Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Earthquake, tsunami, floods and tremors!

A strong earthquake measuring 7.1-magnitude according to Indonesia's meteorological agency has shaken western Indonesia.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami alert for Indonesia, Malaysia, India and Thailand. But this has been cancelled. The Indonesian agency said its epicentre was just off the coast of Sumatra. The US Geological Survey put the strength at 7.9.

The quake at 6.17pm Malaysian time triggered off tremors in Malaysia including KL and PJ. It has been reported that buildings have been damaged at Sumatra. The affected area is not far from Padang.

Earlier, a tsunami hit Samoa, the Pacific island, following an 8-magnitude earthquake, with the death toll on the rise, while floods hit Vietnam and claimed many lives in the wake of Typhoon Ketsana.

In KL and PJ, workers rushed out of their buildings while in some areas, shaken motorists parked their vehicles by the roadside. More details to come...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dancing Prisoners and Dancing Swedes

The sync dancing at the Black Eyed Peas concert in Chicago must have floored most of us. The video clip was simply awesome. But here are some more clips of sync dancing, a more hip version of line dancing, that took place at Stockholm as a tribute to Michael Jackson. About 300 people showed up for a short rehersal and 30 minutes later, they were up at the city square to put up this act.Then, there's the now famous Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center. Their inmates have put so many sync dancing acts that You Tube is full of them. But my favourites have to be "Thriller" and "Sister Act." Check out "The Hustle" too.

And for those who love Sound of Music, here's a really cool rendition of Do-Re-Mi synch dancing at the Antwerp train station in Belgium.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Selcat - The Cat Fight Continues

It doesn't look the bickering over the Select Committee of Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat) is going to slow down. Selangor State Assembly Speaker Teng Chang Khim continued taking pot shots at Selangor PAS chief Hasan Ali, who has been highly critical of Selcat.

The fallout in Pakatan Rakyat has been complicated by the fact that the PAS conservatives are backing Hasan Ali. His supporters have issued statements to back him. The word is that conservative PAS activists now regard Hasan as a hero. His push to ban the sale of beer in 7-11 outlets and to arrest Muslims selling beer is being hailed by his party members. DAP leaders including secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi, on the other hand, have walloped Hasan. This afternoon, Teng said Hasan would bring down the Selangor PR government, Malaysiakini quoted him as saying. Today, Klang MP Charles Santiago fired a salvo at Hasan, MStar reported.

"With a friend like him, I do not need enemies," the DAP leader said, adding that PR would be defeated by PAS itself in the next general election and that Hasan had been "consistently inconsistent" in his statements. It may be time to pack off Hasan to a motivation course.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Oct 8: Indonesians invade Malaysia?

This has to be the funnniest story I have ever read. A group of Indonesian vigilantes calling themselves Benteng Demokrasi Indonesia (Bendera) has been busy gearing themselves up to invade Malaysia, the country's latest news online website Daily Chilli reported.

According to the group - the same one which recently set up roadblocks in Jakarta to look for Malaysians - they would travel to Malaysia via sea, land and air. When asked by the Jakarta Globe on how they intend to carry their weapons on board a plane, their spokesman said they had a way of doing it but did not elaborate.

Their weapons, which they claimed they have been collecting, included bows and arrows, samurai swords and spears. Yes, they would also be using Indonesian black magic. As part of their reconnaisance, they claimed to have sent 10 Indonesian "spies" to Malaysia. They claimed their countrymen, migrant workers and students, would be backing them. Bendera claimsto have 1,000 odd registered members - the "warriors" include 40 men without limbs and 10 on wheelchairs!

Black Eyed Peas: What a party and what a night!

What a party and what a night! The Black Eyed Peas had 5,000 of us jumping, dancing and partying away at the Sunway Lagoon last night. The screaming fans were a multi-racial crowd including many women in tudung. They all just came for a good time and to watch a real world-class act.

The timing has never been so perfect as the Grammy award winners just had two huge hits on the charts. The fuss over banning Muslims from catching the gig was really over nothing. It's time that those people who draw up these strange guidelines turn up at these concerts and see for themselves what concerts are about.

It's also not some drugs-sex orgy crap that these holier-than-thou people from PAS imagine. Many of us in the press, advertising and public relations sectors turned up in full force, dressed in black too, according to the party theme, to give support to Arthur's Day! It wouldn't have happened without the people from Guinness. The concert ended with superb display of fireworks.
If you think KL rocked last night,watch this BEP concert in Chicago hosted by Oprah Winfrey. Now, that's awesome!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

DAP's Jeff Ooi: Sack Hasan, if it isn't too late!

This has to be the most powerful punch since the spat between PAS' Hasan Ali and the other Pakatan Rakyat leaders started! DAP MP Jeff Ooi has called Hasan a recalcitrant, who is part of the problems facing the Pakatan Rakyat state government. The blogger-politician has asked that Hasan be asked to get out of PAS for the larger good of PR. He has even described Hasan as a "runaway train who has defies the spirit of Pakatan Team." In Jeff Ooi's own words - Hasan is not an asset for PAS nor PR. The bottom line is that Hasan, a motivational speaker, is not indispensable. In Penang Hokkein lingo, Jeff has "hoot ee" (whacked him) "cheah lak, cheah lak (badly)" See Jeff Ooi's Screenshots for the rest.

Hasan Ali: Signs of more troubles ahead?

It's unprecedented. A defiant Selangor PAS chief refusing to give in while his party colleagues are telling him to toe the line over the Select Committee for Competency, Accountability and Transparency. Hasan Ali is pissed off with Selcat, saying the panel should be revamped and that the grilling of civil servants has demoralised the staff.

But PAS' Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad has taken a shot at Hasan, saying he should play his role as a member of the Selangor state team. In short, he's not a team player. PAS vice president Mahfuz Omar wants Hasan to understand the rules and principles. To end it all, DAP secretary general Lim Guan Eng said Hasan did not know the extent of his powers and nature of his duties. Translated - don't go overboard, know your station in life.

All this sniping has given rise to a fresh round of speculation that things are not that cozy in the Selangor state government. The internal rivalry seems to keep cropping up. There is already talk of a crossover by one or two Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen after Hari Raya. Port Klang state assemblyman Badrul Hisham, for example, has stayed away from all PR and state government functions. The word is that he would make his stand known after the Hari Raya holidays.

The PR state government's biggest enemy is within, as newly recruited PR leader Zaid Ibrahim rightly put it in his blog. He asked what was the point of PAS promising in its manifesto to become a transparent government if the early genuine effort of Selcat had been opposed and challenged by the party, the Malaysian Mirror reported.

Beyonce - there we go again with PAS.

How come we are not surprised? If there's one thing that we can say about PAS, it has to be its consistency. What you see is what you get, so Malaysians should know what they are getting into when they support PAS.
Kartika, whip her. Michael Learns to Rock? Ban them. Sales of liquor? Ban. Arrest the workers. Couples in Terengganu? Send the anti-khalwat troopers to harass them. Beyonce?
According to PAS Youth vice-chief Ahmad Sabki, the award -winning singer promotes hedonism. In simple English, that means someone who promotes pleasure as the chief good, bordering on sex and music, in Ahmad's probable perception.
PAS, he said, is unhappy with the trend of bringing Western groups to Malaysia "as these groups are not suitable for our Malaysian culture. Their apperance and attire are against our Eastern culture." Ahmad should know that he is speaking for PAS and its followers. Not many of us. We love our Beyonce and Black Eyed Peas.

Many of us also love our P. Ramlee, pop yeh yeh and Malay culture while many PAS leaders seem eager to embrace Arab culture and dressing instead. Beyonce is scheduled to perform here on Oct 25, so let's see it happen. Ahmad and his friends can stay at home if they choose to but many of us just want to be entertained. It's just a concert, not an orgy, please. See Khoo Kay Peng on Hypocrites in PAS.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Selamat Hari Raya

Wishing all Muslims, in Malaysia and beyond, Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri. May we all continue to live in harmony. Let us build bridges that connect and not walls that divide. Have a great day!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Royal Spat: RM50million and an apology?

It's finally out in the open. The Negri Sembilan royalty has come up with serious allegations of assault by a prince of the Johor royalty. It was a no holds barred press conference where names were named. Even the police was walloped for purportedly doing a slow job.

It was no ordinary press conference. The son of the eldest princess of the Negri Sembilan royal household Tunku Nadzimuddin had claimed he was beaten up by the Raja Muda of Johor - Tunku Ismail Abdul Majid - and his bodyguards for unknown reasons.

The Johor palace has, however, disputed the claims with its legal representatives and palace sources calling up talking to newsmen this afternoon to give their version - the Negri Sembilan side asked for RM50million and an unconditional apology for purportedly causing hurt to the prince's nose. The Johor side has denied assault and that the nose job wasn't worth RM50million. The southern side is saying the allegations are baseless. The RM50mil, they said, was "exorbitant and outrageous" while the NS side says they want "justice"

But the whole incident looks ugly. The timing isn't very good either as this is the fasting month where one learns to exercise restraint and forgiveness. See Rocky Bru for his perspective and Star Online for full details. Malaysian Insider quoted a lawyer for the NS as saying that a demand for RM50mil was indeed sent to lawyer Shafee Abdullah, who is acting for the Johor palace.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Garland of Slippers: A Slip of The Tongue

It's a classic case of letting his tongue slip. The MIC delegate who made that rude and offensive suggestion deserve to be suspended. It is good that the MIC leadership has taken swift action. I am sure most MIC delegates did not approve of what he said about Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

I am given to understand that MIC president Samy Vellu stopped the delegate from continuing his speech. The speaker had proposed putting a garland of slippers on the photograph of Dr Mahathir, who had earlier endorsed former deputy president S.Subramaniam for the number two spot.

Certainly, the delegate did not deserve the platform to speak if he has abused it. The right to speak does not mean the right to abuse people. The former PM certainly did not expect everyone to agree with his views but that's not the way to tackle anyone. A certain degree of respect should be given to Dr Mahathir and such language cannot be accepted.

There's a lesson to learn here. Grassroots leaders often use their party general assemblies to let off steam, in the name of grassroots sentiment. Regardless of their political parties, their speeches sometimes stretch to the extreme, in some cases, bordering on racial argument. They may use Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese or Tamil in their speeches but they must be aware that the proceedings are followed.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Videos: Potong Saga, KJ and Corruption

Click on images for Slovak Sting and Potong Saga, and check out all the other hilarious videos under 15Malaysia by clicking on the last image.
We need to laugh at ourselves. We get worked up too much. Here's a sampling of some good videos and also some lame ones. But they are good efforts. Malaysians need more of these. When will we see some videos on Indonesians, political cow heads and political cow dung?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cow head demo: Umno, PAS and PKR show?

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein Onn said it openly - the Section 23 protestors included members from BN and Pakatan Rakyat. He did not give the breakdown except to say that the unhappiness over the relocation of the Hindu temple involved all parties. It was no longer about politics. The Star reported today that of the 12, who were charged in courts, 7 were from Umno, 4 from PAS and 1 from PKR.

It is understood that the Section 23 Residents' Action Committee members is also made up of people from the three parties. The 10-member panel is said to comprise 7 Umno, 2 PKR and one PAS.

Meanwhile, a group calling itself Perkasa, a Malay non-governmental group headed by Datuk Ibrahim Ali has pledged to provide legal counsel to the 12 protestors, who have been charged with sedition and illegal assembly.

Ibrahim, the maverick MP from Kelantan, has said the group was prepared to take up the case as a jihad. The Pasir Mas MP has condemned the country's leaders as cowards. Ibrahim was in Umno, contested under a PAS ticket and is now an independent. The question now for those charged with sedition - would they still get to keep their party membership if convicted later? After all, both BN and PR leaders have criticised their actions.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Anti-Malaysian feelings in Jakarta running high

Unfriendly neighbours: A group of Indonesian nationalists blocking a road and stopping vehicles in search of Malaysian nationals in Jakarta yesterday. — AFP

Anti-Malaysian sentiments are running high in Indonesia. News agencies including Bernama and AFP have reported that a group of Indonesian men, armed with sharpened bamboos, has set up a road block to identify Malaysians. Passers-by in Jakarta's Jalan Diponegoro have been asked to show their IDs by these angry Indonesians.

The emotions have been fanned by the local Indonesian media which have blamed Malaysia for almost everything. Malaysians have been branded as "thieves" following the use of a Balinese dance in a documentary on Malaysia. Discovery Channel has since made a correction but the Indonesians are still angry.

Malaysians have also been branded as arrogant and in one case, a town experiencing traffic jam, a low budget air, presumably Air Asia, has been rapped for bringing in too many tourists. Last night, the Malaysian Students Department sent out SMS alerts to Malaysian students to avoid certain parts of Jakarta for their own safety.

The Indonesian press has ran stories claiming Malaysia has stolen its culture such as the Rasa Sayange from Maluku/Ambon and the Sundanese' angklung. They are not buying the argument that Malaysia and Indonesia shares the Malay culture, saying its Indonesian culture.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Use your head, not your heart

This is what I wrote in my On The Beat column today:

IT’S time for cool heads to prevail. The controversy over the cow-head protest, which arose because of the proposed relocation of a Hindu temple in Shah Alam, has degenerated.

Raw emotions were displayed at the meeting between Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and the residents yesterday.

The emotionally-charged meeting turned ugly when some residents reportedly shouted profanities and even tried to throw chairs and shoes at the Mentri Besar.

Insults were hurled and insensitive remarks were made by those present, which shocked the Selangor elected representatives and pressmen.

The Aug 28 protest by about 50 people who marched from the state mosque to the state secretariat building to oppose the relocation of the 150-year-old Maha Mariamman temple from Section 19 to Section 23 has now become international news.

It would have been just an ordinary demonstration if the protestors had not paraded the head of a cow, an animal deemed sacred by the Hindus, and placed it at the state secretariat building.

To continue reading, click here.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sultan of Selangor summons PAS' Hasan Ali

Hasan Ali leaves Istana Bukit Kayangan after being summoned there by the Sultan of Selangor. — Malaysia Insider picture by Jack Ooi
The Sultan of Selangor is not happy. There are plenty of reasons for his unhappiness. As the head of state, the Tuanku is responsible for religious affairs. He expects to be consulted on all issues relating to Islam. His consent is naturally necessary before new directives or new laws are proposed. That's lesson number one for Selangor PAS chief Hasan Mohamed Ali, who is also the state executive councillor in charge of religious affairs.

Hasan Ali was summoned to the palace at noon today. It was a longer than usual meeting. My sources tell me that Hasan was given a royal ticking off. But no one's issuing any statement on the meeting as a face-saving gesture. The Tuanku is said to be unhappy with Hasan's directive to appoint mosque officials to arrest Muslims drinking in public.

The order included arresting Muslims for selling or storing liquor, which would affect thousands of mostly Muslim workers in 7-Eleven outlets in Selangor. They could lose their jobs as the management would have to hire foreigners as cashiers instead. Obviously Hasan did not give much thought to his decision.

Hasan was tight-lipped when he left the palace at 2.25pm. The meeting lasted over two hours and since it is fasting time, no lunch was served, and it was entirely business. MB Khalid Ibrahim, however, confirmed that Hasan's directive was discussed, according to a Bernama story. However, it is unclear whether the Tuanku discussed the cow head protest in Shah Alam as well, which is said to include protestors who were members of Umno, PAS and PKR.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cow head protest - arrest the bigots quick.

I don't think any level-headed Malaysian would tolerate any form of extremism. Certainly staging a protest by carrying a severed cow head is highly provocative and insensitive. What were they thinking? That they can get away with their bravado? The protestors, claiming to represent the residents of Section 23, have every right to protest and to voice their unhappiness over plans to build a Hindu temple in the area. But surely they could have handled the issue in a more reasonable manner. They have gone overboard this time. Carrying a severed cow head, regarded as a sacred animal by Hindus, is extreme.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein is right to warn against such actions that could lead to racial tension.

The only right thing to do is to arrest the organisers of the protest. They must be charged for sedition. These are men with evil intentions. There was nothing remotely holy about their actions. If the arrests are not done fast, it would send a wrong message to Malaysians. It would even encourage others to follow suit or lead to retaliation. It is not difficult to identify those behind the Shah Alam protest as they have bravely spoken to the media in the most emotional manner. Their faces are all over the Internet. We also want to know what political parties they represent.

They must be prepared to face the consequences of their drastic actions. They are not the religious martyrs that they have imagined themselves to be. They may like to believe they are but to most Malaysians, they are just a group of foolish racists and bigots. They should realise their foolishness could lead to serious implications.

Malaysia is a multi-racial country. The pluralism is an asset which we all should be proud of. Certainly, we have showcased our multi-culturalism to the world. In Penang, one can see a Taoist temple, mosque, church and a Hindu temple along Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Keling. It is about tolerance and mutual respect. Certainly the religious activities of the faithful have not been disrupted as a result of these places of worship being located next to each other.

I am glad I grew up in Penang where openness has always been a way of life. All these places of worship are located in one single street. It has been like this for such a long time that everyone has taken this for granted.

Some may argue against this, regarding what has taken place in the past as an age of ignorance from a religious perspective. Or is it simply because some of us have become less tolerant and more extreme? Have we lost our moderation, which we are so proud of? Tolerance is the key mark of all religions. All religions teach noble values. It is better to have more places of worship than places which breed sins. Racism and bigotry certainly run against the teachings of any religion. Let's use our head to think before we speak, write or protest.