Friday, February 18, 2011

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Give Palani A Chance!

Some claim that Palani says absolutely nothing.
To these doubters, we would like to point out that this may very well be because he has, .... nothing to say.
When he does have something to say, he may.

Yet more accusingly point out that Palani has done absolutely nothing.
We are not disagreeing with them, but we would like to say, in his defence, that he may be saving his energies for his feud with Samy.
When he is done with that, he will see what he can do.
Unless another internal issue pops up.
We thank you for your patience.

Others wish hastily to conclude that Palanivel is particularly inept.
Well, while this is not something we can argue against, we urge you to look at the bright side.
He is not Samy Vellu.

"But he has done nothing for us" they complain.
"What has he done for us?" the same impertinent caviliers persist.
Why, nothing at all, of course.
Whatever did you expect?

So, vote for BN.

Give Palani a chance!

A chance to rob you blind.

You unstintingly gave it to Samy, after all.

BN's Remarkable Achievements For The Indians

Some say the Indian Vote is returning to BN. While most of these worthies appear to support or are members in MIC or BN, we will still, as unbiased observers, take a careful look at their claims.

To make this a scientific exercise, we must be fair and list out BN's achievements since March 2008. So we will examine their top 5 accomplishments :

They have painted Brickfieds in eye-popingly gaudy, garish colors and constructed obscenely ugly arches.
This has succeeded in sharply reducing the apetite of the majority Indian visitors to this area.
Thus reducing their exposure to a variety of lifestyle diseases.

They have brought the Prime Minister of India to this area during his recent visit to Malaysia.
Thus making him quite lose his apetite for the rest of his visit.
This has saved the taxpayers some money as it reduced the government's catering costs.
Such saved monies will of course benefit and be returned to the taxpayers in some form.
Possibly extra Patrol Boats.

Mr.Najib has done a walkabout in Brickfields.
Thus proving that he cares about you.
And that he's the Prime Minister of all Malaysians.
Never mind Utusan.

Mr.Najib has visited Batu Caves for Thaipusam, a first.
Being sentimental fellows, this should make you all feel nice and warm inside.
You will need the warmth for when you are cold-shouldered for scholarships, jobs and loans.

Samy Vellu has, at long last, been got rid off.
You may now look forward to being ignored, lied to, condescended to and having your money parted from you by a different fellow.

And there it is.

Who dares to argue with these accomplishments?

What, a heckler at the back!
Not accomplishments, you say?
Just a bunch of superficial dramas, camera ops and TV moments that neither help you nor mean a thing?


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Little Temple On The Hill

On weekends, it is a welcome escape from the busy life and stifling traffic of KL and PJ to walk in the green and shady paths of Bukit Gasing. Trees, greenery and wildlife teem here. One can sometimes see silver-backed monkeys leaping in the high branches, monitor lizards, all manner of insects and the occasional snake. It also serves as a critical green lung for local residents beleagured by the threat of overdevelopment. It took 50 years for Bukit Gasing to reach this state after being abandoned as a rubber plantation.

The only real threat to Bukit Gasing has been avaricious developers. And they have been succesful in reducing Bukit Gasing in size. Mostly this has been from the Kuala Lumpur side, aided and abetted by a criminally uncaring DBKL. If there are more sinister reasons why DBKL approved those developments, we have no proof of it.

Yet now Bukit Gasing's fragile ecosystem and shady pathways are under threat from an unexpected new assailant. Cynical politicians. Their 'cause' is a little temple on the hill that has peacefully coexisted with the residents and the environment for as long as we can remember.

The problem started with a Temple Committee that decided to do expansion works on the temple. In cavalier form, they went ahead without seeking the approval of the Public Works Department or the local authority, MPPJ. When their actions started causing lanslides, the authorities stepped in. Work was stopped and the temple closed for safety reasons untill rectification works could be done.

Then, far from the traquility of our little haven, PKR had an election. Some won and some lost and some whined. Thats democracy. Most of us who are not PKR members could care less about their internal quibbles. We are only concerned with the General Elections.

One grotesque fellow however, would not rest. Losing in the elections, passed over for an appointed position and casting about for issues with which to attack his own party leadership, he attempted to exploit the closure of the temple. Pounded with a barrage of proof that the closure was valid, he moved on to the next thing. Of which we are not concerned (and neither it seems, is the PKR leadership. They ignored him and his highly defamatory histrionics. Not even bothering to sue him, a testimony to his insignificance).

And there the matter should have rested.

But a couple of days ago, it flared up again. Mr. Uthayakumar and his associates visited the temple and astoundingly, unilaterally declared it 'open'.

They are not impressed by the reports of PWD engineers who, supported by comprehensive, scientific data, consider it unsafe to open the temple to the public. Nor by MPPJ which concurs. Nor even the Temple Commitee which agrees with the two authorities.

The poisonous nature of race-based politics is glaringly revealed here. The election is coming; they need the attention of their particular race-based constituencies; and they will do whatever it takes, right or wrong, justified or not, to get that attention. They seem uncorncerned that they are exploiting emotive issues. Or that Bukit Gasing is a threatened enviromentally sensitive enclave.Or that visiting unsafe areas in large numbers will endanger lives. There have been so many disasters in hilltop developments that they really should know better.

Let the temple open when rectification and construction works are completed. And it is certified safe by professionals.

Enough of these cynical, exploitative, publicity-seeking spectacles.

And keep all your toxic race-based politickings out of Bukit Gasing.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Circus Comes To Town!

Excitement runs high in the usually quiet city of Kuantan today. The Circus has come to town! Travelling in, of all things, a Cabinet.

This Circus, as it emerges out of its Cabinet, has unusually remarkable performers. And do not be misled by appearances. While many of the performers seem somewhat overweight, and some are of particularly unprepossesing appearance, they can put up quite a show.

There are trapeze artists, who, despite losing their grip, swing miraculously on, much to the surprise of the audience.

Of Clowns, well, perhaps there really are too many for one circus.
They had to retire one recently, as he stopped being funny. But he has managed to revive his clownish career, though forced to limit his performances to India. Now he's agitating to get his son into the show. That way, he can go on and on.

We can't really tell who the Strong Man is, as all the performers claim to be him.

However, there is a Strong Woman. Who in a strength competition, lost to a child. We predict she will avoid The Child in future. For The Child has grown, and if she loses to The Child again; it will spell the end of her circus career.

No shortage of acrobats . And they are particularly thick-skinned fellows, for it bothers them not the least that they often fall flat on their faces. They just get up and unabashedly carry on.

Jugglers too. Some, it is said, who are so skilful that they can juggle several portfolios at one time. Doing an equally bad job on all.

There is no bearded woman in this circus but they make up for it with a Goateed Man, who makes for an equally freakish spectacle.

We can't say we like the ring announcer though, who provides the Information on all the shows. He has a terribly annoying habit of speaking through his teeth. And for some reason, he keeps trying to confiscate our laptops.

There is also The Man Who Used To Own An Island. He lost the Island because he did nothing. Then he joined the circus where we still have no idea what he does.

There are sideshows galore, even if the sideshow performers seem to do little other than try to cosy up to the main players. And quite happy to pay for the privilige, we are told.

In all this excitement, let us not forget the RingMaster. A Grand personage indeed. Few can grandstand like him. As we saw in the Special Performance the Circus put up in honour of the Malaysians returning from Egypt.

A happy day indeed for the people of Kuantan to be treated to this wondrous spectacle.

Though; not that we want to nitpick; but they really should improve the quality of their performances.

Yet who are we to comment, when the RingMaster seems content enough. We know this for a fact, as we have never seen him use his whip. Nor do any of the performers, or should we say non-performers, ever get fired.

We do have one fear however. For some inexplicable reason, the price of petrol usually seems to go up after one of their performances.

We really hope it won't happen this time.

The Frightened Party

In yesterday's Sun, MIC's president, Mr.G.Palanivel, offered his first public response to the acquittal of A.Kugan's alleged assailant. 

MIC, he said, would 'review' the case.
Mr. Palanivel appears to treat A.Kugan's cruel death like the minutes of his last meeting. He will 'review' it.

MIC, would then, he lamely went on, 'write a letter to the IGP'.
And then, let me guess, wait for a return correspondence.
And then, ....write another letter.
Ad nauseam.

A weaker, more tepid or craven response is unimaginable.

He appeared to dismiss the call by some of his underlings for a Royal Commision of Inquiry. No, Mr.Palanivel will not take a stand. He will instead, squirm, slither and slide while trying to wriggle his way out of the situation.Why ruffle feathers, after all. Especially with the election coming.

I may be being too hard on Mr. Palanivel. The poor fellow may only be, as usual, carrying out instructions.

From their president's words, or lack of it, it is patently clear what MIC's response to the vicious, brutal beating and subsuquent death of A.Kugan will be.

They will do precisely nothing. And hope it all goes away.

Monday, February 7, 2011

And in the darkness hang them

Yong Vui Kong received a reprieve from the Court last month. He will not be hung, yet.

It is therefore not too late for him to be shown clemency.

Drug trials in Singapore have been tainted before. Once by a key prosecution witness who turned out to be a wrongdoer. And here by a presumptive Law Minister.

On 9th May 2010,  Mr. K. Shanmugam had this to say " Yong Vui Kong is young..."(a hopeful start)..."But if we let him go, what is the signal we are sending". Gasp! The Law Minister prejudges (almost instructs) the Courts. A week before it decides.
Even worse, he reveals a bloodthirsty rationale. He will see this man hung to 'send a signal'. An Incan Priest in a business suit.

Vui Kong had to start working at the age of 11. He was raised by a single mother. She earned a living washing dishes by the roadside for S$80 a month. The family lived in stark poverty, hunger and deprivation. At 16 he went to Kuala Lumpur to earn a living as a kitchen helper.

At 16, Mr. Shanmugam was at the Raffles Institution. No kitchen help, he. He would go on to NUS and earn a degree in Law. But no education at all, it would seem, in humane values, or the sanctity of life. He wishes to send men to the gallows to send 'signals'.

Vui Kong was uneducated, illeterate, poor and young, he was easy prey to be manipulated.

Spared and rehabilited, he would serve as well an example of the dangers of drugs.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

MIC's UnService Centres

MIC announced today, as reported in The Malaysian Insider, that they would be opening a service centre at their headquarters. They neglected, however, to aplogize for making the announcement 50 years too late.

The service centre will be closed every day except for Sundays between 10 am and 1pm.

It will not be stafffed by paid professionals. Instead your problems will be attended to by powerless volunteers. Who will take down your problems and promise to 'look into it' or escalate it to some disinterested politician.

If you are from outside Kuala Lumpur, you will be happy to know that there will be an equally efficient service centre opening near you in April. You may wait eagerly, though probably in vain.

Some may conclude that the whole idea seems to have been come up with in rather a ad-hoc manner. Perish the thought! No doubt, days of meetings and brainstorming were spent to come up with this.....niggardly plan.

The service centres will cater for Indians looking for help in job placement.
How strange. Considering the Human Resources Minister is from the MIC.
Should he or his full-time, trained, paid staff  not be accomodating these job-seekers? Is he not competent? Apparently not, if we go by this telling development.

Applications for government aid may also be presented at this centre.
Instead of at the appropriate government agency. Because they won't help you. Because BN runs a dysfunctional administration.

One has to wonder whose attention the MIC is trying to get.

Is it the Indian voter?
He is increasingly disinclined to vote for the MIC. Its vote bank has to a large extent, been reduced to the ill-informed, the uninternet-connected and some of those woefully poor estate communities, who cannot recognise in their election-time patron, their gaoler.

Is it perhaps Umno whose attention they are trying to get with this tepid, inadequate plan?
Post-2008, a myriad of Indian parties have sprung up in Malaysia. Some of them have found favour with Umno, whose confidence in MIC to deliver the Indian vote, has been sharply reduced. Some of these parties will have to be given seats by BN in the coming general election. And because it is to attract the Indian vote, those seats must be taken from the MIC. Umno and MCA can hardly be giving up seats simply because the Indian vote is fractured by the incompetencies, after all, of the MIC.
And there you may have the answer. They want to have things that they can point to and say, look, we are doing this. Let us keep our seats. For as the number of their seats are reduced, whatever little political power the MIC still has, will also reduce. And their too often mercenary members will slowly drift away.

If political machination and haggling was the reason for this hurried pre-election announcement, then it is particularly odious and manipulative.

On another note, we are indeed saddened to hear that their former leaders 'Durbars' in his office, every Tuesday; where, his corpulent frame aquiver and preening pompously like some olden day Mughal Emperor, he would dispense petty favours; have been discontinued. The last remaining vestiges of the British Raj, it seems, are leaving us.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sarah and the Egyptians

Ms. Sarah Palin, in a somewhat bizarre interview with CBN, would like to know what America stands for.

I quote Ms. Palin "We need to know what it is America stands for so we know who it is that America will stand with".
Well, somebody give her a copy of the Constitution. Nope, too many big words. The Bill of Rights, perhaps. It has remarkable similarities to what the Egyptian people are fighting for. Shouldn't America stand with the protestors then, like President Obama is trying to do?

"We need strength and sound mind there in the White House," she said.
So, now Obama is of unsound mind?

"Is it going to be the Muslim Brotherhood? We should not stand for that, or with that, or by that" says Sarah.
She reiterates and reiterates and... reiterates. Lincoln would weep.

"So we need to find out who was behind all the turmoil and the revolt and the protests" Ms.Palin continues.
Ah, she wants to know why they're protesting. 
How about hunger, unemployment, a harsh dictatorial rule and non-existent freedoms?
No good?
Let me guess.
A crafty new liberal conspiracy ?

And off she goes, to shoot some poor animal from a safe distance, one assumes. Don't forget the cameras.

The Intrepid Sand Monkey

Egypt's 'Day of Departure' protests have passed and Mubarak is still President. Key members of the regime have resigned but it will certainly not satisfy Egypt's protesters. Their clarion call has always been for Mubarak to step down. And therefore they will, quite fairly, suspect this latest move to be a delaying tactic.

Some opposition figures have started or supported negotiations with Egypt's vice-president, but the wisdom of doing this before they meet the the key demand of the protestors, is questionable. They run the risk of being sucked into a morass of endless 'negotiations'. While the protestors wither under the dessert sun, their resolve and morale weakening with each passing day. And then, this unique opportunity of a new beginning for a free Egypt, may perhaps, forever be lost. Which, some may fear, is the intent of the regime.

Western governments including the United States; while needing little more than a stable Egypt; feel compelled to support the aspirations of the Egyptian people, while fearing the possibility that all this will lead to some Islamist admistration coming to power. And so they tip-toe carefully.

The danger of an extended period of paralysis was also noted by Sand Monkey in his blog posting today. Constructively, he did suggest a way forward and I quote from his blog, "the Egyptian Unity Party will be an Umbrella party that promotes equality, democracy & accountability, without any ideological slants". He hopes to create an entity that will truly represent the aspirations of the protestors.

A battler in the frontlines, arrested and beaten but clearly uncowed, while faithfully updating his blog, Sand Monkey is an articulate, principled example of the hundreds of thousands of ordinary Egyptians who march for freedom.

We hope he succeeds in his endeavours.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Tahrir Square in Kuala Lumpur

At least three thousand peaceful protestors marched in Kuala Lumpur today in a show of support for the citizens of Egypt who are fighting valiantly for their freedom.

It is the Malaysians right to do so, as guaranteed under their constitution. And they should have been allowed to do so unmolested. But that was not the way it played out. The police moved in aggresively, shooting tear gas, wielding truncheons, beating, kicking and arresting people already on their way home (As reported in both online and mainstream newspapers). We have yet to see the Egyptian police doing this in Tahrir Square.

Why this overreaction? Why this careless, overbearing use of the states security apparatus?

The answer may not be some overzealous police officer trying to earn brownie points but a nervous, fearful State. Malaysia, like Egypt, is a nation suffering under the yoke of repression. Freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of the press have all been curbed.

In the state controlled media, only fawning reports of the ruling party and the too often despicable political creatures who inhabit it. As for the once bright and shining slogan of 1Malaysia, it has been undermined, sullied and ultimately crushed by Utusan's unending diatribes. Aided ably by the unrepentant, garrulous Dr. Mahathir, sniping from the sidelines, as usual. Will he never be visited by Dicken's ghosts?

There is no accountability; politicians, even Cabinet Ministers who are accused of shocking crimes never do the right thing by resigning to clear the accusations levelled at them.

While the Prime Minister tours the country, promising multi-billion dollar Projects at every stop that would beggar richer nations, like a latter day Baron Munchausen.

Incompetence and immorality pervade the highest echelons of the ruling BN.
In the case of the MCA, a self-confessed adulterer as their leader. Being called immoral by a senior leader of his own party provokes no response. He cannot defend the indefensible.
In the MIC, a clueless, silent factotum of its former reviled leader reigns. Tarnished by his too close relationship with his boorish predecessor, humiliatingly rejected by Umno as a candidate for the Hulu Selangor by-election and playing second fiddle to his own party deputy in the Cabinet, MIC's leader unashamedly clings on; a hapless monument to indignity.

The Institutions that should be safeguarding citizens; distinct from the Executive; are widely perceived to have been compromised by that very Executive. And prices are rising, with wages staying flat.While elections must be called soon.

And the last thing the ruling party's well-paid strategists and spin doctors needed; as they pondered and brainstormed on how to sell this uninviting mess to the Malaysian voter; was this turmoil in the Middle East.
They are not at all sure of how these momentous events will affect the vote, particularly that of the Muslim electorate.

For, make no mistake, it will affect the voters. They are already emboldened by the historic elections of 2008. And now, they see that, even in more draconian states, change can be brought about by a determined people.

And so, like bullying overseers at some medieval salt mine, the authorities crack the whip. The  weapon of  choice for autocrats and despots everywhere; intimidation and violence.

Coupled with control of the mass media. Who spew blatant, obvious 3rd rate propaganda; an insult to educated Malaysia's intelligence. Except that the internet may defeat them.

So the authorities rush to come up with laws with which they can control the internet and its denizens. Breaking their own pledge to leave the internet alone.
Immediately turning large numbers of furious, outraged bloggers, commenters and intermittent web surfers into active opposition activists. For the free citizens of cyberspace do not like being told what to do or what to think by anybody. And most certainly not by an uninspiring, scandal-tainted politician from another age who appears, for some unfathomable reason, to speak through his teeth.
For every thoughtless action, a reaction.

A reckoning is coming, in the form of the General Election, and the results will change Malaysia.

We must hope it will make make Malaysia a better place for all. Where the rule of  law and unselective prosecution prevails. A free nation, run by accountable, respectable and responsible politicians. Governing in a just, transparent manner.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Sand of the Dessert is Sodden Red

Sand Monkey, the noted Egyptian blogger, has, like many of his fellow Egyptian citizens in their battle for freedom, been protesting in Tahrir Square. When he tried to go back to the square yesterday with desperately needed supplies of food and bottled water, he was arrested by state security, beaten, his supplies confiscated and his car wrecked. Latest reports indicate he has been released. Hundreds of such incidents have taken place in Egypt over the past few days; in Cairo,in Alexandria and many other cities.

The people of Egypt have finally taken to the streets, no more willing to endure Mubaraks harsh dictatorship, and inspired by a succesful revolt in Tunisia. The Egyptian authorities tolerated it at first, in the hope that it would fizzle out, but as it grew, they quickly found themselves having to hand out tepid concessions to calm the anger. Mubarak appointed a Vice-President, something he has not done in 30 years of authoritarian rule. But his choice was a former head of Egypts General Intelligence Services, where his duties included charge of Egypts 'political security files'. Hardly the face of change.

Still, the protestors persisted and on Wednesday, hundreds of thousands gathered demanding Mubaraks resignation. And a sinister new tactic was tried. Well, not really new, tyrants everywhere have it in their bag of tricks. 'Pro-Mubarak' supporters gathered and in a violent attempt at intimidation, fired automatic weapons, threw stones and molotov cocktails and finally charged the Tahrir Square protestors. Hundreds were injured and many died. Some 'pro-Mubarak' supporters were captured and found to be carrying police IDs. No surprise there.
Journalists faced a concerted attack, clearly in an attempt to silence them.
The incident provoked outrage and codemnation across the globe.
And all throughout, the protestors in Tahrir Square, like the Spartans at Thermopylae, held their ground.

The new Prime Minister, Ahmad Shafiq, gave a press conference, where he apologised and promised to take action on those who had organized the attacks. Apparently, he was 'not aware' and did not know 'who the culprits were'. He also offered to dialogue with anybody and everybody. It all smacked of delaying tactics. Journalists were surrounded by glowering security agents, looking uncomfortable in their media-friendly business suits. Some questions were not answered by the Prime Minister, as he found them 'offensive'.

Mubarak, meanwhile, gave an interview to ABC, in which he petulantly claimed to be fed up of being President. He seemed content enough, for 30 long years. He would go, he said, but without him there would be 'chaos'. In other words, he would not go.

It is Friday now, and the protestors are planning a huge gathering in Tahrir Square and rallies across Egypt.

We can only hope that as Mubarak's regime gasps out its death rattle, no harm comes to the brave people of Egypt.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Too Strict Mr.Lee

In an astonishing feat of self-delusion, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew has labelled Singaporean Malays 'too strict' in his new book. Their  'strictness', Mr. Lee, is nothing compared to yours.

These statements by Mr. Lee, and the furore they have ignited, in fact transcend the issues relating to the Singapore Malays. The real issue is Mr.Lees continuous and unrelenting attacks on all Singaporeans right to liberty and their freeedom as individuals.

Your press publications laws , Mr. Lee, are too strict.
Your limits on free assembly of citizens, are too strict.
Your limits on public speaking , are too strict.
Your curbs on the forming of Societies, are too strict.
Your crackdown on freedom of expression in its last bastion, the internet, is too strict.
Your laws prescribing corporal and capital punishments, for far too many offenses, are certainly too strict.
The list goes on.

I am being too lenient of course, by only calling 'too strict', what is in fact draconian and repressive.

Those few Singaporeans brave enough to stand up against this tyranny, are harrased and hounded by the police, and then, fined and imprisoned by a compliant judiciary. Equally vicious, almost embarassing, is Mr.Lees crude, bludgeoning strategy of suing and bankrupting dissidents, for 'defamations', that are in reality fair comment on matters of public interest (witness the case of Chee Soon Juan questioning loans made by Singapore to Suharto).

So insidious is this repression, that Singaporeans have taken to censoring themselves. This is evident in their bland newspapers. And it extends to television and the cinema. Suffer creativity and originality.
The Web, online journalism and the freedom to comment offered Singaporeans a chance to finally freely express themselves. But the recent crackdown on The Online Citizen shows that even this will not be countenanced by an insecure government.

Fear, suspicion and a siege mentality is indoctrinated in Singaporeans by constant invocations of the 'threat' posed by their neighbouring countries. Yet, in all these years, not a single skirmish. Mr. Lee has read Sun Tzu, it would appear, while dismissing John Stuart Mills.

And so the educated, intelligent, and for the most part prosperous citizens of Singapore meekly return the ruling party to power at every 'election' (suppressed freedom of expression, state-subservient media and a gelded hustings do not free and fair elections make). Thus perpetuating the toxic politics of a one-party state.

While Mr. Lee squats, like a grim, geriatric Nosferatu, sucking the soul out of his island nation.

"If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind " -John Stuart Mills