Tuesday, October 31, 2006

PKR's forum on New Economic Policy in Ipoh

Not too long after I arrived at my hometown Ipoh in the evening of 29 Oct (Sun), I attended a Parti KeADILan Rakyat's public forum on the New Economic Policy (NEP) and the direction (or the lack of it) of the state of Malaysian political economy held at the premise of Yuk Choy Old Boys' Association as an independent guest speaker. The 98-year old Yuk Choy is the oldest Chinese-language school in Ipoh.

Speaking on the same panel with me were PKR's national vice president Dr. Lee Boon Chye (second from left), its Perak youth leader accountant Vincent Chun (left) and moderator S.K. Chua (second from right). S.K. Chua is also a political staff of Dr. Lee and he can be contacted via 019-3523864 or quanto76@yahoo.com

Interview with Dr. Lee Boon Chye (in Chinese)

NEP beyond doubt a elitist class instrument

NEP will destroy the Malays

Nation in hands of 'school kids'

Time for a non-race based agenda

Anwar: Time to suspend NEP

Scrap NEP: Anwar’s message to voters

Bumiputera privileges must end, says Anwar

Good old man and "mob" chief Pak Haji Salleh

Pak Haji Salleh, a retired Parliamentary Clerk to the Speaker of Dewan Rakyat, also visited Anwar Ibrahim's Hari Raya Open House. We know each other since October 1990 after I swore in as the Member of Parliament for Kampar of the 8th Parliament. He was one of the first angry and slogan-chanting protestors who gathered at Anwar's house after the latter was sacked on 18 September 1998.

The bilingual Pak Haji Salleh was - and still is - an expert in parliamentary proceedings and its Standing Order as well as the working the system of government in Malaysia. He has been an active member of KeADILan since its inauguration in April 1999.

Free Anwar

Catching up with good old friend Rustam Sani

In Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim Hari Raya Aidilfitri Open House, I also met up old friend, fellow blogger and social scientist Rustam Sani who is kind and charitable enough to hyperlink my blog to his own.

Three bloggers meet by chance ...

Last Sunday (29 Oct), three Malaysian bloggers met by chance at one point of time in ex-DPM and another fellow blogger Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim's Hari Raya Aidilfitri Open House: New Straits Times' former Editor-in-Chief Datuk Kadir Jasin (left), myself (center) and Parti KeADILan Rakyat's information chief Tian Chua (right).

Anwar Ibrahim

Tian Chua

A. Kadir Jasin

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Pak Said in very good conditions ...

Just came back from Pak Said's Hari Raya Open House. He is in very good conditions even after his recent operations on his knees. Most of us close friends and neighbours certainly missed Makcik Salmah.

I am so sorry but there is really no conspiracy

Last night, the lastest entry in my blog tentatively titled Pro-Mahathir alternative media's achievement disappeared from public view after I tried to fix my blogging system. I do not know how best to describe the problem as I am never an expert in IT but I did call up sifu Jeff Ooi to explain it to him as best as I could hoping he could help me to solve the problem. So, there is no conspiracy whatsoever. If anyone such as the SBs had somehow downloaded the entry which appeared for a few hours, it would be very kind of him or her to email me back so that I could upload it again. Thank you very much in anticipation.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Home sweet home ...

This coming Sunday (29 Oct), I will balik kampung to my lovely hometown Ipoh to join an opposition Parti KeADILan Rakyat (PKR) public forum with its Vice President and UK-trained heart specialist Dr. Lee Boon Chye (李文材医生) as well as PKR's Perak youth leader accountant Vincent Chun (郑永森会计师) and to explore the theme of Chinese Malaysian politics in a fast-changing multiethnic society.

The public forum is going to be held at the premise of the Yuk Choy Old Boys' Association at 13A, Jalan Chung On Siew. For more information, please call Ginie Lim: 012-6693453

I have personally known Dr. Lee Boon Chye (picture above) since the days of the Reformasi when we often seriously discussed the changing situations and the short-, middle- and long-run implications for the Chinese Malaysian community in a multiethnic nation. Finally, he was convinced by Ireland-trained eye specialist Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to join the then newly inaugurated Parti KeADILan Nasional (PKN) which has become Parti KeADILan Rakyat (PKR) after the successful merger with Parti Rakyat.

I once asked him why did he, being a successful man in private life and professional career, not join the Chinese-based ruling parties such as MCA, he said it would have wasted his youth and life because these parties have long lost their governing capability and political integrity as they are essentially window-dressing puppets of Umno.

For him, political participation is a loss-making moral committment, not profit-generating business investment.

Like me, Dr. Lee is also trilingual and we essentially and firmly agree that while we must unapologetically defend the legitimate rights, dignity and honour of the Chinese (as well as Indian, Iban, Kadazan, Eurasian and Orang Asli) community, we must also empathise with the genuine hope and aspiration of the ordinary Malays and not to mix them up conceptually or emotionally with the Umnoputras who marginalise not only the non-Malays but also many non-Umno Malays.

Not being an unprincipled populist, Dr. Lee is often statesmanly enough to speak or write in the Chinese-language to promote inter-ethnic and inter-religious mutual respect. Civilisational dialogue is, for him, not lectures to be conducted only within universities but also a daily committment and practice in the streets.

Meanwhile, I will also seize the opportunity to go home and enjoy the herbal soup cooked by mother for her son who has, unfortunate for her, become a public property since that fateful day of 27 October, 1987. I will also tell her more stories about my trip to Guangzhou.

Interview with Dr. Lee Boon Chye (in Chinese)

NEP beyond doubt a elitist class instrument

NEP will destroy the Malays

Nation in hands of 'school kids'

Time for a non-race based agenda

Anwar: Time to suspend NEP

Scrap NEP: Anwar’s message to voters

Bumiputera privileges must end, says Anwar

Thursday, October 26, 2006

New China positions for next transformation

In my visits to book markets in Guangzhou City and Shenzhen, I observed that younger generations in China are very keen to learn foreign languages, especially English. In China, children are taught English as a subject itself beginning from primary schools and there is now a serious plan being undertaken to utilise Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to provide quality and children-friendly online English-language education to adik-adik in rural areas.

Books on overseas travelling and other countries' geography, history, climate, culture and other features also seemed to sell very well. Knowledge of information and communication technology and the use of computers and mobile telephones are widespread on the ground.

These social trends, I believe, provide the launching pad or groundwork for the next stage of China's economic transformation and also signal a great generational shift in China's social, economic and political structures at all levels. Time and tide wait for no man.

Passion of reading among youths in Shenzhen

A mammoth, crowded hyper-market of books

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Passion of reading among youths in Shenzhen

Earlier, I also visited a 'smaller' book supermarket (whose name I have, unfortunately, forgotten) in Shenzhen on 12 October. The popular passion of reading books was the same as what I personally witnessed and strongly felt two days later in Guangzhou Book-Selling Center. It's amazing to see in those book markets that even highly scientific and technological subjects like microbiology and aeronautics can be articulated, written, studied and discoursed in the Chinese language whose usefulness was once wrongly thought or irresponsibly said to be limited to reciting Confucian classics or Poems of the Tang Dynasty, or spreading communist 'propaganda'.

Monday, October 23, 2006

A mammoth, crowded hypermarket of books

No ultra-modern hypercampus is meaningful and productive if the people in general, especially youths, are not passionate in the quest for knowledge. Fortunately, socialist China's development of educational hardware is also complimented by a popular desire to acquire knowledge for self-improvement through reading books. In the morning of 14 October (Sat), I was indeed overawed by the sight of the size of the crowd shopping for books in the five-level hypermarket called Guangzhou Book-Selling Center at the Tianhe Road.

According to information provided by the Center on its official homepage, since it first began to operate on 23 November, 1994, 70 million people have visited the shop and it has sold 62 million copies of books. It is also said that the Guangzhou Book-Selling Center is the largest retail book market in the whole of China.

What interested me the most in the hybermarket were those Chinese-language translation of Western writings on politics like Thomas Paine's Common Sense and Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.

The translated editions are usually cheaper than those published in the English-language outside China because of the economy of scale and for multilingual but poor people like me who are interested only in the ideas and lines or modes of reasoning of the authors, whether written in Chinese or English, it helps to save a great deal of money.

Passion of reading among youths in Shenzhen

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A very neighbourly Open House for Deepavali

Last night, my neighbour Selvam and Lina hosted a Deepavali open house party that lasted until 3.00 p.m this morning with plenty of food, drink and multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-national friendship because Lina (second from right) is a Filipino Catholic.

I always enjoy conversing with Filipinos because I used to visit Manila since 1985 as an Australian student activist, campaigner for East Timor's national self-determination, media forum speaker (once together with the always-more-patriotic-than-thou Datuk Rejal Arbee) as well as senior journalist (left) who covered the 1996 APEC Summit which was attended by the ex-Presidents of China and US, Jiang Zemin and Bill Clinton.

There are always romantic and nostalgic stories, like singing and marching with the anti-Marcos masses in the streets of Manila on 14 Feb, 1986, the life living in University of the Philippines' Diliman campus (left) while attending the 1st Asia-Pacific Conference on East Timor (APCET1) in June 1994 and the many political and ideological debates in pubs (and glad to come out safe and alive everytime), to recall and share.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Said Zahari's HR Open House on 29 Oct (Sun)

Pak Said has been out of the hospital since Thursday and when I called him in his house just now, I found his voice very spirited.Of course, he, being an old and true friend of New China even in the 1950s and 1960s when it was not prudent in Malaya/Malaysia and Singapore to be so, asked me many questions about my recent trip there. I reported to him as truthfully as possible what I saw, heard and felt during my trip to Guangzhou.

As a matter of fact, I have always been telling younger, richer and more educated friends in China that they must never forget the many trials and tribulations of old and true friends of New China like Pak Said who had sacrificed so much personally for solidaritising with the struggle of their grandparents and parents for a new nation and progressive society.

Meanwhile, my Mandarin-speaking neighbour and former editor-in-chief of Utusan Melayu has also asked me to extend on his behalf invitation to all friends and neighbours of all stations of life, races and religions/belief-systems, young and old, to share the joy of Hari Raya Aidilfitri in his open house at No. 28, Jalan USJ 11/2A, 47630 Subang Jaya, on 29 October (Sun) from 11.30 a.m to 3.30 p.m.

Radio Antarabangsa China

Friday, October 20, 2006

HR Open House of Anwar Ibrahim, Dr. Azizah

According to my friend Ginie Lim (left), former DPM Anwar Ibrahim and Parti KeADILan Rakyat (PKR) president Dr. Wan Azizah will host their Hari Raya open house on 29 October (Sunday) from 2.30 p.m to 6.30 p.m at No.8, Jalan Setiamurni 1, Bukit Damansara,Kuala Lumpur. All are welcome. For further information, please call Ginie: 012-6693453 or Nik Nazmi: 012-2789548.

Meanwhile, allow me to share the joy of Tok Guru Nik Aziz of reuniting with his son Nik Adli who has recently been released from detention without trial under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri . Maaf Zahir Batin

Parti KeADILan Rakyat

Anwar Ibrahim's Blog

Tian Chua's Blog

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Delivering lectures to China's undergraduates

On 9 and 10 Oct, I delivered two lectures, titled A Historical Perspective of American International Relations in Southeast Asia and Mass Media and International Relations respectively, to Sun Yat-Sen University's International Relations (IR) undergraduates and in the afternoon of 9 October, I also led a tutorial discussion with a class of the university's postgraduate students. I dedicate that honoured moment in my life to my father Wong Keng Fai (1924-1985).

My post- graduate students in SYS University

In the afternoon of 9 October, I led a tutorial discussion on a paper States, Firms, and Diplomacy written by a well-known British political economist, the late Professor Susan Strange (1923-1998) (left) with a class of Sun Yat-Sen University's postgraduate students of International Relations (IR). Differences of perspectives and viewpoints were frankly aired and critically discoursed.

I myself, for example, do not quite agree with some of the 'neo-liberal triumphalist' points made by Strange in her 1992 paper. Also participating in the tutorial was Associate Professor Dr. Zhang Zuxing (second from right, front row above) of the university's School of Politics and Public Administration. He visited UKM before.

The students in their twenties later took me to a Sichuan restaurant outside the campus and on the bank of the Pearl River. We had an enjoyable dinner and another round-table exchange of ideas.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Buddha as an universal teacher of humankind

China is a land of ethnic, cultural, religious and philosophical diversity but the universal teachings on moderation and detachment of Buddha learnt by the Chinese people from India in ancient time occupy a unique position of being, together with philosophical Taoism and secular Confucianism, one of the three core elements of the cultural identity and value-system of traditional Chinese.

However, it is an inclusive Christian, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, who is politically respected by all Chinese, including Taoists, Confucianists, Buddhists and Muslims, as the Father of Modern China. In modern and contemporary China, the State is secular and religion is strictly a private matter not to be mixed or messed up with earthly politics.

On 12 October, I visited the Beautiful China or Jin Xiu Zhong Hua theme park in Guangzhou which exhibits a replica of a giant statue of Buddha found on the ancient Silk Road linking China with Europe through Central Asia, including northern Afghanistan.

Elderly Ma Family's Restaurant in Guangzhou

After I had finished shopping at the Guangzhou Books Selling Center on 14 October, I had my lunch in the nearby Muslim restaurant which sells halal beef noodles cooked with spicy soup.

Needless to say, Elderly Ma Family's Restaurant does not allow customers to bring into its compound any alcoholic drink or haram food but still there are many customers, Muslims and non-Muslims alike (including Communists), patronising the restaurant.

According to Xiao Ma (the youth who wears a white cap in the picture above) who operates as the cashier-cum-waiter, many tourists and businessmen from the Middle East and Indonesia also like to patronise his family's restaurant. Ma is a common Chinese-character surname of many Muslims in China and Islam or Hui Jiao is also known as The Religion of Clarity and Truth or Qing Zhen Jiao in the Chinese language used in China.

China Radio International (CRI) in Malay

China Radio International (CRI) in Indonesian

China Radio International (CRI) in Arabic

Monday, October 16, 2006

Visiting ancient Great Mosque of Guangzhou

The Great Guangzhou or Huai Sheng Mosque is located at the Guangta Road in the original downtown of Guangzhou City. According to the Mosque's own historical record, it was built in the early Tang Dynasty (618-907). On 11 October, 2006, my friend in China, Xiao Yang took me to visit the very ancient, solemn and Chinese-style architecture which is now under National Heritage Protection of the Central Government in Beijing.

Pollution and other problems in Guangzhou

Despite the amazing or even awesome rate of economic development and social transformation which have changed the material lives of millions of people for the better, New China is certainly still not a problem-free paradise on earth as portrayed by its overzealous well-wishers. Air pollution, other forms of enviromental degradation, traffic jam and the rise of crime rate (including snatch theives on motorbikes) are undeniably in existence.

However, these problems are now openly and honestly acknowledged, discussed and debated, and it is also being seriously handled by the authorities. I wish to thank my Chinese friends who extended invitation for this foreigner from Malaysia* to share some critical observations of two-cent worth. Many agree with me that Singapore has been doing very well in managing and overcoming these problems and it is an example to be learned and a model to be emulated.

* The topmost picture above was taken on 9 October, 2006 with the famous and legendary Pearl River as the background. The city center of Guangzhou is located north of the river bank.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

A multiethnic, multinational campus in China

The Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, which invited me as a Visiting Scholar to deliver two lectures on international relations to undergraduates and one tutorial on theories of international political economy to postgraduates, is actually a relatively multinational and multiethnic campus as it enrols about 1,000 overseas students from Africa, Central Asia, Southeast Asia (like Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos) and East Asia (including Japan and South Korea) every year. Guangzhou itself has been a very cosmopolitan city for many years.

Muslims and Muslim food in Guangzhou City

Just had my breakfast outside the hotel in a Muslim food stall nearby. Traditional Northwest Food is of the scale of a small mamak stall in Malaysia and it sells halal beef- and mutton- noodles cooked with spicy soup. No alcohol and non-Muslim food are allowed inside the stall's compound.

According to its Chinese-speaking boss-cum-waiter, this kind of Muslim food stalls are so numemous in Guangzhou that it has become part and parcel of the normal society for the past few hundred years. His daughter, who serves as the cook, wears a piece of scarf. Otherwise, both the father and daughter look and sound like any other Chinese in China, Malaysia, Singapore and other parts of the world.

The boss also told me that his family actually originates from the Great Northwest and his late grandfather, also a Muslim, was an oppressed and poor peasant who joined Chairman Mao's Red Army when they passed by his village during the historic 25,000-li Long March in 1934-1936.

Muslims in China is also known as the Hui people.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

My Indian neighbours in a hotel in Guangzhou

Since yesterday, I have been staying in the three-star Guo Mao Hotel in Guangzhou City. The neighbouring room has been used by a group of young, smartly-dressed and English-speaking Indian businessmen from India. They told me they and many other fellow Indian nationals came to Guangzhou to attend the 100th Guangzhou Trade Fair (the Guangzhou Trade Fair is held twice a year in April and October for the past 50 years) and to source raw materials as well as products for the booming Indian markets.

At 7.30 pm just now, the current affairs programme of the Guangzhou English TV Channel also interviewed a Cantonese- and English-speaking Indian expat and his wife to introduce to the Chinese various aspects of Indian culture like the art of using the hand to eat rice and how long would it take for a typical and normal Indian woman to put on her colourful sari.

Finally, two equally ancient and great civilisations, which were once so weakened by internal degeneration and external subjugation as to become Western colony or semi-colony, have developed into modern economic power-houses of the world in the 21st century and accelerated more and more people-to-people co-operations.

As I have often pointed out, the Chinese civilisation itself had been enriched a great deal by many positive elements of Indian culture such as the philosophical and spiritual idea of detachment as taught by Buddha and his early disciples. Some deities in Chinese's traditional Taoist-Buddhist belief-system such as the Monkey King and Kwan Yin (goddess of mercy and compassion) are, in fact, of Indian origins.

China Radio International (CRI) in Tamil

Premier Wen announces new name for Canton Fair

Reading malaysiakini in Guangzhou City

I am now in a super-size and 24-hour cybercafe or wang ba (with at least 300 sets of computer systems for surfing, playing games and other purposes) near the West Gate of the Institute of Overseas Chinese Studies of Jinan University along Guangyuan Highway in Guangzhou City.

There is no problem at all in accessing to Malaysian websites, including malaysiakini in Malay, Chinese and English, the Chinese-language Merdeka Review and RPK's Malaysia Today as well as Suara KeADILan and Harakah Daily.

There is also no registration of customers' personal identity: just pay 10 yuan (about RM5) at the counter manned by a Cantonese- and Mandarin-speaking girl of school-going age, terus masuk without question and use the computers.

The absolute majority of the customers are youths in their 20s and 30s. Like their peers in Malaysia, Singapore and probably all parts of the world, young customers of cybercafe are fascinated by electronic games and entertainment programmes in the cyberspace.

By the way, Malaysia and Guangzhou share the same time zone and this entry is uploaded in the cybercafe.

China Radio International (CRI) Online

p/s To be frank, Guangzhou City has also been very hazy because of industrial pollution caused by socially irresponsible owners and managers of factories as well as the increasing number of private vehicles and public transports. Air pollution and traffic jam are Siamese Twins in many newly industrialised or industrialising countries with rare and notable exceptions like Singapore.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Visiting Dr. Sun Yat-Sen's old house ...

I am now in ACK Cyber Convention Center in Shenzhen after spending a day to tour the fishing village-turned-metropolitan city. My friend has just told me that we are going to visit an old house of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen tomorrow. Guangdong enjoys the honour in the modern history of China as Dr. Sun's safest and most trustworthy base of the 1911 Revolution as well as the subsequent armed struggles against feudal remnants and the warlords.

Despite his untimely death in 1925 and unfinished struggle that left China continued to be the 'Sick Man of East Asia' for the next 24 years, the 1911 Revolution inspired by him had set in motion a revolutionary process of far-reaching implications not only in politics but also culture, lifestyles, philosophy of life, worldview and mentality among the Chinese.

Dr. Sun Yat Sen is therefore rightly respected as the Father of Modern China and his struggle for a unified, independent and sovereign country with a sense of self-worth and self-respect was completed with establishment of the People's Republic of China or New China in 1949.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Going to China ...

Tomorrow (8 Oct) I will fly to Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province, at the invitation of the Sun Yat-Sen University as a Visiting Scholar for a week to exchange perspectives on contemporary international and regional relations. According to the 2005 Chinese University Ranking published by The 21st Century Business Herald, the university was ranked in 10th place.

Open up to world trade and other contacts as early as the late 16th century, the people in Guangdong have always been very knowledgeable about the West and Southeast Asia. Guangzhou also has some very old mosques and churches. In fact, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen who inspired the 1911 Revolution and has since been respected as the Father of Modern China by both the Communists and Nationalists, was a Christian.

I have already put Edgar Snow's Red Star Over China, carelessly left in my house by my Chilean Australian friend Lucia, into my hand luggage so that I can read it during the three-hour journey and while I stayed there. Very slowly, I have almost finished re-reading Part Four of the magnum opus of probably the most famous, admired and respected American journalist in my grandparents' and parents' generation of Chinese.

The last time I went to China was in September 1992 when I spent the seven-day honeymoon with my wife Po Chin in Beijing. We visited many historical places like the Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Monument to the People's Heroes, Chinese Revolutionary Museum, Chairman Mao's Memorial Hall and Ox Street Mosque.

On 18 September, we toured the Great Wall of China at Badaling.

China Radio International (CRI) Online

More reflections on Pak Zaman's biography

After the article In memory of Kamarulzaman Teh, freedom fighter written by this blogger had been published in malaysiakini two days ago, some additional thoughts or reflections have surfaced in my mind on the posthumous biography authored by Dr. Mohamed Salleh Lamry. Allow me to amend the last paragraph in the published review and add six supplementary ones to read:

The author Dr. Mohamed Salleh Lamry, who retired after serving as an associate professor in UKM’s Faculty of Socal Sciences and Humanities, has certainly performed a great public service of rediscovering, in more or less coherent accounts backed up by archival and documentary facts as well as oral history, the long lost or suppressed dimensions of the multiethnic anti-colonial movement and struggle for independence.

Like the memoirs of Abdullah CD, Rashid Maidin (1917-2006), Suriani Abdullah, Abu Samah, Ibrahim Chik, Shamsiah Fakeh and other Malay members and leaders of the Communist Party of Malaya, Gerakan dan Tokoh Kiri – Kamarlzaman Teh dalam Kancah Perjuangan Kemerdekaan (SIRD, Petaling Jaya, 2006) not only provides valuable glimpses into the socio-economic conditions of the maginalised segment of the Malay community in colonial Malaya, but also insights into how personal characters, ideological beliefs and political convictions were formed organically in real life.

As Karl Marx once famously remarked in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte :

" Men make their own history, but not of their own free will; not under circumstances they themselves have chosen but under the given and inherited circumstances with which they are directly confronted".

Yet, British diplomat-turned- historian Edward Carr also observed in his still memorable George Macaulay Trevelyan Lectures delivered to the University of Cambridge from January to March, 1961:

" Progress in human affairs, whether in science or in history or in society, has come mainly through the bold readiness of human beings not to confine themselves to seeking piecemeal improvements in the way things are done, but to present fundamental challenges in the name of reason to the current way of doing things and to the avowed or hidden assumptions on which it rests."

Kamarulzaman Teh's life and struggle exactly reflects such a contradiction between free-willed actions of bold readiness and the structural contraints of history in the unity of human progress.

In memory of Kamarulzaman Teh, freedom fighter

Friday, October 06, 2006

Exploring different meanings of saying "sorry"

After hearing from Ah Ying that her father passed away yesterday, Ah Foong said: "I am so sorry to hear that". Is what Ah Foong said an "apology" to Ah Ying? Is Ah Foong memohon maaf from Ah Ying? If not, what did Ah Foong exactly mean by saying "sorry" to Ah Ying?

Encyclopedia Britannica

Cambridge Dictionary Online

English-language Literature Online

PKR's forum on "marginalisation" jam-packed

Last night's public forum on the hot issue of "marginalisation" organised by Parti KeADILan Rakyat (PKR) in the Kuala Lumpur-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall featuring the party's information chief Tian Chua and DAP's state assemblyman Teng Chang Khim was jam-packed with some 250 people with a portion of them having to sit outside the conference room from the beginning to the end.

Since its inauguration in April 1999 as a Muslim-majority multi-ethnic and multi-religious opposition party to extend the struggle for reformasi into the system and process of parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy, PKR has obviously overcome the mental obstacle of many Chinese and become an accepted and normal part of the Chinese community's political discourses.

It augurs well for national solidarity in the process of the country's democratisation amid civilisational tensions in today's world.

As I have said in an earlier entry, I must excuse myself from the subsequent fora to be held by PKR in Malacca (8 October), Johore (9 October), Negeri Sembilan (12 October) and Perak (13 October) because from 8 to 15 October, I will be in China's Guangzhou at the official invitation of the Sun Yat-Sen University as a Visiting Scholar.

For more details about these fora in other states, please contact Ms. Ginie Lim via 03-40440063.

Parti KeADILan Rakyat

Nation in hands of 'school kids'

NEP will destroy the Malays

Scrap NEP: Anwar’s message to voters

Anwar: Time to suspend NEP

Anwar: BA leaders back DJZ on mother-tongue education

Anwar takes on BN gov’t over Chinese education

Thursday, October 05, 2006

An idiots' guide to a little old trick ...

The little old trick of adik kaya-raya ini is not very difficult to understand: in order to protect himself and other Umnoputras from being questioned and challenged by marginalised Malays in Malaysia on the Umnoputra-dominated state's inequitable distribution of wealth, income and opportunities within the community, he pre-emtively diverts their attention and scapegoats the Chinese, twisting intra-racial class struggle consequent on pagar makan padi or musang jaga reban ayam into inter-racial tension.

Bloody Sunday

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Swan Lake ...

While communists Kamarulzaman Teh (1920-2002) enjoyed reading Les Misérables in Kuala Lipis and Rashid Maidin (1917-2006) played violin everywhere in their youth, Suriani Abdullah was a school dancer of the Swan Lake in the late 1930s in Ipoh. So, how more 'modern' and 'cultured' are we - or can we be - nowadays?

The charming 'firebrand'

Suriani tortured by Kempetai

Suriani, the resistance heroine

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Updating MM Mr. Lee Kuan Yew on Indonesia

According to news sources from China, the post-1998 Indonesia has lifted the ban on the study and use of the Chinese-language which is now in vogue in our southern neighbour. 'Utlubul 'Ilma Walaw Fissin'

Chinese-language learning hot in Indonesia

Chinese-language contest held in Indonesia

Indonesia enhances Chinese-language education

Chinese-language newspapers comeback in Indonesia

Monday, October 02, 2006

KeADILan's public forum on "marginalisation"

Last night, my lawyer friend and kaki in the USJ neighbourhood, Teng Chang Khim (left) who is a DAP's State Assemblyman told me that he is going to speak on the very hot issue of "marginalisation" - raised by Uncle Harry and his Malaysian supporters and critics - at the KL-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall on 5 October (Thursday) at 8.00p.m.

The forum is organised by KeADILan whose information chief Tian Chua (left), who is also my friend, is to speak on the same panel with Teng. I think Malaysians should attend the forum to hear what these two educated friends of mine have to say. Like me, both of them are the 40 somethings who went through the national education system and NEP, read Malay and still command Chinese.

Public fora with the same theme will also be held in Malacca (8 October), Johore (9 October), Negeri Sembilan (12 October) and Perak (13 October).

For more details, please contact Ms. Ginie Lim via 03-40440063.

I will be there on 5 October at the KL-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall but I must excuse myself for the subsequent fora in other states because from 8 to 15 October, I will be in China's Guangzhou at the official invitation of the Sun Yat-Sen University as a Visiting Scholar.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Re-reading Edgar Snow's Red Star Over China

(Updated Edition) Lucia, my Chilean Australian friend who visited Kuala Lumpur not too long ago, has carelessly left behind a book - which she brought along for leisurely reading - in my house. It is the latest reprint of American journalist Edgar Snow's Red Star Over China. Snow was the first Westerner who broke through the Kuomingtang military and propaganda blockages, met and interviewed Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai.

In 1936 when the very brave and upright Snow (left), who refused to blindly believe in the one-sided anti-communist propaganda churned out by the very corrupt Kuomintang regime in Nanjing, visited the Northwest region of China, Mao, Zhou and their comrades were still encircled 'bandits'. After re-reading the first few chapters, I still find the book worthy of serious and deep reflection.

One of my reflections is that, although China is now recognised as a emerging world power to be compared with the United States and other developed countries, the more meaningful Ground Zero to measure its political, economic and social progress is 1936 - the year Snow visited the Great Northwest - when the Old China outside the Red Zone was a mentally confused feudal and semi-colonial 'Sick Man of East Asia' that muddled along in a world dominated by Great Powers without any sense of self-worth, purpose and direction, as fictionalised in Lu Xun's The True Story of Ah Q.

Another reflection of mine is that younger generations of friends in China must never forget the trials, tribulations, contributions and sacrifices of many internationalists from all over the world who lent their helping hands to the national resistance and liberation struggle like Canadian communist Dr. Henry Norman Bethune (白求恩大夫). Friends in need are true friends indeed.

Edgar Snow Centenary Conference

Edgar Snow – Friendship Ambassador

Extracts from Edgar Snow's Scorched Earth (1941)

Norman Bethune – A Great International Humanitarian