Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Facts & figures of Australian general election

In this age of Google News when, at a click of the mouse, all the newsworthy information of the forthcoming Australian general election would be in front of the computer screens, ABC's Australia Votes 2007 still performs a vital service for novices or new students to politics in Down Under as well as seasoned journalists, writers, researchers and analysts who are looking for basic facts and figures. Aussies are going to vote on 24 November (Sat).

Picture of anti-colonial martyr P. Veerasenan

In the long and winding course of fighting for the independence of Malaya, many were killed by colonial forces as " bandits " or " terrorists " and P. Veerasenan was one of them. A former vice-president of the postwar Pan-Malayan Federation of Trade Unions (PMFTU), he was martyred in Negeri Sembilan on 3 May 1949 at the age of 22. This rare picture of martyr P. Veerasenan has recently been released to Clare Street by his contemporary acquaintances for public tribute and salute.

In Part II of his memoirs titled Penaja dan Pemimpin Rejimen Ke-10 (Petaling Jaya, SIRD, 2007), veteran of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) Abdullah CD recalls that martyr P. Veerasenan, whom he first befriended in Singapore after the end of the Pacific War, was an "experienced" labour activist who was "highly influential" among the workers at that time. Martyr P. Veerasenan, in the recollection of Abdullah CD, was also once the President of the Standing Committee of the Singapore General Labour Union (SGLU) as well as President of the Singapore Workers' Unions Federation (SWUF). (p.191)

Old Ipoh honours D.R. Seenevasagam's legacy

Dr. Abraham's new book impresses Chin Peng

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Japan halts refueling mission for US warships

Despite the earlier combined call made by 11 countries urging Japan to " to extend its naval mission in support of US-led operations in Afghanistan ", the refueling mission in the Indian Ocean has to be halted now because the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) cannot reach a bipartisan agreement on the issue. This is a Japanese example of how domestic politics could critically affect international relations for good or for ill. Like Turkey, Japan has been a defence and security ally of the United States since the early years of the Cold War (1947 - 1991).

US politics impacts on international relations

Exploration of Japan's postwar foreign policy

Third successful orbiter transfer of Chang'e-1

With the success of Chang'e-1's third orbiter transfer, China's lunar probe seems to be operating very well. The Mooncake Festival will, however, continue to be celebrated as a cherished cultural tradition.

Scientific, futuristic dimension of New China

Visiting site of First Opium War (1840 -1842)

Monday, October 29, 2007

US politics impacts on international relations

As the 2008 presidential election in the United States is heating up, how should US respond to Iran has become a subject of debate among candidates of both the Republican and Democratic parties. It can be expected that, in the coming months, the US presidential candidates would take up more foreign policy issues, especially on the chronically turbulent Middle East and resurgent or increasingly assertive Russia. Similarly, Iran, Russia and other countries and peoples in the world are also observing, talking, debating and reacting to United States' politics from the perspectives of their own values and/or interests.

Basic introduction to politics in United States

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Struggle against distortion of history in Japan

Last night, Japanese lawyer Mr. Hiroshi Oyama (centre) and school teacher Mr. Takeo Otani (right) delivered their public lectures at the Kuala Lumpur-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall on the struggle of progressive and liberal Japanese against rightwing revision of the Japan's imperialist and WWII history and Mr. Loke Thu Sang acted as the Japanese-Mandarin interpreter. Both Chinese Malaysian and Japanese youths, including school teachers and university professors, attended the three-hour free, frank and friendly exchanges of ideas. The public forum was organised by a Malaya's WWII victims memorial committee of the Kuala Lumpur-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall.

Mr. Oyama told the audience that the main purpose of him bringing young Japanese to visit Malaysia, Singapore and other parts of Asia is to open up their hearts and minds to the true understanding of the hardship and suffering inflicted by militarist Japan's past wars of conquest to non-Japanese Asians. According to Mr. Loke, the Japanese group is going to visit Negeri Sembilan where a number of survivors and eye-witnesses of major wartime atrocities are still alive.

Imperial Japan's military began to invade Malaya on 8 December, 1941 and after seventy days of strategically disorganised defence, British troops surrendered in Singapore on 15 February, 1942. During the 44-month occupation, the largest and only functioning armed resistance was operated by the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) and its guerrilla force, Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA).

The first authoritative collection of the short memoirs of MPAJA partisans titled Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army was published by Witness Publishing House in Hong Kong in 1992. It is still the most comprehensive account of what happened in occupied Malaya from 1941 to 1945, especially the activities, both military and political, of the guerrilla forces and its supporting underground.

Later in the same year, Witness Publishing House also issued Selected Historical Materials of the Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army to supplement Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army. The two books have since become standard and authoritative reference in the Chinese Malaysian community for historical research on the resistance movement as well as socio-economic and political conditions of the period from Perlis to Johore.

One conclusion that can certainly be drawn from Malayan People's Anti Japanese Army and Selected Historical Materials of the Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army is that, with the exception of Singapore and parts of southern Johore, the damages done by the trecherous Lai Te @ Lai Teck @ Mr. Wright @ Chang Hong @ Wong Shao-Tong to the overall party organisation and its guerrilla forces during the Japanese occupation was not as great as subsequently exaggerated as the number of partisans and their units actually increased - not decreased - even after the Batu Cave incident on 1 September 1942. Unfortunately, there is still no Malay, English or Japanese translation of these two magnum opuses of the wartime history of Malaya as the contributors are not wealthy businessmen or powerful ministers.

Exploration of Japan's postwar foreign policy

Eternal glory to Malaya's anti-fascist martyrs

Saturday, October 27, 2007

James and family wish our Hindu relatives, friends and neighbours a very happy Deepavali (தீபாவளி) or the Festival of Light which falls on 8 November (Thursday). May Light prevail over Darkness for all.

Armenia responds to Turkey on 'genocide' bill

Armenia, a formerly occupied territory of the Turkey-centered Islamic Ottoman Empire (1299-1922) which now shares land border with Turkey (but with no bilateral diplomatic relations and the border is reportedly closed), has reportedly described Turkey's reactions to the US Congressional bill on the 1915 mass killing of Armenians "radical and extreme denialist policies". Armenia was the first country in the world which adopted Christianity as the official religion of the state.

According to Bernard Lewis, author of The Middle East - 2000 Years of History from the Rise of Christianity to the Present Day ( London, Phoenix, 2004 ), Armenia retained its " Christian character" while under Muslim occupation but, in 1915 when Armenian rebels rose against the Ottoman Empire, there were massive deportations and relocations of Armenian civilians that caused the deaths of millions of them. (pp. 218; 339-340)
Bernard Lewis, a leading Western historian on Islam and the Middle East, is the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. He is also known for his extensive research on the imperial archive of the Ottoman Empire. However, his academic as well as political critics often decry his 'Orientalism'.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Basic introduction to politics in United States

Like it or otherwise, the United States' domestic politics and foreign policy as well as its conduct of international relations still influence or impact on the rest of the world. So, studying and understanding politics in that country is important and the best general introduction, from my own experience, is Thomas R. Dye' s Politics in America which is quite free from partisanship.
Politics in America outlines how the United States' Constitution, Congress (Senate + House of representatives), President, courts, bureaucracy, mass media, political parties and interest groups interact in a political system that makes decisions on many spheres of human activities, both within and beyond the country's boundary. As the 2008 Presidential Election in the United States is heating up, Thomas R. Dye's Politics in America should become an even more valuable reference book for new students of American Studies.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pak Said has just told me that he is going to Mecca in mid-November with his son and daughter-in-law to perform the Haj. He said: " Now that my physical condition has improved after an earlier operations on the knees, it is the best time for me to fullfil my religious obligation". According to him, he has travelled to many countries before, like the United States, Europe, China, India, Pakistan, Indonesia and Indochina.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

To answer the question of Bernice Chang: the anthem played during the closing ceremony of the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) last Sunday was The Internationale , whose lyric was first written by French socialist poet Eugène Pottier in 1871 and music composed by Pierre Degeyter in 1888 to uplift the spirit of the working people's movements in Europe after the fall of the Paris Commune.

17th CPC National Congress ( 15 Oct - 21 Oct, 2007 )

A Conscise History of the Communist Party of China

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Kurds as a nation with no state in Middle East

The Kurdish problem in the Middle East is essentially that (1) the 30-40 millions Kurds now living in Turkey, Armenia, Syria, Iraq, Iran and other countries are the largest ethnic group with a distinct history, culture and language in the Middle East but without a state of their own (2) many Kurds living as ethnic minority in some Middle Eastern countries, especially Turkey, suffer or allegedly suffer from cultural discrimination and ethnic oppression, (3) a significant number of Kurds advocate or support the establishment, including by means of armed struggle, of an independent nation-state of their own, which is called Kurdistan, as an ultimate solution to their plights of being a nation without a state, (4) the idealised territory of Kurdistan state overlaps with the existing boundaries of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

In A History Of The Middle East, Britain's diplomat-turned-historian Peter Mansfield (1928-1996) recalled that "an independent Kurdish state of Kurdistan" was recognsed in the Treaty of Sevres (of 1920) signed between the victorious Allied Powers like Britain (but not including the United States) and the defeated Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of WWI but it was "cancelled by the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne". (London, Penguin, 2003; p.171)

Mansfield also observed that "the Kurdish problem remained to destabilize the politics of the three countries in which Kurds form important minorities - Turkey, Iran and Iraq". (ibid) The absolute majority of Kurds, Turks, Iraqi Arabs and Iranians are Muslims.

Turkey' s de-stabilising effects on Middle East

Turkey' s de-stabilising effects on Middle East

According to a backgrounder provided by Reuter, Turkey's military is the 2nd largest standing force in NATO after the United States. With its ethno-nationalist sentiment inflamed by both the US House of Representative's 'genocide' bill as well as its own Kurdish PKK rebels' incessant attacks on its military on the Iraqi border, it would be very imprudent to underestimate the destabilising potential of the former imperial power in the politics of the Middle East and its surrounding regions like North Africa, the Balkan, the Transcaucasia and Iran.

Keys to understanding Middle Eastern politics

Turkey, Kurdish rebels clash on Iraq' s border

Monday, October 22, 2007

Keys to understanding Middle Eastern politics

Politics in the Middle East and its surrounding regions like North Africa and Saudi Arabia cannot be fully understood without the basic knowledge of the rise and fall of the Turkey-centred Ottoman Empire (1299 - 1922) which provides the historical perspective of many current issues, especially those related to religious affinity, ethnic identity and national boundary and the grievances rooted thereon. In other words, the Israel-Palestine issue is only a subset of the larger, deeper and more complicated set of Middle East problems left over from the long process of the decline and fall of the Ottoman Empire.

Middle Eastern situation grows messy & tense

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Turkey, Kurdish rebels clash on Iraq' s border

Like it or not, the latest armed clashes between Turkish soldiers and Kurdish rebels which resulted in deaths on both sides have inflamed ethno-nationalist sentiments and would increase the likelihood of a Turkish military incursion into northern Iraq as well as of Kurdish resistance to Turkey not only within Turkey's own borders but also throughout Iraq, especially its northern region where most of the Iraqi Kurds or Kurds of Iraqi nationality (and Iraq's oil) concentrate. Both the Turks and Kurds are mostly Muslims of the Sunni tradition.

Middle Eastern situation grows messy & tense

Pelosi backtracks on Armenia ‘ genocide ’ bill

Turkey begins bombing Iraq' s northern region

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Going to downtown Kuala Lumpur very early tomorrow morning to join Beng Ching and Siew Lan for Dim-Sum & Yam-Char breakfast.

BBQ time again with mates from Down Under

Heads roll in US over nuke warheads on B-52

According to Bloomberg, " three senior officers (of the US Air Force) have been relieved of command for their roles in mistakenly allowing a B-52 bomber to fly from North Dakota to Louisiana carrying armed nuclear warheads" on 30 August. The six nuclear warheads were live at the time of the B-52' s journey from North Dakota to Louisiana.

Friday, October 19, 2007

This morning I had breakfast in a mamak stall in Petaling Jaya with Mr. C.H. Tay (郑昭贤), a retired chief of the international news desk of Sin Chew Jit Poh who first taught me in 1996-1997 how to manage the daily operations of selecting and editing international news. Mr. Tay, 65, served the desk from 1973 for 28 years thereafter without interruption until his retirement in 2001 and he now enjoys touring different parts of China and Southeast Asia, writing and reading with more leisurely pace. He is currently reading Thomas Friedman' s The Earth Is Flat and also learning how to blog his thoughts and writings.

Sharing ideas with a Japan-educated Chinese

White House: WWIII just a " rhetorical point "

According to an AFP report, US President George W. Bush' s warning that Iran must be denied nuclear arms to avoid "World War III" was just "a rhetorical point". At almost the same time, according to the AP, the United States' Air Force " is planning to fire at least five officers for an incident in which nuclear-armed missiles were mistakenly loaded on a B-52 bomber and flown across the US ".

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Chief of US counter-terrorism agency resigns

According to a Reuter report, John Redd, the head of the US agency responsible for analyzing intelligence on terrorism and developing counterterrorism strategies, has announced his resignation. The retired Vice Admiral of the US Navy, 65, served as the Director of the National Counterterrorism Centre (NCTC) since 1 August, 2005.

Bush taps admiral as chief of counterterrorism center

Pelosi backtracks on Armenia ‘ genocide ’ bill

According to Financial Tmes, "Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, on Wednesday backtracked on her support for a congressional resolution that has infuriated Turkey’s government, amid doubts over whether the measure would ever be approved".

Middle Eastern situation grows messy & tense

Bush calls for no vote on ' genocide' resolution

Congress-White House showdown on Iraq War

Middle Eastern situation grows messy & tense

As the Parliament of Turkey has " voted overwhelmingly in favour of empowering the (Turkish) armed forces to launch a cross-border assault against Kurdish insurgents based in northern Iraq ", the United States and Russia and its Caspian allies have also adopted opposite positions on Iran with President Bush warning that a nuclear-armed Iran could lead to World War III. Oil price has already been affected by the escalation and complication of the crises.

Support wanes in US House for 'genocide' bill

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Support wanes in US House for 'genocide' bill

According to a New York Times report, " worried about antagonizing Turkish leaders ", members of the US House of Representatives from both parties " have begun to withdraw their support from a resolution backed by the Democratic leadership that would condemn as genocide the mass killings of Armenians nearly a century ago ". Earlier, the US Senate passed a non-binding resolution calling for the division of Iraq into autonomous regions for the Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds.

Exploration of Japan's postwar foreign policy

I find Kevin Cooney's Japan's Foreign Policy Since 1945 (East Gate, New York, 2007) a dispassionate and thought-stimulating introduction to the subject as it outlines, from a historical or dynamic perspective and with the appropriate amount of facts and figures, different schools of thought on the making, changes and continuities of the foreign policy of postwar Japan as well as exploration of the future direction of its international relations.

Japan's Foreign Policy Since 1945, however, does not cover the very intense foreign policy debates and controversies within and beyond Japan during the one-year administration - from 26 September, 2006 to 12 September, 2007 - of former prime minister Shinzo Abe.

Besides regularly reading well-researched and balanced books like Kevin Cooney's Japan's Foreign Policy Since 1945, old-fashioned writers or analysts of strategic affairs like this blogger also exchange ideas with, or seek opinions from, more established teachers and experienced observers like Professor Dr. Wang Gungwu, Professor Dr. Lee Poh Ping and Mr. Loke Thu Sang to ensure that our basic understanding of the overall situations or configurations of forces is as close to reality on earth as possible, although we may finally still differ on some detailed matters of value judgement. Ancora Imparo.

Japan' s PM Fukuda to make critical decisions

Sharing ideas with a Japan-educated Chinese

Election of LDP chief predicted by M' sian don

Eternal glory to Malaya' s anti-fascist martyrs

Michiko Suzuki's idealism in Japanese politics

Ex-PM warns Japan against 'militarist' revival

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Abdullah CD' s Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house

Last Saturday (13 Oct), Abdullah CD and Suriani Abdullah hosted their Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house in Ban Chulabhorn 12 in Sukhirin, southern Thailand and received greetings from friends and neighbours, including the lovely adik-adik. Their good neighbour and life-long comrade Abu Samah (left), an ex-child soldier of the British Empire who fought the first wave of Japanese invasion in Kota Baru in December 1941, also really dressed up for the festival and certainly looked very jovial.

Old comic book re-published with new cover

British introspection on Empire's end in Asia

Monday, October 15, 2007

Last evening, Ah Keong brought a lot of fresh water or river prawns back from Tanjung Tualang for me. Tanjung Tualang, a former tin-mining area near Kampar, has always been famous for that and there are several old-fashioned Chinese restaurants in Pekan Tualang which prepare and serve the prawns in a variety of traditional recipes.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Turkey begins bombing Iraq's northern region

As US diplomats have been trying to restrain Turkey , a NATO ally since the early years of the Cold War, from taking its own military incursion into northern Iraq, Turkey has already " begun shelling areas across the Iraqi border in the autonomous Kurdish region ". Like the then underground Iraqi communists, Iraq' s ethnic Kurds generally supported and facilitated the initial stage of the US-led military operations in March 2003 to topple the Baathist regime.

Turkish general warns US on Armenians bill

Next big question in US-Turkey relationship

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Muslims in China begin to celebrate Ramadan

Like their fellow co-religionists in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and other parts of the world, about 20 million Muslims in China have also begun to celebrate the end of the fasting month known as Ramadan.

Abdullah Ahmad greets Imam Wang in mosque
Very busy since this noon visiting Muslim teachers and friends in the Klang Valley to share the joy of Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Tomorrow's major family programme is to visit Pak Said who lives only nearby.

Joining Muslim friends for fast-breaking meal

Friday, October 12, 2007

Next big question in US - Turkey relationship

While the Turkish government has recalled its ambasssador to the United States in protest against the approval of a congressional bill on the 1915 mass killing of Armenians for full-house debate and resolution by the the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives, the speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi also said that the bill would proceed. Like it or not, the stage is now set for further confrontations between the US Congress and the government of Turkey and the next big question is how would the US military respond should Turkey, a NATO ally of US, really send its own troops into northern Iraq to fight its own Kurdish rebels ?

US-Turkey relations continues to deteriorate

Thursday, October 11, 2007

US-Turkey relations continues to deteriorate

While Turkey's President Abdullah Gul has expressed the Muslim-majority secular republic's "strong condemnation "against a US House committee vote in Washington on Wednesday to condemn the 1915 mass killings of Armenians in Turkey during World War I as "an act of genocide", its Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan "will ask parliament next week to authorize a military push into north Iraq" to fight its own Kurdish secessionists. On 1 March 2003, the Turkish Parliament, under immense and popular anti-war pressures, voted to reject the request for the stationing of its allied American troops on Turkish territory as part of the operational preparation for the US-led war Operation Iraqi Freedom against the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq.

Congressional bill sours US - Turkey relations

India reasserts its right to close ties with Iran

Congressional bill sours US - Turkey relations

Although both the White House and State Department have already expressed their objections, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives has approved a bill on the 1915 mass killing of Armenians for debate and resolution. Turkey, an NATO ally of US, has also protested against the Congressional bill. Meanwhile, Turkey is seriously considering taking its own military actions into Iraq, whose president Jalal Talabani is of ethnic Kurdish origin, to fight its own Kurdish secessionists allegedly using the area as a base but US has voiced its public disagreement with the Turkish idea.

Debate on whether to " partition " Iraq or not

FM Mottaki : US 'in no position' to attack Iran

Congress-White House showdown on Iraq War

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

James and friends would like to convey our special Salam Aidilfitri to Pakcik Abdullah CD and Makcik Suriani Abdullah, Pakcik Abu Samah and Makcik Siti Norkiah as well as all other orang-orang kampung, including adik-adik yang disayangi, of Ban Chulabhorn 12 in Thailand.

Lee Meng thanks counsel P.G. Lim from heart

Communist Abdullah' s version of ' Emergency '

Communists celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri too

Monday, October 08, 2007

Debate on whether to " partition " Iraq or not

While the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) has condemned, and the White House as well as the State Department also expressed objection to, the 'decentralisation' or 'partition' of Iraq as proposed in a non-binding resolution recently passed by the United States' Senate, Iraq's own president Jalal Talabani says he supports the call for the division of Iraq into autonomous regions for the Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds despite the opposition already voiced by PM Nouri al-Maliki.

Controversy over privatised soldiery rages on

Peter Mansfield's A History of the Middle East

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Joining Muslim friends for fast-breaking meal

At the very kind invitation of PAS Headquaters in Kuala Lumpur, I joined the party's fast-breaking meal earlier this evening with old friends like Dato' Mustapha Ali, Datuk Husam Musa (above, left), Dr. Dzulkifri Ahmad, Dr. Hatta Ramli and Zulkifri Sulong. May I seize this opportunity to wish all Muslim teachers, neighbours and friends of mine Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Mohon Maaf Zahir Batin.

Mooncakes now serve as cross-cultural bridge

Enjoying a multiethnic Malay marriage dinner

Communists celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri too

Welcoming new U.S. ambassador James Keith

Last evening, I met and greeted the new US ambassador to Malaysia James R. Keith at a social party dinner held in a Kuala Lumpur hotel.

Greeting Chairman Mao's interpreter 'Nancy'

In memory of my Jewish teacher Herb Feith

Saturday, October 06, 2007

China: Myanmar no threat to world peace yet

According to a Xinhua report, " China's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Wang Guangya said Friday that the current situation in Myanmar does not pose any threat to international or regional peace and security ". China is one of the five permanent members of the United Nations' Security Council with veto power.

S' pore not for tough actions against Myanmar

FM Pranab : India opposes Myanmar sanctions

India urges Myanmar to free Aung San Suu Kyi

According to an AFP report, India " has called for Aung San Suu Kyi to be freed, but is not abandoning the authoritarian regime ". Also, it has been reported by the AFP that " Myanmar's military regime Friday broadcast rare footage of detained democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi on state television for the for first time in at least four years ".

Friday, October 05, 2007

S' pore not for tough actions against Myanmar

According to a Bernama report, Singapore's PM Lee Hsien Loong opines that tougher actions against Myanmar, including imposing sanctions, " are likely to be counterproductive than effective ". Earlier, Myanmar's junta chief has reportedly offered to meet Ang San Suu Kyi if she ends her support for sanctions against the country.

China, Russia against Security Council actions

FM Pranab : India opposes Myanmar sanctions

Controversy over privatised soldiery rages on

While the Federal Bureau of Investigation has begun investigation into Blackwater USA, the US House of Representatives passed a bill making private security contractors in war zones subject to action in US courts but the White House has also expressed its opposition to the bill. Earlier, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates reportedly said that " he expects to move on recommendations to strengthen the Defense Department's oversight of private security firms in Iraq ".

Thursday, October 04, 2007

India reasserts its right to close ties with Iran

Besides characterising the recent political turmoil in Myanmar as " an internal matter " and opposing the West-proposed sanctions against its military regime, India has also asserted its right to close ties with Iran on the southern part of which Jaipan Industries Limited (JIL) is to participate in a project to construct a petrochemical facility.

FM Mottaki : US 'in no position' to attack Iran

Patriotic outcry in U.K. as bishops praise Iran

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Old comic book republished with new cover

Glad to see the reprint, with new cover design and Amir Muhammad's review, of the Where Monsoons Meet: A People’s History of Malaya now being in public circulation. It is certainly the best introduction to the alternative history of Malaya/Malaysia for those who have no time yet to read all the memoirs of the communist veterans and I myself read it in the mid-1980s when I was still an undergraduate in Monash.

Alternative history of Malaya in modern films

Old Ipoh honours D.R. Seenevasagam's legacy

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

FM Pranab : India opposes Myanmar sanctions

According to a news report in the Business Standard, "after a meeting with Myanmar's Foreign Minister Nyan Win on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting, India's External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee called for an inquiry into the violence on the streets but said New Delhi opposed sanctions". Last week, U.S. President George W. Bush unveiled new economic sanctions against members of the government in Myanmar in response to the military crackdown on protestors in Yangoon and call upon other countries to follow suit.

Blackwater chief denies 'baseless' allegations

According to a CNN report, the chief of the controversial private security firm operating in Iraq Blackwater USA " is defending his company from 'negative and baseless allegations' surrounding a bloody day in Baghdad ". Earlier, the United States' House (of Representative) Oversight and Government Reform Committee found that it has inflicted "significant casualties and property damage" in Iraq while guarding State Department officials.
According to a learned friend of mine in Singapore, American investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill' s Blackwater - The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army (New York, Nation Books, 2007) provides a focused and in-depth understanding - as well as vocal critique- of the well-connected and powerful private security firm .The author also operates a blog to seek debate on his book.

M' sian PM on root cause of Iraqi predicament

US private security firms in Iraq under probes

Monday, October 01, 2007

India : Myanmar turmoil " an internal matter "

According to an AFP report, India's new army chief today called the political turmoil in Myanmar an "internal matter". Like many other countries, India also has extensive business and strategic interests in the ex-British colony in Southeast Asia which was known as Burma.

It is business as usual in Myanmar for oil firms