Sunday, July 6, 2014


We made a trip to Singapore just before Ramadan to spend time with old friends and as always, a visit to Abah's and Akim's grave  ( with assistance from Jai, as usual), and a special call on Jai's mum, Macik Alimah.

Macik is a very special Malay lady, nearly 89, and I reckon one of the very few remaining "native Singapore Malays"  who lived and remembered her life as keturunan Orang Pulau Singapura.  I moan about the loss of  our kampung at  Kampung Abu Kassim, where we used to live at Pasir Panjang Road.

Memories of my kampung life immortalised by the spouse's drawing.

And on this trip I discovered that my last abode in Singapore , at Block 217 Boon Lay Avenue had been demolished to give way to higher blocks and smaller flats. Hard cheese Ash!!

Block 217, Boon Lay Avenue. Our  flat is on the 15th floor, second from the top.

Looking down to the car park from the 15th Floor.

15-89, the door to our flat from 1975 to 1995.

As for Makcik, her ancestral family home in the Southern Islands to the Southwest of Singapore was first used as a firing range for the Singapore Air Force and later stitched up with loads of imported sand and soil
into a world class oil refinery and industrial zone - into Jurong Island!  And they say,  "Only God can make a tree".

This was what happened to Macik's ancestral abode and world - which is more devastating than what  kampung Malays and my family went through.  I managed to load these images from US Geology Survey (USGS) - showing satellite images of Environmental Changes.   What a bland description of the demise of a people's physical and cultural landscape.

( In the images below, red = plants, blue-black =deep clear water, light blue = shallow and silty water, almost white = bare soils and pavements, grayish mottle = cities.)

Singapore - 1973

Singapore - 1990

Singapore - 2002

I hope this video (2012) of a conversation with Macik Alimah when she was about 87 will bear testimony to what can happen to the culture and way of life of a people when development and greed take over. They remain as memories, lovely and painful at the same time for those who still remember.  The younger generation, so immersed in their hi-tech and comfortable modern life will rue the day when they search for their cultural landscape and discover they're all dead and gone.  ( or will they? - especially when we have well heeled and well-endowed Malays in Malaysia who are so keen on  "emulating Singapore" )   See :

Is there a lesson here for Tanjung Putri  (Johor Baru) and Johor?  But I reckon it is too late.  It started with Raffles who re-scripted Singapore's and Johore's  history and heritage for his country's benefit and created the ripples of wealth and development that involved mainly the immigrants and constructed modern Singapore today.  But the Malays, the elite Malays of the old days and the corporate Malays of today, are too happy to collaborate, manage and profit from this globalisation of  'progress and development'.

In the above 2012 video, Macik is talking about the origin of Tanjung Keling, the 'town' on the mainland nearest to her Southern Islands.

She had become much more frail when we visited her this time.  She has lost her eyesight - the breast cancer is becoming more aggressive but her spirit remains as cheerful and positive as ever.  Macik used to supplement her family income by selling epok epok.  When Jai was a schoolboy he would help to sell her epok epok and kuih to the many construction sites in Jurong in the 60s and 70s.  She would also leave trays of her epok epok at the various Indian and Chinese shops. " Epok epok saya laku cikgu.  Semua orang suka dengan isi curry kentang.  Saya gunakan rempah asli, goringkan ketumbar, jintan , tumbuk dengan kelapa.  That's Macik's secret ingredient -  for making epok epok.  Curry puff and karipap is not in her vocabulary and I second her on that.

The most heartwarming part of going to Singapore is to hear Jai, Lely and Irene calling me "Miss Hamid".  And when Macik reaches out her hands to hold mine and she says,  "Saya kenal suara Cikgu",  then my cup runneth over.

When Jai played this song for Macik , tears ran down her cheeks.

Ditto for me Macik.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

" If you could read my mind, love ...

.... What a tale my thoughts could tell.
Just like an old time movie,
About a ghost from a wishing well."    (Gordon Lightfoot  1970)

AsH has been tackling a dilemma of sorts - whether to carry on writing or to put away all my thoughts and notes and references and chuck them into a box marked  "Do not open until 2044" - my 100th anniversary - when I will become like Lightfoot's "ghost from a wishing well".

This has so far been, a disturbing year in so many ways, - to simplify it, too many scales have been removed from my eyes.  Illusions will always plague your life whether you're seventeen or seventy.

This was (is?) how I feel just like Pak Belang below.

Pak Belang in the spouse's illustrated book,  "Fatimah's Kampung"  was captured when his jungle habitat was swallowed up by development and he ended up as a caged exhibit in an urban theme park.

Pak Belang is looking at you!
The above illustrates Pak Belang's world before wrath, avarice, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony  ( the Seven Deadly Sins according to Christianity) destroyed its world.

Especially in Malaysia today, these features, this idolisation of the Self has become the norm despite attempts to veil them in purr words  like religion, human rights and peace and love!

Yesterday I made a bad mistake. Instead of sorting out something  quick to sew from my box of cross-stitch samplers, I turned to read The Daily Mail.

Here's a close-up of nasty fundamentalist Malaysia.

You can't possibly imagine Malaysia as practising a "creeping Islamisation of the country"  because this country and the surrounding Malay Archipelago has always been an Islamic region even before Christian imperialists like Spain, Portugal, Holland, and Great Britain invaded and manipulated the Muslim Sultanates and population for their religious and economic plunder.

The Mail conveniently omitted one very special feature of Malaysia.  This is one nation where the indigenous mainly Muslim Malays were swamped by an influx of immigrants from China and India, a deliberate British policy to maximise the development (plunder) of the country's resources.  This is the only nation with such a toxic racial mixture and surprisingly has managed to look after her population without being a basket case depending on massive Western aid - and lo and behold! - has given opportunities for the non-Malay, non- Muslim denizens (and the Malay elites too, of course) to thrive and make loadsofmoney.  On top of this they can even afford to invest their surplus  in  wealthy foreign countries like Singapore, USA and Britain.

We have evangelist corporate moghuls like Tan Sri Dato Francis Yeoh Sock Ping of YTL Corporation and Tan Sri Dato Khoo Kay Peng ( Hope Foundation) who by the way has a 40% stake in Britain's upmarket Laura Ashley. The one thing that's creeping (and very rapidly too) into Malaysia is Christian evangelisation.

There's nothing new about Christian evangelisation. It has been with us for millenia although the tactics today are much more high-tech, aggressive and devious.

I reckon I have said enough in many previous postings about Judaeo-Christians' and secularist-liberals' anti-Islam agenda.   I'm almost turning blue in the face writing about this issue and like Pak Belang I'm getting too tired and too old and quite washed out.  But perhaps these images will suffice.

Recent and not-so-recent Creators of Chaos:

From a Children's Story Book in the 1940s

From the mouth of Britain's most revered son.

From Britain's foremost liberal newspaper.

From a Conservative MP

Muslim walking the gauntlet in his 'adopted' Christian country

Playing with Words:  "vandals", not "desecrators".  "Racially motivated"?  No, it's religious hatred!

Who's counting? 

Here's a little story to add to the Mail's  angst about the "ban" on using the word "Allah" in non-Muslim texts in Semenanjung Malaysia.   There's a road in Leicester called Belgrave Road, the main artery from the city to the north (avoiding the M1). Hence it is a most strategic commercial route to the north of England from days of yore.

When the Indian community was expelled from Uganda by President Idi Amin, they migrated to Britain in 1972 because they were holders of British Passports.  A Gujarati entrepreneur from Uganda - Gentilal Parmar - saw the winds of upheaval and made a crucial (and lucrative) move to buy up residential and commercial properties in and around Belgrave Road.  When these 'refugees'  (mainly Hindus) from Uganda arrived in Leicester they gravitated to Belgrave Road.  Today, Belgrave Road is Leicester's Little India.

Belgrave Road, Leicester.

Some years ago in the late 1980s, an ex-student of mine from Singapore came to Leicester for a visit.  We took him for a drive along Belgrave Road.  This was his first trip into England.  He was shocked at the scenes and the shops and the sights.  He exclaimed,  " But where are the orang putih?  I did not come to Leicester to see my fellow Indians - we have them at home (Singapore) and we have Serangoon Road!"

The Indians from Uganda thrived and  prospered in Leicester and in 2012 the native orang putih became a minority (less than 50%)  in this ancient Roman city.  (In fact the old Roman road ran right in front of our terrace house and it still keeps its Latin name!)   The Indians from Uganda were not farmers and were not from  the poorer  rural parts of Uganda.  Being savvy urban shopkeepers, businessmen, entrepreneurs and professionals they found the right niche in this Midland city.  They became movers and shakers in Leicester's economy and politic framework.

Then in the 1990s there was a fervour and a strong vocal movement among Leicester's Asians ( Indians and anyone else for that matter, who are not Caucasians or Africans or Afro-Caribbeans, are termed as Asians.  It's as if - in Malaysia - the immigrants are lumped simply as non-Malays!) - to change the name of Belgrave Road.  They wanted to re-name it Mahatma Gandhi Road.  There was of course the expected outcry from the "natives'.  They regarded this as more flexing  of the Asians' political (and religious)  muscle.

Of course, that could not materialise.  But they managed this, at least.

Gandhi's statue at Belgrave Road as you enter Leicester from the north.

Malays and Muslims in Malaysia have as much right to retain "Allah" for their own use - just as Christian and secular whites in Leicester have - to keep the name of the artery road to the north of their country England as "Belgrave Road."

Alas, this article by the Mail's Simon Tomlinson is just another hatchet job on Islam and Malaysia by an ignorant and self-righteous hack from the British press. We've seen and heard it all before - a very easy and popular topic for western liberals and  Judaeo-Christians - on their  favourite bete noir.

More of the same from my earlier postings:

1.  This is another self-righteous diatribe from another Simon from a pukka middle-class British newspaper.









Enough is Enough.  This is why I feel I'm in the same state as Pak Belang.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Keeping up with Comments

I've been having problems with my comments page just like I had a few months ago.  Here are a couple of them - which I could not deal with earlier.

Thank you Anon at 10.53am.  Racial and religious differences will always matter for all of us, not only in Malaysia.  If we look at the example of Northern Ireland  ( a part of the United Kingdom), where there is hardly any difference in colour and culture in the Northern Irish, the religious animosity between the two dominant Christian factions - the Catholics and the Protestants - remains as intransigent as ever, despite the Peace Treaty and the political transformation that followed.

As for racial and religious differences, if we look at what happened in many other countries (South Africa, Sri Lanka and Burma for example) the inherently and historically Malay-Muslim Peninsula has a lot to be proud of.  Despite being flooded with immigrants whose religion and race and culture are as far apart as chalk and cheese, Semenanjung Tanah Melayu has done a commendable job (albeit with a couple of warts) in sustaining  all who live on board, in sharing the country's largesse and even giving room for one immigrant group to maintain and develop their economic prowess and control.  Of course , the less privileged and the poorer denizens have to be given a leg-up, despite the complaints and whingeing of the well-heeled who believe that they got to be where they were and are,  primarily on merit.

The table below illustrates the reduction of the gap between rich and poor which, since Colonial times, has coincided with a racial overlay and an urban/rural divide.

Here's a closeup of the above Table:  Mean Monthly Gross Household Income by Ethnicity, Strata and State, Malaysia, 1970-2012.

In short this Government has done quite well, for a Third World Country - and a Government run by mainly  Malay-Muslims to boot!!

As for your second sentence, I detect a bit of snide and insinuation about referring to West Malaysia as  "The Malay Peninsula".  Whether the Malay Peninsula is now West Malaysia or Peninsular Malaysia or Semenanjung Malaysia in the language of the Malays from the Malay Archipelago;  before the encroachment of the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British and the unnatural increase of the Semenanjung's population - the Peninsula  consisted of several  Malay-Muslim states:
1. The Kedah Sultanate which included Penang and Seberang Prai  (1136 to the present)
2. The Malacca Sultanate  (1462-1511)
3. The Johor Sultanate which included Singapore  (1528 to the present) ......

...... and the Sultanates of Pahang, Kelantan, Perlis, Perak, Selangor, Negri Sembilan and Trengganu.

As for Borneo, up to the arrival of the Europeans, the two major powers were the Brunei and Sulu Sultanates.  But that's another story of  Judaeo-Christian malfeasance in Southeast Asia.  They did the same when they carved up the African continent among themselves.  The violent mess that plagues the Middle East had its origin in the (secret) 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement between United Kingdom, France and pre-Revolution Russia to divide the Arab provinces of the defeated Ottoman Empire.

The name of  a  nation can be changed, it can even be anglicized, but the core makeup of its entity remains intact despite attempts by certain parties to rescript its history.

"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to relive it."   (George Santayana 1863-1952)


Thank you Anon May 21 2014 at 4.05 am.

I don't think the Malay Sultans have the same privileges as royalty elsewhere.  The Crown Prince of the United Kingdom can spout statements about how Muslims are making life difficult for Christians in the Middle East and he can blithely compare Putin to Hitler AND he can get away with it.

Why name only Pertubuhan Melayu Kebangsaan Melayu Bersatu  (I assume you mean UMNO)?  What about PKR and PAS?

As for your suggestion that AsH should write an open letter to the "party president and the Sultan",  it reminded me of  another occasion when my fellow-Malays asked me to be their  'representative'.

In Singapore, in the late 1960s,  the celebration for Hari Raya Puasa depended on the sighting of the moon.  There were times when this did not coincide with the official date for Hari Raya.  When that happened, teachers and students of Sekolah Menengah Yusof Ishak were only allowed time off for prayers and then they had to report for school as usual.  That was when the Malay teachers, mostly men, both senior and junior pushed me forward to ask the principal, Mr Charles Lazaroo to give the Malay medium staff and students time off for the rest of the day after prayers.  I was just in my early 20s and I found no difficulty in chiding them and suggested ,  "Why don't all of us talk to Mr Lazaroo?"  That stopped all the proposals and pleas to place me in the line of fire.

This, I fear is the most destructive weakness of the orang Melayu - they are too self-serving and hence become too divided to take a stand.  They prefer to shine in the light of the opposition groupings  than to take on the taunts and  fire from their own  kin-groups and from their nemesis.

Furthermore, unlike me, your generation has a longer time left on this earth to make the necessary changes and sacrifice to guide the "frustrated and pragmatic Malays"out there - whether at home or abroad.   AsH is getting too old and weary from fighting too many battles for her students - being a minder for the Malay Stream against the English Stream in YISS  and for the English Stream vis-a-vis the Chinese Stream in Jurong Secondary School.

In my seventh decade, I  do not have the energy to pitch any more battles.  All I do is react- to hypocrisy and double standards - to convey a tit-for-tat and  turn myself into ....

Drawn by my Voodoo-man,  Iain Buchanan
Let me quote one of  our sharpest and kindest Malay poets and gentlemen, Usman Awang.  Where are the likes of him today??

Extracted from Zaini Hassan, Dilema Melayu Moden  (pages 373-376)

Thank you very much cannonkapit for the bouquet.

It's very touching, your belief in what I write.  Cikgu has never left her 'tanah air'  (which includes Singapore and  Malaysia), wherever she settles.  Right now, since 2007, the spouse and I have the best of our two worlds that we hold close to our hearts - Malaysia and  England. 


 Thank you Leicester United Fan,

Even though our LFC did not make it big, but as a fan you've done quite well.  I can't agree more with what you've said.  The election results have proven what we all knew all along.  She was used for a patsy by her two Sifus -   the father and the son ... and Diana the Roman goddess of the hunt, the moon and birthing!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

What's new, Pussycat?

What's the latest challenge - for the warriors of equal opportunity?  It has to do with that nasty word RACE. It should be binned - so they said - as we are all  True Malaysians.  

This great struggle for the True Malaysians started  with the rallying cry for a "Malaysian Malaysia" concocted by Singapore's PAP when it was in Malaysia.  Now that cause has been passed on to Malaysia's DAP ( blood brother of Singapore's  PAP ) - albeit differently attired like in The Emperor's New Clothes.

Then came the next clarion call,  spouted by the non-Malays - they shouted the slogan "meritocracy" as an  attack against the NEP.  Of course it sounded so reasonable and justifiable - but in the context of the Malay Peninsula and her history, it's just another 'hurrah' word used for bolstering and protecting the interests and agenda of the wealthy and powerful and the status quo inherited from the British.

The visit by the US President added grist to the mill of those 'liberals' and their equal opportunities campaign.  It's a very attractive bandwagon to jump onto - plus you can be assured of receiving blessings from the human rights deities in the West.  If you shout loud enough you could even receive an award from the mother-of human rights- and- self righteousness,  the US.

Now Malaysia is getting another rap on the knuckles, to get her to liberalize her wayward ways by putting an end  to inserting 'Race' in all types of forms.  These crusaders of' 'human rights'  in  the Peninsula opine that this would end 'discrimination' or 'ostracism'. In fact they are actually referring to - if they're open and honest - their perceived view of themselves as "victims"at the hands of the Malays.  If that's the case and seemingly a dire one at that - most certainly, people  like the Rohingyas  and the  "First People " of the US would  prefer this Malaysian-style discrimination and ostracism.

Balan Moses ( The Metro, 9 May 2014) wrote "As long as red blood courses through our veins, and we are made of flesh and blood, we will all be the same."   Well, "tell that to the Marines" and the Gazans, Palestinians, Iraqis, Afghanis, the Adivasis ( the Indian Tribal people), the lower castes of India, the native Indians of South America, the aborigines in Taiwan and Australia.

"The British", said my late Abah, "will cut the ground from under your feet and make you thank them for it." Other than profiteering from the resources of the Malay Peninsula, they stimulated the flood of immigrants who are like 'chalk' to the  'cheese' in the Malay Peninsula so as to facilitate and  the economic 'development' (exploitation) of the Malay Peninsula.

Here is how they fear the arrival of  foreigners to UK today.  This Home Office Go-Home Van was later removed but people certainly got the message.

The manipulation of the cultural makeup of the Malay Peninsula had its origins in post-war Federated  Malay States (FMS), Unfederated Malay States (UFMS) and the Straits Settlements.  Britain could not afford to run her Empire as before.  But she wanted to hang on to the benefits and needed to be assured that this Peninsula's economy would keep on ticking. With such a toxic mixture of population, the immigrants (especially the Chinese - the movers and shakers of the economy) had to be assured and guaranteed of their stay and their profit in the Peninsula.  So, said the men in the Colonial Office, let's call this motley of administrative centres 'Malaya'!  And so we had books on Civics and Geography in our schools to tout this policy of living in a country called 'Malaya' and all the happy people in it are 'Malayans'.

Here are a couple of pertinent or impertinent - (depending on the ahem 'Race'of the reader) - observations written in 1947 by E.H.G. Dobby, B.A., Ph.D, Head of the Geography Department, Raffles College, Singapore.

Gosh! If only it's that simple - to be likened to a 'grouping like the Boy Scouts, families or trade unions'. I suppose it may work for the Captains of Industry and their compradores and for the denizens of the well-serviced and well-endowed in the urban areas.  
What the good Professor failed to see is that these "chalk and cheese" communities cannot be held together simply because "they have many needs in common".  At least, this is what the British themselves thought.  The Chinese, said J. Cameron, "have attained a high civilization of their own sort, and this keeps, and I think always will keep, them distinct from other peoples with whom they mingle ". (Our Tropic Possessions in Malayan India, 1865).  A century and a half later, the Chinese diaspora in the Malay Archipelago remains distinct, with its own wants  and needs.

Let's look at why they came ..........

From Philip N. Nazareth :  The Story of Malaya and Her Neighbours, 1961

......... and what they wanted, for example, to preserve and protect their culture via education in Chinese.  Such a  policy was articulated a long time ago.

So, the formulators of 'Malaya" had either  no idea or no interest in safeguarding "The Malay Protectorates" and the Malay Rakyat.

I'm certain the liberals in the West, especially in Britain, will support to the hilt the demands of those who want to eliminate the word 'race'  in our paperwork - giving succour to those who have been weaned on the milk of so-called British "liberalism and human rights".  Yet the motherland of liberalism could not discard the use of 'race' in their analysis of their country's future. It signifies their prejudice, but especially their fear.  Now the gander ( Britain) has to lump the same sauce as the goose ( The Malay Peninsula).  At last, the chickens are coming home to roost.

In 20 years'time, the white Brits will have to learn how to live and let live with only a 64% majority.  But they have the advantage, in that no one ethnic (racial?) group makes up nearly a quarter of the population.
According to Malaysia's human rights warriors,  the deletion of 'race' will make us all equal.  Certainly that will make some people invisible - cloaking the elites, the rich and powerful from the scrutiny of the lesser and poorer beings.

Perhaps our crusaders were looking at a Golden Age of job opportunities prior to the May 13 Race Riots.
Take this extract from the The Annual Report of 1962 (Malay Mail)  on Education.

The Report on the University of Malaya tells a similar story.

That, I reckon, is what our crusaders want it to be - a return to a sort of Camelot  for "racial/equal" opportunities.  Since then, a lot of water has gone under the bridge.  After the Race Riots of 13 May 1969, steps were taken to ameliorate this imbalance in the education and employment opportunities of the Malays in the Malay Peninsula.

Finally I anticipate with trepidation another salvo of demands. Who knows,  in their pilgrimage for "equal opportunities" they might desire (with the help of their overseas friends and mentors) to create a more  'inclusive'  nation by re-naming the country - just like the British when they coined the country 'Malaya" in exchange for the FMS, UFMS and the Straits Settlements.

Why not rename Semenanjung Tanah Melayu as MALCHINDIA, so they say.  Sabah shall remain Sabah and the same for Sarawak.

Hmmmh - as for Malaysia - a name like BUMICHINDIA sounds more egalitarian.  There's no reference to Malays because they are already included in the word BUMI.  So there's no reason for them to grumble.  That makes us all the same - and that is why the Muslim word  "Allah"  should be 'shared' as well!!

However some Bumiputeras and most Malays may feel a tad uncomfortable because BUMICHINDIA also means the Land of the Chinese and the Indians.

Oh hell!  I think we need to tap the brains of the whizkids in the media and communication industry - to get them to look into their box-of-tricks - to give us a makeover - to invent a name that sounds  cosy and shallow.  After all they specialize in calling a spade a trowel and casting a trowel as the spade.

As an afterthought, if people are so keen to discard  'race' because it fosters disunity, shouldn't they go the whole hog and discard Chinese and Tamil schools and have a united education policy?

PS  I missed a few lines in Paragraph 11 - which have now been corrected.

Friday, May 2, 2014

For Wania's Album

Tonight AsH is a very relieved and happy (adopted) 'Daadi'  (or grandmother in Urdu) - and so is 'Daada'!

On 5 April, Yasir, her Baba ( Dad) sent us this video of Wania's  "first ever steps on her own"- in the words of the proud father. We  were just as delighted and I must admit I must have played that video 6 to 7 times.


In  Leicester, all our friends are close to our age - that is, OLD! - and so knowing Yasir, Raffia and Wania is such a joy.  We have known Yasir for the past ten years and when he got married about three and a half years ago to his gentle and beautiful Raffia  ......


.........we were delighted as we reckoned it was time that this bachelor settled down.  They were blessed when Wania came into their life in November 2012. She was such a bright, happy, and playful child and we were soon adopted as Wania's Daada and Daadi..  Whenever we got back to Leicester, we would visit them quite often,  chiefly to have a bit of fun with Wania, and to enjoy Raffia's cooking.  Her chapati, chicken karai, briyani, and raita with chili, cucumber, tomato and chopped onion - they are just supercalifragilisticaspialidocious!!! - in fact everything she cooks is fabulous.    Lucky Yasir .... and lucky Auntie and Uncle!

Then on 17 April - DISASTER!   Wania had a bad fall  - and her leg had to be put in plaster.  Yasir and Raffia had very little sleep for 3 days because she was in such pain.  To make it worse, as a matter of routine, the Hospital arranged for a Social Worker to visit them in their house.  They were desperately worried - not knowing the why, what and wherefores - and fearing the very worst ... that they would be blamed for Wania's injury.  Over here we were worried too, trying to think how best we could be of help from this distance.  Because these three are all "alone" in Leicester Iain sent them a letter of support - in the form of a testimonial from a long term friend, uncle, and 'local'  resident.

At 6pm today, Yasir called to give us the good news.  The Social Worker had made her visit.    She was very happy with the situation, closed the case, and offered Yasir, Raffia, and Wania whatever help they might need.     Yasir and Raffia can now relax and enjoy the Spring .....although poor Wania is still grounded.

The last line in the first paragraph of  Uncle's letter says  "we have watched them begin their family and their life together in their new homeland".    For Raffia to obtain her Visa for Indefinite Stay in her new homeland she had to :

1. Pass an English Language Test which costs GBP250.
2. Pass a Life in UK Test.  It involved Rafia having to answer questions about the types of churches, names of British composers,  pop musicians, football clubs, - and a lot of history, geography, politics, economy and everything else which even the native Brits would be hard pushed to answer.   (In fact, there were numerous questions even a retired English university lecturer couldn't answer!)    Raffia had to take this test 5 times and each time cost them GBP50.

And what's more - to insert the Visa into her Pakistani Passport they had to pay GBP1450.  And should Raffia apply for a British Passport, they would have to set aside GBP975.

This couple did not take advantage of the benefits that they were eligible for when Wania was born.  Yasir works very, very hard - sometimes 7 days a week  and he and Raffia are so grateful that their little family will be safe and sound in the UK,  a country that is not ridden with violence, political  insecurity, bombs - and, now and then a drone attack from President Obama's  country.

The Happy Family in March last year.

Wania with her left leg in plaster - just 3 hours ago.
Salam and good night to all three of you from Uncle and Auntie.  Here's a song for Wania so she won't keep her parents awake tonight.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Pekong di Dada dan Kuman di Seberang

According to Barack Obama :

Malaysia must ensure non-Muslims in the country also have equal opportunities as its Muslim majority if the Southeast Asian nation  wanted to continue prospering.....

Malaysia won't succeed if the non-Muslims do not have the same opportunity.

(see Jennifer Gomez, The Malaysian Insider April 27th, 2014)

Let's look at who has the most opportunity for attaining prosperity.

Mean Monthly Gross Household Income by Ethnicity, Strata and State, 1970-2012.
Note that the richest states in the Peninsula - Penang and Selangor 'belong' to the Opposition.

To summarize the above which is not too legible, for which I apologize:

                          1970                  2012    
Bumiputera          172                    4457
Chinese                394                   6366
Indians                 304                   5233
Others                  813                   3843
Average for
Malaysia               264                   5000

On another aspect of   "equal opportunities"  let's compare the poverty index of  the world's most powerful and richest country with that of Malaysia.  According to the World  Bank, Malaysia's  Poverty Rate was 3.8% in 2009 and 1.7% in 2012.  The United States of America, with a US$17 trillion economy, had a poverty rate of 15% in 2012.  Since it has been suggested to the President that the minorities in Malaysia are treated unfairly  and he had to advise us that that would impair our future prosperity, how did USA manage to "prosper" when the Poverty Rate (2012)  of the Blacks measure 35%, the Hispanics 33% and the Whites just 13% ?

Our human rights brigade, granted a precious audience with the President,  had the privilege of spilling out their angst about life in Malaysia , something which the poor in USA surely wish they could do too - people like .....

Homeless in Washington -
One out of every 5 children in the US is now living in poverty ( Source: US Census).  This child may have the same colour as the President but he doesn't have the privilege of growing up in a white middle class family.   This child, unlike the President, comes from a a line of slaves and whose forefathers knew only discrimination and abuse in a Judaeo-Christian culture.  Could he have been elected as a president like Barack Obama?
Usually, when I come across a feature on life in the USA, I notice one group has been carefully omitted.  These are the people you see in Hollywood movies killing and massacring the pioneer whites who, like all immigrants are always positively represented as hardworking, enterprising and hence deservedly successful.

Those left out are the Native Americans.  From The Guardian 22 April 2012 :  The UN is to conduct an investigation into the plight of US Native Americans, the first such mission in its history. 

  Photograph: Jennifer Brown/Corbis.   Taken from the Guardian.

Many of the country's estimated 2.7 million Native Americans  live in federally recognised  tribal areas which are plagued with unemployment, alcoholism, high suicide rates, incest and other social problems.

......... some US conservatives likely to object to international interference in domestic matters.

Now , doesn't that sound familiar?  To quote the MI :   "Obama said non-Muslims in Malaysia are currently facing hostility, and some have felt oppressed.  There shouldn't be reason to discriminate, and you have to make sure that you are speaking out against this in daily life.

Do read this:

It all started with the Pilgrim Fathers - escaping the prejudices of their motherland in Europe - immigrants starting a new life and all the blah, blah blahs about their toil and their sacrifice and of course their Thanksgiving Day.  Initially, they were welcomed by the Native Indians.  But the new arrivals had this caveat - one the Christians practised where ever they left their footprint.

Taken from Punch Diary 1973
Now that most people in Malaysia have watched the blockbuster movie Captain America why not give this movie "Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee" a try?  It's not breathtakingly exciting, -  full of thrills and spills - but it might make you cry.

 Here's a little background from YouTube.

Finally the MI wrote:  Obama  said that almost every religion teaches the basic principle of "do unto others as you want others to do unto you"  

Well, 'Muslim Malaysia's' track record here is not too bad.    Christians are hardly sidelined.    Read the following scans (courtesy of Iain Buchanan).

What more can Malaysia do?  Who is being  "discriminated against and sidelined" ?

I wonder?  Did anyone at the  "700-strong crowd of youths  and civil society representatives"  ask President Obama about his election promise to close down Guantanamo Bay prison?  Also, as he specifically asked "the new generation to stand in other 'people's shoes and look at things through their eyes'  ", did these civil society representatives ask the President  if he could imagine himself as one of the 11 people in Yemen who were killed by an American drone attack in December 2013 as they were returning from a wedding?
Mind you, this was not the first or the last murder-by-drone under the President's watch.

Of all the cants which are canted in this canting world, - though the cant of hypocrites may be the worst, - the cant of criticism is the most tormenting!   (Laurence Sterne 1713-1768)