Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sissel Kyrkjebø' s Shenandoah very innerving

Norwegian soprano Sissel Kyrkjebø's Shenandoah is undoubtedly one of the best versions of the song I have enjoyed. Shenandoah was the first American folk song I learnt to sing when I joined the Boy Scout in Ipoh in the mid-1970s. I have recommended Shenandoah, which I stilll enjoy singing solo while in the bathroom, to Beng Ching's girls.

Song Zuying charms West with Mandarin song

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Song Zuying charms West with Mandarin song

At the recommendation of Xiao Qing, the daughter of my friend Beng Ching, I bought a DVD featuring one of most popular female singers in mainland China, Song Zuying (pix) who charmed many Westerners in Washington D.C., Sydney, Vienna and other parts of the world with her Jasmine Flower, a well-known and popular folk song in Mandarin. Nowadays, I really need the help of younger friends like Beng Ching's daughter to keep me updated regularly about the very fast-changing socio-cultural landscapes and youthful fashions or lifestyles in China.

Sultan Azlan Shah receives Flame of Olympia

Solidarity & tribute for International May Day

May Day is the day for working people of all ethnic communities and nationalities to express solidarity and to pay tribute to martyrs and forerunners of the modern and universal struggle for the betterment of the human conditions as well as to re-affirm the dignity of labour as labour is the true foundation or base of all civilisations on earth.

Old Ipoh honours D.R. Seenevasagam's legacy

Monday, April 28, 2008

Court in M' sia to decide name for One True X

The public dispute over whether Christians in Malaysia can legally use the Arabic word Allah for God in conceptualising and articulating One True X in the tradition of the Arahamic system of beliefs has recently been brought to the court for judicial settlement and it was captured in a video clip where Catholic priests, nuns and faithfuls can be seen turning up at the court on 25 April to show support for their lawyers.

'Creationism' in old Chinese New Year legend

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Rustam Sani' s books launched with memorial

After the launch of Rustam's books by Anwar Ibrahim, Rustam's young friends and fans expressed their condolences to Rustam's wife Rohani as well as their children Azrani and Ariani. Dr Colin Abraham, Lee Ban Chen, Dominique Puthucheary, Hishamuddin Rais, Professor Dato' Dr. Abdul Rahman Embong and many other esteemed teachers as well as cherished friends were present to witness the launch of Rustam's last books and to pay tribute to a truly towering intellectual of our nation.

Bidding farewell to old friend Rustam A. Sani

Condition for accepting Hishamuddin apology

May Clare Street propose that we wholeheartedly accept Umno Youth chief Hishamuddin Hussein's apology for repeatedly brandishing the keris publicly with a threatening message only if and when the Umno-predominated BN government releases all ISA detainees, especially the 5 HINDRAF leaders, without conditions or charge them in courts.

Indian martyrdoms for Malaya's independence

Friday, April 25, 2008

Free all ISA detainees without condition now

While the decision to renew the publishing permit of Makkal Osai is to be sincerely welcome as a positive measure taken by the Federal BN Government, it is also hoped that all ISA detainees, including the five HINDRAF leaders, would be freed without condition, or charged in open law courts. Indefinite period of detention without any public trial where there is the legal right to self-defence is not acceptable.

M' sian Tamil daily threatens racial harmony ?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bidding farewell to old friend Rustam A. Sani

Old friend Rustam Sani passed away suddenly early this morning and Hishamuudin Rais, Amir Muhammad, Sharaad Kuttan and me, among many other people of all races, went to his house to bid him farewell. I certainly remember Rustam not only as a cherished personal friend but also an esteemed public teacher who has, through his writings in the public domain and private exchanges of ideas, truly enriched my understanding of the progressive stream of modern, rakyat-centered and inclusive Malay nationalism, which contributed so much through blood and tear to the multi-ethnic anti-colonial struggle for Merdeka. My family and I would like to extend our deepest condolences to Sdr. Rustam's wife, Rohani as well as their children Azrani and Ariani and grandaughter, Arissa. Rest in peace, our beloved friend and teacher.

Anwar Ibrahim to launch Rustam Sani' s books

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Chin Peng' s homecoming case re-opens in KL

Today, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers or IADL reportedly said that the government’s refusal to allow CPM veteran Chin Peng’s return to Malaysia was "a political decision". Yesterday, Chin Peng's leading counsel Raja Aziz Addrus argued at the Court of Appeal that the High Court of Kuala Lumpur was wrong in compelling Chin Peng to produce his identification documents before proceeding with his legal action against the Malaysian Government based on the 1989 Peace Accords officially concluded between the Government of Malaysia and the Communist Party of Malaya in Thailand's Haadyai.

Chin Peng files appeal against ' origin ' ruling

Sultan Azlan Shah receives Flame of Olympia

The last and oldest Olympics Torch bearer in Kuala Lumpur yesterday HRH Sultan Azlan Shah (left) received the flame from HE Ambassador Cheng Yonghua (right) at KLCC amid downpour and cheering peoples. HRH Sultan Azlan Shah is also an educated jurist who is respected by Malaysians of all races, irrespective of political belief and affiliation.

Simon & Caroline wish Olympics 2008 success

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Multifaith prayer for Olympics safety, success

Led by The Most Ven K Sri Dhammaratana Maha Nayaka Thera (centre at front row), who is the Chief High Priest (of Buddhism) of Malaysia, 5 representatives of the Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh communities gathered at the Buddhist Maha Vihara in Brickfields this morning and jointly prayed for the (1) healing and peace in post-riot Tibet, (2) successful and smooth running of the Olympic Torch Relay tomorrow in Kuala Lumpur and other parts of the world, and also (3) successful implementation of the Olympic Games 2008 in capturing and harnessing the true essence of peace via good sportsmanship of all participating countries. About 300 people, including the daughter of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Marina, attended the prayer session.

HRH Sultan Azlan Shah to bear Olympic Torch

Saturday, April 19, 2008

HRH Sultan Azlan Shah to bear Olympic Torch

HRH Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak is going to be one of the eighty torch bearers for the Beijing Olympics flame in Kuala Lumpur on 21st April.

Essential guides to political system of Britain

Besides Sir T. Erskine May's Parliamentary Practice, there is also in my own personal collection the 1990 reprint of the Fifth Edition of The British Constitution and Politics ( London, MacMillion, 1982 ). I bought the 579-page book for personal self-improvement in a small old bookshop University Book Store (M) Sdn. Bhd. at the first floor of Lee Wah Bank Building in PJ's New Town Centre in 1992 when there were still no giant outlets like Kinokuniya or Borders in Malaysia yet.

Basic introduction to politics in United States

Friday, April 18, 2008

IKMAS seminar on 'Emergency' & New Villages

UKM's Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (IKMAS) will be hosting an Occasional Seminar titled Towards A History from Below: Some Reflections on the ‘Emergency’ Resettlement and New Villages in Malaya/Malaysia (1948-60) on 24 April (Thursday) from 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm at IKMAS Seminar Room in the university's Bangi campus.

The speaker will be Tan Teng Phee who is is a Post-Graduate Fellow at IKMAS from June 2007 to June 2008.

He commenced his PhD programme in April 2006 at the Asia Research Centre, Murdoch University, Western Australia. Born at Kuantan, Pahang, he have lived in several different Chinese New Villages, these life experiences have inspired him to explore the history of Chinese New Villages for his doctoral research. By adopting a social history approach, he attempting to reconstruct the other side of the historical story based on the perspectives of the New Villagers, and to examine how they responded to government policies and interacted with one another in the New Villages.

The Abstract of Teng Phee's presentation is given as follows:

"According to the British (and later the Alliance) Government, the Malayan ‘Emergency’ began on 16 June, 1948 and ended on 31 July, 1960. However, my field of study and point of entry, which entails collecting oral histories from New Villagers in peninsular Malaya/Malaysia, concerns a rather different sense of historical time and, in the process, recounts a very different story. I argue that for the rural populace of Malaya, the ‘Emergency’ only ‘occurred’ after the displacement, and relocation and resettlement of the population, largely but not exclusively Chinese. Therefore, both spatially and temporally, as well as physically and mentally, the local residents’ perspectives and experiences of the ‘Emergency’ obviously differed in perspective from the British colonial Government. Based on my one-year fieldwork, I hope to shed some revisionist light on the events surrounding displacement and relocation, using a history from below approach".

The seminar is open to all. For further information please call 8921-3205/4169 or 8921-3625.

Sole survivor of My Lai of Malaya passes away

Thursday, April 17, 2008

M' sian Tamil daily threatens racial harmony ?

According to Home Affairs Minister Syed Hamid Albar, the publishing permit of Tamil-language newspaper Makkal Osai (People's Voice) "is not extended" by the BN Federal Government because "it had violated guidelines threatening racial harmony". Could the Minister for Home Affairs be more specific with details by revealing "the guidelines" and naming the articles published by the Tamil daily which is said to have " threatened racial harmony " ? Thank you very much in anticipation.

Mammoth India' s newspapers, news agencies

MIC' s power and influence in BN government

As no Umno, MCA, Gerakan and other non-MIC ministers and deputy minister is known to be readers of Tamil-language newspapers, the only source of pressure for the BN government to close down Makkal Osai daily can only stem from within the Tamil-literate segment of MIC. Who says MIC has no power and influence in Barisan Nasional ? Among the 13 Indian Malaysians who have been elected as Members of Parliament, ten stands on the DAP/PKR platform while only three are affiliated with MIC and MIC's president Samy Vellu lost his seat.

Old Indian shares wisdom with young Chinese

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Malaysia now bans Tamil-language newspaper

The BN government's decision to ban the Tamil-language daily Makkal Osai certainly does not reflect PM Abdullah's new administration well, especially given the facts that : (1) no official reason has been given for the ban, (2) it is popularly believed, rightly or otherwise, that the Tamil newspaper is banned because it covered more or more positive news of the now Parliamentary Opposition and (3) 5 HINDRAF leaders are still being held without trial under the Internal Security Act (ISA). The fact that no official explanation is offered for the ban shows that the BN is still arrogant and many Malaysians certainly see it that way.

Encyclopaedia Britannica still not banned yet

Anwar Ibrahim to launch Rustam Sani' s books

Just called very old friend and a leading public intellectual in Malaysia Rustam A. Sani to thank him for the invitation for me to attend the launching of his two books by Anwar Ibrahim on 26 April (Sat) at the Selangor Public Library at 3.00 p.m., and to confirm my attendance. The two books are Social Roots of the Malay Left - An Analysis of the Kesatuan Melayu Muda and Failed Nation ? Concerns of a Malaysian Nationalist published in Petaling Jaya by Pak Chong Ton Sin's SIRD.

Revigorating Malaysia' s progressive tradition

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Heartfelt congratulation to Kai Ping & Bai Chi

Heartfelt congratulation and best wishes from James and family to our friends Yong Kai Ping and Chong Bai Chi for their joyous union.

Fathis Aris Omar now also quits bachelorhood

Estrada as a self-evidently praiseworthy man

Whatever the ethnic, or religious, or ideological background of Eli Estrada, what he has done is self-evidently good and praiseworthy. Of course, there are also bad guys like Warren Jeffs in all societies.

Praiseworthy civic spirit in American society

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Standard references for parliamentary affairs

Besides the Standing Order, the other reference for the procedures and conducts of parliamentary affairs to which some of us referred was the legendary Sir T. Erskine May's Parliamentary Practice which, inter alia, codifies many parliamentary norms as well as conventions of Britain. I still keep a copy of its 1139-page Sixteen Edition (1957) but I understand that newer and more updated editions are available. Sir T. Erskine May's Parliamentary Practice is not binding but it does serve as an excellent reference to understand some rules, procedures and practices like the motion to deduct the allowance of a minister by RM10, and also provide a normative framework of civilised conducts.

Friday, April 11, 2008

My new and only email account from now on

My new and only email address now is

Thursday, April 10, 2008

MCA condemns Umno for pig farms opposition

MCA's Selangor Chairman Ch’ng Toh Eng is quoted today by Sin Chew Daily as condemning its BN ally Umno for the latter's opposition to the modernisation of pig farming in the state. The former MCA Exco of Selangor also reportedly expresses his support for the new Selangor PR government on the project, affirming that MCA would not oppose (any policies of the new government) just for the sake of opposition.

Umno' s strategic choice affects BN allies' fate

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Domestic partisanship in USA' s foreign affairs

One of the observations Adrian Wooldridge makes clear in his Special Report on America and the World is that " (t)he most striking change in American foreign policy since the end of the Cold War is the rise in partisanship". What Major General David H. Petraeus encountered at the Capitol Hill yesterday just illustrates the point vividly once again.

Exploring post-Bush foreign policy of America

'His Holiness' awaits trials for sexual offences

In the news report on the raid on a 'Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints' in Texas in the US, Britain's Telegraph has also published some very clear photographs of the members of the apocalypse sect as well as its 'spiritual' leader Warren Jeffs (above) who is awaiting criminal trial for incest and sexual conduct with minors. It is illegal in Texas for girls younger than 16 to marry even with parental approval.

US polygamy sect leader Warren Jeffs sentenced

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Children saved from apocalypse sect in Texas

According to the Associated Press, more than 400 children in Texas were taken by the authorities into temporary state custody from a apocalypse sect, called 'Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints'. In 1993, US law enforcement agencies confronted another doomsday cult Branch Davidian also in Texas resulting in gunfights and deaths.

Social freedom for positive self-improvement

Monday, April 07, 2008

Exploring post-Bush foreign policy of America

The Special Report on America and the World attached to the 27 Mar edition of The Economist is very thought-provoking as writer Adrian Wooldridge clearly outlines all the critical issues in the foreign policy debates in the United States as well as its continuities and changes. It is balanced and fair because Wooldridge is truly knowledgeable on the subject and he knows that American politics and the process of foreign policy formulation and reformulation in that country is more complex and complicated than the ideas and behaviours of just one "satanic" or "moronic" Republican president inside the White House.

American views on world politics, 1989-2001

Sunday, April 06, 2008

New book of British historian Eric Hobsbawm

The flight back from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur today was delayed for two hours and during that period, I found, to my pleasant surprise, in a book outlet the softcover copy of British historian Eric Hobsbawm's latest collection of short essays titled Globalisation, Democracy and Terrorism (London, Abacus, 2008). The 91-year old Egypt-born Jew has been my favorite Western historian for many years since 1990s.

In memory of my Jewish teacher Herb Feith

End of my very unforgettable trip to Bangkok

My four-day budget trip to Bangkok was very fruitful and productive. Last night, some of us also gathered for a drink and friendly chats at the open-air cafe of the legendary Bangkok Oriental (above) which is situated on the bank of the charming and romantic Chao Phya River.

Friday, April 04, 2008

In Bangkok for exchange of viewpoints, ideas

I have been in Bangkok since yesterday afternoon at the invitation of some personal friends in the Thai academia who are also observers of Malaysian politics, and everyone of them is so keenly interested in what has happened since 8 March and the still unfolding development as well as the causes and possible implications and repercussions of the changed and shifting balance of powers and its basic dynamics. I will certainly listen patiently and attentively to what they have to say.

Government-Palace discords not new in M' sia

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Sole survivor of My Lai of Malaya passes away

According to last evening edition of today's Sin Chew Daily, the sole survivor of the 1948 Batang Kali Massacre Chong Hong passed away at 84 on 1 April at 3.00am at the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital. He is survived by his wife Tham Yong, 10 children and 16 grandchildren. Tham Yong, 77, is also an eyewitness of the cold-blooded killings of 24 unarmed Chinese civilians by colonial forces in the 'Emergency' and Alias Chin Peng: My Side of History recalls the episode in pp.239-243.

Farewell to past with truths & reconciliation

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

More doomsday cultists emerge from hideout

According to a BBC report, many more members of a doomsday cult in Russia have come out from the cave they have been hiding with the belief that the end of the earthly world would occur in May 2008.

'Creationism' in old Chinese New Year legend

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Abdul Rahman Embong re-elected PSSM chief

At the end of the academic seminar on the 2008 General Election held UKM, the PSSM held its Annual General Meeting and also election of its committee. Professor Dato' Dr. Abdul Rahman Embong (pix above) was returned as its president. I certainly feel honoured to have been invited to be a participant of the seminar and also an observer of the AGM and election although I have never been academically connected to UKM or a member of PSSM. I am also thankful for the ' free ' lunch.

Two top, pressing tasks for new governments

Don : common issues unite opposition in poll

According to Associate Professor Ghazali Mayudin (above), two main reasons Malaysians voted beyond and above the racial and religious paradigms are that more common or universal issues were raised by PKR, DAP and PAS and that ex-DPM Anwar Ibrahim provided unifying leadership for all. Dr. Ghazali Mayudin also reasoned that Anwar is now acceptable to all ethnic and religious groups in the discontented segment of the society and that how BN would respond and react to the debacle in a new political landscape has to be carefully observed

Don : democratisation not always neat & tidy

Don : democratisation not always neat & tidy

According to Dr. Mavis Puthucheary (above), the composition of the Members of Parliament (MP) of the PKR-DAP-PAS united front is very reflective of the social reality of Malaysian nation as the result of the breakdown of the ethnic divides and religious barriers in the recently concluded general election. But, whether the breakdown represents a permanent change of the political psychology or merely a momentary expression of common anger against BN is yet to be ascertained. The wife of legendary political economist James Puthucheary (1923-2000) also observed that democratisation is not always "neat and tidy" and that some differences among allies, if manageable, are quite normal.

Sixth dimension of current political situation