Friday, 16 September 2016

For Irene

Enjoy your holiday .....  and the rest of your life.

This time - no words, just a song for days from .....

........  then,

... to today.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Oh, wouldn't it be loverly ... !!

Three days ago we read about the grand finale in the career of a British Asian icon.     He is the Rt. Hon Nigel Keith Anthony Standish Vaz, the Labour MP for Leicester East since 1987 - who holds the record for being the longest serving British Asian MP.     I say he is a Leicester MP; he actually spends most of his time in London, where he owns properties worth around £3 million.

Sepandai-pandai tupai melumpat, akhirnya jatuh ke tanah jua.

For more details read  :

He was exposed in a sting operation by the Sunday Mirror just a few days ago.  It was a beautifully organised operation - no need for a trial or the presence of mattresses.

I suppose he has a right to his private life ( he is a married man of 23 years and has sired 2 children) but as someone elected and trusted by the good people (mainly traditional Asians) of Leicester East to represent them, and as a member of the Privy Council (since 2006) and (since 2007) the Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee  he is expected to be whiter than white in upholding the integrity of Parliament, his country and his community.

But who knows?     Time and tide, opportunity and opportunism might see the reconciliation of Vaz and the Sunday Mirror?     Politics and media have that kind of relationship.

They can always take a leaf from Malaysia's book and kiss and make up like ........

....... Malaysia's two Right Honourables.

Oh, wouldn't it be loverly -  " lots of chocolate for me to eat, lots of coal making lots of heat".

Who knows -  in the spirit of Malaysia's example as the Mother of all Reconciliations - we might witness a similar scenario: that of future President Hilary Clinton (she has a good chance) smiling and hugging Monica Lewinsky.   Who's Monica Lewinsky?    Well, her dress almost brought down the world's most powerful leader - husband Bill.


Before the Blue Dress

I could think of other mind-boggling rapprochements - like Hang Jebat and Hang Tuah. But no, they were battling for principles.      

Let's just remember, when we see old friends, turned old enemies, turned friends once again: there is not always a worthwhile principle at stake.   Especially when they're all politicians.

Three cheers for Malaysia - Land of Opportunity and Opportunists!


Tuesday, 30 August 2016

The Prats playing silly sreggub in Malaysia

The last two years have been a roller coaster - for AsH and for her native country.     AsH has been like a drowning rabbit desperately pushing her head above water to get a breath of fresh air.  As for Malaysia the populace are drowning in a cesspool of dirty, opportunistic politics.

This year, to bring some cheer and hope to a despairing AsH and to her small garden forest, this septuagenarian Malay woman decided to fly (with technical advice from the English Scotsman spouse) Jalur Gemilang above our fence.

I'm well aware that it's so passe to demonstrate love for one's homeland.  After all, those in the know, those in the front line of political fashion, have gone global and now see themselves as citizens of the world - a world without borders where we are all equal, brothers and sisters of the same blood under different skins. Ho hum!  That sounds sweet and convenient for the global luvvies  who can cross borders without obstacles and sanctions - just a valid passport from a 'valid' country and wallets packed with credit cards and plastic financial statements.  Very unlike the status of Syrians, Libyans, Iraqis, Afghanis, North Africans, Palestinians, Mexicans and the poor of the world who suffer to get the crumbs of the global cake.

 I'm aware that I could be accused of being one of the privileged but I am no globalised luvvie.
Teras terunjam, gubal melayang.  Ash's teras is solid and her gubal tidak akan melayang.

(Teras is the harder portion of a good timber tree, gubal is the sapwood, between the core and bark of the tree)


Today I wish to publicise  one of my favourite pictures of the native Malays of the Semenanjung, the so-called "indolent, unenterprising Malays".

But that scrutiny of today's dysfunctional Malays has been ploughed and furrowed enough by me - an amphibious creature swaying in a "small and crazy" perahu.  

Hence to remind me of my political DNA, I'm inserting these images for Merdeka 2016 just as a reminder - Bagai sirih pulang ke gagang.


Life on a roller coaster makes one ponder the imponderables: of the "ifs" and "what ifs" of life.

What if I was a third or fourth generation Malay British National?

1. If a Malay from Malaysia and a Malay British citizen were competing for a medal in the Olympics or any international sports meet, I would not snort a racist disdain by saying it does not matter who's the winner as they are both Malays.

2.  I would not have the heart or the contemptuous cheek to mock my adopting country's traditional celebration by suggesting a cat or dog roast for Christmas dinner.

3. If , and it's a big "IF" - this Malay British National gets to be a member of the Bar Council I would not be so cocksure and presumptuous about peeling away bits and pieces of British law and its practices - in order to hobble the majority - even if my fellow British Malays make up the bulk of the Council. That's like living in cloud cuckoo land!

If I were a native Brit -

1.  I would not want to disown or play second fiddle to my Scottish, English, Welsh, Cornish, Irish identity for the singular description of being just British First.   Like these people do:

2.  I would not, as a practising Christian , declare " I am not British or Scottish or English or Welsh : I am  Christian."  ( I'm comparing this to to an encounter I had with a Malaysian academic who preferred to be identified as a Muslim and not a Malay. See " A little jaunt into escapism" - 9 August 2015)

3.  As I am British and a British Christian, it would never cross my mind to be prancing about in the   attire of the Land of Jesus Christ.  My speech and writing would not be peppered with Aramaic or Hebrew.   If my language has a word for it, I would use it.

If, as of the early 19th Century, the Semenanjung was ridden with poverty and civil wars, and the Malays migrated by the boat load to China, and I thus become a second or third or fourth generation Malay citizen of China : 

1.  My Mandarin would be flawless and my ability to speak Malay would have virtually disappeared - just like the Malays in Colombo and Cape Town.  No way would Malays dare to ask for Malay language schools.  They would most likely be reprimanded with Yaushiu (bloody cheek!)  or Lu siau lang ah? (you people must be mad!) or Malaikwai tng chhu  (Malay devil, go home!)

(Sorry, AsH is only familiar with Singapore Hokkien!)

2.  We would respect the government.     Which would mean, of course, (as of 1949) that my fathers and grandfathers (some rich but mainly poor) would obediently brandish their Little Red Books to demonstrate their ardent loyalty to the People's Republic of China.  Also the opportunity to practise Islam would be circumscribed by the laws of the Republic as in Xinjiang today.

Next, what if my grandfathers and great-grandfathers were brought over to India from the Peninsula as coolies and convict coolies :

1,   I would be speaking  Hindi/Punjabi/Gujarati/Tamil  "macam air".  The 'baju kurung' and 'baju kebaya' will be extinct.  ( But what the heck?  These two forms of Malay attire are also suffering the same fate in present day Malaysia!)  There will be no sambal blacan, ikan masak asam pedas tempoyak  in our diet.

2. Forget about Malay language schools.

3. Most certainly Malay lawyers would not even smell the lush furnishing in the equivalent Indian Bar Council or bestow their opinions on the rest of India about the disgrace of the caste system, of bridging the obscene gap between the rich and the poor and the welfare of the indigenous Adivasis.   As for ownership of Airlines and Media Businesses - Podah.

What if my ancestors had migrated to Saudi Arabia or Egypt or Yemen, would they be as highly regarded and accepted even as high as the aristocracy and Royal circles as the Arabs  are in the Peninsula?

Five years ago, my former Malay Muslim male student from Singapore related an interesting business encounter in a Saudi Arabian Company.  He was blatantly ignored while Caucasians were given the gold star treatment.  When they finally deigned to talk to him, he asked them a simple question at the end of the conversation.  "Is your Kiblat in Paris or London or New York?"

Your Miss Hamid is so proud of you, kiddo!!


And at the end of my wonderings and wanderings on the rollercoaster:

On this 59th year of  Merdeka I hope for a happy, peaceful and united nation.  I avoid the word 'wealthy' because there is this tendency in human nature -

59 years ago, I watched my father's tears as he listened to the commentary on the lowering of the British flag and the raising of the Malayan flag.    He cried for two reasons.      At last his country was free.   But his tears were also because of his fear for the future - knowing the toxic and unsettling legacy of the British.

I have no tears, only disgust and anger at the shenanigans and duplicity of the people and leaders of my Abah's  Tanah Air,  my grandfather's Tanah Pusaka and my nenek-moyang's Nusantara.

So, will all you people, inside and outside of Malaysia please stop playing silly Sreggub with my little patch of God's earth??

Monday, 25 July 2016

Dispensations for Miscreants

If nonagenarians are allowed to be vexatious, septuagenarians like Ash can be as grumpy as they please.

My non-negotiable human rights.

Every Monday (from 9am to 2pm) is Tung Shin Hospital Day.  Ash risks life and limbs on the outward journey and the spouse takes over  the skirmishes on our way home.

Today is the 20th day of Syawal and Muslims are still on overdrive celebrating the end of Ramadan.  But the air of joy and the bloated stomachs, it seems,  have dulled the need to be as good as gold when those Muslims get into their cars.  I have categorically chosen Muslims because the selfish cretins we encountered today- five in total - were all garbed in their tudungs  oops hijabs!

The incredible stupidity, the audacity. the egotistic behaviour when these sisters are behind their wheels belie the devout and pure expression that the hijab is supposed to represent. One screamed past us from the left on AKLEH, another dashed across our 'bows' from the right because she could not wait to make her left turn which was just a couple of metres in front of us.

At Ampang, just past KLCC another hijabed sweet and sour young thing displayed a daring swing from the left lane to the centre lane (where we were) and straight on to the right lane - her ultimate destination without any indicating.  With that kind of guts and skill she would be a good candidate for Formula One  Racing, hijab or no hijab!

When you drive in KL you put your life into the hands of idiots, male and female, Muslims and non-Muslims!

The most frightening display of  a Muslim woman driver's asinine behaviour was at Wangsa Maju.  This sister was too busy getting herself and her shopping into the driving seat while parked on a very busy road - completely ignoring her little hijabed daughter (of around five years old), and leaving her to dash across the road.  Thank goodness the septuagenarian spouse was alert enough ( we over-70s are supposed to be gaga and slow-minded drivers) to grind to a halt and save himself from being beaten up for running over a child!    And this is just one of many such experiences with errant Muslim drivers - including actual collision.

These drivers who think they are invincible and  somehow protected from the fate of other miscreants drive anything from Proton Saga to Suzuki and BMW - with a high proportion of hijab-clad sisters driving huge SUVs..

Let's see.... as Muslims in Malaysia are so susceptible to imitating everything Arab and Arabic, and especially Saudi Arabia - why not go the whole hog (ugh!)and ban Muslim women from driving!?!!?  We can then leave the field wide open for the menfolk to do their utmost to ignore every rule in the man-made Highway Code.  (After all, you can't be ensured a foothold in paradise if you obey all the rules that licensed you as a driver and motorbike rider.)


AND IN THE BEGINNING: The child is father of the man. (William Wordsworth)

During the last 40 years or so, Malaysia (and Singapore too) have seen the "revival" of Islam and the "purification"  of Muslims.

In tandem with that: in Malaysia we have also observed the rise and rise of  wealth and the good life as well as hypocrisy, corruption and the lust for power - basic ingredients for a nation's moral and spiritual bankruptcy.

On Hari Raya , a collection of emptied packets of  duit raya was strewn just outside our gate.

The remains of manna from Hari Raya.  The blob of cat-shit ( within the red square) is such a symbolic attachment.

 I can just picture this.  After their visits to the various houses for Hari Raya Salam Alaikum, these kids could not wait to tear into their packets to count their 'loot', and then discard the rubbish at the scene of the big count.  I was told they cock a snoot at any gift below two ringgit. From little acorns large fat cats grow!  Sorry for the mixed metaphors.

Is this what Hari Raya is all about - for the children and grandchildren of the Baby Boomers, for Generations X, Y and Z?

AND AT THE END - Takkan  Melayu hilang di dunia.  I reckon it will not be a matter of 'if' but one of 'when'.  It's an imitation of the fate of a gibbon being given a flower. 


Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri

Tis the season for berzakat, berfitrah, bersedekah  ---  amidst all the killings and the slaughter surrounding us today  --- don't forget to remember  ....

Thursday, 23 June 2016

A Brexiteer

A lot of arguments and discussions have been going on in the UK in the past few weeks about leaving or remaining in the EU.  Much scaremongering and selective facts and figures have been put forward to (supposedly) guide the voter in making a decision.

The most ferocious debate concerns the issue of immigration.  The argument has been over simplified with the Leave people being tagged as racists and bigots by the Remain campaign, whose voices strongly represent the liberal urban elites - especially in and around London.

Daily Mail - DM Comment  21 June 2016

Frank Field - The Guardian 14 June 2016

Daily Mail DM Comment 21 June 2016

Until 2004 when East Europeans joined the EU, there was no large scale migration to Britain.  There are now 3.3 million EU nationals living in Britain - up by 2 Million since 2003.  Unlike migrants from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and parts of Africa, they do not have to go through the hurdles of an English language test, or a UK citizenship test.  As soon as they enter Britain they are granted special privileges - and eventually all the rights of a British national - because they are members of the EU.  Unlike other non-EU migrants, their numbers cannot be restricted as UK as a member of the EU are bound by European treaties and European law.


In comparison, I reckon Sabah and Sarawak got a better deal when they joined Malaysia.   For instance Peninsular Malaysians need a work permit to work in East Malaysia and they are also restricted from  buying land in these two states.


If I am in Leicester right now, I would vote for LEAVE.  My reasons are very personal because of my  empathy and concern for the plight of my work mates, my  working class friends.

These mates of mine and all the other places I worked at are the ones who pay the price of the EU's "Freedom of Movement" i.e the right to migrate within the EU to whereever the grass is greener.  I  know the problems they are facing: unemployment , short term contracts, reduced benefits, school place for their kids, and registration at Doctors' Surgeries.

The Unions who are supposed to represent them have done nowt and somehow managed to put their backsides on two stools - Leave and Remain!!

 Daily Mail - by Ian Dury & James Slack, 20 June 2016

Paul Mason - The Guardian 20 June 2016

These are the 'native' population that have been thrown on the scrap heap in the name of globalisation and free-market economics practised by their neo-liberal elites in both the Labour and Conservative Parties

Paul Mason - The Guardian 20 June 2016

If their anger is not placated the rise of more right-wing extremists in Britain is inevitable.

The other consequence of this anti-immigration mood is the effect on those refugees who are desperately and justifiably in need of support, of the most basic of security.    In comparison to such people, the relatively secure East Europeans, tripping around looking for greener pastures, are very privileged people indeed.

Mondoweiss - 9 Sept 2015

Must Read:

I cannot help but observe the uncanny similarity of 'class politics' in Britain and here in Malaysia - of the gaping fissure between the luvvie elite in the urban centres and the hoi polloi poorer working class.  In Malaysia it's the gap between the city centres like KL and Penang and the rural/smaller towns.  In Britain there is the North-South divide with the well-heeled 'salariat' ensconced in the South.

This piece by Umar Mukhtar makes my point .....


...... especially:

Umar Mukhtar - reference as above

Umar Mukhtar - reference as above

Alas, in Britain, for my working class mates; and in Malaysia for friends like Osman and Aishah - our local road sweepers from Kampung Ayer Kuning, near Kampar - they shall for ever be the mentimum tossed and scraped by the durian.

I shall await with trepidation the results of the Referendum.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Sunday School teachers, entertainers, celebrities, politicians, Methodist ministers, Catholic priests - fathers & stepfathers, uncles, teachers ........

When  news of Huckle's litany of child abuse got to Malaysia two weeks ago, I recalled this nursery rhyme I learned in Primary One.

One, two buckle my shoe,
Three, four, shut the door,
Five, six, pick up sticks.
Seven, eight. lay them straight.
Nine, ten, a big fat hen.

With Richard Huckle in mind this is my revised version

Nursery rhyme for a Sunday School Teacher

One, two, unbuckle my shoe.
Three, four, (he) shuts the door.
Five, six, he made me sick.
Seven, eight, I'm ridden with self-hate,
Nine, ten, a big, evil man.

Here's one victim's recall of the abuse she suffered - cited in a Report on Child Abuse in the Methodist Church in Britain,

I have learned that it is impossible to recover from sexual abuse when no one recognises the seriousness of it.  My church did not want a scandal, my parents did not want a scandal.  I was left to feel worthless and devalued, while the man was left to get on with his life and, for all I know, repeat the crime with someone else."  


As for Huckle, after admitting to 71 offences of abuse against children between the ages of 6 months to 12 years from 2006 to 2014, an English Court sentenced him to 22 life sentences - to be served for at least 25 years. It's mind-boggling for any lay person to figure out "22 life sentences" when this pervert has got only one life.  What and whose purpose does this  punishment serve?

Penitent ??  Or grateful and relieved?  

As for his victims and their families, they face a life sentence too for what they suffered, knowing that by 2041, when Huckle is just 55, he will be set loose on society.

Only this time, I hope the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service), the NCA (National Crime Agency) and the might of the British Judiciary will guarantee that Huckle remains in his motherland and keep him away from the poorer people of the world - whether they are Christians or not!

This predator has a record of writing and admitting :

1.  " Impoverished kids are definitely much more easier to seduce than middle class western kids."   (Mail Online 2 June 2016)   

2,  "As long as I keep a broad number of contacts amongst the poorer people I know, I'm sure some would be inclined for someone of 'high status' such as myself to be caring for their kids for long or short term."    (BuzzFeed 2 June 2016)

      Note: 'high status' means white and westerner.

In Malaysia, much outrage was expressed by both authorities and NGOs - as well it should be.


Mail Online 2 June

As for the NCA - they were using "legislation that allows UK nationals to be prosecuted in the UK for offences committed overseas."  One cannot help but realise that this seemingly decent piece of legislation has a double edged sword : one to ensure punishment of British miscreants abroad, the other is to protect their criminals from any 'alien' (?) or 'barbaric'(?) justice system. - punishments like death sentences are anathema to the liberal western system of justice,  Maybe that is why Huckle looked relieved and held his hands in prayer after sentencing at the Old Bailey.

An example of responses from Malaysia's NGOs :

Certainly after this case, Malaysia needs not only to enforce a stronger protection of children, harsh punishment for the perpetrators, but also more transnational cooperation in nabbing and prosecuting the paedophiles.

But wait a moment.   Britain hardly has a creditable record of protecting their children either.

1. There's the much loved entertainer Sir Jimmy Savile.

From humble DJ to Lord of the Realm

Top of the Paedophile Parade.

Who?  Me??

2.  Australia's entertainer-export to Britain and the Commonwealth.

This was no kangaroo court.

How did he get away with 33 years of sexual offences?

3. Lord  Greville Janner - a scion of Leicester society

That police were pressured by politicians - you mean this is possible in  a non-banana republic/state like Great Britain?

4.  Glam rocker Gary Glitter.

All that glitters is not gold.

5.  Then there are institutions like Children's Homes and the long-running involvement of the Church in child abuse.  The Catholic Church especially has a long history of covering up for the perpetrators while the victims are shunted aside.  Here's just one example from the US, but the revelations go further afield to many other parts of the world.

6.  Just last year the Methodist Church made an apology to the 2,000 cases of physical and sexual abuse within the institution  dating from the 1950s.   "The children's charity National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children  (NSPCC) described it as a horrifying catalogue of abuse."

Sorry is no cure!

7.  Politicians and Paedophilia

     i) Dolphin Square

Dolphin Square

          ii) Elm House

Read this if you have the stomach for it.

And listen to Richard Kerr - the victim's pain.

We in Malaysia have a lot to learn about dealing with sexual and child abuse, about the enactment of laws to protect the child and punish the perpetrators, about counselling and helping the victims and their families.    BUT ....  we also need to turn to the values and mores of our own culture before taking on wholesale the methods and ethos of countries like Britain.

A few years ago, when Gary Glitter was exposed as a paedophile who had set up in Cambodia to ravage children, with impunity it seemed, there were many in Malaysia (including myself) who breathed a sigh of relief: no, it could never happen in Malaysia.

But now it has.  What lessons shall we learn from this awful milestone?


Postscript:  Listening to Richard Kerr brings back distressing memories of my failure as a teacher, for turning my back on a cry for help.

Today, she would be almost the same age as Richard Kerr.  I dearly hope she survived
 her pain.

My one massive failing as a teacher.

But I do feel a sense of warmth when, many years ago, I demonstrated my support and care for one of my senior boys - who had been abused by his own father - when he was diagnosed with VD.  The teachers gossiped about him, told each other tales of how to keep their distance away from him in class.

During my geography lesson, I went to his desk and demonstrated how to measure the length of a river with a string on his textbook - Bunnett's Kajian Peta.  I shall never forget the happy smile he gave me.  He was eventually cleared of his blight and he must be a grandfather by now.