and the fame surrounding their sex video delightfully intoxicating them?
For now, perhaps.

They certainly seem to be enjoying it.

Newsweek To Go All-Digital

"When I returned to print with Newsweek, it did very quickly begin to feel to me (like) an outmoded medium. While I still had a great romance for it, nonetheless I feel this is not the right medium anymore to produce journalism." - Tina Brown editor-in-chief.


  
Well, that's the way to go for the print media. Even a giant and an icon like Newsweek which has been around for nearly 80 years has to go with the flow or go bust...

So, when it's time to go, it's time to go....digital, that is.

Newsweek is one of the most internationally recognized magazine brands in the world. In face of stiff competition from tablets and mobile devices, its exces have decided to cease publishing the magazine in print.

The final print edition of this weekly current affairs magazine will hit newsstands on Dec 31.

Well, it has finally happened. 


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Penang and Polygamy

This is going to unsettle and upset a lot of Muslim women because it is open to abuse. Or have we forgotten?

If they have studied the matter carefully and after so much thought...what can I say?
Sisters In Islam, Angkatan Isteri2 Pertama....what say you?

Penang men no longer need to seek permission from their first wife in order to take on another bride. Instead, they now only need to get permission from the Syariah court to do so.
This was announced by Penang Islamic Religious Department director Datuk Sazali Hussein, who said the move can help curb the problem of unmarried women.
"For those who wish to practice polygamy, they only need to get approval from the syariah court to waive the need to present the first wife's approval to take on another wife."
"However, they need to provide solid reasons before it can be considered."
"Maybe if the reason given is solid and can bring benefits, the judge will grant the request," he was quoted as saying in Utusan Malaysia today.
Sazali was asked to comment on a suggestion by a reader in the newspaper's Forum column. The reader, identified as Syed Abdullah Syed Osman Jamalulail from Ampangan, Seremban, had suggested that polygamy conditions be eased to help women of an advanced age who are still unmarried.
Syed Abdullah had suggested that the authorities loosen the condition which stipulates that men who wish to marry women over 30-years-old need to obtain the consent of their first wife.
He had also suggested that another condition which should be relaxed was the requirement for the man to produce his salary slip or confirmation of wages from employers, as per normal procedure.
He believed that it was sufficient that the prospective newlyweds come to a mutual agreement on their union. (source: Malaysian Digest)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.- Sir Winston Churchill

Saturday, October 13, 2012

From The Past


Statement from GERAM when the British banned API....

Friday, October 12, 2012

Another "Best....." Forbes List

NEW YORK, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Women seeking the best place to work and raise children in the United States may want to head to Ohio, where three of its cities have been voted among the 10 best for working mothers.

Columbus topped the ranking by Forbes, edging past New Orleans and Hartford, Connecticut and their surrounding areas. Cincinnati and its suburb of Middletown came in fourth, just ahead of Providence and neighboring towns in Rhode Island.

With a population of 1.8 million, Columbus scored high marks for its higher than average salaries for women, who make up 44 percent of the city's workforce.

The city also boasts a jobless rate of 5.7 percent, much lower than the national 7.8 percent, and good schools and childcare, according to Forbes.

"Pairing the excellent unemployment rate with an affordable but impressive quality of living makes the city an attractive locale for savvy working moms," Forbes said.

Continue reading HERE...

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

What Scorpene Trial? Oh...

 only by (certain) media, you mean....


"The media should be able to distinguish between rumours and facts, and between investigations and a trial." : French government prosecutor Yves Charpenel.

 A French government prosecutor has denied reports circulating among some Malaysian new websites  of an ongoing trial in France, on allegations of corruption by a French company over the purchase of two French-made Scorpene submarines by Malaysia in 2002.

Yves Charpenel said the media in Malaysia should be able to distinguish between rumours and facts, and between investigations and a trial.

"I am aware of all the fuss kicked up by certain media (organisations) in Malaysia over this matter, but what I can say is that this is nothing more than a trial by the media," he said here yesterday.

Charpenel, a former head of prosecution in France and now a state prosecutor and an executive member of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (IAACA), was in Kuala Lumpur to attend the four-day IAACA conference and general meeting.

Following a complaint filed in 2009 by non-governmental organisations Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram), that a French company had allegedly paid bribes to a Malaysian firm for the submarine deal, he revealed that two independent "investigating judges" started their investigations earlier this year.

Charpenel said that in France, as in other countries practising the rule of law, all investigations were done in absolute secret.

He said it was anybody's right to file a complaint and due to the secret nature of the investigations, some resorted to complaining to the media.

He explained that for specific cases in France, the Justice Ministry would ask an independent judge, called an "investigating judge", to launch a probe.

"He is just an investigator. This is an old system that started in the Napolean era.

"If the investigating judge wants someone to come to Malaysia, he has to ask your government because we have what is called the Treaty of Mutual Legal Assistance.

"And the Malaysian government can say "yes" or "no". It has to be decided by the Malaysian authorities.

 A French investigating judge cannot take his luggage, take a plane to Malaysia and ask someone to answer his questions. It is impossible. It is against French law and also international law."

Charpenel added that in France, as elsewhere, the course of justice will not be dictated by the media

"In France, the time of justice is different from the time in media. Of course, the media needs data, information, news. It's natural, but the investigation is quite different. This is exactly the same, whether in France or in Malaysia.

"And, it has to be secret. We are now in the first step. Maybe, we got another step, maybe not, and it is quite early to say more."

Asked about media reports that French lawyers representing Suaram in the suit would be coming to Malaysia to brief their clients, Charpenel said any lawyer from any country was free to do so because he was paid by his clients.

 "He can speak freely to the press. That's freedom or human rights. But he is not a prosecutor. He is not an investigating judge. He is not an official."

In April this year, opposition politicians here had even called for Malaysian officials to testify in Paris or risk being ostracised in the European Union.

"A trial is a trial with all the rules. Investigation is another thing," said Charpenel on the misinformation generated by certain news websites over allegations that a trial was already under way.

Over the weekend, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had said that the Auditor-General had declared the Scorpene deal was done in accordance with legal procedures. Bernama

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

An Unlikely Saviour For Malaysiakini

From The Mole
By Shamsul Akmar
 
It is quite telling that Malaysiakini, whose credibility is being questioned following accusations of being foreign-funded and a foreign tool to cause mischief to the nation, is turning to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to “absolve” itself.

Having vilified Dr Mahathir throughout almost its entire existence, Malaysiakini is using a letter written by Dr Mahathir to billionaire financier George Soros, to indirectly justify its acceptance of the latter’s funding.

Malaysiakini used the letter written by Dr Mahathir to Soros in early 2006 as the basis of the article, which can be basically summed up into five main thrusts:

1) It was Dr Mahathir who offered Soros the olive branch after the former had, during the 1997/98 financial crises, accused the latter of wreaking havoc on Asian nations as a rogue currency speculator;

2) Dr Mahathir asked Soros to join him in a Global Peace Forum 'criminalising war' campaign;

3) Dr Mahathir assured Soros that his participation in the Forum would not affect his other concerns;

4) Dr Mahathir met Soros in Kuala Lumpur 11 months later and they buried the hatchet when the former said he accepted that Soros was not involved in the devaluation of Malaysia’s currency, and

5) Dr Mahathir dug up the hatchet when he recently said Soros was seeking regime change in Malaysia.

Continue reading HERE...

GE13 Won’t Be About the Fabled Two-Thirds Majority

From The Choice.

You don't have to look hard in Putrajaya to find old men who are nostalgic about the fabled two-thirds majority.
Many of them are older Malay MPs and senior Umno officials who prefer to live in the past because things were simpler back then.
BN was easily returned at every election, there was no need for anything as extreme as political reform in tune with changing times, and a seat in the Dewan Rakyat was, for the most part, a ticket for life.
The GE12 came along and ruined everything. The loss of the two-thirds majority sparked a chorus of grieving not just because BN could no longer alter the constitution, but because the old guard felt they had lost prestige – and they had.
In turn they got rid of the man they blamed for the disaster, Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and breathed a sigh of relief when Najib took the helm.
He'll get it back for us, they thought.
Except there is a good chance Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak isn't even thinking about anachronisms like the two-thirds majority right now. What Najib wants at GE13 is to be returned with a working majority.
He doesn't want to just scrape over the line. 112 seats out of 222 would hardly send a message of a clear mandate and it wouldn't cover him for absentees from the house or rebels who cross the floor in defiance of the whip.
For a pragmatist like Najib, a working majority is enough for him to form a Government able to weather the occasional act of defiance and complete his reform agenda – no less, no more.
It begs the question: will a working majority be enough for the old guard? The answer to that is, who knows.
But it would be a brave, if not bloody-minded, 2013 Umno General Assembly that turned on the PM who returned it to office just four years after suffering a 14 per cent swing against it.
The painful reality is that the two-thirds majority might be gone for ever. Party politics has become more fractured, our political tastes have evolved and fewer people will say publicly that they vote for a particular party "because my father always did".
These days issues and leadership are key.
A look at other bicameral parliamentary democracies around the world makes the two-thirds majority seem like the Malaysian constitutional quirk that it is. It doesn't exist in the Westminster Parliaments of the UK, Australia or New Zealand.
In those countries, the aim of any party is, once again, no more than a working majority to fulfil its mandate.
In Australia, the ruling Labor Party doesn't have a majority, let alone a working majority, with just 72 of the 150 lower house seats.
The result is that Prime Minister Julia Gillard's minority Government is impotent.
Evidence of this is its chronic inability to implement the Malaysia Solution to deal with asylum seekers despite trying for more than two years.
In the UK, the Conservative Party's coalition with the Liberal Democrats has meant both parties making huge ideological compromises, but they at least have a working majority of 83 seats in the 650 seat House of Commons.
Pakatan Rakyat has a two-faced approach to the two-thirds majority. It is happy to use it as a political weapon, readily reminding BN of what it lost at GE12.
But at the same time, they wouldn't dare to make it a prerequisite for success at GE13. Anwar would treat 112 seats as the fulfilment of all his dreams.
The bottom line in all this is that Najib has proven that he doesn't need a two-thirds majority to transform the nation.
He has completed the most dramatic reform agenda in our history without it. He has transformed the way we vote, repealed the ISA and the Sedition Act, reformed the Printing Presses and Publications Act and introduced the landmark Peaceful Assembly Bill.
And the bad news for those old men who yearn for the good old days is that he is also reforming the BN seat selection process. Some of them are set to be "reformed" into retirement.
Najib's transformation agenda is a work in progress and while no leader would turn down a two-thirds majority, he has already shown that a working majority is all that he needs to get things done.