Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The UPSR and PMR Controversy

Many views and comments have been heard about whether the two exams should be abolished or not and the DPM invites more views on the matter. Yes, we can go on listening to more views while the children and the young students involved grope around in the darkness of uncertainties surrounding their future with the teachers unable to give any help or assurance.

Views are easy to come by. What we lack is expert findings based on research and ground experience with the kids and students. Is the education policy of the nation to be based on popular views, majority vies that will make people happy and support the government even if the future of the Malaysian children is endangered by shortsightedness and political convenience?

I feel strongly that we should be guided by the views of professional educationists from all over the world as contained in learned journals and magazines. What bothers the public most, it seems to me, is not the examinations but the kind of questions asked, the nature of alternatives given in the objective tests, and the quality of teaching that goes into preparing the students for the examination. When the questions asked are so narrow and subject-specific or, on the other hand, too general such that the alternatives given from which to select an answer are so vague and overlapping, the student will surely become confused. UPSR examination must surely be more on testing the IQ and ability to discern between right and wrong (ethics), possible and impossible , logic and illogical. facts and fiction. It must be aimed at bringing out the children's understanding and grasp of the life and the world.

Can such an evaluation be done by the school itself? Yes but sooner or later the school's own standard will prevail or be imposed and you cannot compare the achievement of students in various schoois on the basis of some common criteria. We also have vernacular schools which impose their own priorities and standards. How will you be able to compare the achievement of these UPSR level students on a national basis?

The same can be said for allowing schools to arrange their own PMR level examination. The implication is greater for streaming begins after PMR and a wrong selection will have disastrous effect on the children's education. Even with a nationally standardized examination, the wrong streaming of children can happen resulting in children with no interest in science being forced to go into that stream. Imagine what can happen if a school is given the full authority to select students for the science and arts stream. It might take the heat away from the central authority now responsible but it will not help the students to pursue studies in the field where they have a greater potential to achieve.

In conclusion, I wonder if the continuation or abolition of the UPSR and PMR is the right issue to debate at all. The more pressing issue is on the all-consuming emphasis given to the examinations and what is actually evaluated by the two exams, whether they help evaluate the total personality and capability of the children or just their ability to learn things by rote. Our basic concern today is that school children don't seem to be able to think for themselves and that our education system is not geared towards creating individuals who can think both logically and creatively. Teachers just teach and don't help to develop the personality and mental capability of the children. Leaving the evaluation of their progress to the individual schools will just perpetuate this type of teaching and not arrest the tendency to produce little zombies that will later cause more problems to the nation instead of becoming agents of change and progress.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Stages towards a Wedding

thought there were only two stages towards a wedding ie, engagement and then the wedding itself. That would generally be true for most mainstream religion including Islam. But after attending a family discussion on the matter - whose wedding we were talking about shall remain a secret until later - I was made aware of the fact that actually there are 4 stages towards a wedding according to the Muslim custom. Whether this is the requirement of the Muslim religion itself or merely a part of the local custom and moors (adat tempatan), I will leave it to the voice of Authority.

The fist stage is the the Adat Bertanya ( Making Inquiry) or Merisik ( seeking information) where the male suitor will send a team of close relatives to the girl he would like to marry, to find out if she was available and agreeable to a be his wife.This can be a very informal affair where the parents of both parties ( the boy's and the girl's) will meet each other for the first time at the girl's house to talk about the possibility. But it can also be a more serious affair where the boys' party will come with a proposal ring or Cincin Bertanya. When the latter is the case the Marriage Proposal Money ( Wang Hantaran Perkawinan) will also be dicussed and the date when the actual proposal will be made. The following pics show what can happen at the first stage.

A second stage is when the Cincin Bertanya ( Inquiry ring) after it had been seen and approved by the girl's relative, will be officiall accepted and the acceptance communicated to the boy's team of representatives. It will also be the occasion for more relatives of the girl and the boy to meet and get to know each other to celebrate the acceptance of the proposal and show the proposal ring around. Hence this ceremony is called Mengembang Cincin or Spreading the Good News that the proposal has been accepted. It is at this meeting that the third stage - the Engagement Ceremony - will be discussed in all its details including the details of the Hantaran (expected gifts in terms of money, clothes and jewelry for the bride- to- be)) and the mandatory payments Mas Kahwin as imposed by Islam.

The third stage is the Engagement Ceremony or Pertunangan. This is a real big do as is almost as big though never as grand as the Wedding itself.
Often the second stage is combined with this one. The boy's party will come to the bride-to-be's house with a big retinue of relatives and friends bearing gifts and a new Cincin Pertunangan, different from the Cincin Bertanya. The gifts may cpmprise of 5, 7, 9 11 or 13 beautifully decorated baskets of various shapes and forms containing a set of clothing and other wears such as a watch, cufflinks, a pair of shoes a cap etc together with fruits and other delicacies. The number of baskets brought by the boy's party must be in an odd number and this matters very much for the bride-to-be must reciprocate the gifts exceeding them by 2. Hence 5 must be reciprocated with 7, 7 with 9 and so on. So, an overzealous groom-to-be can cause quite a strain on the budget of the bride-to-be. The Pertunangan or Engagement ceremony includes a full scale feast for the relatives of both parties and friends, including neighbors and the local Jemaah ie, all who prayed at the nearest mosque or madrasah where the bride-to-be's parent normally goes to pray. It's a big do indeed.

Finally, we arrive at the Wedding stage or the Installation of the One-Day King and Queen. That we have seen so often where both the families will go all out to celebrate the nuptial of their beloved son and daughter. No expenses will be spared to give them the best and most memorable celebration of their life. They may be celebrated in a trendy hotel or at the home of the bride, on a date that is different from another reception at the home of the groom. Modern cooperative arrangements and financial constraints often combine the two receptions and held at one go in a grand hotel, to attended by invitees from both the bride's and goom's families, relatives and friends.

So, marriage is no simple business when carried out according to the proper Custom (Adat) and Syariah requirements. For the invitees it's often a matter of attending the Bersanding and the Wedding feasts, a matter of a few hours. But for those involved in the arrangement - the parents, relatives and friends of the bride and groom, it's one hectic experience that can be very exhaustive physically, mentally and financially. Just imagine then what parents with many girls to be given away in marriage
must undergo. The parents of the boys might not have to worry that much for the receptions are often smaller in scale and the
groom-to-be usually help the family in a big way financially. The parents can easily turn to the boy and say, "If you don't have the money. don't think about marriage!" but they cannot do that to the girls. When some boys get interested in them, the parents must get ready for the wedding splurge at the request of the boy's family.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Social Dimensions of Development

Little do we realize that rapid economic development and the monitization of society ( aside from its politization) also have their undesirable consequences, though maybe less distasteful than no development at all. The social scientists had always warned us that a country that focusses on economic development alone without giving due consideration and emphasis to the social aspects, could be running itself into some intractable and insurmountable problems.

Question is few leaders bother very much with the warnings of the social 'prophets of doom'. Their argument is that once a country is launched on a trail of rapid economic development with people getting good jobs. better income, better physical amenities and public services to promote the convenience of life. its quality will also improve and everything will be bright and rosy.

One needs only to look at countries will a lot of social tension and internal instability to know that rapid economic development and a higher income for all is not the answer to overcoming societal ills. The industrialized countries may all appear prosperous and progressive but are not free from heineous crimes, immoral social behavior, discrimination against minority groups, neglect of the poor, exploitation of the weak etc. More importantly a country which had just moved into a higher level of development and indstrialization may also begin to show those ills in graver forms. Consider Malaysia itself. Did we have the kind of interacial suspicion and tension, immoral behavior among the youth, crimes like abandoning unwanted babies, drugs abuse, murders, rapes, breach of trust, corruption, disrespect for our seniors etc which we see now, some twenty or thirty years ago? Are the cities, towns and villages much safer than they were years ago in spite of the social amenities that have been introduced?

The trouble is, it is not easy to state the kind of social degradation or regression that we have gone through. Let alone measure it in quantitative terms. However social scientists have identified some some kind of social dimensions along which the social development of a nation can be evaluated. Talcott Parsons( black and white pic) for example identified the five Pattern Variables which can place a society along the traditional-modern continuum. The dimensions include: (1)affectivity vs affective neutrality (2)diffusiveness vs specificity (3) particularism vs universalism (4) ascription vs achievement and (5) collectivity orientation vs self-orientation. Geert Hofstede (top color pic) on the other suggested a different set of five social dimensions. They include (1) large or small power distance , (2) individualism vs collectivism (3) masculinity vs femininity (4 strong or weak uncertainty avoidance and (5) long or short term orientation. David Riesman suggested three cultural types of society and peopla (1) tradition-directed (2) inner-directed and (3)other-directed. 

The various dimensions of social development as identified by these and other social scientists can help us to analyze the Malaysiaan society as it is today after more than 50 years of independence, with all the modernization, successes, conflicts, disillusionment, frustrations and hopes that we entertained. It may help to explain why many GLCs are not making good progress and loosing a lot of money, why corruption is prevalent in spite of the all-out efforts to stamp it out, why racial sentiments are reemerging and causing serious social strains, why racial integration is not going on as fast and as smoothly as we'd like it to be. Pushing headlong for economic and material progress may not solve but rather enhance the problems mentioned, taking us to a point of no return.There's an urgent need for a long term study on the social dynamics of our multiracial society as it has evolved over the years for many of the old values that held us together before had been eroded. These have to be renewed or replaced, otherwise it's so easy for the fabrics or the Malaysian society to fall apart.

The consequences would be disasterous, more disasterous than the 2019 bankrupcy threat that Idris Jala had warned us about. It could be deleterious.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Saturday Twirl

Saturday's supposed to be a rest day - laze around with a cold or hot cup of coffee ( your choice including the brand of coffee that you like)- reading something or just winking at the sky or ceiling. The choice of what to do is endless, of course. But not when a close friend and a relative are holding a wedding reception for their daughters. You've to dress up and go, taking a lot of time to plan the route you want to take when the venues of the of the wedding are far apart in KL and Shah Alam.

Akhi ( Arabic=my brother) Abdul Halimshah held a grand celebration at the Dewan Merak Kayangan, Felda Hq on the occasion of his daughter's wedding. My wife thought she knew the place but missed it first time and undertook a few road stunts (taking illegal shortcuts) to finally get to the spot.Yep, the place was already crowded when we arrived and the huge hall was packed. I met Akhi Kaykuala aka Hank at the entrance door in the flesh for the first time although we've been commenting on each other's blogs for quite a while. No time to take photographs, so I'll just post a profile pic of this wonderful friend. And of, course that of Akhi Abdul Halim shah or just Hal, the gentleman with the cap.

The wedding reception in the Merak Kayangan Hall was simply magnificient, Look at the crowd and the bridal stage far behind. A handphone cam cannot produce an HD crisp photo but can only capture the atmosphere, leaving the rest to your imagination. After the bersanding ceremony and the bridal feast. cutting the cake, etc ( I'm sure Hal will have a full album on the events), we file out of the Hall, met by the bride and groom at the entrance door. Some of the pics that I discreetly captured are shared here.

Everytime I tried to get a shot of the bride and groom - Nurul and Jalil -, someone strode up to the bride to give her a hug and a kiss. So, I had to do the best a can, discreetly, ending up with some blurry shots of them in the background with the bride's father displaying his happiness to me. Congratulations Akhi for gaining a son-in-law.

Even while enjoying the sumptious and scrumptious lunch, Datuk Annuar and me (we were at the same table) and our better halves, were thinking of the next place of call, the venue for the next wedding reception which we have to attend. Mine was in Bukit Jelutong, Shah Alam and we had to first fetch my father-in-law at Sungai penchala. There was no time to loose and after wishing the bride and groom well, we left the Hall. Just outside I met Tan Sri Gnanalingam. the West Port Chief, Hal and Hank's
classmate at RMC and a very humble but intrepid entrepreneur when I fist knew him. Although now a well-respected tycoon, his humble clothes ( plain shirt and pants) brought back to me some old memories when we worked for the late Tan Sri Dato Seri Mohamed Rahmat. But for the need to rush to our next venue, I'd have loved to talk about old times with him.

The ride to Sungai Pencala and then to Shah Alam was hectic, weaving through traffic jams and looking out for the usually omnipresent traffic petrol car. It was already 3.45 and the wedding reception was supposed to end at 4 pm. My wife was at the wheel and I strained my eyes trying to read the small signage, searching for the name of the roods and junctions that she rattled out to me reading from a map printed on the invitation card. That God we made it in time to have another light feast.,
bouffet style. Here I manages to get a shor of the bride and groom (see pic).

Back home on Taman Melawati, I thought the evening and night was free for me to nurse my aching feet. No chance. My wife had to be at the Matics where some kind of a nightfare was going on. My son Norzam, his wife Norfinaz and their daughter Hana Marissa were coming to our house. We waited for them, chat for a while, got into a car and made our way to the Matics.
That, at least, was the final leg of the Saturday twirl.

A poor substitute for the Saturday Night Fever but most meaningful and memorable.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Newspaper Editorial....

I wonder how many of us read the newspaper editoral, especially the NST Editorial, which (as the most well-established newspaper in Malaysia) is supposed to help mould public opinion and orientate the thinking of the nation. Yes, as an editorial comment, it's written in high-flown, queen's English with a journalistic flourish. Check this piece taken from NST June 17, 2010 page 16.

" Modern Malaysian historians now uniformly acknowledge the double-edged sword that was forged in the crucible of the global expansion of tertiary education beginning in the early 1970s, when the first local scholarship recipients under the then New Economic Policy were sent abroad to university. That quantum leap in the educational refinement of Malaysian - especially Malay - youth indeed fuelled the new technocracy serving their country's subsequent transformation, but that vastly expanded exposure was also infused with the heady flames of radicalism, rebellion and revolution. What has since come to be termed"Islamism" was gestated among young Malaysians at tertiary levels of education abroad, transplanted home to local soil by the alarmed cancellations of overseas scholarships." That should be enough for the purpose of this observation.

The English is fluent and replete with metaphorical extravaganza. But the question is : Can the average Malaysians with an SPM or an STPM or even a basic degree ( knowing how low the standard of written English has fallen among Malaysians even after a first degree education) understand what the editor is trying to communicate to them? The two long sentences are so crammed up with explicit statements, implied insinuations, and enuendos, that you've to read them again and again to really appreciate the skill with which they were written. I dare say that even some of our Parliamentarians ( I stressed the word "some") would not be able to imbibe and appreciate the full import of the two sentences.

As such the average Malaysians and some of the Parliamentarians whose English is not up to the NST Editorial level, would miss out on the gravity of the statement that the tertiary education given overseas since scholarships were given in the 1970s to study abroad, is "infused with the heady flames of radicalism, rebellion and revolution." Further , that brand of education is also termed as "Islamism" by the editor although he insinuated that the term had been used or coined by others. I'm not sure that everyone will agree to that for the seed of radicalism, rebellion and revolution, is not necessarily spread through Islamic studies only. Students taking graduate courses in Political Science, Management and Organizational or Behavioral Science, Administration, Sociology etc will surely be introduced to the subject of societal changes and transformation. That the 'heady flames' are only found in oversea's study programs and not at all in the study programs of local universities, is also questionable.

At this point I'm not arguing with the facts of what is presented. What I question is the purpose of the editorial column in the newspaper. Is it not to bring to the attention of the public some of the highlights of the news and issues that the nation is grappling with, to analyze and crystalize some of the controversial factors which could lead the public to wrong conclusions and misguided actions, to present issues that the public should be thinking about etc. If so shouldn't the writing be more "down to earth" or easily comprehensible by the public, and not geared for the indulgence of the high-brow readers. If the purpose of the high-flown and flamboyant language is to raise the standard of English comprehension in the country, then the editor is trying to do what many English teachers have failed to do. What I fear most is that, behind the grandiose display of metaphorical and linguistic agility lies some hidden message or insinuation that would be distasteful if said in plain English.
The last clause in the quote: "transplanted home to local soil by the alarmed cancellations of overseas scholarships" suggests an outcry or protest ( allegedly caused by the oversea education) against PSD's cancellation of scholarships for tertiary study abroad. The connection seems inadequately explained.

I think the message should be communicated to the public in a more easily comprehensible manner. The editorial comment must be readable to the averagely intelligent public in plain, good English and not elaborately embellished by metaphors, metonyms, synecdoche etc. Let's not hide the sour lemon or the bitter pills underneath some sweet sugar coating to the extent that people do not appreciate the gravity of the issues that the editor wants to bring forth for public awareness or debate. Diplomatic subtlety is accepted but not journalistic equivocation or euphemism.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Fragmented Society..

At a talk in Trengganu organized by GERTAK (Gerakan Kebangkitan Rakyat), Tun Mahathir lamented the disunity among the Bumiputras as caused by the various political parties trying to win over their loyalty. Since they form only about 60% of the population a three-way split as could be caused by UMNO, PKR and PAS will give each party 20%, a minoritiy in terms of a racial population breakdown percentage. That's as alarming as Idris Jala's warning that the nation will go bankrupt by 2019 if the current rate of subsidy and debt accumulation persist.

I'm sure someone in the government will deny the wisdom of such projections, or prediction. This is a rich and properous nation with billions of ringgit in the kitty to be distributed to the needy and, of course, to the meritorious. The 10th Malaysia Plan had already indicated the allocations to be made to the various development sectors and some multibillion ringgit plans such as the MTR Plan have already been announced. Malaysia will not drift into bankrupcy like Greece and everything will be fine, so long as the New Economic Model and the 10th Malaysia Plan are fully implemented.

The fact is, it's not just the Bumiputras that are disunited or being fragmented as pointed out by Tun Mahathir. It's happening to the Chinese and Indian communities as well due to the fragmentation of the leadership within each community, triggered by party politics. Barisan is creaking with tension just like its major component parties viz. MCA and MIC , and just like PKR and its own components. There is disruption and fragmentation in the political parties, in the communities and even in the families where the young seem to be quite rebellious and prefer to move away from their parents as soon as they can maintain themselves.

There are all the political, economic, social and other factors tearing modern society apart. Individualism as a by-product of
modernization is hastening the process of societal fragmentation. Politics and the brutal pursuit of money and wealth not only break up the people in society but steer them into a collision course due to the win-or-lose situation which all competitions breed. The zero-sum-game reality still prevails although people talk about the positive-sum-game and the win-win situation. How can we all win if there is only a limited amount of resources or bounty to share. Everyone can win and have a share only if the supply is limitless and there is no need for any competition to get it. This rarely happens in life when resources are always scarce except for the air we breathe, and people never feel satisfied with the share they have. Everyone wants to have a bigger and bigger share, always eating into the share of others.

With all the divisive elements working of us then, how does society hold together? What cohesive forces work to balance up the divisive ones? They ARE there but the trouble is we never bother to recognize and enhanced them so that our society will progressively become more cohesive rather than distruptive. They include the sense of values and ideals that we share in a society and nation, the hopes and aspirations that we hold as our common life goals, the customs and traditions that give our life its meaning and purpose and the laws and social contracts that we develop for ourselves to ensure our own safety and comfort.

These are some of the social fabrics that hold us together and when we fail to understand and recognize them, protect and nurture them as we fight our way to achieve progress in society, and remove all the contradictions and malignancies, we expose ourselves to the dangers of fragmentation and internal decay. Thus, it is not just a problem of promoting and maintaining national unity among the various racial denominators that we face in this country but also the problem of strengthening the cohesive forces within each community. If the cohesive forces in each community are weak, the nation as a whole will become weak. Political wrangling and enmity will then become like flints that can set the whole fabrics of society on fire irrespective of color and creed.

So, let's call on the social scientists of the nation to examine the cohesive forces of our social fabrics in order to ensure that they remain strong and healthy to withstand the disruptive forces generated by our quest for progress and development. Don't just keep on increasing and intensifying the distruptive forces with partisan politics and communal interests fanning the anxiety of our multiracial population. Otherwise the divisive and distruptive forces we see at work today will ultimately undo what all the development plans have so far done to make this country a better place to live in.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Quick Dash to JB: What Happened to the Shoreline?

eginning June 6, the wedding season sails in. There are so many invitations that one has to make a the unpleasant task of selecting a few and leaving the rest with a sad lump in the throat. What to do? Can't attend them all for they are held in different places stretched between KL and JB.

In my case the June 6th marriage was just a few blocks away from my house, that of Cpt Baharuddin's daughter, and my wife and me were taking it easy. A phone call came on June 5th announcing the untimely death of a cousin, Adik Abong or Asmah bt Saad, residing in Terachi, Kuala Pilah. We rushed down that night and stayed over for the burial on the 6th after which we had to rush back to KL for the wedding.

There were more than five wedding invitations for June12th, in KL, in Juasseh, Kuala Pilah and in Johore Bharu. From friends and neighbors in KL, a cousin in Juasseh, and my daughter-in-law's Uncle, Encik Malik, in Bandat Baru UDA, JB. The sad part was my daughter-in-law had been hospitalized and I had to represent her and my son. It seems to be the most weighty of the responsibilities and so my wife and me rushed down to JB on Jun 11th to attend the wedding on the next day.It also offers me an opportunity to visit JB after quite a spell.

We stayed at the Puteri Pacific and I had a good view of the causeway from the window of my hotel room. Here are two shots from there taken in the evening.

You can see the remains of the aborted crooked bridge in the background. The traffic along the Causeway was crawling and aborting the crooked bridge was indeed a pity.

At 12.30 on the 12th, we set out for the wedding, my wife at the wheel with my daughter Norazlin acting as co-driver or more
as the tukang karut to keep the driver awake. On the way to JB I was sitting smug at the back dozing off more often than enjoying the scenery. On the way to the wedding, passing along the once beautiful shoreline leading to Danga Bay, I couldn't help observing with a shock at what had been demolished by the construction works going on. Here are some shots of the shoreline as you see it now.

Well, we always destroy in order to build anew or beautify. I suppose it will take some time before the shoreline becomes beautiful and serene again. One thing for sure, the construction works and the new roads and overhead bridges made my wife loss her way several times, overshooting the junctions we need to take and having to go round and round in circle to get back to the right junction. There was a lot of arguments in the car in regard to which junction to take and as usual, the driver made her own decision and gave us a good ride in the wrong direction a couple of times.

But she made it and we had a wonderful time. Just look at the bersanding and the mealtime pictures.

You couldn't of course see me sweating it out as I enjoyed the scrumptuous food and overate. My 'biras' the couple standing behind my wife and daughter around the dining table, saw me wiping out my sweat and laughed He knew I couldn't stand hot curry but wouldn't miss it too.

Today, June 13th, I thought is a free day. A quick check on my table and my wife shouted out: "Hey, another wedding today,
Get ready!!" Well, I guess that's all that I can yarn about now. A Bientout. Heck. We have to dash to Jaya

Jusco first to get some present for the bride and groom. Next week, another wedding at Akhi Abdul Halimshah's place and another at Dr Murad's in Shah Alam. Even our famous comedian Harith Iskandar had chosen this season to wed Jezamine Lim. Selamat Pengatin Baru
to all involved.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Losing the Fight, Winning the Cheers....

For more than a week now the media is agog with condemnations, lamentations and protests over the MV Mavi Marmara and MV Rachel Corrie atrocities. While the purpose of the mission (to bring humanitarian supplies to the beleaguered Palestinians in the Gaza) is lost, the jeers and the cheers for action against the Zionists' iilegal and inhuman intervention seem to be gaining momentum and the peace activists who were manhandled but freed unscathed by Israel had returned home as national heroes. We thank Allah for their safe return but the whole episode appears more like a case of "Menang Sorak Kalah Sabung"or Winning the Cheers but Loosing the Fight in Cerita Pak Pandir.

The interview with Tun Dr Mahathir on TV3 last night (11pm, 9 June) gave little hope of seeing OIC taking any firm retaliatory action on Israel except to call on all countries which have diplomatic relations with the Zionist regime to severe such relationship. Muslim countries, he said amongst other things, have a very low profile in international forum and would not press for what they want while Israel has a very strong proxy, the US. He had said elsewhere that the Perdana Global Peace Organization (PGPO) will put up another mission. Turkey has also said the same and the PM avowed that he would be on board the flotilla himself to face the Israelis commandos. Iran would also send two aid ships to the Gaza probably escorted by the Iranian elite Revolutionary Guards.

Are we preparing for an armed confrontation with Israel on the high sea?

Very, very unlikely for Israel's military power and war arsenals are most superior with nuclear warheads and US' backing to top it all. So, are we asking for another highhanded intervention by the Israeli's commandos with perhaps more atrocities and deaths, so that the media will have another heyday and the politicians can play up to the gallery again?

The Israelis have said that they will never allow the ships to land in the Gaza. And we all know they really mean what they say as much as what they say is really mean.

How then can the Muslims of the world and also those who disagreed with what Israel is doing, send help to the beleaguered Palestinians in the Gaza? The only answer is that the ships carrying humanitarian supplies to the the Gaza must also carry something that would deter the commandos from attacking the ships. Alternatively, the peace activists must have something hidden somewhere, precious to the Israelis, with which to bargain for the right of passage to the Gaza. As today's world attests, only a low kick can stop a low blow. Until that something is found and procured, to be used as a trump card against any commando intervention, don't ever hope that the commandos will let them through. What is the 'thing'? Let the great thinkers and strategists in Government think about it. Failing to find an answer means that the Israelis can crack the nose and kick the butt of the peace activists again- not gun them down hopefully! - if and when they try to repeat their humanitarian stunt.

The Israelis with the staunch backing of the US, the UK and a few other powerful nations, had never heeded any criticism or condemnations leveled at them, not just by the Muslim countries but also by the free world. They are strong and almost invincible. The Muslim countries, on the other hand, are small and divided, not only in their political and economic interests
but also in some of their interpretations of Allah divine injunctions. Hence it is so easy for the super powers to divide and prod them to strangle each other. So many calls had been made at international forum for the Muslims to unite and act together like the brothers they are supposed to be. But that has never happened. Why" Because of conflicting political and economic interests as manipulated and fanned by the super powers.

To be able to face the western world with the strength of one single voice, a new, single line of Islamic authority created over and above the existing political and administrative system and concerned with religious matters alone, must be established, to represent all the Muslims of the world. Such an authority can emerge if each and every Muslim country elects a religious leader ( Mursyid) to represent the country, and these leaders form a World Islamic Consultative Body with an elected Head installed as a Mursyid al-Alami to represent the World Islamic Community. This Head or Mursyid al-Alami would then be able to interface with the highest leaders of other religions, to talk and promote world peace through mutual respect and to keep the human species away from self-destruction which politics and the insatiable thirst for power and wealth is bound to bring upon them. Political leaders and economists had never succeeded in bringing about such peace because of insurmountable and conflicting worldly interest. Perhaps the religious leaders of the world might just be able to do so by bringing about a better understanding and mutual tolerance between the various human species on this planet, some of which think they are better
and holier than the others.

They forget that we've only ONE WORLD and if that goes up in smoke, everyone dies. That also goes for us in Malaysia. There's only ONE MALAYSia and if it sinks we sink together. In all dealings within the context of a multiracial society, therefore, let's try to win the battle or fight over any problem even with less cheers rather than losing the fight and only winning the cheers.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Now that Israel has freed the peace volunteers from other countries ( the nine shot dead were from Turkey), and they are to be proclaimed national heroes as far as Malaysia is concerned, what's next? The intended humanitarian help to be given to the Palenstinians in the Gaza did not reach them and future attempts to do so might just be an exercise in futility. The navy commandos scouting the international water outside Gaza seemed determined to rout any future attempts to bring in supplies to the beleaguered Palestinians in the Gaza.

The PM had just announced dozens of action to be taken (1.30 PM News TV3, June 7). They included condemning, cursing and lamenting the inhuman actions of the Israel commandos, sending protest notes to various parties, initiating legal actions against the armed attack on the Mavi Marmara and Rachel Corrie in international waters, continuing to condemn the Zionists in the strongest of terms for their atrocities against the Palestinians and supporting the Palestinians in their effort to set up an independent State. I suppose there will be more protest movements, and display of hatred against the Israelis. But the US and UK will remain silent, while the Israelis might just laugh at all the innocuous actions taken and the inability of the Muslim world to do anything really harmful to them. All the verbal threats have been heard before and Israel continued to do what they wanted to do without anyone really able to stop them.

The irony is, Israel had freed ALL the peace activists (except the dead Turks) after they and the two ships have been thoroughly searched for concealed weapons. They certainly can make a good case in the international court for requiring the search, maintaining that none of the foreign peace activitists had been harmed. Whether the Turks on board the first ship were armed or not had never been ascertained and the commandos can certainly justify their trigger-happy action.More needs to be done than JUST CURSING, CONDEMNING, LAMENTING and TAKING UP THE MATTER TO THE INTERNATIONAL COURT or the UN SECURITY COUNCIL. How many Muslims are on the Council or on the Panel of Judges of the International Court?

The Muslims of the world must go on an international peace strike of some kind, a show of moral and spiritual strength akin to what Mahatma Gandhi had used against the British to defeat colonialism. An armed protest or war against the Zionists and their allies ( need they be mentioned?) is TOTALLY OUT OF QUESTION, and Hamas continuous bombardment of Jerusalem with rockets and the suicide attacks launched by the mujahideens have never achieved anything much but triggered more diabolical retaliatiory moves on the Palestinians.

How did Mahatma Gandhi defeat the powerful British Armmy and gained the respect of not only the British but the world? The Muslims must learn from the frail-looking man. A jihad war is just absurd against the modern war arsenals of the west and the nuclear weapons they possess. It must be a war of morality an spiritual strength requiring the efforts and sacrifice of the entire muslim world, acting together under the universal call of the Islam faith and the teachings of Allah.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


The whole world seems agog with protests against a tiny nation with a population of 7-8 million whose navy commandos stormed an unarmed ship carrying humanitarian and medical supplies to the Palestinians in Gaza while sailing through international water. Some 9-16 (?) peace activists on board were killed while dozens of others from many countries were roughened up at gun point, injured and taken into custody.

Israel maintained that they had the right to search the ship and everyone on board to ensure that no weapons were being brought in to the people in the Gaza.

Curses, condemnations and fiery words of anger echoed through the media from the mUslim world with a population of more than 1.5 billion.Israel's flag was burned and protesters crowded the streets shouting insults and seeking vengeance. BUT NOTHING HAPPENED TO THE ISRAELIS. US and UK kept silent on the issue. The Israelis are probably laughing at the war drums and war dances being staged for they know that no one dares attack them, except BY firING some rockets into Jerusalem that could not cause much damage.

Why is the world so helpless against the little bully? Because US and UK are always on their side? Because they are so well armed and they have the most powerful military power on earth on their side? North Korea shot a S. Korean warship and US makes a lot of noise. Iraq was suspected of having WMD ( weapons of mass destruction) and was immediately destroyed. Iran is suspected of developing warheads and the US and UN Security Council is i hopping mad about it. India and Pakistan do have nuclear weapons but the US is again silent about it. It's terribly worried that Muammar Gaddafi might get it. Israel had been slowly but surely taking away the lands of the Palestinians, and still nobody can do anything about it.

The world, especially the Muslim world, should face the fact that God had endowed the early Israelis more than any other human race ( Al-Quran, 2-122). Even the Nazi could not get rid of them though millions were exterminated. They are astute businessmen and they formed some of the wealthiest people in the US, UK and elsewhere. They invented the most powerful guns and automatic weapons. They made machines that could make sea water drinkable. Their scientists are behind some of the most amazing inventions in the world.

What about the Muslims? They rose to prominence, power and righteousness under the guidance of prophet Muhammad SAW
(pbuh) and the Caliphah ar-Rasyidiin, After that they quarrelled among themselves, were split up into little enclaves or nations and began to decline in importance or prominence. And now they wailed and cried over their lost prestige and can't even join forces to fight off the ignominy and shame brought on them by the non-Muslims, even by those living amongst them. They are so patient, forgiving, willing to execute their own kind to show how fair the Islamic teachings are, and they continue to quarrel among themselves over matters affecting their akidah and the threat of the afterlife. Even boys and girls showing affection for each other in the public can be fined or put in jail. Let alone indulging in secret love affairs.

I am a Muslim, hopefully one acceptable by Allah. But I can't help laughing at some of the innocous reactions of the Muslims and the Muslim world. They will qoute copiously from the Quran and Hadith to show how things are wrong or being done against the true teachings of Islam. But except for imposing penulties to their own kind, nothing much is done. All problems, they say, can be resolved by referring to the al-Quran and Hadith. But every Muslim nation including Malaysia have tons of problems that remain unsolved.

No, Islam is the religion accepted by Allah, the fairest human treatise and guidelines as proven by the Prophet Muhammad SAW and the Caliphah ar-Rashidin. I'm trying my best to live according to all the teachings and divine instructions. But I can't help being frustrated by the all-words-and-no-action attitude of the Muslim world. I only wish and hope that some capable leader can lead the Muslims back to the road of prominence and glory, insyallah, The problem is they all look uo to the political leaders for leadership or to the imams with the biggest turban, not to the ordinary looking boy in the village or small town
for ideas and tricks that could confuse the Israelis. If they cannot be defeated by the use of modern weapons, perhaps there are other ways of getting at their weaker spots. If diplomatic negotiations for umpteen yeas cannot work there could be other subterfuges that would.

OIC and the Arab League with its 22 members including Saudi Arabia, do not seem to be able to do anything except call on the Security Council to ask Israel to lift its siege on the Gaza. Even President Obama's lukewarm request before the recent attack on the Mavi Marmara for Israel to stop new construction in the Gaza area, was ignored. 7-8 million people defying more than 2 to 3 billion people of the world does not make any sense. Either they are a real superior human (or inhuman) race or the 2-3 billion people of the world are under some kind of mass hypnosis. Including US and UK.

Let the Muslims of the world think about it.