Saturday, 21 February 2015

Stepping Out in Singapore

Exactly a week ago, we were in Singapore.  Our dear host Jailani took us for a tosay and teh tarik breakfast at Tek Kah - a must-stopover for us whenever we cross the Causeway to Temasek.  We were given a special treat - a Saturday morning car ride to MacRitchie Reservoir.

I've always remembered MacRitchie as a venue for P. Ramlee's movies.  This video was taken from the 1957  'Bujang Lapok'.

 It was also where we were taken by our Guide Captain to undergo the Trekking test -  to earn our Second Class Badge.
My very own Second Class badge.

 Miss Lam would lay out the trail of sticks and stones and leaves for us to translate into directions for our route through  the Reservoir's forest.

Here's a 1961 map of Singapore - the red arrow points to MacRitchie Reservoir.

This map was extracted from Collins-Longman's World Atlas for Malaya - part of my Secondary School's Geography Textbooks .

Jai had a surprise for us.  He took us for a walk around the northern periphery of the reservoir - something we could only dream about all those years when we went for hikes at this most popular 'water feature' .  I do take off my hat to the Singapore authorities.  They are certainly short of land space and natural greenery.  But they do so much with the little they've got.  Furthermore, with a population of 5.5 million within a land area of 718.3 sq km which means a population density of 7,615 per sq km - they have done a remarkable job in training their  citizens to be proud of their country, by keeping the environment clean and tidy.   All I can say is "Wake up Malaysia!!"

On that walk of nearly an hour - we have these to 'show and tell'.
A trefoil of three rubber seeds in a pod.
To think; when Ridley brought these seeds to Singapore for trial-planting, it marked - for the Malay Peninsula - the beginning of an industry and an economy that brought wealth and development (for some - mainly non-natives) and chaos and lopsidedness to the Malays who were left on the fringe.  It was a boom for some and bust for others.

As we were walking on the wooden platform along the edge of the reservoir, we heard this very slight movement of water.  We turned and this was what awaited us!

All in all. we observed 3-4 terrapins in the water and just at the edge there was a little notice informing members of the public not to release their unwanted terrapins in the Reservoir!

We have a similar problem up here.    Where we live in KL a number of  domesticated cats have been 'released' in our neighbourhood - leaving us and our neighbours who care for cats with more strays to look after.

Whenever we get to Singapore, Jai will always be available to help us  get to Pusara Abadi at Yio Chu Kang Road to  'menziarah'  the graves of my father and brother.  This time, we also visited the grave of Jai's mother - arwah  Macik Alimah who passed away 3 months ago.

Al -Fatihah to the three beloved.

You see, going back to Singapore is very much like visiting an abode where the furniture is being moved about ever so often.

Up to 2008, this was my father's grave .........

........ and my brother's at Pusara Aman.

As of 2009, this is what we ziarah....
My sister and family at Pusara Abadi.
....... downsizing of the previous plots at Pusara Aman.
Eight to a plot - if the families claim the remains.

I cannot resist saying this again - Wake up Malaysia and Malaysians!   Do you know how fortunate you are? You all have a choice in the size and location of a piece of Malaysia for your dear departed!

Dear Jai,   remember this at our Oxford Avenue house in Leicester 1995?

And you have now become our host at your house since 2005(?).
Irene and the two septuagenarians, 2015.

Finally here's a beautiful song for three beautiful people in Singapore - Jai, Irene and Lely.  This is my favourite concerto, it's so sweet and longing - just how I feel about the ones who have left me forever - in Batu Pahat and Singapore.

                                 Martin Frost playing Mozart's Clarinet Concerto Part 2

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Love or Respect ?

In the context of all the war and bloodshed and violence since the end of the Second World War, it is heartening that the United Nations undertook to adopt the 2010 proposal of King Abdullah II of Jordan to commemorate a World Interfaith Harmony Week for every first week of February.

The 'harmony'  desired is for  " Muslim and Christian leaders to engage in a dialogue  based on two common fundamental religious Commandments :  Love of God, and Love of the Neighbour."  These two commandments they say, are also part of another monotheistic religion - Judaism.

TWIHW added two more commandments  " Love of the Good and Love of the Neighbour", so as to include "those of other faiths and those with no faith".

Of course Malaysia is a participant in TWIHW and it was officially launched  on 5 February by Tan Sri Joseph Kurup, the Minister in charge of unity in the Prime Minister's Department.

However the celebration has been clouded by the photograph of an apparently Muslim woman ;  a representative of YIPCI  (Young Interfaith Peacemaker Community of Indonesia) carrying a placard " I'm Muslim, I love Hindus" at Batu Caves during  Thaipusam on 3 February.

ISMA (Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia) "took issue", questioning the source and the motives of YIPCI's 'campaign' at Batu Caves during Thaipusam.

The Minister however put a positive mark on this foreign-based  YIPCI's 'campaign' in Malaysian territory.  He regarded it as "proof of positive interfaith ties and how people of different religions can respect each other".


Call me stupid.  But I'm perplexed.  What made this  Muslim (?) from Indonesia decide to come to Malaysia, to make a special trip to Batu Caves during Thaipusam  to demonstrate and publicise her message - which on the surface seems positive and moderate - but which carries the imputation that Muslims in Malaysia are 'neglectful'  about 'loving' Hindus and so a Muslim(?) representing an interfaith NGO from overseas has to make amends on behalf of the  'uncaring' Muslims in Malaysia?  Was she called upon to push and enforce this unnecessary and unsolicited (?)  plea?

I understand that YIPCI was set up by two students, a Christian and a Muslim.   This being an Interfaith Peacemaker Community, was there also a Christian there with a placard " I'm  Christian.  I love Hindus."  Maybe not, because we all know that when Christians "love" you, they carry other connotations.

And if it is really "interfaith" was there a "I'm  Hindu.  I love Muslims." placard anywhere?


Somehow for a cynical person like me, the use or rather the over-use of the word "love" sounds phony, misplaced and worse of all,  smacks of condescension.   I remember seeing this  logo as from the 1980s ( at least from my wandering experience) on T-shirts and baseball caps.

The copycats came along with "I love pink", "I love Cappucino" etc. etc.  When this logo which began as an advertising campaign to promote tourism in New York  was used  for " I love Islam",  "I love Allah" , "I love the Prophet", - sometimes substituting the word "love" with the heart symbol,  my heart sank.   Over 1400 years of Islam !  Why should ANY Muslim - from over 1.6 billion of them - resort to this kind of pseudo-Christian pop culture icon to parade their devotion to their religion?

Let's get back to basics - away from the language of advertisement and pop social media.

From the Concise Oxford  Dictionary:  love means ....

  • warm affection, attachment, fondness
  • sexual affection, passion
  • beloved one, sweetheart
  • no score - as in games.

If someone comes up to me and and says "I'm a Christian (or Hindu, or atheist or sun worshipper).  I love Muslims."   I have to ask if they could please not 'love'  Muslims.  Could they  'respect' us Muslims instead?

From the Concise Oxford Dictionary : respect means .....

  • pay heed to
  • relate to, be concerned with
  • regard with deference, avoid degrading or insulting or injuring - to treat with consideration and honour
Of course 'respect' - as they say - has to be earned.  But even if you don't love someone or some belief system, you should still respect them.

Love without respect is dangerous.

In response  to Isma's opinion about  YIPCI, the Minister for Unity, Tan Sri Joseph Kurup  asserted that "moderation, toleration and unity is the key for the country to progress further."  Where's the place for "respect"?

I found this interesting quote by George Sheehan :

If there is a solution to racism, religious persecution, and the evils of nationalism, I think we can be assured that it is not love.  I recall some decades back when the churches were breaking the color barrier, a Southern priest wrote of the waves of nausea he felt when he gave communion to a black person.  Incredible, you might say.  But our antipathies towards others have deep and stubborn roots.  To ask that we love may well be an impossibility.  To ask that we show respect is not only attainable, it helps us attain our own happiness as well.

When (Edward) de Bono speaks of respect as the basis of happiness, he is not breaking new ground.  Respect is no less than justice.

I like de Bono's ideas.  Respect myself, respect others, respect society.  This is a manifesto I can live with.

But above and beyond our theory and practice of Love and Respect - the ultimate yardstick is our NIAT.  And only Allah Knows.

Abah taught us this song "It'a a sin to tell a lie" in the 50s and we used to belt it out with our Abah in the kampung house, much to my mother's amusement.

Friday, 30 January 2015

The Second " R "

Reading, 'Riting and  'Rithmetic  - they make up the basic three " Rs "  which form the foundation of modern education.  That was the makeup of my English language colonial education in the 1950s as well as the beginning of my training as a school teacher during the latter half of the 1960s.

Just the other day, the spouse and I were ruminating about the approaching demise of one signifier of our self as an individual :  writing - our handwriting!

This one .............

...... belongs to her.

This quaint handwriting  ........

.... was done by this quaint little nerd.

Oh dear, I am noticing signs of rebellion.


Nowadays we appreciate and take pride in all things that are hand made and we are willing to dig deep into our pockets for items made by human hands!

But more and more we are losing the one art that can be created only by us - our handwriting. Just think, there are millions of us (those who were lucky enough to go to school) able to scribble and identify themselves by their handwriting - each one distinct and unique, just like our fingerprints.
However, we now take to the keyboard and indicate ourselves less and less by our handwriting ( and signature) - but by passwords, codes and pin numbers.  Welcome to the digitised world!

We don't write letters anymore.  We do not keep envelopes in the house and neither do we buy stamps.  We only send e-mails!

Part of my primary school education included subjects like "Writing" and that was included as an examination subject.

A 'Writing' Examination - 1957, PPES.

'Letter Writing' was always part of the English Language Examination.

'Letter Writing' for a Primary Six examination, 1957, PPES

A few days ago, I received a comment - a very touching note - from Kalsom Taib -  from my cohort group, so to speak.

Kalsom, I hope the above images will bring a big smile to your face - and to remind you of our good (and at that time it seemed horrible), old days.

So, I thought I'd like to sit down and write you a letter - to overlay an electronic page with a letter written with a fountain pen  -  to thank you for the content and kindness in your message.

We, Kalsom and I,  are blessed to be able to observe and live the present life we have.  Materially and technically we have gained so much.  But the price we pay is too awful - at times - to bear.

Here's my 'Dictation' Examination - ideas still as valid - if not even more today - as  58 years ago.

The greatest honour is the honour which men give to you in their hearts. 

A song we heard on the radio in our kampung house in 1954/1955.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Appropriation - Ayam Hitam Terbang Malam.

" Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery ".

When you  dress, behave, and talk  like your favourite celebrity or your  hero or role model - then that imitation is regarded as flattery.

It is fascinating to discover so many other words that are synonymous with 'imitate'   and which provide so many different shades of meaning and interpretation.  This list is by no means comprehensive but here they are: words like copy, use, adopt, adapt, fit, employ, duplicate, reproduce, take, convert,  pilfer, purloin, filch, plagiarize and appropriate.

You may notice how towards the end of the list the words begin to mean more and more negative and unpleasant.

For instance;  this one of Madonna in Burqa cannot be designated as imitation-cum-flattery, it's just an ageing rock star desperately seeking attention and publicity.  Mama mia!  She did quite a lot of cultural appropriation in her younger days to boost her career , so you can't expect better of her.

From The Independent, 25 June 2014.

If there are are Muslim hotheads - young and old - seeing this out there, please do not start a je ne suis pas Madonna!

There are also other 'desperately-seeking-attention' pop stars like Beyonce.

Beyonce - Daily Mail 14 Nov.

Okay, no more flippancy!

Dr Wafa Sultan, another ex-Muslim female darling of the Islamophobes (See Comments page of my previous posting   'Pointed Views'),  describes herself as a  'Muslim' even though she said she does not follow and practise the teachings of Islam.  I was quite confused.  It's like claiming to be a vegetarian while still consuming meat!

I found her rationale when I was sorting out my files last night.

1.  From "Doors into Christianity / Christianity Today"  :

Here are a couple of pertinent extracts from the above.

Here I reckon,  is where ex-Muslim islamophobes find their ploy to  abuse and confuse   Islam's Muslims by claiming they are 'Muslims' as well.

The above is not imitation or adapting.  It is simply purloining and filching - another appropriation, like Madonna.


There's the proverb - ' a rose by any other name smells just as sweet'.   The rose  is named rosa (Italian),  roos (Dutch), ruzica (Slovak),  gulaab (Hindi), bunga mawar (Indonesian and Malay), warda (Arabic) whakatika (Maori)  -  just to name a few.  Consider this; would an Italian desire to substitute the name of his rosa to bunga mawar, or would Hindi speakers pick warda instead of gulaab?

In the same vein, the word God and Allah are both as fragrant and sacred whatever name one chooses.  In the case of East Malaysia (where the conversion to Christianity was a more widespread, and rather different, process to that in Peninsular Malaysia),  'Allah'  has been used in their Bibles right from the start.  As for Peninsular Malaysia (where Christians make up just 3% of the population) the word 'God'  was the choice word in the Bible like in all  European countries.  'Allah'  is the word for Muslims in Southeast Asia and for all 1.6 billion Muslims in the world.   In the same vein, please note, the word 'Muslims' refer only to the adherents of the religion Islam, just as there are specific words to apply to Christians (Christianity), Hindus (Hinduism), Buddhists (Buddhism), Atheists (Atheism), Pagans  (Paganism) and Agnostics(Agnosticism) and even Satanists (Satanism)!

Why are certain Christians in Malaysia so adamant, and so evangelical in wanting to take the word for the Supreme Being in the Quran to be used in the Bible?  This may provide the key.

Extract from "Doors into Christianity"

This is "contextualized"  evangelization.  This is dressing up the wolf to look like sheep. This is conversion and plagiarization - the clearest example of the end justifying the means.

This is from the horse's mouth itself.

The means applied for achieving the ends are "to remove 'westernized ideas of what it means to follow Christ' ", to translate into  'the local language'  and 'adapt' the music as well. 


By Joshua Lingel, Jeff Morton and Bill Nikides, eds. i2 Ministries Publications.

Warren Larson's review included this:

Two institutions responsible for translating the Bible for the purpose of conversion are Wycliffe Bible Translators and its sister organisation the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) - a Christian service agency..  Look up SIL's Website and you'll be hard put to find explicit indications of their  commitment to evangelization.  Of course they profess not to be directly involved  in  'building churches' and proselytizing.  But they have other objectives  - even though they claim they  work only to preserve 'ethnolinguistic identity'.  Is there much difference between the arms- manufacturer and the people who utilise their products?

There's just a little hint (note the underlined) to refer to  providing expertise, training or consulting  to  ' ....... or local organizations involved in education, development or Christian service.'

If any one can issue 'Muslim-friendly translations' for saying "Son of God",  SIL and Wycliffe will find the "loophole large enough".   After all, the word 'Allah' is well on the way to being appropriated - with the support of some Muslims and Muslim clerics here and abroad.  They, I'm afraid, have been outmaneuvered and  'contextualised'.

Next on the menu will be Chrislam, non-followers or ex-followers of Islam - converts to Christianity -  who claim to still calling themselves 'Muslims'.  According to their strategy; it  seems that they have the right to do so because  the term  'Muslims'  means 'those who submit to God' .  Consequently the term 'Muslim' would also be subjected to appropriation, away from the believers of Islam!  Hallelujah.

I reckon our Islamic experts, clergy and Islamic academics had better put on their thinking caps and figure out how to protect the  word "Muslim"  for the followers of Islam before the pseudo-'Muslims' start hammering at the gate

This is indeed scary, almost predatory  -   SEPERTI  AYAM  HITAM  TERBANG  MALAM 


3.  And now for another insight into   'Black Hens Flying in the Night'

All Hijabed and Kopiaked  - and with so many places to go !!!!  They managed to beat Madonna in this charade.  And oh my gosh!  Even the  'tikar' on the floor looked like they had just finished a 'kenduri' and 'baca doa selamat'.  Bravo, bravo!

Could you guess that the picture above is not of a group of Muslim ladies and gentlemen in Bangkok?  They are  'contextually'  dressed in Muslim garb but they are Thai pastors, leaders, Bible college students and professionals taking part in a Kairos Course in 2006.

One Thai pastor was so pleased and said,  "We praise God that he has opened our eyes through this course.  We have been receiving many missionaries in Thailand but we have failed to see our part in bringing the gospel to the nations.  It is time we stop making excuses and do our part."  ( Maybe their outfit will play a large part in their missionizing.)

The report further added, " The team in Thailand aims to continue mobilizing the Thai church for missions, i.e. to reach the least-reached people groups within Thailand and beyond."

For all you know, by now, they are already hard at work in  the predominantly Muslim Provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Satun - where some of the "least-reached people groups" are located.  Dressed like this they would be welcomed with open arms.  Throw in a couple of 'orang putih' in kopiak and hijab, the 'least-reached peoples' would be ecstatic!

Read :

Turun ka-sawah memakai tudong,
Padi di-huma layu lengkesa;
Sa-ekor sawa (1)  sa-ekor tedung,
Bersama2 mengadu bisa.

(1) Ular sawa tidak berbisa; senjata-nya kuat membelot dan mencherut sahaja.

The above pantun is taken from "Kalong Bunga"  Buku 1 - di-pileh dan di-susun oleh Z'ABA, DBP 1964.

That ends my case of serial pilfering, purloining, filching, deceiving, plagiarising and appropriation in our neck of the woods,  conducted by evangelists from the world's largest and most powerful  religion.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Pointed Views

AsH - as you may have noted - practices freedom of speech and has given any comment received in my blog (except the inflammatory and vulgar) the oxygen of publicity. Ash will respond, whether they come from the pens (or rather, the mice) of  serious thinkers or serious cretins.

I am quite taken by 3 comments from my last posting.  They prefer to focus on the tendency for violence on the part of Muslims, and also  their impotency  and stupidity.  They also reflect a common belief that  Muslims have only got themselves to blame.  This is exactly the same argument when non-blacks decry the 'backwardness' of the blacks in UK and US.

As I have prepared quite a detailed riposte for the second and third comments, I think it deserves a posting of its own.  These comments  typify the usual  brickbats : made up of generalizations, snide innuendos and crooked thinking  thrown at Muslims - by non-Muslims  (and insecure Muslims) both in Malaysia and abroad.


Thank you Anon 11 January 2015 at 02:06

( Quotes from the comments are in italics.)

1.  You may be right but remember these are the immigrants from Islamic countries to a non-Islamic country which received them wholeheartedly.

Well, there are also many non-Muslim immigrants who migrate to Muslim countries and who not only prosper, but are allowed to maintain their culture with very little hassle from the host-people e.g. Malaya and Indonesia.
Name me the non-Muslim countries that "received them (Muslims)  wholeheartedly",  that is unless they bring in lots of dosh and gold bars?   Have you read carefully Gai Eaton's piece in my last post? 
As a Muslim living in a non-Muslim country  (UK)  I have received more than my fair share of abuse from my non-Muslim white hosts and officials and non-white, non-Muslim British residents.  By the way, are you making this comment from personal experience?  If you are, then it must be because you look like an 'honorary white' and you're not a Muslim.

2.  ...... yearning the help from powerful secular countries specially the US and Europe.

If  your homes, schools, hospitals, libraries, transport and sewerage systems have been blown apart by missiles and bombs and AK 47s etc  by 'secular' USA and European countries wouldn't you pack up your bags and go to  countries that are safe simply because they are powerful?

3.  As for your mention of the Sunni-Shite conflict, of Saudi Arabia colluding with Israel : if only Middle East politics were that  easy to understand.   I recommend Andre Vltchek's article "Who should be blamed for Muslim terrorism"  in Counterpunch January 9-11, 2015.  

Of course you may not agree with it but it should help to clear some of your naive and over-simplistic interpretation.

Furthermore Muslims do not have a monopoly of in-fighting.  I hope you have read enough history to figure out other examples (take only the 20th century) like the long drawn out conflicts between the Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland (thousands killed) and between the same two groups in Rwanda (hundreds of thousands killed).  What about the 'secular' in-fighting like the Civil wars in pre-Mao China and the North vs South  Civil War  in what is USA today?

4.   Muslim should not be so stupid to counter the threat with violence. Allah do not need  those stupid extremist Muslim to kill to protect his name.

Ask the Iraqis, Afghanis, Gazans (Palestinians) and Bosnians and Chechnyans and Rohingyas if they suffered merely 'threats'  and tell them off for being "extremist" and "stupid"  when they refuse to turn the other cheek?    Ask any non-Muslim  believer or country how they would react  if they were subjected to the same terror.

Just a little correction here :  It's not Allah's name that is being protected.  Both the right-wing and  'liberal'  fascists are intent on making fun (and profit) out of the Prophet of Islam.

5.  The Jews are killed in millions ........ they use their brain to ask others to fight the Arabs as their proxy.

Do you fully comprehend the ramifications of your "suggestion"?  Firstly, it was the
European Jews who were killed in millions (and who hardly had the opportunity to ask anyone to be their 'proxies'), but it was the Israeli Zionist Jews who 'asked others ... as their proxy'.  To follow through your argument, should the  'stupid' Muslims 'use their brains' and get others to be their proxy?  Now, while the few suicide bombers and 'terrorists' do their own dirty work, the rest of  the Muslim population and Islam are punished and reviled on account of them.

Do listen through the Video attached and you may learn a  thing or two.

Okey dokey, that's one comment dried and dusted.


Now for the next one:  Thank you "Said".

If the verb for referencing a comment  used the word "wrote"  instead of "said" ,  the commentator would have to find
a Malay-Muslim name that sounds close to "wrote".  Any suggestions anyone?  

1.  'Muslims have nobody to blame but themselves"  Only a non-Muslim would have the temerity and churlishness to believe that the Middle Eastern situation is the fault of Muslims alone.  A "Syed" certainly wouldn't.

2.  Middle East conflict is an Arab conflict that most Muslim mistaken it as a Islam vs the world conflict.  If the mahzabs can't even agree..... what do you expect.  World peace? 

According to your  interpretation  the bloodshed in the Middle East is an entirely Arab problem and construction and  should not affect the rest of the Muslim world.  In choosing  to separate issues of Muslim integrity and sovereignty  in the Middle East from the rest of  other Muslim countries and communities, you seem to imply that Muslims have no right to a sense of brotherhood with their suffering co-believers.   Shouldn't that also apply to HRH Prince Charles (and many others) who moan about the plight of  Christians in the Middle East?

Read :

What have the attacks on Gaza, the invasion of Iraq (twice by father and son) and Afghanistan, and  conflicts in  other non Arab Muslim territories, such as the razing of Bosnia and Chechnya, the Muslim struggles for autonomy in Southern Philippines, Pattani and the persecution of Rohingyas in Burma have to do with Muslims making a 'mistake' 

 Western countries do not  restrain their intervention when their Judaeo-Christian brethren are under threat or attack.  Most of the time they do not have to send in suicide bombers and undercover "liberators" - they have other means to teach these nations a lesson - and in the case of  Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and others in South America, they simply send in their boys and their bombs. 

Read : 

You must be familiar with  the First and Second  World Wars - tribal  wars in Christian Europe which dragged non-European and non-Christian countries outside of Europe into the line of fire - often as unhappy "proxies"!!

How grotesque! - to argue that the disunity of mahzabs  gets in the way of World Peace. It's tantamount to attributing the  present carnage in the Middle East to only the Muslims and absolving the Judaeo-Christian world of any culpability.

"World Peace"  is just a slogan for fluffy thinkers who are caught in the aura of John Lennon's 'Imagine' - a convenient tool that the powerful use to whitewash their "policing" of the rest of the world.  During the Cold War, the slogan was "The Free World".   

This reminds me of this interesting image/article from the Mail , on how the advertising world makes food look good.

Today the magic slogan is "World Peace" - and other 'look good, feel good'  concoctions like human rights, freedom of expression, multiculturalism, democracy,  free speech, free press - all used as vehicles for nefarious objectives. 

Liberal Political -Stylists  and Food- Stylists certainly have a lot in common!

3.  Like you I despair at the disunity of the Muslim world and closer to home, the Malay-Muslims of Malaysia.   Muslim brotherhood,  the unity of the Ummah, exists in  Islam and all the texts.  I leave it to our Islamic scholars, academics and professionals to chart the journey - to guide Muslims to maintain an equilibrium between our duties for  'Dunia'  and  'Akhirat'.

4.  As for the floods on the "East Coast of Malaysia" -  I think the people and authorities are doing a splendid job -  'kafirs' and  'non-kafirs' alike.   Surely, giving a hand to someone in need does not depend on the religious belief of the givers and the receivers.  Although sometimes one has to be careful of the hidden agenda of the givers who are out for 'saving souls for Jesus'.

By the way there is no "East Coast of Malaysia" - you must mean the east coast of Semenanjung/West Malaysia.  A true blue Anak Malaysia should know the difference.

Sorry to sound schoolmarmish - when you refer to 'harping on Free Palestine' - the verb 'harping' is an unfortunate choice of word.  To 'harp' is to talk or write persistently and tediously, to  nag, to complain.  Or maybe you are expressing what you actually mean - that the issue of a free Palestine for you  is tiresome and boring.   According to Mr/Ms Sai - "These people only have themselves to blame".


I would have loved to use these comments when I was teaching Critical Reading in USM many years ago.  

                                                    The Power of Words and Knowledge.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Je ne suis pas Anders Brevik

In the light of the recent series of murders and atrocities committed by our earthlings, as always Mark Steele of The Independent provides us with a very sane, even-handed and comic-satirical overview of the event that is leaving the world (well, some ) drenched in self-righteous anger and hurt.

Mark Steele's headline reads " Charlie Hebdo : Norway's Christians didn't have to apologise for Anders Brevik, and it's the same for Muslims now.  It's as if  no one in any Western country has ever gone berserk with a gun in a public place before."

Read :

 I reckon the worldwide rallying call of  'Je suis Charlie' should be supplemented with 'Je ne suis pas  Anders Brevik"!  Perhaps I should also add more denials from the Judaeo-Christian West (and from our non-JC liberals) as in 'Je ne suis pas George Bush (junior and senior), Tony Blair, Ariel Sharon, Benyamin Netyanahu', Sarkozy - and that's taking into account only the last 25 years.

Jerome Taylor, also from the Independent, wrote "It's Charlie Hebdo's right to draw Muhammad, but they missed the opportunity to do something profound ."

Read :

Taylor defended Charlie Hebdo's right to be 'offensive' but he also had this to say :  "What they have instead produced is predictably naff.  The few pages I have seen so far - and I must admit it's not the whole book - clearly pokes fun at the Prophet as much as it supposedly informs the reader about his life."

"Charlie Hebdo has a long and proud tradition (Taylor's underline, not mine) of being offensive and outrageous  ....  The West is a 'liberal democracy where free speech (which includes the right to be crass) is treasured'.

If that's the case - where is the much lauded right of the west to be irreverent, mocking and crass in the following cases?

1.  Why did the New England  Brewing Company issue an apology after "a legal action was filed in an Indian court claiming that the use of Gandhi's image on the beer cans    .......

...... was "condemnable" and punishable under Indian laws."  (5 January 2015).  Doesn't the Prophet of   1.6 billion Muslims ( 23 % of the world's population) deserve the same respect?


2.  Whatever inspired this 24 year old from Leicester to place a pig's head outside a Muslim place of worship on Boxing Day of 2012?  We know why.  But as he had apologised for "causing religiously aggravated harassment'  his 12 weeks' imprisonment was suspended.  But Liam Ferrar was no media bigwig , he had no choice but to do a retreat.


3.  A UKIP ( UK Independence Party) councillor who blamed the the heavy flooding of December 2013 on the legalisation of gay marriage was suspended by his Party. Some people have greater sensitivities to be protected unlike the Prophet of  1.6 billion Muslims.


4.  The Guardian in March 2012 had this headline  "Lib Dem peer resigns party whip in row over ant-Israel remarks."
See :

The Chief Rabbi , Lord Sacks regarded Lady Tonge's remarks as "dangerous, inflammatory and unacceptable."   Well, many Muslims feel the same way about the the surfeit of cartoons on the Prophet including that by Charlie Hebdo.   

But any mockery and disrespect for Islam is kosher meat for the believers of freedom of expression in the West  - though a sort of self-censorship is practiced for some  'protected cultural groups'.


5.   Suzanne Moore a writer of "proudly Leftist opinions", wrote that 'modern women were coming under pressure to look like Brazilian transsexuals'.  The result?  Moore was accused of being a fascist (remember the accusation of being Islamofascists?) and she was forced to close her Twitter account.  Her buddy Julie Burchill was incensed at this and  described the transsexual lobby as ' a bunch of bedwetters in bad wigs' etc etc.

This retort really riled up Lynne Featherstone the Lib Dem MP for Hornsey and Wood Green and International Development Minister in Britain's Coalition government.  She accused Burchill of  'inciting hatred' against transsexuals (exactly how Muslims feel about anti-Muslim cartoons including those spewing from Charlie Hebdo) and she wanted Julie Burchill  and the Observer's editor be sacked!!

Did the Observer ( which is owned by the 'impeccably liberal' Guardian media Group) stand on their right of free speech and the freedom of the Press?  No!  They removed Burchill's article from the internet.  It was replaced with a piece by ' a purple-haired woman called Roz accusing Burchill of "legitimising the currency of hate speech" '.   To hell with freedom of speech!!

If only, oh if only Muslims could have the ears and heart of such a caring Minister and a purple-haired woman somewhere who would sing her same words 'to soothe the savage beast' that we Muslims are.


6.  Ben Ari an orthodox Jew and an Israeli law maker, tore up the Bible and then posed for photographs with the dismembered holy book (July 18, 2012).

The reason? The copy of the New Testament was mailed to him by Christian missionaries.  Ben-Ari stated millions of Jews were slaughtered in the name of the Bible.

" Many Christians over the centuries persecuted Jews, holding them responsible for Jesus' crucifixion".  Read : 


7.  An American brewery company had to apologise for naming a beer after the Hindi Goddess Kali (May 15 2012).

The demand was made in Rajya Sabha that US Ambassador to India should be summoned and asked to apologise for it."

Read :

It's alright for some to demand respect.


8.  After a protest by  Buddhists ..........
Read :

 .........  a bikini lined with images of the Buddha  was removed from the market without a whimper by the American retailer 'Victoria's Secret'.


9.  A belated addition - 17 Jan 2015.

A matter of (French) sauce for the goose is (Muslim) sauce for the gander.


The  'Je suis Charlie'  deaths will certainly  justify and boost the agenda and the policies of  the right wing extremists not only in France but everywhere else in the West where immigrants are regarded as unwanted aliens. 

There is a moral in all this for Muslims.  They say the pen is mightier than the sword.  For decades, that has been the strength of Charlie Hebdo.  So, if Muslims must "take up arms" against the West's anti-Islam agenda (whether liberal or fascist) they must be proficient with the pen, with the books and the computer, with their own quick-wittedness, wisdom, and knowledge, knowledge, knowledge.

Know your enemy - they have a larger and more sophisticated arsenal, both of real swords, and of words they dress up as freedom of expression.

Finally, where were all the protestors wielding their pens and wearing their 'je suis Charlie' tags and switching off their lights all those years ago when the world looked at these grim images and then turned their faces away?

NOUS SOMMES PALESTINIANS :Bodies of Palestinians  killed by Israeli 'swords'

Nous Sommes Americains et Anglais.  Tu est Iraqi/Arab.
Je suis Americain aussi.

"Je suis Saher."   Elle a quattre ans, elle est morte.

What happened in Paris is more complicated than the issue of extremist fanatical Muslims against liberty and freedom of speech in France or anywhere else in the world.

France may be the purveyors of 'Liberte, Fraternite and Egalite'  but France also has a very dirty record of brutal occupation  and treatment of the Algerians.

The French conquered and ruled Algeria from 1830 until she had to abandon it in 1962.  In between there were a series of atrocities and blood baths that led to many deaths but mainly of the Algerian Muslims :  45,000 in May 1945 at Setif, 1.5 million Arab Muslims and thousands of French 'colons'  (white settlers in Algeria)  during the 6-year War of Independence from 1954 to 1961.  It was 'a brutal war of suppression of the Muslim sectors of Algeria because the French were intent to keep Algeria white.  From the very beginning France subjugated the Muslim population of Algeria - "building small French towns and chateaux across the countryside" .' The Catholic Church took this opportunity to "re-christianize"  Northern Africa  - converting mosques into churches.

  Read :

On the condition of Muslims in the West, let me quote this from Gai Eaton, a prominent British Muslim philosopher.

Our position as Muslims in the West is not an easy one, but it is my belief that this position is easier in the United States and in Britain that it is in France or Germany.  Particularly in France, the situation appears to be extremely dangerous.  The British will on the whole tolerate strangers in their midst.  They may not like them and they certainly do not understand them, but they tolerate them.  The French do not, unless these strangers integrate themselves completely into French society and French culture; in other words, unless they abandon Islam in everything but name  (my underline).   'The Muslims in the West'  8 August 2010.

Lastly give a serious read to this serious cartoon-satire by Joe Sacco.

From The Guardian 10 January 2015