Thursday, November 30, 2006

A study of Umno Youth chief's vulnerabilities

Provocatively wielding an offensive short-range cold weapon without putting on metal helmet, wearing body armour and carrying shield? What if the opponent is a Mongolian archer responding to the challenge with arrows on the back of a fast-moving horse from a distance out of the attacking range of the hand-held weapon? This is usually the sort of tutorial question students of history of pre-modern warfare or technology of ancient weaponry discuss.

Khuriwala's range of products

Community Service:

My new, young, smart and sweet friend June Tan would like to conduct a survey for her Master thesis on blogging and its effects on the democratization in Malaysia with as many respondents as possible. June, whom I met recently, is a honest student of the University of Malaya and not a descendant of the Queen of Nigeria with cure-all magical stones to sell at half price. So, tuan-tuan dan puan-puan yang dihormati sekalian, sila tolong sedikit by answering the questions in her survey. Sekian. Terima Kasih.

Research on Malaysian Bloggers

More cultural symbols for Umno Youth chief

Umno Youth chief and 'Education' Minister Hishammuddin Hussein again shows his very low level of general knowledge when he suggests that MCA leaders could also wield kungfu swords in their party assemblies. First, he does not seem to know that the Indians also have a wide range of classical cold weapons (above) as well as written art of war like Kautilya's Arthashastra (originally written in Sanskrit but there are also several editions of English translation). Second, he is also ignorant of the fact that the kungfu sword is only one of the many instruments for person-to-person, close-range and low-level street fightings and there were many other more advanced and sophisticated weapons for battles in moving mass formations.

Ancient Indian weapons

Guide to ancient Chinese weapons

How a universal symbol became a tool for racial politics

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Churches, Christians and X'mas in Guangdong

When I was driven around in the old downtown of Guangzhou City one day at noon, I saw a huge Catholic church but the area was so crowded and traffic so jammed that we decided not to stop. It was also impossible to take a full-view picture with my cheap camera inside a small car. So, I searched the Internet after I came back and found the above picture whose landscape seems to be very familiar. Dr. Sun Yat Sen, the Father of Modern China, was a Christian.

Christmas in Guangdong

Largest seminary of Catholic Church opened

Stone Church to Be restored to its Gothic glory

Historic Guangzhou church gets renovation

China as a multi-ethnic, multi-religious nation

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Imam Wang of Guangzhou's Huaisheng Mosque

When I visited the 1,300-year old Great Mosque of Guangzhou or the Huaisheng Mosque last month with my friend Xiao Yang, I also wanted to meet, greet and talk to its imam but he was not there at that time. Yesterday, from the homepage of the Bahasa Melayu edition of the China Radio International (CRI), I finally saw how Imam Wang Wenjie (above) looks like. There are now 20 million Muslims of different ethnic backgrounds, 30,000 mosques as well as thousands of halal restaurants and grocery shops in multi-cultural New China.

Islam, Muslims and Arabic language in China

Visiting ancient Great Mosque of Guangzhou

Elderly Ma Family's Restaurant in Guangzhou

Muslims and Muslim food in Guangzhou City

Showing strength or exposing own weakness?

Under the tremendous pressure of public opinion, Umno Youth chief and Minister for 'Education' Hishamuddin Hussein now apologetically (and sophistically) says that wielding and kissing the keris is a cultural symbol of the Malays. Why did he not wave and kiss a book like Sejarah Melayu (there are both English and Chinese editions) ? Isn't a classic book a greater cultural symbol than a keris ?

Above all, does the 'Education' Minister and Umno Youth Chief mean that the Malay community has only one - and no other - cultural symbol and type of cold weaponry to be displayed to Malaysia and the world? It leads to the larger question of whether Umno Youth and its setengah masak chief represent or misrepresent the Malays culturally to the non-Malays of the world, including Mongolians and Yahudi.

Surely, threatening in broad daylight to raze the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall or any other public buildings to the ground is not any culture at all. It is symptomatic of psychological disorders of a bunch of bodoh-sombong rogues who are as 'cultured' as those kurang-ajar MCA samseng who threw chairs and mineral water bottles at each other in their own party assembly a few years ago.

Dr. Kua Kia Soong on Remedies for race-based politics

Dr. M Bakri Musa on Dealing with Umno's childish tantrums

Monday, November 27, 2006

PAS : Umno GA declares war on M'sian nation

Umno Must Speak For All ?
by Dr. Dzulkifli Ahmad (above left), Director of PAS Research Centre

Umno did it again. That annual general assembly or delegate conference of any party had always been and shall always be a ‘big gallery’, where every member, leader or follower, has to play to, is arguably understandable. Every party admittedly does it. Granted.

However, going by the events in the recently concluded Umno General Assembly, calling it as the most bizarre is still an understatement. It is the worst ever! Anything beyond, borders on and tantamount to a declaration of 'war' : 'Umnoputras Versus the Rest of the Nation'.

Never had the nation witnessed a congregation of Malay politicians, ostensibly guardians of the Malay supremacy, totally oblivious of others as to equally bemused, nay enraged, their BN-supporters, much worse their detractors.

Under the very glare of the entire country, Umno has again arrogantly displayed her total contempt and 'lordship' over the rest the nation, accusing everyone else for their predicaments, saved their own selves.

Premised on the 'nothing-to-shout-about' 12-pillars speech, entitled "Fulfilling Promises", the President's speech was characteristically mediocre at best. I couldn't concur more with Mukhriz's 'nothing-new' critique of his President's speech. In all honesty, to continue tasking him annually such a feat is immensely unfair.

The speech and his concluding remarks reflected his beleaguered state, consequent to the cascade of disparaging attack from many quarters, not the least from his predecessor, for his unfailing dismal performance.

His recent pre-emptive announcement of wanting to go beyond 1 term is baffling. Many shudder at the thought of his capability to end his first term in one piece.

Despite his reminders that delegates should observe restraint and care in sensitive issues of race and religion, what ensued were completely on the contrary. Either they no longer give a care (read damn) to what he says or was it because of his many nuances, the like of 'Don't Push Me or Don't Push Us', 'My patience has its limit','It's harder to be nice', that actually provided the clout and incited party members to 'unleash' in that very undignified and disgraceful manner.

The President-cum-PM has time and again been guilty of that flip-flop stance, typically due to his indecisiveness or perhaps his ineptness of sort.

The consequences were horrendous. It was the real Umno 'unplugged'. It was a 'no-holds-barred' kind of outrageous display of unbridled arrogance. Brandishing the unsheathed keris again by the Umno Youth leader, was offensive enough, but the readiness 'to die in a blood-bath' was atrocious and entirely unsolicited.

A Perlis delegate remarks of 'when the keris will be used', after it has been unsheathed, waved and kissed by the youth leader, not only angered an opposition leader but ruffled feathers with the entire nation! Umno has turned back the clock of nation-building by decades.

As if the actions of the Youth leaders of Umno were insufficient to incite hurt and animosity, a veteran Umno leader saw fit to remind everyone that Malays (read Umnoputras) are very capable of exhibiting the amok, when challenged. Reminders of the May13 incident were conveniently cited and off-repeated.

Overwhelmed by the immediate interest of their 'entitlements' and 'sacred' rights that now seemed challenged, this assembly of the Malay political party has willfully deluded themselves from addressing malignant problem that will indeed obliterate them forever viz; the scourge of corruption.

No delegates dared touch the subject with any vigour nor rigour, as were exhibited in discussing their 'Malay Agenda'.

None spoke of the Corruption Perception Index of the Transparency International that has further relegated the country performance to 44th position ie slipping further from 39th. Any guess of who the greatest perpetrators were?

If corruption wasn't the focus, so was the discussion on the competitiveness of the Malay race, much less of the nation's competitiveness in facing the ever-increasing global business challenge.
Most disgustingly, we are cruelly reminded that this is the backbone, if not, the government of the day. This is the annual assembly of the party of policy-makers and the political masters that determine the destiny of this nation!

Any serious attempt at addressing the issue of the flagging inflow of FDI, is naively rationalized as caused by our own lack of interest in merger and acquisition (M&A), hence the failures to entice foreign capitals. When has FDI been hinged on M&A of critical and strategic assets of the nation? Are we in denial of losing out to even our immediate neighbours?

Are we facing a perception problem here? I’m afraid it is more than just perception. It is real. It's the sum total of two basic malaise of our nation viz lacking Competitiveness and Integrity. What has happened to the grand launching of the National Integrity Plan of April 2004 by the President-cum-PM?

None dared to rock-the-boat, while everyone was ever too willing to partake in the orgy of adulation of their leaders and cursing their detractors. That is ‘playing to the gallery’ at its best.

Umno could at best, only narrowly debate on her 'sacred' entitlement and harp endlessly on their yet-to-be-achieved-equity, with hardly any or little regard to the real challenge of turning around the malignant economy to a vibrant one.

Serious talks of actual 'capacity building' and raising entrepreneurship zeal of the Malays, gave way to the many quick-fit measures of ascertaining that Malay (read Umnoputras) businesses and contractors of all classes, will be duly awarded, comes the implementation of the 9th Malaysia Plan.

If the President's speech and deliberation was a real let-down, his deputy's performance was also a far cry from envisioning and articulating the reengineering of the 'Malay Agenda'.

Talks on the need to acquire transformational mindsets and leadership was visibly perceived as hot-airs or empty rhetoric. Insistence on perpetuating the Malay Agenda just because the Malays have been oppressed and colonized for 446 years, spoke volume of his ludicrous intellectual reasoning.

The Deputy President is himself in serious need of a total overhaul of his faulty worldview of social reengineering, so as to be in total grasp of the new realities and the current context of challenges plus the future shapes of things to come.

While the writer neither harbour any intent of invoking the anti-sedition act nor attempt at stifling their freedom of expression, the nation could now amply discern for themselves who truly are the extremists, racists and the real bigots.

After the 5 days of unprecedented 'show of strength', it will be the greatest folly for Umno to hoax or hoodwink the rakyat with their front-page media sloganeering "Umno Must Speak for All"(NST, 18 Nov.2006).

Umno has to humbly admit failures. Otherwise she will be soon doomed to irrelevancy. - mr

(This article was originally published on 26 November in Harakah Daily; Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad was PAS Central Committee Member and the Director of PAS Researh Centre)

Dr. Kua Kia Soong on remedies for race-based politics

Dr. M Bakri Musa on dealing with Umno's childush tantrums

Professor P. Ramasamy: NEP beyond doubt a elitist class instrument

Ex-DPM Anwar Ibrahim: NEP an Umno gimmick to rob Malays

Ex-DPM Anwar Ibrahim: NEP will destroy the Malays

Guthrie's ex-CEO Khalid Ibrahim: 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

Islam, Muslims and Arabic language in China

Inside the 1,300-year Great Guangzhou Mosque a.k.a Huaisheng Mosque which is under National Heritage Protection and which I visited with my very kind and charitable friend Xiao Yang, very ancient Arabic and Chinese inscriptions can still clearly be seen. Arabic, Islam's medium of transmission and instruction, is one of the six official languages of the United Nations like the Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

China has 20 million Muslims of different ethnic backgrounds, 30,000 mosques as well as thousands of halal restaurants and grocery shops. Islam was first propogated in China as early as the Tang Dynasty.

Imam Wang of Guangzhou's Huaisheng Mosque

Visiting the ancient Great Mosque of Guangzhou

Elderly Ma Family's Restaurant in Guangzhou City

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Cruising Guangzhou's Pearl River at night ...

Cruising the legendary Pearl River at night was quite a romantic experience. The Pearl River or Zhujiang divides Guangzhou City into the northern and southern zones and the White Swan Hotel, which is one of the world's leading hotels, is located on its bank.

Great Mosque of Guangzhou a.k.a Huai Sheng Mosque

(Some) Muslim restaurants in Guangzhou

Guangdong in BBC reporters' eyes

An Indian restaurant where the Indians eat

(Some more) Indian restaurants in Guangzhou

Indians in Guangzhou welcome plan to open Consulate-General

Epoch-making Long March' s 70th anniversary

The 38-year interval in mainland Chinal between the collapse of the last feudal dynasty Qing in 1911 and the establishment of the People's Republic of China or New China in 1949 was a chaotic, confusing and depressing period reigned by decadent warlords and corrupt factions of the degenerated Kuomintang but the Red Army's Long March and its success (1934-1936) changed the course of that nation's modern history. Coincidentally, when I was in Guangzhou last month, the whole country was commemorating the 70th anniversary of the truly heroic 25,000-li Long March of the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Bows to revolutionary martyrs & forerunners

Before I left the Yellow Flower Mound, I took three solemn bows to the Tomb of the 72 Martyrs of the 1911 Huanghuagang Uprising as a mark of respect and gratitude: may their souls and those of my great grandparents, grandparents as well as their friends in Guangzhou and the Kinta Valley, known and unknown, rest in everlasting peace.

Pathway to 72 Huanghuagang Martyrs' Tomb

On top of Guangzhou' s Yellow Flower Mound

Pathway to 72 Huanghuagang Martyrs' Tomb

The pathway that leads from the busy Xianlie Road in the City of Guangzhou to the solemn Tomb of the Seventy Two Revolutionary Martyrs of the Huanghuagang Uprising at the top of the Yellow Flower Mound is long, straight and wide. The failed urban insurrection, which broke out on 27 April, 1911, was first secretly planned in a house at Penang's No.120, Armenian Street, in the presence of Dr. Sun Yat Sen (1866-1925) who was then on the run worldwide as an exile and opponent to China's last feudal dynasty, Qing (1644-1911).

Friday, November 24, 2006

On top of Guangzhou's Yellow Flower Mound

During my recent lecture tour in Guangzhou, I also visited the equally memorable and meaningful Yellow Flower Mound or Huanghuagang at which the Tomb of 72 Martyrs of the failed Huanghuagang Uprising on 27 April, 1911, is located. The uprising was first secretly planned at Penang's No.120, Armenian Street in the presence of Dr. Sun Yat Sen (left).

In his years of exile, Dr. Sun Yat Sen (1866-1925) toured many places in the world, including Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Ipoh, Malacca, Seremban, Kuala Pilah, Taiping, Kuala Kangsar, Sungai Siput, Gopeng and Jelapang * which were then effectively under the colonial rule, direct as well as indirect, of the British Empire.

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

Dr. Sun, a Christian and an US graduate in medicine, is respected by the Chinese people across the political spectrum as the Father of Modern China although his dream for a unified, independent and sovereign nation with a collective sense of self-worth and self-respect was only realised with establishment of the People's Republic of China (PRC) or New China in 1949.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Visiting site of First Opium War (1840 -1842)

To answer a question from reader of Clare Street, Penny Chang: the most memorable and meaningful site I visited during my recent tour in Guangdong was undoubtedly the seaside battlefield of the First Opium War (1840-1842) at Dongguan's Humen (or Tiger Gate) Town. I still remember that one of the examination questions of History of Modern China, a subject which I took in Melbourne's Monash High School for the Victorian Higher School Certificate (VHSC) in 1982, was on " (T)he causes and repercussions of the First Opium War ".

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Dr. Abraham's book to be launched on 2 Dec

Dr. Collin Abraham's new book THE FINEST HOUR: Malaysian-CPM Peace Accord in Perspective (Kuala Lumpur, SIRD, 2006) will formally be launched by MP for Kota Baru Zaid Ibrahim on 2 December (Sat) at the Royal Selangor Club from 11.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. The "bold" and "extraordinary" (in Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad's words) book is forwarded by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, this blogger, Zaid Ibrahim and Dr. Terence Gomez.

Veteran social scientist, political writer and son of the legendary anti-colonial fighter Ahmad Boestamam (1920-1983), Rustam A. Sani also wrote a note of appreciation for the book: " I am quite certain your book will make a great contrbution towards a renewed understanding and interest in the proper interpretation of our nation's history. I find the work to be very interesting and acedemically very important as well. May I congratulate you for completing this book at a very important juncture of our intellectual history ".

Dr. Collin Abraham, an ex-civil servant in charge of social welfare and developmental plans under the administrations of ex-PMs Tunku Abdul Rahman as well as Tun Abdul Razak, was also an Associate Professor in Sociology for 18 years with the University of Malaya.

Remedies for race-based politics

Hak minoriti dan ugutan perbalahan antara kaum (Bhg I)

Hak minoriti dan ugutan perbalahan antara kaum (Bhg 2)

PAS: Communist party helped secure Merdeka

Said Zahari: read Chin Peng’s memoirs with open mind

How Britain divided the races during the Malayan 'Emergency'

Komunis Melayu warisan Bahaman

A tale of two Malay communist memoirs

Merdeka history in new light

The charming 'firebrand'

In memory of Kamarulzaman Teh, freedom fighter

Zam to be dropped as 'Information' Minister ?

Following the appointment of Umno's 'Information' chief Muhammad Muhammad Taib as a Senator last week, there is now a widespread speculation that PM Abdullah is going to reshuffle his Cabinet and 'Information' Minister Zainuddin Maidin, who is an ex-Mahathir loyalist, would most probably be replaced by Muhammad Muhammad Taib who is also a former Selangor Menteri Besar.

Muhammad Muhamad Taib was once arrested by Australian customs authority for carrying a huge amount of cash in his luggage.

In the recently concluded Umno assembly, Zainuddin was attacked by a delegate for failing to use the Radio TV Malaysia (RTM) to promote PM Abdullah's so-called Islam Hadhari and the criticism was prominently reported by the now pro-Abdullah New Straits Times whose editor-in-chief Brendan Pereira, who is also widely seen as PM Abdullah's spin doctor, has recently been accused of plagiarism.

Aborted vacation

The picture gets murky

The fall of Selangor's chief

Malaysia editor in plagiarism row

RTM blooper: 'I'm human' Zam on the evasive

Zam: I won’t entertain rubbish

Zam, you are not 'editor of the Malaysian media'

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Suriani's Malay memoirs now out in Mandarin

The Malay-language memoirs of the veteran of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM), Suriani Abdullah a.k.a Eng Ming Ching @ Ah Ming, Memoir Suriani Abdullah - Setengah Abad Dalam Perjuangan has now been translated and published in the Chinese language. The book also carries a Forward written by the legendary Rashid Maidin (1917-2006) who had been Suriani's comrade as well as close friend for sixty five years.

Suriani, a former partisan in the Oppose-Japan-Defend-Malaya war against fascism (1941-1945), armed struggle for national liberation (1948-1957) as well as the Civil War (1957-1989), is also the writer of Regimen Ke-10 Dan Kemerdekaan (Hong Kong, Nan Dao, 1996) which is also available in the Chinese language since 2005.

The ex-student of Setiawan's Nan Hwa and Ipoh's Methodist Girls' School was also a CPM's representative in the postwar British Military Administration (BMA) in Perak from 1945 to 1948.

The Communist Party of Malaya was inaugurated as the first modern anti-colonial, anti-fascist and anti-imperialist political party of national liberation on tanahair kita on 30 April, 1930 in a rubber plantation workers' quarters near Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan.

Eng Ming Ching on national unity (in Chinese) FREE !

The charming 'firebrand'

Suriani, the resistance heroine

Suriani tortured by Kempetai
Why not all those who have been educated in first-world or world-class universities in the West are necessarily enlightened, progressive, cosmopolitan and of good character? UK-trained sociologist and former Opposition MP, Dr. Kua Kia Soong observes and explains ... subscribe to malaysiakini and read in full the following interview:

Remedies for race-based politics

Earlier in November 2004, I also explored with Dr. Kua the complex relationships among language, cultural identity as well as cross-cultural dialogue and understanding in the age of globalisation:

Being multi-lingual in Malaysia (Part 1)

Being multi-lingual in Malaysia (Part 2)

Monday, November 20, 2006

'Aminah' laid to rest with Buddhist rite, ritual

'Aminah' or 'Al Tantuya', the Mongolian woman who was murdered, had already been laid to rest with Buddhist rite and ritual last Friday.
Kurang-ajar kids of unstable character or suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) blindly imitating or 'copy-catting' the postures, behaviours and actions of Superman, Spiderman, Ultraman, Tarzan, Flying Kungfu Master or other fictional 'heroes' in books or movies could be harmful also to their own physical well-beings.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Last night, I attended the Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house of Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad, a former political secretary to another ex-PM Tun Abdul Razak (1922-1976), ex-ISA detainee, Malaysia's former ambassador to the United Nations and former editor-in-chief of the New Straits Times, who, despite his retirement, is still intellectually challenging to younger generations and maintaining an excellent network of multiethnic and multinational friends. Tan Sri, also a Cambridge University graduate, has certainly accumulated a vast amount of experiences in the working of the Malaysia's political system as well as theories and practices of international diplomacy.

Friday, November 17, 2006

My dear, we have not heard any Umno delegates attacking the Jews and Communists* - yet. They have probably still not received updated scripts from the Biro Tata Negara and Tuan " Dr. Ng Seng ".

Iraqi Communist Party

Marxists Internet Archive

Marx ** the millennium's 'greatest thinker'

Communist Party of Israel demands ceasefire, troop withdrawal

* Picture above shows female members and supporters of the now open and public Iraqi Communist Party (ICP) waving the red flag at a stadium in Baghdad in 2004.

** Karl Marx, like Albert Einstein, was, of course, a secularised Jew.

Delegate : ' Umno willing to bathe in blood '

But many of my friends who frequent four- or five-star hotels tell me that smarter Umno and Umno Youth leaders nowadays seem to enjoy bathing in sauna and spa more. They certainly do not mind poorer, older and less educated comrades to volunteer bathing in blood in the streets to defend the privilege of bathing in sauna and spa. Bah.

'Umno willing to bathe in blood'

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

New logo for Malaysian Chinese Association ?

Reader of this blog Siew Hong suggests that the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), the second largest component party in the Umno-dominated National Front, should amend its party constitution soonest to adopt a new logo like this one (left). What do you think? :)

Tian Chua has also a mind for serious details

Check out his latest focus on some interesting but serious details at . Elizabeth Wong looks like a fan of Sherlock Holme too. see

Sunday, November 12, 2006

At Datuk Kadir Jasin's Hari Raya Open House

This afternoon, I also visited the Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house of New Straits Times' former editor-in-chief Datuk Kadir Jasin (second from right) at his invitation. I met many old friends in politics and journalism there like Bernama's serving editor-in-chief Datuk Azman Ujang (left), Umno's former MP for Pendang Datuk Othman Abdul (second from left) and another New Straits Times' former editor-in-chief and ex-ambassador to the United Nations Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad (center). We have known each other for many years although we do not necessarily agree with each other's viewpoints all the time.

A Kadir Jasin

Re-examining Malaysia's " National Question "

I met my friend and head of PAS' think-tank Dr. Zulkifri Ahmad again this morning at the Kajang-based Chinese-language New Era College as we were both there to attend a public seminar on The National Question organised by the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM). Many other old friends such as Dr. Nasir Hashim, Dr. Jeyakumar Devaraj, Dr. Kua Kia Soong, Lee Ban Chen and Rustam Sani and as well as academics like Dr. Rohana Ariffin and Dr. Khoo Boo Teik were also there to critically examine various dimensions of Malaysia's inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations from rational and progressive perspectives.

PAS: Communist party helped secure Merdeka

New China's gratitute to Dr. Norman Bethune

When I visited the Guangzhou Book-Selling Center during my recent trip, I found many new books about a Canadian medical doctor and member of the Communist Party of Canada, Norman Bethune (1890-1939) who went to China as a international volunteer in the 1930s to provide medical service to the Red Army resisting Japanese invasion.

The Chinese translation of American journalist Edgar Snow's masterpiece Red Star Over China has also been issued anew by the PLA Publishing House to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Long March recently. Friends in need are friends indeed and the Chinese nation and people are forever grateful to all those who lent their helping hands when they were once down and out.

The legends of Dr.Bethune and Snow are certainly and admittedly not new to me as I had read about them in children editions of many underground publications in the 1970s in Ipoh. However, I am glad that there are still even younger generations in China who are touched and moved by the great stories of those truly selfless and altruistic internationalists from the Western world.

Sixty-seven years on, Canadian idealist moves China again

China holds grand ceremony to mark 70th anniversary of Long March

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Five English cyber-spatial gateways to China

Since I came back from China recently and started blogging some of my personal feelings and experiences, some English-educated friends as well as strangers in Malaysia and from Singapore, Australia and United Kingdom have sent in emails to ask where to start knowing more about its land, people and government. I think the following five sites are excellent English-language gateways that would serve as authoritative points of departure for their further adventures and explorations. Bookmark them in a folder for regular reference:

China Daily

Xinhua Online

People's Daily Online

CCTV International

China Radio International

Friday, November 10, 2006

Dining with Qatar-based UK journalist friend

Early this evening, writers Hishammudin Rais (left), Brian Yap (second from right) and I had a very enjoyable dinner in a restaurant in Bangsar with Sarah O'Connell (right), a Doha-based British TV journalist working for the London-based Sir David Frost's Al Jazeera International. We also had a truly stimulating conversation session.

Al Jazeera International

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Remembering John Davis
Chin Peng, veteran of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM)

Many people tend to believe that friendships cannot bridge the divisions of international conflict – particularly in situations where those with close bonds of trust and understanding find themselves in bitterly opposing camps.

I would quietly differ with this viewpoint. I would even go as far as to suggest that perhaps there might be a lesson for our troubled world today in the decades-long relationship that has existed between my friend, John Davis, and myself.

It is not that we were in constant touch with each other throughout this time. Historical circumstances determined that this was not to be. But these very historical circumstances also determined that at no point in our lives, once we had met and worked together, would we ever forget each other.

I well remember the day John Davis and I first came into contact. It was September 30, 1943. The place was Segari Beach on the Malacca Straits section of Perak State in Japanese-occupied Malaya. John was there to establish links to the outlawed Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) – the only active anti-Japanese resistance group then in existence in the country.

After initial introductions, John presented me with his credentials– a letter signed by Admiral Louis Mountbatten, head of Britain’s Ceylon-based South East Asia Command (SEAC). I was there representing the Perak state committee of the CPM.

That initial meeting forged an association that was at first expedient. We both wanted to rid Malaya of a common enemy. But both of us ultimately realised that the period of being allies in a common cause would eventually come to an end. And it did.

But I can never forget my time together with John in the Malayan jungle. I remember him as an implacable leader in the most harrowing of circumstances. On one occasion, in the Bidor region of southern Perak, John and I, together with a band of CPM guerrillas, had gathered to recover a joint personnel and arms drop by RAF aircraft. Things went terribly wrong. Parachutes landed in wrong areas. Arms landed where personnel should have been and vice versa. And to top it all, we came under heavy Japanese machine gun fire.

I was 20 years old at the time. John was in his early 30s. I had never encountered such a sustained attack before and perhaps for the first time in my life I knew the feeling of real fear. I looked across at John and he appeared calm and in control. This is the picture of John Davis that has stayed on my mind all these years.

John was also a man of principle and I recognised that very early on.

I came to appreciate it when our guerrillas became his group’s security force at the hill-top Blantan camp. I knew it when the CPM signed the Blantan Agreement with SEAC on February 26, 1945. This tied his cause and mine to an honourable agreement, albeit of limited duration.

I knew it when I saw him again during the Malayan Emergency. We renewed old ties at the so-called Baling peace talks in northern Malaya from December 28 – 29, 1955. Sadly, these failed.

Because of our wartime association, John had been deputized to look after me at Baling during the CPM’s negotiations with Malaya’s Tunku Abdul Rahman and Singapore’s David Marshall. John escorted me to and from each bargaining session. My onetime ally was now my enemy. We both acknowledged this fact. But at no point during that Baling episode did I feel any personal hostility on his part. Neither did I feel any antagonism towards him. We strongly differed on matters of politics and principle, but there was still great mutual respect that precluded personal enmity.

The world moves on. Visions and goals likewise modify and change from all perspectives.

So when I visited the United Kingdom in 1998, I sought out my old friend John Davis. It was my way of showing my deep gratitude for a man who, despite being vehemently opposed to my anti-British colonial struggle, always treated me fairly and decently.

You cannot ask more of a man or a friend. John Davis is a great loss to this troubled world.

One final thought. When John and I got together in Britain that day in 1998 he gently laid down the ground rules for our reunion. "Chin Peng," he said, " let’s just talk about the good old days."

And that is how I will always remember him – John Davis in the good old days.

Chin Peng
2 November, 2006

* The above tribute in full and unedited text by veteran of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM), Chin Peng was read out at the funeral service of John Davis (1911-2006 ) conducted at All Saints' Church, Grayswood, near Haslemere in the United Kingdom on 6 November (Mon) at 2.00 p.m *

British Malayan veteran John Davis dies

Daniel Ortega back as President of Nicaragua

Daniel Ortega is back as President of Nicaragua. Three cheers to the people of Nicaragua. History has not ended yet. Lucia, yam seng !

US global positions – an updated survey
Shocking. Speechless. Shivering.

Mongolia is outside M'sian defence perimeter

To the best of my two-cent worth knowledge, the land-locked Mongolia, being sandwished between China and Russia, is outside Malaysia's defence perimeter. Malaysia's foreign affairs or people-to-people relations with Mongolia also seem to be very minimal.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Attempt of electoral bribery at global level

According to a BBC report, " Washington has warned that Nicaragua could lose American aid if Mr. Ortega - a US foe in the 1980s - is elected". So, how higher the moral ground neo-conservative USA now stands above those Umno party hacks threatening kampung folks with withdrawal of their sons' or daughters' scholarships if the Opposition wins in the general- or by-elections?

So, if Ortega does win ultimately, he certainly has to prepare for and be vigilant against attempts to launch a Chilean 9/11 (Edition 2006). Would George Bush order to mine the Manaqua harbour or set up another band of Contra mercenaries to kacau Nicaragua again?

Ortega leads Nicaragua poll race

US fails in effort to derail Ortega presidential bid

Brits believe Bush is more dangerous than Kim Jong-il !,,1938434,00.html

US global positions – an updated survey

Watching America : Discover what the world think about US

Monday, November 06, 2006

Communists celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri too

On 24 October, Malay/Muslim veterans of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) held their Hari Raya Open Houses in their kampung at Ban Chulabhorn 12 in southern Thailand's Sukhirin. Leading the fast-breaking prayer in the picture above is Abdullah C.D. (in black attire and songkok) who joined the Party in May 1945 in Perak's Lambor. Together with Chin Peng and the late Rashid Maidin (1917-2006), Abdullah C.D. signed the 1989 Peace Accords for and on behalf of the Party with the Governments of Malaysia and Thailand.

Merdeka history in new light

Abdullah CD - CPM's Malay front

Abdullah C.D's wife and also a veteran who joined the Party in Ipoh in 1940, Suriani (aka Eng Ming Ching @ Ah Ming) (center above with pink head scarf) is shown in the picture to be chit-chatting with other makcik-makcik sekampung who went to her house to send greetings.

Suriani, the resistance heroine

Suriani tortured by Kempetai

The charming 'firebrand'

Another veteran Abu Samah (left above), a former Umno Youth leader in Pahang who joined the Communist Party of Malaya in March 1948, is also shown in the picture to be welcoming other pakcik-pakcik sekampung visiting his and Makcik Minah's open house.

Komunis Melayu warisan Bahaman

Abu Samah - the ex-British child soldier

These lovely adik-adik, some of whom I know, must be pretty excited and eager to greet their makcik-makcik and pakcik-pakcik and minta maaf zahir batin from the orang-orang tua.

A tale of two Malay communist memoirs

The fairer side of Malayan communism

As a matter of fact, Abdullah C.D.(second from left above), Suriani Abdullah (left above) and Abu Samah (second from right above) had already performed Haj in Holy Mecca in the 1990s. On the right in the picture is Siti Norkiah @ Minah who is the wife of Abu Samah and herself an anti-colonial fighter and proud communist from Pahang.

Said Zahari: Read Chin Peng’s memoirs with open mind

PAS: Communist party helped secure Merdeka

In memory of Kamarulzaman Teh, freedom fighter

History of the Malay Left

Dr.Abraham: Chin Peng is "a freedom fighter"

(NEW) Dr. Collin Abraham (left), a civil servant in charge of social welfare and developmental plans under the administrations of former PMs Tunku Abdul Rahman as well as Tun Abdul Razak and an Associate Professor in Sociology for 18 years with the University of Malaya, soft-launched his new book " The Finest Hour" - The Malaysian-CPM Peace Accord in Perspective (Kuala Lumpur, SIRD, 2006) on last Saturday moring at the Royal Selangor Club. In the Q-&-A session, Dr. Abraham called Chin Peng "a freedom fighter".

The book also includes the Forwards written by another ex-PM Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, serving BN MP for Kota Baru Zaid Ibrahim, myself and University of Malaya's Associate Professor in Economics Dr. Edmund Terence Gomez (left). Dr. Abraham's "bold" and "extraordinary" book is going to be formally launched by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad soon.

Earlier on 5 June (Mon) this year, The Sun newspaper also published an interview with a retired captain of the British Army, Lawrence Chew, 82, who publicly hails the Setiawan-born Chin Peng as "a freedom fighter".

Chew reportedly said that during the 'Emergency' between 1948 and 1960, Chin Peng fought against the British who had re-colonised Malaya after the Japanese withdrew, and not against the people.

Chew also reportedly said that, during the Occupation when many were killed by the Japanese invaders, "Chin Peng gathered people and led them into the jungle for survival" and later "taught and trained the British forces to fight the Japanese in the jungle".

Chew himself joined the British Army at 17 and fought alongside the communist guerrilla forces. After the outbreak of the anti-colonial war in June 1948, Chew fought his communist ex-allies until 1950.

Chew, who now lives in Selayang, calls for the ban on Amir Mouhammad Lelaki Komunis 'Terakhir' to be lifted and Chin Peng be allowed to return to his homeland.

British Army WWII veteran defends Chin Peng

Friday, November 03, 2006

Anti-colonial struggles in our nation's history

Just obtained a complimentary copy of Dr. Collin Abraham's newly published book,"The Finest Hour" - The Malaysian-CPM Peace Accord in Perspective (Kuala Lumpur, SIRD, 2006) (left). There are actually four Forwards written respectively by former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, serving National Front MP for Kota Baru Zaid Ibrahim, myself and University of Malaya's Associate Professor Dr. Edmund Terence Gomez .

Veteran social scientist, political writer and son of the legendary anti-colonial fighter Ahmad Boestamam, Rustam A. Sani also wrote a note of appreciation for the book which reads:

" I am quite certain your book will make a great contrbution towards a renewed understanding and interest in the proper interpretation of our nation's history. I find the work to be very interesting and acedemically very important as well. May I congratulate you for completing this book at a very important juncture of our intellectual history ".

By the way, a central point of observation in my Forward reads:

" As a matter of fact, the Communist Party of Malaya itself acknowledges in its official history the progressive role played by the anti-British Malay aristocrats and peasant leaders although the party also asserts that it, being a modern and worldwide anti-colonial and anti-imperialist movement, had transcended or superseded them after they had failed ".

The book is going to be soft launched tomorrow (4 Nov) from 11 a.m to 1.00 p.m at Kuala Lumpur's Royal Selangor Club.

* The topmost picture shows some war veterans of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) in December 1989 after the signing of the Haadyai Peace Accord between the Party and the Government of Malaysia in Southern Thailand: (from left to right) Suriani Abdullah (aka Eng Ming Ching), the late Rashid Maidin, Abdullah C.D, Chin Peng, Abu Samah, Ibrahim Chik and the late Abdullah Sudin.

PAS: Communist party helped secure Merdeka

Rest in peace, Ah Tan (1953 - 2006)

(Updated) I am sad to hear that my friend and Reformasi activist Omar Tan Abdullah @ Tan Soi Kow/陈信构 @ Ah Tan, 53, passed away at 4.00 a.m. yesterday in the Putrajaya Hospital as the result of heart failure. A Chinese Muslim with a burning sense of justice for all, Omar Tan had contributed the last few years of his life as an active citizen to the historic Reformasi.

He was laid to rest at Tanah Perkuburan Orang Islam, Bangi Lama about an hour ago. Bidding final farewell to him included top leaders of Parti KeADILan Rakyat, Datin Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Datuk Kamarul Bahrin, Azmin Ali, Dr Xavier Jeyakumar, Shamsul Iskandar and SD Johari. Rest in peace, our friend. Salute !