Friday, August 31, 2007

Happy 50th Merdeka

" When the people are in a state of complete complacency with their present status, they tend to fear anything that may produce changes.They will suspect any move or anybody who comes out with new ideas or inventions."

Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra said this in February 1956.

Sadly it remains true even today.

Happy 50th Merdeka


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Blood for Maika

This man is a Maika Holdings shareholder. He was assaulted by a group of men at the company's annual general meeting earlier today for asking questions pertainings the company's finances.

Along with him, others too were assaulted, most notably Subramaniam (ex-MIC) and Kulasegaran (DAP MP). Many others were forcibly herded out simply because they were not willing to rubber stamp what the Maika board wants to do.

Maika CEO Vell Paari told TV news that he wasn't aware of anyone being asked to leave the hall, or of anyone being pushed around, or of anyone bleeding.

How could he? I was there and I saw him being very busy running the meeting - either by talking on his phone, or by walking up and about the podium.

I am quite disturbed by the way the meeting was conducted. And i do think we are seeing the end of Maika Holdings.

I just feel pity for the pool old estate workers who invested their hard-earned cash into this MIC investment arm.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Pasir Gudang under the spotlight

In two day’s time the nation would be celebrating its 50th Merdeka - a duration in which our fears and mistrust of each other should have been eradicated.

Sadly the reality is far from this. Once again the fragile nature of our inter-race relationship has surfaced. This time it’s in Johor.

SMSes have been making its round since Monday warning people of racial riots in Pasir Gudang.

According to the SMSes - a few variants - Malays and Indians are killing themselves there and the riot could spread nationwide.

The reason for the riot is also quite colourful. One says that an Indian had raped a Malay girl and as a result a conflict arose and that a Malay man was shot dead!

Another says that a Malay boy and an Indian girl were in love, objected by respective families and finally tension has broke out, as a result bus loads of Indians from Ipoh and Batu Caves have landed in Johor looking for Malay blood!

Rubbish on both accounts.

I feel sad for the fools who keep forwarding the rumours. They are NOT going to achieve anything.

Also disappointing is the police behaviour in this situation. Placing truck loads of FRUs and anti-riots squads will only scare people. It will not allay their fears. On the contrary, it will only increase the tension. Perhaps the police could have dealt this matter more delicately.

My concern is this. Is there a political motive in spreading this rumour? Or is there a political party that wants to take advantage of this rumour for its own gain? I will not rule out both.

Let’s hope sane heads prevail.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

So we ARE an Islamic state

Nothing new here. In fact the rate of Islamisation in this country wouldn’t have fooled anyone at all.

But the interesting thing is that now we have the PM himself spelling it out.

In a parliament reply, Abdullah said:

"Malaysia is neither a secular nor a theocratic. Malaysia is an Islamic state, governed based on Islamic principles, and at the same time, holding on to the principles of parliamentary democracy which is guided by the federal constitution."

Read his full response, in BM, here.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Similar suspension for Nesan too?

This morning could have been a much better one for some people who were highly involved with death drama actress K Sujatha and for those directly involved in MIC’s fiasco-laden investment arm Maika Holdings.

Somehow a main critic has been silenced for a month. In that time the investigations into Sujatha’s sudden death would be closed (or should it read settled?), hopefully. And this time next week, Maika’s AGM too would be done and dealt with.

Makkal Osai’s one-month suspension had enabled these people a breathing space.

However I think one question remains unanswered: would a same action befall Tamil Nesan for reproducing the offending Jesus images in its northern editions when the daily was lambasting Makkal Osai (over the publication of the image)?

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Top 10 money wasting activities

According to Yahoo Finance, these are the Top 10 money drains in which most of us throw away our hard-earned cash.

These are the 10 to avoid:

1. Coffee
2. Cigarettes
3. Alcohol
4. Bottled water
5. Manicures
6. Car washes
7. Weekday lunches out
8. Vending machines snacks
9. Interest charges on credit cards
10. Unused memberships

I am guilty of at least three, I think.
Yahoo’s advise is simple: if you fall into these money traps, learn to avoid them and pocket the savings.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A useless apology from ref Styles

Referee Rob Styles has apologised but what’s the point now. Liverpool lost two points as a result of his folly.

And no one else is paying for the referee’s mistake. The fact that he is suspended from refereeing a match next week is nothing. No one stands to lose on that.

What about the injustice done to Liverpool? They were forced to draw a game which they looked like winning.

And how about the yellow card to Carragher for his protest over that penalty? Will the FA revoke that card? After all the player was protesting over an injustice.

And how about the ‘dive’ by the Chelsea player? No action against him?

And on the ‘blind’ Mourinho for claiming that his player was "kicked from behind", causing him to tumble in the penalty box?


Monday, August 20, 2007

Great Leader vs Community Leader

A proxy battle between two veteran leaders claiming to be our community’s shining light are taking place in various shapes.

A Tamil daily, backed by the ‘Community Leader’, has been hitting hard on the ‘Great Leader’ by consistently writing about the sudden death of drama actress K Sujatha and the apparent mismanagement of Maika Holdings.

The attacks got a bit stronger last week with the double dose on Sujatha and Maika.

Seeing this the "Great Leader’s’ daily ran an advertisement yesterday and today stating that an exclusive report would be carried on Sunday on how the ‘Community Leader’-run Nesa cooperative was in a financial mess.

The daily claimed that the ‘Community Leader’ had given out loans to his friends and that there were many sordid tales of mismanagement.

‘Community Leader’ responded today in the daily which backs him. He alluded that his cooperative was in better shape than Maika. He said Nesa had paid dividends (unlike Maika) and had not cheated the poor lots who invested in it.

We now await the fight back by the ‘Great Leader’ or his chums.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Another song to rile ‘em up?

The controversy over his first MTV-style YouTube video which mocked the national anthem and apparently belittling Islam is still raging.

And now another video clip of rapper Wee Meng Chee has cropped up again.

This time it is titled Kawanku and also has some strong lyrics.

It contains words such as (as translated):

'Talk some more lah/Chinese go back to China/If all go back ah/This would not be Malaysia/I fear where you will find work/But it's usual lah Malays also don't like to work/All go into the jungle/Live like Sakai.'

And this four-minute rap song ends with:

'But this is my true feeling/It's already been 50 years/Sleeping every day/Look forward lah/2020.'

Just like the first version – Negarakuku – this song too is hit in YouTube – there are more than one version out there! This is just one of them.

So, will the government continue to act “rationally and not emotionally”? (forgive me for paraphrasing foreign minister syed hamid albar).

Or would his citizenship be revoked as demanded by various partisan quarters?

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

What happened to these Indian shares?

10 million Telekom shares
3 million TNB shares
500,000 MAS shares
500,000 MISC shares
3.7 million TV3 shares

And then there were shares from MRCB and EON as well. There were also shares from other blue chip companies.

These were the shares given by the government to MIC since early 1980's to be held on trust for the Indian community.

I wonder what has happened to these shares? Has anyone from the community benefited from these?

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

This time it didn’t go over, it went in

"It's about time the lads let me take a free kick. I've been in the first team eight years now and they've never let me take them because they always go over. I managed to catch one right today, but the most important thing was three points." (Steven Gerrard on the sweetly struck free kick against Aston Villa last Saturday)

It took him about eight games to score his first goal last season. This time, it took him about 87 minutes.

The win also highlighted the fact that the manager is also learning how to play in the EPL. His changed mindset - from having an attack oriented team to not putting in too many new signings for the very first away game to playing without a holding midfielder - all indicated that this season Liverpool are better prepared to be in the leading pack.

And in case you missed Gerrard freekick, here it is, courtesy of YouTube:


Sunday, August 12, 2007

It was a good start

I thought Liverpool opened their English Premier League campaign in a good, positive manner. They did well to win away at Aston Villa. And what a goal by Steven Gerrard with the stunning free kick.

I watched Liverpool play their first match against Sheffield United at Brammal Lane at the beginning of last season. Then the manager had obviously made a mistake with his team selection and that was reflected with a 1-1 draw, with Liverpool only able to earn a draw with a dubious penalty.

Last night however, it was a strong team that the manager had sent out. The partnership of Kuyt and new boy Torres looks very promising.

Gerrard and Alonso in the middle of the park were excellent. Riise as a left sided midfielder had a good game. Babel, of what he showed in a brief appearance, looked like a worthy addition to the team.

The signs are there. This Liverpool team looks good and strong. Let's now hope for some consistent performance all around.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

The fun begins today

I am talking about the English Premier League. Finally the wait is over. Many teams have strengthened their squads in the summer and this sure looks like an exciting season.

I hope there will not be one team that runs away with the title from the very first month. There should be some fight and this time around the top four (Man Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal) plus one or two others (like Spurs and Newcastle) look set to rule the roost.

I am not keen to make any predictions (though my heart wants Liverpool to win the league). Many things can happen in the course of the season – key players getting injured, a soft goal conceded here and there, a spark of genius by an unknown player etc. All these can determine how a team performs in a match.

On paper Man Utd look strong enough to maintain the run from last season. Chelsea too look good. Liverpool have bought some big names, Arsenal’s youngsters would have come out of age.

On field all factors must come in place. It is an often heard mantra – a team must be consistent to win the league. Man Utd had that last year, Liverpool didn’t.

I hope for a reversal of that fortune this season, and then what my heart wants can materialize.

So my prediction? Beat Man Utd in the points tally in the next nine months, and you shall be the new champion.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

The political agenda of our Tamil dailies

One news has been hogging the highlight in Makkal Osai for the past month or so - that of the sudden death of drama actress K Sujatha.

The daily has been running countless stories - mostly by quoting sources and PKR supreme council member S Manikavasagam - alluding that the actress did not die a natural death.

The daily was also fast in naming names - from Vell Paari (who was Sujatha’s boss) to the doctor who treated her, whom the daily says had a hand in hiding the truth.

It reported about how Sujatha’s lover showered her with a luxurious lifestyle, on how she was assaulted prior to her admission to a hospital. That she had confided to some people on what had actually happened to her etc.

In all, one agenda was clear - this daily want to blame Sujatha’s death on one person and by doing so, thinks the person’s political father (the great leader of the community) will fall.

Again, this is not surprising at all. After all Makkal Osai is a firm supporter of the politician who failed to unseat the powerful great leader of the community.

Closely behind we have Malaysia Nanban , once aligned to the same failed politician, but still consider itself as the ‘enemy’ of the great leader.

As such this daily too continues to run stories on the sudden death of Sujatha, but it apparently knows its limits - no names mentioned, no unsubstantiated claims etc.

And then finally we have Tamil Nesan - a daily where Vell Paari is the CEO. Naturally then there is no mention on the ongoing calls for investigations into the death of Sujattha.

The daily did however give prominence to Vell Paari’s denial of any involvement in the death. And today it ran a huge front page story about Sentul police chief K Kumaran suing Makkal Osai and Manikavasagam for RM10 million for suggesting that he was covering up a murder.

Also in Tamil Nesan, for the past two days, an unnamed author has also been picking holes in Makkal Osai's stories on Sujatha.

Below is a snapshot of how the three leading Tamil dailies ran the Sujatha story today:

Front page:

Malaysian Nanban led with a claim by PKR supreme council member S Manikavasagam that he was offered money by certain political leaders to drop his crusade to find out the truth in the mysterious death of drama actress K Sujatha.

The daily also quoted sources that Sujatha was admitted in the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang with injuries in her body. She is believed to have committed suicide by consuming paraquat.

Makkal Osai, who has been regularly publishing articles in their front page on the circumstances surrounding the death of Sujatha, continued in the same vein, this time highlighting a police report lodged by Manikavasagam asking for a investigation to be done on the doctor who treated Sujatha before she died.

Tamil Nesan had neither of these stories but it led with a RM10 million defamation suit filed by Sentul police chief ACP K Kumaran Manikavasagam and Makkal Osai over alleged ‘defamatory' remarks made against him pertaining to Sujatha's death.

Both Malaysia Nanban and Makkal Osai mentioned the defamation suit in their front page.

I am sure the agenda battle will continue in days to come. Watch out!

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

All in the name of god

Check out this video which was taken at a temple in Brickfields. But beware! It’s gory, even disgusting.

The video shows a priest biting off a chicken’s head and drinking its blood in front of a Hindu goddess inside the temple.

Other devotees are seen drinking the blood from the bird. Apparently nine other birds were similarly sacrificed on that day alone.

I think I know this temple. It could be located just behind the DBKL sports complex in Brickfields.

The video clip was shot for an Iranian TV station, which is sad as this is not the message Hinduism wants to broadcast to the Islamic republic.

I DON’T want people elsewhere to believe that Malaysian Hindus are such blood-loving devotees.

On the other hand, aren’t these people worried of being infected with bird-flu?


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Aren’t we in the mood to celebrate?

Look around you. Does it look like we are going to have a massive 50th Merdeka party at the end of this month?

Do you see any signs of Merdeka celebration in the first place? Where are the obligatory flags? They are missing from buildings, vehicles, roadsides and everywhere else.

The situation is so bad that the government is contemplating fining building owners who refuse to fly the flag. Similarly other sweeteners are being offered to business premises to remind people that the Merdeka bash is around the corner. TNB has started the ball rolling by offering tariff discounts for lighting up these buildings.

However the main issue is WHY has there been no activity by the man-on-the-street to celebrate Merdeka? Is this a sign of discontentment? Aren’t we in the mood to celebrate?

For obvious reasons, the local mainstream media will not take up this issue. However it is not the case with dailies from our neighbours.

The Singapore Business Times yesterday offered a possible reason:

"If his (Abdullah’s) administration chose to listen, what they would hear is this: there is little accountability, the racial and religious divide is widening, crime is going up and foreign investment, as well as high-value job creation, is going down.

It should be hardly a surprise that not many are in the mood to celebrate."

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Monday, August 06, 2007

The place of the santri

In a typical Islamic boarding school anywhere in the world, students follow a regimented programme from dawn to dusk with tough rules.

But in Indonesia, pesantren students often defy stereotypes.

In Indonesia,
  • Veiled girls had welcomed a western VIP with a rendition of rock anthem "Stairway to Heaven"
  • There is a Harley Davidson-riding, turban-clad but leather-jacketed cleric Abdullah Gymnastiar
  • And there are religious schools with computers and basketball courts

But still for every ‘liberal’ religious schools in Indonesia, there are still many unregistered pesantrens that continue to spread their rigid interpretation of Islamic teachings.

Sadly the Indonesian government cannot touch these pesantrens for political reasons.

Read more about the Indonesian religious schools in this reuters report.


The term pesantren derives from the root word santri or student - pe-santri-an or the place of the santri (source wikipedia)

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Being structurally deficient

This is not an elaborate movie setting. This is reality. This is the I-35W four-lane bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which gave way during the rush hour on Wednesday evening.

According to the Associated Press the collapse of the 40-year-old bridge, which was being repaired at the time, sent cars and trucks plunging to the water.
Now accusations and counter-accusations are being made in the US if the bridge was structurally deficient.

Structurally deficient - nice word! I just hope our politicians don’t pick it up.
photo thanks to flickr/danibora. See more photos here.


Will they ever learn?

The fascination for the Malaysian Indian politicians held by the Tamil artistes from Tamil Nadu, and vice versa, has never failed to amaze me.

Just about any artistes have gone on record to say that they have never failed to personally meet any of our Indian leaders whenever they are down in Malaysia.

Some even have gone on record to say that they have our community’s great leader’s personal handphone number in their possession and that they could call him at any time.

Likewise, our great leader and his urchins too have never failed to play perfect hosts for these movie people. The great leader himself likes to portray himself as the guardian of Tamil culture, arts and cinema in Malaysia.

So, in the midst of all these comes a big complaint from a senior Tamil actor SV Shekher, who himself in the past has been more than vocal in showing his appreciations and gratitude to our local Indian politicians.

This is what he was reported as saying in the Hindu today:

"Taken in by the words of a minister from Malaysia who threw open an invitation to our film units to come over and shoot there, I took my crew. Leave alone helping us out, I couldn’t even get an appointment to meet him," says a vexed Shekher.

Well he should have known better that to just hop into the first available flight to come shooting here.

Which Indian minister in the Malaysian cabinet can guarantee him the total freedom to shoot in Malaysia without any hassle? Shouldn’t Shekher has done some homework on his own too?

Well, serves him right. At least now they (these Tamil Nadu cinema folks) will learn the truth about our local politicians, who in the first place are helpless to even assist the local Indian community, let alone fighting red tape to help Indians from India.

But I am sure their common fascination will continue to grow unabated.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

The minister’s son and the dead actress

This is her - the woman whose death under mysterious circumstances has now caught a senior politician and his son in such a bind.

The politician’s son was named today in Makkal Osai. The daily said S Velpaari was investigated by the police for some five hours on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning into the circumstances relating to actress K Sujatha’s sudden death on June 25.

This was the daily’s lead story and it had splashed prominently photographs of Sujatha and Velpaari.

Malaysia Nanban too had a lead story about the questioning but they did not name anyone. The daily just said that a ‘minister’s son was questioned for seven hours’.

And unsurprisingly Tamil Nesan had no mention of the case. This daily however reported in its inside pages that its CEO Velpaari would be officiating a charity run on Aug 25. Coincidently it will be two months since the death of Sujatha. (Am not suggesting anything here!)

Now that Makkal Osai has revealed the mystery man in Sujatha’s life (he was also her boss in Maika Holdings), I wonder if other dailies will follow suit.

More interesting will other details - all kept below murmurs at present - be out in the public too?

We shall wait and see.

On another matter, I would only believe that we have some semblance of press freedom in this country when Tamil Nesan reports that Velpaari was called in for questioning by the police in relation to the sudden death of his ‘employee’. Or at least reports about the ongoing investigations.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A sad way of becoming popular

A sudden death an actress and so many speculations surrounding it.

First it was ovarian cancer, and then it was apparent suicide by paraquat, and now it’s allegedly forced paraquat drinking.

And then the speculations as to why she died. The more popular rumour is that she was made pregnant by her lover, a son of a prominent politician.

I knew her as the politician’s son’s ‘close’ PA. I only realised that she was a popular Tamil drama actress after her death.

As for her lover, I know him too. He runs a troublesome investment agency, got an award recently (not Datukship) and married to a prominent personality who herself was making her rounds in the MMS recently.

The sudden death and the nature of the death of this actress - named K Sujatha - on June 25 caused some murmurs in the ground. Many were talking about all possibilities but the matter seemed to have quietly seeped away.

That was until an opposition party leader claimed to have received a poison-pen letter alleging that she was killed and lodged a police report.

Surprisingly only the Tamil dailies - even then only Malaysia Nanban and Makkal Osai - have been highlighting the alleged mystery behind the death. Tamil Nesan has been conspicuously silent on this matter.

Perhaps the rest of the media are waiting for the police to officially say something. Or maybe for the cops to call in the politician’s son for questioning. Or maybe just simply afraid of getting the minister angry.

Meanwhile I heard the son has lodged a report against the opposition politician - unconfirmed and from reliable source.

Same sources also told me that the son has been called in for questioning yesterday evening and this morning - and he had to miss a function called to celebrate his recent award at a hotel in PJ last night because of his appointment with the cops.

But the sad thing in all of these is that this actress has gained so much prominence after her death, and not for her acting abilities at all!

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