Saturday, March 31, 2007

Bloggers And Seed of Discord

Band of Trouble Makers
Another politician joins the chorus of blogger-bashing.

This is a Bernama story:

KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 -- The government has to find ways to curtail bloggers from abusing the Internet to spread lies and defame the leaders, said Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob (BN-Bera)."
We notice that a lot of bloggers have been sowing the seeds of discord among the races, religions... I believe there must be a limit," he said in a debate on the royal address in the Dewan Rakyat here today.
He felt that there ought to be a law governing bloggers like those imposed on the print and broadcast media.
"The people believe more in the bloggers than the newspapers... I am aware that a newspaper was censured by the Internal Security Ministry for publishing a sensational story but the bloggers could continue churning out malicious stories," he said.

New National Press Club President

Now, it's Rocky, NPC Adviser
Rocky (Ahirudin Attan) decided not to seek re-election as president of the National Press Club (NPC) because he wanted to "do other things".
"Two terms, enough-lah", he remarked.
The NPC election is held once in two years.
Rocky was elected NPC president in 2003. In the 2005 election, he won unopposed.
Last evening, (Friday, March 3 2007), the NPC held its annual general meeting and election of office-bearers.
Deputy president Mokhtar Hussain, an editor with Bernama, was elected unopposed as president.
Veera Pandian of The Star was elected unopposed as the deputy president and Joe Fernando, also of the English daily, was elected unopposed as the vice president.
Jugjet Singh of the New Straits Times was elected unopposed as the secretary and Jane Ritikos of The Star as assistant secretary.
S.P.Manivasagam retained the post of treasurer, also unopposed, while the assistant treasurer's post went to Lum Chih Seng of the Oriental Daily.
Eight committee members were elected; Jairajo Letchumanan, Krishna Rao, Sharmini Darshni, Anthea De Lima, Farrah Naz Karim, P.Ananthan, Ghazemy Mahmud and B. Kaderes.
After the election, there was a proposal from the floor that Rocky be made an adviser of the NPC.
It was accepted unanimously.
(Photo: NPC newly-appointed adviser (left) and newly-elected president.)

Maulidur Rasul

Selamat Menyambut Maulidur Rasul!

I wish all my Muslim brothers and sisters a Happy Maulidur Rasul.
Let us commemmorate the birthday of our Prophet Muhammad Rasulullah S.A.W with peace and charity.
Salawat and Salam for our beloved Rasulullah S.A.W.

Of Old Rivals and a Mansion in Perth

Dr M "exposes" PM and Meets Tengku Razaleigh
I am way too late here. If this blog were a newspaper, it would've been scooped by other newspapers-- left, right and centre, as they say.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad was in Kulai, Johor on Thursday (March 29) to speak at a forum.
There he addressed some 800 Umno members and others, and spoke on Umno, the Malays and a mansion in Perth, Australia, purportedly belonging to the Prime Minister.
He said much much more. I was not there so I cannot quote him.
But, blogger BigDogDotCom was.
In his posting, "Tun Dr Mahathir Strikes Again", he quoted Dr M as saying:

“The fate of the people is determined by the people themselves” and “The people gets the Government they deserve”.

The forum, at Kelab Taman Puteri, was on Malays and Globalisation. Dr M was invited by the Kulai Besar Umno division.
Read more here. And by A Kadir Jasin and Ruhanie Ahmad.

Malaysia Today also has the story. You may want to check out AP story here which according to Rocky's Bru is damning.

Yesterday, (Friday, March 30), Dr M was at Universiti Malaya in Petaling Jaya to attend a lecture, “The Thoughts and Vision of Tun Abdul Razak in the Nation Building-Nation State, Across Ethnic Boundaries”. It was held at the Main Hall, Akademi Islam.
Tengku Razaleigh, former Umno vice-president and and Semangat 46 president, was invited to speak at this round of lecture series.
Dr M was also invited to speak. He spoke off-the-cuff , according to BigDogDotCom who attended the lecture.
Both Ku Li and Dr M were invited by the Federation of Malay Development and Education Organisation.
BigDogDotCom said about 150 people were there.
Dr M and Ku Li were political rivals. They may no longer be.
I can count the number of times they have been seen together. Usually their being seen together was coincidental.
At the Universiti Malaya lecture? Your guess is as good as mine.
Could we be seeing a comeback of these two veterans and once powerful Umno leaders?
(Photo of DrM and Ku Li at Universiti Malaya, courtesy of blogger Shahbudeen Jalil. )

Read BigDogDotCom's post on the event as well as on Ku Li's speech here .

The Scribe, A Kadir Jasin, who was there, commented in Rocky's Bru .

"Sdr Rocky,Ucapan Ku Li mengenai tajuk "Pemikiran dan Visi Tun Abdul Razak Dalam Pembinaan Negara-Bangsa Malaysia Merentas Sempatan Etnik" di UM petang ini membuka mata dan menyedarkan.Ia harus menjadi bacaan semua rakyat Malaysia -- Melayu, Cina, India, Iban, Kadazan dan semuanya.
I believe even Tun Dr Mahathir, who was among the listeners, found it stimulating and useful.
In fact he said so in his brief comment.
They later had tea together.They were in agreement about the danger of opening up the country to foreigners the way it's being done with Southern Johor.
Ku Li mengingatkan hadirin tentang penaklukan tentera dan ekonomi seperti yang dilakukan oleh Israel ke atas Tebing Barat dan wilayah -wilayah Arab yang lain dan tidak mahu ini terjadi kepada negara kita.
You should read Ku Li's speech."

Meanwhile, DPM Najib Razak wants us to continue feeling good because "things are changing" in this country.
Better development, better leadership. A great future for Malaysians.
Najib who is Umno deputy president said this yesterday (Friday,March 30) after chairing the Umno supreme council meeting on behalf of the Umno president (the PM) who is overseas.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Up Close And Personal With Camilla Gibb

Writing From the Heart
How often do we get to meet well-known authors from abroad to share an informal evening with?
We get to learn about them as writers. As talented individuals, as artistes. What inspires them, touches and moves them to write the books they have written. Whether they be about life and humanity. Or love and war.
Last evening (Tuesday,March 27 2007), we shared a quiet session - "The Fiction of Truth and the Truth of Fiction" -- with Canadian author and socio-anthropologist Camilla Gibb at the National Press Club.
She talked about her life, her country, her work and her third book, "Sweetness in the Belly".
It was informal with only about 15 people there. A wonderful evening where we got up close and personal with her. No barriers.

Camilla's earlier books are "Mouthing the Words" (1999) and "The Petty Details Of So-and-So's Life" (2002). "Sweetness in the Belly" was published in 2005.
I find "Sweetness in the Belly' intriguing and compelling, not least for the style she employs, but how she is able to write convincingly about deep and serious issues facing a Muslim woman.
And the richness in the vivid images she conjures of Ethiopia.
Her narrations are powerful, yet gentle.
And the fact that a non-Muslim dared touch on Sufism, politics, Islam and the love and intrigues of a Muslim woman, is amazing.
It is quite rare indeed.
But after listening to her I am not surprised that she managed to"pull" off such a delicate stunt.
She is honest and sensitive. And she wrote from her heart.
She did not set out trying to change the world's misperception or misconception of Islam. But if along the way she did, she is thankful and happy.
Does she hope that more people will see the messages in the book.
"Insyallah," she said, without an awkward intonation.
Camilla never had any misgivings about writing fiction on a complex subject a great many non-Muslim westerners would stay clear of.
But she was not sure of how it would be received.
"I wonder if my audience ever care. As a writer you don't make any assumption of anyone caring or not."
Camilla said she was surprised by the reception the book received.
"Maybe I had underestimated...but it shows that there is huge hunger and appetite for the subject I had written on.
"And it shows that we've got a lot of caring people who knew they were manipulated by the media and who want a more accurate portrayal of truth."
Camilla said the book was written before 9/11. It was based on her experience while she was in
Ethiopia doing her PhD research in anthropology.
After writing her academic piece, she felt empty as though there was something she had not completed. She was compelled to write.
"I saw many things. I met many people during my stay in Ethiopia. There were stories to tell. And I needed to tell them," she said.
More compelling was an experience she had earlier in her life when she met a woman from Palestine.
She had asked the stranger "where do you come from?" which is really the usual greeting in Canada which is so multi-cultural. A country of immigrants.
That experience of getting to know the stranger so different from her showed how shallow was her "sense of place".
Camilla developed an interest in Islam. In fact the book was inspired by her Ethiopian experience and the Quran.
She recalled how her friends were shocked when she wanted to write the book.
They had asked her how she could dare represent a Muslim experience when she was not a Muslim.
"Can anyone represent someone different from them?" Camilla asked.
But why shouldn't she try?
Well-meaning friends asked her: "Aren't you afraid of being fatwa-ed?"
In a way, she said, writing the book was the risk she took.
I find it fascinating that she included a "sufi" as one of her characters, and a sufi shrine.
I am familiar with sufi shrines because when I was a little girl in Singapore (where I was born), there was one to which Muslims would go to fulfil vows or to pray for miracles.
It was called "Keramat Habib Noh".
Camilla has enough intimate knowledge about Islam, including sufism, to confidently write about it.
Besides, the lady reads the poems and writings of A-Rumi, the 13th century Persian poet and mystic.
I don't know how many authors like Camilla read Rumi whose works I love.
Didn't I say I like Camilla?
Here's a bit on Camilla's background:
Born in England, she moved to Canada at a young age. She decided to study anthropology and became interested in the Middle East.
She then spent time in Cairo, and furthered her education (a PhD from Oxford) by living in Ethiopia for a few years, studying Muslim practices in Africa.
To date, Camilla's novels have been published in 19 countries and translated into 15 languages. She has also written a number of short stories, articles and reviews. She was the 1999 winner of the Hart House Literary Contest and the 2001 winner of the CBC Literary Award for short story. She has been Writer-in-Residence at the University of Toronto and the University of Alberta and is the Vice President of PEN Canada.
About "Sweetness in the Belly" :
Lily, daughter of a British "hippie"couple in Ethiopia was raised at a Sufi shrine under mystical Islam, after the death of her parents. She takes us to many places where we get glimpses of her childhood, her adulthood, her love and her life as a Muslim in the wake of the Ethiopian revolution and as a Muslim in non-Muslim surrounding when she moves to England. Her voice is gentle but powerful.

"Sweetness in the Belly" was shortlisted for the Giller Prize, won Ontario's Trillium Book Award, was chosen as a Best Book of the Year by the Globe and Mail and is on the longlist for the 2007 IMPAC Award.
" The Petty Details of So-and-So's Life" was a national bestseller in Canada, and was chosen by the Globe and Mail as one of the "Best Books of the Year".
(Photo above, courtesy Ahirudin Attan of Camilla with NST journalist Koh Lay Chin (left) and this blogger.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tuesdays With Bapak (7)

When Majid and Other Things Had To Go - Tuesday, March 27, 2007
We called him Encik Majid. He appeared one morning at the door.
The year was 1972 -- the year Kak Olin was sitting for her HSC and Kak Eda and I, our MCE.
I was getting ready to go to school. Kak Olin was waiting in the living room, reading a book. She was always with a book.
Kak Eda was looking for a clean pair of socks in the back room.
Bapak had just asked Kak Eda what that thin brown "tali" was doing around her neck.
"Macam hippie," Bapak remarked.
Kak Eda laughed it off and made a quick exit, saying, "nak cari stokin..."

Every school day, Bapak would drop Kak Olin off at Bukit Bintang Boys School where she was doing her sixth form, and then drive across the highway to Assunta Secondary School to send Kak Eda and me.
Mak would send Kamal to Sri Petaling in Section 11 and Lalin to Assunta kindergarten.
It was our morning routine.
But this morning was going to be a little diferent.

"Masuk, masuk," Bapak hollered from the dining room.
The young man, wearing a pair of groovy tinted glasses, walked in.
He seemed rather nervous, unsure where he should be standing.
The sofa looked friendly enough, he must have thought as he stopped and stood beside it.
He was wearing a long-sleeved shirt, tucked in a pair of dark-coloured trousers.
He looked around, nervous but trying to look really cool.
The presence of two young ladies -- Kak Olin and I -- must have made him more nervous.

Bapak asked for his name.
"Majid, Encik," he said.
"Macam nama pak cik saya," I chipped in, as I remembered Cik Jid (Majid Ismail), Bapak's youngest brother who was a journalist with Berita Harian in Singapore.
Majid didn't quite smile.
Perhaps, he was unsure whether he should smile in response to my cheeky intrusion.That explained the nervous twitch of his mouth.

Majid was to be Bapak's driver. Bapak had been made the New Straits Times managing editor/deputy group editor.
The Malaysian operations of the Singapore-based Straits Times had been Malaysianized.
Some people had described it as a "coup".
It seemed it was Bapak who masterminded the move in which the late Tun Abdul Razak (then the Prime Minister) and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (the then Finance Minister) directed the company to transfer the ownership of its entire Malaysian operation into Malaysian hands.
Thus, the birth of the New Straits Times.

How did Bapak do all that?
Well, the story was that there was a "go-slow" industrial action by the editorial staff of the Straits Times in Kuala Lumpur.
As Malaysia was still under the emergency laws enforced following the May 13, 1969 riots, the European-dominated management in Singapore thought that the go-slow would definitely end without much ado.
It was illegal, for heaven's sake. So the management thought that they could hold out by asking for arbitration in the Labour Department.
Basically, they were unyielding. They wanted to tire out the journalists, thinking and perhaps, also hoping, that the journalists would eventually give up. Their spirit broken, and their struggle along with it.
They didn't realise that the journalists had Bapak on their side. His sympathies were with them.
Bapak was acting editor-in-chief, as Lee Siew Yee was in London, on leave.
The Singapore management, of course, assumed that since Bapak represented management, he was surely on their side.
Perhaps he should have been. But he was a journalist first.
Moreover, there was a bigger struggle. The pursuit of nationalism.
It was time for the umbilical cord of Straits Times' parent company in Singapore to be severed.
It was time for many great things.
Bapak and the journalists had also finally got the support of the printers' union. That was it. It was the ripe time for action.
Perhaps, the Mat Sallehs in Singapore had forgotten Bapak's past in which he had had dealings with some of the toughest and most notorious trade unions.
This was up Bapak's alley -- his proverbial cup of tea.
"He thrives in that," someone once said.

I remember those days. Bapak either did not come home, or he came home very very late.
Mak would tell us that there was "some problem at the office".

Bapak had, it seemed, seized the opportunity the "go-slow" had offered.
With one bold stroke, he made his move. And before the Orang Putih in Singapore knew what hit them, the New Straits Times was born.
And the rest, as they say, is history.

So, now Encik Majid would be driving the navy blue Holden Kingswood which Bapak had got a little earlier.
Encik Majid remained Bapak's driver until 1976, the year he was detained under the ISA.

Over the four years he was with Bapak, we all grew to be fond of him.
Especially Lalin and Nina, despite him being such a stickler about the do's and don'ts in the car.
"No ice-cream" was top of the don'ts list.
As for the do's -- I remember he never minded them making a din in the car. So, in my book, he was an okay guy.
He liked my little sisters and my little brother, he treated them well. So, that made him okay to me.
Besides, he was respectful of Mak.

Encik Majid must have got on well with Bapak.
We treated him as part of the family.
If Bapak had his meals at home, then, it was understood that Encik Majid would have his with Bapak. Mak would, of course, be with them.
Encik Majid knew all our relatives in Singapore, and called them by their family names.
They treated him with respect. So did we.
As far as we were concerned, he was an employee of the NST.
He was not our driver.
We got to know his wife well too. His family was like family to us.

Frankly, we were quite amazed that he was able to work with Bapak who kept long irregular working hours.
Encik Majid even worked weekends.
"Does he have a life?" we wondered.
More importantly, Bapak had quite a reputation.
Yes, we heard some of the horror stories.

Mrs Koay told us about a new overzealous and over-efficient secretary for Bapak.
Mrs Koay, essentially was Uncle Siew's (Lee Siew Yee) secretary and Bapak was to have his own secretary.
So, Miss overzealous decided to be super efficient and cleared Bapak's desk of "mess".
It seemed when Bapak came into his room and found his desk to be so tidy, he was not amused. And that is putting it mildly.
We heard that some not so nice four-letter words spewed from his mouth.
And Miss overzealous was history. And so were many others. They worked a day, and called it quits the next.
That was Bapak. His bark was far worse than his bite.
He got on well with Mrs Koay, though.
She must have known Bapak well enough not to disturb his things.
So, Mrs Koay was secretary to both Uncle Siew and Bapak.
For, Bapak, she basically worked on his schedule and appointments.
"Easy-lah to work with your dad. He types his own letters, articles and documents. No need to kacau his desk or his room. Easy boss," she would say to us later.
She continued to keep in touch with us post-1976. Lovely lady.

Indeed, a person made of far less stern stuff would have not lasted as long as Encik Majid did.

One day, Encik Majid came to the house driving a gleaming Mercedes 200 with the registered number, BAK 40.
He was grinning so widely as though he had just won a ... Mercedes.
"Ni kereta baru. Kingswood dah tak pakai lagi," he told Mak.
"Aah... cantik," she said.

When Kak Eda and I came home for the weekend, we saw the Mercedes in the garage.
Encik Majid proudly introduced the gleaming, spanking new Merc to us.
He must have been convinced that we were hopeless, for we were not impressed. The young anti-establishment, anti-anything that smacked of capitalism, non-conformist teenaged rebels that we were.
What a pity, we thought. We had liked the Kingswood. We even liked the registered number - BY 1918.
One thing we always remembered -- just like the Kingswood, the Mercedes was not ours.

"Tak ada character-lah," Kak Eda said, of this new car.
I nodded in agreement.
"Tapi ada air-cond," I whispered.
"So what," she retorted, making me feel as though I was so corruptible. So easily seduced.

The morning after Bapak was taken away, Encik Majid came to our house to report for work.
He had not been informed of Bapak's arrest so he was shocked and was almost in tears.
But we got the feeling that he was not entirely surprised and had somewhat expected Bapak's arrest to happen.
For the rest of the day after that fateful morning in June 1976, Encik Majid looked so forlorn. A little lost.
Encik Majid's routine was a little out of whack as Azah, Kamal, Lalin and Nina had all skipped school that day.
So we told him that perhaps he should go to the office as he could find out more about Bapak's arrest there.
He came back about lunchtime and joined us all for lunch, and lunchtime talk.

When talk was rife that Bapak was detained for communist activities, Encik Majid was emotional.
Dear, faithful Encik Majid declared that if they wanted to know where Bapak went, what time and with whom, he should be the one the Special Branch should question.
"I can account for his every movement outside his home," he said.
Dear, faithful Encik Majid.

There was also a time when he came over to the house with some books and documents.
"Ini boss punya. They all kemas bilik Bapak," he said, rather sadly.

One morning, about two months after Bapak's arrest and subsequent detention, Encik Majid came to our house, looking a little despondent.
He asked for Mak who was busy in the kitchen.
"Saya dah di suruh tidak kerja untuk Mak Cik Midah lagi," he said, trying to break the news as gently as he could.
"Kereta dah nak di ambil balik..."
Encik Majid, of course knew this was coming but I had the feeling that he was just hoping that the company would actually forget about him, in a way that allowed him to work with us.
But, how would we pay for his services, I had wondered.

Mak knew too that this day would come, that Encik Majid would have to go. And of course, the Mercedes too.
In fact, she had already received a letter from the company stating Encik Majid's termination of services and the withdrawal of the company car.
She only informed Kak Piah, Kak Ton and Abang Med about it.
The rest of us had no inkling but, we had expected this inevitable development.

"Saya tahu. Saya dah dapat surat," Mak told Encik Majid.
She told him not to worry.This was expected, she said, because Bapak was no longer with the NST.
But, she told him that he was always welcomed at our home, anytime.
"Jangan lupa Hari Raya," she said.

That weekend, Mak told Kak Eda and I that Encik Majid would no longer be with us. And neither would the car.
We were sad about Encik Majid because he had been like family to us. Besides he had served Bapak well, shown the greatest respect for him and for Mak.
He had also been very good to Lalin and Nina.
The Mercedes was not a big deal although it was only natural that we had grown to like it. But it was not ours.
And we had, after all, the small little red Mazda 1000 which Mak had been using.

But what would have been a big deal was something she had chosen not to tell us.
With Bapak incarcerated, she had now to find a source of income to support her school and college-going children.
She was reminded of Bapak's EPF money. But, that would be to repay Bapak's debts on whatever loans he had taken.
Bapak's poor financial management was legendary, we were soon to find out.

Mak was to be bread winner, driver and everything else. And in her head was whether we all could remain in college and whether we would be forced to move out of our home.
And where would we go?
She told us much later that at one point of desperation and despair, she was thinking of Medan where her ancestral home was.
That, to us, was unimaginable. Unthinkable.
Thankfully, her faith brought her back to earth, to reality.

Her one consolation in all this was that Kak Ton and Abang Med were already working.

"But, would we be a burden to them?" she had wondered.

Monday, March 26, 2007

He's a Blogger

Shahrir's New Blog
MarinaM texted me and Syed Syahrul Zarizi alerted me, about Shahrir Samad's new blog, Shahrir Samad at
This is a different one. The other is , which has been spammed like crazy.
Now this new one has got a Bloggers United logo.
His latest posting, dated today (Monday, March 26) is a reproduction of Jeff Ooi's piece, ("The Playful Politician"), on him at the launch.
His first was dated Friday, March 23, the day after he was at a lunch table where four bloggers, including Jeff, were seated. This was after the launching of the book, "The Reluctant Politician - Tun Dr Ismail and His Time" at Danga Bay, Johor Bahru.
He was certainly enjoying and amusing himself no end when he teased us about blogging and the uneasy state of blogosphere (in this country).
We, of course, reminded him that he was a blogger, to which he responded: "I am not a blogger, I am not a blogger". Playfully, I am inclined to believe.
Shahrir has a blog under blogspot, so that makes him very much a blogger, no matter how much he wants to deny it.
But, then, he could well be right. Shahrir-umno.blogspot is not your regular blog. You don't get to read what Shahrir thinks because, besides the incredible amount of spam, it contains a lot of news articles.
It does look like someone else is doing the "blogging" on his behalf.
And whoever it is, is doing such a poor job because shahrir-umno is grossly neglected.
If Shahrir insists that he is not a blogger, then he should shut down his blog that has got his name on it.

And, before you know it, along comes shahrirsamad.blogspot. How timely!

It's good to know that Shahrir has got a new blog.
But, I remain disappointed. It seems a mirror of the other one -- you still don't get to read what Shahrir thinks.

Let's hope we get to read Shahrir's views of issues. And that it does not go down the same road as shahrir-umno.blogspot.

Help Little Aisya

Appealing to Malaysian Generosity
Student Daphne Ling sent me an email asking me to help highlight the plight of little Siti Aisya Syazreen who has Fraser Syndrome -- her eyelids are fused.
The three-and-a-half year-old has undergone surgery but this was not successful. Because of her age, doctors feel that she is not ready for another surgery until 2 years' time.
Daphne, a blogger, was touched by Aisya's plight.
You can read about Aisya and how you can help in Daphne's posting.
I am sure there are many Daphnes among us.....

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Reluctant Politician: Tun Dr Ismail and His Time

The Launch: May 22, 2007, Danga Bay, Johor Bahru
"I will do for the country what I will not do for myself and my family" - the late Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman.

A little bit longer and the name Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman would remain in footnotes of history books.
We would find many young Malaysians unashamedly hesitate, falter, stutter, stammer before replying to a question on who Tun Dr Ismail was.
And they would most probably get it wrong.
Just consider this - a true story. Someone when asked the question, replied: "Oh, wasn't he the founder of Taman Tun Dr Ismail" ( a housing estate in KL, named after him).
That is why the book on Malaysia's second Deputy Prime Minister is so important. So awaited.
It has taken more than 30 years after his death (on Aug 2, 1973), for a book on him to be written.
Better late than never at all.
Malaysians must know this man. They must be made to remember him. This great man known for his integrity and principles who contributed immensely to the struggle for independence.
He was an integral part of Malaysia's nationhood.
More importantly, "The Reluctant Politician:Tun Dr Ismail and His Time" will set straight some record on events and policies in Malaysia's political history such as the New Economic Policy, communal politics and race-based political parties.
His eldest son, Tawfik was still a student at the University of New England, Armidale in New South Wales, Australia. when Dr Ismail died.
Tawfik was in possession of some of his father's documents and letters for a very long time before deciding to have them preserved and stored for safekeeping.
It was sheer coincidence that Singapore's Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) director K Kesavapathy came to know of Tawfik's intention.
Kesavapathy knew of Dr Ismail as a great man, of what he stood for. He wasted no time in meeting Tawfik over lunch. Tawfik then handed him the letters.
"I went home after that and spent the whole night, until 5am reading the letters," he told guests at the launching on Thursday, March 22 at a Danga Palace/International Restaurants.
He was overwhelmed and without much ado, agreed to have ISEAS coordinator of Malaysia Study Programme, Ooi Kee Beng to author a biography of Tun Dr Ismail.
According to Ooi, Tawfik had wanted him to "do it".
"I was honoured", Ooi told us (four bloggers - Ahirudin Attan, Jeff Ooi, Zaharah Othman and I -together with Utusan Malaysia features/Op ed editor Zin Mahmud as well as Karim Raslan of Karim Raslan Associates) over breakfast at the Hyatt Regency just before the launch.
Penang-born Ooi has degrees in Public Administration and Chinese Language Studies as well as a doctorate in Sinology, all from Stockholm University, Sweden.
For him, putting the pieces together, interviewing personalities to get an insight of Dr Ismail, and then authoring the book had been an awesome journey.
Later, at the launch, Ooi said:
"I am convinced that this book is a recovered time capsule, and Tun Dr Ismail's thoughts, and the story of his life, will inspire Malaysians, and inspire Malaysia's future. Perhaps more importantly, there is the chance that Malaysians of all races can read about Tun Dr Ismail and identify themselves with him, and with how his life reflected the suffering as well as success of the country as a whole."
Ooi said the launch was fittingly held in his hometown of Johor Bahru, "attended by people who knew him well, and also by people who are most proud of him."
"It is also fitting that the launch is officiated by Tun Musa Hitam, the Malaysian politician most influenced by the late Tun.
"Both these men were deputy prime ministers of Malaysia, both are anak johor, and both have been named in different contexts as the best prime ministers Malaysia never had."

"Our Own Glocal and Towering Malay", Says Musa.

Musa, in his speech, confessed to having been Dr Ismail's follower and admirer since his childhood days in school.
He said in many ways Dr Ismail contributed greatly to shaping his political career.
"I never stopped being overawed by him. He was always encouraging me and goading me and inspiring me.
"Political performance to him was service-based and not personal based or personal-loyalty based."
Musa said what we are today was what Dr Ismail had prepared us to be.
"As a Malay leader, he was modern and progressive. He was not a Melayu lama even though he lived in that era. He certainly would not qualify as a Melayu baru, i.e. the new Malay since more rather than less of them are obssessed with materialism and when facing challenges tend more to turn to government in the Melayu lama way, yet as a back-up, easily turn to religion as a form of escapism.
"If at all, he could be fitted into the category of Melayu Glocal, as conceptualised by Dato Najib,our Deputy Prime Minister. Added to that, Tun Dr Ismail definitely qualified as the towering Malay, that our Prime Minister has been advocating".
Musa recommends people from both sides of the causeway to read the book, "to understand and appreciate an important part of our history and the sacrifices and the principles that the late Tun represents."
"To understand the famous Johore Malay insistence on principle, here is the best example.
"Let us honour him, and be proud of him.Let us use him as an example and an inspiration. And let us be proud of the country, our country Malaysia, that he and his colleagues gone by had built up leading to what it is today and what we are today".

I met Tawfik right after the launch/luncheon. I knew him from the time he joined the newly-set-up Sistem Televisyen Malaysia Berhad (TV3) as one of its first top executives, through the time he went on to join politics.
We had not met for a long time.
"Twenty years, maybe?", Tawfik asked.
Yeah, close.
I congratulated him.
"(The book) long time coming," I said.
Well, it's out, he smiled. I could sense a sigh of relief.
He told me that some 10,000 copies have already been sold, both sides of the causeway.
We chatted.
Really so glad for you, Tawfik.
And there will be a Malay and Chinese versions of the book.
(Also read Rocky's and Jeff's. )

Coming soon : A review.

Welcome To The World, Sharmaine Hana

Born: 1am, March 20, 2007.
Nina went to the hospital about 9am on March 19 and was induced by her doctor as she was about right to give birth to her baby, her third.
She delivered at about 1am. What a long labour. And I always thought labour in second or subsequent delivery would be quicker.
Nina's husband, Mack (Mazlen) was by her side throughout her labour.
Baby Sharmaine is gorgeous (excuse me, but aunts are like that!) -- full head of hair, thick arched eyebrow. Of course, of course, she takes after her Kakak Sara and Abang Heikal.

God Almighty! You took Kak Eda and gave us Sharmaine...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Malik Imtiaz On Article 11, The Coalition

Understanding What It Stands For
Lawyer and blogger Malik Imtiaz Sarwar explains what the Coalition, Article 11 is all about, what it represents and what it stands for in his blog, Disquiet.
His latest take on the subject is here.


They were at Dina Zaman's Book Launch
Met more of them last evening at Dina's launch of her book "I Am Muslim" at the top floor of Pasar Seni's Annexe.
Rocky and I could not make it any earlier due to prior engagements and thought we would have to give it a miss as we had to go to Johor Bahru for another book launch ("The Reluctant Politician - Tun Dr Ismail and His Time" at Danga Bay later this morning).
But, we did promise Dina that we would try to be there and it would be good to meet Malaysian writers, authors, old friends and fellow bloggers (including journobloggers and litbloggers).
It rained so heavily earlier. Traffic was crazy. We got there but the launch was over.

As we walked into the top floor hall (an art gallery), we caught a small group of people in the midst of taking photographs.
I heard a familiar voice in the group. It was Zaharah Othman or Kak Teh (choc-a-blog).
Zaharah is back home from London for some "official work" attending a seminar and doing some editing for a TV programme.
She has also been invited to the book launch in Johor Bahru.

Then we heard some people say: "Come on, liars. Smile."
What a sense of humour, my fellow bloggers.
Among them (besides Zaharah) were Sharon Bakar and Ruby Ahmad.
Brit-born Sharon has been living in Malaysia for more than 20 years. She is a lecturer, writer, book reviewer and a lot of other good things, including a blogger. She has a great blog : Bibliobibuli.

Ruby , a TKC old girl, describes herself as an entrepreneur in architecture. I know that she is active in volunteer work. And she blogs.

Then, they saw Rocky.
"Ah, the liar himself..."

It was a good evening. Met old friend and former NST colleague Aishah Ali (former Sunday Mail/Malay Mail associate editor. Not a blogger yet), other former NST colleagues Sharifah Sakinah (now new mag in town, TELL editor), Wahti Maidin (TELL publisher) and NST journalist Darshini.
Met a very old friend too -- (school mate and family friend), Nur Zuhaira.

By the way, Dina Zaman is also a blogger.
Meanwhile, you may want to check out other liars. May I suggest: Tunku Halim and Eric Forbes.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Tuesdays With Bapak (6)

The Third Time - Tuesday March 20 2007
Mak was 49 when Bapak was detained in 1976 under the ISA. It was the third in his lifetime. The first two times were in 1946 and 1951 in Singapore by the British colonial administration.
When Bapak was first detained in 1946, Mak, then only 20, had just been married and was expecting Kak Piah. Bapak was 22 and was editor of Berita Malai.
The Japanese had surrendered and because Berita Malai was a newspaper under Japanese occupation, Bapak was detained for publishing Japanese propaganda and anti-British articles.
Mak recalled "British army officers with Gurkha escorts armed with stenguns" coming almost daily to Nenek's house (where she and Bapak were staying) to interview him, or to take him away to their headquarters.
The weeks preceding his detention were anxious days for her.
One day, Bapak was called to the CID office in Robinson Road and never returned home.
A few days later Wak Hussein (my dad's brother-in-law) told the family that he had been sent to the Outram Road Prison.
This was an oft-narrated story -- that when Kak Piah was born, she had "blue" eyes and "red" hair. My aunts told Mak that she must have "terkenan Orang Putih" -- having been constantly shocked by the presence of white men in the house.
As we grew older, we became interested in Bapak's past and always prodded him to tell us stories of his detention by the British. He'd give us anecdotes.
"They would interrogate me in the prison's death row. Near where they'd hang convicts. That was to frighten me. To break me. Bah!", he'd say. And Mak would always be listening as well. Smiling, with nary a word.
She had probably heard it all before.
We would all listen, wide-eyed, sometimes agape.
"And you were only 22?" was our usual remark.
"And Mak was only 20! Kesian nya."

Months after his detention in Outram Road Prison in 1946, Bapak was tried in a military court. He was later released and rejoined the pre-war revived Utusan Melayu as assistant editor.
By then, Bapak was already drawn into the anti-colonial movement for Malaya's independence and supported the constitutional struggle of the leftwing Malay Nationalist Party and PUTERA-AMCJA. He knew the leaders, Dr Burhanuddin al-Helmy and Ahmad Boestamam, intimately.

In 1951, three years after the declaration of the Emergency, during which the MNP and PUTERA-AMCJA were dissolved, Bapak was detained for the second time by the British for alleged communist activities but he was never brought to trial.
He was still Utusan Melayu assistant editor, 26 years old and a father of 3 -- 2 little girls and a baby boy -- Kak Piah (Sapiatun), Kak Ton (Maria) and Abang Med (Hamed).
Bapak was first detained in Changi Prison but after he protested, he was sent to St John's Island, about 30 minutes by boat from Singapore's Clifford Pier. He was there until 1953.
While in detention, Mak said that Bapak wrote short stories and articles to newspapers and to Utusan Melayu under various pseudonyms.
She said not even his colleagues in Utusan Melayu knew that the articles and short stories were written by him.

Mak was then staying in Nenek's house at Jalan Yahya, which was some two kilometres from her own father's house at Jalan Sudin.
Mak had Bapak's older sisters and his youngest sister to help her care for the children.
My aunts adored their nieces and nephew.
Kak Piah, who was born just before my grandfather (Bapak's father) died, was my Nenek's gem, in every sense of the word.
Nenek spoilt her. And as Nenek was the family matriarch, nobody dared offend her.
There was an unwritten rule that Kak Piah was not to be scolded. Even if she was naughty. Not even a gentle scolding.
Nenek would take that personally.
Mak remembered that the only person Kak Piah would not dare show her tantrums to was Bapak.

It was during Bapak's detention that Yusof Ishak, Utusan Melayu's managing director/editor offered Mak a job as a reporter.
She accepted. There was no objection from either Bapak's family or hers.
In Utusan Melayu she worked and continued even after Bapak's release.

St John's Island was a quarantine station which the British had converted into a main detention camp during the emergency.
Mak said Bapak was sent there from Changi Prison after he had made a strong protest that his detention in prison was illegal and unconstitutional as he was a political detainee.
I think he was a pain in the British administrators' backside when he was in St John's Island.
Mak said as soon as he arrived on St John's Island, he went on hunger strike over the poor food.
The British immediately isolated him to another part of the island, put him in a bungalow that used to be a dispensary, atop hilly ground overlooking the sea.
His hunger strike, however, had the desired effect. They gave him better food -- a "first class hospital European diet" -- four eggs a day with generous rations of meat and fish.
Mak said Bapak would go on hunger strike ever so often over grievances relating to the condition of his detention.Sometimes he would do so over flimsy issues.
Everytime he went on hunger strike, his privileges would be withdrawn and Mak would be denied visits to the island.
Yes, we thought, Bapak was a pain and troublemaker while in detention.
But Mak said, Bapak appeared happy on St John's Island. He did his own marketing every morning under police escort in the village.
He was on good terms with the warders and the islanders generally respected him, Mak said.
But, she pointed out that she could see the effect of detention on him. He was more reflective.
Mak certainly believed that his detention during both times had made him tough inside.

By the time he was detained the second time, Bapak had pretty much assumed a reputation as a journalist and Utusan Melayu assistant editor that Umno president Tunku Abdul Rahman and MCA president Tan Cheng Lock pressed for his release.
It was also during this time that a certain British-trained lawyer, Lee Kuan Yew, befriended Bapak.
He was to become Bapak's legal adviser, and soon after Bapak's release, a partner in founding and forming Singapore's People's Action Party (PAP).

After Bapak's release, he did not immediately rejoin Utusan Melayu, although Yusof wanted him to.
Mak said Bapak set some tough conditions before he could be persuaded to return to the newspaper. Through an emissary sent by Yusof, Bapak laid down certain conditions which included: that Utusan should no longer describe Indonesian freedom fighters as "pengganas" (terrorists), that Utusan must give full support to the Indonesian struggle for independence and that it must give equal treatment to news about left wing movement in the country.Yusof accepted the conditions. Bapak returned to his old newspaper.

His detention the third time was, undoubtedly, different.
Sure, Mak had gone through the pain of her husband being taken away twice before.
Yes, she was familiar with the trials and tribulation of a political detainee's wife.
But all that seemed a memory away. So distant. Somewhere in the recesses of her mind. Perhaps, never to repeat.
Did she expect to revisit the past?
Bapak's third detention came 30 years later. Post Merdeka.
Bapak was 30 years older. So was Mak.
Bapak, at the time of his arrest was deputy group editor and managing editor of NST.
Mak was now a mother of 10 -- 3 of whom were in college and 4 still in school.
No extended family in our Section 16 home in Petaling Jaya.
Mak was on her own to care for her own brood.

Sure, there were no Gurkhas carrying stenguns.
There were no Orang Putih appearing at our home. It was not the Orang Putih who took him away.
It was not the Penjajah who put him away.
They were "orang kita", our own government.

We caught Mak in her room one day.
Kak Eda and I had come home late Friday for the weekend.
Earlier in the week, I had an unpleasant encounter with someone who called me "Anak Komunis".
Kak Eda did some investigations after she was told by some of her friends about the incident that occurred at the School of Architecture.
"Ena, he is not any of our Architecture or Art and Design students." she told me with sheer relief, as though the "guilt by association" had been lifted.
It no longer mattered who the culprit was.

It was already dusk when we got home.
We rushed upstairs to look for Mak.
Her bedroom door, as always, was ajar.
Her back was facing the door. She had just completed her "solat Maghrib", as she was still seated on the floor. Her head was bowed, her hands, cupped, almost covering her face.
We waited silently. We could hear a quiet sob. We could see her body swaying, quivering. But just for a few moments.
We looked at each other, for that was the first time we had witnessed a show of emotion from Mak.
Have we intruded into her private moments with the Almighty? Perhaps, aware of our presence, she had to cut short those moments.
Then, Mak turned to face us as if she knew we were upset about something.

"Mak, diorang panggil Ena anak komunis," I said, as though by telling her, I had unloaded a heavy burden. Or that it would all go away.
She asked who and Kak Eda said it was some stupid student.
Mak said that we had to be strong in face of all this. That it was all a test for us.
Forget what happened, was her gentle advice.
Something good will come out of that, she said. Her voice so soothing that I was convinced that all that I had gone through earlier in the week, was really nothing.

"You know, my dears....I am now not (just) a wife of a political detainee. I am a wife of a communist," she said, softly. Her voice choked.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Single Moms And Late Payments

And Welfare Officers Aint Helping
I have met many single mothers in the low-income group. Most are without jobs because they were homemakers when their husbands left them in the lurch, high and dry, with children to care for.
Some try to make ends meet by taking on jobs they know best like baby-sitting. Some do small businesses like selling nasi lemak. Some do odd jobs --- washing clothes in households or washing dishes in eateries.
Most have to depend on monthly welfare payment for their livelihood.
Now, the word "welfare" does not ring well for me.
Welfare cases with which I had been intimate in the past, had convinced me of the welfare department's inefficiency and ineffectiveness.
I hate generalising. But, I sense a general lack of commitment among most of its staff.
I tried to figure out why. It was not difficult. These people were dealing with welfare cases, with people who were UNDER privileged, who usually had nobody else to turn to.
You know, widows and orphans. Single mothers. They don't know who to turn to when the going gets so tough. And made tougher by bad-attitude welfare department staff.
Such a sense of empowerment these welfare dept staff felt they had. The lot of these people was in their hands.
But, that was years ago.
Perhaps things have changed. Perhaps, now there is dynamism. A renewed sense of commitment and will to help the underprivileged. To just simply do a good job.
I read a report that single mothers in Johor have been faced with delayed monthly payments.
They are entitled to RM300 a month. Yes, RM300. And this has been so delayed, some of these women have had to stop their children from schooling.
This state of affairs is so unacceptable to me.
What makes it even worse is the treatment these women have been getting from some of the welfare department staff.
Some things don't change, really.
Always so easy to mistreat people who have nowhere to turn to but to you. So, you know, (these women have to) deal with it.
Let's hope the Johor exco in charge of social development, Dr Robiah Kosai, keeps her word to resolve the problem.
She said the department is faced with problems of MISSING FILES, acute shortage of manpower and delayed receipt of federal funds.
Oh dear, Dr Robiah. Please tell us something new.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Nice Sunday Read

Take a Break
And read some light news today. Enough of Tengku Adnan, PM-DPM rumoured rift, anti-bloggers agenda et al. Perhaps later...
For now, here's some nice Sunday read.

Chimps And DNA Tests
* KEITHVILLE, La. - The paternity tests are in: The retired chimpanzee whose monkey business made Teresa a mother despite his own vasectomy is 21-year-old Conan.
Conan was one of seven males living in a group with the mother, Teresa, at Chimp Haven, which provides long-term care for chimps that had been used for laboratory research or in the entertainment industry or as pets.
All seven underwent DNA tests after Teresa, a wild-born animal estimated to be in her mid- to late 40s, gave birth to Tracy.
Chimp Haven president Linda Brent announced the findings on ABC's "Good Morning America." "That isn't who I was guessing," she said.
Conan, 17-year-old Magnum and 37-year-old Jimoh had been the top suspects because they seemed to have the most interest in Teresa, who gave birth to the female in January.
"I think most of the staff thought it could be Jimoh, but also Magnum and Conan were definitely affectionate towards Teresa," she said.
All male chimps get vasectomies before they are brought to Chimp Haven. But its attending veterinarian, Elysse Orchard, said on the Chimp Haven Web site that vasectomy failures in chimpanzees are not uncommon.
More than 80 chimpanzees live at Chimp Haven, which is designed to hold about 200.

Begging For Free Speech
* DUBLIN - Ireland's High Court struck down a 19th century law against begging on Thursday, ruling in favor of a beggar who had argued that his arrest violated a right to free speech.
Justice Eamon De Valera rejected the argument made by Niall Dillon that the law discriminated between rich and poor.
But the judge agreed that a section of the Vagrancy Act of 1847, enacted during the Great Famine, was unconstitutional because it interfered with the rights of freedom of expression and freedom to communicate with other people.
Dillon was arrested for begging in Dublin in 2003 and charged under the law. Following the ruling, his prosecution can no longer go ahead.
Prime Minister Bertie Ahern unveiled plans in 2004 to repeal thousands of English and British laws -- some dating back to William the Conqueror in the 11th century -- that were enacted prior to Irish Independence in 1922 and remain in force.
More obscure acts such as one from the 12th century forbidding monks "to receive men unless their reputation is known" and another banning Jews from owning chain mail will be struck off the statute books altogether.
Those with continued relevance today will be replaced by more up-to-date laws.

Press Freedom
*CARTAGENA, Colombia - Some leftist governments in Latin America have become increasingly intolerant of criticism, while journalists in the United States have come under growing pressure to identify their sources, delegates at a regional newspaper industry meeting said Saturday.
The Miami-based Inter American Press Association received reports on press freedoms from members across the Western Hemisphere at the start of a four-day meeting in the Colombian city of Cartagena. IAPA represents more than 1,300 newspapers in the region.
The U.S. report called for a federal "shield" law barring judges and prosecutors from obliging reporters to reveal sources they have pledged to protect. More than 30 U.S. states have such laws.
"Today perhaps more than ever there is pressure for journalists to identify the people who talk with them — including when the information discussed in those conversations wasn't even published," Milton Coleman, deputy managing editor of The Washington Post, told the gathering.
Calls for a federal shield law have gained momentum in the wake of the
CIA leak trial. Former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was convicted of lying about his role in exposing an undercover CIA officer based on the testimony of several journalists. Most testified unwillingly, under court order.
Mexico's delegation reported an alarming number of journalists killed on orders from drug gangs: seven since October, along with two disappearances and eight cases of reporters receiving death threats.
"I would say Mexico has become the country (in the Western Hemisphere) where it's most dangerous to be a journalist today," said Gonzalo Marroquin, president of IAPA's press freedom commission.
In the past decade, Colombia has been the third most dangerous country for journalists after
Iraq and Russia, with 72 killed, according to the Brussels-based International News Safety Institute. However, no journalist has been killed in Colombia in the past six months.
Marroquin said press freedoms have deteriorated in a number of countries over the past year, especially where leftists have won elections.
"In Venezuela, where I would say President Hugo Chavez's authoritarianism is absolute, and elsewhere where restrictions on the press are becoming more and more repressive, there is also an apparent tendency to try to limit access to information," said Marroquin, editor of the newspaper Prensa Libre of Guatemala.
Press freedom watchdogs have accused Chavez of using the judiciary and new legislation restricting broadcast content to silence critics. Chavez denies threatening press freedoms and accuses Venezuela's privately owned media of conspiring to topple his government.
In Bolivia, President Evo Morales' government "doesn't appear comfortable" with press freedom, and news reports critical of its actions are often called "part of a plot against its stability," that country's delegation said.
Morales has complained that much of Bolivia's media is biased against him and says he wants to open more government-friendly media outlets.
Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez has accused various news media of conspiring to question his competency through "immoral, injurious and untruthful" reports, Uruguay's delegation said.
Ecuador's delegation said newly elected President Rafael Correa has accused his country's media of being in the service of "ousted political mafias".

Hope you had a great weekend!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

We're Good, Says Najib

Just Rumour
Don't listen to internet rumour about any rift between Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his number two, Najib Razak.
Najib has refuted stories that he and Abdullah are having problems.
"Don't listen to the stories in the internet, they are all a myth," he said in Pekan today.
He was at the Pekan Village development and Security Committe (JKKK) gathering.
Najib said his relationship with the PM was very close and strong.
"Being the number two in the country, I always strive to assist the Prime Minister in the country's administration and so on for the good of the country," he was quoted to have said by Bernama.
Speculations were rife, not only in the internet, that not all was well between the PM and DPM in the wake of allegations of corruption and abuse of power involving Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharum and Anti-Corruption Agency director-general Zulkipli Mat Noor.
I remember, after these allegations were made public, an aide to a politician asked me this: "Do you think it is a proxy war?"
"You tell me", was my reply.

Frankly. Anything is possible.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

I Didn't Say That!

Tengku Adnan Denies Sin Chew Report
Well, that's what he said at a Press conference, according to Rocky who was with him at the function at the PWTC in Kuala Lumpur today.
Tengku Adnan, when asked by reporters about his attack on bloggers and, specifically women bloggers, explained that he was referring to Nila Tanzil, the Indonesian blogger who jotted down her unpleasant experience covering Visit Malaysia Year 2007 programmes in January.
He was not attacking bloggers in general and, certainly not women bloggers.
According to Rocky, Tengku Adnan said something to the effect that he loves and respects women, that he relies on women for support in his electorate, and he wouldn't have been in this world if not for a woman (his mother).

Read Rocky's account here.

You want my opinion? Well, I think I am missing something here. I think he has not handled Nila's complaints well. I don't think the issue has been resolved at all. If he it is being resolved, it sure is taking the ministry a mighty long time.
I think he also needs to understand me (and bloggers) better, and I (we) need to understand him better too. So, can we talk?

But you know what I think? There are still so many people, including civil servants, who have no inkling what blogging is and what bloggers do.
Many, without even bothering to find out, believe that blogging is something evil. Out of their own ignorance, they fear bloggers. They are spooked by the spectre of bloggerism. (You know, like communism, socialism and all the evil-isms.)
A very good friend of mine encountered such ignorance only a few days ago. She was made to feel that because she is a blogger, she must therefore be anti-Government. She must be writing bad things about the government.
That's a load of crap, if you ask me.
Worse, the person making those remarks had no idea what blogging is in the first place, and what my friend has been blogging about all this while!
What an ignoramus!

Oh Malaysia!

Give Us a Break, Rehman!

So, What's Your Rectum?
A blog sister who goes by the name of Acciaccatura describes herself as "just a housewife, no, not desperate". Cute, I thought.
In between housework and her family -- home-making is a full-time job, thank you very much -- this talented musician finds time to log on her PC, opens her blog "Acciaccatura" and gives her 2 cents worth on things that affect her and her family.
I believe, like many other men and women in this country and beyond, she gets a great deal of satisfaction, just tapping away on the keys of her faithful computer.
Another blog sister who calls herself Ibu is a working mother who writes about her family in her blog, Cerita Ibu.
When she learnt of the contentious remarks by Tourism Minister Tengku Adnan on women bloggers, this gentlewoman, gave the minister a good dressing-down.
She said:
-- "Kepada bapak-bapak di atas sana, jangan sampai kerana pulut santan binasa.
Ingat panas sentiasa sampai ke petang ke?
Kalau ringan sangat mulut nak quote statistics on women blogging, cuba lah study our nation's latest demographics. Nanti esok kalau hujan renyai2 turun ditengahari, baru la sibuk nak memancing women bloggers punya undi?
The future voters are conceived, brought to this world, raised, nurtured and easily influenced by the "hands that rock the cradle". Don't put us down and take us for granted - employed or unemployed alike, as we still do sing to our children to sleep, since even before they were born - and if the picture you paint of us is nothing but petty, those songs we whisper to them (your future voters), ain't gonna be lullaby-baby no more.
Remember wahai Pak Menteri, behind every great man, there is a great woman. Behind every great nation, there are great women that help sustain the powers-that-be.
Ingat sebelum terlambat.
To my boys .... I don't know what the future holds. I will ask Ayah to backup all my entries externally, just in case one day in the future, we wake up only to be rudely greeted by a message on the pop up screen which says; "Opppssss! Citizen of blogosphere, sorry... talian anda tidak dapat diteruskan lagi, for the sake of national unity" --

How about that?

And another sister, Elviza runs her "Write Away" blog. She is a lawyer and she enjoys blogging, sharing her views on freedom of expression, the country's education system because it will affect a little son, Luqman, stories about her reunion with her classmates, her anxiety and enthusiasm in planning her son's birthday party and, oh...this, that and the other.
Another lawyer who goes by the nick Typhoon Sue has a blog, "Tattlerama". Sue finds time to talk about her work, her life, her family, movies and hobbies.
She will not hesitate to give her take on serious issues as well such as the segment of TV3's "Sensasi"which featured the controversial remarks by artiste Rosnah Mat Aris.
And then, of course, my dear friend, Zaharah Othman or Kak Teh of Choc-a-Blog who talks about life in general, war-time stories (which I believe she is documenting), love stories, her "sayang mama" (that's her son) and a variety of things.
Her endearing style has made her so popular and well-read. She touches everyone.
Yet, Zaharah a journalist and author, will not hesitate to give a quick take on issues for which she feels strongly about -- gender equality, for instance.
And since I lost two sisters to breast cancer, I am now tuned to Raden Galoh, a breast cancer survivor. Her blog is Onebreastbouncing.
My blog brothers include Anon fm.Miri who gives us poems, stories about his grandson, about Miri in his blog, Clemfour.
I also enjoy Zewt who is provocative, funny, hilarious, serious and very Malaysian. And Zewt is very successfully and gainfully employed.
What about Clark Gable of Pulau Duyong? I just can't seem to get enough of him.
And trust me -- he has a very good, very steady job.

This is blogosphere and I am talking about bloggers -- a subject Rehman Rashid decided to take on in his column in the NST (Tuesday, March 8).
I know Rehman. I still think I do.
But when I asked why he had made such unfair, generalised, stupid, mean and nasty remarks, I was given a "you mean you don't know Rehman?".
Here's what Rehman said of Acciaccatura, Ibu, Kak Teh, Sue, Elviza, Raden, Anon, Zewt and Clark Gable :

"The local blogosphere is the domain of life-challenged grumblestiltskins and disenfranchised pundits whose asinine maunderings only show why they should never have had day jobs in the first place.
"Rumour, inuendo, half-truths and damned lies are their stock-in-trade, and previously sacrosanct standards, principles and ethics are now laughable.
"Are they not entitled to their opinion? Of course they are, as much as everyone is entitled to ignore them. I would venture, however, that everyone has an opinion and a rectum, and not that many seem capable of telling one from the other."

But could he have meant Rocky, Jeff Ooi, Raja Petra, Sheih, Zahrin Yasin "Sang Kelembai", Ruhanie Ahmad, A Kadir Jasin, M Bakri Musa, Zorro or Tony Pua?
Oh, you know bloggers who are a pain in some people's backside?
Then again, was he directing those remarks at me, Nuraina? Perhaps, Susan Loone, Elizabeth Wong or Marina Mahathir?

All of us?
Then, I'd like to know -- really, why, Rehman?

So, Rehman, I know that it is your column. And NST encourages freedom of speech and expression. But shouldn't you be more specific? Say who you mean, brother. Simple.
It's like this -- Not all Muslims are terrorists. Not all Americans are stupid. Not all Malaysians are nice.

But, as someone said: That's just my rectum.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Tuesdays With Bapak (5)

Remembering Kak Eda: Nina's Story - Tuesday March 13 2007
Bapak lost his eldest child, Kak Piah to cancer in January, 1995. Last week on March 8, he lost another child, Kak Eda, also to cancer.
When Kak Piah died, he was devastated. Mak had passed on 4 years earlier, in June.
"How can I bury my daughter?', he had silently wept.
These days, Bapak floats in and out of his past. Some days, he would not remember names, faces and events. On other days, he would remember things so lucidly.
At his home now in Section 16, Petaling Jaya, Bapak lives with his wife, Habibah and my youngest sister, Nina, her husband, Mazlen and their two children, Sara Hamidah, 10 and Heikal Sufiyan, 6. Nina is due to deliver their third anytime now.
Although we visit him regularly, it is with Nina that he is in constant communication.
Bapak is usually in bed in his room downstairs.
The room used to be the study. He and our step-mom (whom we call Mak Cik) moved into it before Lalin's wedding in 1994 because the master bedroom was turned into the bridal suite.
Bapak decided to stay put downstairs. That had been his room since.
For quite some time now Nina would always tell us of Bapak's "quirky' days. Sometimes they are amusing. Sometimes they would make us so worried.
Like the time he had asked to visit his parents in Singapore. Or, when he asked why Mak had taken so long to come home.
We sometimes wonder whether he was always pulling a fast one on us.
Last week, when Nina walked into his room as he was lying in bed, to tell him about Kak Eda's passing, he looked at her, his eyes, glazed and blinking.
"Eda or Ena?", he had asked.
"Kak Eda, papa... Kak Eda is older than Kak Ena. She had cancer, remember, papa?", said Nina patiently.
He turned his face away.
And wept silently.

In this segment of Tuesdays With Bapak, I would like to introduce Nina. She has "penned"
something in memory of our beloved Kak Eda. This is her story:

"I paced up and down hoping that Kak Eda would be back from ITM that day. It was Ramadhan 1978. Hari Raya was about 2 weeks away and Kakak (Lalin) and I had not bought our Raya clothes.
I pestered Kakak to ask Kak Ena to get in touch with Kak Eda.Obviously, Kakak thought it was a silly idea because that would mean asking Kak Ena to drive all the way to ITM.
I justified my urgent request by saying that we would not be able to choose our Raya shoes with Abang Ani and Kak Ton because we would not know what clothes to match them with.
Kakak, a little impatient with her younger sister's pestering over such an inconsquential matter, told me to go read a book or something. To keep myself occupied.

She was sure Kak Eda would be back that weekend.
"And don't bother Mummy with our problem, ok?", she reminded me. It sure sounded like a warning.

For an 8 year-old, not having her Raya clothes in time for the celebration, was indeed a big problem.
Kak Piah had earlier brought us around to shop but the options were so limited. The clothes were either too girlish for me or too childish for Kakak who was 11.
So I begged Kak Piah to wait for Kak Eda to design our clothes. Kak Piah did not bother to argue with her youngest sister but cautioned me that we might not get our clothes ready by Raya.
Kakak agreed with Kak Piah and turned to me and said: "Tak tahu awak. Nanti kita tak ada Baju Raya".
I was adamant. I was sure Kak Eda would be back early. She had the Raya cookies to bake, hadn't she?

Baking Raya cookies and cakes was a responsibility Kak Eda had taken took over from Kak Olin who had left for England.
For a few years, Kak Olin fooled Kakak and I by using the same dough to bake cookies of different colours, shapes and toppings.
We later became wiser and made sure Kak Eda baked us the ones Kakak read from recipe books. Yes! The tarts, kurma gulung, biskut cornflakes and if we were lucky, the English cookies from the recipe books Kak Olin sent from England.

God must have answered my prayers that evening when my thoughts of Raya without new clothes were interrupted by a familiar figure at the door.
"Kak Eda!" I exclaimed. I could not contain my excitement and relief.
"Eh! Kenapa Nina? " She gave me a look that told me I had better have a good reason for welcoming her that way.
Kak Eda always knew when something was up with her younger sisters.

As a little girl, I knew Kak Eda was as indulgent with me as Kak Ena was. But she was the firm one.The disciplinarian who never tolerated me eating maggie mee, going around the house without taking my bath or doing my homework while the family was having dinner.
Kak Ena was the other extreme who gave in to my wants, whims and fancies. It was a blessing then that Kak Ena had just started work with NST .

Well, thank God Toys R Us had yet to arrive in Malaysia. Otherwise I would be spoilt-rotten.
I'd want to follow Kak Ena everywhere, even when she was out on her dates.
She indulged me.
In fact, there was a time when Kak Ena seemed to enjoy teasing me, saying that I was actually her daughter. And I believed her!

"Baju raya," I said, forlornly.
"Tak beli lagi?" Kak Eda asked Mummy. Before Mummy could explain, Kakak pulled Kak Eda aside and complained: "Tak cantik. We want you to design for us. You can get the idea from this book".

After Buka that night I showed Kak Eda the designs Kakak and I wanted. Kak Eda told us that if we had the same designs, we would look like 'Boria Bergerak Maju'.
She suggested that we had different designs with the same materials. We agreed. Kak Eda not only designed us three Baju Raya each but managed to convince Kak Piah's tailor to accept our orders.
We also helped bake cookies of our choice, and did so wearing the St Michael aprons which Kak Olin had sent.
No. This time the cookies were not of the same dough.
And so, that Raya, I had my tailor-made Baju Raya on time (apart from the Baju Kurungs Mummy had earlier made for us) and matching shoes from Kak Ton.
Now, I could show papa my new Raya things during our Raya morning visit.
They would bring him from wherever he was incarcerated, to the Jalan Bandar police station in KL to meet us.
I couldn't wait to tell him the story of our Baju Raya and the agonising wait for Kak Eda to come home from college.
Papa always loved listening to this trivia.
Oh! Yes. Papa is my father. The one whom Kak Ton had promised would come home the day after that fateful night.

(Kak Eda was one of my two elder sisters with whom I loved to tag along. She was fun and adventurous. Because Mummy was a not-so-young mother when she had me, Kak Eda took the role of those young/modern mothers.
She made sure I had my share of fun at playgrounds, picnic outings, funfairs (the annual funfair at ITM was something I demanded every year) and even on her monthly visits to the hairdresser - Guys and Dolls in Ampang.

Hari raya was also synonymous with her, particularly malam raya.
She would supervise Kak Azah in cleaning the house and Abang Kamal with the ayam goreng and ketupat.
She used to send me to bed early with Kak Ena but by the time I was 10, I proved to her that I was no longer a pest in the kitchen.

When Kak Eda decided to tie the knot in December 1981, I was happy to help with the wedding preparations - bunga telur, the red baju kebaya to match Abang Aziz's Baju Melayu and, of course, asking her every now and then about the "barang-barang" she bought as hantaran.
That was the fun part. The reality was that she was leaving us and moving out.
That would also mean -- malam raya without her.
She told me that it did not mean she was going to abandon us and not visit at all.
"What about malam raya?" I had asked. She just smiled.
That question must have lingered in her mind for some time, I presumed.
Kak Eda spent malam raya with us the following year after her marriage and left by train to join Abang Aziz in Johor Bahru later in the afternoon the next day.
After that, we never asked her to stay on for malam raya.
Mummy said that it was thoughtful of Abang Aziz to give permission but told us not to make such a request again. Kak Eda was already a wife and had obligations to fulfil - with that we became secondary to her.
True to a certain extent but not all the time.
When Mummy was hospitalised before her death on June 2 1990, Kak Eda was the one who was with me during the nights I was caring for Mummy throughout.
Perhaps, there was a reason why Kak Eda did not have children then.
It was also Kak Eda who stayed with Kakak and I at home for a month after Mummy's death and made sure that our faith kept us going.

The last time I was with Kak Eda, we talked about the Rahmat to an unborn child if the mother regularly recites the Quran.
That, I could not agree more. I see that in her children.

It was also odd. I had never stayed long at her house during my visits due to my advanced pregnancy.
That evening, I did. I was joined later by Kak Ton and Kak Ena who stayed on after I did.
Kak Eda served us Kueh Teow soup. Then Abang Aziz bought some satay.
Everyone, including Abang Aziz and their kids tucked in. It was a load of fun.
We talked about everything under the sun -- from family, friends and current issues.
When Kak Eda wanted to go to bed, I realised it was already way past 10pm.
As I kissed her hand for the last time, she stared at me and whispered that I need not visit her if it meant I had to drive.
I assured her that my tummy had not reached the steering wheel. That was a lie.
She told me to drive carefully. I looked back and said: " Ok. I won't drive anymore and will visit you when Mack (my husband) comes back from Perak."
Yes. I did come and visit her with Mack the next week. This time to recite the yassin beside her lifeless body. Heeding her last advice to me).

Monday, March 12, 2007

Thoroughly Modern Monarch and...Blogger

Introducing Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan
Of course, we didn't know that this queen blogs. She does. Last week, on International Women's Day -- the day women bloggers were described as liars -- Her Majesty, known not only for her beauty, but, certainly, her brains as well and her untiring charity work for women and children in Jordan -- blogged about the woman who has inspired her. She wrote about Maha Abdel Waham:

"Last year in Jordan, many remarkable women and girls from all corners of the world gathered together to launch the Global Action Women's Network for Children - a new initiative to tackle some of humanity's oldest tragedies. Chief among them are the needless deaths of millions of mothers and babies every year...and the wasted potential of tens of millions of girls who are kept out of school.
The statistics are seared into our memories; the stories behind them are sealed in our hearts.
Maha Abdel Wahab, is one young woman from the Ibb province in Yemen, who I had the privilege to meet.
Her spirit and her stamina really inspired me. Her tale of courage and determination will, I believe, really inspire you.
In a country where the majority of girls do not finish Primary Education, Maha overcame tremendous odds to complete school... walking many kilometers everyday... suffering physical and psychological hardship... straining relations in her own family and community... she even learned how to sew so that she could earn money to buy her own school books.
Today, Maha is flourishing at university. Maha maintains that she could not have done it without two special women: her mother, whose unfailing love and support, and whose unshakable belief in the power of education spurred her through Primary and Secondary School.
And Donna Shalala, of the Global Action Women's Network for Children, who listened to Maha's incredible story of perseverance and is now generously funding her degree in Psychology at the University of Thamar in Yemen.
Half way through her first year, Maha is already dreaming of a Masters, and how she can use her education to weave together a vibrant fabric of support for even more young Yemeni girls-and I am sure that she will.
The helping hands of her mother and Donna, whose initial stitches helped one very special young lady, are now forming part of a larger, richer quilt of success for many others.
For me, this proves what possibilities abound when we take the time to reach out, pull up, and pass on the gift of strength.On this International Women's Day, I urge you to ask yourself what you are going to do to make a girl or a woman stand taller and stronger. "

Queen Rania, 36, is Chair of the Jordan River Foundation.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Lying Women Bloggers

Tengku Adnan Said So
In January, Indonesian journalist Nila Tanzil came to Malaysia as part of a 17-member Indonesian media delegation who was invited to cover Visit Malaysia Year, and specially the Floral Fest.
Nila was representing SCTV.
She came here with full credentials to do a story about beautiful Malaysia.
She had high expectations but was deeply disappointed because she was up against bureaucratic ineptness and did not get the co-operation she needed from Tourism Malaysia's personnel to enable her to do her job.
Nila is also a blogger. She expressed her disappointment in her blog.

Obviously, our Tourism Minister was not amused. When asked about Nila's comments, he shot back. He was quoted by a Chinese language newspaper.
Elizabeth Wong posted this in her blog. Unless the translation is inaccurate, this is what he said:

"Bloggers are liars. They use all sort of ways to cheat others. From what I know, out of 10,000 unemployed bloggers, 8,000 are women.
“Bloggers like to spread rumours, they don’t like national unity. Today our country has achievements because we are tolerant and compromising. Otherwise we will have civil war.
“Malays will kill Chinese, Chinese will kill Malays, Indians will kill everybody else.”
He asked people not to believe bloggers and gamble away Malaysia’s future because 50 years of Merdeka (Independence) takes a lot to achieve it.
“We have to show to the people our positive attitude. If the world learns from us, there will be peace and no civil war."

Read what my sisters Kak Teh, Susan Loone and Marina have to say. But, don't take their word for it. They are, after all, women bloggers.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Farewell, My Sister...

In Loving Memory
Kak Eda was buried at the USJ Muslim cemetery last night. Before that, her body was taken to the Al-Falah Mosque near Taipan in USJ, to be bathed and prepared for burial. The Imam led the huge congregation in prayers for Allahyarhamah.
Her husband, Aziz and her children, Safiyah, Umar, Hajar and Mariam accompanied her on her final journey.
We will miss you, Kak Eda. Always.

Thank You
Some of you I know. Others I don't. It matters not. Thank you is all I am able to say. My father, sisters, brothers and I are deeply touched by the expression of condolences and sympathy from friends, acquaintances and strangers.
We thank you all.
May God Bless You.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Allahyarhamah Kak Eda

My sister, Noraida Samad, passed away about 2.55pm today. I was with her. I held her hands. I saw her go.
Kak Eda had cancer. She was 51.
She leaves behind Aziz (her husband) and their four children - Safiyah 16, Umar, 14, Hajar, 13 and Mariam, 10.
Farewell, my sister.
May Allah SWT bless her soul.

Of Woman Born

International Women's Day 2007

A Tribute to Women

- " The mother's battle for her child—with sickness, with poverty, with war, with all the forces of exploitation and callousness that cheapen human life—needs to become a common human battle, waged in love and in the passion for survival."

- "Only to have a grief equal to all these tears!"

- "... this world gives no room to be what we dreamt of being" .

Quotes from poems by Adrienne Rich (20th century), U.S. author.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Tuesdays With Bapak (4)

Anak Komunis - Tuesday March 6 2007
The day looked promising. A crisp and cool morning. But I knew that it would be hot in the afternoon, as usual.
Did I want to go for lectures? That'd be better than staying cooped up in the room. Might as well.
Hope it won't rain later, though.
Last night was rotten.
Last night Bapak was on TV. Not the way anyone would've liked to see their father. I wished I had been home with Mak and everyone else.

At ITM (short for Institut Teknologi Mara), we were on high ground but days were hot.
That was why I always carried an umbrella and because I wore contact lenses, I needed to have on my Paloma Picasso-styled sun glasses.
In fact, I had just started wearing contact lenses earlier in the year and had got used to them.
It was unbearable in the beginning. I got them, tried them and they hurt. So I kept them out of my sight.
Not a good idea, Ah and Fati had said.
"You bought them to wear them, you vain girl and now you don't wanna wear them. How-lah you?", lamented Fati.
"Come, come, Ena. let us help you get used to them, ok?", chipped in Ah.
So, Ah (Zaharah Othman) and Fati (Fatimah Abu Bakar) made sure that I put the contact lenses on. Waited by my side to make sure that I did not take them off even though the lenses were stinging my eyes.
This went on until I got used to the lenses. After that, it was a breeze.
Wow, I could really see my face minus the glasses in the mirror.
I could see the world. I could see the guys.
Why couldn't I see the world and the guys before that?
How could I with my very thick prescription glasses? I must have been 10 years old when I started wearing glasses.
They got thicker over the years as my vision got worse.
It was okay when you were in an all-girls' school. Not so when you just started campus life where the boys were.
Anyway, I had always thought that even Raquel Welch would have looked ugly in my prescription glasses.
So, for a quite a while, I would only be wearing my glasses at home, in the hostel, in my room, when reading, driving, having my meals, with the girls and in class.
As soon as I stepped into the world outside, I would take my glasses off.
Which meant, of course, that I was very "rabun".
So when you could not see, you were quite handicapped. Although you could hear, you couldn't be so sure who among the many people was talking to you.
Someone would say "hi" to me and I couldn't see who in heaven's name it was.
It was not the best situation but heck, vanity reigned.
That was why I thought contact lenses were the best invention in that part of the 20th century.

I did not want to skip classes although I had a damn good reason to.
After the show on TV last night, I didn't want to be alone.
Couldn't go home. Maybe later I'd get a ride home from one of the lecturers.
Gotta see if Mak was okay. And the kids too.
Damn King Ghaz!

For now, I knew Ah and Fati would make me feel better.
There would be Mia, Ina, Riza, Tini and Kat who'd would want to be sure I was okay.
Thank God for good friends. They're the next best things after your own family.
In campus, they were your family.

I had not seen Bapak for more than 2 months since the morning of his arrest.
They said his detention was for an indefinite period.
What did that mean?
Was he still alive? Were they giving him anything to drink, to eat?
What were they giving him?
It was agonising. It felt like forever.
Worse when you were not told anything.
Time was really taking its time to just past by.
The police officers who came by our house several times after Bapak's arrest, were no help. Mak had pressed them for details.They couldn't give her any.
And ITM semester had started.

Last night, Bapak was on TV.
At least we knew he was alive.
Bapak confessed to being a communist, that he went by the name "Laniaz" which was "Zainal" backwards.
His confession was part of a special programme.
I had walked into our classroom where there was a TV and caught Bapak as he was speaking.
Bapak was seated as he spoke. I couldn't make out the room he was in. I couldn't make out anything. It was only his face and his voice I was seeing and hearing.
He looked so thin and was wearing the same chequered shirt that he was wearing the morning they took him away.
He was speaking slowly in Malay. But not in the way that he was known for.
So uncharacteristic of Bapak.
If Bapak spoke Malay, his accent was a cross between Bahasa Baku and Bahasa Indonesia.
"Saye mengaku bahawe saye....", I heard him say.
That's not him. What have they done to him?
He said many more things, about communist, mastermind, Singapore. Some names were mentioned. All so untrue.
How could they be true?
Ask us. Ask his chidren.
Ask Mak.
He is my father, for God's sake. I know him.
Lies, lies, lies.
After his confession, Ghazali Shafie said: "Ini lah manusia bernama Samad..."
"Manusia bernama Samad". How dare he!
Damn you.

I ran out. It was too much. It was unbearable.
Ah, Fati, Mia and gang came after me.
"It's okay, Ena..", they said.
I didn't sleep too well that night.

"Hey Anak Komunis!"
Say what? Did I hear that right?
I almost lost my footing as I was going up the steps at the School of Architecture, enroute to the 13th floor in the multi-storey building where the School of Mass Comm was.
It was not the shortest route but I decided to use it.
It was one of those mornings when you just did things without any good reason.

"Hey Anak Komunis!" again. A guy's voice. It was coming from the right.
And yes, I could see someone, his head bobbing in and out from behind the pillar.
Pengecut, I thought.
Aah. I could see the idiot now. He'd have been lucky a few months earlier for I would not have been able to see him.
But now I could see. Maybe it was better to be "rabun". Then I could pretend I couldn't see.
Too late to even mull over such things.
Now I could see other people as well. They quickly retreated into the classrooms.
But not that head behind the pillar.
I rushed to where I thought I saw the culprit, the coward.
But he was trying to make a quick dash. He was running away. I gave chase.
"Oi, mari sini. Oi, pengecut. Mari sini, kalau berani," I shouted as I ran after him.
He had gone. Out of sight. I stopped not because I was tired.
There was no point in looking for that guy.
And it was not so easy chasing people when you were wearing heeled shoes.
I looked around. There were a few people, looking quite stunned.
I asked whether any of them knew that guy.
Someone nodded.
"You go and tell him to see me. I am in hostel two. Or 13th floor, multi-storey. Tell him to say whatever he said to my face," I instructed, my voice quivering.
I didn't wait for any response. I turned and walked slowly away.
Then, when I was out of their sight, I ran and ran.
Tears started streaming down my cheeks. My eyes began to sting.
Hell, where was Kak Eda? That guy must be one of her course mates.

"Anak Komunis. Anak Komunis".
I made my way to my classroom.
Would they be calling Lalin and Nina that too?
Azah and Kamal?
"Anak Komunis, Anak Komunis."
Damn you, King Ghaz!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Pasquale's Magpie

Anti-Singapore Blogger?
The incorrigible Pasquale has a hard-hitting post on our neighbour down south. Read what he has to say here. Or click on

Fighting Graft

No Mercy
I am happy that the Government is investigating separate cases of alleged corruption and abuse of power involving a senior civil servant and a senior politician .
It shows commitment. It shows that the government means business. No pussyfooting here.
Early last week ACA head Zulkipli Mat Noor was at the centre of allegations of corrupt practices, misuse of government facilities and sexual abuse.
The person making the allegations is former Sabah ACA chief Mohamad Ramli Manan, who has since retired.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has ordered a full probe as he views "such news as serious".
Then, coming on the heels of this were allegations of bribery involving Deputy Internal Security Minister Mohd Johari Baharum.
He was alleged to to have accepted a RM5 million in inducements for the release of three Emergency Ordinance detainess.
The government has indeed acted swiftly to investigate the allegations against Johari made anonymously to the ACA and posted on the internet.
Hmm. Very speedy action. Very serious view of these allegations.
Johari said these allegations are unfounded. They were posted in the internet, for God's sake.
Nevertheless, he is willing to be investigated.
Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said investigations will be carried out without "fear or favour".
"A criminal is still a criminal no matter who he is. We will not let him escape punishment," he remarked.

Well. Whew! I must say that I was taken quite by surprise by this sudden exposure of misuse and abuse. One after another.
I don't know whether I can take anymore of this.
That said, I am proud that the government practises what it preaches. That it is unhesitant in acting against its senior officers and political leaders.
And taking seriously allegations made anonymously in the internet.