Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Arok had evil and lustful designs for the powerful magical weapon. He wanted the special keris to kill the chieftain of Tumapel, Tunggul Ametung.
He saw that the keris was more or less finished but was pissed off when he couldn’t get it straightaway because the empu, a perfectionist, wanted several more months to 'purify' the special weapon from evil influences. Impatient and hotheaded, Ken Arok killed him with that keris in a fit of anger.
But with his dying breath, Mpu Gandring cursed him and foretold how Ken Arok and seven generations of his descendants would be killed by that cursed keris. So indeed the blood flowed throughout the generations, until subsequently someone saw that Mpu Gandring's keris would only continue to perpetrate chaos and death. He threw the keris into the Java Sea. Legend has it that the keris turned into a dragon.
Here’s one more folklore about a magical keris and another hothead.
Aryo Penangsang was an arrogant hot-tempered Javanese prince, but with exceptional courage and strength. His final battle was with Danang Sutowijoyo, who would subsequently become the legendary Panembahan Senopati, the founder of the Mataram Empire.
In the battle, the young Sutowijaya somehow managed to rip open Penangsang’s belly with his spear, allowing the latter’s intestines to spill out. But Penangsang was not an ordinary bloke so, on discovering that his dangling guts were restricting his movement in the duel, wrapped them tidily around the hilt of his sheathed keris. 'Twas the famous (or infamous) keris, Setan Kober.
Despite his humongous wound, Penangsang nearly defeated young Sutowijoyo who was beaten down to the ground, unable to continue the fight.
When Penangsang drew Setan Kober to deliver the coup de grâce, he inadvertently cut his own intestines which, if we remember, were wrapped around the hilt of the keris. Needless to say, he died from that fatal wound. Sutowijaya survived to become the founder of a powerful kingdom.
Sutowijoyo so admired his opponent's incredible strength, courage and fighting spirit that he ordered his sons and all bridegrooms of his kingdom (they each carried keris on their wedding day) to commemorate, and hopefully be inspired by, Penangsang’s amazing ferocious fighting feat, by adorning their keris-es with stringed jasmines (called melati rinonce) which symbolically represented Penangsang’s intestines. Apparently this Javanese tradition continues to these days.
We Malaysians are also familiar with Taming Sari, a Javanese keris with magical powers that would protect its owner, though it didn’t save the life of the original eponymous owner, a Javanese warrior who was killed by Hang Tuah through deceit, as was Hang Jebat. Tuah appropriated the Taming Sari after killing the owner, went back home to Melaka to one day kill his best friend at the behest of a tyrant.
All hotheads with keris-es, and all died terribly.
If you have read Malaysiakini over the last few days, we obtained mostly news about the UMNO keris, or to be more correct, Hishamuddin Hussein's keris, and how it affected the course of the election results.
DAP, PKR, MCA, Gerakan and even UMNO itself (including Khir Toyo) have all blamed Hishamuddin’s excessive brandishing of the UMNO Youth keris for the BN's tsunamic losses in the last general election.
In Malaysiakini, political analysts Ong Kian Min and Oon Yeoh wrote in Hisham's non-apology apology that tells us, ironically "The sad thing about this incident is that we do not believe Hishammuddin to be a traditional Malay ultra. Like his deputy, Khairy Jamaluddin, he is what you'd call a fake ultra – someone who tries so hard to be an ultra for the sake of drumming up grassroots support."
"His upbringing and demeanor certainly gives no indication of any deep ultra roots. His father, was third prime minister Hussein Onn, who probably had as many non-Malay friends as Malay ones. His grandfather, Onn Jaafar, famously tried (but failed) to open up Umno to non-Malays."
"Furthermore, Hishammuddin's track record as the minister of education has not been a bad one, especially when it comes to giving financial assistance to Chinese and Tamil schools and making it easier for them to relocate. But with one movement of his arm, he undid much of the goodwill that would have come his way from the non-Malay community."
Well, looks like Hishamuddin (or KJ) may not be an Aryo Penangsang, Ken Arok, Hang Tuah or Hang Jebat, but nonetheless he has stabbed his own party and the component partiues in the BN with his UMNO Youth keris, the Panca Warisan.
One and a half years ago I posted The Curse of UMNO's Keris? where I mentioned that Adnan Yaakob, an UMNO supreme council member and also the MB of Pahang, had asked for the symbol of the keris to be removed from the UMNO flag.
He said that the keris is a weapon denoting quarrels, and could have been the cause of the numerous quarrels in the party. In other words it’s bad feng shui for UMNO to have such a nasty weapon as a party symbol.
Adnam stated: "There were 20 major quarrels in UMNO since its formation 60 years ago. The symbol may signify the party’s struggles but it also means quarrels."
He reminded us of the acrimonious internal disputes involving the late Tunku Abdul Rahman (with Tun Razak), Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (with Dr Mahathir), and of course Dr Mahathir (with Ku Li, Anwar and AAB). Maybe we ought to add in Onn Jaafar (with Tunku). Then there were state leaders such as the late Harun Idris, once touted as a PM, who fell foul of Hussein Onn.
The keris in the UMNO flag is drawn, which, according to belief not just unique to the Malay world, must 'taste' blood. Eastern superstition demands that a weapon such as a keris, dagger or sword must never be drawn unless one intends to 'feed' it with blood.
It is believed that the word keris originated from the old Javanese word ngeris which means 'to stab'.
Now, even Malaysiakini columnist Azly Rahman has in his article After the apology over the keris asked for UMNO to change its quarrelsome and intimidating symbol to one which projects peace.
Azly called for "a symbol of any good and friendly ancient Malay scripture that glorifies the common person and not the ancient rulers would be a good replacement."
He added: "The enquiring mind is more powerful than the weapon of mass deception. A new regime must have this as a foundation. I hope to see Umno's new logo."
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Jeff has come a long way since he was harassed by the NSTG bloke who seems to have disappeared off the radar screen. How sweet it must be for Jeff becoming a Yang Berhormat whilst his Nemesis is undoubtedly sulking in obscurity.
Today Jeff gave an interview to Malaysiakini where he revealed that he has been co-opted by Penang CM [nice ring to that title, CM, isn’t it ;-) ] as an unofficial Chief of Staff.
He said the DAP cannot afford to mess up in Penang as they need to showcase their political managerial competency to the voters, which has been why they are working their guts out. Good on them.
Ironically, while Jeff’s political career in the DAP is on the ascendency, his one-time godfather, Gerakan former President Dr Lim Keng Yaik's is nose diving. Lim has made himself very unpopular … with his own party members.
Seven Gerakan leaders – namely FT head Dr Tan Kee Kwong and division chairpersons Siow Chee Meng (Bukit Bintang), Dr Hsu Dar Ren (Cheras) and KK Supramaniam (Lembah Pantai), as well as Gan Kok Keng, Eddie Yaw and Li Tiam Chai – said Dr Lim should quit his position as advisor and stop interfering in party matters – in other words, shut up.
My blogging mate, top civic activist, Lucia Lai of Mental Jog called him siow ah pek ('crazy old man' or to be more polite, 'eccentric uncle' ke ke ke)The Gerakan leaders have been pissed off with Dr Lim's uncalled for attack on his former protégé Lee Kah Choon for accepting two non political posts offered by the DAP-led Pakatan Rakyat Penang government. The attack led to Lee voluntarily quitting the party on April 23.
They said: “We regret that a capable leader has been forced out of the party as a result of the action by Keng Yaik.”
“In this context, we view Lee’s acceptance of the (two posts) as something beneficial to the people of Penang. These appointments are non-political and his work would be no different from that of a civil servant."
“We note that Lee was an ordinary Gerakan member at the time of his acceptance of these positions. Hence, his acceptance of these positions would not jeopardise the party’s interests.”
They also accused Dr Lim of cakap ta’serupa bikin because the former party president had promised: “I don’t want to be another (ex-premier Dr) Mahathir (Mohamad). When I step down I will shut up, unless I’m asked for my comments.”
I wonder whether Dr Lim at his nadir in his political life would feel proud that another of his former protégé, Jeff Ooi, is now near his political apex, albeit in another but better political party.
p/s on a separate note, I just noted my blogging mate and fellow Penangite Dr Darren Hsu is head of Gerakan Cheras. Hi Darren ;-)
Monday, April 28, 2008
Once upon a time, oil was so cheap no one bothered to invest into complicated complex offshore prospecting for oil, save at spots like Brunei or Venezuela where the oil reserve were known to be plentiful. There, as was boasted, you only needed to stick in a pipe and the black stuff would come gushing out.
Thanks to the Yanks support for Israel in 1967 and especially in 1973, when Israel was saved only by American massive infusion of military supply, which enabled Israel to withstand the (initially only) brilliant attack by the Egyptian army, the Arab world imposed an oil embargo against the USA and Western Europe in 1973. Oil price then took a humongous leap.
Thus, offshore prospecting for oil not only became cost effective but necessary as well – the rest is history.
And history repeats itself, as we all know.
Iraq in 2003, and on a blatant American lie!
Someone told me that now, it requires HK$1,000 to fill a tank in HK. In Australia, with unleaded at AUS$1.50 (super unleaded 1.60), it’s around $90 for a full tank, which is around RM265.
So the great salesman Anwar Ibrahim has promised lower fuel price, did he?
Anyway, some years back, anticipating this phenomenal oil price hike (thanks to the Yanks again), some nations started to invest in crops for biofuel, which became as cost effective to produce as offshore oil had once become so.
More nations are investing more and more in crops for biofuel, which means there’s less emphasis on, and less arable land for food cops, which means less food production, which is why the world is currently facing not only high food prices but worse and more frightening, less available food crop to purchase.
If those countries revert to food crops and reduce its production crops for biofuel, the oil price would shoot up even further.
I saw on TV a crowd in Senegal screaming blue murder at authorities for the lack of rice, the staple food of that African nation. One Senegalese shouted that rice is slowly but certainly changing from being a staple food into a luxury item for the people of that country.
Already, nations like Thailand are restricting exports of rice. Some call it national survival prudence whilst others term it as hoarding at a national level, and on a global scale.
Sadly, the most deprived will be those dependent on food aid as the unfortunate in Darfur and various parts of Africa. Higher prices also mean lesser quantity for aid groups to hand out.
Countries like Australia are also reassessing its rice (and cotton) production, not so much because of the preference for biofuel crops, but more because of water availability. As we Malaysians know, rice crops require lots of water, for which Australia has unfortunately diminishing quantities.
Malaysiakini headlines an article Gov't to subsidise rice price, where Shahrir Abdul Samad, the domestic trade and consumer affairs minister, told reporters at parliament house, that the government will subsidise (but only in the future) the soaring price of rice to ensure the staple food remains affordable for consumers.
Shahrir also came up with the idea of Malaysians changing their eating habits to cut the impact of rising rice prices. How? With or to what? Unfortunately he didn't offer any suggestion.
Once, when Indonesia under Soekarno was reeling under hunger because of rice shortage due to his gross mismanagement, the late President rationalised that corn was better than rice as a staple food, but alas, he didn't provide any damn corn to the Indonesian people.
It's like that infamous saying (but wrongly) attributed to the French queen, Marie Antoinette who when told the French people had no bread, said: "Let them eat cake!"
Shahrir claimed that "we can at least assure the lower income group that local rice will be made available to them at affordable price.”
I bloody hope so, but I believe the government needs to do more than just that. It needs to open up the protection doors for massive import of rice.
Surprising, Khir Toyo, former MB of Selangor has come up with a decent solution to the rice issue. In an interview with Malaysakini, as published in Khir Toyo: Umno has lost touch with reality he lamented about the political deafness of UMNO and BN to the cries of the people.
He wants the government to open up the market to permit import of rice.
He said: "… we have to open up the market to let the rakyat have the lowest price, while maintaining the income level of farmers. In other countries, unemployed people receive financial help from their government. The same can be done here."
"The government can help supplement farmers’ income when the price of rice drops. What we see now is that the rakyat has to pay a lot for basic goods, while farmers (enjoy subsidies)."
Indeed, why let the rakyat suffer just to protect the income of farmers. Instead the present protection of the farmers income through restriction in rice imports should be changed to one of subsidizing their income, while knocking down those protection doors and opening up the market for rice from abroad.
He also agreed that the rice-import monopoly of Bernas (Padiberas Nasional Bhd) should be terminated.
And he doesn’t want the government to deal with only rice, but the full nine yards, namely sugar and other basic food items.
I hope AAB isn’t going to say “Let them eat Cuisse de Grenouille.” *
* fried or sautéed frog legs served in garlic butter
Sunday, April 27, 2008
This 'kaytee' is not me ;-)
But when a visitor to my blog warned me of the rather strange coincidence in our names, PKR member and staunch Anwar Ibrahim supporter kittykat 46 leapt in with alacrity to defend that blogger using the name of 'kaytee'.
And not only that, Azmin Ali claimed: “It was out of our expectation. We only need 30 more seats, but the response is so overwhelming now, 30 seats are the minimum (we can get).”
… to which I exclaimed in my post Why the froggie volte-face on reformasi: “Holy Gurun – kurang kurang tiga puluh katak!”
However, when pressed for details, Azmin Ali was coy about which party those katak-puru are from. Instead he said that PKR will make further announcement at a right time.
Now bear this in mind, Azmin Ali had declared there were more than the minimum 30 BN MPs required who were prepared to jump ship.
Then Anwar Ibrahim said subsequently that he wasn’t in a rush as he wants more than a majority of two or three before he takes over the government. I blogged on this in What are the odds for PM-wannabe Anwar Ibrahim?
I found Anwar’s 'man man lai' (slow & steady) approach to be illogical for a variety of reasons, which I enumerated in that post. I had also agreed with PBS deputy president Dr Maximus Ongkili’s accusation of Anwar wanting to destabilise the Government by the latter’s repetitive claims of having the numbers to form a majority government
I wrote that I believed Anwar had been hopeful that by beating the BN bush to startle the partridges, they may panic and fly out, metamorphosing into frogs, and hopefully with a snowballing effect.
Lots of ‘hopeful’ aspirations.
Yesterday Malaysiakini reported Azmin Ali reiterating his earlier boast. He was responding to political analysts, Ong Kian Ming and Oon Yeoh, who argued that Anwar’s claim was more of an astute strategic bluff to increase the internal disunity within the BN parties - basically agreeing with kaytee.
Azmin said his de facto leader wasn’t bluffing. Azmin claimed to actually have the 'facts and figures', that is, the necessary numbers the de facto leader requires to form the next federal government by Sept 16 this year.
But when asked on the ‘facts and figures’ to back his claim, Azmin switched to his coy mode by replying meaninglessly: “As you are aware, we need a minimum 30 more seats (to get the simple majority), so we work along that basis.”
... signalling he probably has buggerall so-called 'facts and figures'. I am going to vote him top tap dancer of the world.
Look at the following Azmin Ali’s claims:
(1) "Based on facts and figures", but then f* all to show
(2) "The response is so overwhelming now, 30 seats are the minimum", but then, Anwar needs more than a majority of 2 to 3. Why wait until the majority is more than two to three, unless you have no majority in the first place.
It's better if Azmin Ali ceases from undermining his own crediility at such an early stage of the PKR's post election euphoria. You won't catch Lim Guan Eng bullsh*tting in such a blatant way - but then of course poor Lim Guan Eng has more discerning DAP members to deal with ;-)
He reassured his audience: “There can be a Chinese chief minister in Penang and a Malay menteri besar in Selangor. What is more important is that we have a unequivocal commitment to defend the rights of all Malaysians, regardless of race or religion.”
However, on UMNO chief keris-waver Hishammuddin Hussein’s apology for waving the keris during the past 3 UMNO general assemblies, he said PKR would accept that but urged Hisham not to repeat that act.
I blogged on Hisham’s half hearted apology over at my other blog as Sorry for the keris waving, but I may do it again.
But Anwar said what everyone in Malaysia knows: “The crux of the matter is not the keris as a symbol. What matters is his attitude which shows arrogance and the use of racial issues in politics. That is still being continued. They are raising issues about pig farming, Malay supremacy ... claiming that the Malays are now very angry against the Selangor government ... this sentiment is still strong in Umno.”
I actually found myself agreeing with Anwar Ibrahim ;-) And mind you, I am being generous today - I have only extracted those parts of his speech that I found supportable. I left out other aspects that I feel may spoil my mate kittykat's Sunday ke ke ke.
The newborn boy of Maya Devi, 28, died on Wednesday due to lack of medical help minutes after being born outside the maternity wing of Kanpur Medical College in northern Uttar Pradesh state.
Devi was only put in intensive care after giving birth but she died of a heart attack early on Thursday morning.
Several doctors, including the hospital's chief medical superintendent, had refused to touch her or provide medical care as she delivered her baby, the Press Trust of India reported.
Devi was a Dalit or "untouchable", a group at the bottom of the caste social ladder who have long been ostracised and forced into menial professions despite laws banning discrimination.
Many high-class Hindus fear coming into contact with them.
[kaytee's comment: what f* 'high class'? These are people with 'low class' mentality - what about their
Dr Kiran Pandey, head of gynaecology at the hospital, said she was an hour's drive away in the state capital Lucknow at the time and rushed back.
"We provided her the best medicines and treatment but she succumbed to two cardiac arrests," Dr Pandey said.
|Kanpur Medical College|
College principal Anand Swaroop has ordered an inquiry, as has a district magistrate.
The state's chief minister, Mayawati, who won elections last year, has ordered the doctors to be suspended and demanded an investigation.
Friday, April 25, 2008
It was not so much his claim to the premiership that caught my curiosity but the weird timeline of 3 years. I asked why not 5 years in line with the next scheduled general election, or why not now if he has been repetitively claiming he has the numbers with the support of BN frogs.
Normally I would have declared his boast of successfully enlisting frogs as in his dreams as I did in Why the froggie volte-face on reformasi. Then I had mentioned that whatever he could offer the party hoppers, the BN-UMNO could do just as well. Indeed, I bet they could even double up the motivational stake.
But the unusual '3 years' did catch my eye and I had to concede I thought there could well be an iota of plausibility this time in his boast. I speculated as to whether he could have done a deal with AAB, and concluded that "… the litmus test would be the earlier declared intention by Chegubad (PKR) to challenge the result of the Rembau parliamentary election vote count."
In other words if Chegubad decides not to challenge the results as he had earlier said he would, I would be very suspicious.
However, today Malaysiakini reported a letter from Khairy Jamaluddin that on the night of 08 March 2008 There was no recount for Rembau so WTF, why would/could there then be a challenge when he had won on first count with a majority of 5746 votes.
In pukka English as would be expected of an Oxford graduate, KJ lambasted Malaysiakini for being irresponsible and mischievous in reporting something that didn't occur, as well as attributing a statement to KJ when he didn’t say such a thing, both of which made him and the EC look bad.
Well, Malaysiakini had to eat crow and apologised. However, it claimed that on election night, it was informed by PKR candidate Badrul Hisham Shaharin, yes Chegubad himself, that he (Chegubad) was told by an EC official there would be a recount. Malaysiakini reported thus.
Then, 3 days later on March 11 Chegubad repeated at a press conference that during the poll count, there was a recount (implying the first count had brought out a very slim majority).
Chegubad’s allegation of a dodgy recount was reported by not only Malaysiakini but also a number of other newspapers. Malaysiakini conceded that since then, it realised that there was no such recount.
Well, well, well. Who should then be shot for putting Malaysiakini into such an embarrassing backdown?
Chegubad or the Malaysiakini journalist or ……..?
The chances of catching Osama Bin Laden are reported to be improving due to Al-Qaeda’s increasing unpopularity in Pakistan. This opinion is based on the assumption that he is hiding in a cave somewhere in that country. Being an intelligent, experienced guerrilla strategist, that is highly unlikely. Even if he should be found and executed, no good whatever can come of it. This is asymmetrical warfare. He is one man; his capture and death can have symbolic value only.
By contrast, Osama can take satisfaction in fortuitous success beyond his wildest dreams due to the philosophical failures of his enemies. I mean success by the normal criteria of warfare – damage to one’s enemies and the gain of something valuable.
Osama made his enmity to the United States clear by his 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre (WTC). This was followed by his 23 February 1998 fax to London’s Al Quds newspaper in which he charged, as evidently his primary reason:
Firstly, for over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the [Saudi] Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbours, and turning its bases in the peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighbouring Muslim peoples.
Osama is, of course, a Saudi.
Osama’s sequence of success began with the destruction of the World Trade Centre and damage to the Pentagon. It has never been suggested that Osama acted other than independently in this, so although of appalling effect, these were criminal acts.
Instead of treating them as simple criminal acts, the Bush administration acted on a variety of unrelated agendas, treated them as acts of international warfare, bombed and invaded Afghanistan and followed up with the invasion of Iraq. The total direct military costs alone of US operations consequent from the WTC attack, both within and external to the US, is officially USD 516 billion as of November 2007. There are many additional costs and government programmes, for example, homeland security and enhanced intelligence that did not exist prior to 2001. Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel prize-winning economist, estimates that the cost of these wars to the US is USD 3 trillion, with the same cost to the UK and the rest of the world. These are phenomenal sums – not merely wasted but employed to inflict massive destruction against two wholly innocent countries.
In addition to this financial cost, the US’s invasions have destabilized the oil markets, creating an enormous increase in the price of oil with consequent price rises in all commodities. Together with domestic and government over-borrowing, government over-spending and Wall Street’s sale of worthless sub-prime mortgage debt, the US economy is at present in free-fall. The US dollar has collapsed in value and might well lose its reserve status. Rather than monitoring his domestic economy, the president has been preoccupied with his wars.
There have been about 4,430 US servicemen killed in Afghanistan and Iraq and at a ratio of about 8:1 wounded per fatality, 35,000 wounded. About 1,000 contract employees are estimated to have been killed. Sympathy with fellow Muslims has led to attacks with fatalities in European cities, notably London and Madrid. Al-Qaeda is now stronger than ever, having gained new recruits in Iraq, where there were none before, as well as Afghanistan.
The whole world sympathized with the US following the WTC attack. That sympathy has evaporated, to be replaced by hatred in Muslim countries, and by distrust, suspicion and condemnation from Europe and other formerly sympathetic countries.
This has been Osama’s success: causing the US high casualties and to exhaust itself in a wasteful war that was not only unnecessary but, to be blunt, a fraud, since, of course, neither the Taliban and the Afghan people nor Saddam Hussein and the Iraqis had anything to do with the WTC bombing. In attacking them, the US has created more enemies and disadvantaged itself further. Both these wars are continuing; nor is there any reason to believe that the US and its allies will “win” by any definition so far employed. Whatever happens to him, Osama has good reason to be pleased with the outcome of his actions.
To compound his failure of judgement to date, President Bush is inventing pretexts for attacking Iran. Judging by the unforeseen results consequent on attacking Afghanistan, which was completely defenceless, and Iraq which was very weakly defended, an attack on Iran, a much stronger country, would be without doubt catastrophic both to the US and the world generally.
President Bush and former Prime Minister Blair both call themselves Christians. It is absolutely clear, however, that this is not the case. Christians are by definition followers of Jesus Christ. There is no possible justification in Jesus’s teachings for undertaking a war of deception and aggression. Jesus essentially taught that one is judged according to how one treats others, for example, the “Good Samaritan” story. The message of the entire New Testament is of admonition to goodwill to others and good behaviour.
Traditional Christianity makes no distinction between the Old and New Testament. By contrast with the New Testament, the Jewish Torah, comprising the first five books of the Christian Bible’s Old Testament, names the Israelites (Jews) as God’s chosen people and gives many accounts of wars initiated by them, commencing with killing every inhabitant of the Canaanite city of Jericho in present Palestine. It is customary to take texts from either according to the point one wishes to make. I was brought up within an American fundamentalist sect and understand the closed frames of reference that govern religious thought.
In these and traditional Christian religions, it is customary to read, with full approval, of the Israelites’ exploits in defeating their enemiesl. There is full psychological identification with the Israelites. Such Christians think of themselves as, broadly, “spiritual Israelites” and that the mantle of God’s approval has passed to them or extends both to the Jews and to them so that they may share with the Jews the benefits of the coming of the Messiah, Jesus’s second coming or the End of Days, as the case may be. It is this that underlies the Christian fundamentalist political support of Israel.
There is nothing in Jesus’s teaching nor the New Testament to support these views. Jesus taught that it was individual goodness and conduct that is important, without racial distinction, as in the case of the non-Jewish Samaritan. This was the heresy that led to his death. It denied that the Jews had special status to God. As a matter of academic interest, Jesus’s vision appears to have been the same as that of Pharaoh Amenhotep lV or Akhenaten, who also envisaged a God who loved all mankind. The Israelites adopted monotheism from this source and adapted it to their needs. This is now generally accepted by scholars.
New Testament Christianity is Judaism’s further development and, as evidenced by Jesus’s death, is incompatible with it. American fundamentalist Christianity, as well as most traditional Christianity, incorporates the violence of the Torah. This violence can be seen in its original absolutist form in the actions of the “nation of Israel”, which is acting directly from its cultural roots both in its claim to Palestine and its means of securing it. For a thousand years the Western Christian countries have had New Testament Christianity as a restraining influence on men’s natural propensity to violence and its Old Testament justification. Christianity is also the impulse to the West’s highest ideals, claimed particularly in America, but now either discarded in practice or considered by humanists and the politically correct to have appeared spontaneously. We are all products of our cultures.
The alternative to the automatic adoption of unrestrained violence following the WTC attack was therefore for President Bush to have adopted a Christian approach. In practice, this would have meant negotiations with the Taleban, either directly or through the United Nations, for the apprehension of Osama Bin Laden. This would by no means preclude efforts by the CIA or other government agencies from finding him. Such negotiations would certainly have succeeded well within the six and a half years that have since passed. Similarly, if it were desired to remove Saddam Hussein, far more restrained methods would have succeeded, doubtless with the cooperation of most of the Iraqi people. In the event, as is well known, Zionist, corporate and other interests precluded such approaches.
Having now brought disaster on the Afghan and Iraqi peoples as well as damaging itself and the world generally, particularly the poor, it is surely worthwhile for the USA to attempt a Christian approach. This would mean the immediate cessation of military operations and withdrawal within months. The Iraqis are capable of reconstructing their own country; Afghanistan should receive genuine reconstruction assistance. A neutral country, e.g. Switzerland, should attempt reconciliation of the factions within both countries. In the final analysis, the inhabitants of Iraq and Afghanistan would have to make their own accommodations. There is no reason to believe that further military action by the invading forces will improve matters whereas years of killing indicate clearly that the position can only become worse.
The USA’s present practices of looting Iraqi oil, and as an occupier, imposing contracts for oil, Boeing aircraft and armaments that Iraq does not need, as well as suggestions that the Iraqis should commence paying the US’s costs for occupying and killing them, are stunningly outrageous. Then there are the Iraqi oil-for-food and oil sales funds made available by the United Nations, that have been stolen or wasted.
There is every indication from the US’s behaviour in Iraq that Osama had a genuine grievance in saying that that it was plundering Saudi Arabia (presumably oil). The common depiction of Osama as a feeble rag-head hiding in a cave greatly under-estimates him. He achieved his strategic objective of removing the USA from his home country as well as inflicting grave damage on it, both material and moral, from which it might never fully recover. The USA fears further attacks, perhaps nuclear, and with good reason. Further individuals whom it has unjustly injured might well wish to retaliate in the future. This is also part of Osama’s legacy. As Cherie Blair said, before anyone could stop her, “One can understand how people without hope can become suicide bombers,” or something very much like it. Similarly, one may understand Osama.
Jesus said: “Yes, the way to identify a tree or a person is by the kind of fruit that is produced.” The general idea of Christianity is to avoid making enemies. If one has them, convert them to friends and influence others by good example rather than through conflict. One does not need to believe in Jesus, Christianity or even God to understand the value of doing this.
Last night I heard Gordon Brown, the minister’s son, say in the presence of George Bush, the overt Christian, “The world owes President George Bush a huge debt of gratitude for leading the world in our determination to root out terrorism ...” I’ve felt disconnected ever since as if in my own country I’m in a foreign land. Wasn’t the terrorist only one man, with a few surviving helpers? Doesn’t Gordon Brown know about the million dead, the three or four million refugees, the destruction and hunger? Christians have to start again.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Anwar was reported to have "… confidently predicted [to AFP] he would be prime minister within three years, sketching out the first rough timetable for his dramatic political comeback."
Malaysiakini quoted him as saying: "I don't think we have established a definite clear time-frame when I will take over (as prime minister) but it certainly wouldn't reach three years ... much earlier than that. (But) I am not in a rush."
Yes, we all have been and are aware of his burning desire to be PM. But the part that intrigues me has been the forecast time of 3 years for him to assume the nation’s No 1 political job.
Why a weird 3 years?
Indeed, why not 5 years in conjunction with the next general election?
Or, why not sometime this year when (1) he gets his froggies into PKR, (2) he wins a parliamentary by-election and (3) he consequently leads the Pakatan Rakyat to declare a majority in the Dewan Rakyat, and accordingly assumes rule of government for his coalition.
In fact, regarding my last rhetorical query (re Anwar's 'now' option) the Star Online has reported precisely that, where in Kota Kinabalu Anwar has declared We have the number, however, we’re in no rush to replace Barisan, but putting the deadline for his premiership as Merdeka Day (31 August) or Malaysia Day (16 September).
He stated: "God willing, we will be there. If not next month, the following month, then if not June or July, (it will be) on Merdeka (Aug 31) or Malaysia Day. I think we should not go beyond that."
Admittedly he didn't state which year when he quoted the two auspicious dates. ;-)
The Star then reported him saying he won’t conduct secret negotiations with the frogs during his visit to Sabah because he was being constantly watched, and ... before any admirer would lose hope of him and his party seizing government rule, he said what-the-hey man, such hop-over talks could take place in Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong … etc - the ‘etc’ being kaytee’s helpful input, just to assist Anwar in keeping the location as confidentially mysterious as possible ;-).
Now tell me, what do you make of these two different news report on his timeline for his attainment of his political ambition ... er ... apart from the issue of the Star Online being highly disliked and not trusted?
I am sure you must be anxious to hear kaytee’s opinion ;-)
This is what kaytee believes:
The Star Online report is less true, not because the reporters/editors have spun it but because I believe Anwar has been throwing red herrings as well as ajak ajak
Yes, kaytee believes he won’t be talking to or would he want to, those BN kataks, assuming there are kataks in the first place. In fact, I believe he wants those BN people to stay where they are – wait, I’ll explain.
The Malaysiakini report (re his PM-ship in 3 years time, or perhaps even slightly earlier) is the more credible version because:
(a) Anwar was talking to AFP. He needs to be credible to foreign media.
(b) It’s a more realistic timeline, given my belief of the usual wheeling and dealing as I had blogged in Why the froggie volte-face on reformasi and Saturday's "It's not true ....." (2)
Being a keen conspiracy theorist ;-) I believe there’s a deal done where Anwar takes over from AAB in around 3 years time. The operative word is quid pro quo.
What the details are, I have to confess, that other than the main points, your guess would be as good as mine.
It may well be that Najib will be ‘given’ the dignified option of a graceful, ‘gracious’ and grateful retirement due to …….. (fill in blank – eg. health excuse like going for balls repair).
Oh, incidentally have you heard of RPK of Malaysia-Today blog saying he has received a book (ironically) titled ‘100 Dalil mengapa Najib tak boleh jadi PM’ from an anonymous source. Looks like the ante has been raised by double ;-)
RPK said he would study the book to assess whether the 100 dalils (proof or clarifications) were mere innuendoes or indeed have substance. He declared that his Malaysia-Today does not publish innuendoes and insinuations. But I somehow have faith in him and his competent investigative skills to find fruit to publish ;-)
Yes, G.A.N is certainly back on track.
Maybe that could explain why Anwar has declared assuming the PM's position in that weird time-frame of ‘3 years time’!
And the litmus test would be the earlier declared intention by Chegu Bard (PKR) to challenge the result of the Rembau parliamentary election vote count.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
If Suppiah's allegations in the letter are true, they throw new light on the Salleh Abbas case. It’s a fairly comprehensive letter touching on the history, personalities, issues, contents and general discussions of the controversial judicial case which has since its event, cast a dark cloud over Dr M.
I have no way of knowing whether Suppiah’s contention can stand up to scrutiny by the legal fraternity. However as a layperson I just want to pick on one aspect of the accusations against Salleh Abbas, for two reasons – (1) I am a non-Muslim and (2) we all know that after Salleh Abbas' dismissal from the bench, he joined PAS and even stood as a party’s candidate in one of the GE (2004?).
By itself the (2) point above should be a private matter and be none of any body's business. But read on ...Suppiah wrote (just extracts relevant to my selected specific topic):
Second allegation: At the launching of the book Malaysia Law and Law, Justice and the Judiciary: Transnational Trend on Jan 12, 1988 in his speech ….....
In the same speech he made special reference to the interpretative role of judges and advocated the acceptance of the Islamic legal system not only in the interpretation of the civil law of Malaysia but in its general application.
In particular he advocated thus: "This system consists mostly of the Quran and Hadith (tradition of Prophet Mohammad S.A.W.). The interpretation of these two sources of law is done according to the established and accepted methodology. Volumes of literature have been written as commentaries and exegesis of the Quaranic law the Prophet Mohammad’s Hadith or tradition. In this situation, not only is the judiciary bound by Islamic law as propounded by jurisconsult (muftis, who give legal rulings on particular matters), but as Parliament and the executive too are certainly bound by these rulings."
His attempt to restate the law generally along Islamic legal principles ignores the character of Malaysian society as one which is multi-religious and multi-racial with deep cultural differences. No responsible government can allow the postulation of such views by the head of the judiciary without causing fear and consternation among its non-Muslim population. Furthermore, his statement violates established principles of judicial interpretation widely accepted in the courts in Malaysia and in the Commonwealth.
Third allegation: He adjourned sine die the case of Teoh Eng Huat v Kadhi Pasir Mas, Kelantan and Another (Civil Appeal No 220 of 1986) which involved the issue of a minor’s choice of religion. It was adjourned six times in the Supreme Court – Aug 18, 1986, Aug 25, 1986, Dec 1, 1986, July 30, 1987, July 31, 1987 and Aug 3, 1987. It related to the conversion from Buddhism to the Islamic faith.
As I said this sheds new light on the alleged religious proclivity of Salleh Abbas. I hope some lawyers would come out and confirm or reject this allegation by P Suppiah.
I checked with my Uncle and he seemed to recall the Teoh Eng Huat case – mind you, he wasn’t too sure whether it was Teoh Eng Huat but he recalled a Teoh whose 13 (or 14) years old daughter ‘eloped’ with her Malay teacher, running off to Kelantan to get married and of course in the process was converted to Islam.
The law is and indeed then would be quite clear on that a minor could not make decision of such magnitude. Additionally, Romeo should have been charged with kidnapping and statutory rape, and the minor returned to the care of her parents.
But alas, the civil court (all Muslim judges) shocked everyone by tap dancing away from its due responsiblity, with the distressed family highly traumatised over the shameless injustice.
It was hardly surprising that the frustrated father would have lodged an appeal.
Whether that was the same case P Suppiah has accused Salleh Abbas of adjourning sine die (meaning ‘indefinitely’ or worst case scenario like ‘never’), one wonders how in the world could a judge adjourn a case sine die 6 times.
If indeed it was the case my Uncle remembered, Suppiah’s allegation seems to imply the judge didn’t want the appeal to take place, I suppose, because it would then be bloody embarrassing to explain how a court closed one eye to the Islamic religious conversion of a minor by a man who by legal definition had ‘kidnapped’ and statutorily ‘raped’ her!
I hope someone would come along swiftly to refute this damning allegation of Salleh Abbas. I am shattered by this tsunamic allegation.
While the simplistic thesis put forward by Samuel Huntington in his work ‘The Clash of Civilisations’ reads like a paltry script from a bad movie, it has to be said that bad scripts are often the most believable and effective. It was Huntington who predicted that in the wake of the Cold War a new sort of conflict would arise, namely one configured along cultural-civilisational differences between the developed Western world and the mysterious, exotic and threatening East.
The two cultural blocs that were said to be the future adversaries to the West were the Muslim world and China , respectively. In the case of the former, it was opined by Huntington that with the demise of Communism the potential threat of Islam would be realised sooner or later for the simple reason that Islam and the West shared ‘bloody frontiers’ that were marked by centuries of conflict. This thesis, however, is patently false to anyone who has even the slightest idea of the history of Islam and the non-Muslim world, for the fact is that the frontiers of the Muslim world are not marked by violence nor stained by blood, but rather remain porous horizons marked by the eclectic culture of Islamic mysticism or Sufism: From Southeast Asia to China, from Africa to Europe, the furthest frontiers of the Muslim world are precisely where mysticism and the Muslim practice of inter-cultural dialogue and cultural cross-fertilisation flourished the most.
Related to Huntington’s fear of Islam was his fear of China, dubbed the ‘sleeping giant’ by Napoleon more than a century ago and which till today has yet to truly realise and demonstrate its full economic potential. Huntington ’s crude thesis argued that in time the West would have to realise that non-negotiable cultural differences exist between the Western world and the Orient, and that these cultural differences would ultimately serve as the catalyst for an all-out confrontation between the West and China .
As the world stands on the brink of a global recession and as we witness what may soon become a global food and resource crisis, the lens of Western policy-makers and media analysts are already looking eastwards to locate the new ‘threat’ to the global order, namely China.
It is with this thought in mind that we reflect on the rather curious assortment of media tid-bits that have been served to us lately. In a space of a month, the international media have focused on the internal and external developments in China of late. Needless to say, the human rights record of China – not only in its dealings with Tibet but also internally in terms of its treatment of local dissidents – leaves much to be desired. China was and remains an authoritarian state with a brutal policing apparatus that works to ensure that the regime remains in power at all costs, regardless of the loss of basic freedoms and civil liberties to its people.
But having said that, it should also be remembered that the Chinese government is not the only despotic regime on the planet at the moment. Nor should we forget that the Western governments have been willing and able to work with many equally brutal regimes the world over, from the despots of the Arab states to the dictatorships in Latin America and Africa. So why single out China for now? And if China ’s record is something to be looked at closely, we might as well take some time out to look at America’s own human rights record in dealing with the detainees in Guantanamo Bay as well.
The latest craze seems to be the focus on China ’s economic dealings with Africa and how Chinese companies have been investing in the development of natural resources and infrastructure in the African continent. Several reports in the international media – including the BBC and CNN – have painted the picture of an aggressive China moving into the African continent to suck its resources dry and to secure monopolies in areas such as oil and gas.
Yet it has to be remembered that in the wake of the Second Gulf War and the invasion of Afghanistan in 2002, it was America that took the lead in the race to re-establish its presence in the African continent. Fearful of the prospect that the oil and gas reserves in the Arab-Muslim world were being depleted too fast, and that Arab oil and gas will run out for good in less than two decades, American and other Western oil and gas companies have begun to turn to Africa as another source of vital resources for their industrialised economies. Soon after the invasion of Afghanistan the Washington-based African Oil Policy Initiative Group (AOPIG) was set up to promote American oil and gas company interests in Africa . Already many of these companies have secured for themselves lasting monopolies in African countries like Nigeria .
So is all this talk of an ‘aggressive China’ moving into Africa simply a smokescreen to hide the fact that American oil and gas companies are already there, exploiting the natural resources of Africa to serve their own domestic industrial needs? And if China is to expand and develop its economy, then surely it also needs to secure a steady supply of vital resources such as oil, gas and steel?
This, then, appears to be the real reason and agenda behind the spate of China-bashing that we are seeing in the international media today. For if the governments of the West are really concerned about the standard of human rights in China at present, they would do just as well to apply the same standards to themselves and to their strategic allies in the Arab world, Africa and Asia. For now however, this hypocrisy of the highest level will continue as long as the international community remains blissfully ignorant of the real geo-political manoeuvrings that are taking place in this latest media skirmish between the West and China . A global economic crisis is in the making, as well as a global race for rapidly depleting resources. The media campaign to demonise China today is just the opening round to what will surely be a long-term conflict whose human costs will be borne by the rest of humanity as well.
Related: Also read China Bashing and the Loss of US Competitiveness by James Petras.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
(1) Shahrir Abdul Samad, domestic trade and consumer affairs minister told AFP that with oil prices at US$117.26 per barrel, it will "put a strain on the budget."
kaytee recommends that he consults Anwar Ibrahim who knows the secret of lowering fuel prices. Anwar knows everything.
In fact my matey Antares wrote a letter to Malaysiakini saying that he regarded Anwar Ibrahim as the Master Plumber who will take on the unpleasant but absolute necessary task of fixing the flush mechanism jammed by UMNO.
I wonder who added to the UMNO cesspool?
(2) Lim GE appointed Lee Kah Choon as a capable bloke to head (please lah, Malaysiakini, not helm, helm, helm) InvestPenang. Najib didn’t like that, Lim KY didn’t like that but AAB yawnnn and even said maybe such a bipartisan appointment might be a start to BN-PR collaboration.
Good on you Lim GE and good on you too, AAB. Congrats Kah Choon.
(3) PAS spiritual leader Pak Haji Nik Aziz Nik said non-Muslims have the right to breed pigs, thus it would be OK for Selangor to develop the proposed high-tech pig farm so long as it does not contaminate the environment. But when asked about Kelantan having a similar hi-tech pig farm he said NIMBY.
(4) Meanwhile Star Metro asked sweetie Teresa Kok what’s her favourite food, to which Sweetie replied pork steamed with salted fish - hope this won't turn into another TK porky piggy controversy. But she lamented that nowadays she hardly have this very nice dish.
What's the matter with you Sir Galahads? Aiyah, you are all hopeless lah - here's a sweetie with a craving and no bold man has rushed forward gallantly; pity kaytee's not in KL to look after Teresa.
No worries dahleeeng, the hi-tech farm will ensure there’s plenty of mince pork.
(5) Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Dr Maximus Ongkili told reporters after the launch of the Creativity and Innovation Day 2008 celebrations at KL Tower yesterday that there’s zero
But DPM Najib said the space training for Mejar Dr Faiz Khaleed will go on despite the country's space program coming to a virtual halt. I would strongly recommend Naiib to consult Anwar on how to do the impossible ;-) Anwar knows everything.
In the meantime, maybe bungee jumping for the Mejar? He would get a 1 second of zero gravity experience, and it doesn't cost anything ... unless the rubber band overstretches.
(6) Then Deputy PM Najib said he isn’t a coward in response to an insult by Dr M he lacked the balls to speak up about the real reasons behind the BN’s recent election disaster. My blogging matey Susan Loone also called him 'no balls' (shouldn't it be in the singular as in 'no ball', because 'no' or 'none' means less than one?)
Sometimes I do wonder whether a party which won 140 out of 222 seats should be considered as failing in an election? Personally I like odds like 114 to 108 ;-). During a crucial vote, no one dares go to the parliamentary toilet, and believe me, women are better at this ;-)
Of course 114 (or 140) is still the party with the majority. Maybe some UMNO people likes odds like 200 to 22?
(7) PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, the de jure PKR president and de jure Opp Leader said AAB has been four years late in restructuring the Anti-Corruption Agency into an independent commission.
Aiyah Datin, nothing is ever too late so long as one is still alive.
(8) AAB said the Penang second bridge project will suffer a 9 month delay because of problems in land acquisition, design and rising cost. OK, I’ll still keep my origami sampan then.
(9) Indonesian Members of Parliament have proposed closer bilateral cooperation with Malaysia in matters of food and energy security. They suggested to Najib that Malaysia make use of the six million hectares of oil palm plantation in Indonesia to breed cattle.
Whoa whoa, Uncle told me we had a similar f*up scheme with our oil palm plantation some years ago where one 'brainy' bloke conjured up a multi-million ringgit scheme to keep goats on the plantation. The reason? So that the palm oil will be naturally fertilized by goat poo, while the goats could be harvested like palm oil. Needless to say, it became a financial disaster.
Let’s tell those Indons to keep the bullsh*t and their bloody annual smoke haze to themselves, the latter of which is about to start in a few months time.
Leading Malaysian neocon Scott Thong Yu Yuen, a reincarnation of R Rajan ;-) screamed at our Malaysian leader’s hypocrisy in warning Malaysians against the holding of protests against the Beijing Olympics.
He provided scenarios to prove that Malaysia might have acted differently if our nation has been the victim that Tibet was. Unfortunately he didn’t take his ‘liberal’ views all the way to include the tragedy of the Palestinians, which indicated his lamentable but known political proclivity ke ke ke.
He concluded his letter to Malaysiakini Vox Populi by stating: Just don't act as if you yourself are completely just, righteous and fair-minded. Be honest and admit your highly political biases. I looked at my nation in the mirror, and saw only hypocrisy.
Hey Scott buddy, re last sentence, can you replace the phrase ‘nation’ with ‘self’ – ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
Anyway, on a more serious note, my matey, renown blogger Susan Loone was amazed at the passion of her visitors with her post Let the Olympic torch pass, but remember the violence against Tibetans.
One had even appealed to her 'honour' (I spell it here with a 'u' in defiance ha ha ha) to ... whatever. Was that honour associated with her being a Chinese? I sure hope not ;-) Don't you all forget we are Malaysians, except for overseas visitors who visited her post.Why should the Olympic Games, or for that matter any Olympics Games be involved with politics or war? But then trust the Yanks to galvanise a political boycott of the Moscow Games which saw an inevitable tit for tat boycott of the Los Angelos Games.
Yes, maybe many have forgotten what the modern Games were for. In the late 19th Century, Baron Pierre de Coubertin of France sought a way to bring nations closer together, to have the youth of the world compete in sports, rather than fight in war.
I left a couple of comments at Susan's but didn’t have the patience to plough through the post’s 200+ comments. My last comment was:
Too much emotion here.
Tibet is a strategic region for China, and of course a concern for the Tibetans - two legitimate parties arguing over history, politics, legality etc, admittedly uneven handedly.
However, the USA wants Tibet free (independent, not just more autonomous) for its own strategy against China. In other words, big (US) politics is lending a self-interested and hence hypocritical hand (of support in many forms) to Tibetans in the same manner as it had in Afghanistan, initially to the Talibans, then subsequently to the other side, the Northern Alliance warlords.
One sees American interference of such nature all over the world even in former Eastern Europe (now in Georgia, Ukraine, Romania, Albania, Czech, Poland) and the Middle East, as it is now supporting Fatah against Hamas when it once attempted to suppress Fatah. India (and even Vietnam) is one of its newly embraced in its strategic containment of China. A rightwing Sakorzy government in France has also lent that nation’s support to the anti Games movement.
The Chinese have pissed poor PR and whilst the arguments may be that some Tibetans could have started the killings in downtown Lhasa (to kick start the Free-Tibet-anti-Beijing campaign?) with the Chinese authority clamping down in its usual ham-fisted way, Beijing now looks bad to the people of the Western world. By contrast the Dalai Lama is one smart politician who knows lots about PR in the West. He is exploiting that to the hilt.
The Tibetans (and perhaps even the Dalai Lama) are ensuring they get max publicity in this one-in-a-lifetime opportunity, making China look so bad that even a few countries (hopefully more) may look towards boycotting the Games, or better force China to talk to the Dalai Lama, allowing him to put one foot in the door.
Whilst the Dalai Lama talks about Tibet being an intrinsic part of China and that he only ‘appeals’ for greater autonomy for Tibet, his supporters are screaming for full independence. The Tibetans know the Chinese will react badly so the more violent they behave, the better would be the PR outcome for them. Even harsh Nepalese police control of their violent protests has resulted in bad publicity, not for Nepal, but for Beijing.
Violence gets better publicity than calm peaceful protests - which has been why there has been complete inconsistency between the peaceful public image of the Dalai Lama and the extremely violent Tibetan protestors. He only needs to say one calming word to his protestors … alas …he has avoided that thus far in the interviews I have seen him in.
It’ll be a shame because nothing that the Tibetan do or nations boycotting the Games will change China, as in the ultimate national strategic consideration China would prefer to lose the Games (and reputation) rather than Tibet, so vital to its defence.
If the protests badly affect the Games, even to its eventual cancellation, I fear the subsequent outcome, the retribution of Beijing’s resentment on the Tibetans. The Dalai Lama can now kiss his hopes of even returning to Lhasa. The reality is … for China, regardless, Tibet is non-negotiable. The losers will be both China and Tibetans.
Indeed the passion has not been limited to Susan’s post as the two warring parties, Tibetans and Chinese nationals throughout the world, combat each other over the Games (physically, intellectually, historically, politically and emotionally). I won’t go into details other than to say there exist highly charged emotions and antagonisms between the two sides.
It’s worse than the tribalism exhibited shamefully by European supporters of a football match.
Monday, April 21, 2008
I have been one of the few bloggers who were openly concerned with ‘royal political activism’. I used the word ‘openly concerned’ because I had received several letters or notes from other bloggers who informed me they shared the same concerns but won’t come out in the open to say what I had said.
When I talk about ‘royal political activism’ I am not talking about politicians like Tengku Razaleigh or the late Tengku Abdul Rahman or the (what’s his name?) former Tourism Minister. I mean the Sultans or Regents or Crown Princes, people who have immunity from most of the laws applicable to commoners but who by virtue of such immunity should not come down to the commoners (or political) arena.
These royalty should stay above politics and not overstretch the limits of their constitutional rights as free rein to engage directly in political activism.
What Ong Kian Ming and Oon Yeoh said has been absolutely right, about “Some people, perhaps simply because they like seeing Pak Lah squirm under the royal thumb in Perlis and Terengganu – cheered on the royalty, saying that their intervention was a good thing.”
“But it all depends on whose ox is being gored, doesn't it? Would these very same people cheer on the sultan's actions if this had happened to the opposition?”
Personally I have not been happy with the actions of the Sultans of Perlis and Terengganu, even though the loser had been AAB. We shouldn’t rejoice that AAB had his ass whipped nicely by royalty because those royalty must not interfere with the decision making of the PM, the people’s choice of a national leader selected in accordance with our democratic process.
It’s hypocritical to talk about democratic process when we cheer processes that haven't been politically correct just because those processes have gone against a disliked person.
The Sultans should never have gone against the choice of the majority party in its selection of the State MBs. No doubt AAB eventually succumbed to a compromise because he was trying to minimize the aggravations particularly at a bad time for him, but the constitutional process was incredibly wrong, and rather sadly many cheered the Sultans and even provided justifications.
But I believe all those have been, as mentioned by Ong and Oon, more to jeer AAB and UMNO rather than cheer the royalty. But we might have unwittingly encourage the royalty to think otherwise.
When prior to the election, the idea of royalty as our political silver bullet was promoted at Malaysia-Today, I was one of those very few who warned against jacking royalty up above its constitutional role – please read Dangerous euphoria over 'political' royalty.
I had written “we need to remember Malaysia is a democracy built around a constitutional monarchy, meaning the voice of the people, and not those of the rulers, prevails.”
In my other post Rulers no 'Silver Bullet' you can also read what renown writer Farish Noor has to say.
What the Crown Prince of Kelantan had recently said publicly – please read Kelantan Crown Prince 'slapped' non-Malays in face! - shows the dangers of allowing royalty to interfere actively with democratic process.
And our knowledge of how a certain royalty and members of his family had behaved should be of grave concerns, if they somehow imagine that such public (opposition) support represents an imprimatur for them to resume behaving like royalties did in the days of Hang Tuah.
Ong and Oon provided some extreme examples of royal political activisms which could take us into deeper hotter constitutional waters.
Let the conduct of absolute royalty with its direct political activism in those bad days of Hang Tuah remain forever in the pages of Munshi Abdullah’s Hikayat.
During the chilling drizzle, we invariably ended up talking samkok, with the conversation drifting into Malaysian politics. The strangest thing happened when we came to the subject of the controversial 1988 judicial event.
The views, opinions and indeed arguments were coming furiously from all directions, more so after we had a few drinks under our belt. When it came to Dr M and his alleged involvement, I have to say he received in equal portions support, vile remarks and neutral commentaries, until one 30-year old Chinese sweetie suddenly caught all of us by surprise with her comment coming in from the left field.
She said: "Mahathir has been the most handsome politician in Malaysia!"
All of us were rendered speechless for long seconds until one woke up from the effect of her stunning remark by asking (in retrospect, rather stupidly), "Come again?", whereby sweetie repeated her eye-preciation of our Doctor Adonis and added, "Even today there isn't one politician as handsome as he is!"
No one knew what to say after that, and this time long minutes went by - but kaytee eventually came to the rescue by popping open another bottle of sparkling shiraz. That broke the ice and sweetie then copped it real sweet from the doctor's detractors.
I am not sure whether a person known as 'kaytee' whom I first spied in Malaysiakini blogs corner has anything to do with Colton's aphorism?
'kaytee' has submitted several articles (written by others) to Malaysia Topic blog, such as:
(1) ‘Level Four Boys’: Damaging bane for PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah?
(2) EU report on polls
etc etc ...
Unlike my blogging mate Susan Loone, I haven't really suffered anything sinister from this 'kaytee' but I personally reckon the spelling and use of the moniker 'kaytee' is too much of a coincidence ;-), but in the end I have to grudingly submit that despite the odds, it has to be a coincidence.
Hmmm, am not sure who he or she is
Saturday, April 19, 2008
It’s not true ...
(1) that Malaysiakini published Can Khairy reinvent himself?
(2) that of the four options available to him, one would be to recast himself as a reformist ;-) (wouldn't this be one too many?) not within UMNO, but as a member of the opposition PKR
(3) that he has considered this option seriously
(4) and has sought an audience (‘audience’, and never a ‘meeting’ with an Emperor in waiting) with you-know-who, at least 3 times
(5) that there are silly rumours of the ownership of the boutique shop TENC changing hands
(6) that it has been heard IKIM has come out with a new Malay word with an origin from the Holy Land, called ‘quid pro quo’
(7) that, while we are visiting the Holy Land, let’s recall John the Baptist
(8) whose head was offered on a silver platter by King Herod to Salome
(9) that the G.A.N is back in operations
(10) jointly with a new G.A.M operations
(11) that someone needs a very large gold platter, with room for 2
(12) because of the saying 'two heads are better than one'
(13) that we are all waiting to see Chegu Bard’s legal challenge of the Rembau election result
(14) whether it will be supported
(15) or instead, he would be ‘advised’ to drop it
(16) that I believe Humpty Dumpty for once - hey, there's a 1st time for everything ;-)
(17) when he said that Dr M’s love for someone was unrequited
(18) that someone’s mob was attempting to shove the olde man out with indecent haste
(19) with allegations of cronyism and corruption
(20) that the olde man had a few aces up his sleeves and counterattacked
(21) that meanwhile, UMNO is maintaining its ‘no apology’ policy
(22) but will financially compensate the judges who were dismissed in 1988
(23) that AAB has a succession plan for the UMNO presidency
(24) with Najib anointed, unless his anointed 'head' falls onto a gold platter ;-)
(25) that someone in Kelantan said to AAB, “WTF, what about me?”
(24) that he may 'complain' to TF
(25) that (brace yourself) a new 'speech' may be prepared about the 'unconstitutionality' (ha ha ha) of stuff
(26) that f* all the above, a well-known muhhibah forum should be consolidated
(27) to promote and foster good inter-ethnic relationships
(28) that this forum is better known as
(29) the 4-Ekor shops
(30) where the only important figures for economic equity
(31) are the correct 4 digits
(32) that Deputy Education Minister Dr Wee Ka Siong (MCA) is seeking advice from Dr M on how to deal successfully with the ins and outs of a defamation suit.
Friday, April 18, 2008
In April 2003, a US tank deliberately aimed at the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad, where foreign reporters used as a media centre. The US Army were then pretty pissed off by some of the non American press whose reports were too truthful and succinctly analytical, meaning they had been critical of the American conduct of the war.
The tank raised its gun, aimed at a part of the hotel, waited for two minutes and then fired and killed two journalists.
All these were captured on film by France 3 television which had coincidentally positioned two cameras in two rooms facing the bridge outside the hotel.
Herve de Ploeg, the journalist and film editor who filmed the attack, said: "I did not hear any shots in the direction of the tank, which was stationed at the west entrance of the Al-Jumhuriya (Republic) bridge, 600 metres north-west of the hotel. It was not a case of instinctive firing."
In other words, de Ploeg disputed the American commander who gave the excuse that the tank was being shot at from the hotel; de Ploeg also implied it was deliberate cold blooded shooting at two innocent journalists.
The Melbourne Age reported that “The incident killed a cameraman for the Telecinco Spanish television station and another for the British news agency Reuters. Three Reuters staffers were also wounded.”
It also stated: “A reporter for the Arab satellite television Al-Jazeera died earlier today and a cameraman was injured after the station's offices in Baghdad were hit in a separate attack that the Qatar-based channel charged was a deliberate US strike.”
my underlining above & below
Intimidation was the name of the killing, a warning to other journalists.
See my post How Does the US Military Plea: Never Guilty! to fully comprehend the evil of the US military. I am not talking about individual US military personnel but the evil machinery that poses as an armed service of a western democracy. It displayed that unmitigated evil in Vietnam, and it hasn't changed since.
Well, its accomplice (or master) in the Middle East, Israel, has done the same thing, killing a Reuters reporter with a tank shell, despite the vehicle in which the victim was travelling was clearly emblazoned (even on its roof) with markings ‘PRESS’ and ‘TV’, and his flak jacket similarly clearly marked.
Fadl Shanaa, a Reuters cameraman, had rushed to the al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza where an Israeli helicopter fired four missiles at targets at the camp, killing at least 12 Palestinians, including five children aged 12-15.
Fadl Shaana was killed by several of the 3 cm-long darts, known as flechettes. The darts sliced into his legs and chest.
Advocacy groups have repeatedly sought to have flechettes banned on the ground that they kill indiscriminately, stating that their use in civilian areas contravenes global conventions because of their potential for harming civilians and their indiscriminate nature.
Apparently, according to al Jazeera, thousands of the darts are released in mid-air when a tank shell explodes. These darts would spray out over hundreds of metres. Even Israeli doctors had voiced their objections to the US-supplied weapons and had tried to have it banned in Israel five years ago.
But the Israelis' total abdication of due civilised care for civilians has not been unlike their immoral and murderous evil of sowing millions of cluster bombs in southern Lebanon where the likely victims would be children – see Evil in Full Storm (2) - Israel's 100,000 cluster bomblets.