Monday, January 31, 2011

Massive & popular protests in Egypt intensify

In spite of the condemnation and appeal for 'stability' by Saudi' s King Abdullah, the massive and popular protests in Egypt have intensified. On earth , Egyptians face 11.9% inflation as well as 9.4% jobless rate. Meanwhile , vicinity in and around Jeddah , the second largest city in Saudi Arabia, is seriously hit by flood as a result of torrential rainfall. While it is expected that the economy of that oil-rich Sunni monarchy will grow by 4.2 % this year, its unemployment rate has reached 10 %.

Saudi monarch condemns Egyptian protestors

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saudi monarch condemns Egyptian protestors

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has reportedly condemned the protesters in Egypt now number hundreds of thousands and massed in big cities. Iran's high leadership is reportedly sympathetic to the demonstrators. Saudi Arabia and Iran are widely believed to be strategic competitors for political influences as well as the hearts and minds of Muslims all over the world , especially the Middle East, the Gulf and North Africa. Western leaders are calibrating and re-calibrating a workable balance between ideological idealism on one hand and political realism on the other. Millions of people worldwide are watching Al Jazeera coverage although many still prefer to follow the unfolding of the historic event and exploration of its direction as well as meaning with BBC and CNN.

Yemen slams Al Jazeera coverage of protests

Yemen slams Al Jazeera coverage of protests

Facing unprecedented social and also political upheaval, Yemen's very controversial president, Ali Abdullah Saleh has reportedly accused the Qatar-based Al Jazeera of "exaggeration and distortion of facts" and "incitement" in its coverage of the recent outbreak of mass protests. Like it or otherwise , Al Jazeera' s Arabic as well as English news and current affair programmes are watched daily by millions of people all over the world , including Malaysia and other parts of Southeast Asia. The political as well as moral image of President Ali, whose people is confronted with 12% inflation and 35% jobless rate, had already been seriously tarnished by the globally reported 'revelations' in WikiLeaks.

Impact of increasingly cheaper overseas trips

Friday, January 28, 2011

Tehran now for "all-out cooperation" with KL

Despite the recent controversy over the alleged maltreatment of Shia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Iran have reportedly re-engaged more deeply for "all-out cooperation". Iran was once feared in Malaysia not only for its Shia school of Islamic tradition but also populist as well as revolutionary republicanism that ended a pro-West monarchy in 1979. Iran's influence in the Middle East have grown after the US-led war in Iraq ousted the Saddam Hussein regime that challenged revolutionary Iran in a large-scale and also protracted war of attrition in the 1980s. Now, Saudi Arabia is believed to be a Western counterweight to Iran, as the Shia -majority republic is also under Western sanctions for its nuclear ambition, alleged sponsorship of terrorism in the Middle East and regional strategy which could pose an existential threat to Israel.

Iran's parliament backs rights for Shia in M'sia

Stereotyping people from Saudi Arabia wrong

There are indeed very bad people in Saudi Arabia, but stereotyping or sweeping (mis)characterisation of all Saudi Arabian nationals and, for that matter, Muslims, is still unacceptable to any progressive society. It is admittedly trite but it still has to be re-iterated often eough that there are always very good, not-so-good, not -so-bad as well as really bad people in all societies on earth, whatever their systems of belief. Like all other parts of this world, Saudi Arabia is also occasionally hit by unmasterable forces of nature , like torrential rain and sandstorm. There are also records of tragic and deadly stampede in Saudi Arabia. While it is expected that the economy of the oil -rich Sunni monarchy will grow by 4.2 % this year, its unemployment rate has reached 10 %.

Filipino workers suffer abuses in Saudi Arabia

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Filipino workers suffer abuses in Saudi Arabia

The hurting and painful experiences of many Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia have received the attention of the Filipino civil society as well as Walden Bello who visited the kingdom lately on a fact-finding tour. Saudi Arabia's image in Southeast Asia has already been tarnished by a fairly widely reported case of an Indonesian maid being tortured by her female employer as well as WikiLeaks's controversial 'revelations', which purportedly expose the existence of 'underground' nightlife and not-that-puritan parties of earthly thrills for the wealthy and powerful elites, whose less well-off and more disempowered fellow countrymen are taught, told and expected by laws to lead strictly 'moral' lifestyles. According to a latest survey made public officially, the unemployment rate in the oil-rich country on the Arabian Peninsula has reached 10%.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Australia Day greetings to relatives & friends

My family and I would like to greet all our relatives and friends Down Under Happy Australia Day !. Certainly, our thoughts and prayers are still with those who have lost their dear and loved ones in the deluge.

Australian society resilient in face of disaster

Monday, January 24, 2011

Street mood still not 'hot' yet for Rabbit Year

Chinese New Year is fast approaching, but the atmosphere in town is still not ' hot ' yet. Friends in retail businesses say it is because many people quietly face economic difficulties as the prices of many goods and services (including children's schooling expenses) have increased. However, in great or hard times, Chinese New Year (or Xin Nian) will still be celebrated in the form of family reunion and spirit of renewal.

Exchanging past stories for progress in future

Sunday, January 23, 2011

In personal memory of K .K. Lim (1936-2011)

Certainly, I am sad to hear that Dato' K.K. Lim, a prominent resident of Ipoh and regular reader of this blog, has passed away at 75. In the last several years, I was indeed honoured to be able to exchange and share many ideas with him in his residence, especially on the need to preserve the authentic heritage of Ipoh as well as to restore its socio- economic vitality, although we might still differ on some issues and personalities in electoral politics of the day. I have benefited a great deal from the occasional conversations with him over a cup of kopi-o. Allow me to extend my deep sympathy to Dato' K.K. Lim' s loved ones.

(RIP) Farewell to fellow ex-MP Fan Yew Teng

Teach & learn languages with balanced minds

Although it is not right for promoters and teachers of any language to insult people who have not learnt their language, it would certainly be more conducive if people who want to master another language to be less sensitive to well -meaning ideas or suggestions for improvement and further improvement. For any programme of language promotion to succeed in a society or community, both superiority and inferiority complexes, at both individual and social levels, have to be overcome. In a classical Mandarin expression, the psychological state of balance, which enables all human beings to impart and also acquire knowledge without feeling inherently superior or inferior, is called bukang bubei.

Promote English language with positive spirit

Friday, January 21, 2011

Promote English language with positive spirit

One sure way for a language not to be loved is for its promoters to be perceived or felt to be always boostful or /and condescending. A good language teacher is usually bi-lingual with deep knowledge not only of the language he or she teaches, but also that which his or her student communicates with parents and siblings in the daily life of the family. A monolingual Cambridge or Oxford professor in English language and literature may not be a good English teacher for rural youths in Spain. 'Promoting' English in English-language media is really not that smart, and denigrading users or learners of non-English languages in English-language media is certainly fairly counter-productive to the objective of making English loved by even more peoples, especially children and youths with diverse religio-cultural backgrounds, as a friendly and sill useful language in the accelerating process of economic globalisation.

History of La Sallean schools in M'sia & S'pore

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

Australian society resilient in face of disaster

Many fundraising programmes are being organised by Australia's civil society to help those who are affected. Australia is a resilient nation. The pristine love and selfless deed of Jordan Rice shine in our hearts.

Fair-dunkum spirit of mutual help in Australia

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Professor Lee Poh Ping on US-China relations

Recently , Professor Dr. Lee Poh Ping also shared his scholarly points of view with me on the bilateral relations between the United States and China. President Hu Jintao will officially visit Washongton pretty soon. President Barack Obama visited China in November 2009. The two nations first established diplomatic relationship in January 1979, although the process of rapprochement had commenced in July 1971.

J-20 flighter's test flight reportedly successful

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Fair-dinkum spirit of mutual help in Australia

Although the Australian society is well-known for a very long time for civic -mindedness, there are also reportedly some rogues and crooks who take advatange of the emergency situation in the flood-hit area to steal and loot. On the whole, the fair-dinkum spirit of mutual help and neighbourly solidarity still prevail among the people Down Under. Superstitious speculations and rumours have fairly limited audiences among Australians, who are a sophisticated, mature and thinking lot. However, it is difficult to say for sure if there are - or there are not - 'ideas' in the vast cyberspace that flood hits Australia because it is a Christian-majority country or it has 'strayed' from the 'true' message for its people celebrate Christmas, which has its origin in 'paganism'.

Selfless deed of Jordan Rice humbles all of us

Friday, January 14, 2011

Selfless deed of Jordan Rice humbles all of us

The ultimate sacrifice of brave Australian boy Jordan Rice to save his little brother in the flood shows that there is still pristine love in this world. We are humbled by his selfless deed. Brave boy, rest in peace.

Watching floor Down Under on TV distressing

Sharing experiences on natural disaster relief

As more and more ordinary people in the world have gained access to global news on TV programmes and also the cyberspace, the fact that natural disasters, as blind forces of nature, could randomly strike and also indiscriminately ravage any spot on earth has become very clear. Certainly, there is a fairly pressing need for more inter-governmental efforts to promote the sharing of experiences, both technological and psychological, of dealing with natural disasters, to minimise damages to lives and properties and to maximise resources for reconstruction, including the needs for overcoming post-traumatic stress of survivors and preventing the spread of communicable diseases in the hit areas.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Watching flood Down Under on TV distressing

Certainly, the thoughts and prayers of my family and I are with those who have lost their loved ones in the flood in Queensland . Watching TV news these days is distressing and we hope it would be over soon.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

J-20 fighter's test flight reportedly successful

According to latest news reports from China as well as the US, China's J-20 stealth fighter jet was succeesfully tested in a flight at 12.50 pm today at a Chengdu airfield. Meanwhile , there are reservations on its degree of stealthiness. China is also widely reported in recent months to be making aircraft carriers as well as anti -ship ballistic missiles to enhance a programme of modernization of PLA' s naval and air forces that could substantially alter the strategic balance in the Asia -Pacific region where America's military power is still verifiably preponderant.

China's rare earth becomes strategic concern

Monday, January 10, 2011

Greetings for Thaipusam from James & family

My family and I would like to extend our Happy Thaipusam! greetings to our relatives, neighbours and friends who celebrate the festival in Ipoh, Batu Gajah, Tanjung Tualang, Kampar , Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Seremban, Klang as well as everywhere else under the Malaysian sun. Personally, I would also like to convey my very warm festive greeting to friends in Singapore, India, Nepal , Australia , Britain and Canada. We will also be celebrating Chinese New Year of the Rabbit very soon.

Said Zahari SMSes festive greetings nowadays

Sunday, January 09, 2011

China's rare earth becomes strategic concern

Rare earth, a type of soil that contains 17 types of elements and 95%-97% of which are to be found in China, has become a concern lately in the strategic relations between China on one hand, and Japan as well as other industrial countries, such as the United States, on the other. While China says that tighter control on its natural resources is based on environmental consideration, Japan and the US believe that China makes it a strategic leverage in its conduct of international relations. Rare earth is of critical importance to the manufacturing of high-tech electronic products, including vital components of advance weaponry, like J-20 stealth fighter jets and DF-21D "anti-ship" ballistic missiles. Also, China is widely speculated to be launching its aircraft carrier(s) this year, which is a year earlier than Western analysts had expected.

Friday, January 07, 2011

America plans to cut expenditure on defence

Reportedly, the Obama administration has planned to cut US' defence spending. The GOP-controlled US House of Representatives has been given a hint earlier. Last year, the UK also announced a "deep cut" in defence as an austerity drive to cope with tough financial challenges. Under-spending in defence and security could, to be very sure, tempt adversaries to be more adventuristic, but, as the Soviet's experience in the 1970s has clearly shown, over-spending in the military complex could also result in massive misallocation of economic resources that would, in turn, lead to social instability as well as political turbulence. It can be expected that, while the budgetary objective will obtain the support of both sides of the partisan divide in the US Congress, there would also be debates on geographical as well as functional priorities.

UK's defence cuts & implications on Falkland

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Strategic dilemma of Japan in Northeast Asia

The tense situation on the Korean Peninsula last year has highlighted what appears to be Japan' s geo-strategic dilemma in Northeast Asia. Professor Dr Lee Poh Ping explores the topic with me in an exchange. As a matter of historical context , Japan colonized Taiwan from 1895 to 1945, defeated Russia in a naval war in 1904 -1905, marched into Russia' s Far East during the Russian Civil War in 1917 -1923 to back the anti-Bolshevik "Whites", occupied and ruled the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945, seized three Northeastern provinces in China and set up a puppet's regime called Manchukuo from 1932 to 1945 as well as attempted to occupy China's mainland in a war from 1937 to 1945.

Tension on Korean Peninsula appears to ease

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Worrisome trend which needs to be reversed

The trend that more and more Malaysians are buying and/or enjoying to read gossipy and sensational tabloids is indeed very worrisome, as it is an indication that our society is on intellectual decline. What are the causes of it ? How to stop and reverse it ? There is a real need to address the problem honestly and openly although we may be accused of 'elitism', 'paternalism' or 'self-righteousness' by angry ultra-liberals. Parents and teachers should pay particular attention to this unhealthy trend which could adversely affect the process of character-formation of their children and intellectual development of youths of the nation.

For more educated & cultured public debates

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Economic growth in Singapore last year great

Amid global recession, Singapore's GDP growth last year was certainly remarkable. Although it can be argued that the size of Singapore has made it easier to manage, it must also be remembered that it is not as resources -rich as other countries. For example, it produces no oil. Bookstores in tiny Singapore also offer readers wider range of topics, although its mass media is not as free as other countries like Britain. Public discourses Down There are more informative but less exciting.

Iran's parliament backs rights for Shia in M'sia

Following media reports on the clampdown on Shia in Malaysia, Iran' s Parliament has reportedly contacted officials in Malaysia to convey its concerns. The Islamic Republic of Iran is Shia -predominated, but it is also a member state of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC). Another republic in the Islamic world where Shia form the majority of the Muslim-predominated population is Iraq which is Iran's neighbour. There is also a noticeable minority of Shia in the Sunni -majority and monarchical Saudi Arabia where Islam was first founded as a religion, but Iran and Saudi Arabia are said to be in geo-strategic competition as the former has clearly enhanced its influence in post-Saddam Iraq.

Iran detains seven alleged Al Qaeda members

Monday, January 03, 2011

Said Zahari SMSes festive greetings nowadays

I just called Pak Said to wish him Selamat Tahun Baru 2011 and thank him for the Christmas greetings sent to me via SMS on 25 Dec, 2010. Pak Said told me that it was he himself who typed and sent the words and he has learned the skills of 'surfing' the Internet for quite a while. Pak Said, however, became tri-lingual long before there was Internet.

Festive greetings from & to Red Malay village

Festive greetings from & to Red Malay village

I am glad to hear that Pakcik Abdullah CD is macam biasa sahaja and Makcik Suriani masih boleh tahan lagi. I wish to thank them for their Christmas and New Year greetings. Saya juga ingin ucapkan Selamat Tahun Baru kepada kawan-kawan Kampung lain yang juga dihormati.

Fighter Siti Mariam rests in everlasting peace

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Fighter Siti Mariam rests in everlasting peace

My deep condolence to the family of Makcik Siti Mariam @ Atom who departed recently at 84 in southern Thailand . Fighter, rest in peace.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Tension on Korean Peninsula appears to ease

The 5-day live-fire drills staged by the ROK at 23 spots seem to have ended without any live-fire response from the DPRK. The two Korean states, technically still at war, now appear to be more reconciliatory.

Korean Question six-dimensional in substance