Saturday, December 30, 2006

Godot's Goddess

If the way to a man's heart is thru his stomach, the same goes for women, especially this womyn. People ask: "Do u cook?" And I quipped: "What's that word? It's not in my vocabulary." Well, not any more, not since my late mum lived with us, and the kids are grown, and I simply got demotivated. For someone who had to learn from scratch after she got married, I graduated from simple asam rebus and sambal belacan to baking and icing NI's birthday cake and demonstrating to my down-liners on the multiple uses of the Queen's cookware to prepare steamed chicken rice, pudding tapai, seri muka, etc.
Man, we even tried our hands at our very own 'Lontong&Soto' place in Cheras, but we couldn't cope with work, kids and cafe! Honestly, though, given a choice between slaving over the stove or being served, I would surely opt for the latter. Unless a TV station offers me to host a Malaysian version of Nigella Bites, then I wouldn't mind cooking for the cameras at all!
In the meantime, courtesy of NI, I got my share of fine dining, the most recent being at the Avanti Italian-American Ristorante, Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa, where we were feted to Chef Stefano Maccagno's signature dishes. Dinner kicked off with a strawberry-mango smoothie, followed by terrine and oyster-laici, squid-ink ravioli, roast lamb, and rounded up with mango tiramisu and chocolaty cappucino. While we dined, a band of "singing chefs and waiters" serenaded us with numbers from Eric Clapton, the Carpenters and Ole Sole Mio.
Chef Stefano is not just a gifted chef, but a truly self-made sensitive new-age guy who started working at 13, collecting and cleaning glasses at a pub in his native Piedmont. He left home at 17 to join the National Service, and never looked back. Married to a local woman, they have a 14 year old daughter.
His approach to haute cuisine is experimental and delightful, which resulted in fresh flavours and colorful presentation.
Buon Appetito!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Mantras for Monkeys*

Don't Break The Elastic!!
In April, Maya Angelou was interviewed by Oprah on her 70+ birthday. Oprah asked her what she thought of growing older. And, there on television, she said it was "exciting." Regarding body changes, she said there were many, occurring every her breasts..
They seem to be in a race to see which will reach her waist, first. The audience laughed so hard they cried. She is such a simple and honest
woman, with so much wisdom in her words!
Maya Angelou said this:
"I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow."
"I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights."
"I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life."
"I've learned that making a "living" is not the same thing as "making a
"I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance."
"I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back."
"I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision."
"I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one."
"I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back."
"I've learned that I still have a lot to learn."
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
And NOW, for some corny/canny cliches:
"That TRUTH is indeed stranger than FICTION"
"That CLOTHES do not maketh a MAN"
"That NERO is not a figment of the IMAGINATION"
"That TRUTH is a THREAT, and LIES are SAFE"
"That Aberrations are NORMS, and VICE Versa"
"That it's a MAN's WORLD, or is it?"
"That what Goes around, Comes around" (KARMA Chameleon or MERRY-Go-Round?)
"That Women Tend to Fight Over BOOBY PRIZES, unless their BOOBs R PRICELESS" (Oops ... Tata!)
*For IZ, and all those born in the Year of the Monkey.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Year of Living Precariously, or Vicariously?

Tis the season to be Jolly, tralalalala lalalala ...
This year's holiday season was subdued compared to last year's, sweet dear friends' budgetary constraints had reduced annual invitations to XMas eve and lunch to zilch!
Anyway, watched the trials and tribulations of the "Temptations" on the Hallmark Channel with IZ while binging on Domino's yummy thincrusts. Decided to take a long walk to burn off the calories the next morning but load them on again at the Kemaman Kopi Tiam S14 and Salero Minang, Amcorp. Got a lovely long dress and fur-trimmed cardigan at Brit India and watched a hopelessly romantic movie, 'Serendipity'.
For some one who reads her daily horoscope and never turns down an offer to read her palms, fate and destiny will forever fascinate me. So do fantasy and romance, unlike real life and people, that are not much different from those darn holiday 'muzac', 'moosick' or 'mewsick' that you find yourself singing along to, since you can't tune them out!
As IZ said to me, over kopi putih, "It's tough to be a MATRIX Warrior". U know, "the language speaks us", we are constantly "clawed into the mainstream" - Capitalism, Consumer Culture, the Malaysian/Selangorian Dream, the Metanarrative, what have u. Flower Power, Communes and Counter Culture are SO PASSE - unless those Green, Conservation and Slow Food Activists have their s/way!
With this year saying adieu, wonder what next year has in store? More pleasant, or more unpleasant, surprises? Whatever, gotta take care of your self first before you can take care of others.
Happy New Year, bonne année, aam saiid/sana saiida, manigong bagong taon!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

New Age Bond

"The name's Bond - James Bond."
Taratara, tarara ...
Or has the script now been rewritten?
"The Name's M - Dial M for Mean Machine, Money Penny, or .... Mummy?"
Man, wish I was born a Man, wish I was born M!
M got to give orders to Bond, M got to be Angels' Charlie to 007, M got to bed a hunk while giving orders to Bond!
Kudos to Judi Dench as M, Daniel Craig as Bond, Eva Green as Vesper Lynd, Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre, other actors in the cast and the creators of the New Version of Bond Movie - Casino Royale/21.
It was indeed well worth RM8 and precious 'leisuretime' being in the company of the Delightful Dench, Cute Craig, Gorgeous Green and Mean Mikkelsen.
After years of Bond Bashing, I finally succumbed to the charms of the first blonde, blue-eyed Brit super spy, like .... Vesper to Bond!
Of cos, there's still some residual Hero-Villain, Virgin-Whore, First World-Third World dichotomy, but Craig's Bond is no longer stuck in the 60s' transmission. He takes orders from a Womyn, he's willing to give up his 'day job' to be a 'house husband' to Vesper (V for Vendetta? And P for Purr?), and after going thru an evolution from a cold-blooded killer to a 'gentleman spy', he's almost a Dalai Lama!
Bond (B for Ballistic Bullets?) is not the only character to have undergone transformation. The Bond Girl has undergone a much-needed reinvention as well - Vesper "is also no mere bimbo; she is a mature woman -- a professional and every bit Bond's mental equivalent."
"After beating Le Chiffre at a high stake cards game, Bond finds himself tied naked to a chair, facing toture" or, in his own words, "having his balls scratched".
"What ultimately results from this turn of events is something the misogynistic, sexual conquistador Bond never thought he'd fall victim to: love.
"Unable to use the golden gun in his pants for quite awhile, the recuperating Bond genuinely and deeply falls in love with Vesper and they plan on a new life together. She has stripped him of his emotional armor. But before you can never say never again, Bond realizes the bad guys are not quite done with him yet. By the end, Bond is becoming the icy, lethal secret agent -- "the blunt instrument" that Fleming envisioned -- that men want to be and women want to be with.
"The action sequences -- several of which, like the opening parkour set-piece, must be seen to be believed -- are breathtaking and return Bond to his down and dirty roots. There hasn't been a truly vicious brawl in the Bond films since Sean Connery and Robert Shaw duked it out in From Russia With Love. Now Casino Royale shows the new Bond can kill barehanded as efficiently as he can with a Walther PPK or a tricked-out Aston Martin.
"As solidly crafted as the story and direction are, it is the performances that ultimately make Casino Royale work so well. Craig is a revelation as 007, making the role his own without losing any of the traits that have made James Bond such an icon.
"Craig gives a nuanced, fully realized portrayal. He is not just standing around in a tux, smirking and tossing off one-liners while judo-chopping some dime-a-dozen henchmen. Craig's 007 is a finely tuned machine who is absolutely believable as someone who could clear a room, and as a cold, hardened man who has buried his heart as far away from harm as possible. Fleming would be proud.
"Likewise, Green -- who won the role after a long, highly publicized casting search -- may have just become the Bond leading lady to beat. She may not have the catchy moniker of Pussy Galore, the curves of Honey Ryder or the distinction of being Mrs. James Bond like Tracy di Vicenzo had, but Vesper is the only woman that the onscreen 007 has met thus far that you'd believe could have such a profound and lasting impact on him. That she never scampers around semi-nude only adds to the gravitas that makes her character so attractive.
"The rest of the cast are top-notch as well. After surviving King Arthur, Mikkelsen finally gets his stateside breakthrough here as Le Chiffre. He is ice, ice baby and, refreshingly, a villain whose motives and methods are real and that much more frightening. Jeffrey Wright makes for a great Felix Leiter, Bond's CIA "cousin;" fans will be chomping at the bit to see these two reunited in future sequels. Caterina Murino is sexy yet understated as Solange, Bond's first romantic conquest. Isaach De Bankolé (last seen in Miami Vice) is frightening as Le Chiffre's client Obanno, while Giancarlo Giannini brings a wry wit and world-weariness to his role as Bond's contact, Mathis.
"The heart of Casino Royale -- both the novel and the film -- is the love story between Bond and Vesper. Thankfully, the filmmakers have pulled it off with class and heart. But the point of Fleming's story was always about how Bond -- after suffering at the hands of Le Chiffre and then facing even greater pain later -- realizes his place in the world and that he must go after the threat behind the threat. In other words, James Bond literally and figuratively gets his balls back, and that testicular fortitude is exactly what this 44-year-old franchise has needed for many years now."

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Possessed and Institutionalized

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
– Albert Einstein*
*About Albert Einstein
The brilliant physicist Albert Einstein became an international icon for his groundbreaking theory of relativity. He was born in Germany in 1879 and began his seminal work while at the Swiss Patent Office. He later fled the Nazi regime, moving to the United States to teach at Princeton. In 1921, he won the Nobel Prize. He declined Israel's invitation to become its president, saying he lacked the necessary people skills. He died in 1955.
And a special dedication to all the lost souls who are "possessed" and "institutionalized" in asylums of their own making.
As the saying goes, "You've made your bed, now lie in it!"
Have fun 'lying'. Or is it 'laying'? Whatever!
When I go down the street
The people watch me shiver and shake
I'm a prisoner of a demon
I think my head's about to break
It stays with me wherever I go
I can't break away from its hold
This must be my punishment
For selling my soul
Too much pressure, my pulse is rising
My heart is pounding, my head really hurts
I can't take it, all this pressure
From all these things inside of me
Everywhere I look I see them
Everywhere I go they're at
What did I do to deserve this
Why won't they just leave my body
Are they people or are they spirits
Do they belong to the human race
Why do they want me so bad
Why won't they come out of their hiding place
i can't see them, but I know they're here
i can feel it in my veins
All this pressure on my body
Is causing all my strength to drain
Am I crazy, or am I insane
Or have I already lost my mind
Is it real, or is it fake
Or am I in a permanent bind
Am I in power or am I a slave
Who in hell is in control
Am I still living, or am I dead
Do I still have a soul
I know I can't keep going this way
I have to give my mind some leisure
If I keep on going like this
I never again will taste pleasure
If they will not break the oath
I will have to disband
I have lost all control
this thing has now taken command
Sometimes I try to do things and it just doesn't work out the way I wanted to.
I get real frustrated and I try hard to do it and I take my time and it doesn't work out the way I wanted to.
It's like I concentrate real hard and it doesn't work out
Everything I do and everything I try never turns out
It's like I need time to figure these things out
But there's always someone there going
Hey Mike:
You know we've been noticing you've been having a lot of problems lately.
You know, maybe you should get away and maybe you should talk about it, maybe you'll feel a lot better
And I go:
No it's okay, you know I'll figure it out, just leave me alone I'll figure it out. You know I'll just work by myself.
And they go:
Well you know if you want to talk about it I'll be here you know and you'll probably feel a lot better if you talk about it.
And I go:
No I don't want to I'm okay, I'll figure it out myself and they just keep bugging me and they just keep bugging me and it builds up inside and it builds up inside.
So you're gonna be institutionalized
You'll come out brainwashed with bloodshot eyes
You won't have any say
They'll brainwash you until you see their way.
I'm not crazy - institutionalized
You're the one who's crazy - institutionalized
You're driving me crazy - institutionalized
They stuck me in an institution
Said it was the only solution
To give me the needed professional help
To protect me from the enemy, myself
I was in my room and I was just like staring at the wall thinking about everything
But then again I was thinking about nothing
And then my mom came in and I didn't even know she was there she called my name
And I didn't even hear it, and then she started screaming: MIKE! MIKE!
And I go:
What, what's the matter
And she goes:
What's the matter with you?
I go:
There's nothing-wrong mom.
And she goes:
Don't tell me that, you're on drugs!
And I go:
No mom I'm not on drugs I'm okay, I was just thinking you know, why don't you get me a pepsi.
And she goes:
NO you're on drugs!
I go:
Mom I'm okay, I'm just thinking.
She goes:
No you're not thinking, you're on drugs! Normal people don't act that way!
I go:
Mom just give me a Pepsi please
All I want is a Pepsi, and she wouldn't give it to me
All I wanted was a Pepsi, just one Pepsi, and she wouldn't give it to me.
Just a Pepsi.
They give you a white shirt with long sleeves
Tied around you're back, you're treated like thieves
Drug you up because they're lazy
It's too much work to help a crazy
I'm not crazy - institutionalized
You're the one who's crazy - institutionalized
You're driving me crazy - institutionalized
They stuck me in an institution
Said it was the only solution
To give me the needed professional help
To protect me from the enemy, myself
I was sitting in my room and my mom and my dad came in and they pulled up a chair and they sat down, they go:
Mike, we need to talk to you
And I go:
Okay what's the matter
They go:
Me and your mom have been noticing lately that you've been having a lot of problems,
You've been going off for no reason and we're afraid you're gonna hurt somebody,
We're afraid you're gonna hurt yourself.
So we decided that it would be in your interest if we put you somewhere
Where you could get the help that you need.
And I go:
Wait, what do you mean, what are you talking about, we decided!?
My best interest?! How can you know what's my best interest is?
How can you say what my best interest is? What are you trying to say, I'm crazy?
When I went to your schools, I went to your churches,
I went to your institutional learning facilities?! So how can you say I'm crazy.
They say they're gonna fix my brain
Alleviate my suffering and my pain
But by the time they fix my head
Mentally I'll be dead
I'm not crazy - institutionalized
You're the one who's crazy - institutionalized
You're driving me crazy - institutionalized
They stuck me in an institution
Said it was the only solution
To give me the needed professional help
To protect me from the enemy, myself
It doesn't matter I'll probably get hit by a car anyway.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


A forwarded email to brighten my day and week:
When I stand up for myself and my beliefs, they call me a bitch.
When I stand up for those I love, they call me a bitch.
When I speak my mind, think my own thoughts or do things my own way, they call me a bitch.
Being a bitch means I won't compromise what's in my heart.
It means I live my life MY WAY.
It means I won't allow anyone to step on me.
When I refuse to tolerate injustice and speak against it, I am defined as a bitch.
The same thing happens when I take time for myself instead of being everyone's maid, or when I act a little selfish.
It means I have the courage and strength to allow myself to be who I truly am and won't become anyone else's idea of what they think I "should" be.
I am outspoken, opinionated and determined. I want what I want and there is nothing wrong with that!
So try to stomp on me, try to douse my inner flame, try to squash every ounce of beauty I hold within me.
You won't succeed. And if that makes me a bitch , so be it.
I embrace the title and am proud to bear it.
B - Babe
I - In
T - Total
C - Control of
H - Herself
B = Beautiful
I = Intelligent
T = Talented
C = Charming
H = Hell of a Woman
B = Beautiful
I = Individual
T = That
C = Can
H = Handle anything
Send this to 5 women to put a smile on their faces!!! and You MEN, if you can't do something right, get a woman to do it and get a life .

Friday, December 08, 2006


Wow, how time flies when one is having FUN! So much FUN that I couldn't even find time to blog on my BDAY. However, getting an e-mail of a burka-donning female's passport from a teo siew chin aka LOLITAMYFUNG prompted me to declare that there's more to me than just an aspiring Sufi, as revealed from my last posting in November.
And in response to LOLITAMYFUNG's msg, not subscribing to a Phantom Dad-Protege arrangement does NOT make me an Ultra Conservative Muslim; on the contrary, I consider myself a feminist, who believes that men and women are created equal and, thus, find a Pay Master-Sex Slave relations abhorring, demeaning and degrading to both the Man and the Woman involved. And below is a special dedication to all the Sugar Daddies and Lolitas of the world:
In Abhorrence Dementia
I admire the spiritual force of evil
A pure supreme instinction in survival
Never underestimate the powers of hatred
When the blackness overwhelming
With a hostile image against all living
The splendid visions of malignant breeding
The dominions on Earth shall return to the beast
As the darkside awaits the capture and feast
With dark surrounding illusions
Possesion in passion, simplicity is intuitive
Native forces of violent misery
The soil in a man`s heart is stonier
In stench of rot and sour ground
The obedient fall into cruelty
Where all arts of life shall be undone
A madness wells up in me
As I swallow the pain
Where unbounded evil reign
In this case, One's source of FUN(G) is indeed another person's source of Income - WHATEVER!
Moving on to more palatable topics, GOD has indeed been kind to me by sending such wonderful kindred spirits in the form of new friends, such as Serena Timms, who just opened a new Mediterranean restaurant, aptly named Charisma, in Kelana Jaya. Serena is an "epitome of faith", a true believer in the Lord's Will - she moved from London to KL and took a leap of faith into F&B "in God's stead and at God's Behest". And to complement her belief in fine dining and eco-gastronomy, her brother Mr Yap is an expert in alternative herbal treatment, which I eagerly embarked on last Saturday, and already starting to feel its benefits!
Actually, I was introduced to Serena by my colleague Selva when we were having Thanksgiving dinner at the Celestial Steak House, run by an absolutely beautiful couple, Gary and Lydia, also in KJ. The Tex-Mex stuffed turkey with its thick cranberry sauce and the pecan pie were simply yummy and worth every single sen we had to fork out! We then had Charisma's special iced mocha to accompany our lively conversation into the nite.
In any case, my BDay celebration was another round of feasting - delicious oxtail soup, chicken wings, calimari rings, fish and chips and La Crepe Cake at the Food Foundry, robust mushroom steak with thick gravy and apple pie ala mode at Decanter, and more oxtail stew, seafood platter and ice cream at Decanter again!
To top it all, we watched Motorcycle Diaries and Bowling for Columbine dvds til the wee hours of the morning, and the surprisingly tender and touching movie, Cinta, at MidValley TGV.
Memorable quotes from Cinta:
"Awak ni seorang yang sangat negatif la"
"When there's a will, there's a way!"
"Isteri bukannya hakmilik, tetapi anugerah..."
Gotta sign out and go for tea, Pottu varan!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

TRUTH: Bring It On!

"You march to the beat of a different drummer, and you're not afraid to explore where it leads you. You want the truth, the whole truth and nothing but. If there's any sign who can find it, it's you. Keep searching."
Coded language, Elegant Silence and Denial of Reality being the accepted norm and practice, not surprised that truth seekers are regarded as outcasts or misfits.
Be that as it may, this year's Ramadan (albeit 'tainted' by certain tests) and Idilfitri had greater significance than the last, from the triumph of restraint in the face of challenges to gratitude for Allah's countless endowments.
Thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to be part of the audience of an intensely emotive sermon on Raya morning at TTDI, and part of a congregation with an unasumming Auliya at a serene retreat.
As if a Sign, on that holy night, the Sheikh spoke of the female Sufi Rabiatul Adawiyah's rejection of dunya via marriage proposals from among the male auliyas, who were simply obsessed with worldly desires.
Eid Mubarak to All, Minal Ainil Wal Faizin.

Monday, October 16, 2006


Every 14 seconds AIDS makes another child an orphan.
There are more than 34 million orphaned children, and nearly 15 million of these children have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS. Something must be done. Visit>>
To understand the true meaning of Jihad, do read Prof Zul's (USM's VC) article in yesterday's NSunT or go to
"In my line of work, I hear it all the time — from Muslims and non-Muslims alike: "jihad doesn't mean 'holy war.' The Arabic word means 'struggle.' In Islam jihad primarily means the struggle within the soul of the believer to conform his life to the will of Allah."
An open letter to sdr AO and KN:
Salaam and Ramadan al-Mubarak,
Hope you both are in the best of health. I have addressed this issue of appropriate approach many times before, thus I do not wish to sound like a broken record. However, I think 8 or 10 years are too long and too precious a time for anyone to waste on tactics that are ineffective. Sdr AO,
I think you should let go and move on with your life. Nothing would make her happier now than to see you have a compatible partner to share your life, and wealth, with. So, let bygones be bygones, do forgive and forget.
Sdr KN,
Perhaps there is still hope for both of you. And I mean just the two of you, uncluttered with undesirable characters in the midst. I’m convinced that you are a very intelligent person, hence it must be diffidence or pride that hinders you or your representatives from articulating your good intentions. If you had indeed ventured or sent representatives to her ‘doorstep’, the next logical step then would be to invite her verbally since she feels awkward speaking to strangers or entering strange cars and homes.
Otherwise, you should leave her alone, free to pursue her own interests and passions, and untroubled by unsettling thoughts about her values and practices. Allah is the source of her sustenance and protection; abundant wealth from questionable sources may indeed compound her guilt about “crude materialism, income inequality and social injustice”. Unless you are willing to give part of your fortune to further her wish to redistribute to those in dire straits, or to struggle for a more “enlightened and just society”, do let the matter rest.
May Allah Bless You.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Stop Global Warming

Learn More
The results are in and the reality of global warming is beyond dispute or debate. It’s not just an environmental issue. It affects our public health and national security. It’s an urgent matter of survival for everyone on the planet — the most urgent threat facing humanity today. It’s going to take action from you and all of us working together.
The first step, Join the Virtual March.
The second step, Keep reading below, and share this with friends.
Global warming isn’t opinion. It’s a scientific reality. And the science tells us that human activity has made enormous impacts to our planet that affect our well-being and even our survival as a species.
The world’s leading science journals report that glaciers are melting ten times faster than previously thought, that atmospheric greenhouse gases have reached levels not seen for millions of years, and that species are vanishing as a result of climate change. They also report of extreme weather events, long-term droughts, and rising sea levels.
Fortunately, the science also tells us how we can begin to make significant repairs to try and reverse those impacts, but only through immediate action. That’s why we urge you to join us. The Stop Global Warming Virtual March is virtual but its purpose is real. By spreading the word and sharing this with others, our collective power will force governments, corporations, and politicians everywhere to pay attention.
What is Global Warming?
The Earth as an ecosystem is changing, attributable in great part to the effects of globalization and man. More carbon dioxide is now in the atmosphere than has been in the past 650,000 years. This carbon stays in the atmosphere, acts like a warm blanket, and holds in the heat — hence the name ‘global warming.’
The reason we exist on this planet is because the earth naturally traps just enough heat in the atmosphere to keep the temperature within a very narrow range - this creates the conditions that give us breathable air, clean water, and the weather we depend on to survive. Human beings have begun to tip that balance. We've overloaded the atmosphere with heat-trapping gasses from our cars and factories and power plants. If we don't start fixing the problem now, we’re in for devastating changes to our environment. We will experience extreme temperatures, rises in sea levels, and storms of unimaginable destructive fury. Recently, alarming events that are consistent with scientific predictions about the effects of climate change have become more and more commonplace.
Environmental Destruction
The massive ice sheets in the Arctic are melting at alarming rates. This is causing the oceans to rise. That’s how big these ice sheets are! Most of the world’s population lives on or near the coasts. Rising ocean levels, an estimated six feet over the next 100 years or sooner, will cause massive devastation and economic catastrophe to population centers worldwide.
The United States, with only four percent of the world’s population, is responsible for 22% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. A rapid transition to energy efficiency and renewable energy sources will combat global warming, protect human health, create new jobs, protect habitat and wildlife, and ensure a secure, affordable energy future.
Health Risks
Malaria. Dengue Fever. Encephalitis. These names are not usually heard in emergency rooms and doctors’s offices in the United States. But if we don’st act to curb global warming, they will be. As temperatures rise, disease-carrying mosquitoes and rodents spread, infecting people in their wake. Doctors at the Harvard Medical School have linked recent U.S. outbreaks of dengue (‘breakbone’s) fever, malaria, hantavirus and other diseases directly to climate change.
Catastrophic Weather
Super powerful hurricanes, fueled by warmer ocean temperatures are the “smoking gun” of global warming. Since 1970, the number of category 4 and 5 events has jumped sharply. Human activities are adding an alarming amount of pollution to the earth’s atmosphere causing catastrophic shifts in weather patterns. These shifts are causing severe heat, floods and worse.
Five Things We Can All Do
Join Together our voices will be heard!
Spread the word, share the learning. Send this link to family, friends, and colleagues. Share why this is so important.
Change begins at home. Put the heat on your elected officials. The power of the pocketbook.
And a Special Note to that Special Someone:
"Go with the flow, swim with the tide, and learn my lingo 'cos I don't respond to secret society pacts"

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Real Cost of Development

Bam@Safiah Aziz, a niece of mine, died early yesterday morning. She had successfully defeated cancer, only to succumb to fungal infection of the heart. The 'tahlil' (prayers) held for the closest family was a stark realization of the fragility of life and "the courage for the changing of the guards" (Bob Dylan). Are we, that is the surviving nieces - Saadah, Sa'diah, Sabrina - and I, ready to take on the mantle of the Matriarchs?
Our loss inevitably prompts us to reassess our roles, our priorities, and to reflect on the gift of life and celebrate life while we are alive. "... life is not what happens to you but what you make of what happens to you. Everyone dies, but not everyone fully lives. Too many people are having "near-life experiences". Which brings me to the often distorted 'meaning' of living our life to the fullest, and in relation to that, the 'meaning' of development for all kinds of life.
Recently, I watched a show on Animal Planet about a conservationist's experience in being a surrogate mother to two orphaned baby dear, Jewel and Jake, whose mothers were killed either by a bear or poachers in Alaska. And just prior to that, was another touching story about orphaned tiger cubs who walked into a temple compound in Northeastern Thailand and the lives of the monks there. Their mothers were also killed by poachers.
And just today, I received this message from my
"I want to tell you about a hungry mother polar bear swimming to find dinner on what should have been nearby ice. She swam farther and farther from shore, lost energy, and finally drowned as her cubs desperately searched for her along the shore.
Why are polar bears drowning? According to new research, average summer temperatures have increased by two or three degrees off the north coast of Alaska since the 1950s. Rising temperatures mean that polar bears are forced to take long voyages as the ice flows from which they feed melt, become smaller, and drift farther apart.
Help save a polar bear like this one by taking action against global warming!"
Yes, LKY, what is the meaning of being "successful and hardworking", if it is at the expense of other living beings and your own family members? I really don't mind being "unsuccessful" and practicing a "soft, lethargic" culture, rather than accumulating wealth from gambling, vice, drug and other illegal or ruthless activities. Certainly not to purchase more air-polluting vehicles, land-eroding hillside residences, mindless technological gadgets, meaningless pursuits, so on and so forth.
As a parting gift, allow me to share this enlightening piece on "a decentralized, ecologically and socially sustainable model of development".
The Cost Of Development: The "great commercial" of Western industrialization
advertises a product of dubious value
Salam Alaikum.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Excuse me, MM Lee: Who Is Being "Systematically Marginalised"? (Part 3)

After spending precious time surfing the web looking for rebuttals to the disparaging remarks about Malaysian Chinese being marginalised and compliant, I conclude that the 'ra'yat' (people) have more "b***s" than the leaders when "push comes to shove" (
If leaders, males at that, do not have the boldness (pardon the pun) to issue strong counter-statements to the Pope's derogatory remarks about Islam and LKY's unsolicited comments about Malaysian Chinese, then they certainly don't deserve female votes ("Telunjuk Lurus, Kelingking Berkait" or Insincerity, only protecting self-interests).
Oh Lord, please take me back to the 1950s when men were men and leaders were unencumbered by economic considerations. Please, please create heroes in the league of Sukarno, Mohammed Hatta, Nasution, IBHY, Ishak Haji Muhammad, Ahmad Boestamam, Burhanuddin Helmi and Zulkifli Muhammad, alternative nationalists with international vision who put their lives on the line in the struggle for self-determination, national sovereignty, Islamic dignity and global humanity. Honestly, I am up to my ears with decadent and depoliticised contemporary males, especially those who manipulate women to search, capture and rescue them.
Ramadan al-Mubarak.

Excuse me, MM Lee: Who Is Being "Systematically Marginalised"? (Part 2)

Continuing my response to MM Lee's provocative comments, I would like to register my protest about his unsubstantiated claims and would instead focus on his blatant political agenda of sinicization of Singapore and, by extension, Southeast Asia.
My indignation was further fueled last night when NIA and I failed to find any signage that would lead us to KLPAC to watch 'Anak Bulan Di Kampong Wa' Hassan' by Alfian bin Sa'at (, a play that captures the sense of dispossession/displacement among the Singapore Malays when the last Malay kampung succumbs to modernization. May I reiterate that my maternal family lived that very experience when our kampung homes and lifestyles at Kampung Melayu Kaki Bukit, Kampung Wa' Tanjung, Geylang Serai, Sembawang, etc. had to make way for "progress and development" in the form of factories and high-rise flats ("Flattened and flatted", according to my cousin).
Far from romanticising an idyllic Malay kampung life, especially in terms of hygiene, sanitation and drainage infrastructure, I found myself drawn into the discourse of alternative economic models some fifteen years ago while searching for the 'meaning' of development (see for example, No. 11 Treaty on Alternative Economic Models,, published works of Sohail Inayatullah and Amartya Sen).
The dominant economic paradigm is at least one theory that MM Lee and MM (Mahathir Mohamad), Malaysia's former (?) PM, both embrace and uphold. The other would, of course, be their contested theory of eugenics that propunded the genetic and cultural inferiority of the Malays. The "soft", lethargic Malay Culture is the simple and perfect explanation for the "cultural deficit" thesis on "educational under-performance" of the Malays (and thus professional incompetency may I add) in the face of rapid Modernization and Globalization.
Here, I would like to argue, based on my own experience of teaching at both public and private institutions of higher learning for more than twenty years, it is generally vision and policy that determine the standards of excellence and the quality of academics and undergraduates rather than genetic and cultural factors. The consumer ethos towards education and knowledge, that is, students as "clients" and academic staff as "service providers", as succintly described in an article “On the Uses of a Liberal Education: I. As Lite Entertainment for Bored College Students” (, is a major contributing factor to the deteriorating state of higher education here and elsewhere. So, allow me to state the painful truth that the intellectual quality and language proficiency, for both English and Bahasa Melayu, of local undergraduates, regardless of their ethnic background, have really gone down the drain over the last twenty years.
However, perhaps endemic to Malaysia is the self-defeating practice of instituting a zero-failure policy (in other other words, 100 percent passes) as a denial of reality (that there will be students who do not study and will, therefore, fail their examinations) or safeguard against disappointment, mostly amongst administrators and parents. That is the simple reason why we are churning out more and more sub-standard and unemployable graduates every year (
"Menang sorak, kampung tergadai" (Living in a fantasy world, that ignores current realities - a liberal translation) is the myth we live by as evidenced through speeches by elite champions of ethnic interests at convocation ceremonies which touted the phenomenal growth of student enrolment in a short period of time. The case of Nor Amalina Che Bakri who scored 17A1s in the 2004 SPM Exams and the unsavoury response to her achievement ( is symptomatic of the residual impact of intense ethnic competition in the field of education. And Malaysians certainly do not need incitements to racial hatred and public discontent from neighboring leaders of state, south and north of the border (recently ousted and topic for another day) to further exacerbate ethnic rivalry. Amin.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Excuse me, MM Lee: Who Is Being Marginalised? (Part 1)

I personally find MM Lee Kuan Yew's recent comments that Malaysian Chinese were being systemically marginalised as more obnoxious than 'naughty'.
(Lee, who was speaking at a forum on the sidelines of the World Bank-International Monetary Fund meetings, had also said the attitude of neighbouring Malaysia and Indonesia towards Singapore was shaped by the way they treated their own ethnic Chinese minorities.
Lee had said that Singapore’s neighbours had problems with their Chinese communities because they were successful and hardworking and “therefore, they are systematically marginalised.”)
Apparently, MM Lee's remarks manifested his convoluted conception of eugenics and, by extension, Chinese genetic supremacy and cultural dominance in a SEA (as in ocean, and Southeast Asia) of inferior Malay genes and cultural traditions. Hence, it is no surprise that many Southeast Asian Chinese also perceive themselves as superior to the natives and demand that their language, education and culture be put on par, if not above the indigenous languages and cultures. Interestingly though, they seem to subscribe to a different racial heirarchy when they migrate to the US, Canada or Australia, where assimilation into the White Supremacist Culture, Colonialist Language and education system is never an issue, and even being ghettoized in Chinatowns is seen as 'exotic'.
This disturbing line of thinking - that of an inflated sense of a single race's inherent capabilities - can then be used to justify enrolling (and passing), hiring and promoting students, graduates and employees from that supposedly superior race. In fact, this erroneous belief has evolved into an unofficial ideology and policy that rationalized the institutionalization of racism as revealed by the following article:
Lee Kuan Yew: Race, Culture and Genes
by Michael D. Barr
Department of History, University of Queensland
Journal of Contemporary Asia v29, n2 (1999)
Racism is rarely far from the surface of Asian societies, and this is especially true of those multiracial societies that feel the need to promote racial tolerance as part of official ideology. Yet even in these cases, promoting racial tolerance does not necessarily imply the promotion of racial indifference. Singapore's multiracialism, for instance, encourages a high consciousness of one's race even as it insists on tolerance. Further, it has been considered by many as a covert form of discrimination in favour of the majority Chinese and against the minorities, especially the Malays. This article is an attempt to advance our understanding of Singapore's idiosyncratic version of multiracialism by casting new light on the thinking of its primary architect, Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew.
Despite official denials there can be little doubt that there is an unofficial pro-Chinese bias in Singapore, and that in spite of the structures of "meritocracy" and sometimes because of them, the Malay minority in particular has suffered structural discrimination. Even a cursory survey of recent history confirms this impression. For two decades after separation from Malaysia in 1965, for instance, the Singapore government had an unofficial policy of excluding Malays from the Singapore Armed Forces and the police force because of concerns about their loyalty. Not only did this practice deny Malays a traditional source of employment, but it made other employers reluctant to hire them because they were, technically, still eligible to be called up. (1) At the same time, the government exaggerated, possibly unintentionally, the structural impediments to Malays' educational advancement. At the time of separation from Malaysia, Malay students in Singapore had already been disadvantaged inadvertently because they were streamed through Malay-language schools which were staffed by under-qualified teachers, and which used substandard Malay-language text books. (2) These schools had very high attrition and failure rates from the beginning, but after separation even the successful students faced unique linguistic and academic hurdles in their pursuit of higher education. After separation, not only did the Malays find that their language had little economic value, but they discovered that their schools had not prepared them for tertiary education in the new Singapore. The first problem was that unlike Chinese-educated Chinese attending Nanyang University, and English-speaking Chinese, Indians and Eurasians attending the University of Singapore, the Malays had no tertiary institutions in which they did not face a language barrier. In fact Malay students' command of English was so poor that they alone were required to take an oral examination as part of their entry requirements to university. Further, as part of the push for national and economic survival in newly-independent Singapore, university scholarships were restricted to those students pursuing technical and science disciplines, and the inadequately staffed and poorly resourced Malay-stream schools had left their students singularly ill-equipped to qualify or compete for these scholarships. (3) The Malay's problem was compounded by their continuing socio-economic marginalisation, (4) and by the near-universal perception that their underachievement reflected their racial and cultural defects: that they had grown up in the "soft," lethargic Malay Culture which did not encourage studiousness, enterprise or hard work. Between their educational and employment disadvantages, and the psychological impact of being told that their problems were the result of their ethnic culture, it is not surprising that Malays are still at an economic disadvantage today.
Perhaps the most revealing aspect of the saga of Singapore's Malays, however, is not the actual discrimination, but the fact that Singapore's multiracial meritocracy has provided the rationale for its justification, and that this rationale has been effective to the point that even Malay teachers have come to accept this "cultural deficit" explanation of Malay underachievement. (5) The perception of the cultural deficiency of the Malays is, to some extent, a continuation of the prejudices fostered by the British colonial authorities who regarded the Malays as slow and lazy because they preferred their agrarian kampong lifestyle to working in tin mines for money. (6) This interpretation, however, ignores the role of former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in moulding the ideological and social perceptions of Singaporeans. Although no nation's history can ever be reduced to the story of one man, Lee Kuan Yew had such a paramount role in making modem Singapore that an understanding of that society cannot be complete without an attempt at understanding Lee himself. The remainder of this article is devoted to contributing to our understanding of Lee's views on race.
Lee Kuan Yew
Understanding any aspect of Lee Kuan Yew's career requires a syncretic approach. but fully understanding his racial views stretches holistic analysis to new limits. Lee's views on race have been a matter of much private, but little published comment. This now changes with the publication of his authorised biography, Lee Kuan Yew: The Man and His Ideas, (7) in which Lee speaks about race with unprecedented candour. Upon close inspection, Lee's racial beliefs prove not to be an aberration or idiosyncrasy in his thinking, but the consummation of his world view and his political thought.
Until the late 1990s, Lee rarely allowed his public record to be sullied by any explicit statement that could be construed as racist, though on occasions he has come close to doing so. He has, for instance, argued that there are links between economic performance and race. In 1993, Lee wrote an article for The Economist in which he speculated on the state of the world in the twenty-first century, with special emphasis on Asia. (8) Lee put his own views into the mouth of a fictional Chinese Singaporean, Wang Chang, who then discussed his views with his friend, Ali Alkaff. Lee painted a picture of a prosperous twenty-first century East Asian industrial belt consisting of Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and coastal China, while South and South East Asia (except for Singapore) languished by comparison. Singapore, although geographically part Of South East Asia, was economically on a par with the more prosperous East Asian region. (9) In the subsequent "discussion" of these predictions, "Wang Chang" made it clear that race was a factor in his assessment, since he based his forecasting "on a people's culture, heredity and organisational strengths." (10) A few years earlier, Lee used his 1989 National Day Rally address to defend the Government's programme of encouraging Chinese immigration from Hong Kong on the basis that the birth rate of Singapore's Chinese is lower than that of the Indians and Malays. The numerical preponderance of the Chinese must be maintained, said Lee, "or there will be a shift in the economy, both the economic performance and the political backdrop which makes that economic performance possible." (11) Lee enumerated several reasons why maintaining the Chinese proportion of the population at current levels was necessary for economic prosperity - including the "culture" and "nature" of the Chinese. Without a hint of irony, Lee also took the opportunity to assure Malays that they need not fear Hong Kong immigrants taking their jobs because the immigrants will all be high income earners. In 1977 Lee treated Parliament to a four hour post-election victory speech which could best be described as "uninhibited." In this speech, Lee told the multi-racial chamber, "I understand the Englishman. He knows deep in his heart that he is superior to the Welshman and the Scotsman.... Deep here, I am a Chinaman." (12) In recent times, Lee has not only been more forthright about his racial views but he has also confirmed that he held them at least as early as the beginning of the 1970s. In October 1989, in an interview with Malaysia's New Straits Times Lee revealed that after he read Mahathir Mohamad's The Malay Dilemma (13) in 1971 or 1972, he found himself "in agreement with three-quarters of his analysis of the problem" of the economic and educational under-performance of the Malays. (14) According to Lee and Mahathir, the problem was both cultural and genetic. (15) Lee noted with approval that Mahathir's views were the "result of his medical training, and... he was not likely to change them." (16)
While Lee has been moderately circumspect in most of his public statements on race, there have been rare occasions on which he has shown less discretion than usual. The earliest such documented occasion was on 27 December 1967, when Lee addressed a meeting at the University of Singapore. (17) After his speech there was a question and answer session, in which a question was asked about "the most important factor, the X-factor, in development." (18) Two members of the audience have given the author independent and almost identical accounts of Lee's answer. According to Chandra Muzaffar, Lee responded in these terms:
"Three women were brought to the Singapore General Hospital, each in the same condition and each needing a blood transfusion. The first, a Southeast Asian was given the transfusion but died a few hours later. The second, a South Asian was also given a transfusion but died a few days later. The third, an East Asian, was given a transfusion and survived. That is the X factor in development." (19)
Herman Paul independently gave the following account of Lee's answer: "There were 3 women, one of them from East Asia, another from South Asia and the 3rd from S-E Asia. They were admitted to the Singapore General Hospital. Their condition was precarious, and they all received blood transfusions. The woman from S-E Asia passed away. The woman from East Asia survived. The woman from South-East Asia (20) passed away. " (21)
Each listener took the Southeast Asian to be a Malay or perhaps a member of one of the aboriginal races of the region. Each of them took the South Asian woman to be an Indian, and the East Asian who survived was Chinese, or perhaps Japanese or Korean. Lee revealed in this speech, as reported by Chandra Muzaffar a perception of a racial hierarchy of Asians, in which the Chinese and other East Asians are at the top, Malays and other Southeast Asians are at the bottom, and Indians and other South Asians are in between. On this occasion Lee made no attempt to disguise his views on race with discussion of related factors, such as culture. He was talking about the inherent, genetic, strength and weakness of the different races. The emphasis that Lee has placed on culture and race in economic development has varied over the years. Only 27 months after Lee argued that race is the "X-factor" in development, Lee credited "ethnic factors" with being one of the variables in economic development, though on this occasion he contradicted his December 1967 statement by arguing that these "ethnic factors" were a minor consideration compared to "cultural factors." (22) Regardless of the balance between the two factors in Lee's thinking, there is no room to doubt that both race and culture play related if different roles in Lee's political thought.
The hierarchy of races revealed in Lee's December 1967 parable helps to explain a similar hierarchy of humiliation to which Lee referred four years earlier, when he said, "Humiliation and degradation by foreign European powers is bad enough. It was worse at the hands of a conquering Asian nation like Japan - and it will be even worse if it should be by a neighbouring power in South-East Asia." (23) In fact, Lee's racial hierarchy is much more complex than he indicated on either of these occasions. In 1982 he revealed his belief that Jews share with East Asians a place at the top of the racial pyramid. and that both occupy a higher place than Americans:
"Let us not deceive ourselves: our talent profile is nowhere near that of, say, the Jews or the Japanese in America. The exceptional number of Nobel Prize winners who are Jews is no accident. It is also no accident that a high percentage, sometimes 50%, of faculty members in the top American universities on both the east and west coasts are Jews. And the number of high calibre Japanese academics, professionals, and business executives is out of all proportion to the percentage of Japanese in the total American population." (24)
More recently, commenting upon Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein's The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life, (25) Lee told his authorised biographers:
"The Bell curve is a fact of life. The blacks on average score 85 per cent on IQ and it is accurate, nothing to do with culture. The whites score on average 100. Asians score more... the Bell curve authors put it at least 10 points higher. These are realities that, if you do not accept, will lead to frustration because you will be spending money on wrong assumptions and the results cannot follow." (26)
A reading of the evidence cited above suggests that Lee has always had an agenda based on the racial and cultural superiority of Singapore's Chinese population. If this analysis is accurate, however, it requires a complementary argument which accounts adequately for the fact that Lee did not begin acting on these beliefs until the late 1970s. On the surface, such a line of argument appears plausible, since there are no shortage of external factors which could have restrained Lee's sinocentric bias until the early 1980s. His early hostility to Chinese education, culture and language, for instance, can be explained by the fact that Lee regarded Chinese culture as a threat to Singapore's stability because it was so closely associated with Chinese chauvinism, Chinese communism and loyalty to the People's Republic of China. (27) As well as these internal communal factors, it is known that Lee considered that allowing even the appearance of creating a sinocentric culture in the 1960s or 1970s would have heightened tensions between Singapore and its Malay neighbours. (28) These were sufficient reasons for Lee to continue his campaign of gutting Chinese education and building a communally neutral multiracialism. By 1979, however, Singapore's political and regional landscape had been totally transformed. Chinese culture was succumbing to the constant incursion of English language education and Western influence through the media. Nanyang University, almost the last institutional bastion of Chinese culture and Chinese communism. was demoralised, (29) and the Chinese-educated were on the verge of becoming a minority in the electorate. (30) This meant that Chinese culture was no longer seen as a major threat to Singapore's internal stability. Furthermore, Singapore's relations with both Malaysia and Indonesia had reached a new high thanks to the spirit of regional solidarity within ASEAN, prompted by the fall of Vietnam in 1975. (31) The post-separation siege mentality towards the Malay world was now redundant, if it had ever been valid. This development coincided roughly with the retirement, enforced or otherwise, of most of the "old -guard" of PAP leaders. By the mid-1980s Lee had surrounded himself with younger second generation leaders Substantially dependent upon his patronage, thus relieving Lee of another constraint. The sinicization of Singapore was now a political possibility for Lee, and according to the logic of this argument, he then took the opportunity to act on his racial beliefs.
While this thesis goes some way towards explaining Lee's actions, it faces serious problems. It is important. for instance, to acknowledge that not only did Lee show no signs of acting on Chinese racial or cultural supremacist beliefs until the very end of the 1970s, but for many of those years he was widely demonised as an enemy of Chinese culture. Alex Josey wrote in 1974 that "within ten or fifteen years, Lee Kuan Yew expects the Chinese language to be unimportant, " (32) and this seemed a fair assessment. The majority of Chinese parents were choosing English as the first language for their children’s education since English was the language which led to good jobs and upward social mobility. (33) Nanyang University was struggling to survive and was under a continuing cloud of suspicion that it was fostering Chinese chauvinism and communism. This suspicion had lead the Government to "disperse" former communist Chinese-educated students to universities in Australia, Canada and New Zealand, rather than allow them to study at Nanyang. (34) In 1971 two Chinese language newspapers, Sin Chew Jit Poh and Nanyang Siang Pau were brought to heel for allegedly promoting Chinese chauvinism and accusing the government of killing Chinese education and the Chinese language.(35)
These factors by themselves undermine the thesis that Lee was always a closet Chinese Supremacist. Consideration must be given also to the testimony of Lee's close associates from those early decades, who flatly contradict the picture of Lee Kuan Yew as a Chinese cultural or racial supremacist. Goh Keng Swee was Lee's right hand man for twenty years in government, at one stage rising to the position of First Deputy Prime Minister. When Goh was shown Chandra Muzaffar's account of Lee's December 1967 parable, he was genuinely shocked and lost for words. Finally he stammered. "I can't imagine he spoke in such crude terms." (36)
E.W. Barker, a Minister in Lee's Cabinet for more than twenty years and his friend for more than two decades before that, was equally adamant in interview that "there was nothing of this race business in Cabinet. I wouldn't have served if it was a pro-Chinese government, but it was not." (37) While Lee believed in his heart that the Chinese were genetically and culturally superior, he separated this belief from his public policy. Only in the late 1970s did his racial beliefs begin to exert a noticeable influence upon public policy. The discrepancy between the picture of the Chinese, racial and cultural supremacist which we are able to paint from a collage of' Lee's words is barely reconcilable with Lee's public record up to the late 1970s and with the accounts given by his close associates of forty and fifty years. It is obvious that the thesis that Lee was restrained from acting on his beliefs by external forces is insufficient. As is the case with most aspects of Lee's career, the story is much more complicated, and requires a detailed study of the gradual development of his political thought.
At this stage it is important to consider the origins of Lee's racial views. It is natural to assume that Lee's beliefs stem directly from prejudices he learnt as a child. While there is a certain likelihood in this line of approach, Lee's own accounts suggest that he arrived at his racial views as a result of observation, empirical enquiry and study as an adult: "I started off believing all men were equal. I now know that's the most unlikely thing ever to have been, because millions of years have passed over evolution, people have scattered across the face of this earth, been isolated from each other, developed independently had different intermixtures between races, peoples, climates, soils. ...I didn't start off with that knowledge. But by observation, reading, watching, arguing, asking, that is the conclusion I've come to." (38)
Lee maintains that at some stage before the late 1960s he had acted under the assumption that all races were equal, but bitter disappointment convinced him that the reality was otherwise: "When we were faced with the reality that, in fact, equal opportunities did not bring about more equal results, we were faced with [an] ideological dilemma. ... In other words, this Bell curve, which Murray and Herrnstein wrote about, became obvious to us by the late '60s." (39)
The evolution of Lee's racism was a long process. According to Lee himself he began to form his views on race while he was a student in London. (40) He has described how his ideas firmed in 1956 on a visit to Europe and London, (41) and then reached their full force in the Malaysia period. (42) The details and implications of Lee's account of the development of his racial views are considered later in this article, but one must be sceptical that his adult mind was ever a tabula rasa on the question of race. Lee likes to consider himself a pure empiricist who can rise above preconceptions and prejudices, but it seems reasonable to assume that the very questions he asked as an adult, and his early fascination with questions of race sprang from an existing, possibly unconscious world view in which race was an all-pervasive feature.
In racially conscious Singapore it would have been difficult to have grown up without exposure to racial stereotyping. Further, the Chinese of Lee's parents' and grandparents' generations grew up in a culture which emphasised familial piety and ancestor worship and who were naturally proud of both their ancestry and their tenuous association with the glories of Chinese civilisation. Ethnic pride can slip easily into racial prejudice in the most racially unconscious society, and Singapore was and is anything but racially unconscious. We might believe Lee when he maintains that he had, at some stage in his early adult life, come to the intellectual conviction that all races are equal. His childhood, however, was steeped in racial stereotyping that meant that questions of race were never far from the surface of his dynamically inquisitive mind, and deep seated stereotypes were always ready to challenge race-blind explanations of the world. Hence, when he visited other countries, even as a student, he took his racial consciousness with him. He has told his biographers, "I visited Europe during my vacation (as a student) and then saw India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Indonesia, Japan, Germany ... You look for societies which had been more successful and you ask yourself why." (43) Note Lee's assumption that a society's "success" can be judged by a universal standard of progress and development.
For Lee it was natural to judge peoples according to the how high up the ladder of progress they had climbed, and his background made him prone to place people in racial and cultural categories when making such judgements.
Lee may have brought the kernel of his racial prejudices intact from childhood, but as an adult he has woven an intricate argument to rationalise and develop his view. His argument rests on four pillars: an environmental determinism based upon a distortion of Arnold Toynbee's "Challenge and Response" thesis; a medieval scientism which gives an important role to ductless glands in determining a person's and a people's drive to achieve; a Lamarckian view of evolution; and a belief in culturally-based eugenics and dysgenics. The influence of Arnold Toynbee on Lee since the mid-1960s is well documented in speeches and inter-views. From 1967 onwards Lee acknowledged Toynbee as a source of his ideas. (44) It is less well-known that Lee began quoting Toynbee's "Challenge and Response" thesis in Cabinet meetings as soon as the PAP came to power in 1959, (45) and that Toynbee was widely read and vigorously discussed in Lee's circle of friends at Cambridge University. (46) The connection between Toynbee's thesis and Lee Kuan Yew's racial beliefs is convoluted, but it is the lynch pin of Lee's rationalisation of his Chinese racial suprematism.
Do also read A. Kadir Jasin's Malaysia-Singapore: Who will win the poker game?
AsiaViews, Edition: 34/III/Aug/2006
"While Malaysia is embroiled in a political spat between the past and present Prime Ministers, its southern neighbour Singapore, well-known for its astuteness and opportunistic streak, might just gain the upper hand.
DON’T YOU JUST LOVE SINGAPOREANS? IN THEIR OWN ANNOYING kiasu way, they’re pretty nice fellows. And we have to hand it to them that they are good.
Driven by an extreme fear of losing, they have developed for themselves a survival kit that is second to none in this region.....

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

"Segala Sesuatu Meminta Cara" (Everything Requires an Appropriate Approach)

Sunday, September 17:
"Be valiant. It's time to cut ties with an unpleasant acquaintance or 'friend' whose presence leaves you consistently feeling demoralized and drained. It won't be easy, but taking this step will prove to be liberating."
If you are faced with the same pattern (of trials and tribulations) over and over again in your life, does it mean that you have not learned the lessons that God is trying to teach you? Being taken advantaged of and betrayed by supposedly close friends is just one example. Over the years, sacrificing time and money, neglecting work and family, staying up nights and weekends, bending over backwards to give full support to 'friends' such as FAA, J, HAK, ILA, etc., had left me "consistently feeling demoralized and drained", especially in terms of self-worth and energy.
Thus, the lesson learnt: I have to start setting limits and asserting my rights from now on, and feel very comfortable at that, or I never will. No more feeling needy, guilty or obliged to drive to Klang, Cheras, Shah Alam, Ulu Selangor, or where have you, allowing unlimited use of office and facilities that extended to spouses (and ended up being accused of having a 'toyboy' in the office), spending the last ringgit on the latest MLM or pyramid scheme, or editing and rewriting and consulting for minimal or no fee (tuck in and 'tapao' free food from events-lah!) How insulting and no wonder it's so challenging to freelance here in Malaysia. That reminded me of an episode when I was seconded to a ministry as a senior officer, and my immediate superior was asked by another senior officer from Bukit Aman this embarassing question that caused him to blush:
"How come you all are willing to pay foreign consultants to the millions for several weeks' job but are not willing to reward local experts like her?"
The answer may be found in the famous Malay saying: "Seperti Ayam Di Kepuk Mati Kelaparan, Itik Di Sungai Mati Kehausan" ("Like chickens dying of hunger in the coop, ducks of thirst in the river", meaning natives being destitute and vagabonds in their own homelands).
Like the famous quote from the novel Atheis (1949) by Achdiat K. Mihardja, "Segala Sesuatu Meminta Cara" (Everything Requires an Appropriate Approach), so it's best to keep everyone at arm's length than allow them to take advantage, or worse still, betray you.
And the same principle applies to men, whose modus operandi (MO) may have worked on a thousand beauties, but failed to capture the one and only. Isn't it time then to change your strategies and tactics to appeal to your target audience? Frankly, my dear, this can't go on forever; surely, there's a more effective way to achieve objectives? It really doesn't hurt to swallow your pride and use the direct approach - you know, treat people with civility, courtesy and dignity. "Budi Bahasa, Budaya Kita" (Courtesy is Our Culture)
On a different note, here's an intriguing message from a former student and advisee, who used to live at the Millenium and collect my mail from my former department:
Sat, 16 Sep 2006 11:17:13 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Mohd Nazri Ibrahim"
Subject: david duke menulis tentang terorisme Yahudi
How Israeli terrorism and American treason caused the September 11 Attacks
By David Duke
National President
European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO)
If Osama bin Laden is the man behind the attack that caused the death of thousands of Americans on September 11, I, like most Americans want to him to suffer the ultimate punishment for his crime. No person or nation that commits terrorism against America should escape punishment.
But now I am going to make a statement that may well shock you. If you agree that those who commit terrorist acts against America should be punished, then America should put Israel at the top of our hit list; for in this article, I will prove that Israel has committed deliberate acts of murderous terrorism and treachery against America.
Israel's acts of terrorism and treachery against America have not only gone unpunished, but have been rewarded by politicians who have treasonously betrayed the United States.
Read David Duke's previous articles:
The Big Lie - The true reason behind the attack

Saturday, September 16, 2006

NAM, OIC and Pope Benedict XVI

Continuing on post-colonial discourse, memories of revolutionary heroes and the condition of post-modernity, I would like to celebrate and embrace the spirit of Hari Angkatan Tentera (Arm Forces' Day)*, the 24th NAM (Non-Aligned Movement) summit held in Havana (Cuba) and the Science and Technology Management Training Course for Researchers in OIC Countries (4-15 September 2006).
Even the most hard-hearted amongst us would shed a tear upon hearing songs such as Barisan Kita, Pahlawanku, etc. dedicated to the fallen heroes who had valiantly defended our national borders against "insurgents" and external threats (from Imperialist forces such as Japan and China). And recognition of their wives/widows' sacrifices as well. May there be zero skirmishes and wars from here on.
Now that Cuba takes over the chairmanship of NAM, the enigmatic aura of Latin America and the Carribeans will "shift the organization" and usher in "a new era", as foretold by President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela.
In a speech during the opening session of the 24th NAM summit held in Havana, Chávez spoke in the name of the Latin American and Caribbean member states. "The US colonialism continues conspiring and plotting against Cuba and Venezuela, and against other states as well," he cautioned, Efe reported.
"Fifty years after setting the principles of the Non-Aligned Movement in Bandung (Indonesia, 1955), the world is standing up again," Chávez said after sending his regards to Cuban ruler Fidel Castro, who could not chair the summit due to a surgery underwent last July 31st.
Chávez reviewed the history of the American, African and Asian colonization. Afterwards, he called the 118 NAM member states to join efforts and "push the sun in this new dawn."
(Long Live the Spirit of Bandung and Bung Karno's anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist stance!)
By the Grace of God, I was invited to attend the closing ceremony of the Science and Technology Management Training Course for Researchers in OIC Countries held yesterday morning at the Islamic Arts Meseum Malaysia Restaurant. The ambience was perfect, the company of envoys and senior officials excellent and the Mediteranean food simply delicious. I really look forward to saving and visiting Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and Oman.
Just when we thought the uproar over the derogatory caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has subsided, the German-born pope had to issue statements that sparked the ire of the Muslims worldwide.
Muslim anger over papal comments grows
By BENJAMIN HARVEY, Associated Press Writer
Fri Sep 15, 7:18 PM ET
ISTANBUL, Turkey - Pakistan's legislature unanimously condemned Pope Benedict XVI. Lebanon's top Shiite cleric demanded an apology. And in Turkey, the ruling party likened the pontiff to Hitler and Mussolini and accused him of reviving the mentality of the Crusades.
Across the Islamic world Friday, Benedict's remarks on Islam and jihad in a speech in Germany unleashed a torrent of rage that many fear could burst into violent protests like those that followed publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
By citing an obscure Medieval text that characterizes some of the teachings of Islam's founder as "evil and inhuman," Benedict inflamed Muslim passions and aggravated fears of a new outbreak of anti-Western protests.
The last outpouring of Islamic anger at the West came in February over the prophet cartoons first published in a Danish newspaper. The drawings sparked protests — some of them deadly — in almost every Muslim nation in the world.
Some experts said the perceived provocation by the spiritual leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics could leave even deeper scars.....
Isn't it about time that leaders of oil-rich Muslim countries cease spending millions on jewellery gifts to pop divas and invest in alternative voices to counter negative portrayals of Islam?
Related news:
Muslim tycoons should buy stakes in global media outlets to help change anti-Muslim attitudes around the world, ministers from Islamic countries heard at a conference in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.
Information ministers and officials meeting under the auspices of the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the world's largest Islamic body, said Islam faced vilification after the September 11 attacks, when 19 Arabs killed nearly 3,000 people in U.S. cities in 2001.
"Muslim investors must invest in the large media institutions of the world, which generally make considerable profits, so that they have the ability to affect their policies via their administrative boards," OIC chief Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu told the gathering in the Saudi city of Jeddah.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Postponing Postcoloniality?

Being back in the academic conference circuit, albeit as a participant, brings with it opportunities to confront the enduring issue of identity in postcolonial societies. One such opportunity is the Colloquium on Southeast Asian Postcoloniality held last Saturday, 9 September 2006, at Eastin Hotel. Jointly organized by the Department of English at the University of Malaya and the Malaysian Association of Commonwealth Languages and Literature (MACLALS), speakers include distinguished academics like Professor Khoo Kay Kim and creative forces like Yasmin Ahmad and Amir Muhammad (
I missed the morning session which featured imminent scholars - Profs Wang Gang-wu and Khoo Kay Kim. Prof Wang, I was told, posited a fascinating theory of postcolonial SEAan identities via the 'mandala' metaphor - solid yet in a state of flux, stratified, layered and satellitic, with multiple centers and tiers of cultural influences that shaped our 'hybridized' identities. Prof Khoo, who I 'interrogated' (this being a term popular among postcolonial scholars), intended to criticise Marxist historians for 'evacuating' the notion of the cultural but instead diverted to delivering anecdotes as an informal approach to enliven the session on theorizing historical-cultural identities. Isabela Banzon Mooney and Lily Rose Tope, speakers from the University of the Philippines at Los Banos and Diliman, expressed their 'natural' affinity with their Malaysian Malay counterparts and posed the vexing question of Malay-Muslim identity in SEA, and, to me, the more intriguing question of post/pre-colonial Malay identity in SEA.
In an earlier posting, I briefly mentioned the sense of pride, pleasure, nostalgia and probably deja vu at discovering during my visit there that the ruler of Manila at the time of the Spanish Invasion was a Raha Sulayman. And the feeling of sadness as the native tour guide, Victor, manifested his strong identification with Spanish-American and Roman Catholic cultural icons (such as the Conquistadors, the crucifix, the Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Perpetual Hope, aka Siti Maryam ali Imran) that emphasized the marked differences in the colonial experiences of the Philippines Malays and Malaysian Malays, as well as Indonesian Malays for that matter. An eternal optimist, my spirits were uplifted by Prof Shirley Lim's reiteration that the future of SEA lies in the realization of a unitary post-colonial entity (identity?), ASEAN in particular ("Singapore being an accessory to crime in terms of consumer ethos"). Her statement reminded me of my late Baba's habit (radical or subversive to supporters of the so-called 'Colonial Construct') of quoting Bung Karno's vision of a Maphilindo (Malaysia-Philippines-Indonesia)*, and lo and behold, the processes of globalization and postmodernization (which heralds the withering away of the nation-states, political boundaries and national identities) are gradually paving the way to a post/pre-colonial geo-political and identity formation (Long Live Nusantara!)
As a final note, I will take great pleasure in mulling and reflecting on Prof Lim Chee Seng's argument that the Sejarah Melayu, a mythic text written a week after the Fall of Melaka, as a "psychic compensation in the face of defeat ... a power that was overwhelmed" as exemplified by claims to Alexander the Great's genealogy, and Kris Mas' Rimba Harapan (Jungle of Hope) as a repressive text in the theme of nation-building which exhorted the Malays to retreat into the jungle, a pristine condition or 'cultural purity'.
*My late father tended to evoke strong emotions of either awe or contempt by people around him, including members of our own family, who perceived him as a "Rebel Without a Cause", the Quintessential Prodigal Son. An ardent advocate of Sukarno's vision of postcolonial Malaya/Nusantara, he was detained when I was in my mother's womb for allegedly smuggling firearms from Indonesia into Singapore (truly the greatest test for my Sidi who was the Mufti of Selangor at that time). In the early 1950s, he and a group of friends set up a printing press (Ra'ayat Trading) opposite the Ipoh Padang, which was subsequently confiscated for publishing anti-colonial materials. There he befriended the late Norizan, whom he adviced to marry the Sultan and she did after being challenged; I never asked if she sought his advice before marrying P. Ramlee. In the early 1960s, he gathered a group of unemployed Indonesian and Singapore Malays, including a Chinese youth that he adopted and converted to Islam, to embark on a major padi plantation project in Kahang, Johore, which unfortunately failed. Our house in Kampung Melayu Kaki Bukit, Singapura, at that time was teeming with Indonesian versions of Che Guevara on Harley motorcycles. I bet Harry Lee (Kuan Yew, a Fabian Socialist defector) and the Singapore government were glad to see the back of him and his "comrades" when we moved to Kuala Lumpur a year after the Prophet Muhammad Birthday Riots. In the mid and late 1960s, he had an office at Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman (close to Globe Silk Store), where I believe he met my step-mother who was his secretary, and another at Roger Street (near the Klang Bus Station). By the 1970s and 1980s, he had spent his family fortune, revolutionary spirit and boundless energy. Born in Makkah al-Mukarammah, he became a sailor at 17 to return to Malaya (Tanah Jawi/Tanah Melayu) and went to Singapore where he met and married my mother. He died in 1992 when I was in Madison, WI, and buried by the sea at my stepmother's kampung, Kuala Sungai Baru, Melaka. Learning to love and accept him, warts and all, had been the greatest lesson of my life, made more arduous by controversial assertions such as "There is God, it is Allah" (Ada Tuhan, ialah Allah) and not "There is no God, except Allah" (Tiada Tuhan, melainkan Allah). Now I could see that he had a valid point; too late, but better than never. That's the way life is, very much like The Living Years by Mike & The Mechanics:
Every generation
Blames the one before
And all of their frustrations
Come beating on your door
I know that I'm a prisoner
To all my father held so dear
I know that I'm a hostage
To all his hopes and fears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years
Crumpled bits of paper
Filled with imperfect thought
Stilted conversations
I'm afraid that's all we've got
You say you just don't see it
He says it's perfect sense
You just can't get agreement
In this present tense
We all talk a different language
Talking in defence
Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It's too late when we die
To admit we don't see eye to eye
So we open up a quarrel
Between the present and the past
We only sacrifice the future
It's the bitterness that lasts
So don't yield to the fortunes
You sometimes see as fate
It may have a new perspective
On a different day
And if you don't give up, and don't give in
You may just be o.k.
Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It's too late when we die
To admit we don't see eye to eye
I wasn't there that morning
When my father passed away
I didn't get to tell him
All the things I had to say
I think I caught his spirit
Later that same year
I'm sure I heard his echo
In my baby's new born tears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years
Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It's too late when we die
To admit we don't see eye to eye
(Thus, in my personal quest for closure, I would like to see an amicable solution to a protracted 'struggle' between opposing political consiousness, gender ideologies and cultural identities, to quote my horoscope: "There's a time to stand and fight, and that time is now. This endless cycle of push-me-pull-you was fine for a while, but now you need a resolution -- and fast. State your demands and then take action." My way or the high way - hit the road, Jack! Seriously, I'm open to 'civilized' dialogue. That's the only solution to this decade-long deadlock)

Monday, September 04, 2006

Homecoming, Singapore, 2-3 September 2006

Attending a conference on Islamic Spirituality at the Sultan Mosque in Singapore, my land of birth, over the weekend was a 'rejuvenaton' of sorts. Tears flowed over the Soul(fitr)'s struggle to 'annihilate' the Ego (nafs) before the presence of the Almighty and the personal memories of a child and her mother walking and shopping for batik and pelikat along Arab Street, eating murtabak and briyani at Zam Zam, Victory or Islamic Restaurant, visiting the Istana Kampung Gelam as the last trace of the Glory of the Old Malay Kingdom, and catching the sights, sounds, smells and colours of the vibrant Arab Quarter of the City-State. And the pride and poignance of being with Singapore Malays from the level of Auliyas, Ulamaks, Politicians (Senior Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Academics (NUS Professor), Professionals to the Service Providers at the shops and restaurants around the complex.
As revealed by the humility, sincerity, insights and eloquence of the organisers, speakers and participants as well as the articles below, there may be a blessing to every 'conquest' or 'domination' after all. Repeated references to the waves of Mongol Invasion (of the Muslim world - 616/1219 by Genghis Khan and 654/1256 by Hulagu Khan - that hurled Islam into its Dark Age, of which it has not compeletely recovered from) during the conference reiterated that: "Periods of the most excruciating pain or suffering are usually accompanied with the most intense flowering of spirituality". Wallahualam bissawab (Only the Almighty knows). Wasallam.
The Straits Times
Saturday, September 02, 2006
S'pore Malays can hold heads high
MALAYSIA'S Deputy Home Minister has drawn fire for a remark made last week that he sympathises with Penang Malays who do not want to end up like Malays in Singapore.
Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad made the remarks while opening an Umno delegates conference in Bukit Mertajam.
'I understand they do not want to end up becoming like the Malays in Singapore,' he told delegates at the meeting.
But, reacting to his remarks, a reader of The Star newspaper has written to the paper and urged the minister to visit Singapore.
'The fact is that Singapore Malays feel more superior to those across the Causeway,'' said Mr Mohd Jamal Bin Abdullah of Penang.
Pointing out that he worked with many Singapore Malays, he said Malays in Singapore could hold their heads high and many had found employment elsewhere simply because they were more fluent in English.
He added that the successful ones climbed the hierarchy on their own merits as they played on the same level field as the other races without asking for concessions.
'I am not ashamed to say that my son is studying in Singapore ever since he was quite young,' he said.
He said he had deliberately sent his son to Singapore because he wanted him to enjoy its superior education and to develop the right attitude of 'no crutch please as I can walk on my own'.
And he added: 'If the Malays in Penang (or elsewhere in Malaysia) can be like the Malays in Singapore, then we will not need former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad or current Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to remind us from time to time to seek to become 'towering Malays'.'

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Manu Zikoi

Monday, August 28, 2006:
"You have the gift of gab in multiple languages, and that could benefit your love life and career prospects. Make an effort to learn a new lingo right now, and soon you'll be parlez vous-ing in whatever dialect you wish."
I wish! In any case, a weekend in KK (Sabah) got me into the Kadazan/Dusun lingo and the status of the Bobohizan, the High Priestess who has the monopoly over spiritual knowledge and healing power in the Good Old Days of the Goddess! Well, any woman would consider herself lucky to be drinking rice wine, dancing the sumazau with the enemies' skulls tied to her waist and chanting the mantra than be made a human sacrifice like Huminodun, the beautiful daugther of Kinoringan (the God of the Earth and his wife, the Goddess of the Sky), who epitomises the Spirit of Rice, to end the Great Famine. It is believed that all kinds of primary food are derived from different parts of the poor girl's body, i.e. rice from her white flesh, chillies from her red blood, ginger from her dainty fingers, onions from her lovely hair, corn from her pearly teeth and coconut from her pretty head.
Datuk Douglas C. Primus Sikayun om Datin Sa'adah A. Aziz do magahap - do mooi tindapou om umunsikou doid kalamzan do pisavaan di tanak dagari i (cordially invite you to share in the wedding celebration of their daughter)
The High Society of KK and the High Courts of Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak were very well-represented at the lively wedding celebration of Jihan Xylia and Mohd Izham last Saturday night at the Shang, Tg Aru. The wife of the President of UPKO, YB Tan Sri Bernard G. Dompok, the wife of the Chief Judge of the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak, the Right Honourable Dato' Richard Malanjum, and The Honourable Datuk Syed Ahmad Helmy bin Syed Ahmad with Datin Jelita, who wowed the guests with her soulful rendition of Summertime. The bride and groom, family and friends eagerly took to the dance floor to do the sumazau, and some latin steps later on in the nite ...
Sunday saw ISA, NIA and I at the Gaya Flea Market, the Sabah Museum and the Tg Aru beach. ISA's college mate, Henry, whose grandfather founded the museum, and his beloved Michelle, whose grandfather founded the KK race course (!), played gracious guides. Somehow, the Add Image feature repeatedly refused to cooperate with photo posting - must be the curse of the "Mambangs", Bah!

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Journeying Soul

Jalan Damai->Jalan Eunos->Still Road->Telok Kurau West (Integrated) Primary School was the route I used to travel as a child, be it by cab with Mak, by bike with ABGLONG, by 'beca' (trishaw) with KAKNGAH, by bus and on foot with Bro Mal or school bus with Yat.
I was the typical (over-)protected 'last-born' child, tied to my mother's sarong, stifled under her arms, snuggled to her bosoms whenever I, or she, could. I didn't attend pre-school, so my mother had to wait at the canteen for weeks until she could finally 'wean' me off. I couldn't believe how attached I was to her, and took every opportunity to go to the washroom so I could peek at her through the shutters outside the classroom.
NIA was the total opposite - with three years of pre-school; she just strutted her stuff on her very first day to Shorewood Hills Elementary School, Madison, WI.

Semiotics, Semantics and Social Construction of Reality

Ferdinand de Saussure wrote about the significance of signs, symbols and icons, as well as their portrayals or representations in shaping our perceptions.
Examples abound - the hawk and the dove, the fig leaf and the olive tree, the cross, the fish, the (parting of the Red) sea, the crescent, full (bad) moon (rising), the stars, the sun, sunrise and sunset, dawn and dusk, twilight (zone) and (total) eclipse (of the heart), the Great Flood, the Tsunami, Tornados, Hurricanes, Volcano Eruptions, so on and so forth. And colors - white (purity), black (evil), green (natural environment, Islam, etc.), red (true love, blood, Communism, prosperity), purple (nobility), the list goes on. And words - (liberal, social or participatory) democracy or tyranny of the masses, freedom/liberation/emancipation or cooptation/subjugation/oppression, order or authoritarianism, rebuilding/reconstruction (after attacks and invasions?), terrorists/guerillas or reactionaries/revolutionaries/reformists?
As history has revealed, yesterday's terrorists are today's heroes. Look no further - Ghandhi, Nelson Mandela, and the iconic Che Guevara (throb, throb goes my heart!)
On the lighter side of the "abitrariness of signs", here are some witty repartees to corny pick-up lines. Little wonder then some men chose to remain silent. Sigh ... looking forward to spend the week-end in KK (Sabah) for a wedding at the Shangri-La, Tg Aru, and next weekend in Singapore, "tempat jatuh lagi dikenang, inikan pula tempat kelahiran"?
Sent: Tuesday, August 22, 2006 7:49 PM
Subject: Ways to turn men down - since so many of them use such corny lines!!!!
HIM: Can I buy you a drink?
HER: Actually I'd rather have the money.
HIM: I'm a photographer. I've been looking for a face like yours
HER: I'm a plastic surgeon. I've been looking for a face like yours.
HIM: Hi. Didn't we go on a date once? Or was it twice?
HER: Must've been once. I never make the same mistake twice.
HIM: How did you get to be so beautiful?
HER: I must've been given your share.
HIM: Will you go out with me this Saturday?
HER: Sorry. I'm having a headache this weekend.
HIM: Your face must turn a few heads.
HER: And your face must turn a few stomachs.
HIM: Go on, don't be shy. Ask me out.
HER: Okay, get out.
HIM: I think I could make you very happy.
HER: Why? Are you leaving?
HIM: What would you say if I asked you to marry me?
HER: Nothing. I can't talk and laugh at the same time.
HIM: Can I have your name?
HER: Why? Don't you already have one?
HIM: Shall we go see a movie?
SHE: I've already seen it.
HIM: Where have you been all my life?
HER: Hiding from you.
HIM: Haven’t I seen you some place before?
HER: Yes. That's why I don't go there anymore.
HIM: Is this seat empty?
HER: Yes and this one will be if you sit down.
HIM: So, what do you do for a living?
HER: I’m a female impersonator.
HIM: Hey baby what’s your sign?
HER: Do not enter.
HIM: Your body is like a temple.
HER: Sorry, there are no services today.
HIM: If I could see you naked, I'd die happy.
HER: If I saw you naked, I'd probably die laughing
HIM: Where have you been all my life?
HER: Where I'll be the rest of your life - in your wildest dreams.
Quote from the invite:
"Manusia hawa dijadikan daripada tulang rusuk manusia adam, bukan dari kepalanya untuk dijunjung, bukan dari kakinya untuk dijadikan alas, tetapi dari sisinya untuk dijadikan teman hidupnya, dekat dengan lengannya untuk dilindungi dan dekat dengan hatinya untuk dicintai"
(The female being was created from Adam's rib, not from his head to be worshipped, nor from his feet to be downtrodden, but from his side to be his companion, close to his arms to be protected and close to his heart to be loved")