Saturday 24 January 2009

Why are we surprised?

Government minister has urged the BBC to "stand up" to the Israeli authorities and broadcast an appeal to raise emergency funds for Gaza. Skip related content

Related photos / videos

Minister presses BBC on Gaza appeal
Ben Bradshaw, himself a former BBC journalist, said that broadcasters' decision not to screen the appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) was "inexplicable" and dismissed the Corporation's explanation for its position as "completely feeble".
BBC director general Mark Thompson on Friday turned down a request from International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander to reconsider his decision.
Mr Thompson said that he was concerned that broadcasting the appeal might compromise the BBC's impartiality. The BBC and other broadcasters have also expressed anxiety about whether any aid raised could be delivered effectively on the ground in Gaza, where thousands of people are in need of food, shelter and medicine following a three-week Israeli military offensive.
The DEC - which brings together several major aid charities - has voiced its disappointment at the broadcasters' decision. Previous appeals have been transmitted on multiple TV and radio channels, raising millions of pounds for people affected by war and natural disasters in countries from Burma to the Congo.
Former Government minister Tony Benn will join a protest against the decision outside the BBC's Broadcasting House later today. He used an interview on BBC Radio 4's Today programme to broadcast an appeal himself, urging listeners to send gifts to PO Box 999 London EC3A 3AA or donate via freepay account 1210 at the Post Office.
In a letter last night to Mr Alexander, following his appeal to broadcasters including the BBC, ITV and Sky to reconsider their decision, Mr Thompson said that the BBC would "generally" agree to the DEC's requests to broadcast appeals for funds.
But he said that the situation in Gaza was "an ongoing and highly controversial news story within which the human suffering and distress which have resulted from the conflict remain intrinsic and contentious elements".
Mr Thompson said: "After consultation with senior news editors, we concluded that to broadcast a free-standing appeal, no matter how carefully couched, ran the risk of calling into question the public's confidence in the BBC's impartiality in its coverage of the story as a whole..."
However health minister Mr Bradshaw told Today: "I think this was an inexplicable decision. This is a humanitarian catastrophe and I am afraid the reasons given by the BBC are completely feeble... (This) nervousness about being biased - I am afraid the BBC has to stand up to the Israeli authorities occasionally."

This was on Yahoo News about 25 minutes ago . The time now is 5 pm Malaysian time, 24 January 2009.
What do we expect of the world's most "respected" broadcaster? Like most of the Western and non-western print and electronic media they are in "hock and awe" to the terrorist state of Israel. The blood of the Gazans has been spattered all over their homeland, and they now need to be denied "the oxygen of publicity" - what Margaret Thatcher applied to the IRA
in the land of 'The Mother of all Parliaments'.
Like I posted earlier, the Palestinians haven't got a hope in hell - or on this, their bleeding
Besides giving up on Starbucks and all the other collaborators of this sickening violence, will at least each of the 1/2 a billion Muslims donate 1MYR a week to this Fund? It's not too much to ask is it? It's not like 'sacrificing .... your impartiality'.


Tuesday 20 January 2009

Starbucks - This Little Shop at Kensington High Street

Brendan O'Neill from Spiked (www. , 14 January 2009 'Israel, Starbucks and the new irrationalism' ) was very upset at the scene of the gutted Starbucks coffee shop on Kensington High Street during the London demonstration of January 10 against the war in Gaza. He wrote about " hardcore anti-Israel protesters", of how " Starbucks was completely destroyed: metal railings were thrown through its windows; fittings were ripped out; coffee machines were smashed to pieces. A special fury was visited upon this little shop."

This makes rich material for another Steven Spielberg Hollywood blockbuster. I hope they will remember to pepper it with lots of Allahu Akbars.

Then O'Neill went on to the "allegation" of Starbucks's links with Israel. He pinned it down to a letter dated 11.7.2006 by Starbucks's CEO Howard Schultz.

He then exposed the letter as a hoax ( like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion) by Andrew Winkler, an anti-Zionist activist of German origin. Note the word 'German', it's sufficient to damn Winkler as a critic of Israel. Remember, Hitler was a German - so all Germans are potentially and naturally anti-Semitic. The same label can be applied to Muslims who are also naturally Jihadists, Islamists and therefore bloodthirsty extremists. But you cannot condemn the brutality of Israel. That makes you anti-Semitic too.

Now, let's look at Winkler's Update :

Dear Reader,
The Howard Schultz spoof letter has caused quite a bit of a stir. We had over 10,000 visitors reading this article in the past 24 hours. Some of them were not quite sure whether the article was 'kosher' or not. Well, it was and it wasn't. Howard Schultz never wrote that letter, I did. If you didn't find it funny, blame it on my German humour. However, all the statements I made in that letter about donations, sponsorships, political views etc - are based on factual Howard Schultz actions and quotes, as 1/2 hour of 'Googling' will easily confirm to anyone interested.

O'Neill conveniently omits the last sentence of Winkler's update and claims that from "a miniscule seed of fact" Schultz and Starbucks have been demonized. He calls this 'cultural anti-semitism'. How does the mere purchase of a cup of coffee become elevated to a cultural symbol? Whose culture is he thinking about?

Research Findings from Boycott Israel Campaign (

1. The CEO of Starbucks is an active Zionist . He was honoured by the Jerusalem Fund of Aish Ha Torah, which amongst other "good works" sponsors Israeli military fairs, and publicity (propaganda?) material for Israel.
One video produced by Rabbi Klein Spiro titled " The Islamic Connection to Jerusalem" .....
belittles Jerusalem's Islamic heritage.
Another features "The Occupied Territories - A Primer " which describes theWest Bank and Gaza as 'disputed territory' and not 'Occupied' land.

2. Gideon Meir, the official in charge of the Israeli Foreign Ministry's PR effort has this to say. "... The key to Israel's long-term PR success.... is on the campuses of North America and Europe. Wealthy Jews like Howard Schultz the owner of the Starbucks chain, are helping with student projects which students hear Israeli presentations on the crisis."

There are more 'findings' to look at in the given website - they speak for themselves.

When you scour the papers and the net for views about boycotts and sanctions against Israel and the USA you encounter opinions that range from the cynical: like "what difference will that make? It will hurt us more than it will hurt them." to the ludicrous which sounds like this. "Then boycott the internet, the music, the movies, all forms of western technology and see where that gets you!"

Let us play numbers now. Black coffee at Starbucks KL is priced at about $8RM. Cappucino is about $14RM and the price moves up according to the tastebuds of Coffee Aficionados.
Firstly a little lesson in numberings.
1 billion (1B) = 1,000 million or 1,000,000,000
1 US Dollar (USD) = 3.61MYR

If about 50%, or 500,000,000 of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims give up on SB's black coffee, this is the scene.

1. PER DAY : This will amount to 1/2 billion x 8MYR = 4 billion MYR = 1.1076 billion USD.

2. PER YEAR : It's equivalent to 1.1076 billion USD x 365 days = 404 billion USD

Of course not all of the 404 billion goes to Israel. Even if a paltry 1% is siphoned to Israel as part of the CEO's take, this is still a staggering sum of over 4 billion USD. This 4 billion is only the amount that 1/2 a billion pays out. There's still the rest of the world's consumers, the Others.

According to the World Report on Middle Eastern Affairs, the USA doles out an annual average of 3.5 billionUSD in direct aid to Israel. On top of this is 1.5 billion USD private funds from fellow Zionists and sympathisers which brings the total to 5 billion USD.

According to Brendan O'Neill a boycott of Starbucks is irrational, rumour-mongering, a return to old prejudices. Explain then the captivity and incarceration without trial of many, many innocent non-Semitic people at Guantanamo Bay. Justify the murders of chidren and women in Gaza.

One murder made a villain,
Millions a hero. Beilby Porteus (1731-1808)

All the world loves a hero , Hollywood style.


Thursday 15 January 2009

I've Got A Name (CsH)

Well Shah. you're off to foreign shores again. Now that your ole ma'ngah is a bona fide blogger I thought I'd write you a special posting - for cucu si Hamid.

You were born on the 2nd anniversary of my father's death and so you never knew him.
I reckon you and your grandfather were about the same age in these two photographs.

Written on the back of this photo is ' From A. Hamid, Health Inspector, Teluk Anson.
To A.R. Mahmood (our Ayah 'Long) , Port Swettenham.'

With your Tok Mok at Batu Pahat. She was very frail looking then.

And now some bits of the Saga of Shaharuddin Hamid pre - 1992.

1. You were a brave kid when on your first day at St John Church of England Primary School at Hull, during morning service you cried out "I can't say this, I'm a Muslim!". In her wisdom, your mother advised you to remain for morning service but read the Fatiha instead.

2. You were the rascal who, within 20 minutes, dismembered the watch that I got for you as a present. Just so you could try to put it back together which of course you couldn't ! You owe me a watch.

3. You were that weird kid who went around Boon Lay, raising your hand and calling " Ave" because you were so smitten with Asterix.

4. Also you delighted the Doctor with your cheeky retort - "Will this hurt?"- when she was about to give you an injection.

5. Who was that horrible pest who spent ages in the toilet making balls out of wet toilet paper and then chucking them at the ceiling, leaving stalactites which were noticed only after you'd gone home? You'll get the bill soon.

6. And there was that wicked young teenager who chased poor Dot all round the room just to catch a snap of her in her curlers. And all because you kept on losing to her playing Dominoes.

And so Dila, this is a brief potted history of the man you married. Cross my palm with silver and I'll tell you more.

And so Shah, have a safe journey, Anak Dagang di Negri Orang, Pandai-pandai menjaga diri. When your Abah left for his studies in Hull in 1980 (?) I gave him these lines from Jim Croce's I've got a Name.

"I've got a name. And I carry it with me like my Daddy did"

Sunday 11 January 2009

Distractions and Myths

1. Some pundits view the Israeli invasion as an act by the Israeli Government to fend off defeat in a coming election. Is Israel's democracy so fragile that the government has to resort to war to legitimize and ensure their re-election? I can imagine if Brown and Cameron are fighting an election in Britain and the former decides to severely punish the Iraqis ( can there be anything more severe than what the Iraqis are going through now?) should another one of their boys get killed by a roadside bomb. Create a siege mentality - paint a scenario of 'it's them against us' and you'll have a clear run. Foreign adventures are always very useful. President Clinton in 1998 bombed the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical company in Sudan to cover the stain on Monica Lewinsky's dress - to stave off an impeachment.

2. The Israeli Army allege that they're killing Hamas. Indeed that's their explicit objective - but they don't care very much if they just happen to to kill civilians while they're targeting Hamas. Sderot, a Jewish settlement, was subjected to rocket attacks from Gaza. In the last 7 years only 3 deaths occurred. As to the deaths of the Gazans,who is counting? Of course civilians should not be the target but this game of tit for tat will not end for as long as the Gazans, led by their democratically elected government are starved and trapped like animals in a cage by the Israeli Authority.

After the Oslo Accord of 1993 Gaza was 'created' as a semi-sovereign entity. In 1994, Israel built the 60 km long barrier, completed in 1996 which effectively stopped the Palestinians from seeking work in Israel. (By the way, cheap Filipino and Thai labourers are employed instead). These labourers were the main source of income.

As a result, according to an American study, 60% of Gaza's population are living below the poverty line. According to a UN Report, acute malnutrition in Gaza is on the same scale as the poorest countries in sub-Saharan Africa. More than half of Palestinian families are surviving on only one meal per day. This is their punishment for using their democratic right in electing Hamas.

3. That the dismantling of Jewish settlements and the removal of 9,000 Jews by Ariel Sharon from Gaza in 2005 was an act of goodwill and a show of commitment to the peace process. This Gaza Disengagement Plan is an act of blatant hypocrisy. Gaza is of no relevance to the Zionist project, it has no religious or historic value to the Jewish people (Jonathan Cook. 2006). Israel was just getting rid of an unwanted population of 1.3 million people on an unwanted strip of land. 'It was driven by political and ethnic arithmetic' (Cook, 2006). . Although there were 5.2 million Jews to 4.9 million Palestinians living in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, sooner , rather than later the Jews will be outnumbered because of the latter's higher rate of birth. 'Disengagement' and the Wall would create a kind of cordon sanitaire and the Jews would not become a minority in Greater Israel.

4.That the Israelis cannot be blamed for this War. That the ethos of the peace process is "always that Israelis and Palestinians cannot possibly live in peace ...... there must be a 'permanent' separation .........has heightened sectarian tensions between Israel and the Palestinians." (Brendan O'Neil) However consider this. Joseph Weitz, director of the Jewish National Fund's Land Development had this to say in 1940.

It must be clear that there is no room in the country for both peoples .. There is no way but to transfer the Arabs from here to the neighbouring countries, to transfer all of them, save perhaps for Bethlehem, Nazareth, and the old Jerusalem. Not one village must be left, not one tribe. The transfer must be directed at Iraq, Syria and even Transjordan. For this goal funds will be found.

This has become chillingly true today. They are getting there.

Juan Cole (2009) makes a comparison between the plight of the Iraqis to that of the Palestinians. In Iraq ' it's imperial occupation for specific purposes '. For Israel it is both an army occupation and a settler movement. Cole further said : Conflict between colonizer and colonized has only ended in one of three ways: 1) The expulsion of the colonists, (the French), as in Algeria; 2) integration of the colonists into a nation that includes the indigenous population, as happened in South Africa; or 3) the expulsion of the indigenous population, as with "The Trail of Tears" in nineteenth century United States.

What then will be the fate of the Palestinians? How do we measure our culpability?
1.3 billion Muslims in the world and most of us are putting our heads in the sand.

A note to future comments for this blog

I keep getting anonymous internet references without any intelligent comment appended. This blog site is for discussion hopefully with people who have the courage to write something original and not hide behind a set of numbers.

I'm sure you'll all understand if I reject such frivolities.

I would advise Anonymous to set up his own blogsite so that we will all get a chance to share his thoughts.

Ariff - Cicit si Hamid-Hamid's great grandson (CsH)

Ariff at 3, he's now 11

Once upon a time there was a not-so-little boy named Ariff Iskandar. He lives with his parents Maria (our niece) and Nadzim, his 3 younger sisters and youngest brother at Ampang. He is crazy about football and hockey. In fact he plays in his school team and thoroughly enjoys his training sessions even though he has turned into budak hitam manis or "sweet-black" boy.

He also loves reading Asterix (which he has read several times over), Beano, Dandy and of course eating at Mcdonalds. His parents found it very difficult to stop this habit (for health reasons) because everybody else among his peers were doing it.

A few days ago, after watching the carnage of dead bodies of children in Gaza on TV, he asked his Mama many pertinent questions relating to 'Why?' - and eventually his mother brought the discussion round to 'How?' which led to his favourite fast food.

He decided there and then - "No more Macs, Mama". He said he would also inform his friends. He did not stop there for he also talked to his teacher about his decision.

Hurray to Ariff for being so arif. You have more of a conscience than a lot of adults put together.

Here are more congratulations from your friends.

Hey Ariff, good for you mate

Keep up the Big Fight, mon ami

Ariff still suffers from withdrawal symptoms , but he's not giving up.

Saturday 10 January 2009

The Sources of Terror

The above is taken from Frida Berrigan's and William D. Hartung's article " U.S. Military Assistance and Arms Transfers to Israel: U.S. Aid, Companies Fuel Israeli Military" .

Referring to the French Revolution, Mark Twain wrote : "There were two 'Reigns of Terror,' ......the one wrought murder in hot passion, the other in heartless cold blood; the one lasted mere months, the other had lasted a thousand years; .....but our shudders are all for the 'horrors' of the minor Terror, the momentary Terror, so to speak; whereas, what is the horror of swift death by the axe, compared with lifelong death from hunger, cold insult, cruelty and heartbreak? ........A city cemetery could contain the coffins filled by that brief Terror which we have all been so diligently taught to shiver at and mourn over; but all France could hardly contain the coffins filled by that older and real Terror - that unspeakably bitter and awful Terror which none of us has been taught to see in its vastness or pity as it deserves."

Gaza has the 'privilege' of being subjected to both the momentary and old Terrors. The memory of their sufferings will not last for very long in western documents and psyche. They, the Western world are very selective about who they classify as Victims. Palestinians haven't got a hope in hell !

Chechnya had to deal with Russia only. Iraq and Afghanistan suffered invasion at the hands of USA, Britain, France, Australia and a host of other lackey nations.
But that little strip of God's earth called Gaza, is being smashed to pieces by the combined strength and wrath of the world's richest and most powerful nations. The Lord said "Vengeance is mine"

Harold Pinter, the English playwright who died recently, asked the question , ""How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal?" I would say that any soldier of any nation that kills even a single child from any race or tribe or religion must be put on trial as a cold blooded murderer.
But we all know the life of one Israeli is equal to 10 (?) 20 (?) 30 (?) Palestinians.

From Cikgu's Note Books to the Ignoramuses Out There

What You Don’t Know About Gaza

Published: January 7, 2009

NEARLY everything you’ve been led to believe about Gaza is wrong. Below are a few essential points that seem to be missing from theconversation, much of which has taken place in the press, about Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip.
Skip to next paragraph

Ronald J. Cala II


Times Topics: Israel | Palestinians | Hamas

THE GAZANS Most of the people living in Gaza are not there by choice. The majority of the 1.5 million people crammed into the roughly 140 square miles of the Gaza Strip belong to families that came from towns and villages outside Gaza like Ashkelon and Beersheba. They were driven to Gaza by the Israeli Army in 1948.
THE OCCUPATION The Gazans have lived under Israeli occupation since the Six-Day War in 1967. Israel is still widely considered to be an occupying power, even though it removed its troops and settlers from the strip in 2005. Israel still controls access to the area, imports and exports, and the movement of people in and out. Israel has control over Gaza’s air space and sea coast, and its forces enter the area at will. As the occupying power, Israel has the responsibility under the Fourth Geneva Convention to see to the welfare of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.
THE BLOCKADE Israel’s blockade of the strip, with the support of the United States and the European Union, has grown increasingly stringent since Hamas won the Palestinian Legislative Council elections in January 2006. Fuel, electricity, imports, exports and the movement of people in and out of the Strip have been slowly choked off, leading to life-threatening problems of sanitation, health, water supply and transportation.
The blockade has subjected many to unemployment, penury and malnutrition. This amounts to the collective punishment — with the tacit support of the United States — of a civilian population for exercising its democratic rights.
THE CEASE-FIRE Lifting the blockade, along with a cessation of rocket fire, was one of the key terms of the June cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. This accord led to a reduction in rockets fired from Gaza from hundreds in May and June to a total of less than 20 in the subsequent four months (according to Israeli government figures). The cease-fire broke down when Israeli forces launched major air and ground attacks in early November; six Hamas operatives were reported killed.
WAR CRIMES The targeting of civilians, whether by Hamas or by Israel, is potentially a war crime. Every human life is precious. But the numbers speak for themselves: Nearly 700 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed since the conflict broke out at the end of last year. In contrast, there have been around a dozen Israelis killed, many of them soldiers. Negotiation is a much more effective way to deal with rockets and other forms of violence. This might have been able to happen had Israel fulfilled the terms of the June cease-fire and lifted its blockade of the Gaza Strip.
This war on the people of Gaza isn’t really about rockets. Nor is it about “restoring Israel’s deterrence,” as the Israeli press might have you believe. Far more revealing are the words of Moshe Yaalon, then the Israeli Defense Forces chief of staff, in 2002: “The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people.”
Rashid Khalidi, a professor of Arab studies at Columbia, is the author of the forthcoming “Sowing Crisis: The Cold War and American Dominance in the Middle East."

For the non-Malays/Muslims who have a problem with Muslim sources and Muslim names, this article was published in the New York Times. You don't have to agree but you cannot deny the facts. If you do not like the facts, then stick your head in the sand like the proverbial ostrich and pray that your country, your loved ones, your co-religionists do not have to suffer like the Gazans. And don't let your children watch the news. On British TV they always have a warning "You may find the following report distressing " .

Friday 9 January 2009

Cikgu's Comment to Anonymous

hello cikgu, can you please write on whether it's safe to have a violent organisation, like hamas, as the ruling party of a neighbouring country?? I think I'm missing on a few details. Because I feel Israel is right to bring the war onto the strip after all that is happening with the muslim-branded rockets being fired randomly into their zionist land. If Hamas cared about their people, they wouldn't even think about throwing a rock over the wall anymore.
January 9, 2009 1:29 PM

I assume you're an adult, unlike the 12-17 year old kids I used to teach. As a Che'gu I would advise you to do your own reading and not shoot from the hip.
You may have a problem reading Muslim web sites and comments from Malay Muslims. So do look up sites like Counterpunch, . John Pilger and Robert Fisk are extraordinarily sharp and brilliant analysts. And of course there's Noam Chomsky - who has written many books on the the Middle East. There's one particular article by Uri Avnery, " An Apology" in Counterpunch (June 16, 2008) which I highly recommend. And by the way the last two are both Jews, though I do not see why that should matter. ANYONE who is concerned about justice should be able to separate the perpetrators from the victims.
Finally a word of advice from Teacher: People who live in glass houses should not throw powerful American-Judaeo Bombs and Rockets at people who can only throw stones and small missiles.


Thursday 8 January 2009

Re- do of extract of Yahoo news

Dear All,

I seem to have a problem with the reproduction of the article on Sir Alan 'target for extremists'.
So I'm typing it out because of failed technology.

Apprentice star Sir Alan Sugar has been said to be among a list of top British Jews thought to be targeted by extremists over Israel's Gaza onslaught.
According to a newspaper, the multi-millionaire businessman was named on an Islamic website along with pop producer Mark Ronson, Foreign Secretary David Milliband and Labour peer Lord Levy.
One strand on the site asks for help compiling a list of "those who support Israel", the paper said , while another asks "Have we got a list of top Jews we can target?"
A link to the Power 100 list of top British Jews is also provided.
The Community Security Trust, which advises safety advice to UK's Jewish Community, has said it expects the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Britain to rise as a result of the Israel-Gaza conflict.
The organisation said: "We are advising prominent Jewish individuals to be conscious of potential threats."

This was taken from The Press Association on Yahoo News, Wednesday, January 7 o3:41 am

Wednesday 7 January 2009

Little Great Britain

Remember how Nero played his fiddle while Rome burned? Now observe how the Western media 'tunes' the news as Gaza is awash with the blood of the innocents . This is a convenient piece of news to put across while the terrorist state of Israel is pounding the Palestinians back to the Stone Age. Even though these academics are really trying hard to justify their salary by reporting on the positive face of suicide bombs ??? which in itself defies comprehension and relevance - the inclusion of this research as news is to remind the great British public that there's danger and threat out there from the Muslims. Remember July the 7th? Just like remember, remember the 4th of November when Guy Fawkes tried to blow up Parliament.

And now lo and behold, whose precious lives are now under threat? Rich and prominent British Jews have to be protected from nasty Muslims as a result of the Israeli - Gaza conflict. Conflict ?? Isn't that rich? Do you call the massacre of a barely armed tiny section of Palestine by a terrorist nation armed to the teeth merely a conflict?? What a tame word to use when this is a bloody war, of Goliath attacking David !

Dear, dear I hope the rich and prominent Jews in Britain and all over the world, barring Israel of course, will take precautions for their safety and lie low until the blood in Gaza has dried up and they can look forward to new settlements on what used to be Gaza and the Christian and Muslim Palestinians can go to hell.

P.S. There's a problem with viewing the second Yahoo News. Please look at the next posting to read the full text. Thanks

For Ben

Land of Heart's Desire
Where beauty has no ebb, decay no flood,
But joy is wisdom. Time an endless song.

W.B. Yeats

You remember Macik in very special ways. I will always remember you for allowing me to put my head on your lap and cry my heart out on 21 Sept 1982 - the day my beloved brother departed.

Don't worry about yesterday's accounts - we still have many (?), several (?) tomorrows.
Welcome back to our Universe. This time, don't stay away too long.

P.S. Help Lely, how did I get 2 videos?

Tuesday 6 January 2009

KAMISAH - the Heart of Hamid and the Family (CsH)

This posting is specially for Hisham, Mahzan, Maria, Hidayah, Shaharuddin, Mariam and Hana - the grandchildren of Hamid and Kamisah. I ask for indulgence from readers other than the family because today I realised how I have committed a grave oversight for not putting my mother in the picture.

As children, we do take mothers for granted because they are always there, quietly getting on with the day to day tasks of keeping the home and hearth together. Father was the bigger picture because we were always reminded by mother that he puts the food on the table. So should it be but that should not diminish her devotion.

We had lunch with a book reviewer today and she talked about how as a child, her mother would always read her a book before she goes to bed. My mind then clicked and I exclaimed suddenly that as a child I was the one who read to my mum! It was because my mum was illiterate I explained. But that is a wrong word to describe a bright intelligent woman with a fantastic memory and who could inform you about the latest world and local news. Besides that she also looked after the family's finances without jotting down a single number. I could think of other words like unschooled, untutored, uninstructed, unlettered, uneducated, unread and so on. I think my dear ole mum is unfathomed and unrecognized. As a mother she resorted to her basic instincts and natural good sense. She was brought up by a stepmother who she loved immensely and it was difficult for her in her later years to be reconciled with her natural mother.

Most afternoons when I was about 8/9, my sister and I would take turns to have our lice, or nits picked from our hair. It was a laborious task for my mum. But it brought her a bit of joy because I had to read her a story from Cherita Jenaka while she got on with the job. Here are two pages from that book.

This is the inside cover of the book. The front is a mess because it has been in my keeping for years. It has travelled from Singapore to UK and back to KL .

You can see it is well read and well loved. Sometimes I would have to keep on reading even after her 'nit picking' was done. Those were the days sans TV !!

Righto kids, here are some pictures of your Atok 'Mok.

That's Atok 'Mok on the right with her elder sister Salmah taken in would you believe it, Geylang ! She was 17 in 1940.

On the back of this photo was written Mr and Mrs Hamid, Royal Air Force, Kuantan, 1941.
Kamisah was expecting her first child, Maznah - her expectation is barely visible.

My favourite picture of her - taken when she was 45/46 ?

And Finally

All I can say to a wonderful lady:

O, Bulan ! Mana bintang ?
Atas puchok kayu ara ;
O, Emak ! Mana hilang ?
Kita orang rindu senantiasa.

Sunday 4 January 2009

The Ramblings of a Malay Malcontent - Part 2

We Malays were told by by Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul (Sir Vidia) in his book Among the Believers (1981) that "Malays dressed as Arabs but formal Malay clothing of tunic and trousers were copied from the Chinese. The velvet cap is Indian." This book is also littered with umpteen derogatory and insulting statements about Malays, Muslims and Malaysia. The above quotation is in fact very mild and very tame.
Sir Vidhia is bravely carrying the torch of the imperious literary tradition of mocking and making fun of others of darker hues. However it is difficult to comprehend why a descendant of indentured Indian coolies, born in Trinidad should write such condescending and snide remarks about a people whose colour is no darker than his. Or could it be because of his pathological dislike of Muslims - a hangover from his pukka education in England? Still we have to acknowledge his skills as a story teller, a travel writer and a wordsmith.

Following are some old postcards to illustrate why we are what we have become, whether we are Chinese, Indians or Malays. Especially in the case of the bumiputeras the perception of Westerners has not changed. Even non-westerners are now joining the game of bashing up
the Malays in Malaysia be it in non-fiction or fiction.

Here we are dancing our time away in our sarong and songkok and haji hat, nothing original according to Sir Vidia.
The message behind the card says " These are Malays dancing. It looks as if they were doing the Highland fling. " So we're a chip off the old Scottish block eh!

These little Malay women need civilizing and emancipation. Can you see how miserable they look? A good dose of literature from the stables of Sir Vidia would really light up their life and they'll be sharing their angst with the rest of the world about how they resent and loathe being Malays, especially the female variety.

This is a postcard of Ceylon showing how the masters of the Empire keep the natives occupied besides sending them to the sticks like Malaysia and Trinidad as coolies.
These victims of the Raj have every right to sue the Great White Mother and perhaps Sir Vidia could lend a helping hand.

This postcard was published by Yee Wo Shing, Dealer in Postcards, Stamps and Novels, 7 Canton Road, Kowloon.
This is a rare picture of the Chinese enjoying himself because we are always told that we should emulate them in their work ethics and work habit and contribute to the wealth of our country.

Now that we can see some errors of our ways, here are a couple of Christmas and New Year Greeting Cards circa late 50s or early 60s. I bought them from a bookshop in Muar about 22 years ago.

This is lovely idyllic Malaysia where you can see the Malay fisherman pulling in his boat. They live in cute little kampung houses where life is peaceful and easy.

The Malays prefer to grow padi instead of working in the rubber estates and tin mines.
They do not participate in the cash-crop economy because they do not like to work far from their home and they are contented with the ethos of kais pagi makan pagi kais petang makan petang , a subsistence kind of existence which of course makes no contribution to the GNP.

Well, these greeting cards tell us what kind of economic activities are suitable for us. But then, after Independence we wanted better and became doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants and bankers although we do have our share of crooks and charlatans. What upstarts ! This achievement has nothing to do with them working hard and using their brains and making sacrifices like all parents do. It's because of the NEP and in the process they discriminate against and impoverish the other 40% (?) of the population.

The Beatles put it very nicely : You're thinking of me the same old way. You were above me, but not today.

That's all folks. And I apologize for the messy layout.

Thursday 1 January 2009


My nephew asked me to write on Gaza, because right now they're being brutally savaged by superior Israeli firepower while the rest of the freedom-loving, free nations of the world look on and meekly request for 'restraints' from the terrorist state of Israel.

I have been a spectator to this decimation of a people and a nation by fellow-followers of the Book, by a very old, very talented, and very cultured people who make up 0.002 % of the world's population, but whose " political influence in the US ranges from the Anti-Defamation League to the United Jewish Appeal, to the New York Times, to the .......Jewish caucus in the House of Representatives " (J. J. Goldberg 'Jewish Power', 1996).

I have witnessed this carnage of a sovereign people on the British print and electronic media since 1984 and it has got me so incensed that I cannot bear to watch or listen to anymore. This anger and frustration is like a dagger that cuts you from within and I do realise that anger is self -defeating.

But I have 3 posters here from the Leicester-based Friends of Al Aqsa and they remind and help me to remember who are the other victims of the HOLOCAUST.

This map speaks volumes as to how much has been taken from the Palestinians while the rest of the world looks askance.
Israel's founding - the last colonial power on earth - is a testament to the historical transformation of the passive persecuted Jew to the most powerful political nation on earth. A nation that silences and intimidates through the stick of American power, its own military and intelligence might, Jewish money, media manipulation, movies, and above all its own myths and lies. No nation has successfully withstood international laws and condemnation and told the world to go to hell.
Mohamed Khodr, contributor to Media Monitors Network

Alexander Cockburn wrote in Counterpunch 2006, The years roll by and Israel does its successful best to destroy all possibility of a viable two-state solution. It builds illegal settlements. It chops up Palestine with Jews-only roads. It collars all the water. It cordons off Jerusalem. It steals even more land bisecting Palestinian territory with its "fence". That is The Wall.

The tragedy is not the brutality of evil but the silence of the good people.
Martin Luther King Jr. Make what you will of the connection between the List above and this quotation.

Years ago after another brutal attack on Gaza, I watched on the British TV screen a Palestinian mother mourning the death of her son at the hands of Israel's cowardly military forces defiantly crying out " I have 5 more sons".

That picture is permanently etched into my psyche -always reminding me of my shame and culpability, of our shame and culpability especially the Muslim Umma.

Gaza bleeds and so should we.