Saturday, December 22, 2007

Is The Chinese Short-Sighted and Selfish ? (Part 1 : Kiasu)

Read this and judge for yourself:

Malaysia Today : TODAYonline - What about the Chinese?

THE recent spate of street protests may have affected Malaysia's international image to a certain extent. But at home, the protests could go some way in halting the Chinese community's slide in support for the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN).

In fact, the government may even gain a few votes from the community, which had been leaning towards the opposition in recent months.

One reason for this change of heart lies in the traditional conservative belief of the Chinese that such street protests are bad for business.

The Hindraf protests were given wider coverage on Mandarin television news broadcasts than on national Malay language bulletins that day - perhaps a sign that the authorities were sending a message to the Chinese community that BN stood for law and order while the opposition represented some form of anarchy.

It was particularly noticeable that in fact, the Chinese were conspicuous by their virtual absence from both protests.

Madam F L Chen, a 50-something long-time resident of Petaling Jaya suburb, said she did not understand what the protests were all about."I could not go out that day to do any shopping. I just do not understand what the protesting was about," she told Weekend Extra.

Her reaction is perhaps stereotypical of many Chinese Malaysians, who, while not happy with the government over a host of issues including perceived discrimination, will not vote opposition if there is a chance it will lead to instability.

First of all, in my opinion most Chinese folks belong to the selfish lot. Perhaps, Malaysian Chinese should not call Singaporean Chinese kiasu, kiasi and kiachenghu. With much disappointment I would say a big number of Malaysian Chinese are not much different than what they perceive of their Singaporean counterparts.

Let's talk about kiasu first. According to the excerpt above, a Chinese auntie is concerned when she is not able to shop because of protests. I do not think she is concerned with the reason of protest and such. Maybe some would say it is arguable that this aunt does not represent Malaysian Chinese in entirety. However, bear in mind I do have a number of Chinese friends that labelled so-called protesters and rally participants as "criminals" or express downright condemnation over the affairs.

Now, why is it kiasu? Shopping is common in Malaysia. You can shop almost anytime and almost anywhere you like. We have several shopping malls in specific locations even around Kuala Lumpur itself. The issue here is, does one sideline national issues over the inability to shop ?

In essence, when one knows there is a protest going on, there could be something that is not right in the country. Protests mostly but not all arise from dissatisfaction over some handling of issues or perceived unfair treatment towards certain social groups. Rallies may stem out from a need to stake one's point for the benefit of the nation. Otherwise it could be some demand for the betterment of some procedures in the interest of all.

Selfishly, these selfish group of people will then conclude it has nothing to do with them. "Politics has nothing to do with me", they say. Such perception is definitely ironic. How could it have nothing to do with you? An election is a place for you to determine your future by choosing the correct leadership. A sham democracy represented by a rigged election may lead to marginalisation of your community. You and your children may suffer from the outcome of a poor leadership that may not be the aspiration of the majority. A poor economy may result from poor leadership. Widespread corruption and crime criples the economy. How in the world do you perceive that has nothing to do with you? How do you get to shop if you cannot get better income for your business?

Therefore, the irony of placing shopping as a priority over dissent and dissatisfaction of social groups proves the inability of certain chinese folks to see the bigger picture or similarly can be termed as "short-sighted".

There are even those who say they do not support Indians who rallied because it is "the affair of Indians and not ours". This is a selfish thinking, in which, certain Chinese do not view themselves as Malaysians. Some would say "Oh no! I think myself as a Malaysian but still it is an Indian problem, nothing to do with me". They think, it is not their affair that certain people in the nation of Malaysia are in difficult livelihood. Now, how could you be a Malaysian if you do not think of the well-being of other Malaysians? How could you expect to be treated as a Malaysian if you do not treat others as Malaysians?

As for those who label protesters as criminals, I would like to refer to a protest this year in Johor. It was right after a rape case. I am sure most of the chinese would know the crime in Johor is escalating. These people were protesting against crime. They were asking for police to do something useful to instil stability. So, how could these people who protested against crime be regarded as criminals? Ironic, isn't it? Stupidity or Short-Sighted, you decide. Could both work hand in hand?

So what if someone planned to protest over the matter of Mission schools must have crosses removed or over the Kampung Berembang incident ( as reported in Malaysiakini ) ? What if you are part of the mission schools or part of the people who was removed forcefully from their home ? Do you still label yourself as a criminal if you protest? Do you still place importance on shopping or other leisure activities? The fact that these did not directly affect certain chinese folks therefore did not see support or attention from these people prove again the selfishness and short-sightedness of certain groups.

Of course, there are exceptions to the selfish and short-sighted kiasu people in the chinese community. The question remains, "how many of them?". In my opinion, it is a minority.

( Coming up... Is The Chinese Short-Sighted and Selfish ? (Part 2 : Kiasi) )

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Malaysia should consider not celebrating Merdeka Day and International New Year

My letter titled Malaysia should consider not celebrating Merdeka Day and International New Year in Lim Kit Siang's Blog .

My letter featured in Letters section of Malaysia Today .

My letter titled Lawyers march: Permit rejection mind-boggling in Malaysiakini .

Letter content

I would like to refer to Malaysiakini reports, Human rights march: 5 lawyers arrested and PM warns public safety is top priority. In the latter report, the PM apparently warned that "public safety takes precedence over public freedom".

I am not sure how our prime minister's brain works but if Abdullah Ahmad Badawi thinks the International Human Rights Day celebration requires a permit and jeopardise the national safety, I would like to remind the police and him to consider banning the up-and-coming Hari Raya Haji, Christmas, Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Hari Raya Aidiladha and most important of all the 51st Merdeka Day in 2008.

Hearing so many calls from his government and himself on the possibility of using the Internal Security Act, I hope our PM is just joking to Malaysians. After all, from my understanding, less than 10 person coming together without a permit is already a gathering and if police has its way, those assembling can be under detention without trial.

International Human Rights Day is not a protest or having any intention to upset national security. It is an annual celebration to commemorate, to remind us, humans, of the freedom we are supposed to have. Similarly, Merdeka or Independence Day falling on Aug 31, 2008 is to remind Malaysians on the freedom that we have achieved and to commemorate the effort to gain Independence as a human right.

If International Human Rights Day is considered to be unsafe, then perhaps, Merdeka Day should not be celebrated as well. There should be no marching. If 200 people walking on the street with some banners, without parang or guns for the Dec 9, 2007 celebration is considered not safe, it is in my opinion the Aug 31 celebration, which has more number of people marching, could be potentially dangerous to national security.

Maybe, Malaysians should reconsider celebrating the up-and-coming International New Year 2008 in places like KLCC or Bukit Bintang. If a small number of people celebrating International Human Rights Festival 2007 in a less than 15 minutes walk require a permit, a bigger turnout of people watching fireworks will probably require permits especially if these places display big ‘Merry Christmas and Happy New Year’ banners.

It is certainly mind-boggling that the police force had rejected a permit requested by Bar Council to hold the Sunday event. It is mind-boggling that a lawyer can be arrested for stopping some outsider from taking down a banner in the Bar Council compound, of which he is working in. There is nothing seditious with the banners.

It is perfectly strange, people having stroll (a basic human right) can be arrested as well. Maybe, the police force should enlighten the public on these matters. Otherwise, it would also be wise for police to reconsider giving any permit for Merdeka Day 2008, which is also a celebration of human rights.

Last but not least, Happy International Human Rights Day to all Malaysians. Good luck and wish you all the best!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Some Minister says people support use of ISA ?

(Picture from Mob's Crib : ISA: Crime Against Humanity)

That is an article that I chanced upon in Malaysia Today : in their News and Commentaries section.

Goodness gracious, father in heaven.

A random search throughout Blogsearch : Hindraf+ISA revealed that almost all bloggers condemn the usage of the draconian act. We all know these bloggers are mostly Malaysian people. Reading Google search : Hindraf+ISA will produce identical results of disapproval from the public.

I have a substantial number of Malay friends, in and out of the net who said they may not fully agree with Hindraf's actions but ISA is beyond them. They cannot tolerate the invocation of an act with detention without trial on suspects.

When one is faced with issues and dissent, one should not keep Digging in the Heels of an uncomfortable Shoe. If there are people who thought the imprisonment would make the public more restful, it would be wrong. It will possibly garner more sympathy for the Hindraf cause. What is being done, in my opinion is removing the symptom without curing the root of the issue which is to address the dissatisfaction of the rally participants. If there is indeed hoodwink, I would say, in this era of Information Age and education, it is almost impossible to confuse thousands of people to march for a false cause. There must be some reality to some points in what is being mentioned and the government should do the right thing in looking into it.

Think about it.

Besides, that would make these names famous worldwide. ISA places attention to people who got it. Now, it is easier for them and those who suppor them to further their cause. Currently Malaysiakini reports "Charge them in court: Indian groups tell PM at special meet"

HINDRAF 5: R Kengadharan, P Uthayakumar, K Vasantha Kumar, V Ganabatirau and M Manoharan

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Is there any Operasi Lalang ?

Abdullah is Strong and Powerful? Yes. Nice? No. I am scared, living in an atmosphere of fear again. Don't believe me, read this:

The Star:
Police said they have detained all five leaders of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) under Section 8 (1) of the Internal Security Act.

The five are P. Uthayakumar, M. Manoharan, R. Kenghadharan, V. Ganabatirau and Vasantha Kumar. They were picked up at various locations in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Seremban.

They will be detained for two years.

Meanwhile, ironically, I could not access Malaysiakini for news. had expressed disgust over the usage of a draconian and inhumane act against those people. After all, if you can prove them wrong, why not do it in court? Let the public see what is happening. Let the citizens of Malaysia see the evidences reveal. Why is it necessary to imprison someone for two years before a judgement from a trial in the court?

Mr. Nice Guy? Well, you can now see how nice he is now. I must admit that I am wrong about him. He is not a weak man.

I feel sorry for the Indians and Hindraf. Indeed, a sad day for Malaysia "human rights". Arrests abundant and ISA usage during these few days before and after the International Human Rights Day. The public is no longer safe. As for the part on freedom, Malaysians will know how to judge on the current events.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Black Sunday, Human Rights, Malaysian-Style

( Picture from Mob's Crib : Under Siege: Our Rights )

Welcome to Malaysia. The picture is apt. The peaceful dove lying dead on the ground with gore. As for who "killed" it? It is not hard to guess. Ask Pak Lah and his government ....

This is the originally planned schedule to commemorate Human Rights Festival, an annual celebration. 2007's was supposed to be held on Sunday, 9th December. Note the word "supposed" was used . The venue was subsequently changed and unfortunately cancelled later.

Here is the outcome ( taken from Malaysiakini ):
1) Human rights festival: 9 charged . Eight people, including five lawyers, were charged today with participating in an illegal assembly yesterday. They also faced a further charge of disobeying the police order to disperse. ( P.S. Why is it illegal? That is because police did not grant them a permit. Why didn't police grant them a permit? I am not sure. Get the police to explain .. why ? )

2) Gov't marked human rights day with arrests . A letter by Alina Rastam .

3) Surely the marchers could be given 15 mins . A letter by Jonson Chong. Great, isn't it? I mean, the status of human rights in Malaysia.

Other major happenings on days around the "Human Rights Festival":
3) Vexed MPs stage walkout . Sixteen opposition MPs staged a walkout from the Dewan Rakyat in protest of the arrests of 24 BERSIH petitioners this morning. BERSIH is campaigning for electoral reforms which is good for the nation. Nothing racist, anti-religion, whatsoever.

4) Siege of Parliament - 'the ultimate shame' . Opposition MPs have roundly condemned the police for blocking access to Parliament House this morning, to stop polls reform group Bersih from submitting its protest memorandum.

5) Gov't begins crackdown against dissent . The authorities marked the day by clamping down on dissent, rolling out three separate legal actions against organisers of protests that have rocked the country in recent weeks.

and many more.......

What I have retrieved are only a few examples. Perhaps there is no point of saying too much about the Black Sunday. This letter taken from Malaysiakini describes it all :


I walked with Bar Council for two years by Vizla Kumaresan

I had taken part in the Bar Council’s Festival of Rights march for the last two years. On both occasions, it was a peaceful and colourful march with participants singing songs and chanting human rights slogans. Sadly, the tradition could not continue this year. Worse still, the lawyers and activists who came together on Sunday to commemorate International Human Rights Day were arrested and may face charges.

What we see happening is a tremendous denial of civil liberties, not only of the nine arrested but the liberties of all Malaysians. The people of Malaysia have been denied the right to assemble and to express themselves freely. Those who marched on Sunday were exercising their rights as guaranteed in our Federal Constitution and were also making fellow Malaysians aware of their rights.

It is deplorable that Malaysia, as a member of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, has chosen to act in this way against its citizens. As a member of the council, the government should act in a way that is respectful of human rights. Unfortunately, this was not the case. The government instead chose to crack down on peaceful gatherings. The authorities’ heavy-handed action is an indication that an informed public is something to be feared. It is my hope that the government will re-think its stand on freedom of assembly and act in a fair and just manner to all Malaysians wanting to express their views and opinions.

In my opinion, Pak Lah is not a weak man. We cannot "cabar" him. Do not judge a book by its cover. It is not hard to guess why.

Wait a minute. I remembered people saying the Human Rights Day is an annual celebration. Nothing to do with protests whatsoever. If there is no protest, then there should be no one challenging / "cabar" anyone. If there is no protest and meant to be peaceful, I mean it is like celebrating Hari Raya Haji or Christmas annually, why are they not allowed to gather? Strange isn't it? How can public safety be compromised by a commemorative peaceful celebration?

If there is anyone who is equating this with "public safety is valued over public freedom", then I think it is crap. It is a peaceful celebration just like Hari Merdeka, just with more people being together, that's all.

Good luck, Malaysians. Happy (whoops) celebrating Human Rights Day ! Malaysian-style I mean. Or rather, someone's preference but not all Malaysians

Anyway, in the atmosphere of fear, I would still choose to write.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Kempen Gerakan Anti Salah Maklumat (GASAK)

Malaysiakini melaporkan Gerakan Anti-Salah Maklumat (GASAK) ditubuhkan . Berikut merupakan maklumat yang lebih mendalam mengenai GASAK, dipetik dari laman web Malaysiakini :

Sebuah jawatankuasa yang dikenali sebagai Gerakan Anti-Salah Maklumat (GASAK) ditubuhkan hari ini untuk memberi penerangan ke seluruh negara bagi menyedarkan masyarakat agar tidak terus dipermainkan oleh media yang hanya inign memastikan satu-satu parti politik sahaja yang berkuasa. Setiausaha Sekretariat Penaja GASAK, Hasmi Hashim berkata, perkara itu bertentangan dengan semangat demokrasi. Pada dasarnya, tegas beliau, jawatankuasa penaja Gasak menggariskan tiga tuntutan minima yang melibatkan badan media di negara ini, iaitu:

-> Hentikan salah lapor.
-> Laporan seimbang kepada semua pihak.
-> Kebebasan editorial.


Untuk keterangan yang lebih lanjut mengenai pertubuhan ini, sila lawati . "Boikot Media Pembohong" adalah program pertama yang dilancarkan oleh GASAK.

Penubuhan organisasi sebegini memanglah dialu-alukan. Alangkah baiknya kalau idea ini dimakbulkan lebih awal. Namun, bak kata pepatah Bahasa Inggeris, "lewat lebih baik dari tidak ada" ("Better late than never"). Rasanya masa sudah sampai untuk media kita disedarkan dari tidur yang ramai rakyat Malaysia tidak berpuasa hati sekiranya laporan yang disiarkan berat sebelah, tidak menunjukkan cerita yang sepenuhnya ataupun diputarkan sehingga tidak masuk akal di atas sebab-sebab tertentu.

Sekiranya media utama berfungsi seperti apa yang penulis baru sahaja ketengahkan, maka boleh dikatakan media utama itu tidak professional dan tidak beretika. Di zaman Teknologi Maklumat ini, media adalah sesuatu unsur yang penting untuk pembangunan pemikiran rakyat.

Mengapakah orang Malaysia mencari maklumat di internet?
Tidak dapat dinafikan sesetengah orang Malaysia mencari maklumat dan gambar mengenai peristiwa terkini seperti kempen BERSIH dan Hindraf di media bebas internet seperti Malaysiakini dan Malaysia Today serta halaman blog. Persoalannya mengapa perkara sedemikian berlaku?

Sebagai contoh, peristiwa kempen BERSIH yang telah berlalu, terdapat begitu ramai yang memakai pakaian berwarna kuning berjalan kaki di dalam hujan menuju ke istana, kebanyakan media utama hanya mampu melaporkan bahawa kempen tersebut mengakibatkan kesesakan lalu lintas. Gambar yang ditonjolkan oleh sesetengah media utama merupakan gambar kereta yang sesak tetapi tiada satu pun yang menunjukkan manusia yang berhimpun walaupun kempen ini merupakan perhimpunan aman Malaysia yang paling besar dalam dekad ini. Angka hadirin yang dilaporkan pula tidak tepat.

Adakah kempen ini akan berkesan?
Menurut salah seorang Ahli Jawatankuasa GASAK (dipetik dari Suara Keadilan), kempen Boikot Media Utama adalah satu persambungan kempen tahun 1998, sewaktu kontroversi gerakan Reformasi. Namun, yang menjadi persoalannya, adakah kempen ini akan berjaya pada tahun 2007?

Penulis blogger ini tidak tahu sama ada kempen tahun 1998 boleh dianggap berjaya. Namun yang pasti, konsep blog tidak wujud sehinggalah tahun 2000. Kempen kesedaran pada tahun 2007 mesti menarik kerana yang berkempen bukanlah hanya Badan Bukan Kerajaan tetapi meliputi blogger-blogger yang merupakan rakyat Malaysia. Yang menjadi masalahnya, dapatkah mesej kempen ini dapat menembusi pemikiran rakyat yang tidak membaca artikel di internet?

Memandangkan masih tiada idea yang boleh mendatangkan hasil dengan lebih cepat untuk menyedarkan rakyat mengenai media utama, kempen ini haruslah disokong. Penulis blogger ini berharap GASAK telah merancang dengan rapi dengan meliputi setiap aspek dan pelosok masyarakat sebelum kegiatan dijalankan.