Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ipoh childhood hobby becomes Olympic sport

The STAR Sports programme on Channel 813 at Astro, which my wife has subscribed for us to enjoy the Beijing Olympics, is now operative on the television set in our USJ house just now. Needless to say, I will follow very closely table tennis or Ping Pang, a game that many of my classmates in Ipoh's Sam Tet Primary School and I learnt to play from our Mandarin teacher Mr. Sam Kai Moon in the 1970s, and which first became an official sport of the Olympic Games only in Seoul in 1988.

Gratitude for teachers at Ipoh wedding party

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Gratitude for teachers at Ipoh wedding party

At the formal invitation of Uncle Cheah, I gave a 20-minute speech in Mandarin to the wedding dinner in which I recalled my deep and time-tested friendship with his son Jen Ping and also thanked Uncle Cheah for allowing his son to share the many morally uplifting Chinese books with me when we were classmates in the very turbulent period of our nation from 1969 to 1974 and for imparting to both of us the life-long spirit as well as passion for intellectual self-improvement. In his own speech, Uncle Cheah also paid tribute to his teachers as well as fellow Chinese educationists in the very long struggle, with many trials and tribulations since the colonial era, for the right, honour and dignity of mother-tongue education, and also social progress of the community.

Bridging Chinese & American worlds in Perak

Monday, July 28, 2008

Bridging Chinese & American worlds in Perak

My friend Jen Ping's father Uncle Cheah had been a dedicated teacher as well as well-known Chinese educationist who helped to re-build the system of the Chinese Independent Secondary Schools in Perak in the 1970s. But, he has also been a great admirer of the US institutions of higher education from which all his four dear children have benefited tremendously. Uncle Cheah is now justifiably proud of both his social contribution to the community and personal achievement as a father.

Happy reunion of teacher, classmates in Ipoh

Happy reunion of teacher, classmates in Ipoh

At last Saturday's wedding party of Jen Ping (left), I also met my own Standard 3A class Mandarin teacher Mr. Sam Kai Moon (second from right), 68, as well as classmates Chua Kay Lin (second from left) and Phan Yin Kong (right). I certainly remember it was Mr. Sam who first trained us to play table tennis or Ping Pang with really great passion. Since retirement from teaching service, Mr. Sam has become a very successful manager of Ipoh's American International Assurance (AIA).

My primary school classmate & buddy marries

Multilingual Muslim guide to Beijing Olympics

China Radio International (CRI) has officially launched its Indonesian, Malay, Turkish, Hausan, Persian, Arabic and also Pushtuan-language programmes to provide "information about the Beijing Olympics and the capital for people in predominantly Muslim countries". There are 20 million Muslims or Hui people and 30,000 mosques in China itself.

Honour of Olympic Flame for Dr. Sun Yat Sen

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Chrysanthemum tea serves as ' body coolant '

Every time I come back to hometown Ipoh, my loving mother always prepares traditional herbal soup or tea for me to "cool off the bodily heat" and this time is the sugarless and yellow chrysanthemum tea.

Mooncake Festival ' 08 falls on 14 September

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mooncake Festival ' 08 falls on 14 September

According to mother, Mooncake or Mid-Autumn Festival 2008 will fall on 14 September (Sun). Well, I certainly remember 7 October (Tues) 2008 as the 80th birthday of a truly great and brave Batu Gajah girl.

Zhou Xuan as my mother' s idol in Batu Gajah

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My primary school classmate & buddy marries

Finally, a primary school classmate of mine and American graduate JP Cheah, 46, is going to marry a lucky woman. At the invitation of him and his beloved family, I am going back to Ipoh on Saturday to attend the Yam Seng wedding dinner. His father has also asked me to be the toast master. The occasion will provide an opportunity for reunion of boys of Sam Tet Primary School's Standard One Class F of Year 1969. The last time I went back to Ipoh was about three weeks ago when I joined my mother and other siblings to bid farewell to my 24-year old niece and Australia-trained pharmacist Valerie who was preparing to emigrate to Down Under for good. Valerie is already living there now.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Seeking historical justice in British law court

The descendants of the 24 victims of the 1948 Batang Kali Massacre have entrusted four voluntary lawyers to fight for "historical justice" for their ancestors. The 4 Malaysian lawyers are (from left) Leon Lu, Ngeow Yin Ngee, Datuk Dominique Puthucheary and Quek Ngee Meng. According to Puthucheary, there are a number "good" Britons who are willing to help and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) actually produced and screened a documentary on the massacre in Batang Kali called In Cold Blood several years ago to preserve a historical outline. Meanwhile, Quek Ngee Meng alleged at a press conference today that a British dossier on the case stored at the Public Record Office in Kew "for years" (FILE DEFE70/101) has been "removed" by the Ministry of Defence of the United Kingdom in or after March last year when the decision of the descendants of the Batang Kali Massacre victims to sue the British Government for compensation was first made public.

Chin Peng to battle on for homecoming right

In memory of victims of Batang Kali Massacre

I met former ISA detainee Dr. M.K. Rajakumar briefly this morning in downtown Kuala Lumpur and he told me that the coming 12 December (Friday) marks the 60th anniversary of the Batang Kali Massacre and that there should be a nationwide commemoration to affirm our self-respect as well as self-esteem as an independent and united country.

Indian martyrdoms for Malaya's independence

Sunday, July 20, 2008

PG Lim: "very happy to meet Lee Meng again"

Malaysia's former Ambassador to the now defunct Yugoslavia Dato' PG Lim (left) just told me over the telephone that she was "really happy" to have met her "thankful" ex-client Lee Meng (right) again recently in KL. The 92-year old Britain-trained veteran lawyer also said: " Her (Lee Meng's) case is very memorable and important in my law career because it was reported worldwide in the 50s ". Lee Meng is now 82.

Lee Meng meets PG Lim again at book launch

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Lee Meng meets PG Lim again at book launch

Legendary communist Lee Meng (right), 82, visited her tanah tumpah darah recently again to launch the memoirs of her late husband Chen Tian as well as the Chinese edition of British WWII soldier John Cross' Red Jungle translated from its English original by Chen Tian. Joining Lee Meng at the books' launch on 14 July (Mon) at the Selangor-Kuala Lumpur Chinese Assembly Hall was P.G. Lim (left), 92, a progressive lawyer who saved Lee Meng from the gallow in 1950s. 2008 marks the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the twelve-year anti-colonial war which is known in colonial and neo-colonial narratives as 'Emergency'.

Sole survivor of My Lai of Malaya passes away

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Simon Schama' s 'A History of Britain' in DVDs

Beng Ching also brought back for his daughter from his recent book-shopping tour a set of DVDs featuring historian and also broadcaster Simon Schma's widely acclaimed A History of Britain which was first shown as a documentary on BBC from 30 Sept 2000 to 18 June 2002. The last book on British history I read was The Rise And Fall Of The British Empire (London, Abacus, 2004) authored by Lawrence James.

Chinese translation of ancient Roman history

Monday, July 14, 2008

Chinese translation of ancient Roman history

My friend Beng Ching has just returned from a book-buying tour from China and he brought back the full-text English-Chinese translation of British historian Edward Gibbon's The History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire. As I said before, the masterpiece is engaging.

4 masterpieces of classical Chinese literature

Friday, July 11, 2008

Israel says it is ready to act on Iranian threat

Following the US warning against Iran, Israel's Defence Minister Ehud Barak has reportedly reiterated his country's readiness to act against Iran if it feels threatened. Senior leaders of the Islamic republic like President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, are on public records as reportedly stating their ultimate aim of "wiping" the Jewish state "off the map".

US willing & able to defend Israel against Iran

Thursday, July 10, 2008

US willing & able to defend Israel against Iran

The United States has issued a warning to Iran in no uncertain terms that it is willing, ready and able to defend its Israeli ally . Today, Iran continued to conduct its missile tests for the second consecutive day with the ballistic Shahab-3 that Iran said is capable of reaching Israel. In US mainstream politics, the support for the existence and security of Israel is bipartisan although some minor differences over strategy or tactic may arise between the two major parties from time to time.

Iran test-fires missiles while Russia warns US

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Iran test-fires missiles while Russia warns US

While Russia has just "warned" the United States over an USA-Czech bilateral treaty to position a system of missile defence in the central European country, Iran, now under increasing pressures of US-UK-EU sanction and Israel's military preparedness for surgical strikes, test-fired a missile named Shahab-3 "it said is capable of reaching Israel".

US top military adviser urges 'caution' on Iran

Russia warns USA over Czech' s missile shield

As the region in West Asia covering Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Israel is becoming increasingly bellicose in sentiment, Russia has publicly warned of "military response" over a US-Czech bilateral treaty to install a system of missile defence in the central European country. The resurgence of Russia during the Putin era in terms of a renewed sense of self-worth, national security and geostrategic consciousness as well as economic revitalisation has generated a certain degree of uneasiness in Europe, Britain as well as the USA in the last few years.

' West vs. Rest ' worldview institutionalised ?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Rise of modern India in historical perspective

Before I proceed further to peruse India Since Independence, I think it is better for me to finish the last three parts of Lawrence James' Raj: The Making of British India (London, Abacus, 2003). Historical perspective or context, I always believe, make us see things clearer.

Reorganising bookshelves in my reading room

Monday, July 07, 2008

One-book history of India since independence

Like its neighbour China, India is an ancient civilisation that contains many spiritual traditions as well as various systems of belief but that has also successfully been transformed into a modern secular republic with impressive record of economic growth. In their highly acclaimed one-volume India Since Independence (London, Penguin, 2008), Bipan Chandra, Mridula Mukerjee and Aditya Mukherjee tell the worlds how that happened - with some trials and tribulations- from 1947 to 2000.

Global Indians conference starts in New Delhi

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Modern Chinese Revolution liberates women

In yesteryears' Old China, women were supposed to obey and rely on their fathers, husbands and sons in accordance to some conservative elements of official Confucianism and many of them had to live with their bound feet to satisfy the pervert sense of 'beauty' of male elites at all levels of the feudal society. Seen in this historical context, the liberation of women, besides the overcoming of widespread addiction to opium, illiteracy as well as superstition, has been a topmost social agenda of the Chinese Revolution since the onset of the last century.

From 'Son of Heaven' to citizen of New China

Saturday, July 05, 2008

World-historic meaning of French Revolution

On 14 July every year, La Marseillaise can be heard in France and all over the world to commemorate the French Revolution of 1789, that, together with the American War of Independence, heralded a new era of modern politics characterised by the idea of secular republicanism. James wish all French friends of both sexes a very happy Bastille Day.

Old Nepal' s royal palace re-opens as museum

Friday, July 04, 2008

US won independence in a revolutionary war

The independence of the United States of America from British reign was not achieved simply by a ceremonious proclamation read from a piece of paper but, more significantly, also through a bloodily fought anti-colonial revolutionary war ( 1775-1783 ). From 1861 to 1865, the young republic also went through a civil war between its northern and southern states that were called Union and Confederacy respectively.

Happy Independence Day to American friends

Happy Independence Day to American friends

Happy Independence Day greetings to all American friends in Malaysia as well as US and all over the world from James and also Clare Street.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

US top military adviser urges 'caution' on Iran

President Bush's top military adviser Admiral Michael Mullen has been quoted by BBC as urging caution on Iran as " a strike on Iran would be ' extremely stressful ' for US forces ". He is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff which coordinates all services of the US armed forces.

USA still favours diplomatic approach on Iran

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Reorganising bookshelves in my reading room

I have started to clean up again and also reshuffle the bookshelves to make my reading room more subject-compartmentalised. Shortage of space has certainly become a problem as the number of books as well as periodicals like Foreign Affairs and The Economist keeps on rising.