Sunday, December 31, 2006

Why was Saddam Hussein not tried and convicted for more reported crimes against humanity, like the massacre of the Kurds, before he was executed yesterday? The Communist Party of Britain offers an observation from a historical perspective. Earlier, the party's organ Morning Star published a longer critique of the impending execution.

Rumsfeld faces German legal test

President Bush's statement on execution of Saddam Hussein
The execution of Saddam Hussein is certainly very controversial with the Holy See denouncing it as "tragic". The most regretable aspect of it, in my opinion, is the decision of the Iraqi government to videotape Saddam Hussein's final moments before the execution as well as his dead body and also release the footage to the media for public display. These pictures, besides being very uncivilised, are passion-inflaming on a worldwide scale and counterproductive to the cause of reconciliation and peace in Iraq and the Middle East.

US global positions – an updated survey

Poll: Approval for Iraq handling drops to new low

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Friday, December 29, 2006

This afternoon, while I was shopping at Kinokuniya Bookshop in the KLCC, I met my friend Bridget Welsh again. Bridget, an American scholar of Southeast Asian studies, is also the editor of Reflections: The Mahathir Years (Washington D.C., SAIS, 2004) which is, in my opinion, an excellent reference book. We agree to meet each other again soon to continue to exchange ideas and debate viewpoints. Some of her educated and informed observations on Malaysian affairs can be read in malaysiakini (please subscribe) :

Higher education crisis deepening?

The fog of freedom

Winds of change in PAS?

Higher education in crisis?

Postcard from Disasterville, USA

Malaysia in transition, Part 2

Malaysia in transition, Part 1

1989 Malaysia-CPM Peace Accords in letters

Thursday, December 28, 2006

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. And so, my wife and I went to a cinema last night to watch the much hyped Curse of the Golden Flower starring Gong Li, Chow Yun Fatt and Jay Chou. Well, it's entertaining but not as good as I expected. Jet Li's Fearless, screened earlier this year, has left a greater impression on my mind.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Happy New Year. Selamat Tahun Baru

While I have been wishing friends happy New Year, I have also received season's greetings from kawan-kawan from the all parts of tanahair kita, Australia, Britain, China, Chile, Egypt, Indonesia, Oman, Nicaragua, Phillippines, Singapore, United States of America and Thailand. One of the greeting cards that arrived at my mailbox yesterday is from pakcik Abdullah CD and makcik Suriani Abdullah.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I was told that Pak Said Zahari's house in Subang USJ was ransacked by thief or theives a few nights ago while he was holidaying in Port Dickson with his anak cucu. According to Pak Said who was informed by the police of the burglary, it seems that the most important item lost is his computer where the manuscript of the last book of his memoirs is stored.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

In memory of Kamarulzaman Teh, anti-fascist patriot

One of the many communists who fought against the brutal Occupation of Malaya by fascist Japan was Kamarulzaman Teh (1920-2002), who was born in Kampung Tanjung Broga of Mukim Sanggang, near Pahang's Temerloh. Kamarulzaman Teh joined the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) during the Occupation in 1943 and worked with the anti-fascist underground.

Kamarulzaman Teh, who was jailed for 22 years after the war, passed away as a proud and honourable communist on 5 November 2002 in his old comrades’ house in southern Thailand.

The 'monumental' debate

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Salute anti-fascist martyrs, patriots of all races !

May the souls of allies and friends of all nations rest in peace.

The issue of "communist monuments in Chinese cemetary " stirred up by 'Information' Minister Zainuddin Maidin certainly requires reasoned response based on intellectual clarity and moral courage:

1. During the 44-month of Japanese occupation of Malaya, the largest and only effectively functioning armed opposition to fascism was undeniably the Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA) which, also undeniably, was organised and operated by the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) in alliance with the former Soviet Union, Britain, China, the United States of America and Free France, and the resistance was named Resist-Japan-Defend-Malaya Guerrilla War;

2. Although the MPAJA is largely Chinese-based, there were also Malay, Indian and Eurasian participation, both as communists as well as non-communists, as armed partisans or underground workers or Allies' personnel of special operations; there were also some tiny groupings, led by some conscientious Kuomintang men and women such as Lim Bo Seng, which resisted the Occupation;

3. Before the fall of Singapore on 15 February, 1942, the main fighting forces against the invasion were the British, Australian and Indian troops who were defeated in the 70-day Malayan Campaign by fascist Japan;

4. The armed resistance to Japanese occupation by the people of Malaya of all races, spearheaded by the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM), is a critical part of the process of the multi-ethnic struggle for national self-determination and independence;

5. All insidious attempts to erase or distort the true history of our multi-ethnic nation must be firmly and decisively opposed, and the honour and integrity of the tombs of the anti-fascist martyrs of all races as well as those of fallen allies and friends of all nations must be defended with no intellectual or political compromise.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Despite the vulgarising effect or impact of commodification of Christmas all over the world nowadays, many traditional and classic X'mas carols and hymns like God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen, Silent Night, Hark! the Herald Angels Sing, O Come, All Ye Faithful and Joy to the World, remain inspiring and passion-stirring, for children and adults alike, with their spiritual depth.

Monday, December 18, 2006

This year, my special X'mas greetings are for friends in China's Guangzhou as well as those with the St. Peter & St.Paul Catholic Church in Muscat, the capital of Oman where I spent eight days as a guest of HM Sultan Qaboos at the State Banquet and Royal Military Tattoo held on the occasion of the 30th Renaissance Day in July 2000. Well, I have been dreaming for the past many years to spend a Christmas vacation or two in Melbourne with teachers and friends.
Yesterday, my friends Ronnie Liu and Teng Chang Khim were at the forefront of the people in Cheras to protest against anti-people monopoly and unrelenting primative accumulation in the area.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Nine years after the outbreak of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, Malaysia seems to be losing out to Indonesia on all fronts in social, economic and political reforms. Now, there are also quantitative indicators showing that Malaysia's primary-school education has lagged even behind some countries on the African continent such as Kenya, Malawi, Senegal and South Africa.
To answer a question posed by EG Yap via email: in my opinion, the best introductionary book on the alternative, non-official and critical history of Malaya is Where Monsoons Meet: A People's History of Malaya. It was published in Malay and Chinese in the 1980s by an academic NGO, Institute of Social Analysis (INSAN). I think there are still some copies left over with publisher and distributor Mr. Chong Ton Sin.

Brits did not divide and rule Malaya: Don

Khoo Khay Kim’s comments highly impressionistic

Friday, December 15, 2006

I was right ; Dr. M and his supporters , wrong

I am absolutely fine and my conscience is perfectly clear as I had always been skeptical - on both Chinese and English public records, especially my columns in the Sin Chew Jit Poh from late 1997 to mid-2000 - about the claim repeatedly asserted without proof by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in Malaysia and elsewhere that George Soros was the currency speculator whose market operations caused the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. So, I was right and Dr. Mahathir and his blind followers as well as propagandists were wrong on this point from 1997 to 2006. But, Tun is still to be commended for willing to admit the mistake and reconcile with the Jew he once reviled so much as an ethnic stereotype for scapegoating in crises as external enemy.

Progresses in post-1998 Republic of Indonesia

Despite it being a rather irritating sources of almost annual haze and potential security threat of extremism as well as some negative historical images in Malaysia and Singapore, the post-1998 Republic of Indonesia seems to have also made some significant economic, political and social progresses. In 2005, Republic of Indonesia overtook Malaysia in FDI inflow, and it has also abolished the legal distinction and socio-economic discrimination between pribumi and non-pribumi. The previously banned Chinese-language has now entered into an era of renaissance. Its relations with regional countries have also improved and it is on the track of democratization with accelerated pace. Intellectual freedom in the most populous Muslim nation in the world is testified by the fact that even Karen Armstrong's A History of God and Battle for God, which are banned in Malaysia, have their Indonesian editions, Sejarah Tuhan and Berperang Demi Tuhan which are publicly discussed.

Indonesian newspapers

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Pak Lah smashes many more M'sian rice bowls

In an interview published by the Bangkok Post, PM Abdullah is quoted as accusing ex-PM Dr. Mahathir Mohamad of "smashing the rice bowl" of his very controversial son-in-law and Umno Youth's deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin. What about the rice bowls of many other Malaysians who have been smashed, or going to be smashed, by drastic price hikes and other effects or impacts of Umnoputras' continuing process of primative accumulation or re-accumulation (of capital) and unrelenting scramble for superprofit? Who would go to foreign media to defend, for example, the ex-residents of Kampung Berembang whose smashed items are not only rice bowls but their shelters and entire kampung halaman? In one protest against petrol price hike, even the head of one protestor was literally smashed.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Datuk Onn "Penganjur Utama Kemerdekaan" ?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006
from my learnt friend Harat's blog at

Setelah lebih 40 tahun Datuk Onn meninggal dunia, satu Seminar Kebangsaan Mengenai Pemikiran Datuk Onn Jaafar telah diadakan di Johor Baharu baharu-baharu ini.

Mungkin setelah 40 tahun berlalu, orang sudah melupakan kekurangan dan kelemahan Datuk Onn, dan tidak lagi mementingkan fakta sejarah yang benar yang berkaitan dengan diri beliau. Maka dalam seminar itu muncullah pelbagai sanjungan yang begitu hebat terhadap Datuk Onn.

Mungkin juga orang Melayu kini merasa kekurangan hero yang hebat. Maka Datuk Onn yang sebelum ini pernah diketepikan dan dilupakan tiba-tiba ditonjolkan sebagai salah seorang hero besar orang Melayu!

Salah seorang Profesor terkenal yang menghadiri seminar itu menyarankan supaya Datuk Onn diberi gelaran "Penganjur Utama Kemerdekaan". Gelaran penganjur utama kemerdekaan itu agaknya terpaksa dicipta, kerana Malaysia sudah ada Bapa Kemerdekaan (Tunku Abdul Rahman) dan Datuk Onn tentu tidak boleh lagi diberi gelaran "Bapa Kemerdekaan".

Walau bagaimanapun, saya kira penganjur utama kemerdekaan di negara ini adalah ramai; bukanlah Datuk Onn seorang sahaja. Malah orang-orang seperti Ibrahim Yaakub, Dr.Burhanuddin, Ishak Haji Mohamad dan Ahmad Boestamam lebih awal memperjuangkan kemerdekaan, dan mungkin lebih berhak diberi gelaran "Penganjur Utama Kemerdekaan".

Saya tidak bermakud memperkecilkan jasa Datuk Onn menggembeling perjuangan orang Melayu untuk menghapuskan Malayan Union. Akan tetapi perjuangan Datuk Onn pada masa itu (tahun 1946) dengan slogan "Hidup Melayu" belum lagi mempunyai matlamat untuk memperjuangkan kemerdekaan.

Datuk Onn hanya turut memperjuangkan kemerdekaan beberapa tahun selepas itu, khasnya selepas beliau menubuhkan Parti Kemerdekaan Malaya (IMP) pada tahun 1951. Pada masa itu UMNO yang dipimpin oleh Tunku Abdul Rahman juga mula berjuang untuk menuntut kemerdekaan, kerana aspirasi untuk menuntut kemerdekaan sudah muncul dengan meluas di kalangan orang-orang Melayu. Dengan itu, Datuk Onn yang sudah "ketinggalan" dalam perjuangan mencapai kemerdekaan, bukanlah Penganjur Utama Kemerdekaan.

Apa yang saya bentangkan di atas adalah fakta sejarah yang sudah diketahui umum. Jadi adalah tidak wajar sama sekali kita memesongkan fakta sejarah yang terang dan jelas itu, walaupun ada di antara kita ingin menyanjung Datuk Onn sebagai hero besar orang Melayu!

In memory of Kamarulzaman Teh, freedom fighter

History of the Malay Left

Merdeka history in new light

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Root cause of racial politics in M'sia analysed

What is the root cause of racial politics in our country? In the mainstream media now controlled by race-based ruling parties, the alleged faults are many except themselves and their history, ideology and model of political economy . But, the no-nonsense and straight-talking Dr. Collin Abraham reasons in his new book The Finest Hour - The Malaysian-CPM Peace Accord in Perspective (Kuala Lumpur, SIRD, 2006) that it was actually the suppression of the multi-ethnic leftwing movements, including the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) and Parti Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya (PKMM) by the British colonial regime and its local agents and collaborators that was responsible for inhibiting the promotion of a more inclusive and just society.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

A public tribute to Rashid Maidin (1917-2006)

Last night, a multiethnic and multinational public dinner held by human rights NGO Suaram at the Bangunan Peladang in PJ, paid tribute to, among other brave Malaysians, Rashid Maidin (1917-2006) who was saluted as a great anti-fascist and anti-colonial fighter.

Rashid: Why I turned Red

Rashid saved by cowherds

The titans of Malay communist leaders

Merdeka history in new light

Malay Communists recall Anti-Fascist War (in Chinese)

Tunku's 1947 message to Rashid Maidin in London (in Chinese)

PAS: Communist party helped secure Merdeka

Rashid Maidin: Pejuang anti-penjajah sepanjang zaman (Bhg. I)

Rashid Maidin: Berjuang untuk kemerdekaan Malaya (Bhg. II)

Rashid Maidin: Dari Rundingan Baling ke Rundingan Haadyai (Bhg. III)

Friday, December 08, 2006

My family and I wish all our neighbours and friends all over the world Merry X'mas. This year my special greeting is reserved for Chang Miao Miao, a Christian as well as very bright and cheerful International Relations (IR) student of the Sun Yat-Sen University.

Christmas in Guangdong

Largest seminary of Catholic Church opened

Stone Church to be restored to its Gothic glory

Historical Guangzhou church gets renovation

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

PAS: Umno's racial politics endangers nation

According to President of PAS Dato’ Seri Tuan Guru Haji Abdul Hadi Awang, Umno must not scapegoat Chinese, Indians and other non-Malays for its own failure to uplift the Malays economically. PAS has been consistent in opposing Umno's racial politics since mid-1980s.

As a matter of fact, the largest statue of Reclining Buddha is Southeast Asia is located and preserved in the PAS-rule Kelantan. Chinese-language primary and secondary schools are treated fairly by the PAS-led state government in terms of grants, including land grants. Its Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Aziz is a man who leads a simple lifestyle unimaginable to Umno leaders and whose personal integrity is of high standard and order.

Umno membahayakan politik Malaysia

Bumiputera privileges must end, says Anwar

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

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

Mandarin-speaking Aussie Opposition Leader

Kevin Rudd, MP, a graduate of First Class Honours in Chinese language and Asian Studies and ex-diplomat to China and Sweden, was elected as the Leader of the opposition Australian Labour Party (ALP) two days ago. Rudd is also a lover of Chinese history.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

As the revolutions in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as well as transportation have made the world smaller, multiculturalism is becoming increasingly important in international diplomacy as a soft power : on 9 November, US State Secretary Condoleezza Rice announced the appointment of the internationally well-known skating champion Michelle Kwan (关颖珊) as the first American Public Diplomacy Envoy.

Monday, December 04, 2006

According to regular reader of Clare Street, Catherine Yeoh, this is the most striking and enlightening photograph I have ever shown in this blog. It was taken in the morning of 10 October just outside my hostel at the old campus of the Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou.
The two young friends are China's foreign students from Africa.

Chinese language study in Africa increasingly popular

Christmas in Guangdong

Indian restaurants in Guangzhou

Great Mosque of Guangzhou a.k.a Huaisheng Mosque

(Some) Muslim restaurants in Guangzhou

China as a multi-ethnic, multi-religious nation

China's ethnic minorities

Ethnic minorities in China

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Rummy, Saddam to share Nobel Peace Prize

Zam Receives Eminent Journalist Award 2006
November 30, 2006 02:12 AM

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 30 (Bernama) -- Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin, a veteran journalist, Wednesday night received the Eminent Journalist (Tokoh Wartawan) Award in appreciation of his contribution to journalism in the country.

He received the award from Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at the Malaysian Press Night 2006 organised by the Malaysian Press Institute (MPI) at Hotel Istana, here.

Previous recipients of the award are Tan Sri Mazlan Nordin, Tan Sri A. Samad Ismail and the late Tan Sri Melan Abdullah.Zainuddin, fondly called Zam, entered journalism by working as a stringer for the Warta newspaper and then joined the Utusan Melayu newspaper in 1957 at the age of 18.

He moved up the ladder in the editorial field, becoming chief reporter, news editor, Penang bureau chief and feature writer.

Zainuddin was also the Utusan Melayu correspondent in London in 1975 and 1976 and worked part-time then in the Malay section of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

He had also served in various capacities in Utusan Melayu, including as news editor, chief news editor, editor-in-chief, executive chairman of Utusan Publications and Distributors Sdn Bhd as well as a member of the Utusan Melayu (M) Group Board of Directors.

Zainuddin has written several books, including "Yang Pertama dan Terakhir", "Yang Terbaik Awang Selamat: Koleksi Pilihan 1987-1992", "Mahathir di Sebalik Tabir" (which was translated into English, Chinese and Tamil), "Tun Razak: Jejak Bertapak Seorang Patriot" and "Wira Tak di Dendang" (The Unsung Heroes).

His career in politics began in 2001 when he was appointed parliamentary secretary to the Information Ministry.

In March 2004, he was appointed Deputy Minister of information and in February this year, Minister of Information.Zainuddin has been the Member of Parliament for Merbok since 2004.

In his acceptance speech, Zainuddin said he never regretted having become a journalist because journalism helped him to widen his knowledge and improve his thinking and served as a qualification to become a minister.

Zainuddin said he was fortunate to have been a journalist during the administration of four prime ministers but he did not expect to be appointed a minister by any of them.

"The irony is that I feel for myself as a journalist and not as a minister and I have to remind myself that I am a minister in certain situations," he said.-- BERNAMA

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'

Malaysian row over TV 'propaganda'

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Launching of Dr. Abraham's new history book

After attending the regular committee meeting of the Malaysian Association for American Studies (MAAS) held in University of Malaya's Rumah Universiti, I rushed with John Doraisamy, an ex-Associate Professor of Education of UM and fellow committee members of MAAS, to the Royal Selangor Club to formally launch Dr. Collin Abraham's new book, The Finest Hour - The Malaysian-CPM Peace Accord in Perspective.

Besides being one of the four Forward-writers of the book, I was also given the honour to deliver a speech for the launching. The other two speakers were BN MP for Kota Baru Zaid Ibrahim and author of the book Dr. Collin Abraham himself.

Ex-PM Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad was supposed to be there but he was not able to make it. Anyway, I still praised Tun in his absence with all sincerity as a "bold" and "extraordinary" maker of peace who decided to terminate the National Civil War (1957-1989) with the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) through the 1989 Haadyai Peace Accord. The audience applauded approvingly.

Besides John, other who were present in the audience included one of Chin Peng's Ipoh-based lawyer Yau Wai Leong, Malaysia's former Ambassador to the United Nations Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad, former Ambassador to Yugoslavia Datuk P.G. Lim, ex-President of the Dewan Negara and MCA/Gerakan/MCA veteran Michael Chen Weng Sum, ex-IGP Tun Haniff Omar, Bernama's editor-in-chief Datuk Azman Ujang, publisher of the book Chong Ton Sin, DAP's NGO chief Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew and Research Officer Liew Chin Tong as well as the First Secretary of the High Commission of the Republic of Singapore in Kuala Lumpur Heng Aik Yeow.

In fact, I had asked Pak Said Zahari to come along and offered to transport him but he excused himself because his knees still needed to undergo post-operational physiotherapy.

For those who remember, today is, of course, the 17th anniversary of the conclusion and signing of the Haadyai Peace Accord between the Communist Party of Malaya and the Government of Malaysia, and also between the Communist Party of Malaya and the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand.

I now dedicate my Forward to the book and also today's speech to the memory of Pak Rashid Maidin (1917-2006) who entrusted me early last year to convey to our nation and people of all races one of his very rare and last public statements in life:
" As a poor boy born in a backward kampung in colonial time and without sufficient formal education, I am still very grateful to the Party which has transformed me into a man who knows politics and the world in all its complexities, and also trusted me for so many years ".

An invitation to rethink nation’s modern history

Friday, December 01, 2006

Penetrating into Umno propagandists' minds

A Singapore-based English-language radio journalist just called and interviewed me on my analysis of the next political move of ex-DPM Anwar Ibrahim. One of the questions was, in essence, how would Umno prevent Anwar from coming back into active politics. My effective answer is : Umno would continue to smear him in the mainstream Malay-language media as a "traitor" (like what Khairy did in the Umno GA) and simultaneously deny him the access to the domestic English-language mainstream media, especially the pseudo-liberal New Straits Times which may publish one or two pieces of short news or interviews of some "harmless" opposition MPs and NGO activists to showcase its post-Mahathir "liberalism".

Anwar Ibrahim 3.0

People's Justice Party

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

By the way, I am glad to know that my old friend Fuziah Salleh now also operates her blog at

God in science textbook: a critical reflection

I have received the following letter from a reader of this blog, Mr. Fong Soon Cheong. With his permission, I reproduce it in its original form for public discussion in a rational and socially responsible manner. Thank you very much in anticipation.

Dear Sir,

I would like to bring up one very importance issue which I found it in Science subject for student at Standard 5 (English Version).

On the page 2 of the above-mentioned textbook, of which the title of it is 'The Unseen Life", the first sentence from the first paragraph as stated below: -

All living things are created by God.

I do not know how many of us realize about this.

I thought religious thinking should not be incorporated into science kingdom.

Are we going backward to the 'Dark Ages' just like in the year of 500 A.D. to 1500 A.D. in Europe.

What can we do about this ? What can I contribute in this ?

Best Regards,
Fong Soon Cheong