Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Fun Outing this weekend!!

KL's Alternative Book Fair featuring 18 booths by 4 independent booksellers and bookshops as well as other publishing companies is ON at Central Market Annexe this weekend, May 3-4,
Sat-Sun. At the same venue, you also have cool performances by alternative bands, lots of cool artwork for very cheap (everything less than RM100) and also talks by cool people like Farish Noor (3 p.m. Sat talk on race in Msia). (darn! Too many 'cool' in that sentence!)

Anyway, some of us are going there this Sat so, if you are free and able, please join us at 11 a.m. at Central Market! More information below:

The annual World Press Freedom Day<http://worldpressfr eedomday. blogspot. com> is drawing near on May 3.

This year, the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) is organizing a two-day event inviting Malaysians to shape the road map to media freedom. If, as people say, all roads lead to Rome, what sort of direction would you, as Malaysians, want to see the media take? How dothe stakeholders, i.e media practitioners, and political leaders see the future of media freedom in Malaysia post election?

This will be a two-day get together to discuss, give input, and engage with opinion-makers on reclaiming media freedom. There will be public talks, workshop, exhibition, wall-painting, survey and activities to spell out the path(s) towards a future of media freedom. Here is the highlights of the main events:

3 May Public talk I- Towards Ethical Media
Time: 12:30- 2:00pm
Speakers: Zainon Ahmad, Jacquelin Ann Surin, Wan Hamidi Hamid
Moderator: Gayathry Venkiteswaran

The public rejection of the mainstream media (MSM), the shift towards alternative media during the elections, and the recent boycottof the MSM organized by the People's Parliament
<http://harismibrahi m.wordpress. com/> can be read as an angry response over perceived unethical and unprofessional media coverage. Most common,the complaint was around biasness and media blackout of the opposition. With the opposition currently receiving relatively more and prominentcoverage in MSM due to their big time electoral victory, does it mean that the public has no more reason to be critical of the MSM?

The discussion would take advantage of the spark already ignited to heighten the public awareness on what constitutes ethical media practices, so that participants can move beyond the awareness of biasness and media blackout and are capable of assessing both the MSM and alternative media from a broad ethical perspective. Rather than boycotting the MSM, the discussion encourages an active and discerning media user who embraces both types of media and yet critical of them.

4 May Public talk II- Towards Media and Information Law Reform
Time: 12:30-2:00pm
Speakers: YB Teo Nie Ching, Andrew Khoo Chin Hock, HR Dipendra
Moderator: Wong Chin Huat

The electoral results opened many windows of opportunity for legislativereform in the area of media and access to information. While many may think that changes at best can only happen in the opposition controlled states, the discussion attempts to impart information on various mechanisms available in introducing and pushing for nationwide legislative reform, specifically on free media and access toinformation. Participants will be also getting an idea of CIJ'scommitment to media and information law reform and lobbying work.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Chinese Schools again!

This is part 2 of what was posted below. Since the topic actually got some hangat response (dah lama blog kita tak de comments macam tu!!) I decided to post the follow up. But DO DO go to the blog yourself because there are lots of comments there from ANGRY people who will probably be royally pissed at some of your IMHO patriotic comments! hahahaa... feel free to go to this link: http://www.sangsuria.blogspot.com/ and post them and fight for your Malaysian identity! hahahah

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Chinese school non-arguments

I see now, why Chinese school debate is "sensitive," It's actually not sensitive, it's just that people don't understand what the other side is saying.

Four people wrote back to me.

Three lambasted me for

1) wanting to ban Chinese schools
2) being an American and have no roots
3) accusing me of not honouring Chinese culture and history.

The other one asked for evidence that national schools are being Islamised.

First of all, I never agree to the banning of Chinese schools.

Secondly, I value culture and history and learning of civilisations. And if you don't think national schools do enough of that, than push to have electives so that our children have choices. And if you still don't think that is enough, than send them to Chinese schools. The people who are pro-Chinese schools say that it is not just language but Chinese culture that is important, Chinese history, Chinese civilisation... etc. I truly support your right to study Chinese culture and history.


nd why are national schools so unattractive? Why are we paying tax money to support an institution that is not attractive to a majority of Chinese? Shouldn't we do something about it? Shouldn't we be a part of nation buidling and make sure that it represents our needs too? Afterall we are citizens of this country.

I think if someone had addressed my primary concern, we would actually get somewhere. Like how about Chinese schools try to increase their percentage of non-Chinese to make sure that kids of different ethnicities mingle?

And, let's really advocate for a better kind of national education that can cater to the needs of different ethnicities. Let's find a common shared goal.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Understanding Altantuya

Altantuya’s murder: Mongolia may sever ties with KL

Soon Li Tsin | Apr 24, 08 7:03pm

All ties established between Mongolia and Malaysia may be severed if the courts do not reach a fair decision in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder trial.

Altantuya’s father, Dr Shaariibuu Setev, told a press conference that this has been communicated to the Malaysian government.

Speaking through lawyer and translator Munkhsaruul Mijiddorj, he told reporters that the Mongolian prime minister had informed Premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi about this in October last year.

“The last letter from the Mongolian government to Abdullah (states that) if Malaysia makes an unfair, irresponsible decision on this case, the Mongolian government will end their relationship with Malaysia.

“This issue is not personal but one between two countries. Can you imagine how this case will influence Malaysia’s economic situation?” he asked at the media meet organised by PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

Altantuya was found blown up by explosives at a secondary forest in Puncak Alam Shah Alam on October 19 two years ago.

Two Special Action Unit policemen corporal Sirul Azhar Umar and chief inspector Azilah Hadri were charged for her murder with political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda accused of abetting them.

All three face death sentences should they be found guilty in the trial that began on July 4 last year. The trial is presided by Shah Alam High Court Judge Mohd Zaki Md Yasin.

No support from Malaysians

Shaariibuu noted that he has also issued an urgent appeal concerning this case to international human rights organisations due to the lack of support from Malaysians.

He began the press conference by stating how Malaysian media has failed to ask pertinent questions surrounding his daughter’s murder.

“Do you know these explosives used by the police officers were from the military? It is not a simple knife. These explosive are used against another country but yet it was used on my daughter.

“You can now see what kind of dangerous people are working in your official level especially the police officers,” he said.

The psychology professor also held back on commenting on the case because there were high political figures involved.

“Of course I have a lot to say but it is my right to decide when I will say it openly or not because there are big political figures and business people surrounding this case,” he said.

He then began to raise his voice when he spoke about the lack of support he has gotten from the Malaysian public

“Why are you afraid to take some humanitarian action for the youngest son? Are you not ashamed?

“I’m not here to ask for money, I just want humanitarian assistance. Where is your humanitarian responsibility? I want to ask you all that questions,” he said with a strained expression.

After saying that, Shaariibuu slammed his hand on the table, yelled “finish” in Mongolian and stormed off.

Altantuya has two sons, Mungunshagai Bayarjargal, 11 and Altanshagai Munkhtulga, 4. The younger child currently suffers from peripheral nerve paralysis and does not know his mother was murdered.

Also, Altantuya’s mother Altantsetseg Sanjaa recently suffered a heart attack putting tremendous strain on the family.

Wan Azizah who was seated beside Shaariibuu told reporters to give him time and explained the frustration he is going through.

“Please understand as a father and grandfather to be told that your case has been postponed like another routine case, how do you feel? This is not an ordinary case.

“His daughter has been murdered and blown up to pieces. Malaysia should not be known to the world like this. He is just appealing to the Malaysian public, let us all be understanding,” she said.

Consider compensation

On his third trip to Malaysia, Shaariibuu arrived on Monday night to discover that the case was postponed and set to resume on May 5 due to the backlog of cases faced by Zaki and the lawyers

Last year, Altantuya’s family sued the three accused for her murder and the Malaysian government, seeking RM100 million in damages over her death.

The hearing of the civil suit was put on hold while awaiting the completion of the murder trial.

PKR vice-president R Sivarasa who was also present then called upon the government to consult with the Attorney-General to consider giving compensation to the family because all three of the accused are under the government’s employment.

“Whether the accused were found guilty or not, that is not the question. The point is the murder is connected to persons employed by the government.

“He is not just asking for money but pleading to the public to look at the humanitarian aspect of this especially over the health of Altantuya’s son and mother,” he said.

Shaariibuu is scheduled to return to Mongolia tomorrow in light of the trial’s postponement.


I posted this up because whatever he said… I felt like ouch.

You know how when this case started off, we probably bothered to look it up just cos it was very gossipy material and sensational. But we never fully know what it means to the family. When we hear of the case being postponed, we think, “Biasa lah. Malaysian court always like that wan.” But we will never stop to think how much loss or damage a postponement can do to the family, and do something about it.

Perhaps he’s right. We can be so heartless sometimes.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

RIP Rustam Sani

Author, blogger, and social activist Rustam A Sani passed away early this morning in his house in Gombak, Selangor. He was 64.

rustam saniHe was an academician, a newspaper columnist and a poet, besides being involved in a multitude of political, social and literary activities.

In politics, the Tanjung Malim-born social scientist was formerly the deputy president of Parti Rakyat Malaysia, which have since merged with the Parti Keadilan Nasional to form the PKR.

He left behind a wife, two children - a son and a daughter, and a grandchild. It is learnt that Rustam passed away after suffering from difficulties in breathing early this morning.

According to daughter Ariani, he could have suffered a heart attack.

"It was all so sudden. We had dinner together last night. He collapsed after having problems breathing at about 2.45am," she said between sobs.

In recent years, Rustam was known for his occasional blog postings in his 'Suara Rakyat' and 'Karya Semasa'.

rustam sani funeral 230408 prayerRustam obtained his Malay Studies degree from Universiti Malaya, and later took his Masters degree in United Kingdom (University of Reading and University of Kent) and later United States (Yale University) and Sweden (Uppsala University).

A prolific writer, he had written half a dozen books in both Bahasa Malaysia and English on a wide range of topic including the Malay left-wing nationalist movement.

Rustam was an associate professor at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s political science department in the 1980s.

rustam sani funeral 230408 vanThe funeral hearse left at 1pm for the nearby Masjid Al-Sharif where the body stayed until Zohor prayers. The body was buried at 3pm at the Taman Danau Kota Muslim cemetery in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur.

Selangor Mentri Besar Khalid Ibrahim arrived just in time for the prayers at the masjid.

Condolences from friends

Among those seen offering their condolences to Rustam’s family included top opposition politicians Anwar Ibrahim, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Nurul Izzah Anwar, Syed Husin Ali and Dr Xavier Jeyakumar (PKR), Kamaruddin Jaffar, Syed Azman Syed Ahmad Nawawi and Salahuddin Ayub (PAS) and Lim Kit Siang, Teng Chang Khim and Fong Kui Lun (DAP).

Also at Rustam’s house this morning were ex-New Straits Times editor-in-chief A Kadir Jasin, ex-Utusan Malaysia editor-in-chief Johan Jaffar and former director-general of Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Hassan Ahmad.

Said PKR’s Latheefa Koya, “He had been a progressive and outspoken Malay leader. We will always remember him as a brilliant intellectual with great leadership qualities but prefer to keep a very low profile. And despite his recent health conditions, he continued to be active through his writings on the Internet.”

Syed Husin credited Rustam as the key mover behind the merger between of Parti Keadilan and Parti Rakyat Malaysia.

"Much of the papers regarding the merger was done by him. When he decided to do anything, Rustam put all his energies to it."

Meanwhile, former schoolmate Kamaruddin had fond memories of their early days together.

“I have known Rustam since the 1970s when we were at the University of Kent. Rustam was a fighter and an intellectual - a political analyst whose stand has always been consistent in the struggle for the rakyat,” he said.

“We did not agree on everything but he was a very jovial and pleasant individual, for whom I always had a great deal of respect.”

Johan extolled Rustam as “one of the best columnists Utusan Malaysia ever had”.

“His worldview was moulded by his father’s struggle. He was a towering figure - one of the finest intellectuals in the country. He was critical, including of me, but he was fair.”

Nurul Izzah said that Rustam had a very close relationship with her family. “We didn’t expect this to happen. He was witty, sometimes sarcastic, but a wonderful man.”

A writer to the end

rustam sani booksEven to his final day, Rustam wrote from morning to dusk, said his son Azrani.

"From the time he wakes up, he would start writing. He was very dedicated to the importance of ideas and the need to raise social conciousness."

He was to launch two of his latest books - ‘Failed nation? Concerns of a Malaysian Nationalist’ and ‘Social Roots of the Malay Left’ - on Saturday.

Publisher SIRD said the event will go ahead and will now be a memorium for the author. The launch will be officiated by PKR de facto leader Anwar.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Save Our Home!

What is global warming?

Global warming is caused by the release of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases into the earth’s atmosphere. The gases act like a thick blanket, trapping the sun's heat and causing the planet to warm up.

This is problematic to human civilization because it will result in increasingly severe storms and droughts, melting glaciers, rising seas, changing weather patterns and widespread diseases. Unless we curb global warming emissions, average temperatures could rise by 3 to 9 degrees by the end of the century.

How can you help?

A small effort can make a difference. Here are 10 tips that anyone can follow to do their part.

1)Use an electric fan
Use an electric fan in our tropical heat instead of relying on the air-con.

2)Change a light
Replace regular light bulbs around the house with compact fluorescent light bulbs.

3)Drive less
Walk, cycle or carpool with friends. Alternatively, taking public transport instead of driving can also save a great deal of CO2.

4)Recycle More
Recycle all your household waste (newspapers, plastic bottles, magazines).

5)Turn off your electronic devices
Switch off lights, appliances and electronic equipment when they are not in use. Switch off at the main power after you’re done.

6)Avoid products with a lot of packaging
Look for fuss-free products. Simply cutting down your garbage by 10% makes a difference.

7)Use paper wisely
Think carefully about whether you really need to print a document. If you must, use recycled paper, or make use of both sides of the sheet.

8)Use less hot water
Wash your clothes in cold or warm water & dry them under the sun instead of using a mechanical dryer.

9)Plant a tree anywhere
A single tree will absorb 1 ton of carbon dioxide over its life time.

10)Pass it on
Small efforts make an impact if many people change their ways.
Tell a friend to catch AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH premiering on HBO at 9PM on 22 April 2008!

Too bad I don't own a TV with Astro. Can't watch this movie. Hopefully there will be dvds on sale! Haha.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Thought you all might be interested to read this fascinating piece--that I also happen to agree with--written by a good pal of mine.


I'm trying to get my head around Chinese school education and building a cohesive Malaysian society. I am a national schooler and whenever I try to discuss with my friend who is from a Chinese ed school, we would surely hit a brick wall.

Even though she is my close friend, I cannot stand it when she says that Chinese schools are superior and Chinese kids have a right to study their language, culture etc. Yes, but you are also a Malaysian, not a China Chinese. Yes, you have your ethnic rights, but how can you justify having kids just growing up and mixing just with their own ethnic kind in a multicultural country?

When I was growing up, I think some 30% of Malaysian Chinese parents send their kids to Chinese schools. Now, did I read from somewhere it is 90%? Shocking! It's a real recipe for disaster in building a young multicultural nation. I blame the government and Chinese chauvinist for allowing that to happen. The government has really failed in nationalizing schools and making them a preferred place for education from all ethnicities.

How could it have happened?

I believe the situation is as it is now because of racial politics played by the BN all these years. In order for the BN to govern without problems, each racist party is supposed to take care of their own race, so they are left to their own devices to feed into race chauvinistic sentiments. One of the outcomes - instead of developing national schools to fit the needs of Malaysians, it has allowed communal schools to thrive and develop.

But listen to the parents. Parents who send their kids to Chinese schools complain that national schools are becoming so Islamic. And the quality of education has gone down. They also want their kids to learn Mandarin, not just because of Chinese chauvinism, but I believe it is because China is coming up as a superpower, and they think it is practical to have your kids know the language to compete in the global world.


I do not agree that ethnic based schools – Chinese, Tamils, or Islamic schools – should be banned. Each ethnic groups do have a right to set up schools and make sure that their kids learn their mother tongue or religion, but the government should make it more ATTRACTIVE for parents of ALL ethnicities to send their kids to national schools. Don't use the stick, because, yes, it is their rights, but use the CARROT method.

1) Stop making national schools more Islamic. National schools are for all Malaysians to get an education and mix freely with students of all background. Stop playing on racial and religious sentiments.

2) Improve the standard of education. Pay teachers more money so it is attractive to good, capable people. Take lessons from other countries that have good teachers and good systems. Allow more openness and play to education. Respect kids point of views, allow that flourishing of young minds to think and create.

3) If Mandarin is a priority, then make Mandarin important. We're talking about practicalities, not chauvinism. Even non-Chinese realize this, and many Malays are actually sending their kids to Chinese schools so they can be fluent in Mandarin. English is important, it's a global lingua franca and we recognize that. But China is really becoming important, maybe we should have a Mandarin subject in its own right. Not just 2 hours a week. Offer it as a choice but with more seriousness. Goes the same for Tamil and Kadazan, Iban language. It's not impossible for a student to learn BM and other languages, in fact it is good for us.

I don't think those are difficult things to do. Why can't we do it as a nation? We have not been doing that because instead of thinking of ourselves as Malaysians, we think only of our own ethnic survival. And that, I believe is fed by the racist, racialist government that has continued the same divide and rule method.

BTW, this is a good site for discussion based on one parent's dilemma of whether to send her/his Xin Yin to SK(J) Cina or national school.


and Tony Pua is also thinking of his 3 year old

Monday, April 14, 2008

KL Freeze in Unison

Just in case you guys missed this! :D

I was there too, at 3:43-3:46.

"Where human beings get together to do something in unison, without speeches or reference to their age, colour, sex, beliefs and background."

More info about what it's all about here and here.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Faith and fundamentalism

by Petra Gimbad

I FELL in love with the concept of constitutional law a few years ago; the rights it enshrines are based on principles every man and woman must uphold in order to ensure human dignity, yet, in such a way that we are able to live together harmoniously.

It makes sense that if we wish others to respect our way of life, we must also be willing to do the same for others.

Therefore, it follows that if we expect others to uphold and fight for our right to live in the way we choose, we must also be willing to uphold these same rights for them.

My flatmates recently recommended that I read the book The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins. I plowed through it at a snail’s pace for the last few weeks, which is painful for someone who can breeze through 10 books in a day.

I just completed Chapter Three. Kiasuness decrees that I finish Chapter Four, even though I had a headache the last time I read the book. I cannot say for sure what it is about (I have not read even half of the book) although it is clear that the writer does not think much of religion.

My flatmate tells me that it is a convincing treatise on how the world will be a better place without religion. It was difficult to explain to him how my cultural upbringing as a Catholic woman has made me a more compassionate person. This does not mean that an atheist cannot be just as loving as a person who professes a faith. I just think that after a while, labels are useless in labelling a person as just or unjust.

The problem, as I see it, is this insistence we have on claiming an identity. How can an identity represent entirely who a person is? Therefore, how does being a Christian tell you who I am, or a Chinese for that matter? Or in the author’s case, an atheist British man?

Being Chinese does not make one filial, neither does being a Christian make one charitable. My atheist flatmate seems to love his parents and has worked in an area which was ranked one of the poorest places in Britain. Something which most of the people I used to attend church with would never contemplate doing, for all their posturing on how Jesus of the Bible transforms you.

Primarily, what disturbs about religion is not so much the concept of spirituality. My personal definition of spirituality is this: that there is a force out there called Love, which is the God I believe in. How we learn to embody this force is a personal journey. We experience Love along individual paths.

Instead, what disturbs is fundamentalism and the institutionalisation of religion.

Fundamentalism takes the view that "it is my way or the highway". It means imposing your perspective and will on others. Faith, to me, can only be carried by one who realises that he or she knows nothing. True humility decrees that what we know goes as far as our best knowledge, which can only be experienced.

Words fail to describe experience.

Words, anyway, are a mere invention to describe what we perceive. What we perceive is only one perspective that may be inaccurate. Language can further distort this perspective. More truthful is, therefore, the truth that is felt with the heart.

Institutionalisation of religion is another form of the "my way or the highway" approach. A friend once pointed out that only a secular country can truly enable a religion to flourish.

With a political system that institutionalises religion, there can be only one interpretation of the Quran, the Bible, the Buddhist scriptures or the Mahabharata and Ramayana.

History has shown, time and again, that this approach had led, for example, to the murder of children during the Christian Crusades and the mistreatment and violence that both men and women suffer on a large scale.

One fails to see the God in this.

One must therefore ask, will we ever learn? Do we have the courage to acknowledge these historical occurrences?

Theology has shown how, with time, interpretation changes with society. Our interpretations of whatever scripture we subscribe to therefore hold no guarantee of perfection.

To the best of our knowledge, even with the most loving intentions, there is never any guarantee that we know exactly what we are doing in the moment. The consequences of our actions carry across miles and through the cosmos, far beyond the boundaries of what we can foresee.

This is what I believe the Constitution protects: the freedom to pursue our paths of choice, but without impinging on the freedom of others or in a way that leads to the detriment of one’s neighbour. How well this freedom and system of mutual respect is protected is up to us.

Who we are as human beings must inevitably evolve. We are constantly moving towards increasing complexity. As opposed to a more complex bigoted and violent reality, hopefully, towards a direction of increasing compassion – for love, truth and peace.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Is she dumb or what?

All Pakatan states are treated equally - so long as you’re an opposition-held state, you will not get federal funding for tourism promotion, says Tourism Minister Azalina Othman.


BN doesn't discriminate, Azalina tells MBs
Chan Kok Leong | Apr 8, 08 3:38pm

Newly-appointed Tourism Minister Azalina Othman Said refuted two Pakatan Rakyat chief ministers’ claims that her ministry was punishing tourists by terminating its memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with the states.

During the launch of ‘Colours and Flavours of Malaysia’ at Kuala Lumpur today, Azalina said the accusations by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim were unfair.

"This ministry will continue the projects as promised earlier. We do not make changes unnecessarily."

On the way the funds are channeled - instead of money going to the Pakatan state governments and it will now go to ministry-controlled committees - the minister said that it was the federal government’s perogative.

"It applies to all the states which is being led by opposition government. This has happened for the past few years with Kelantan and we've never discriminated as far as tourism projects are concerned. We've been very fair.”

On whether opposition-held states will be left out of tourism projects, Azalina said the ministry will accept any proposals that is “in the interest of the people”.

"But if they (opposition) decide to join Barisan Nasional, it would be much better,” she said.

"As far as we are concerned, the existing programmes will go on. We do not discriminate. I would like to inform Lim Guan Eng and Khalid Ibrahim that they must understand that the BN government doesn't discriminate in tourists programmes or tourists going to such programmes."

She cited the Penang Music Festival and Langkawi Water Festival as examples of plans which will go on whether the state is opposition-held or not.

On why her ministry is channeling the funds to a different committee and not the state Tourism Action Councils (TAC) like other BN-held states, Azalina said it was a “technical” matter.

Ministry to take over TACs

Tourism Ministry secretary-general Dr Victor Wee explained that there were two issues in the matter.

Firstly, TACs in the opposition states will no longer be headed by the state excos for tourism and will instead be led by him or a person appointed by the minister, he said.

"And second, is the way the funds will be channeled. The funds will no longer go through the states but through a federal mechanism. Because of the nature of the new political scenario, the MOUs with the states will be cancelled.

"This, however, doesn't mean that the TACs or the state tourism offices will be closed. Activities will continue to be carried out at the state level and funds will continue to flow too."

Wee said that the state tourism councils, with a new chairman, will continue to bring all the stakeholders together to run the tourism programmes.

On whether the Pakatan state governments will have access to the funds, Azalina said: "The difference is who signs the cheque - they sign the cheques or we sign the cheques?

"This is the federal government, so we sign the cheques. What's the big deal?”

She added that all the programmes were already planned and promoted overseas since last year and that they can't cancel them now, even if the states are run by opposition governments.

"The only changes we are making is the appointment new personalities in the tourism council. This is a federal policy which we have done in Kelantan, and we will do that for (all) the opposition-held states."


What an interesting logic she came up with in her defense.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

For Fun... and Syiok Sendiri lah... :-)

Thought you might like to know that all you critters are always on my mind, all the time. Unconditional love for cool people, that's what I like to think!

But more than just verbal expressions of how much I value all of you, sometimes I even manage to sneak you all into my published writing as well... hehehe... here is an excerpt that might interest you. My reference to critters occur close to the end. Enjoy!

Feminism and the Women's Movement in Malaysia : A Review

Barisan Nasional MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin must be simmering. The old adage, “loose lips sink ships” has never before proven so metaphorically true. His slip of tongue has resulted in an unstoppable torrent of public criticism from women and men alike. The DPM’s pathetic attempt at salvaging Bung’s rear end by claiming the remark was innocuous only smacked of complicity. I suppose this is what members of the old boys’ club do: they back each other up, they forgive and forget, and return to the task of running the country. What’s a little crass ribbing among MPs? Women should be more thick-skinned.

What the op ed pieces and newspaper reports don’t tell us is that Bung’s callous remark is a hardly an anomaly. Witness Datuk Seri Samy Vellu’s comment a few days after the infamous “bocor” incident: “A woman 50 years ago, she looks beautiful, but today she won’t look so beautiful.” He said this when referring to the RM90 million renovation work done on the Parliament House. Clearly, the old boys cannot stem the tide of their patriarchal lingo and prevent another sexist screw-up.

To surmise that all our MPs are sexist or male chauvinists would be an overgeneralization, but there is no denying that retorts against women are nothing new. Comments during Parliamentary debates about menstruation, sexy clothes, unmarried divorcees and outspoken women, in some ways reflect the limited influence that the women’s movement in this country has had on men in power. The fact that the female MPs from BN failed to publicly take Bung to task during Parliamentary debates also showed that partisan politics will always trump gender issues.

.... (a lot of paragraphs omitted for brevity)

Nonetheless, for us to chastise Bung for his remark and to get upset with those members of Parliament who took it lightly is only the tip of the iceberg for what needs to be done. The fact remains that MPs such as Bung exemplify the absence of intelligent thought in Parliament. To equate the leak in the Parliament House roof with the menstrual cycle is to commit a commonplace logical fallacy—false analogy—that any student of critical thinking can point out. A woman’s menstruation is as natural and God-given as a leaky ceiling is man-made. To menstruate is part and parcel of being a woman (and even then, with a few medical exceptions) but for a million ringgit construction and upgrading effort to spring a leak? What else can it be but an effect of corruption?

Rather than throw red herrings into the august halls of Parliament, perhaps some of our MPs should pick up a book to sharpen their critical thinking skills, to cultivate rational logic, and to expand their sorely limited knowledge of the struggle and gains made by women in the past 50 years. It would certainly behoove our MPs—male and female alike—to give Feminism and the Women’s Movement in Malaysia a read. Merdeka is around the corner—it’s the least they can do.

For full text, please go here.