Sunday, September 27, 2009

Blog Akar Umbi Di Bagan Pinang

Saya jarang-jarang mengangkat nama blog orang, walaupun kawan-kawan, di sini. Namun, saya cukup berminat dengan blog mata-pena yang baru timbul baru-baru ini bersabit PRK Bagan Pinang.

Menariknya bukan apa, tetapi penggeraknya adalah seorang guru sekolah dan penyokong politik akar-umbi! Namun, terlihat blog beliau cukup kemas serta canggih, melihatkan bagaimana dengan sedikit kegigihan, internet merentas jurang bagi sesiapa pun yang mahu berhubung suara atau pendapat.

Diharap teman-teman juga sudi melawat blog beliau.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ignorance Reigns On Merdeka And Malaysia Day...

As a lover of history, I am appalled by the running results of the current poll being run by the Star Online. Assuming the poll results are legitimate, at this point, it show Malaysians giving equal footing if not greater importance to Malaysia Day (16 September) than Merdeka Day (31 August). Obviously this is in large part due a succesful propaganda campaign by Pakatan, especially PKR, that carry the view that Malaysia Day is 'fairer' to Sabah and Sarawak.

Unfortunately, this bit of propaganda, however succesful, is based out of a falsehood! For many who have chosen Malaysia Day as the more important day, the view is formed of the belief that 16 September was the day Sabah and Sarawak achieved independence via Malaysia. Actually, the truth is that 16 September is only the official date of the formation of Malaysia, whilst Sabah and Sarawak achieved independence from British rule a little earlier!

Sarawak actually gained independence on 22 July 1963, whilst Sabah, interestingly, was declared independent as North Borneo on 31 August 1963! The formation of Malaysia was originally planned for 31 August 1963, to coincide with the independence of Sabah and Singapore, however, it was postponed to 16 September whilst a diplomatic solution was being sought to address opposition to Malaysia's formation by Indonesia and the Philippines.

That Malaysia Day happened on 16 September was hence an accident of regional politics, however, 31 August carried greater significance, at least for Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia. It was hence decided together, in unity, by parties from Peninsular, Sabah and Sarawak, that 31 August should be celebrated as Merdeka Day, whilst 16 September be declared Malaysia Day in honour of the formation, but would carry far lesser weight due to the history leading to the date.

And now, some 52 years after independence of Malaya and 46 years after the independence of Sabah and Sarawak, followed by the formation of Malaysia, for the sake of politics, ignorance is fanned across the masses! Much of leadership relies on history, often said to avoid past mistakes, but more importantly so we know where we came from and how our values as a nation came to be. Certainly politics is no good reason to trample upon our history as a nation.

And why is Merdeka then more significant a date for all 3 parts of the Federation that is Malaysia? Because Merdeka is the day we threw off the oppressive yoke of the English and became a free nation. This is surely more momentous to any part of Malaysia than the coming together of the parts! It is also better to celebrate grandly on the date when we originally chose to form Malaysia, than on a date forced upon us by powers opposed to our formation, that is 16 September.

If Pakatan is ever to come to lead Malaysia as a nation, it should first learn to respect history, as history is a large part of what defines us as a nation. Twisting history into propaganda simply for the pursuit of power, is disrespectful of our ancestors and disenfranchises our descendants of the truth of who we are. Unlike politics, our history is sacred to the nation, and it would do well for us to know it in case those irresponsible choose to lead us astray for their own gains...

NB: Please note I have used well referenced Wikipedia pages to back the above historical dates, in an attempt to balance the younger generation's irrational level of trust of Wiki with presentation of historical fact.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Food War With Singapore? Long Overdue I Say...

I was rather pleased to see this bit of news today, at last, someone in our government has decided to go to war with Singapore on something really important... their incessant claiming of bits of our most Malaysian and beloved cultural heritage, FOOD! And just because the same someone then seemingly chickened out, doesn't mean the rest of us should lay down arms!

Malaysians don't really mind seeing our cuisine being showcased all over the world, and very often confused with not just Singaporean, but Indonesian, Hong Kong, Indian, hell, even Australian fusion cuisine these days! In fact, Malaysians rather pragmatically enjoy the idea of getting half-decent copies of the original at least in these countries. And the Singaporean copies are at least spelled correctly in the menu!

What we do mind is when people rather blatantly go around claiming our food is theirs! I mean, I get it, Singapore doesn't really have much of its own culture, but there seems to be a section of its society that just feels a massive enough inferiority complex that it has to proclaim much of other cultural heritages their own. Pretty hard to 'sapu' the culture of other neighbours... besides, they are bigger and are more 'aggressive'. So, why not steal a bit more from Malaysia!

Unfortunately, Singapore is not very good at this 'sapu' business. Unlike the Australians or indeed the Americans, who do also 'sapu' a lot, Singaporeans are a bit inept at the innovation needed to make borrowed heritage their own! I don't see any Arabs upset over the very Australian Sticky Date Pudding. And I also find it silly when some Singaporeans claim food is not 'heritage', ask the English if Spotted Dick or even Stilton Cheese is not what they consider their heritage?

Then again, it was a Singaporean company that mistakenly presented a Balinese dance as a Malay Malaysian dance in the Discovery channel, resulting in the Indonesians getting all upset about us after all! What do you expect from a nation that apparently doesn't even appreciate how heritage permeates all that touches a community over its evolved anthropological history. And for Malaysians, food permeates EVERYTHING! Hmmm... maybe they are too young as a nation?

But enough with the Singapore bashing. Perhaps some evidence should be presented no? So, what better place than Wikipedia to showcase how blatantly our Malaysian food heritage is easily claimed to be 'Singapore Cuisine'. And this isn't bad... considering there is 'Ampang Yong Tau Foo', and many others, readily touted as Singaporean cuisine also in food channels by the ignorantly Singapore-educated global media!

Finally, whilst we pursue fair claims of our food heritage, let us nevertheless revel in the continued growth and superiority of Malaysian food... that is ever innovative and wondorous to the palate... even whilst others still try, and fail, to 'sapu' our golden oldies... enjoy surfing through friedchillies!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Active Spinning Of Bagan Pinang By Pro-Pakatan Press Begins

As expected, the news spinning and propaganda around the Bagan Pinang by-elections have begun in earnest. Whilst PAS has started early by questioning the validity of postal votes, more as a preparation to explain its likely defeat, the pro-Pakatan the Sun newspaper has chosen a very naughty but potentially more effective approach to attack BN's most likely candidate early.

The Sun's Tim Leonard's best line in the piece comes at the end, when an UMNO Icon of Corruption is,"Asked about selecting a candidate with a tainted record which could affect BN’s chances of victory...". On the on-line version, the impact would have been greater, as the line was published beside th photo of BN's most likely candidate! I have to hand it to the Sun, that's a brilliant piece of spinning!

Whilst the candidate is not explicitly mentioned, Tim Leonard neatly laid doubt on the character hinting on recent history 'taint'ing the man that may be fresh in everyone's mind. What made it worse was he asked an Icon of Corruption this, hence reinforcing the message. However, this spin conveniently ignored one thing. THE TRUTH!

The truth is that there was once a man who was elected Vice President of UMNO. Though not a saint, hard to be one in politics, this man was the cleanest of the 3 who won Vice Presidency that year. In fact, the man was about the cleanest of all the candidates that contested that year! He was also interestingly the best public speaker and the youngest of the 3. There was just one problem... he came from the same state as a very young ambitious and upcoming Icon of Corruption...

In UMNO, one of the unwritten traditions is that the President and his Deputy should be from different states, better still if from different regions. This was behind the tension between DS Anwar Ibrahim and Pak Lah - Anwar's rise to Deputy President curtailed Pak Lah's desires. One can sense tensions appearing between the TS Muhyiddin and DS Hishamuddin as well now. So, the rise of a Negeri Sembilan Vice President would hinder to another 'power' in the state.

And so a conspiracy was hatched to not just topple the 'threatening' UMNO Vice President, but to taint him with the label 'Corrupt'. This was of course easily done by someone related to and so loved by a weak party President that he was willing to move mountains... tainting and disposing of the political career of a promising hope for the party's future leadership? No problem!

Time passes by, and surprise-surprise, the toppled and then falsely disgraced former Vice President has a chance to rejuvenate his political career. In the meantime, the ambitious youngster, now diminished as an ex-President's son-in-law and himself so elevated to Icon of Corruption status that the party's Disciplinary Council could not find him innocent of Money Politics even whilst his father-in-law was still President, he sees karma dealing him another blow...

Everyone loves a good telling of a conspiracy... well this is a juicy one... and please, don't take my word for it... and I do not mean the spinning by the Pro-Pakatan press such as the Sun... read here, here, here and here...

Selamat Hari Raya!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

MIC Now In Real Trouble?

It is very strange what has happened at MIC. They have an immensely unpopular President, outside of satire that is, yet, in the greatest traditions of what appears to be a disturbingly increasing norm among BN component parties, DS Samy Vellu retains the faith of the party's divisional leadership and delegates, as indicated by the election of only his endorsed candidates at its recent AGM!

DS Samy Vellu's longevity as MIC President has been said to be due to many things, including:
  1. Caste Politics - this is supposedly sensitive, to whom I am unsure, so I will just link to an article extracted from pro-Pakatan Malaysiakini as an example of such criticism. No cow's head here!

  2. MIC has not been spared the typical accusation of Pakatan and its various media - so of course they say DS Samy is popular due to corruption!

  3. I am sure that internally some people will start claiming 'phantom voters' and biased vote counting as reasons for DS Samy's choices winning top posts...

  4. The pro-Samy 'accusation' would be that 'there is still no other credible alternative'! Of course, one could say that this is also DS Samy's own failing.

  5. My own satirical favourite is that DS Samy has put a toll in front of MIC HQ and gives a free pass to all his supporters and charges variable toll rates on his opponents according to the level of anti-Samyness. Now that voting is over, the anti-Samy get a discount!

  6. etc.

  7. etc.

  8. ad-nauseum...

However, there are perhaps more fundamental issues that need to be discussed by the Indian community and its various political fronts like MIC, PPP, IPF, Hindraf, etc. moving forward. These issues revolve around where the Indian community sees themselves in Malaysia moving forward. Until this matter is resolved at the community level, the Indian community will remain unhappy with its lot of life as participants in the great Malaysian experiment.

Why do I say this? In my view, the Indian community has been tossed about by political forces far too easily over the last few years. This in turn is symptomatic of a community that struggles with:

  1. A large income and educational disparity within the community, with neither a clear majority in influence nor an active middle-class visibly bridging the gap in priorities within the community.

  2. A passionate culture imbued by the spirit of the Ramayana that permeates across the community, despite a sizable minority not being Hindu in religion. This results in a tempestuous nature that can easily be stoked from individual anger into mob behaviour, especially when injustice is perceived.

  3. An undeniably strong link to its mother country India, and in many cases, the various home provinces of individual ethnicities, that impacts upon the community's outlook on issues. This link is sustained not just by pilgrimages to India, but a steady influx of Indian nationals into Malaysia for a variety of employment forms, from temple priests to Mamak store workers.

  4. A community that is still fractured by the various differences between internal groups, from sub-ethnicities (Tamil, Malayalam, Punjabi, etc) through to religion (Hindu, Islam, Christian, etc) with no universal defining point of unity such as what the Mandarin language has become for the Chinese. OK, maybe Ghandi, but everyone loves Ghandi! So, what else?

  5. A community that is very open to the influences of leaders of other communities, especially the majority Malay leadership. Where this is benign, then it is fine, but where it leads to mob behaviour such as the norm of the 'Anwar Ibrahim' type of Malay 'leadership', it actually leaves the community worse off.

So to my own question, whether MIC is in real trouble now, I would say yes it is! With DS Samy's grip on the party clear, the community may give up on a political solution to its woes and look for alternatives. The alternative may be political, but in this case, DS Samy's likely right in guessing an Indian political rival to MIC is some years in coming. However, Indians may choose to move primarily through community NGOs, like the Chinese, which would risk making MIC an irrelevance.

That Hindraf rose to prominence so quickly, putting aside its racist rhetoric, dramatic claims and mob behaviour, is indicative of not just the role NGOs can fulfil but also the readiness of the Indian community to support them! Support for the Kampung Buah Pala Residence Association's efforts is another.

The saving grace for MIC is that it is attempting to cap its troubles with some key constitutional amendments, such as to the President's term in office, and at least it is ahead of PPP with regards to its Youth Chief, who is the community's choice, not DS Samy's and is smart enough not avoid silliness like asking the government to make the UMNO Youth chief a minister! However, it has to do something to bridge the high risk period which is the now to the future.

I am glad though that DS Samy, for all his faults, does retain a good political head on his shoulders. It is smart of him to allow others, mainly junior reps of the party, to respond against Tun Dr M's recent comments against his leadership... and smarter still for defending Tun Dr M after...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Masalah Kepala Lembu: Tau Nak Makan Sahaja Asal Hijau, Tapi Nilai Zat Tak Tau!

Saya rasa mual melihat tindak-tanduk kepimpinan politik kita tentang hal layanan buruk terhadap kepala lembu. Yang sibuk dilayan adalah tuduhan orang dan cepat dicari orang untuk dihukum-hakam. Tetapi masalah pokok tidak ditangani!Masalah pokok yang saya maksudkan bukanlah perpindahan kuil... itu sebenarnya tidak harus menjadi isu kecuali diperbesar-besarkan oleh juak-juak kerajaan Pakatan negeri Selangor juga! Yang saya maksudkan adalah masalah nilai!

  1. Di manakah nilai kita sebagai suatu masyarakat majmuk apabila kefahaman tentang agama jiran sewarganegara tiada, sehinggakan bukan sekadar kepala lembu dipijak, tetapi makanan Halal dimaksudkan 'tanpa babi' sahaja dan sesuatu kaum dianggap seagama semua!

  2. Dimanakah terletaknya hormat rakyat terhadap pemimpin apabila kepala Menteri Besar boleh diproksikan kepala lembu dan disepak-sepak sewenang-wenangnya apabila tidak setuju dengan tindak-tanduk beliau? Kemarahan rakyat terhadap pemimpin tidak memberikan rakyat lesen terbuka untuk biadap tanpa had ke atas pemimpin.

  3. Dimanakah nilai sejarah, apabila para pembangkang, khususnya PKR, begitu ghairah menyepak kepala lembu sambil lupa itulah simbol Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) yang digabungkan dengan Parti KeAdilan Nasional untuk menjadi PKR sekarang! Kalau nilai sejarah parti yang dibanggakan pun orang PKR boleh lupa dalam emosi menyepak 'kepala sendiri', tak hairanlah melihat mereka lupakan sejarah perjuangan lama, mahupun janji-janji baru!

  4. Dimanakah nilai kepimpinan kita apabila yang dipentingkan adalah memberi kepuasan emosi kepada rakyat, bukan menangani persisihan pendapat antara kaum dengan memperbetulkan hubungan serta pegangan nilai! Sibuk menuding jari ke arah lain atau berselindung disebalik dalih-dusta, sama saja pada mana-mana parti... BILA NAK DIPUPUK NILAI MURNI?

Inilah di sebalik porak-perandanya negara! Bilakah kita akan kembali kepada pegangan nilai sebagai panduan arah-tuju negara bangsa! Saya sudah mual...

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Isu Perpindahan Kuil Ke Seksyen 23 Berkait Rasuah?

Sementara kerajaan negara terus ditohmah kononnya tidak berlaku adil terhadap agama minoriti, termasuk melalui media elektronik Wikipedia yang hanya memburukkan tanpa menampilkan jasa parti komponen MIC menegakkan maruah agama Hindu misalnya dengan mendirikan patung Lord Murugan di Batu Caves, jurublog ini ingin mempersoalkan, bermula di muka Facebook saya:
Perpindahan kuil ke Seksyen 23 dah ditunda.
Jangan diingat isu ini sudah mati kerana penyelesaiannya belum jelas pada sesiapa.
Cuma... kalau betul kuil ini 150 tahun umurnya,
maka seharusnya bertaraf khazanah budaya negara,
kenapa ada niat untuk memindahnya dari Seksyen 19 pula?
Apakah niat kerajaan Selangor sebenarnya?
Haruskah MACC bertanya?

Rata-rata akhbar melaporkan bagaimana kuil Hindu Sri Maha Mariamman yang kini di Seksyen 19 tersebut sebuah kuil lama berumur 150 tahun. Malah, fakulti seni bina Universiti Malaya dikatakan pernah melakukan lukisan berukur atau 'measured drawing' bangunan kuil tersebut, termasuklah perhiasan dan pahatan yang dikatakan indah, halus serta unik berbanding dengan kebanyakan kuil-kuil baru.

Berdasarkan maklumat umur dan keunikan kuil tersebut, seharusnya kuil tersebut didaftar sebagai sebuah 'Heritage Building' atau khazanah budaya penganut agama Hindu di Malaysia. Atas dasar tersebut, kuil Sri Maha Mariamman ini tidak seharusnya dipindahkan kerana perpindahannya membawa risiko kerosakkan dan hakisan nilai sejarah budayanya.

Sesungguhnya, kalaupun BN Selangor dahulu tidak dapat memutuskan perkara ini, kerajaan Pakatan Selangor baru, yang kononnya ber-'ketuanan rakyat', semestinya membiarkan sahaja kuil tersebut di lokasi sedia ada. Tetapi ini tidak, gatal juga nak memindahkan kuil tersebut! Persoalannya adalah, kenapa? Mungkinkah ada sesiapa yang mendapat untung dari perpindahan tersebut? Perlukah Suruhanjaya Pencegah Rasuah Malaysia SPRM/MACC menyiasat?

Atau mungkinkah memang betul... kerajaan Pakatan Selangor ini agak kureng dan lembap pula kebolehannya...?! ...selain dari aksi sarkasnyalah...

Friday, September 04, 2009

Bagan Pinang Peluang Keemasan Barisan Nasional Membuktikan Transformasi

Pilihanraya Kecil ke-9 akan diadakan di Bagan Pinang, Port Dickson, berikutan meninggalnya ADUN mukim tersebut, YB Azman Mat Nor. Bagan Pinang merupakan kubu UMNO. Sebelum ini, PRK-PRK diadakan di kawasan-kawasan yang kalaupun dahulunya kubu, akibat perjalanan masa, sejarah dan pola kepedudukan, telahpun bertukar menjadi lubuk Pakatan, seperti Parlimen Gopeng serta kerusi-kerusi wakil rakyat sekitar Permatang Pauh.

Soalnya, adakah UMNO dan BN mampu memilih calon sesuai untuk bertanding di DUN tersebut? Pilihan calonlah amnya kelemahan terbesar UMNO sejak PRU-12 lagi. Di 3 dari 8 PRK sebelum ini, faktor kelemahan calonlah menjadi punca kekalahan, terutama sekali di Kuala Terengganu dan Permatang Pasir. Pada satu-satunya PRK di mana UMNO hampir menang, calon dipilih tepat, malangnya terkena tempias kebencian terhadap Ketuanya yang merupakan ikon korupsi.

Di Bagan Pinang, sudah ada 2 calon, anak-beranak(!) yang sedia sesuai untuk diketengahkan. Kedua-duanya mempunyai ketokohan, kebolehan dan latar-belakang menarik lagi tidak memalukan. Yang bapa mempunyai sejarah curahan jasa kepada masyarakat setempat. Yang anak pula profesional berjaya, petah berbicara baik lantang di pentas mahupun berbisik seberang meja dan sudah mula membela sebagai Naib Ketua Pemuda.

Tan Sri Isa Samad, sang bapa, kini pasti dibibir para pemimpin UMNO sebagai calon paling tepat, memandangkan beliau bukan sahaja sekadar Ketua Bahagian Teluk Kemang di mana terletaknya Bagan Pinang, malah pernah menjadi MB Negeri Sembilan seketika dahulu. Sang anak, Mohd Najib bin TS Isa, juga bukan calang-calang orangnya, lucu, peramah dan tak kurang ketokohan sehingga berdiri sebagai calon ulung Pemuda UMNO Negeri Sembilan ke pemilihan exco Pemuda.

Tan Sri Isa Samad di majlis kepimpinan bersama Datuk Puad Zakarshi, Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir dan Ayah (Tan Sri Sanusi Junid - di luar gambar) menjelang pemilihan UMNO 2008

Menarik sekali, kedua-dua anak-bapa ini juga pernah menjadi mangsa percaturan politik seorang ikon politik durjana yang terkemuka dari Rembau. Punyalah bimbang si durjana tersebut akan 'persaingan' dari sang bapa untuk menjadi Perdana Menteri, sehinggakan TS Isa dimalukan oleh Lembaga Disiplin UMNO kongkongan rejim Pak Lah dan digantung keahliannya. Si anak pula dimatikan harapan menangnya pada pemilihan Pemuda UMNO baru-baru ini.

Akan tetapi, sejarah kemelut UMNO ini tidak menjejaskan, malah meningkatkan lagi daya tarik calon-calon berdua kepada pengundi. Bukan sahaja anak tempatan yang disegani, tetapi jauh dari berkait dengan anasir-anasir negatif dalam UMNO, mereka malah dimusuhi dan pernah dimangsai ikon-ikon korupsi yang dibenci rakyat tersebut! Kalaupun ada calon lain yang leih baik dari dua ini untuk UMNO, diharap diketengahkan, tetapi tak mungkin ada yang jelas musuh ikon korupsi!

Soalnya sekarang, sang bapa atau anakkah akan dipilih untuk tampil ke hadapan? Lazimnya dalam UMNO, selagi sang bapa berumur politik, sang anak puas berlegar di tepi pentas, bersedia tetapi tak gopoh untuk ke arena kuasa. Oleh itu, kemungkinan besar TS Isalah bakal dipilih di antara mereka berdua. Namun, memandangkan TS Isa sudah ke peringkat Parlimen sekaligus memegang kedudukan Naib Presiden UMNO sebelum ini, mahukah beliau kembali ke Negeri?

Dalam senario beginilah, mungkin pintu akan dibuka untuk sang anak, Mohamad Najib, menampilkan diri sebagai calon. Umur politik sang bapa mungkin masih ada, tetapi di tahap yang berbeza. Penampilan Najib juga akan memberi kesempatan untuk UMNO menunjukkan bahawa ia juga dipelopori pemuda yang berwibawa, profesional, berkebolehan dan walaupun anak pemimpin, tidak gemuk rasuah serta hidup-mati di riba kuasa orang tuanya semata-mata.

Kita berentap kembali di Bagan Pinang... insya'Allah...

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