Sunday, May 29, 2011

Responses of Saudi Arabia to MENA upheavals

The official responses' of Sauds' Arabia to the upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa so far have been documented by a report in the New York Times. Saudi Arabia's ruling class sees 'the Shi''ite'-majority and republican Iran as the geopolitical threat as well as sectarian foe. Whether Saudi Arabia''s 'firefighting' activities in the Middle East and North Africa would caused more problems for womenfolks and Shi'ites as well as other religious or sectarian minorities is, of course, a very important question to ask as well as vital issue to be followed closely. Meanwhile, 'according to a separate report in the Wall Street Journal, Sauds' Arabia has also been making official efforts to build and forge an' "informal" anti'-Iran alliance in South, Central and Southeast Asia. Reportedly, Saudi FM Prince Saud al'-Faisal al'-Saud met with Russian president Medvedev on 25' March in Moscow to discuss the situations in the Middle East and North Africa which had already been in motion.

Friday, May 27, 2011

President Obama's very noteworthy speeches

In between President Obama's speeches (on MENA) in Washington DC and (to the British Parliament) in London, there was his interview on the BBC, which is also very noteworthy for observers of global affairs. Almost' needless to say, there is a wide range of views and reactions.

Russian girl hangs herself over doomsday fear

A 14'-year old girl in Russia reportedly committed suicide in response to evangelical preacher Harold Camping's doomsday 'prediction'. Now, Camping has reportedly said the day will actually fall on 21 Oct. He is on records for making another such wrong 'prediction' before in 1994.

Co-ed schooling irk preachers in Saudi Arabia

Conservative elements in Saudi Arabia's clerical establishment is now said to be campaigning against co-ed schools. Meanwhile, 32-year old female driver 'Manal al-Sherif' is still being detained for law-breaking. Many of the proscriptions in 'Sauds' Arabia do not exist in other parts of the larger Muslim world. For example, women can drive in Bahrain, Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia and also' Indonesia. Also, there is no public cinema in the very oil-rich Gulf Arab kingdom. Besides the Wikileaks and daily news in Google, Robert Lacey' s book Inside the Kingdom provides deeper and more insightful observations on the Arab country which is still stable amid upheavals in the region.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Saudi female drivers now face beating threat

Some men in Sauds' Arabia have set up a facebook calling' for women who drive' to be beaten. Sauds'' Arabia is the only country which' bans women driving. There is no such legal prohibition in Iran or the DPRK.

President Obama addresses British Parliament

Like his speech in Washington D'C on the epoch-making' upheavals in the' Middle East and' North Africa, President' Obama' s address to the British Parliament in London is equally historic as' it restates a vision' and outlines what he sees as threats' to the' realisation' of the vision.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Saudi woman charged for defying driving ban

A woman in Sauds' Arabia has been charged for "incitement"' because she defied a ban on women driving cars in the oil'-rich and religiously conservative Gulf Arab kingdom' which is ruled by one Al' Saud family. There is no such legal prohibition in Bahrain, Libya, Syria and Yemen.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Psychological observation on doomsday 'faith'

In view of the facts that (1) Harold Camping made a wrong doomsday 'prediction'' before in 1994 and (2) Harold Camping was surely not the first person who made wrong 'prediction' of such nature, the question is why there were still people' who believed in his talks so feverishly ? The Right Nation' - Conservative Power in America, written by British journalists John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, 'may contribute to' deeper understanding of the ideational and environmental factors. America' s leading atheist Sam Harris' fairly thought-provoking books also provide some statistical facts and figures on this great question. To be sure, it must be stated that not all Christians read the Bible so literally and 'scientifically' as Camping and his follower did 4 days ago.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Atheists rejoice as doomsday 'prediction' fails

Some atheists in US have reportedly begun to celebrate the failure of evangelical preacher Harold Camping' s very well-financed forecast. A well-known American atheist is Sam Harris who has authored, among others, The End of Faith': Religion, Terror And The Future of Reason, which provides a professed atheist''s views on faith-inspired violence.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Activities of my mother on Doomsday in Ipoh

About 15 minutes ago, I telephoned my mother in Ipoh and asked her what had she been doing today. She told me that she had been chit -chatting with friends over phones, watching Hong Kong movies on TV and listening to old Mandarin songs. She is probably still watching TV. Last weekend, it was she who called to tell me she was really excited by a talk show of Michael Hui, a very well -known Hong Kong actor as well as singer whose Cantonese movies we enjoyed in the late 1970s.

Doomsday 'prophet' in US predicts once again

Another biblical doomsday has been 'predicted' in the USA' for 21 May.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Read & watch Obama' s historic MENA speech

US president Obama' s historic speech on the upheavals in the Middle East' and North Africa can' now be' read and' also' watched on the Net. Besides chiding Bahrain for its repression against the protestors, the American president also reiterated the view that Iran is "hypocritical" for supporting the Arab Uprising while muzzling its own opposition at home and helping Syria to respond to' public protests in' similar ways. Saudi Arabia, however, seems to have evaded Obama's' radar screen.

Obama criticises Bahrain's ruling sectarianism

US president Barack Obama has just finished his MENA speech. What has immediately impressed me is his very frank criticism against the Baharini' ruling class and its sectarian repression against' the' Shi'ites, including the shocking destruction of Shiite mosques in recent weeks.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Obama to set out America's new MENA policy

President Obama' is reportedly' going to detail a new American policy for' the Middle East and' North Africa. The' Muslim-majority region is experiencing upheavals' of almost unprecedented scale or proportion. It is now fairly clear that, besides' the Palestine-Israel conflict, there are many other issues in the region, such as the sectarian animosity between Sunni and Shi'ite, socio-political alienation of youth, women disempowerment, mismanagement of economy 'and also' inequitable distribution of national wealth, authoritarianism as well as terrorism. Geostrategic contests also contribute to the regionwide state of flux.

Queen E seeks reconciliation in Irish republic

Certainly, Queen Elizabeth' s official visit to the Republic of Ireland is an inspiring example of historic reconciliation. Other countries which gained independence from the British Empire through armed struggle include' the United States of America which was also made a republic. Great' nations and people search for' historical truths not for revenge but reconciliation for the moral advancement of generations to come.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

China's top pianist Lang Lang honoured in UK

Lang Lang, a very famous pianist from communist China was recently given' a prestigious award by UK's' Prince Charles. Cultural' exchanges between the two nations' have reportedly been robust in recent years.

More moderate view on Palestine in Malaysia

While a large majority' of Malaysians, irrespective' of race and belief-system, sympathises with the plight of the Palestinian people in Gaza as well as their struggles for nationhood, many of them also certainly do not share the' extremist view that there was no Holocaust and the State of Israel should be " wiped off " from' the map of the world and Jewish people' be intentionally targeted for indiscriminate attacks as advocated' or preached by Osama in his declaration of 'jihad' in 1998. There is a traditional Malay saying, which also shared by other races: buat jahat jangan sekali pun and buat baik (pun kena) berpada-pada.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

M'sia projects very disturbing image to world

Amid the' dispute on what is asserted to be a 'Christian conspiracy', a Malaysian ship' has also' reportedly' got into trouble with Israel. 'What international or global image Malaysia is now projecting to the world? Not too long ago, there were also' excessively imaginative utterances on 9/11 and Holocaust as well as attempts of arson against churches. While Christians' constitute about 10 % of the population' in Malaysia, it is not clear if there are Malaysians' of Jewish' or Palestinian' origin. Israel is the only country on earth Malaysians' are not allowed to visit.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Rocket stalwart Chian Heng Kai departs at 70

DAP veteran and former MP Chian Heng Kai' (1940-2011) passed away this morning. A former ISA detainee who was also very affectionately known as "Kai Sok" to some of us, he was my parliamentary colleague and, above all , a teacher who contributed to the improvement of' my skill in English'-Mandarin translation as well as command of Mandarin. Heng Kai and I last met on 5'th January this year at the YMCA ( Young Men's Christian Association ) Hall in Brickfield to bid our last farewell to another veteran of DAP and also ex-MP for Kampar, Fan Yew Teng. My wife and I would like to extend' our deep condolence' to the family of Heng Kai and' we also hope our dear' "Kai Sok"' would rest in peace.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Red Cross logo & Nightingale legend in China

The Red Cross Society is still known in China as Hong Shi Zhi Hui and there is no change of its founding symbol. Nurses in China who excel in their' professional services are presented awards named in honour of the legendary' English woman Florence Nightingale who set' up the modern system of nursing' for the world. The most respected as well as revered Western medical personnel' is surely Dr. Norman Bethune.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

7-decade gap between Russia & Sauds' Arabia

Women in the former Soviet Union were already very liberated by the time of the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945). In 2011, Saudi or Sauds' Arabia is still' 'debating' whether to allow its' womenfolk to drive cars.

Failed 'prophet' in Taiwan defends prediction

Earlier, 'Teacher' Wang reportedly' attempted to defend himself after the dateline' of his 'prophecy' had' passed' without' any incident' at all. Now, there are commentators in the island who opine that the media has given' 'Teacher'' Wang and also his 'prophecy' excessive coverage.

Taiwan's police quiz suicide-causing 'prophet'

A person in Taiwan who' 'predicted' the end of the world at a specified time on 11 May is now being grilled by the police. 'Teacher' Wang may be charged in court of law for spreading "socially disruptive" rumours. It is not known' if 'Teacher' Wang' has written any books for followers. In recent weeks, many people in Taiwan are pretty anxious or fearful of earthquake, tsunami' and meltdown of nuclear power plants on the island as a consequence of what has happened in neighbouring Japan.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Medvedev: end of Osama beneficial to Russia

In an unambigious statement, Russia's President Medvedev said that the killing of Osama bin Laden benefits Russia, which is also fighting terrorism as well as militant separatists on its southern border areas.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Russia remembers Victory Day on Red Square

Yesterday, Russia held its 66'th Victory Day Parade at the Red Square. The Red Army of the former Soviet Union ( or USSR ) resisted as well as defeated Nazi Germany in what Russians remember as their Great Patriotic War. The Red Army' also intervened in Northeast' China and assisted' the forces and people of China to expel' Japanese occupiers. In the Eastern Front, the Red Army, assisted by the Partisans, saved the lives of many Jewish' people' and liberated' many parts' of Europe.

Very simple introduction to Christians' prayer

For Christians to pray for' the appearance' of "Thy" (God's) kingdom is a part of The Lord' s Prayer and it is open and also normal all over the world since very long time ago. By the way, "Thy" is not a secret code but the classical' (older) form of the English-language word for "Your". The Holy Bible which uses' classical English, with 'older' words such as "thy", "thou" and "thine", is called King James' Version (or' KJV)'. King James, certainly not tied' to James Wong, was a monarch of England. Also, the Indian' film Singh is King has nothing to do with King James.

Monday, May 09, 2011

In appreciation of Christian churches in M' sia

Many Malaysians' who are' not Christians' also enjoy listening' to great Christian songs, such as' Amazing Grace and Pie Jesu, not because of any religious affiliation' or' spiritual affinity but simply for their great musical quality and cultural taste. Similarly, many are also grateful to churches which provided them with really sound and useful education. Missionary schools in Malaysia as well as the many Christian teachers have' contributed' tremendously to the transformation' of our country. Moreover, it is a reality that about 10 % of Malaysians are Christians. Inability, failure or refusal to fully understand the true history as well as contemporary reality of this multicultural land produces bigots and extremists' whose conspiracy 'theories' are clearly' detrimental' to the 'preservation' of social peace 'and also' achievement of national unity.

Popular Malay-language folk song in Mandarin

In the Chinese-language universe, the most well-known and well-liked Malay-language folk song is undoubtedly Bengawan Solo. Its Mandarin rendition seems to have appeared very long ago across the causeway. I was first told about it by the late Pak Rashid' (Maidin)' in early 2005. Pak Rashid, an English -proficient electrician by vocational education, enjoyed playing violin and he could sing L' Internationale in Mandarin.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Chinese-language schools in M'sia open to all

That the many' Chinese-language schools in Malaysia' generally' excel in arithmatical as well as mathematical' education and also better' in discipline is now widely recognised. What is still not very well known is the fact' that' the schools also teach children more humanistic and positive values. George Washington, Abraham Lincoln' and Mahatma Ghandi are taught in school textbooks' to be great guys' even though they were not Chinese or Confucians. At the age of seven or eight, I had already' been told by my grandmother, who did not know English, the praiseworthy deeds' of Florence Nightingale and Norman Bethune. Chinese-language schools in Malaysia, still practising Confucius' very cosmopolitan philosophy of "teaching without discrimination" ( vis-a-vis' race, belief and social class) or You Jiao Wu Lei, is inclusive and open to all Malaysian children who are within school-going age range.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Happy reunion with my ex-students in Kajang

Last evening, I attended a pretty happy gathering held at the New Era College to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its ('Mass') Media Studies Department. I was a Visiting Lecturer of the department for 3 months in 2005.' I was glad to be able to meet again some of my ex-students. Some ex-students of other years sang songs passionately in Mandarin as well as English to express' their joy and gratitute to their teachers. Beside sharing food and drink', we exchanged views and contacts too.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

My radio talk on Osama's demise now in print

My live interview on air yesterday has been published by the Oriental Daily' News in two full pages in its' paper edition today ( A38 & A39 ). Before and after the interview took place, younger journalists shared with me their own observations and also views on some world events. We agreed that, in spite of Osama's actions, the majority of Muslims are peace-loving' and we must never stereotype any groups of people.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Radio AiFM interviews me on Osama's demise

This morning, I was interviewed live over Radio AiFM at Angkasapuri on the future developments of post-Osama international security' vis'-a'-vis global terrorism. From the many call-in questions, observations as well as comments, I could sense that many street folks in Malaysia think President Obama did a great job and there is a need for people of the world to unite and continue struggling against the threat to all.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Al Qaeda chief killed in operation in Pakistan

USA president Barack Obama has officially confirmed that Al Qaeda's chief Osama bin Laden has' been killed and' is now dead. The' critical question that still remains is how widespread has Osama's' worldview taken root in the hearts and minds of other people who are still alive not only in Pakistan or Afghanistan but also all other countries in the world. The vicious idea that innocent and unarmed civilians could be intentionally targeted for indiscriminate killing to achieve a religious purpose must be condemned and also rejected in no uncertain terms.

Coping with world news explosion in ICT age

Before the outbreak of MENA upheaval as well as the catastrophes in Japan, there were the military standoff on the Korean Peninsula and the historic visit of China's President Hu Jintao to the United States. Coping with the fast-changing and unpredictable world in this age of Revolution in Information and Communication Technology' is indeed fairly challenging even for journalists and observers of world affairs. In an environment characterised by information explosion, the main task is to identify the critical issues' and separate them from trivial concerns, obsessions or fixations of some single-issue campaigners. Reading good books frequently' and also keeping in touch with more learned' or knowledgeable' people on the subjects are always helpful. My first journalistic assignment overseas was to Manila in 1996 as I wss tasked to write analyses of the APEC Summit for Sin Chew Daily. Looking back now, I must say that the three great books from which. I learned fairly much in advance in the early 1990s are futurist Alvin Toffler's classics, The Future Shock, The Thrid Wave and Powershift.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Salute labouring people of all nations & races

Today is the day for all of us to pay tribute to the labouring people of all nationalities and races. It is also the day to salute the forefathers of our working class who built up the modern economy of our country. Whatever the original name, no land on earth is useful until someone labour on and also add measurable value to it through physical works.