Monday, December 31, 2007

New Chinese- English dictionary makes debut

Retired English teacher Uncle Tham in Singapore told me while we met at Orchard Road's Kinokuniya yesterday morning that he finds the very new Chinese-English Dictionary published by China's Foreign Language Press truly useful and also easy to use but it may take a while for it to be available in bookshops in Malaysia and Singapore. Besides being an official language of the United Nations since 1945, Chinese is used by the largest number of people on earth, especially in the economically most vibrant areas of the contemporary world, namely mainland China and Taiwan as well as Hong Kong and Macau.

Mandarin-speaking Rudd to be new Aussie PM

Dr. Kissinger fascinated by Ms. Tang' s English

Abdullah Ahmad greets Imam Wang in mosque

Gov' t now renews church publication permit

In the face of a firestorm of criticisms, including those coming from the direction of progressive Muslims, the Malaysian government has reportedly backed down and renewed the annual publishing permit of The Herald without imposing any restriction on the use of words like 'Allah' in the Christian press. However, the New Straits Times has also reported Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharom as insisting that " even if the renewal is given, the publication would still not be allowed to use the word 'Allah' to refer to God" and other restricted words of Arabic origin include solat, kaabah and baitula. In June this year, a leading British scholar and writer on religions Karen Armstrong visited Malaysia and also delivered public lectures at the invitation of Foreign Ministry's Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (IDFR) while her books A History of God and The Battle for God were -and probably still are - banned officially by the Publications and Quranic Text Control Division of the Ministry of Internal Security.

Asia' s tallest Jesus statue unveiled in Indonesia

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Correct me if I am wrong: I really do not think there is any law, rule or regulation anywhere in the English-speaking world that prohibits Jews and Muslims from naming or calling their Supreme Being , 'God'.

'Allah' in M'sian public discourses, court cases

Saturday, December 29, 2007

'Allah' in M'sian public discourses, court cases

I read Farish Noor's Do Malaysian Muslims understand what 'Allah' means ? in Singapore's Straits Times yesterday in my friend's house at the Little Red Dot down here. Later on, I also perused with great interest my friend Raja Petra's A Christian 'anointed' Muhammad as Prophet. According to a report in International Harald Tribute, " a Malaysian church and a Christian weekly newspaper are suing the government for banning them from using the word 'Allah', alleging that the prohibition is unconstitutional and against freedom of religion ". Perhaps Karen Armstrong should visit Malaysia again to enlighten us on whether the One True X has registered and copy-righted Himself as 'God', or 'Allah', or 'Yawweh', or 'Shen', or 'Tian'.

Contesting sectarian monopoly of 'Allah' term

Friday, December 28, 2007

Very old Chinese merchant ship lifted ashore

I have been following on and off since two weeks ago TV news from China about the salvage works of Nanhai No.1. Now, it has finally been hoisted from the bottom of the sea and there would certainly be many more fascinating stories to be added to the 5000-year history of China once archaeologists and historians have examined, analysed and studied the ancient merchant ship of the Southern Sung Dynasty.

Communist 'masterminds' China' s lunar probe

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Going to Singapore tomorrow for three days to see whether there are any interesting and affordable new books in town and to visit friends.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Contesting sectarian monopoly of 'Allah' term

In its online edition, The Sun reported the editor of Catholic Church weekly The Herald, Rev. Lawrence Andrew as saying that "the use of the word 'Allah' to refer to God among Christians has been widely practised for generations in many countries and it is not meant to offend or confuse the Muslims". malaysiakini also reported Aliran, a multiethnic social reform movement in Malaysia, as observing and opining that "the term ‘Allah’ has been used for centuries without any problem or confusion" and "it has been the common term used by Muslims and Christians alike in the Arab world to refer to God". According to another report in malaysiakini, "a Sabah church has sued the government and Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in his capacity as internal security minister for not allowing the import of Christian literature from Indonesia containing the word ‘Allah’". The Malay/Indonesian-language Bible is also available online for free.

M' sia to proscribe Encyclopaedia Britannica ?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

In loving memory of father on Christmas' eve

When I was young, my father used to buy roast turkey slices from the Cold Storage at the end of Clare Street to add festive mood to the Christmas Eve family dinner. Even up till now, I still cannot figure out why the name of the bird is exactly the same with that of a country but what I have never forgotten is that father always enjoyed Bing Crosby's White Christmas which was then an iconic American song. I remember father also loved Doctor Zhivago 's theme song very much.

May Mrs. Sybil Kathigasu' s spirit shine forever

Friday, December 21, 2007

M' sia to proscribe Encyclopaedia Britannica ?

According to Encyclopædia Britannica, "Allah is the standard Arabic word for 'God' and is used by Arab Christians". So, should we believe and trust Encyclopaedia Britannica or PM Abdullah's Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharum on the normal and legitimate usage of the Arabic word الله ? Will the government of Malaysia proscribe or censor Encyclopaedia Britannica under the 1984 Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) on the ground that it "confuses" Malaysians ? By the way, James dan sekeluarganya ingin mengucapkan Selamat Hari Natal kepada masyarakat pengikut-pengikut Yesus Kristus atau Kristian yang berpendidikan serta berbahasa Malaysia dan Indonesia.

M' sian Christian Federation chides UMNO MPs

M' sia bans another scholarly book on Islamism

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Abdullah CD shares joy with Aziz Shamsuddin

At the private wedding dinner held at Crown Plaza Mutiara Hotel in Kuala Lumpur City last Sunday evening, veteran communists Abdullah CD and Suriani Abdullah (nee Eng Ming Ching) were also greeted by a close family relative of another legendary communist Rashid Maidin (1917-2006), Abdul Aziz Shamsuddin (right) who is also the serving Minister for Rural and Regional Development and MP for Shah Alam as well as former political secretary to ex-PM Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

Pak Rashid' s brother-in-law Cao Qi Tai passes

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Abdullah CD, Hanif Omar exchanges greetings

A close-up photograph of veteran communist Abdullah CD exchanging greetings with ex-IGP Hanif Omar at a private wedding dinner held at Crown Plaza Mutiara Hotel in Kuala Lumpur City last Sunday evening.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ex-IGP Hanif meets veteran communists in KL

Besides Perak's Sultan Azlan Shah and Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah, Abdullah CD and Suriani Abdullah (nee Eng Ming Ching) also encountered ex-IGP Hanif Omar (right) at the private Malay wedding dinner held last Sunday evening at Crown Plaza Mutiara Hotel in Kuala Lumpur which I also attended. On the left is a relative of Abdullah CD, Abdul Karim.

Launching of Dr. Abraham' s new history book

Monday, December 10, 2007

Veterans of CPM attend wedding dinner in KL

At a private Malay wedding dinner held last Sunday evening at Crown Plaza Mutiara Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, two veterans of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) viz Abdullah CD and Suriani Abdullah ( nee Eng Ming Ching ) became the focus of guests' attention immediately after the host personally announced - with pride - their presence. Perak's Sultan Azlan Shah and Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah also attended the dinner.

Abdullah CD' s Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house

Lee Meng thanks counsel P.G. Lim from heart

Abdullah CD & Eng Ming Ching visit homeland

In the early morning of last Sunday, I met and greeted two veterans of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM), Abdullah CD and his wife Suriani Abdullah (nee Eng Ming Ching) who attended a private Malay wedding dinner later in the evening at Crown Plaza Mutiara Hotel in downtown Kuala Lumpur. They arrived at Kuala Lumpur by car from their kampung in southern Thailand at about 11.00 pm last Saturday and they were in good physical as well as psychological conditions.

Chin Peng files appeal against 'origin' ruling

1989 Malaysia-CPM Peace Accords in letters

Mammoth India' s newspapers, news agencies

A learned friend of mine on the other side of the Causeway has just told me that there are more than 40,000 newspapers and 40 domestic news agencies in India and that English is only one of the more than 100 languages normally used to dissseminate news and to articulate public opinions by the very free, vibrant and competitive media in the second most populous country on earth for its 1.12 billion people.

Rafidah Aziz chews out Sharanya Manivannan

5000-year Indian history & culture in nutshell

Saturday, December 08, 2007

M' sian Christian Federation chides UMNO MPs

Amid the widespread anger in the Hindu community in Malaysia over the insensitive domolition of Hindu temples, the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) chief Rev. Paul Tan Chee Ing also released a public statement yesterday reproaching two UMNO MPs who called for the removal of crucifixes in mission schools. In its August (2007) edition, the Catholic Asian News (CAN) published a 50-year dossier of cases and impacts of Islamisation on the multi-ethnic Christian community. There were some 2.1 billion Christians throughtout the world in 2001.

Time/CNN on national identity crisis in Malaysia

Economist on M'sia's tall buildings, narrow minds

Friday, December 07, 2007

Full text of controversial historian' s apology

The full text of University of Malaya's Professor Emeritus (now also a serving Suhakam Commissioner) Dato's Dr. Khoo Kay Kim's apology to the co-authors of Alias Chin Peng: My Side of History ( Singapore, Media Masters, 2003 ), Ian Ward and Norma Miraflor, as published in an advertisement in the latest edition of the Ipoh Echo, is as follows:


On 24.8.2007, at a public seminar entitled “Perak’s Contribution to Merdeka”, held at the Syuen Hotel and jointly organised by the National Archives and Perak Academy, I, Dato’ Dr. Khoo Kay Kim, had in answer to a question from the floor, stated that Mr. Ian Ward, co-author of the book Alias Chin Peng: My Side of History, was an MI5 agent.

I hereby unreservedly withdraw all imputations made by me upon the character, conduct and professional work of Mr. Ian Ward.

My statement was not supported by any credible source or authority and was therefore, wholly untrue and erroneous. I acknowledge that there was no foundation in my statement.

I wish to take this opportunity of unreservedly withdrawing the statement and all imputations upon Mr. Ian Ward and to express my sincere regret and apologies for having made such a statement.

I also apologise to Mr. Ian Ward’s wife and co-author of Alias Chin Peng: My Side of History, Norma Miraflor, for the embarrassment my improper remarks have caused her.

I understand that this notice will only ameliorate but cannot wholly undo the damage done to Mr. Ian Ward’s reputation by my unwarranted and unfair pronouncement.

Dato’ Dr. Khoo Kay Kim
Professor Emeritus
University of Malaya,
Kuala Lumpur

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Rafidah Aziz chews out Sharanya Manivannan

According to a news report in The Star, Umno's women wing chief and Malaysia's Minister of International Trade and Industry Rafidah Aziz was reported as expressing "shock" at the allegation of "apartheid" in Malaysia made by a bilingual Indian poet Sharanya Manivannan, who has the personal experience of living in Malaysia for seventeen years, in the Mumbai-based English newspaper Daily News & Analysis (DNA). Following the publication of the personal interview in DNA on Nov 28 (Wed), Sharanya Manivannan also penned The Malaysian Apartheid for publication in south India's New Indian Express on Dec 4 (Tues).

Indian gov't officially summons M' sian envoy

5000-year Indian history & culture in nutshell

M' sian professor apologises to Aussie authors

So, Professor Emeritus Dr. Khoo Kay Kim has publicly apologised in a paid advertisement published in the latest edition of Ipoh Echo to Mr. Ian Ward (pix above) and Ms. Norma Miraflor for making a remark in public that Mr. Ward "was a MI5 agent". The well-known historian and government-appointed Suhakam commissioner has also retracted the statement that he now concedes to be "not supported by any credible source or authority" and "was therefore wholly untrue and erroneous".

Nanyang Siang Pau now agrees to serialise Chin Peng’ s memoirs

Australian journalists' suit against Nanyang Siang Pau: two issues

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Indian gov' t officially summons M' sian envoy

According to The Times of India, India's Ministry of External Affairs officially summoned Malaysia' s Acting High Commissioner (Norlin Othman) in New Delhi on 3 December (Monday) to convey to KL the "widespread concern in India" over the plights of Indian Malaysians.

Syed Hamid: Indian gov't should not interfere

India "concerned" over M' sian Indians' plights

US defends right to peaceful protests in M'sia

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Merry Christmas to our relatives, neighbours, teachers, students and friends of all skin colours and nationalities from James and family ...

5000-year Indian history & culture in nutshell

Do we Malaysians really understand Indian history and culture besides Deepavali or Diwali, Thaipusam, Ais Moru, Mee Goreng or Rebus, Roti Canai, Bollywood, MIC and Samy Vellu, IPF, PPP and Hindraf ? If we don't or we think we don't, then it is time to strenghten our knowledge of the 5,000 years of Indian history and culture which is one of the greatest civilisations in the world and the new book of Anjana Motihar Chandran has provided such a window.

Published ealier this year by Marshall Cavendish in Singapore, India Condensed - 5000 Years of History & Culture provides a very concise account of the Indian civilisation that can be dated back to the Indus Valley Civilisation in the period of 2800-1900 BC and how it evolved and finally progressed into a modern and secular republic which has also become an economic power of the 21st century like New China.

The 190-page book succinctly covers all elemental topics like history, religions, people and languages, literature, folktales and proverbs, arts and crafts, performing arts, inventions and medicines, Hindu calender, contemporary domestic politics and international relations. India Condensed - 5000 Years of History & Culture, if read positively as a contribuion to civilisational dialogue - and not negatively as a manifesto of "chauvinism" - is indeed a good and timely book to be recommended for all broad-minded people who see cultural pluralism as a social asset to be valued and cherished and not an obscurantist liability to be destroyed by bulldozers or razed to the ground by mobs.

Indians and India's cultural influence in China

Sunday, December 02, 2007

M' sian reaction to Tak Bai protest crackdown

According to one news reports archive, " Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he phoned (Thailand's) Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to express concern and tell him that Malaysia was watching very closely what is happening (in southern Thailand) " after the then government of Thailand under the administration of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra brutally broke up a Muslim protest in Tak Bai in southern Thailand in October 2004.

Malaysia's prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was further quoted by, among other newspapers of the world, Korean Herald as pointing out that " I have also expressed my feelings that in the month of Ramadan, incidents of this nature can bring a lot of unhappiness and create anger and animosity among members of the community ". All the protestors killed, maimed and arrested were citizens of Thailand.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Syed Hamid: Indian gov't should not interfere

In responding to India's official position as expressed by its prime minister Manmohan Singh and foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee that it is "concerned" over the plights of Malaysian citizens of Indian origin, Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar (pix) has been reported by The Star as stating that "the Malaysian Government will deal with (its own) citizens according to its laws and no other country should interfere with how Kuala Lumpur handles its domestic affairs".

Given the emotive intensity of the issue of Indian plights in Malaysia that has been aroused in India, especially in the state of Tamil Nadu, whether the central government, NGOs, political parties and leaders, legislators and mass media in India would simply accept Malaysia's response on the issue without question remains unclear at this point.

Moreover, what is certainly not insignificant is a general or guiding principle of India's foreign policy as stated by PM Manmohan Singh that "whenever Indian citizens abroad or people of Indian origin are adversely affected, it's a cause of concern (for India's government)". India's Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee has also reaffirmed the general or guiding principle of India's foreign policy in the Parliament in New Delhi that " the (Indian) government remains deeply solicitous for the welfare of people of Indian origin living abroad ".

So, in the face of Malaysian objection or protest, would the central government of India back down in violation of one of its own publicly stated general or guiding principle of foreign policy and at the risk of incurring the popular wrath or displeasure of the Indian nation as well as the even larger Indian Diaspora throughout the world ? And, if the central government of India decides not to back down, what ways and means are available and to be used to achieve its avowed objective ? What diplomatic or political resources are available and to be used on the part of the Malaysian government for self-defence or retaliation ?

India "concerned" over M' sian Indians' plights

According to latest news reports in Hindustan Times, The Times of India, Reuters India and Bloomberg, Indian PM Manmohan Singh (pix) and FM Pranab Mukherjee have expressed in the public their country's "concern" over the plights of Indian Malaysians and said the Indian government is "in touch" with the Malaysian authorities on the issue. Whether the official statements made by India's prime minister and foreign minister will be construed and responded as interference into its domestic affairs by Malaysia's government remains to be seen.

Sharanya Manivannan' s Malaysian experience

M' sian Hindu rally stirs passion in Tamil Nadu

Sharanya Manivannan' s Malaysian experience

Daily News & Analysis (DNA), India's fastest-growing Mumbai-based English-language newspaper which caters mainly for educated youths, recently published a personal interview with 22-year old bilingual poet Sharanya Manivannan on her feelings, experiences and observations as a former resident of Malaysia for 17 years. Sharanya now lives in Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu state which was known as Madras.

India' s Tamil Nadu MPs support chief minister