Saturday, June 30, 2007

I went to Indonesia from Australia and Malaysia for many times since the mid-1980s and have acquired the love for otak-otak or Malay/Indonesian-style fish paste as well as keroncong, the slow-moving Indonesian country music that always helps to relax over-used brains. I also enjoy the very vibrant intellectual debate in Jakarta and Surabaya even when it had to be conducted deep underground during the Suharto era. Of course, I still love Wan Tan Mee in Hong Kong and the Cantonese-style Dim Sim, especially Har Kau in Guangzhou.

Karen Armstrong' s best-sellers in Indonesian

A mammoth, crowded hypermarket of books

Social liberation from ignorance, superstition

Karen Armstrong' s best-sellers in Indonesian

As I have said earlier, while Karen Armstrong's books A History of God and The Battle for God are still officially banned in Malaysia by the Internal Security Ministry although she was invited to deliver public lecture in Kuala Lumpur recently by the Foreign Ministry, the Indonesian-language translations of Armstrong's books are being publicly advertised and sold in Indonesia which houses the largest number of Muslims in a single nation-state on earth.

Karl Marx's works now in Indonesian language

Karen Armstrong on religious diversity, unity

Friday, June 29, 2007

Marxist don's son now UK's Foreign Secretary

David Miliband, the new British Foreign Secretary just appointed by PM Gordon Brown in his cabinet, is the eldest son of the late sociology professor and New Left guru Ralph Miliband whose English-language books on Marxism we followed very closely and also consumed with passion in the 1980s in Australia. One of them Marxism and Politics has been reprinted and issued anew by Merlin in London in 2004.

Besides the thought-provoking and mind-clearing Marxism and Politics (London, Merlin, 2004), the intellectual legacy of the senior Miliband (1924-1994) is well preserved in my private library in two other books, namely the The State in Capitalist Society - The Analysis of the Western System of Power (London, Quartet, 1982) and A Dictionary of Marxist Thought (London, Blackwell, 1983, 2003).

Karl Marx's works now in Indonesian language

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Said Zahari's Chinese memoirs to be launched

Just called Pak Said and he confirmed that the Chinese edition of the second book of his memoirs The Long Nightmare - My 17 Years as Political Prisoner will be launched by University Malaya's Associate Professor Dr. Chia Ai Ping and Dr. Lim Hock Siew from Singapore at the Chinese-medium Southern College near the Giant Supermarket off Skudai Road, Johor Bahru on 1 July (Sun) from 2.00 p.m. to 4.oo p.m.

Another call from KL to lift S'pore travel ban

Educationist hopes S' pore will lift 40-yr ban

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

'Nancy' as Chairman Mao's interpreter in 1972

The normalisation of bilateral relations between New China and the United States in February 1972 was a world-historic event and the US-born 'Nancy' Tang (second from left above/left-behind Nixon) played her crucial role as the language bridge between Chairman Mao and Premier Zhou on one side and President Nixon and National Security Adviser Dr. Kissinger on the other.

New FM of China "a fluent speaker of English"

A bird eye's view of China's economic growth

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Greeting Chairman Mao's interpreter ' Nancy '

I met the legendary 'Nancy' Tang Wensheng last night at a dinner held at the Shangri-La Hotel in downtown Kuala Lumpur. We briefly shared some random thoughts on Chairman Mao's Quotations and I noticed that she spoke English with a very strong and clear American accent.

Long March documentary to be shown in U.S.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Karl Marx's works now in Indonesian language

Despite some of the negative images of Indonesia in Malaysia, its intellecual life has always been fascinating to me since the first day I was taught Modern Indonesian Politics by the late Professor Herb Feith in the mid-1980s in Australia's Monash University. One of its striking features is that many of the works of the world's great thinkers and writers are available in Bahasa Indonesia editions.

In that republic which houses the largest number of Muslims within a single nation-state on earth, almost all the scriptures of the world's great religions, including Buddhism, Christianity and Hinduism are available in their Indonesian-language editions. So are, among many other great books, Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species as well as Karen Amstrong's A History of God and The Battle for God.

The latest contribution to the already rich stock of translated works in the Indonesian language is undoubtedly Volume III of Karl Marx's Capital which has been published by Hasta Mitra in Jakarta

The 996-page Kapital (Buku III) - Proses Produksi Kapitalis Secara Menyeluruh, was translated by Oey Hay Djoen, a veteran of the 1945-1949 anti-colonial or national liberation armed struggle against Dutch colonialism, a Member of Parliament during the Sukarno era and a political prisoner or tapol (tahanan politik) under Suharto's regime. Oey Hay Djoen also translated Volume I and Volume II of Capital as well as other major works of Marx and Engels like Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 (Naskhah-Naskhah Ekonomi Dan Filasafat 1844), The Poverty of Philosophy (Kemiskinan Filasafat) and The Holy Family (Keluarga Suci), etc.

Kapital (Buku III) - Proses Produksi Kapitalis Secara Menyeluruh is dedicated in part by translator Oey Hay Djoen to his cherished friend and comrade for sixty years, Eng Ming Ching (left) who is now more well known as Suriani Abdullah in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Oey honours Suriani in his dedication as "my role model and inspiration".

According to Suriani, they first met in 1947 in Indonesia when she was invited to tour the liberated areas in the former Dutch colony such as Jakarta, Jogjakarta, Madiun, Pasuruan, Lumajang, Probolinggo and Jember.

Suriani said: " It was (Oey) Hay Djoen and also (Siauw) Giok Tjhan (then Minister for Minorities Affairs of the Suharto-Hatta Revolutionary Government) who brought me around various parts of Java, like Madiun where I delivered a lecture in English to the university students there on MPAJA's 44-month guerrilla war against the fascist occupation of Malaya ".

Suriani, who joined the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) in Ipoh in 1940, was herself an armed partisan of the MPAJA in Perak. She was once captured and tortured by the Japanese for about six months.

After June 1948, they lost contact with one another for the next 53 years until 2001.

The first email in Bahasa Indonesia sent by Oey to Suriani reads:

" Betapa gembira dan bahagia hati ini, menerima sepucuk surat dari seorang kawan yang sudah lebih setengah abad (tepatnya 53 tahun) dicari-cari, dinantikan khabar beritanya, diingat dan disimpan dengan penuh kehangatan di lubuk hati. Dalam keadaan apa pun, senang susah, di kancah perjuangan mahupun di dalam kesedihan, keterpurukan sampai pun di tempat pembuangan. Ingatan ku akan Kawan Ming Ching masih sangat tajam. Satu hal yang ingin dan ku anggap penting diberitakan pada Kawan Ming Ching adalah, bahawa anak ku yang perempuan ini, telah ku berikan nama Ming Ching."

According to Suriani, ever since they had re-established contact in 2001, Oey has been sending her his new works of translation, including Buku I and Buku II of Karl Marx's Kapital.

"In return, I sent him my Malay-language translation of The Communist Manifesto and Left-wing Communism : an Infantile Disorder," Suriani said.

" Hay Djoen's intellectual endeavours have made very valuable contribution to the enrichment of the treasure of Marxist literature in both the Indonesian and Malay languages, " Suriani told Clare Street.

Suriani's own first love for Bahasa Melayu, which has now branched out into Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia, can be traced back to 1945 - 1947 when she sought the tutorial assistance from an Indonesian communist Sutan Jenain @ Ma Ali, who was then active in Malaya, to help her to upgrade the proficiency of the language used by millions of rakyat jelata in their everyday lives in the region.

Her autobiography Setengah Abad Perjuangan - Memoir Suriani Abdullah was, as a matter of fact, first written and published in Bahasa Melayu which is also now termed Bahasa Malaysia.

Suriani's Malay memoirs now out in Mandarin

Communist Eng Ming Ching memoirs out now

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Raja Aziz Addruse appears for Chin Peng case

A snapshot of Malaysia's internationally well-known and respected constitutional lawyer Raja Aziz Addruse as he appeared yesterday at the Appellate & Special Powers Division of the Kuala Lumpur High Court as the lead counsel for the homecoming case of Chin Peng.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Raja Aziz Addruse now counsel for Chin Peng

According to my lawyer friend Chan Kok Keong (left) whom I met this morning at the Appellate & Special Powers Division of the Kuala Lumpur High Court, Malaysia's internationally well-known and respected constitutional lawyer as well as former Bar Council president Raja Aziz Addruse (right) now heads the legal team fighting for Chin Peng's right to return to and settle in our homeland under the 1989 Peace Accords signed between the Government of Malaysia and the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM). Other members of the team includes Darshan Singh, Patrick Leong and Yau Wai Leong.

Darshan Singh, who appeared this morning in court together with Raja Aziz Addruse and Chan Kok Keong, told me that the presiding judge was Mohd Zabidin bin Mohd Diah and the defendants, who still have not filed their affidavits, were represented by Federal Counsels Azizah Nawawi and Suzana Atan. The hearing today was held in chamber and will be continued on 31 July.

The Sitiawan-born Chin Peng, 82, is still physically and mentally fit enough to read, write, converse intelligently with other people and travel by air occasionally. He now lives with his wife Lee Khoon Wah and comrades Abdullah C.D., Suriani Abdullah a.k.a Eng Ming Ching @ Ah Ming, Shan Ruhong @ Ah Hai @ Ah Cheng, Abu Samah Mohd Kassim @ Sibar, Siti Norkiah @ Minah and others in Thailand.

Chin Peng, whose real name is Ong Boon Hua, visited the United Kingdom in 1998, Australia in 1999 as well as Singapore in 2004 and 2006. In 1998, he was interviewed by the BBC and also Sin Chew Jit Poh and in 2003, he published his English-language memoirs Alias Chin Peng: My Side of History in Singapore which was subsequently translated into Chinese language by a team of 12 Malaysian linguists.

Chin Peng's homecoming court case on today

Another new judge to hear Chin Peng' s case

Chin Peng's homecoming court case on today

Yesterday, lawyer Darshan Singh confirmed to me that the hearing of the homecoming case of veteran of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) Chin Peng (pix above) will again be held today (22 June) at 9.00 a.m before another new judge Justice Mohd Zabidin at the Appellate & Special Powers Division of the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

1989 Malaysia-CPM Peace Accords in letters

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Another new judge to hear Chin Peng' s case

According to lawyer Darshan Singh (left), the homecoming case of his client and veteran of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) Chin Peng is to be heard afresh by yet another new judge, namely Justice Mohd Zabidin on 22 June (Friday). The previous judge K.P. Gengadharan Nair passed away on 21 April at the Subang Jaya Medical Centre reportedly following a short illness at 63.

Although the case was first filed more than two years ago on 4 March 2005, the defandants named by the 82-year old Sitiawan-born Chin Peng, viz the Government of Malaysia, Home Affairs Minister, Inspector-General of Police and Chief of Defence Forces, have still not filed any affidavits of defence to the court to contest his application based on the 1989 Malaysia-CPM Peace Accords .

My Tao of keeping the heart young at 45 y.o.

At 45, I sometimes still enjoy watching made-for-children movies like Walt Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame to keep the heart young. By the way, the latest medical report shows that my blood pressure and circulation as well as the functioning of all vital organs are still excellent, although there is a need to control cholesterol level.
Just set the iconic poster of Les Miserables as the new background of my computer screen. Is there any Lesmis fans' club in Kuala Lumpur?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Chairman Mao's interpreter to visit M'sia soon

The former official Chinese-English interpreter for the legendary Chairman Mao Zedong (1893-1976) and Premier Zhou Enlai (1898-1976), "Nancy" Tang Wensheng will be visiting Malaysia from June 24 to 26. Madam Tang, now 66, will also attend a public dinner on June 25 in Kuala Lumpur to commemorate the 33th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Malaysia and New China in 1974. Those who are interested to participate and meet the New York-born linguist can contact the Secretariat of the Malaysia-China Friendship Association via (Tel) 03-21411278 or (Fax) 03-21411406.

Women gain more say in China's politics

How scientist Albert Einstein viewed religion

Since many religious men and women have talked about science, it serves us well to also listen to what Albert Einstein, most probably the geatest scientist of the last century, had to say about religion.

Karen Armstrong on religious diversity, unity

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Karen Armstrong on religious diversity, unity

Karen Armstrong also opines that despite the diversity of rites and rituals and many self-contradictory messages even within a particular scripture, the common and universal essence of all the great religions of the world is the plead for empathy, forgiveness as well as mercy and compassion. She also quoted Socrates as saying that the greatest wisdom in life on earth is to know what one does not know.

Book on religious pluralism launched in U.M.

Karen Armstrong on Golden Rule of Confucius

Karen Armstrong who spoke yesterday at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Kuala Lumpur pointed out that it was Confucius in ancient China who first elucidated The Golden Rule : "do not do unto others what you do not want others do to you". Many of the troubles in this world, in my observation, stem from the hegemonic mentality, on the parts of the rich and powerful, of "do what I say and do not do what I do".

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A morning well - spent with Karen Armstrong

Karen Armstrong, who spoke very knowledgeably, passionately and eloquently this morning in Kuala Lumpur attracted a mulitiethnic and multinational audience of 750-800 and many, like myself, brought along her books such as A History of God and The Battle for God for the prolific writer from Britain to autograph. Besides ex-PM Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, I also met up with Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Chairman & CEO, Dato' Seri Mohamed Jawhar Hassan and its Assistant Director-General, Dr. Stephen Leong as well as USM Centre for Policy Research & International Studies' Noordin Sopiee Professor of Global Studies, Dr. Chandra Muzaffar.
At Karen Armstrong's public forum held this morning at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, I met and bersalam with, among other fellow citizens and friends, ex-PM Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad who looked fit and healthy even after being hospitalised recently.
Got up early today again preparing to go to KL's Mandarin Oriental Hotel to listen to Karen Armstrong's public lecture and see what new enligtenment I can profit from it. Meanwhile, for readers of Clare Street who are not able to attend the function for whatever reasons, here is the free-of-charge Introduction to Karen Armstrong's banned book in Malaysia, The Battle for God . Enjoy reading and don't forget to say thank you to BookBrowse.

Karen Armstrong on Bush's ' fundamentalism '

Friday, June 15, 2007

Karen Armstrong on Bush's ' fundamentalism '

Unlike Bernard Lewis who has been an adviser of Middle Eastern and Islamic affairs in the Bush administration since the 9/11 tragedy in 2001, Karen Armstrong can be extremely critical of what she sees as the 'Christian fundamentalism' of the Bush administration. The British ex-nun was also critical of a controversial speech of Pope Benedict XVI.

Needless to say, both Lewis and Armstrong - as well as Esposito and all other thinkers and scholars the world over since time immemorial - have their critics and detractors inside and outside the academia.

Understand conservative power in America

Amir's review of a 30-year old ' comic book '

Our film-maker Amir Muhammad has written a very refreshing piece Comic History That’s No Joke for the New Straits Times yesterday. It is a belated - but still very welcome and relevant -public review of Where Monsoons Meet: A People’s History of Malaya which was published not only in English but also Malay and Chinese almost 30 years ago. Good history books are never outdated as truth is always timeless.

Director Amir seeks to lift ban on history film

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Came home late last night after attending a farewell party in KL for an Australian friend who is going back Down Under. Fortunately, there was no flash flood and the traffic was surprisingly smooth.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

By allowing Karen Armstrong to give public lecture in Kuala Lumpur while maintaining the official ban of her books is really a strange decision. What is even more strange is that while Karen Armstrong's books are still being officially banned, those authored by Professor Bernard Lewis (pix above) are not. Are Lewis' ideas on Islam and Middle Eastern affairs more compatible or in line with PM Abdullah's Islam Hadhari than those of Armstrong? If the answer is affirmative, why then has nobody in political power or with advisorial influence ever thought of inviting Lewis to Malaysia to give talks to the public ?

Book on religious pluralism launched in U.M.

Arbitrary 'system' of book censorship in M'sia

Peter Mansfield's A History of the Middle East

Gorbachev criticises US for "empire-building"

In a recent and rather rare interview with BBC, former leader of the now defunct Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev publicly criticised the US for "empire-building" and also being responsible for the current state of relations between Russia and the West which he thinks is "bad". Mikhail Gorbachev was also the winner of Nobel Peace Prize in 1990.

Russia regains self-consciousness under Putin

Resistance to fascism remembered in Europe

Demonisation of V.I. Lenin by Bush countered
The debate in Britain on whether it needs an inquiry into the Iraq War is quite reminiscent of the controversy surrounding the ignominous failure of the 1941-1942 Malayan Campaign. As WWII ended and the Cold War began, it was quickly and quietly swept under the carpet without any official inquiry conducted until Peter Elphick reopened the case with the publication of Singapore - The Pregnable Fortress and Odd Man Out - The Story of the Singapore Traitor in the 1990s.
Yesterday I reported the publication of Mr. Joe Conceicao's Singapore – The Many-headed Monster: A Perspective of the Riots of 1950, 1964 and 1969. As I have not read the book, I really cannot comment on it but it does seem to me that it is a healthy development toward societal maturity for Malaysians and Singaporeans to publicly explore historical issues like normal and true adults.

Pak Said's second memoirs now out in English

Progressive Malays against 'May 13' book ban

Monday, June 11, 2007

What is the relations between personal marriage and political leadership? How do these two forms of human activities interplay and impact upon each other positively or negatively ? Enjoy Evita.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Thinking about future for America after Bush

Fareed Zakaria, a very articulate editor of Newsweek and political commentator in the US has recently written, from the standpoint of an American, a thought-provoking reflection on the future of post-Bush America which, I think, deserves serious and critical reading.

Dr. Condoleezza Rice: America not in decline

Praiseworthy civic spirit in American society

Understand conservative power in America ...

Russia regains self-consciousness under Putin

Russia, under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin, seems to have restored a sense of national self-consciousness of its own history, values and interests in its conduct of international relations. Putin himself also appears to be self-confident and self-efficacious.

Building Russia as a force to be reckoned with

' Cold War ' returns to Russia-West relations ?

A shift in Eurasia's strategic balance of power

Dr. Condoleezza Rice: America not in decline

US Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice reportedly said that, despite the rise of China and India, the United States of America is not in decline. We can read and listen to the full speech addressed by Dr. Rice to the Economic Club of New York recently here and now.

Dr. Kissinger : rise of New China "inevitable"

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Admiral Mike Mullen as next US JCS Chairman

In Thomas E. Ricks' Fiasco - The American Military Adventure in Iraq (London, Penguin, 2007), Marine General Peter Pace as the then Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is only featured briefly in three occasions (pp.89, 124 & 168) and there is no entry of Admiral Mike Mullen in the index. Admiral Mullen is going to be the next Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff after the departure of Pace from the post in September.

General Peter Pace to leave as JCS Chairman

Just got up and found out that the serving Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine General Peter Pace who visited Kuala Lumpur just a few days ago would be leaving his current job in September although, according to CNN, he "had widely been expected to be re-nominated for a two-year term". Time has published a quick analysis.

AFP : US shuffles diplomats in Southeast Asia

Friday, June 08, 2007

Karen Armstrong to lecture in KL on 16 June

While I don't know if the ban on Ms. Karen Armstrong's books have been lifted by the Internal Security Ministry, she is certainly coming to Malaysia to deliver a public lecture On the Role of Religion in the 21st Century on 16 June 2007 (Saturday) , 10.00 am, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. A seat for me has been reserved through the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (IDFR).

John Esposito's Islam book back for sale in KL
The contents of the Bahasa Melayu section of the homepage of China Radio International (CRI) have improved and diversified so much in the last two years that it is now, in my observation and assessment, even better and more informative than its Bahasa Indonesia edition. China Radio International (CRI) also broadcasts in Arabic, Bengali, English, Hindi, Persian, Pushtu, Singhalese, Tamil and Urdu, etc.

New FM of China "a fluent speaker of English"

Indians and Indian cultural influence in China

Thursday, June 07, 2007

AFP : US shuffles diplomats in Southeast Asia

According to an AFP report, " the United States is shuffling its envoys in Southeast Asia as it strives to mend its battered image and put democracy and human rights back on top of its agenda in the region".

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Heartfelt congratulation to Pak Lah & Jeanne

Both my wife Po Chin and I agree that PM Abdullah and Ms. Jeanne have certainly made the right decision of inviting only close family members to attend their wedding on Saturday.

We married a year after I was elected as the Member of Parliament for Kampar in 1990 and to avoid being troubled by the many decisions of who to invite or not invite among hundreds of relatives and political supporters for yam-seng dinner, we made only one out-of-the-box decision to do away with it altogether and just flew to Beijing for a cheap seven-day honeymoon. We would now like to extend our heartfelt congratulation to Pak Lah and Kak Jeanne.

Has Zam agreed to Pak Lah marrying Jeanne ?

Has Zam agreed to Pak Lah marrying Jeanne ?

Honestly, I have no idea if PM Abdullah has already sought the prior permission from his 'Information' Minister Zainuddin Maidin to marry a woman with a partially 'Eurasian'-sounding name. Anyway, since Jeanne Abdullah is also a Muslim, any unhappiness, if there is any, on the part of Zam could be counter-charged by more cosmopolitan Muslims for being assabiyah or ethnic or tribal prejudice.

Wait and see-lah if Jeanne's name, images and voices can appear on the screens of RTM or any other mainstream media and advertising billboards under the jurisdiction of Zam's Ministry of 'Information'.

Pak Lah quizzed on marriage 'rumours'
U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Marine General Peter Pace who visited Kuala Lumpur two days ago gives the public impression of a personally decent, likable and scholar-like character despite the fact that he is the most senior and influential military adviser to the president and commander-in-chief of the sole superpower on earth.

General Pace visits Sun Yat Sen's Mausoleum

JCS Chair General Peter Pace's visit to China

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I used to have no taboo in diet and eat all types of food. However, two years ago, I was adviced by doctor to start controlling the level of cholesterol by cutting down or avoiding excessive intake of red meat and some other food such as quil's eggs, brain of pig or ox, egg yolk, cuttle fish, salted fish, lamb's livers, shell fish, squid, crabs and shripm prawns, etc. Last Sunday, I was cautioned by doctor against enjoying eating too much mixed pig organ porridge (猪杂粥)

Monday, June 04, 2007

In truly progressive societies, knowledge about history, like that of science and technology, is constantly updated with the appearance or availability of new data, information and perspectives. The many write-ups in the mainstream newspapers on the 50th anniversary of the 1957 lowering of the Union Jack in Kuala Lumpur have certainly not taken into accounts or considerations of the 1989 Malaysia-CPM Peace Accords .

The alternative insights into the processes of decolonisation of Malaya offered by the memoirs of Abdullah C.D., Chin Peng, Rashid Maidin, Suriani Abdullah , Abu Samah and Ibrahim Chik are simply swept under the carpet to make the official fairy tales feel good and look great. I really do not think even the writers of these secular rightwing myths themselves believe in what they have written.

Blind faith vs scientific reasoning on dossiers

My first reading of ' May 13 ' book completed

Why I dislike Prof. Khoo Kay Khim's posturing

Launching of Dr. Abraham's new history book

A Merdeka salute to martyr S.A. Ganapathy !

Abdullah C.D., Suriani remember R.G. Balan
Son : Dad, why can't you allow me to play table tennis and be a member of the table tennis club? I am an 25-year old adult now ... I really like table tennis and enjoy it very much ...

Father : Son, soccer is a more superior game ... table tennis is not a true sport ... I just want you to be good ...

Son : Dad, that soccer is a more superior game is your opinion which I respect but I really think table tennis is better ... I hope you also respect my opinion and choice as an adult with free and independent will vis-a-vis table tennis ....

Father : How dare you change from being soccer player when you were a kid to a table tennis entuasiast now ?

Son : Dad, when I was younger, I just followed you as your financially dependent child and thought that soccer was the only superior game in the world ...I believed that because you said so and there was no other sports played in our neighbourhood ... but after leaving home for four years and mixing with more people who play different types of games, I have discovered table tennis to be a far better game for myself to play than soccer .... Moreover, I am now financially independent enough not to like what you like, or to like what you don't like ...

Father : You are still my child ... you must not do what your father does not like ! You must give up table tennis and contine to play soccer as you had been doing when you were younger ...

Son : No, dad; I am now a 25-year old adult with independent personality and character ... I love table tennis out of my own free will ... no one has forced me ... also, no one has forced me to dislike soccer ... The law says after reaching 21, I am a citizen and adult who can elect a government by casting my secret vote for whatever parties and their candidates I like ...

Father : You mean you want to end our father-son relations? How dare you to be this ungrateful !

Son : No, dad ... I still love you and respect you as my father ... I am forever thankful to you for bringing me up .... we are still in one family ... it is just that you still love soccer and now I enjoy playing table tennis ...

Father : A father who love soccer cannot convince his son to be a soccer entuasiast ? All my soccer friends and fans will laugh at me !

Son : Those who laugh at you because of this are stupid fellows who cannot see the differences between form and essence ... despite different forms, both soccer and table tennis are sports in essence that make us strong physically ... you must not give in to their social pressure and mobbish opinion ... we don't live for them ... we live for ourselves first and foremost ...

Father : Yeah .... but if you are no longer a member of the soccer club, I will lose one vote in the election of the presidency of the Soccer Club next year ...well ... you can enjoy playing your table tennis secretly but keep your formal membership with the Soccer Club even though you don't play soccer anymore ...

Son : You mean the reason you want me to continue to play soccer and give up table tennis is because you need a vote for your Soccer Club presidential elections ?!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

I don't know if - or when - Professor John L. Esposito's What Everyone Needs To Know About Islam (New York, Oxford University Press, 2002) has officially been deleted from the list of banned books in Malaysia but I did buy a hardcover copy openly for reference and research at RM34.90 at Kinokuniya in KLCC yesterday. Nowadays, it is indeed difficult to get hardcover scholarly books imported from the US at such an affordable price.

John Esposito's Islam book back for sale in KL

New books on American IR in personal library

Peter Mansfield's A History of the Middle East