Tuesday, September 28, 2010

NURIN ALERT! Have You Seen Little Xin Ru?

On June 4 this year, 2 year-old Nisha Chandramohan went missing in Mentakab, Pahang after a mentally-ill aunt took her out for a walk. She was never found.

Last Tuesday (Sept 21) in Raub, Pahang, 2 year-old Lee Xin Ru, went missing. We hope and pray that she will be found soon -- safe....

If you have any information on her, please contact Inspector Haroza Pandi at 019-8793776 or the Raub district police headquarters: 09-355 2222.

(Image taken from a full-page ad by RHB on page 11 of today's NST)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Kamu Ngerti, Ngga? Bukan Malaysia Yang Merogol...

This Bendera (Benteng Demokrasi Rakyat) is no civil society movement in Indonesia. No siree. Its members are vicious and rabid people.

They're also blinkered. Could they also be so dense? That they are angry with all of Malaysia because of the cases of abuse of their nationals by Malaysian employers.

The Malay proverb "kerana nila setitik rosak susu sebelanga" seems to be holding true here. More so in the eyes of Bendera.

I don't remember Malaysians protesting in front of the Indonesian Embassy everytime Indonesians (in Malaysia) were arrested in murder or robbery cases. Because we don't tar every Indonesian with the same brush.

I don't hate the next Indonesian maid when one runs off from her employer to be with her construction worker boyfriend, leaving her young charges to fend for themselves for hours.

Yet, I am horrified, saddened and angry everytime I hear or read about abuses of foreign workers. It tears at my very being. I feel for them and their families.

When Bendera made headlines some weeks ago for going a little too far (usually they threaten to kill Malaysians) -- staging a protest outside the Malaysian embassy in Jakarta during which they stomped on and smeared excrement on the Malaysian flag and hurled faeces at the embassy -- over the maritime incident, I dismissed them as just a small group of misguided nationalists. A little loony, perhaps.

They don't represent Indonesia, I was so sure. And I still hold to that.

I didn't get them and still don't because we, Malaysians, don't think that way.

Following the media publicity on the latest Indonesian maid abuse in Georgetown, some 500 Bendera members on motorbikes yesterday protested in front of the Malaysian embassy and demanded that the ambassador leaves the republic in two days OR ELSE (or they'll drive him out)!

I'm not sure now whether these fanatics will NOT harm Malaysians in Jakarta.

I know that it's been threats so far. But you can never be sure now because they just don't seem to get it -- that it's not Malaysia that's abusing, raping and killing Indonesian workers. Just some really bad Malaysians. ..

And these bad Malaysians get the severest punishment under the law.

We don't condone any form of abuse of workers....

Just like it's not all of Indonesia but a few bad apples committing crimes in Malaysia...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

When The Cops Came A-Calling...,

You know, in all my more than 30 years of driving in Malaysia, I was only given speed tickets three times (some time in the 80s and 90s). Two other tickets on my car via saman ekor only last year, and I was not driving the vehicle on those dates.

That, I believe, is quite normal for Malaysian drivers. But I never had the police tail me for poor or bad driving.

But as they say, there's always a first time. The first time, not back home, but, here in Kitchener, Ontario (Canada) where I have been the last week or so (visiting my son).

So, I was driving this rented car (Toyota Yaris) back from Toronto to our motel --- Comfort Inn -- in Kitchener.

But first, let me tell you what a breeze it has been, driving around here. I was honked only twice, and that's because I had gone into the wrong lane. And the honk was not an angry honk. A friendly honk.
No vulgar signs, nor verbal abuse. No rabid manic drivers who cut into your lane. No ala-Malaysian driver.

They give way to you when you're making turns at traffic lights (without the left or right turn lights) and they stop for pedestrians.

So different from the way Malaysian drivers honk at pedestrians and step on the gas when they see a car turning in front of them.

A pleasant driving experience here in Kitchener.

And no rempits! Just dirt-bike riders and heavy bikers who are great company on the road.

Back to my drive back from Toronto. You see, here it is the left-hand drive. So, excuse me if I kept veering to the right side of the lane. Adel (my son) kept reminding me to keep further left and if I kept veering from right to left, motorists would think I was drunk. Or something like that. Haha, I thought. Surely not.

It didn't help that it was some two-hour drive and it was already dark by the time we got to Kitchener. Driving in an unfamiliar territory at night always makes me nervous. Perhaps that showed in the way I was driving.

I drove into our motel grounds and parked right outside our room. Not a second too soon, two police patrol cars, flashing lights and all, came by -- one from each side.

Shaira (my daughter) saw them first and almost shrieked : "Mummy...that's a police car. Maybe he's here because of your driving."

Shaira had reckoned that I was a little sleepy and was a little zig-zagging. I had begged to differ. Yes, I felt a little tired after an afternoon in Toronto, but was not dozing off at the wheel.

"No-lah....can't be!", I replied.

The officer got out and walked towards me. Perhaps, Shaira's right, I thought.

She was.

He asked me if I had just got out of the highway. I said yes and asked what the problem was. He said there was a complaint about my driving. I asked what was it about my driving. He couldn't say but asked if I had been drinking.

"Oh no, no, of course not,", I said, trying hard not to smile because I was remembering what Adel had said. Someone actually thought I was drunk.

Anyway, I did suggest (to the officer) that it could be that I was veering from right to left and I explained why.

He asked what brought me to Canada and I told him yadayadayada.

The young officer had a long look at my international driver's licence,and my Malaysian driver's licence. But, he never asked for my passport, for some reason.

"Am I in trouble, officer?", I asked.

He shook his head and smiled, and handed back my driving documents.

"Just be careful. Take care, now. Have a good holiday," he said.

I thanked him and said that I appreciated the fact that he responded swiftly to the complaint.

Here, people take pride in safe driving and safety on the road. They take it seriously by living it, so to speak.

I didn't tell the police officer, of course, that nothing of that sort could ever happen back home. Even if someone complained about someone's driving, I doubt there would be any police response. And in Malaysia, nobody calls the police about bad driving unless an accident happens.

And what is bad driving in Malaysia?

Something we are all so used to, it's frightening.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11 Remembered. Nine Years On...

It feels like only yesterday the twin towers of New York came crashing down. For many of us, that fateful day that forever changed the world, remains crystal clear in our minds. Etched in our memory.

And for so many of us, we remember what we were doing that day.
So, what were you doing that morning -- September 1 2001 -- when American Airlines flight 77 struck the first building?

I remember it minute by minute. I was with the NST London correspondent, Tony Emmanuel, in the living room of the NSTP Bayswater apartment where he was staying. Ahirudin Attan (then Business Times editor) and I (then NST's deputy chief news editor) were assigned to cover the visit by our then PM Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad to Russia and we were stopping over in London on our way to Moscow.

Tony and I were watching the morning news when suddenly there seemed to be some kind of panic over the news and quick visuals of the twin towers and this approaching aircraft and then an explosion...the rest, was, of course, history..

Tony and I were stunned. Loss for words. Cold sweat.

Needless to say, Dr Mahathir cancelled his Russian visit. (He made the visit a year later)

When we arrived in London a few days earlier, processes at the immigration and customs were normal, just as they had been for so long.

The day we left London for home, everything changed drastically. Security checks were stepped up by a thousand times.

And the world was never the same again.....

Thursday, September 09, 2010


Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Maaf Zahir Batin.

Please take care on the road. Safe journey to those who are on their "balik kampung" journey.

Bigotry Resides Everywhere..

You'd better believe it.

We lament at the state of our country because racism is alive and kicking, manifested in all manner of life and living. I think this is so exaggerated.

But yes...racism is alive. And it will never die because that is the way we are and will be.

Bigotry resides everywhere. Not in exclusive or peculiar to Malaysia.

That said...I believe there a great many of us who believe in this journey to achieve equality, justice, freedom and a better life for the people of our country.

I am encouraged by the fact that I know so many people who are colour blind and who have accepted and embraced the diversity of our people and our country without any iota of resentment or negativity. Without any reservation like it is part of our lives and part of what Malaysia is all about.

For sure, there are pretenders among us. But for as long as we continue to fight to end bigotry, racism and what-have-you, we are okay.

So...we shall continue the good fight!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Building On Faith -- According to Imam Feisal Rauf

I am not the only Malaysian Imam Feisal of New York has met. He has many Malaysian friends and acquaintances -- big and small - as he has deep connection with Malaysia, having lived here, I believe, in the 80s, when his father was with the International Islamic University in Petaling Jaya.

I was introduced to him in 2007 by his good friend, Datin Halimah Said, at a Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia conference in Bangi.

A modern Muslim intellectual. Imam Feisal also joined Marina Mahathir, bloggers and friends at the inter-faith prayer gathering at the Blog House in Bukit Damansara, for Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who was recovering in hospital from a heart surgery in 2007.

When the controversy over the building of a mosque in Ground Zero exploded, I must confess I thought to myself :"Why-lah nak ada problem. Just don't build the mosque there. Surely there are other places you can build one. You know this is going to create a problem".

Call me less than brave or bold. I won't apologize for that. Perhaps I didn't quite know the real situation or what the whole project was about. Even so, the picture that I got was from initial reports on the controversy,

Sometimes, I suppose, you have to believe in your commitment and commit to your belief. Unflagging. Unremitting. Never say die.

Imam Feisal, who is the person behind this project, said nary a word, until just recently. he wrote in the New York Times about the project and what it means.
Excerpts from his article:

"Our broader mission — to strengthen relations between the Western and Muslim worlds and to help counter radical ideology — lies not in skirting the margins of issues that have polarized relations within the Muslim world and between non-Muslims and Muslims. It lies in confronting them as a joint multifaith, multinational effort."


"I am very sensitive to the feelings of the families of victims of 9/11, as are my fellow leaders of many faiths. We will accordingly seek the support of those families, and the support of our vibrant neighborhood, as we consider the ultimate plans for the community center. Our objective has always been to make this a center for unification and healing."

Read the rest HERE.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

The Things Indonesians Love About Malaysia ...

Indonesians angry at Malaysia maybe baying for our blood but they'd want to save their adored Siti Nurhaliza, our singing sensation.

She is one thing they love about Malaysia and wish that they could claim her as their very own.

And then there are Upin & Ipin -- five year-old twins in the computer-animated series that's been a hit in Indonesia since its debut in the republic last year.

Read about it in the Jakarta Globe HERE.

I've got hooked on the series, created by Les Copaque Production. They make you laugh. And, there is a moral to every story told in Upin & Ipin without being preachy.

As for our strained relations with Indonesia -- I'm very sure it will blow over. How quickly, though remains to be seen.

The Satire Is Lost On The MCMC, the AG...

(Irwan and Rocky after bail was posted at the PJ courts.)

So they've taken blogger Irwan Abdul Rahman AKA Hassan Skodeng to court. Apa sudah jadi?

And Irwan thought that the MCMC would chill out after meeting with him. So the truth would set him free.

Fat hopes, dear Irwan. These people have no sense of humour. Or, they simply can't understand your humour, your satire. Relax-lah.

It's lost on them. It's our education system, I tell you. Educated people don't understand satire?

So pity them.

They're not amused and have taken him to court. Serious. And stupid.

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is charging Irwan over his satirical posting: "TNB To Sue WWF Over Earth Hour".
Absolutely nothing wrong with the posting, if you understand satire, or simply have a sense of humour.

(Irwan has taken it off when he was told that TNB was not amused and MCMC had been called in but you can read it HERE)

Irwan was in the Petaling Jaya magistrate's court on Thursday where he was charged under Section 233 (1)(a) of Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 for improper use of network facilities or network service by making, creating, soliciting and initiating transmission of any content that is obscene, indecent, false, menacing or offensive in character with malicious intent.

Irwan, who is the executive editor for entertainment, lifestyle and the new media with the Malay Mail pleaded not guilty and was allowed a bail sum of RM4000 with one surety by Sessions judge Hayatul Akmal.

Blogger Rocky Bru AKA Ahirudin Attan, who is group editorial advisor of the Malay Mail, Bernama TV and Malaysian Reserve, posted bail.

Irwan is represented by blogger Jahabardeen Mohd Yunoos. MCMC was represented by its deputy public prosecutor Badius Zaman Ahmad.

Read the details of the charge HERE.

Several bloggers (including me) were there to give him moral support -- Rocky, Zakhir Mohamad (BigDog), Syed Azidi Syed Abdul Aziz (Kickdefella), Shamsul Yunos (My Anger, It May Be Yours Too) and Zainol Abideen (Mahaguru 58) .

Others were there in spirit, I was told.

Back to Irwan's case -- I say drop the damn charges-lah. The REAL crooks and criminals are running free and you're taking this 36 year-old married father of two (or three, I'm not sure) young children to court.

Whose time are you wasting? Tak ada kerja lain, kah?
God, are you people for real?

I'm glad that Irwan's counsel Jahabardeen is going to send a representation to the AG, presumably, I believe to make a case against going to trial.

But you have to read Art Harun's "Holy Mother.." HERE. You will be wondering whether they have the right people doing whatever job they are supposed to be doing at the MCMC.

Also read Rocky's Bru HERE

And Pasquale's Barking Magpie, as well as Kickdefella's makan pisang...

The Jakarta Globe -- "Malaysian Government Fails To See Funny Side Of Blogger's Joke"- carried the story.

I'm hoping this case won't go to trial.

There's still time for good sense to prevail.

Don't make a monkey of yourself!