Friday, June 26, 2009

MJ is dead!

I was checking my email this morning and the news came to me in a flashing link. I cannot say I am completely torn apart by this news but some part of me is sad and somber.

Youth born after the 80s will never really understand us 30+ people's feelings about MJ because they never lived during the heyday of his reign as the indisputable king of pop. I still remember the time when he won something like 8 Grammys and he could not really carry all those 8 golden gramaphones when he had his photo sessions. I remember his thank you speeches--all 8 of them--where he always thanked his mom and dad and God, even though his dad used to psychologically and emotionally abuse him as a kid.

MJ was a messed up boy and his scars live on in his scandals. To be honest, I never really believed he maliciously intended to do the things he did to little boys. I don't know him of course but he came across as a musical genius with a really screwed up sense of himself. The more famous he got, the more he retreated into his crazy world, Neverland and never growing up.

He is dead at 50 but he's still a boy. I was not surprised to read Quincy Jones saying he lost his "little brother" because that was exactly what MJ was for all of his life: "little" in terms of his maturity level, sense of right and wrong, ability to deal with what fame had to dish out. He may have been "big" in the biz, made "big" bucks and made "big" records that scored "big" hits but in all the most important areas of his life, he was "little" and suffered for it.

Some might disagree and think I am being too empathetic but I grew up with MJ, I listened to his records, I obssessed over his dance moves (not the crotch grabbing but the moonwalk and if you have no idea what the moonwalk is then you really must be young!) and tried to copy them without much success (heh!), I read about him in all the teen rags, I put up his poster in my room, I had a photo of him (when he still looked black and had an Afro hairdo) in my wallet, and one of my best friends in Form 5 (Rachel--wherever you are--I bet you are sad too) and I used to sing his songs in school and talk about him endlessly.

I remember sitting outside Horizon Music Store (now since defunct) in the old Jaya Supermarket (now demolished and no longer affording me the chunk of nostalgia I need to get over MJ's demise) in Section 14 and waiting an hour for the new MJ album, BAD, to be released. My parents thought I was nuts and yeah, I guess I was. I wanted to be the first to get it--first among my peers at least.

MJ was my Elvis Presley, my Beatles, my boy band, my icon-of-the-moment. And he stayed that way for decades.

Even though he changed from black to white (that song of his in the album of a similar name is eeriely prescient) and was embroiled in a whole host of crazy scandals, even though he got married and divorced and was disparaged in the media, even though he probably died alone and unloved, MJ will always have a special place in my heart because he is emblematic of a time in my youth which is now long past.

People my age are always nostalgic. MJ fuels that in spades. Rest in peace bro.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

M'sia's response

taken from the Star, as expected M'sia like they always do responded in the only way they know.

Why are we on US blacklist?

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia will get the United States to explain why it has been re-listed in its blacklist of countries perceived to be not doing enough to stop human trafficking, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

He said ministry officials would visit the US Embassy to determine Malaysia’s offending act or “non-action” that led for it to be blacklisted.

While imposing economic sanctions would not have an impact in view of the present climate, he said “it is incumbent on us to address the issue because we have a responsibility to the international community as far as human trafficking is concerned.”

“In fact, Malaysia, Australia and Britain are exploring the possibility of having an agreement on human trafficking to show our commitment in dealing with the issue,” Hishammuddin said after chairing his ministry’s post-Cabinet meeting here yesterday.

The United States Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report 2009 listed Malaysia as one of 17 countries not doing enough to stop human trafficking.

The others are Myanmar, Chad, Cuba, Eritrea, Fiji, Iran, Kuwait, Mauritania, Niger, North Korea, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, and Zimbabwe.

The report said Malaysia was a destination, a source and transit country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of commercial, sexual and forced labour.

Last year, the report elevated Malaysia to a “watch list” from the 2007 blacklist after finding that it was “making significant efforts” to comply with standards.

Tenaganita director Dr Irene Fernandez said the report was a fair account of Malaysia’s “limited efforts” in trying to stem labour trafficking, which she described as a form of slavery.

“For the last 15 years, we have cautioned that allowing employers to withhold workers’ passports opens them to exploitation and bondage but this has not been addressed,” she said.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusof said the ministry would spearhead an inter-ministerial council to deal with human traffickers using the country as a transit point.

The first Asean Inter-Parliamentary Assembly Caucus chairman Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar refuted allegations that government officials were involved in human trafficking.

He said the situation may have been misunderstood when retrenched foreign workers are not sent home by their employers and are later caught and placed at shelters and depots.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Malaysia in US human trafficking list

from Associated Press

The Obama administration has faulted Malaysia for failing to do enough to stop the sexual and forced labor exploitation of women and children.

The State Department's annual "Trafficking in Persons Report" on Tuesday put the Southeast Asian country on its list of top trafficking offenders. Repeat offenders on that list include North Korea, Myanmar and Fiji.

Countries cited for failing to take adequate steps to address trafficking can be subject to limited sanctions.

The report also expresses worry about a worsening trafficking record in the Philippines, Cambodia, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

These countries have been dropped to the State Department's "watch list" of second-to-worse offenders, joining China, India and Sri Lanka.

*Najib sure duno want put face at where 1. I bet Malaysia will submit a protest note to the US State Dept. Lolx.