Saturday, August 30, 2008

Selamat Menyambut Hari Merdeka!

I wish all Malaysians a very happy Independence Day!

And to our beloved country -- "A happy 51st Merdeka"

Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!

Bapak's Turn For The Worse....

"We're making him as comfortable as possible....just pray (for him)...." Dr Ridzwan said when I asked about Bapak's condition since he he took a turn for the worse this morning.

"Should we be prepared for the worst?," I asked.
Dr Ridzwan hesitated momentarily. Then, almost whispering, said: "We're doing our best....just pray for him.."

Bapak's lung infection has made a comeback and has spread to his other organs.

He was ok up until 7am today. Then he had trouble breathing and his blood pressure went low.
He can breathe on his own but is on respiratory support.

Bapak has been at the ICU (Pantai Medical Centre) for almost a week now.

He showed some improvement earlier, but today his condition worsened.

But we remain hopeful...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Big Mistake, MCMC..

..for blocking the the popular news portal, Malaysia Today.

“Because we found that some of the comments on the website were insensitive bordering on incitement," -- Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission chief operating officer Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi.

Big bad mistake, Sharil.

And you know why!!

Now, meanwhile, check out Rocky's Google, Go Away!

Anwar Sworn In As MP..

Comeback kid Anwar Ibrahim was sworn in this morning at the Dewan Rakyat.

The Parti Keadilan Rakyat adviser and de facto leader is now officially parliamentary Opposition leader.

Read Tok Mommy HERE.

If Bapak Had The Strength.....

..he'd get himself discharged from hospital this very minute.

The minute he regained consciousness and was able to open his eyes, he showed his displeasure at being bed-ridden at the ICU (Pantai Medical Centre).

Still weak, but that message he managed to get across to us yesterday.

Dr Ridzwan told us that he's made further progress today. He is still too weak to eat on his own. So, he's still fed nutrition using a stomache tube.

Although his lung and blood infection is under control, it is not cleared yet.

Well, any improvement, no matter how little, is good news.

Dr Ridzwan is still not allowing visitors because Bapak is still weak and sometimes, confused.

When he is not (confused), Bapak shows his absolute exasperation with all the tubes in his arms and neck, and the mask that is helping him with his breathing.
He is still unable to talk but tries very hard to.

So, he uses his hands to express himself.
He is weak but is able to move his hands, though quite slowly. And we can see him mustering all his strength to use his hands to communicate with us. Like telling us that he doesn't like to be in hospital.

"Bapak nak balik rumah?", Kak Olin gently asked him.

He nodded, his eyes glazed. Teary almost.

"So, you must get better...the tubes and the breathing mask will help get you better and Bapak boleh balik...ok?"

He nodded. This time, he smiled, his weak hand firmly gripping Kak Olin's.

PKR's Win In Permatang Pauh Won't Be Repeated Elsewhere...

So, if you people think that the victory of Parti Keadilan Rakyat in Permatang Pauh will set a trend nationwide, you sure have another think coming.

That would pretty much sum up the view of our Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. He said:

The result of the Permatang Pauh by-election, which was won by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, cannot be interpreted as a trend that can happen in other constituencies.

“What happened in Permatang Pauh was not something so big as to change the situation that exists after the last general election."

The prime minister, who is also BN chairman, told this to reporters after sending off Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah at the Senai Airport in Johor Bahru yesterday.

Here's the rest of his remarks in NST:
"Barisan Nasional (BN) which won 140 parliamentary seats in the March 8 general election still commanded strong support from the people.

“The Permatang Pauh by-election is one by-election that cannot be interpreted as something that can happen in other constituencies. I believe we can still continue the government.”

So looks like you people have to simply banish any illusions of grandeur for PKR's future.

hat sweet victory in Permatang Pauh?
Well, it will remain in Permatang Pauh....

Indeed, indeed. Of course, the PM has a point.

But you know, the "impossible" happened in the March 8 GE. FOUR states fell to the Opposition. And, oh dear, the BN failed to capture Kelantan.

Looks like nothing has changed. Or perhaps, all these remarks are just for the record.

Now, if that's (actually) the BN thinking down the line, I think that's delusional that can be so suicidal.

*In the Aug 26 by-election, Anwar, who is PKR de facto leader, won the parliamentary seat with a 15,671-vote majority, garnering 31,195 votes against the BN’s Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah, 51, who obtained 15,524 votes.
The other candidate, Hanafi Mamat, 61, of Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia (Akim) lost his deposit as he only received 92 votes.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Anwar's Return To Parliament..

Anwar Ibrahim will take his place in the Dewan Rakyat tomorrow after a 10-year hiatus.

According to Malaysiakini,
Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia has announced that Anwar will be sworn in as the new Member of Parliament for Permatang Pauh tomorrow.

He made the announcement this morning.

Anwar won the Permatang Pauh seat in the by-election yesterday with a majority of 15,671.

The de facto Parti Keadilan Rakyat leader is also expected to be appointed parliamentary opposition leader for the 81 Pakatan Rakyat MPs.

Malaysiakini, quoted PKR information chief Tian Chua as saying that Anwar's presence in the House "is a real morale boost for the Pakatan Rakyat in Parliament."

"It Is Time To Face The Music: It Is We Who Have Been Buried.."

The words of Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, immediately after the results were known.

"Today, five months after we met with the biggest general election loss in our history, Umno has suffered a landslide loss at Permatang Pauh. This despite the mobilization of the entire leadership and resources of a party that has held the machinery of government without pause for 50 years.
This despite a campaign that embarrassed and divided the nation with its ugliness.

"It is time to face the music: it is we who have been buried."

And the rest of his statement:

Our leadership is rejected by the rakyat and, moreover, is rejected by our own members. BN’s vote count was less than the number of Umno members in the constituency.

- Within and among our component parties we ran a poorly coordinated and listless campaign against a motivated Opposition.

- What scraps of credibility the Prime Minister and his Deputy had left after March 8 are gone.

Today’s report card, delivered to a Prime Minister who is accountable also as liaison chief of Umno Penang and chairman of BN, is impossible to hide: he does not have the minimal credibility needed to run the country day by day, let alone to take it in the new directions we need to go in a complex world. He may not have the credibility needed to keep the country together. This dangerous situation cannot continue, and it will not.

I appeal to the members of Umno and of BN’s component parties to stand by Umno in our hour of crisis, and to take a sober historical perspective. The people of Malaysia and along with them, Umno’s ordinary members, have found their democratic voice. They demand leadership that can be trusted to unite our people, to restore confidence in our institutions, and forge a clear national direction. Today is proof that this wave cannot be held back. Umno must change. We must begin by renewing our party leadership. I am confident that by December, we shall."

Now, wasn't this the same kind of message that was sent before the March 8 general election and in the aftermath of Umno's (and Barisan Nasional's) devastating performance?

Also read Rocky's Bru and Another Brick In The Wall.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Landslide Victory For Anwar..

LATEST: from Permatang Pauh at 11.20pm:
Anwar obtained 31,195, winning by a majority of 15,671 votes. Arif Shah obtained 15,524 votes and Hanafi Mamat, 92.
There were447 spoilt votes.

My earlier post:
Still counting, And Anwar is ahead by more than 17, 000 votes. Bigger than the majortiy his wife and Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail obtained. She won by more than 13,000 votes in the March 8 general election.

Tuesdays With Bapak

Will We Hear Your Laugh Again? -- August 26 2008

When we left you late last night, you were trying to open your eyes but you couldn't.

We knew you were trying so hard but the drug was just too strong for you.

Perhaps, you should listen to the nurse --"don't fight it, go with it."

So, Bapak, go with it. Slowly, you'll come around ..

We know you can hear us now, Bapak.

Dr Ridzwan texted me this morning to say that you are now breathing on your own but you are still very weak.

He has ordered that you will not be allowed visitors, except close relatives.

I suppose, we have to abide by your doctor's orders, haven't we?

It is for your own good, Bapak. We know you like to hear familiar voices and a little noise...

Perhaps, later, when you have regained whatever little strength that you have..

And did we detect your lips quivering last night, as though you were attempting to smile when you heard our voices.

And, Bapak. Please try not to pull the tube out of your mouth. It will only cause you pain. And, no, no....don't try to rip the drip from your hand. Besides, you really can't pull these tubes out...your senses are numb, remember?

We watched you. So frail now. So thin. Lying helpless on the hospital bed.

But, you know what....we think you're going to be ok.. just hear your laugh again....

Bapak, here's Jalaluddin A-Rumi's poem (your favourite):

I sought a soul in the sea
And found a coral there;
Beneath the foam for me
An ocean was all laid bare.

Into my heart's night
Along a narrow way
I groped; and lo! the light,
An infinite land of day.

*Bapak is in the Intensive Care Unit Of the Pantai Medical Centre.

Anwar Sure Menang In Permatang Pauh...

I'm not a gambler. Taking bets on election results (always for fun) doesn't make me one. Does it???

Anyway, because I'm no gambler, I took a bet of RM50 that Anwar Ibrahim wins the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat.
It doesn't take a keen or seasoned political observer or a clairvoyant to make that conclusion.
So clear. A foregone conclusion....

And you're wondering who that loser was who took the bet with me?

But, okay. I'll mouth what everyone will hasten to remark -- "it's a matter of how much majority Anwar will get..."

Can Anwar garner more than the (more than) 13,000 majority as did his wife and PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Ismail did in the March 8 general election?

Even the PKR camp has said that it would be tough for Anwar. We'll just have to wait and see, won't we?

Now...what's the oft-repeated line? A win is a win even by one vote. Or something like that.
(Of course, a very slim majority is another story for another day.)

*The three candidates for the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat are Parti Keadilan Rakyat Adviser and de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, 61, Umno's Seberang Jaya state assemblyman Arif Shah Omar Shah, 52 and Mr Kacau Daun from Parti Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia (Akim) Hanafi Mamat, 61.

Total number of voters: 58,459
Ordinary voters: 57,969
Postal voters: 490

Malays: 69.4 %
Chinese: 24.5%
Indiana: 6 %
Others: 0.4%

Monday, August 25, 2008

Bapak Is "More Stable...."

I owe my friends in and outside blogosphere an apology for not posting about Bapak having been admitted to Pantai Medical Centre yesterday.

Firstly, because I didn't have time, and secondly, I felt I did not want to alarm people, including our friends ....

I was in Penang yesterday when my sister called me to say that Bapak had breathing difficulty and was rushed to the hospital.

I took the next available flight to KL.

My step-mum was with Bapak when she noticed that he had difficulty breathing.
She alerted my sisters -- Kak Ton, Kak Olin and Nina.

They quickly called an ambulance.

They were all so distraught because by the time the ambulance came, Bapak's eyes were already almost rolling up.

The doctor at Pantai Medical Centre told Kak Olin that any later and Bapak would have not made it.

Bapak had some fluid in his lungs which he could not cough out.

He was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where he was given sedation in order to stabilize his condition.

His doctor, Dr Ridzwan Abu Bakar told me today that Bapak's condition is "more stable" and he is slowly being taken off the sedation.

But he is not out of the woods yet. We pray for his recovery, Inshallah.

Thank you, friends, for your concern and well wishes.

And thank you Rocky and Ashraf for publishing a posting on Bapak.

Friday, August 22, 2008

And On A Lighter, I Mean, Heavier Note....

Too much of the serious stuff. Pening kepala.

So, here's something for you. Nothing new and it's certainly not exclusive to New's universal-lah.

Out Of Shape Wives Beware! Married Men Going For Younger Look

NEW DELHI, Aug 22 (Bernama) -- Out of shape wives beware! Married men are now spending more on their looks to become trimmer, fitter and more sexy and, at the same time, these men are also attracted to women with similar characteristics.

Health experts in the capital city are of the opinion that there is an increasing concern among married men to look slimmer and smarter, an obsession they attribute to the evolution of MNCs and increasing westernisation of the Indian culture.

On the flip side, there has been ironically a downward shift in the number of beauty-conscious Indian women as they generally get busy with their household affairs, ignoring their physical appearance altogether, resulting in being out of shape.

"Today, the prosperity among Indian men begins at an early age, where they are slightly balding, confident, mature and wealthy. At this prime of their career, they are going for cosmetic surgeries, skin toning, facials and massage, which we have never heard them doing before," says eminent Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon, Dr Devansh, Max Healthcare hospital.

"It's natural to be attracted by a young secretary or a female employee in your office who works closely with you, taking care of your business and projects," the Press Trust of India (PTI) quoted another plastic surgeon Dr R Khajanchi, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

However, experts say there are many cosmetic therapies and procedures available through which a woman can regain her looks and shape, which includes botox, fillers, tummy tucks and liposuction.- BERNAMA

So, can wives also get tired of their out-of-shape husbands?

Are Police Investigating Blogger Sheih For Sedition?

According to Bernama, police are reported to be investigating the blogger who, on Aug 4, suggested in his blog that the people fly the national flag upside down to show that the country was in a state of "emergency".

It seems he is being investigated under the Sedition Act.

I believe Bernama is referring to blogger Sheih who posted his "Nation In Distress" in his blog Kickdefella on Aug 4

Bernama's mention of the police action was in the last paragraph of its report below:

Laws Needed To Protect Country's Symbol

BUKIT MERTAJAM, Aug 22 (Bernama) -- Malaysia should have laws to protect the country's symbols to ensure that they are not toyed with, Deputy Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said.

"Prior to this, the Negaraku had been toyed with and now there are people suggesting that the Jalur Gemilang be flown upside down. We must take action to teach those intending to fool around with the country's symbols a lesson," he told reporters after launching the "Fly the Jalur Gemilang" campaign at the Butterworth-Kulim highway toll plaza here Thursday.

He said that although it was not the best solution, action must be taken against those who disrespected the country's symbols, like the flag and anthem.

On Aug 4, a blogger suggested in his blog that the people fly the national flag upside down to show that the country was in a state of "emergency".

Prime minister had described the blogger as ill-mannered.

Police are reported to be investigating the blogger under the Sedition Act.

The Sedition Act?

Was it because the PM actually referred to Sheih's posting as "evil"?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

In Memory : Nurin Jazlin Jazimin

Exactly a year ago, eight year-old Nurin Jazlin was abducted near her home in Section One, Wangsa Maju, after visiting a night market with her sister.

Twenty-eight days later, her sexually ravaged body was found in a sports bag outside a shoplot in PJS 1, Petaling Jaya.

Her killer was never found.

The beast is out there. Free to strike again.

For dear Nurin - Al-Fatihah.

(Tomorrow, Nurin's parents, Jazimin Abdul Jalil and Norazian Bistaman, they will be filing a suit at the Kuala Lumpur High court against the police and the government.

They will be seeking damages, a public apology and retraction of the newspaper article linking the family with loan sharks. They are seeking an apology and damages for lack of security which led to the circulation of Nurin's post-mortem photographs.

Read the NST report HERE.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tuesdays With Bapak

Going To The Movies -- August 19 2008

I know I enjoyed going to the cinema when I was young. It was always with Bapak or my older siblings. In later years, I'd go to the cinema with my siblings or a couple of good friends.

It was always a great outing for us, kids.

If it was with Bapak, we'd go by car. If Kak Ton or Kak Piah wanted to take us, we'd take the bus from PJ to Foch Avenue in KL.

It would either be a long car or bus trip to KL, or short one to the PJ cinemas.
When we were in Section five (PJ), we'd walk to Majestic or State cinemas in Old and New PJ town respectively. After we moved to Section 16 (PJ), we'd take the Sri Jaya number 43 or 36 bus to PJ.

The earliest movie that I remember Bapak taking me to was a thriller about a man who had powers to go through a wall. I must have been about five or six years old. I'm not sure of the title but it could be "The Fourth Man". It was at Majestic cinema at Jalan Othman, Old PJ.

I don't have much memory of it, except that I was dozing off all the time. I remember Bapak was reluctant to take me because it was an evening show and he was going there with a friend. But I would not take "no" for an answer so Bapak had to relent. Poor Bapak.

Mak warned Bapak to watch out for me because of my habit of falling asleep in the cinema.

I also remember Mak's youngest sister, Latifah whom we call Mak Busu, taking the lot of us to see a Malay movie, "Tanggang" at Coliseum.

I could later connect the rationale behind mothers often telling their children "jangan jadi macam Si-Tanggang". In other words, "jangan derhaka kepada ibu". More or less like THIS.

Among the most memorable films I watched as a kid were "The Sound Of Music" and "How The West Was Won" and a little later, "James Bond - From Russia With Love" and "Dr Zhivago".

And how can I ever forget Hindi classics "Sangam" and "Bobby" at the Coliseum, on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, then known as Batu Road?

As a teenager, you'd catch me at the State cinema with Kak Eda, going for the latest Mandarin sword-fighting movie.

We used to be fluent in Mandarin and until today, Mandarin period movies remain my all-time favourite.

In my teens, Kak Ton never missed any of Christopher Lee's "Dracula" films. So, she'd drag us all along with her to where Count Dracula was -- which was either the Odeon or the Federal.

Every time after a Dracula movie, we'd get into this unexplained "takut" mode.

Once at home, we'd all be doing things together. Sleep together on a mattress at night, go together to the kitchen if we felt like that late-night glass of Milo, and we would have someone wait outside the bathroom for any one of us.

Yes, I'd get nightmares all the time. And I'd still want to go for the next Dracula film.

Reflecting, I can laugh about how tame they really were compared to the horror movies of today.

Kids today think nothing of going to the Cineplex, Golden Screen Cinema or Tanjong Golden Village theatres to watch any one of the 10 movies showing. In fact, they can choose to see one movie after another.

In those days, only one movie would usually be screened for the 1pm, 3pm, 6pm, 9pm and midnight shows. And then they'd have a Sunday matinee.

I stand corrected, but those days, normal seats would each cost between 80 cents and maybe $1.15 and the reserve seats upstairs would each cost between $1.80 and $2.

And there would always be a massive congestion at the parking areas because, once you got in, you'd have to wait for the show to be over to get out. So if you were going in for a show, you'd have difficulty entering the parking area.

But I suppose, that was how things were so people accepted it as a norm.

I remember that we would always be reminded to go to the toilet at home before going to the movies because the toilets at the cinemas were horrendous.

Aah... the downside of our movie outings.

As I got older, and the city began changing and got more congested, I didn't relish the thought of going to the movies because of a variety of reasons such as traffic jam and/or parking problem.

A couple of cinemas were built near Bapak's place (Sentosa cinema) and later my own home (Ria cinema). They were not too bad, a little more modern than the "archaic" cinemas. I'd catch shows there whenever good ones were screened.

I remember going to Ria to catch the evening show of "Gandhi" with my old friend, Zainah Anwar.

But, most of the time, I'd rent video tapes.

My first introduction to sack theatres and an upgraded and sophisticated kind of movie-going was as a student in Boston, Massachusetts in 1980.

It was a totally new and enjoyable experience. And I was born-again movie-goer.

I think sack theatres came to KL and were popularised in the late 80s. Awesome, I thought. Revolutionized movie-going for movie buffs.

One Sunday last year, I took Adel and Shaira for lunch at the old Coliseum Restaurant on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. Oh, just to relive some glorious past.

Indeed, it was nothing like the contemporary-styled restaurants that kids these days are so used to.

After lunch, on our way to the car park near the EPF building, we passed by the Coliseum cinema.

I gave my kids a running commentary of its history and reminisced my movie-going days.

I could see them trying to form pictures in their mind of their mother queuing up for tickets in a place so far removed from the kind of cinema with which they are so familiar.

They could not imagine the "hardship" I would have to go through just to watch a movie.

"Didn't they have the same shows being screened near where you lived?", Shaira asked.

Yes...indeed. How our lives and lifestyle so differ. And even in this era of cineplexes, Adel is thankful for DVDs.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Whose Penyangak Are They?

You know the ones wearing Parti Keadilan Rakyat t-shirts who were reported to have attacked two photographers - Mohd Sairien Nafis, 26 of NST and Halim Berbar (foreign media).

This is not the first time we've got reports that supporters purportedly from PKR had roughed up Press photographers as well as Barisan Nasional campaigners.

I say purportedly until it has been proven that these guys are PKR supporters.

It's good to know that PKR is taking a serious view of the matter. If these guys are PKR's members, then Anwar, PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and the party's leaders should get tough on them.

PKR de facto leader and a Permatang Pauh by-election contender, Anwar Ibrahim said that the party will launch an investigation into this latest attack on the two photographers outside the nomination centre in Permatang Pauh Friday.

Malaysiakini quoted him in in Penang yesterday, saying that no one should jump to the conclusion that the perpetrators are PKR members.

Here's the report:

“The mainstream media, (such as state-owned) RTM, will immediately apportion the blame to us. I say, let us investigate and punish those perpetrators, irrespective they are from Pakatan Rakyat or Barisan Nasional,” he said when asked to comment on the incident.

Anwar, who is PKR candidate for the Aug 26 by-election, held a 45-minute press conference at the Yayasan Aman building in Permatang Pauh this morning.

The building is the party’s main election operation room for the by-election, where Anwar is seeking to make a comeback to Parliament after an absence of 10 years.

Referring to a similar incident earlier this month where a female photographer was assaulted by alleged PKR members, Anwar said an investigation later found the perpetrators were not linked to the party. (See photo by TheSun)

He said despite the culprits were not PKR members, his wife and party president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail had apologised to the victim in recognition of the importance of the media.

“My point is that the mainstream media is at fault for presenting a biased case, not only that, but malicious attack (against PKR),” said Anwar, before he spoke at length on how the media had been unfair to him and the opposition.

Photographer injured, lost his camera

He took a journalist from Berita Harian, an Umno-linked Malay daily, to task when he asked Anwar whether the ‘samseng’ (gangster) culture was now prevalent in PKR.

Berita Harian said this ‘samseng’ culture is now prevalent in PKR (but) when (Umno Youth deputy chief) Khairy Jamaluddin and gang threw bottles, they were not at fault,” the PKR leader shot back.

“This is the Berita Harian culture which must be corrected because it is slanderous and treacherous to defend corruption and cruelty,” he added.

Anwar was apparently referring to the incident of throwing mineral water bottles, sticks and flag poles during the nomination of the hotly contested Ijok by-election in Selangor in April last year.

In the latest assault yesterday, a New Straits Times (NST) photographer and a French photo-journalist were attacked by a group of people allegedly to be opposition supporters.

The 26-year-old NST photographer Mohamad Sairien Mohamad Nafiz, who suffered bodily injuries, also lost his RM15,000 Canon digital camera, according to a NST report today.

The French journalist meanwhile were said to have sustained head and leg injuries.

The incident took place when the duo were leaving the nomination centre at around 1.30pm and was attempting to take photos of a rowdy group harassing several BN workers in a pick-up truck.

The attack continued until a PKR member came to their rescue, said Mohamad Sairien.

Police: We’ve five witnesses

State PKR secretary Abdul Malik Abdul Kasim was quoted in the NST report as saying that he regretted the incident but added that the party could not ascertain who the assailants were.

He however added that they have reasons to believe that there could be groups which wanted to implicate the party in the attack.

In a related development, a police spokesperson said that they were still in the midst of identifying the assailants of the two photographers but no arrest had been made.

Penang police’s public relation officer Shaharon Anuar Abdul Latif told a press conference at the Central Seberang Perai district police headquarters today that the police have received two complaints in relation to yesterday’s incident.

He said there were five witnesses of the attack.

You can also read the NST reports here and here.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

And Hanafi Makes Three...

It is now a three-cornered fight in the Aug 26 Permatang Pauh by-election.

The third candidate is Hanafi Hamat, the president of PAS splinter party Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia (Akim).

He faces Parti Keadilan Rakyat de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim and Umno's Arif Shah Omar Shah (Seberang Prai state assemblyman).

Here's the Malaysiakini story:

It is not going to be a straight fight between PKR and Barisan Nasional for the Permatang Pauh by-election on Aug 26. In fact it will be a three-cornered fight.

It could have been a four-cornered fight but PKR 'spare tyre' Dr Mansor Othman pulled out of the race during the objection period.
His candidacy was part of a PKR contingency plan in the event of Anwar's nomination being rejected. As it stands now, PKR's Anwar looks a sure bet to win this seat which was vacated by his wife Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail on July 31. It was a move to get Anwar back into Parliament after an absence of 10 years.

His most potent challenger is still BN's Arif Shah Omar Shah, a local man just like Anwar, as well as the incumbent Seberang Jaya state representative.
The third candidate is Hanafi Hamat (right), the president of PAS splinter party Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia (Akim). Arif Shah, 51, was the first to submit his nomination form.

Dressed in a yellow baju Melayu, he was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to the nomination centre at Dewan Aminuddin Baki of the Tuanku Bainun Teaching Institute.

He submitted his nomination papers to returning officer Roslan Yahaya as soon as the centre opened at 9am.

‘I feel good'

He was followed by Anwar who wore a light blue baju Melayu. The opposition icon once again exuded confidence in winning the seat as he entered the nomination centre at about 9.05am.
"I feel good", Anwar replied when asked by Malaysiakini how he felt about contesting again after 10 years in hiatus.

Senior to Arif Shah by 10 years, Anwar was the Permatang Pauh division chief at the time the former was its youth chief.

Anwar was sacked from Umno and government in 1998 and was subsequently charged and convicted on corruption and sodomy charges. He was released in 2004 and his political ban expired last April.

At the nomination centre today, the former deputy premier looked cheerful in the presence of his wfe, children, Pakatan leaders and thousands of his supporters.

Also present was PAS' spiritual leader Nik Aziz Nik Mat, who despite being unwell still insisted on being there.

BN also had a strong presence. Seen lending their support today were Gerakan acting president Dr Koh Tsu Koon, who is also Penang BN chairperson, MIC president S Samy Vellu, MCA vice-president Ong Tee Keat, BN Youth chief Hishammuddin Hussein, Wanita Umno vice-head Shahrizat Jalil and Umno information head Muhammad Muhamad Taib.

And if you like, you can click on NST HERE.

It IS A Conspiracy But, So What...

It is nomination day today in Permatang Pauh.
And the accuser of Anwar Ibrahim yesterday "bersumpah" on the Quran that the de facto Parti Keadilan Rakyat leader had sodomised him without his consent.

Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan said, no, the timing (eve of nomination day) of his "sumpah muhabalah" was not political.

Bollocks, Saiful.
I don't believe this boy. He ought to be smacked, I tell you.

(Anwar Ibrahim is contesting Permatang Pauh parliamentary constituency. He faces Umno's Seberang Jaya State Assemblyman Arif Shah Omar Shah.)

See. Everyone knows it IS a conspiracy to stop Anwar from getting anywhere near Putra Jaya. Anwar cannot be Prime Minister, period!

Anwar, since resuming his political activities, has been accused of being an agent of a foreign government.

But, the sodomy charge is something else, although this is not the first time Anwar faces such an accusation.
The spectre of 1998 is revisiting us.

But do you know whether or not he is a sodomite/sodomist.

I DON"T but some people are convinced he is.

Anwar's political foes may or may not believe that he is. He has enough enemies to make sure some things don't happen for him. Besides, Anwar has blazed the trail since "coming out", hurting certain political leaders along the way....

So, Anwar's enemies --whoever they maybe -- and those who believe that he is not fit to be PM want to prove that he is. They have to.

The line between who Anwar's enemies are, and those concerned about the fate of the country under a convicted sodomite/sodomist is a little blurred.

Without a conviction, Anwar has a future in Putrajaya because he is a popular figure. And at this point, a lot of unhappy, dissatisfied, disillusioned and disenchanted Malaysians are ready for A NEW DAWN.

Sodomy, as you know, my friends, is a crime. We cannot have a Prime Minister who is a convicted sodomite/sodomist. No, no. no.

So, it does not matter whether this whole circus is part of THE conspiracy to kill Anwar's career.
The court does not care about conspiracies. Just whether Anwar is a sodomite/sodomist or not.
Did he or did he not sodomise Saiful?

And because it IS a conspiracy, I imagine Anwar's lawyers are good and ready to fight the case.

But....if Anwar is FINALLY convicted of the charges framed against him, it really does not matter whether or not you believe that he is.
The important thing is that, he'll be finished. And unless Anwar has got nine lives, he'll be like the proverbial Phoenix....he'll rise from the ashes.

That said.....if I were Anwar, I'd stop all this babble that Saiful was forced to do this and that by the police and that it IS a conspiracy. We all know that it is a conspiracy. It cannot be anything else.

What I'd do -- and I am not Anwar, is I'd take that oath.

But I suppose, Anwar knows that even if he did, it would not matter to his conspirators.

So, is a conspiracy, but.... so what?

For a detailed account of Saiful's "sumpah" and his Q&A with reporters, read it HERE at Tok Mommy.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Anwar's "Merdeka"...

That's his campaign theme.

It's now or never, says Parti Keadilan Rakyat de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, to FREE the country of all the kezaliman, tyranny et al.

"We want to save our nation from all wrongdoings, mischief and oppressive governance," said Anwar at a rally in Kampung Kota, one of the many small villages that dot the Permatang Pauh constituency.

He faces Arif Shah Omar Shah, the Seberang Jaya state assemblyman, in the Aug 26 by-election.

Anwar wants the voters to help put him on the road to Putrajaya to save the country from all that's wrong .

Can Anwar save us all? Is he the one?


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Good Luck, Arif Shah!

Arif Shah Omar Shah is the Barisan Nasional candidate for the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat by-election.

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak made the announcement in Permatang Pauh Wednesday night.

Arif Shah is the assemblyman for Seberang Jaya, which is among the three state seats under the Permatang Pauh parliamentary constituency.

Read The Star report HERE.

But I can tell you that somebody else wants to be the one to fight Anwar. A not so little bird told me that this somebody thinks that he should be the preferred choice.
Ah. Problem, problem.


Meanwhile, I really really mean it... GOOD LUCK and ALL THE BEST, Arif Shah because you need it.

No dirty tricks now. Can backfire, you know.

And another thing - don't use the J-word in the contest.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Al-Fatihah: Ali Abdul Rahman..

Ucapan takziah to Aishah Ali and her sister, Saleha (two of my very dearest friends) and their family on the passing of their father, Ali Abdul Rahman early this morning.

I wanted to post on his passing but Aishah's phone was off soon after we spoke this morning and she did not get my text message until much much later.

Pak Ali died peacefully at his Johor Baru home. He was 82. He leaves behind a wife, Hafsah Abdul Rahim, six children and 10 grandchildren.

He used to work as customs officer in Singapore.

Aishah's and her siblings' mother, Rafiah Lajim, passed away in 1986 of lung cancer.

Aishah was the New Straits Times Women's editor before she was appointed editor of the Sunday Mail.
She left NSTP in 2006 and is now a media consultant and freelance writer.

Saleha was NST entertainment and later, features editor before she left the newspaper, also in 2006. She is now an editor with a lifestyle magazine.

Pak Ali was also grand-dad to Joe Flizzow (of Too Phat). Joe is the eldest of Aishah's (and her husband Ishak Nengah's) three children.

I used to see Pak Ali at Aishah's Subang Jaya home during kenduri or other gatherings.

I have been told (by Aishah and Pak Ali himself) that Pak Ali had met Bapak when he accompanied his colleague, Ramli Ishak to the Utusan Melayu office in Singapore way back in the 50s. (The late) Ramli was a younger brother of Yusuf Ishak, the Utusan Melayu boss and Singapore's first President.
(Ramli later married Aishah's aunt.)

AL FATIHAH. My doa for arwah. May Allah SWT bless his soul dan semoga dia berada di sisi orang-orang yang beriman, Inshallah! And to Kudu, Bee, Neng, Aman and the rest of your siblings....hang in there...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Wanita Umno's "Jihad" Against Anwar stop him from achieving his dream and personal glory, said its deputy chief, Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.

In The Star report, Shahrizat did not name Anwar but referred to him as an ambitious individual.

Hmm. How come? We know she meant Anwar.

Anyway, she was further quoted by The Star as saying that it is a jihad because "this individual" (read:Anwar) should not be given the chance to destroy the country’s political stability and prosperity.

"If we allow him to lead the country, he would lead us to destruction,” she said after launching the Barisan Nasional Wanita Permatang Pauh by-election machinery here on Monday.

Shahrizat said Anwar "would do everything possible to become the Prime Minister at the expense of the people’s welfare and the country’s stability.

“The wing views the by-election as a critical election not just for Barisan Nasional but also for the whole country and its people."

Read The Star report HERE.

A "jihad", eh?

Hope you ladies know what you're doing.

Tuesdays With Bapak

Rest House Blues - August 12, 2008

When Loy first got the contract to operate the National Press Club's food and beverages a couple of years ago, I had no opinion of him or his capabilities. That was until I found out that he's a "damn good cook" who could whip up "a damn good" mee hailam.

"You mean like the mee hailam in those rest houses?", I asked.

"Yeah, the mee hailam served at the old Coliseum Restaurant on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman...", someone said.

"Yeah...also like the mee hailam at the Gazebo near the EPF in PJ-lah," another offered.

Oooh. I was bowled over. So Loy cooks mee hailam, the old "original" style. Brilliant, I thought, because the truth is, good mee hailam is hard to find.

In those days, you could get good mee hailam even in the office canteen. I remember as a child whenever Bapak brought us along to the old Straits Times office at Jalan Pudu, I would look forward to going to the canteen upstairs.

I'd not share my dish of mee hailam with anyone else because I could finish it off by myself, thank you very much.

I don't remember Bapak ever taking us out for "makan". If he did, those occasions were few and far between.
Unlike me today. I take my kids out for "makan" a lot. Eating out is part of our daily life, don't you think?
You name it, I'd probably have taken my kids or my nephews and nieces, there.
And we are so international these days, you'd think that pizza, pasta and tomyam are all Malaysian dishes.

I tell my kids that I got introduced to burgers when I was 12 years old. That was in 1968 when the first A&W came to town (Petaling Jaya). I knew of burgers from Archie comics and Popeye comic strips but I never knew what they really were until my first foray into the world of American cuisine. :)

My first experience with hot dog (at A&W, of course) was dismal. I didn't understand what it was. It looked strange and totally alien to me. I remember looking very perplexed and wondering aloud about "macam mana orang boleh makan ni?". I could not bring myself to take a bite of it. I didn't like the look of it, nor the texture. I think I took a very long time to get used to it.

I laugh every time I think about that. These days, kids take to hot dogs like nothing because they start their fast food foray even before they learn to crawl.
Hotdogs are served as kids' menu and are a must at their birthday parties.

I first ate pizza, I think, at a restaurant in one of the five or six-star hotels in KL. And I think it was in the mid 70s and it was served during an Italian food promotion. It was a real treat. Extravagant, I thought. Those days, you didn't see Italian restaurants around. These days, they're everywhere. And we're not even talking about Pizza Hut and Shakey's.

Remember those days when we thought our kids would not survive their study stints overseas because "tak ada nasi" and "tak ada sambal"?

Well, you and I know that those days are gone. Our kids can probably live overseas without a problem. And no, they won't be scouring Chinatown for spices.

Take my six year-old nephew, Haikal and my eight year-old grandnephew, Adam. They can live without rice and sambal. Their diet is Italian/American. Talk about colonization of our diet!

Bapak hardly ever took us out for "makan" simply because he himself hardly ever went out to eat except for the occasional "official" luncheons and dinners.

He'd try to be home for lunch and for dinner. And when he was home Sunday mornings, he'd cook us breakfast and lunch.

If Mak was not cooking dinner, Bapak would buy mee hailam at Gazebo, or satay, lontong, curry mee, assam laksa, or/and roast chicken at Medan Selera (in Section 14, PJ).

So, we mostly ate in.

One of the things I always looked forward to during our trips to Singapore was our stop-over at the Batu Pahat rest house.

I still remember the old white building with leafy branches covering the roof of the porch. I remember the Chinese waiters in their crisp white uniform.

In my young eyes, the place looked huge. Nothing opulent or fancy about it, though. Rest houses don't conjure fancy images.

The food was something else. I mean, this is 2008, more than three decades on and I can never forget the mee hailam. And to go with my mee hailam, I'd have a nice bottle of Green Spot.

In our modern life, I suppose we have no need for rest houses. Or gentle old waiters in crisp white uniforms. Or good mee hailam, it seems.

The Batu Pahat is no more, I've been told.

In our trips down south these days, we look out for those rest areas along the North-South expressway. They don't serve good food but they're okay.

When Bapak was a little less frail some months ago, I asked him whether he'd like a good dish of mee hailam. I told him I could pack some at the Press Club for him.

His eyes lit up. He asked whether Loy's mee hailam was any good. I told him "macam rest house punya."

He smiled. The closest to a good mee hailam for him was my step-mum's hokkien mee.

"Lain kali-lah," he said.

Looks like I'd better pack some for him real soon!

And I also wish Loy a long life.....

Monday, August 11, 2008

Zulkifli Noordin Not Under ISA Detention...

I got a text message over the weekend that Zulkifli was arrested by police. No one mentioned ISA, though. Obviously, I must have missed something because, according to Bernama (today), the police have dismissed a rumour that Zulkifli who is Kulim-Bandar Baharu Member of Parliament, had been detained under the Internal Security Act on Saturday night.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar was quoted to have said that it was a rumour probably started by irresponsible people.

Ismail said police would investigate the Internet blogs said to have published news of the alleged detention.

Zulkifli, 46, of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, was among the people who had gathered to protest the Bar Council's forum on conversions to Islam here on Saturday.

Will Anwar Get His Birthday Present?


Come to think of it -- I dare say, in spite of unforeseen circumstances.

As I have said in an earlier posting, Permatang Pauh is already his. But I also remarked -- anything can happen from then (when he announced that he will be contesting the vacated parliamentary seat to the date of the by-election, later fixed on Aug 26).

And, you all have guessed it. Something happened. A day after the date of the by-election was announced, we were told that Anwar will face sodomy charges, the complainant being Saiful Bukhari.

How predictable was that?

This does not mean that Anwar will lose Permatang Pauh. Not at all although we know that Barisan Nasional is not going to make it easy for the de facto Parti Keadilan Rakyat leader.

And I'm sure Anwar is prepared for the tricks and tactics.

But he has admitted that it will be an uphill battle for him because of all kinds of slanders and lies the BN guys are spreading about him.

I doubt he actually believes that.

Anwar turned 61 yesterday (Sunday). His birthday wish, he said, was to have a BIG WIN in Permatang Pauh to send a clear message to the nation that it's time to change Malaysia's political landscape.

He said this to a crowd of some 15,000 at a by-election rally in Penang mainland's Taman Pauh on Saturday before celebrating his 61st birthday at the stroke of midnight. (source:Malaysiakini)

But you know what. I think the more they try to do him in, the more support he will get.

They're just doing him a favour. Really.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Tuesdays With Bapak

Comic Treat -- Aug 5, 2008

Like many people my age, comics ruled when we were young. I hate to point fingers but Bapak has to be blamed for all this. It was Bapak who influenced us and got us started and hooked on comics.

Bapak, I think, must have broken some sacred and cardinal rules of parenting. He'd not allow us to do one thing, yet, he'd encourage us to do something that was akin to what he forbade us to do.

But, who's complaining.

BY the way, this was in the 60s. Way back when....

We know that on weekdays, we're not supposed to watch TV or do our own thing. Yet, on some (week) days, he'd call us to join him read comics/comic books he'd just bought.

This would be just after dinner.

How we looked forward to the latest Marvel comics or Tarzan Of The Apes. Or Korak, Son of Tarzan. Aaah....the little pleasures in our very young life.

After reading Tarzan on a regular basis, we picked up a few Swahili words -- Bandolo! Kreegah! Jumbo!

Bapak would also have The Twilight Zone series to add to his collection.

We'd never know when Bapak would bring those comics home. He'd not tell us until after dinner.

We'd be back at our study tables, finishing off our homework before turning in for the night.

And then, Bapak would holler from the living room ; "Siapa nak baca komik?"

I tell you, that would stop us in our tracks, so to speak. We'd drop whatever we were doing and rush into the living room.

I'd go for Tarzan or The Twilight Zone. Bapak would buy just about enough for all of us. We'd read them all in one sitting.

I'd pass to Kak Eda the one I had chosen, and she'd pass the one she had finished. I'm not sure if Kak Ton ever joined Kak Olin, Kak Eda and I. I know Abang Med did.

We had stacks of comics at a corner of our living room, including our all-time favourite of Beano and Dandy comics. These, we bought with our own pocket money. For some reason, Bapak never bought Beano and Dandy for us. Never asked him why, though.

Then, Bapak started buying for me the Princess Tina and June And Schoolfriend series. I was so hooked on them as well.

Later, in secondary school, I bought my own Archie comics. I had amassed such a huge collection that I made my own little "library" of it. Friends would "borrow" the comics from me.

In later years, I'd buy new-age comic books. And I never missed the latest Lat series.

Comics and cartoons delight me.

Bapak had no qualms about letting us loose, reading and indulging in comics.

Comics are all about imagination, inventiveness and creativity.

I supposed it's because he'd firmed us with a foundation of classics -- Robin Hood, Black Beauty, Ivanhoe, Robinson Crusoe and the likes. Later, we were given doses of Charles Dickens and Mark Twain and......

So, he must have figured that we'd be okay, we'd stay on course and if we went "astray", it couldn't be bad because it would be our imagination that would be fired up.

Old habits die hard. So, I buy comics for my children. But....oh. Not the ones that I used to buy. They don't make 'em like they used to, that's for sure.

I remember how delightfully surprised Adel was-- and maybe a little jealous -- when I told him that I used to have the original Spiderman And Ironman comics.

No big deal, I told him. Everyone had them those days.

Aah..what was common in those days are a treasure today.

Thank you, Bapak for the treasure, yesterday and today.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Permatang Pauh Heats Up..

....and the battle royale begins.

No date has been offficially fixed yet for the Permatang Pauh by-election and already the top guns from both the Barisan Nasional and Parti Keadilan Rakyat have descended on Penang Island.

Umno president and Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was there to meet the Permatang Pauh Umno division. With him were Umno vice-president Mohd Ali Rustam and Umno's "comeback" kid, Ezam Mohd Nor.

PKR de facto leader Anwar himself was in Seberang Jaya where he told the crowd that he would still be contesting even if he was put behind bars.

PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Ismail vacated the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat last week, paving the way for Anwar to contest in a by-election.

There have been a couple of calls for Umno to not contest the seat because it's going to be useless. Anwar will definitely come storming "home" handsomely. That's everybody's speculation, or rather, prediction.

But, how can PKR win the seat without a fight, right?

Ezam, former Umno and now former Keadilan member who is now back in Umno, is Anwar's former protege/confidant etc etc turned very bitter adversary etc etc.

He has volunteered to take on his former boss/mentor/confidant etc etc, promising tales to tell.

Pirdaus Ismail who contested there in the last two general elections and lost to Dr Wan Azizah has also offered to be the lamb for the slaughter.

Anymore volunteers?

The choice of candidate is, however, with the party leadership.

Let me see --- Will Umno see Permatang Pauh as a contest worth its while and put a very strong challenger (??) or will it field someone so dispensable and inconsequential just for the sake of going through the motion (of a by-election)?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Safe Seat For Anwar?

Of course! Because it is his.

If I were Anwar Ibrahim, I'd return to my very own kawasan. Wouldn't you?

So, what's the big deal?

Besides, that was the plan anyway.

I know some other constituencies were mentioned but, aah....that's just uttered because people kept making speculations. More fun to keep people guessing when in fact, there was no need to speculate.

So, Anwar is a coward for wanting to contest in Permatang Pauh?

Oh, come on. Tell me which politician wants to contest in a seat he'd sure to lose?

I know that if I were a party leader, I'd fix politicians by throwing them in constituencies in which they'd be slaughtered.

No-brainer, man. Every politician will contest in his home-ground -- Tun Dr Mahathir in Kubang Pasu, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in Kepala Batas, Najib Abdul Razak in Pekan, Shahrir Samad in Johor Baru .../ and the list goes on.

Of course, there are exceptions.

Anyway, Anwar was quoted by blogger Anil Netto to be "willing to contest in any Umno stronghold including Kepala Batas, Abdullah Badawi’s parliamentary seat, which is just 15 minutes’ drive from Permatang Pauh."

Read it HERE.

I suppose Anwar meant that he'd do that if there was a general election anytime soon.

Right now, it's a home-coming. So, yes Permatang Pauh is very very safe for Anwar because it is very much his.

Next question -- who will be Umno's candidate?

Anwar's former protege and now adversary -- Ezam Mohd Nor?

Do you see anyone else willing to be, er....slaughtered?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

You'll Get There, Anwar...

If they'll let you.

See, every time Anwar (Ibrahim, PKR de facto leader) inches closer to realising his "dream", he gets reined back.

Permatang Pauh is surely in his hands. Nothing to it.
The by-election will be a formality. But have it, we must, for the due democratic process must be obeyed.

Anwar has got Permatang Pauh already.

Or has he?

My favourite line this year -- anything can happen. And as we all have seen and bore witness to -- things have happened, not just to Anwar but his friends and foes as well.

(Anwar's wife PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Ismail won the seat in the March 8 general election, obtaining 30,338 votes. defeating Umno's Pirdaus Ismail who got 16,950.
In the 2004 general election, Dr Wan Azizah won by a small majority - 590 -- against Pirdaus.)

As, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said -- Anwar is free to contest Permatang Pauh BUT investigations into the sodomy allegation (by Saiful Bukhari Azlan) will continue.

The Prime Minister said:
"If he is thinking that by so doing (contesting in the by-election), the police would stop investigating, then this is not right. We must remember that the complainant (Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan) has lodged a report and what he is looking for is justice.

"We must not forget him. The police will continue their investigations based on the rule of law. We must carry out our responsibility so that Mohd Saiful's claims are brought to court for a decision to be made in the name of justice.
"In this country, everyone is entitled to justice based on the rule of law."

Fair warning?

I'm not trying to pre-empt anything. But, we can expect a more stepped-up investigation and action, if this hasn't already started.

Of course, of course. The allegations must be investigated and no one is above the law!

Meanwhile, I'd like to wish Anwar -- Bon Chance! Or as we Malaysians say -- good luck!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Is It A Betrayal Of the People's Trust?

After Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Dr Wan Azizah Ismail announced yesterday that she was vacating her Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat, many people - reacting to her decision - said many things.

Pakatan Rakyat leaders, of course, welcomed it. Barisan Nasional leaders said that was to be expected.

A few expressions emerged, two of which I am singling out -- sign/symbol of love for husband and betrayal of her constituents' trust.

Symbol of love for her husband? I know this was uttered rather cheekily. But if you asked me, I'd say Dr Wan Azizah gave up her parliamentary seat out of a deep sense of loyalty to her husband and the party.

Love? Sure, sure. Who are we to say otherwise. But it's loyalty, people. Loyalty.

Compulsion? Of course. But willingly.

If I were a man, and a political leader to boot, I'd want a wife like Dr Wan Azizah! A N Y T I M E!

Now, about this betrayal ...I'd say no. Because, Anwar is not just another politician but Anwar Ibrahim - de facto PKR leader and Dr Wan Azizah's husband. And, I can bet my bottom dollar that those who voted for Dr Wan Azizah would have voted for Anwar. He was (also) their MP, remember?

Just like how she won the seat the first time.

Unless, of course, the votes were protest votes. Not likely in Permatang Pauh.

It's just that you'd now have to have a by-election and this and that. Looks like more work for everyone and sleepless nights for others.

Anyone complaining?