Monday 29 March 2010

Revisiting the Conflict that the West Always Ignores

"Russia has never seen terror like this", says Jon Snow on Channel 4's 7 o'clock news tonight. He was referring to the double suicide bombings which killed 38 in Moscow.

What short and selective memories the western media have!!

Russia waged two wars on Chechnya. The first was from 1994-1996 when Chechnya declared full independence in 1993. Under Yeltsin the Chechen capital Grozny suffered massive aerial and artillery bombardment throughout the winter of 1994. It was estimated that the Russians carried out up to 4,000 detonations an hour. Grozny was levelled, turned to rubble. 25,000 civilians and 1,500 Russian soldiers (just 6% of the number of Chechen civilian deaths) were killed by April 95.

In 1999, Putin attacked Chechnya again - supposedly a war against terrorism - but it was mainly to reverse the defeat of 1996 and a ploy for the coming Presidential election. Both sides have been crunching numbers about the casualties they inflicted or suffered. But there was no question about the 200,000 displaced Chechen civilians in that war. They were stopped from fleeing the fighting when Russians closed the Chechnya-Ingushetia border.

This is an extract from Lindsey Hilsum's report in the New Statesman of 26 January, 2004.

"In Chechnya, human rights abuses and war crimes are not aberrations but tactics, an integral part of a war that, .....has killed or driven into exile nearly half of the Chechen population. Atrocities carried out by Russian troops and their proxies are well documented, but attract almost no censure from European or American governments because Putin's war in Chechnya is deemed to be part of the war on terror".

Compare this to the succour and support given to the East Timorese to the point where there now exists the independent state of East Timor, freed from the shackles of Indonesia. And what about the European and American outrage at the plight of Aung San Suu Kyi at the hands of the Burmese Generals?

According to Hilsum there now exists a 'terrorist group', the "black widows" . It seemed they "have carried out a series of bomb attacks in Russia and were behind the 2002 Moscow theatre siege. They are the widows, mothers and sisters of Chechen men, mainly Islamists, who have been killed by the Russians......One thing that Chechnya isn't short of is widows. The Russian response, according to the International Helsinki Federation, has been a 'growing number of crimes targeted at women', including disappearances".

The two suicide bombers who blew up the Moscow subway were women. In all probability they were two 'black widows'. If this had taken place during the Second World War and the suicide bombers were two English women, they would be regarded as heroines and martyrs. UK would have built some kind of monument to their bravery.

As for the Chechen women, they are branded as terrorists.

I hope when Western TV and the Press 'go to town' on this news and publicise graphic images like this one showing medics helping an injured woman outside the Park Kulturi metro station in Moscow (Picture by Vladimir Fedorenko/AFP/getty Images), the world will stop for a second and think of this image of a Chechen woman carrying rugs and a framed portrait through the destroyed streets of Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, in 2000.

Do remember that while today's bombings will fill the news and as the Western world is mired in their economic morass the Israelis are carrying on their ethnic cleansing in Gaza and East Jerusalem.

Wednesday 24 March 2010

Undomesticated Dropout (CsH)

A Report Book like this has been the bane of my life.Note the way my name is recorded, - Hamid, Maznor bte.

[My father's name became the surname. When I came to England to study, the bank and the University indicated my name in exactly the same manner. They have problems with foreigners who have no surnames or family names. In fact they describe your name as a 'Christian' name! Also,as a Muslim you never tag on your husband's name - you keep your birth name and your status as your father's daughter.]

I enjoyed my time at Crescent Girls' School. I made many great friends and had a lot of fun during those years. In an all-girls' school you can be as uninhibited, as sloppy and mischievous as you like. You don't have to behave like a Miss Goody Two-Shoes. There's no need to look pretty and demure because there are no boys around to impress. Anyway it is not easy to look sweet when you're spotty. But who cares as we're all of the same ilk!!

We were introduced to a new subject - Domestic Science - when we started secondary school. It was merely old wine in a new bottle - which is actually just plain Sewing and Cooking.
During our first Cookery lesson we had to learn to make a hot beverage like tea and coffee. We were warned that if we spilled even a drop of milk (condensed) while doing this, we had to lick it off the table. Some of us did. Luckily I was saved that humiliation.

Next we had to light the oven to bake our first rock bun. Very, very few of us had even seen an oven, much less to use one. We were so scared of this D.S. teacher from Hell to the point where, in trying to co-ordinate the oven control and lighting the oven we burnt the fringe of our hair. I was one of them. I still remember the acrid smell of burning hair. This time we were not punished because Miss Tyrant feared the repercussion if we complained to our parents.

One day, Molly Quek, the lovable tomboy in our class who lived at 6 MS (milestone) Pasir Panjang Road, devised a plan to puncture 2 of Miss Evil's tyres. We lent her our blessings and connivance. After school was over, we watched with glee as Miss Nasty spluttered and screamed with anger when she discovered the state of her tyres. Aaaah, that was sweet revenge.
They could not find the culprits - not a peep from anybody. Anyway, by today, we are protected by the Statute of Limitation and I shall never squeal on my comrades and neither will Molly. By the way our tomboy was the first one to get married when we finished secondary school. I bet she is now surrounded by 4-5 grown-up children and 20 grandchildren.
Hip, hip, hurray for Molly Quek.!!!

The upshot of this tale was - I got thrown out of Domestic Science classes. I remained happily undomesticated and slightly wild. I was so happy to be a dropout that I shall now publicise my miscreant credentials.
Hip, hip, hurray for Maznoor Hamid!!!

It was tough trying to explain the two red marks to Abah but he was not a tyrannical dad. I managed to convince him that I was 'promoted' and not 'transferred' and that was not bad, despite the colourful bits in my Report Card. As for the Form Mistress's Reports, I got hell!

This is the photograph of the school leavers of 1961. Molly and AsH are in there somewhere.

Cooking to me is more of an art, not really a domestic science. That is why men have cornered the market for haute cuisine. With time I learned to love cooking. My only concession to it being a science is because I like experimenting with new recipes. I was told by the spouse that the first chapati I made could be used as a tool for wall-demolition.

Monday 22 March 2010

Oh No !!! Not Again.


"Mr Blair will attend the first conference of the National Achievers Congress in Kuala Lumpur, which starts on 23 April. .....Up to 7,000 people will attend, paying between £100-£500, with around 100 VIP tickets, costing £1,900 each in Kuala Lumpur and £4,600 in Singapore........he would earn at least £200,000 for both conferences.."

CHECK this for the rest of the blood-curdling news.

Why is a small pond like my Tanah Air nurturing and feeding these domestic and foreign piranhas? On my blog (Xmas Day 2009 and 31 December 2009), I've written enough on TB, this grubby little huckster - and his oiks. I've run out of words and so these images will do a better job.
Please click on the images for a clearer read.

According to The Daily Mail : "Tony Blair waged an exhausting two-year battle to keep secret a lucrative deal with a multinational giant which has extensive interests in Iraq ...... that he is cashing in on his contacts from the controversial Iraq War ...... that Mr Blair is using his role as the West's Middle East envoy for personal gain."

Check this

By the way, who are these Malaysian and Singaporean "Caressers of Tony Blair"?

"The conferences are organised by Success Resources, whose chief executive, Richard Tan, said: "Tony Blair is respected as a great leader, a great visionary and a man with significant purpose in his life."

Enough said.

That's it folks. I now have to disinfect my hands and wash out my mouth with soap and water so that I will feel clean enough to carry on with my other postings.

Sunday 21 March 2010

A Visitor from London

One day (yesterday), Yuwrajh came to Leicester to visit his former teacher Miss Hamid and her husband. As soon as he came into their house they almost collapsed and told him to please go home. But Y's training as a nurse helped him to cope with the two diddies who were in a state of near-shock. First, he made the coffee.

Next, he was told to lay the food on the table.  Miss Hamid, the old dear, forgot that Y was not the 16 year old she used to clip around the ear.. This was the spread which secretly delighted Y's heart, no....stomach.

Finally Y could sit down to enjoy the meal. He was forced to smile for this photo - again it's that bossy teacher.

Her long-suffering spouse also suffered the same abuse. He was only allowed to eat the salad. Poor spouse. By now, the cruel Teech was almost under the table - too much elderflower drink.

They then adjourned to the sitting room. Y was not allowed to sit on the comfy settee in case, like Teech's husband, he spills his drink onto the cushion. Men tend to do that - just to annoy the women.
But why is Y looking distressed? He had just been told that the Pineapple Pachri costs £3.75, the Spicy Chicken £6.50 and the Fish Acar was £6. Well there's no such thing as a free lunch says Miss Hamid. Your menginding (moocher) days are over!

But, they did come to an amicable agreement. Teech decided to give Y a 10% discount because he had brought with him gifts of 3 types of yummy biscuits, 6 avocados and a bottle of ginger and lemon grass drink all of which were not to be opened and shared because Teech's husband is a (sort of) Scotsman.

Yuwrajh had to catch the 18.55 train to London. So he put together his cute bike to cycle to the Railway Station.
I hope the other boys and girls from Y's schooldays will take up the same healthy habit instead of stuffing their faces full of food and melepak-ing (lazing about) in Rukhsana's house.

So everybody say good-bye to Yuwrajh. "Goodbye Yuwrajh." Have a safe journey home.

Thank you dear Yuwrajh for taking the trouble to come all the way from London just to see us. It's been such a long, long time. And your visit has brought us so much joy. Take care, especially when cycling in London.

Thursday 18 March 2010


READ ALL ABOUT IT!! READ ALL ABOUT IT!!! The top of the newspaper reads : The Straits Times, Malaya's Leading Newspaper Established 1845. Singapore, Tuesday June 21 1949. Picture taken from Straits Times Pictures 1949.

There were so many newspapers to choose from when I came to settle down in England. The spouse had this to say - something he picked up from somewhere - way before the BBC Comedy 'Yes, Minister'.
THE TIMES is read by the people who run the country.
THE FINANCIAL TIMES is read by the people who own the country.
THE GUARDIAN is read by the people who think they ought to run the country.
THE DAILY MAIL is read by the wives of the people who run the country.
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH is read by the people who still think it is their country.
THE INDEPENDENT is read by people who don't know who runs the country but are sure they're doing it wrong.
THE SUN's readers don't care who runs the country providing she has big boobs.

We used to read The Guardian on weekdays and The Observer on Sundays. In fact we would spend up to 3 hours of Sunday mornings in bed reading the papers while guzzling down 2-3 pots of tea.
Then in the mid-90s we switched to The Independent especially for Robert Fisk.
We not only read but stored up an accumulation of newspaper cuttings on topics and issues close to our interests. I still have them, at least most of them. Makes for interesting reading because politics, attitudes and analysis never really changed since then. British journalists and editors of the broadsheet papers may think they have moved forward and become more broadminded and liberal in their outlook and perceptions. They may see themselves as rationalists, humanists, secularists and agnostics but they cannot forsake their Judaeo-Christian mores and their tribal affiliations.
After the Salman Rushdie Affair, the news analysis of Israel's policies in Palestine, the First Gulf War and 9/11 we got so disenchanted with the implicit and explicit hostility and bigotry towards Palestinians, Muslims and Islam and we stopped buying the newspapers altogether. Still, this Malay teacher learned something, about language and hypocrisy and the use and abuse of words in the English Language.

We then subscribed to the weekly New Statesman and found it more palatable than the broadsheet, especially reading John Pilger. But it became more and more 'subservient' to the latest 'flavour of the month' and we abandoned it in 2007. The bile from Nick Cohen helped to make it an easy decision.

However we do enjoy a bit of PHWOAR when we get to read a copy of The Sun that people discard on the underground trains whenever we travel to London. 'Disgusting' says he and she to each other!!! Just a bit of something on the side eh?? Still, you cannot take The Sun seriously. It's a very, very British kind of prurient smut - a sort of 'bread and circus' to keep the proletariat quiet.

Now and then we get the Metro, a free paper that's handed out to everyone in the City Centre in the morning - or you can pick it up in the buses. You do get to read some bits and pieces that you don't get from TV or the on-line newspapers.

I found the the following news in the Metro of Friday, March 12, 2010 quite revealing. It encapsulates the sad refusal of this Western democracy to relate to the afflictions in their society. (Please click on the images to get a better read).
Their Role Model

The hands that rock the cradle

Their heroism

Their future hope

Indeed all societies are sick in some form or other. You can say that of my Tanah-Air (homeland). But Malaysia for instance, does not seek to apprehend potential political troublemakers in their schools.
Teachers in Great Britain are being trained to identify (or spy) and (mis)inform on the young and innocent, to turn the school into a kind of Gestapo just to feed a paranoia and a deep-set hostility towards Muslims. This news item was in Friday's Metro.

HEIL GORDON BROWN or whoever becomes the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Sunday 14 March 2010

Gin Rummy at 15-89 Boon Lay

This is a photo of the door of my old flat at Boon Lay, taken recently on my nostalgic trip to Singapore a few months ago.
It was like a club-cum-hideout for my ex- Jurong Secondary School 'urchins'. They looked after the flat and our two cats when I was teaching in Brunei, Akim was studying in London and emak was living part-time with my sister and family at Batu Pahat. Emak loved coming back, it was after all her home. And she enjoyed doting on the kids with her cooking. They were like her own.
Other than the usual nonsense that kept these teenagers together they played out their friendship and camaraderie in gin rummy.

At that time, green was the colour of the door at 15-89.

Lately, while going through my rummage case I discovered this Jotter Book.
The Incriminating Evidence

As for the characters in this Annual Gin Rummy Book, do note how they diplomatically changed 'old' to 'longest living' to describe Yours Truly, the 'owner, sponsor, heroine'. Bl...y Hell, I was only 36 then, younger than they are today. Prats!!!
All the other subsidiary characters or "menginding-ers" are still alive and kicking, spread out from London to Oman, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. They are still plagueing my life and I relish watching them growing old - their one main fear then. But they're still my 'rascals' no matter how aged and decrepit they get.

Lely, Ben and Irene

A most recent picture of Yuwrajh with his former JSS schoolmate Rukhsana who made a brave move from being an engineer to one of Singapore's well-known cooks. Look her up in this


The battle between Maznoor, Ben and Yuwrajh
The Titans - Ben, Din and Yuwrajh


Thank you kids. You made teaching a most satisfying and happy experience for me. And you have grown and done me proud.

Viva Gin Rummy!!!

Friday 5 March 2010



Helas, I had to listen to this song every morning on BBC Radio 1 in the 90s when I was working in a room of very young people - and I liked it. Sometimes they tune on to Radio 2 (for old fogies) - because they could see me cringing in pain listening to some young music.


Thursday 4 March 2010

It's the Hindi Song Wot Did It !!! (CsH)

He was an undergraduate at Wellington University sharing a flat with Mohammad, an Indian Muslim from Fiji. Mohammad introduced him to Hindi songs and even taught him how to make chicken curry.

She was also fed on a diet of Hindi songs by her mother who was addicted to Malay and Hindustani movies. Uncle Joe Nee (Tan Joe Nee), our Peranakan neighbour was the official advertiser for Hindi movies. He would yell to my mother from across the river, "Kak, 'tu cherita 'Janglee' bagus - lagu2 nya semua sedap. Pi tenguklah 'kak". ( Sis, You should see that movie 'Janglee' - very nice songs).

This he and she met in Leicester in 1981. She was on a 3-months' holiday-cum-study leave and decided to look up her former tutor from Singapore University days. He was a helpful tutor, quite sweet and kind but he certainly was no Dev Anand (my heart-throb) or Dilip Kumar or Raj Kapoor.

He showed her his collection of Hindi records - hundreds of them. Some men would take their lady visitors to a cinema or a meal in a restaurant. But this lucky woman got a real treat because he brought her to his favourite Hindi record shop where he would spend about an hour picking out his favourite album. He would leave the shop with about 3 or so albums tucked under his arm - looking as pleased as Punch - and the shopkeeper beaming with joy - you could see the £-sign in his eyes.

The same shop today. Still selling pan but no more records.

She tagged along because this was just a pit stop before she embarked on her great adventure - a solo driving holiday through Wales. Also he cooks beautiful chicken curry. One evening, for after-curry-dinner entertainment ( he only had a 10 inch black and white TV with a very unreliable indoor aerial), he put on a concert of his Hindi records. This was one of them.

You neither know me, Nor I know you.
But it seems I have got a friend
(Rough translation) They don't write songs like these anymore!!

That was it!! She was completely beguiled and he was absolutely captivated because they discovered they were in love - with the same song. Dev met his Waheeda and vice-versa. The rest is history.

Now and then these two would get slightly loopy in the park, but especially in Spring. They would act out scenes from Hindi movies where the heroine is running from tree to tree to tease her hero.

If you're lucky, one of these Sundays, take a walk in Taman Tasik Titiwangsa and you might spot them acting out their dream life.

Post Script : He still cooks the best chicken curry.

Tuesday 2 March 2010

Come Outside (CsH)

Sometimes the world weighs heavy on me. More of my mates here have lost their jobs. They are young people with young children and have very little hope of getting re-employed. Then we hear of bankers receiving bonuses of millions of pounds despite the fact that the tax payers have been keeping them afloat. Yesterday we found out that Mark Thomson, the Director-General of a public-funded institution is paid the handsome salary of £800,000 per annum while the previous director Greg Dykes was paid just half of that. That institution is none other than the venerable BBC. Every house in Britain that has a TV pays a tax of £142.50/ annum and it increases every year with inflation. People over 75 get a 50% discount. How kind!! Better still, the blind and severely sight-impaired also receive the same concession.

I have stopped reading the stressful news on Palestine, Gaza, Afghanistan and Iraq for the past week, knowing that the injustice and their agony goes on and on. I've decided to turn my head to something peaceful and calming to bolster my sanity before I carry on with my usual pattern.

Rudyard Kipling wrote "East is east and west is west and ne'er the twain shall meet". I find much joy and consolation knowing that my spouse's and my family have broken this mould. So here's my patchwork of hands and hearts across the sea.

Also I promised my magpie sister-in-law in New Zealand that we should have a 'show and tell'. She read my 'Cadburys Chocolate Box' and of course she had to tell me she's got one too! Na ,na, na, na, na !!!
So I wandered into my Rummage Case and decided to put some photographs together with the ones I found in the spouse's study. Pure indulgence and unadulterated fun!! So let's jive Bride!

1. OUR DA'

I was saying to the spouse yesterday about what good-looking blokes our fathers were. And he had to say this, "Yes, and how fortunate for them not to see how decrepit we've become."




Maznoor: " My mum is prettier than yours!"

Bride : "My mum is more glamourous than yours!"

(Bash! Thump! Ouch! Geroff! Just you wait!)

Ruth and Kamisah : "Stop it, you two! For heaven's sake, let us rest in peace!!"


The least said, the better. But ha ha ha yikes!!!



Two migratory birds, the mottled wild-eyed luna-grahbri-tic bulbuls resting at Kuala Kubu Bahru before heading north to Siberia.

Two stranded whales at Snettisham beach.