- History: The G.O.M. of Penang is death
- The Kitchen
- Lesen Judi: Ulamak UMNO Sebagai Syaitan Bisu
- Charm offensive on subsidy cuts, KLCC-style *YAWN*
- Why I love the legalising of football betting.............
- UMNO MIC Bergasak. Samy Vellu Akan Pecat Muhyiddin Juga?
- Stephen Tong's Evangelistic Rally In Sibu (唐崇栄萬人佈道會） - Part 25
- Obama at West Point: Lessons Unlearned by Arthur Herman in the National Review
- The Mosque at Ground Zero
- Korean Conundrum
- Global Moral Decline and Who’s to Blame for It
- How Islamists Came to Dominate European Islam by Daniel Pipes
- Jika Benar Begitu, Sahihlah Dia Bapa Judi
- THE POLITICS OF CORRUPTION
- Are the Chinese ungrateful? Read Sanusi Junid
- Forum on Sibu By-election: A Multi Perspective Review
- Khairy Bersiap Untuk Jadi Menteri Pertahanan?
- Nine treasures
- SO EXCITED ABOUT MY SAX LESSONS!!!
- Nothing to gain by being arrogant to others
Posted: 25 May 2010 09:57 AM PDT
A bit of history in today's post. Towkay Yeap Chor Ee, the founder of the Ban Hin Lee Bank in George Town, Penang, died on this day 58 years ago. I've just managed to extract this news item on his death which was carried on the front page of The Straits Times newspaper on 27 May 1952. Here it is:
Posted: 25 May 2010 09:32 AM PDT
Posted: 25 May 2010 09:06 AM PDT
Lesen Judi : UMNO/BN Langgar hukum Syarak!
Meluluskan lesen judi ini adalah simbol kehancuran nilai kehidupan yang paling asas, iaitu dengan meruntuhkan lambang ketaatan kepada Allah dan dengan sengaja mempamerkan keangkuhan terhadap hukum Allah
Timbalan Mursyidul Am PAS, Datuk Dr Haron Din menyifatkan kelulusan lesen judi oleh pemimpin Umno-BN sebagai suatu keputusan yang amat malang bagi masyarakat Melayu dan Islam di negara ini.
"Apabila usaha yang dilakukan untuk mengajak ummah kepada nilai murni khususnya penerapan nilai Islam telah berkecai apabila kerajaan dengan rasa tidak bertanggunggjawab meluluskan lesen judi tersebut.
"Perkara sebegini ingin dipandang remeh oleh sebahagian orang, tetapi ianya amat besar kepada umat yang berjiwa besar, menghormati dan menjunjung hukum Allah," katanya ketika dihubungi Suara Keadilan.
Dr Haron menyifatkan tindakan tersebut merupakan simbol kehancuran nilai kehidupan yang paling asas, iaitu dengan meruntuhkan lambang ketaatan kepada Allah dan dengan sengaja mempamerkan keangkuhan terhadap hukum Allah.
Perlu difahami bahawa keruntuhan akhlak yang sepatutnya menjadi fokus pemerintah di saat gejala sosial dan perlakuan yang menunjukkan rendah moral manusia telah ditambah dengan perkara sebegini tambah beliau.
Tindakan tersebut akan menjadikan kehidupan manusia lebih parah.
"Judi adalah satu amalan yang ditolak oleh semua agama malah oleh seluruh masyarakat manusia yang menghormati nilai keharmonian hidup berumahtangga.
"Walau apa pun alasan, kita tetap tidak boleh lari daripada hukum Allah. Kita perlu memahami membiarkan perkara yang haram tinggal haram dengan memejamkan mata itu berbeza dengan menghalalkan yang haram".
"Menghalalkan perkara yang haram dengan sengaja boleh menjejaskan akidah dan keimanan kita. Seolah-olah manusia itu lebih pandai dari Allah," jelas Dr Haron Din.
Sementara itu, bekas Mufti Wilayah Persekutuan, Datuk Hashim Yahaya ketika dihubungi menyifatkan tindakan kelulusan lesen judi tersebut tidak menggambarkan pentadbiran sebuah negara Islam.
"Tindakan tersebut bercanggah dengan hukum syarak. Dalam Al-Quran dan hadis jelas mencatitkan perkara yang jelas haram antara lain adalah judi, arak dan zina," katanya.
Hashim menyeru kepada NGO Islam dan pertubuhan tanpa mengira latar belakang politik dan pendirian untuk bangkit dan membantah kelulusan lesen judi tersebut.
Kata beliau ini jelas mencemarkan nama Malaysia yang dikenali sebagai negara Islam contoh.
"Jika kita tidak membantah, seolah-olah kita bersetuju dan bersekongkol dengan tindakan tersebut. Kalau unsur judi yang tersembunyi pun kita bantah, apatah lagi yang diadakan secara terang-terangan dan lesen diberikan secara rasmi" katanya lagi.
Beliau mencadangkan kepada Muzakarah Majlis Fatwa Kebangsaan untuk mengeluarkan kenyataan dan pendirian mereka dalam isu ini.
Beliau turut memohon kepada Majlis Raja-Raja untuk bersidang dan membincangkan perkara ini kerana ia memberikan kesan langsung kepada kehidupan umat Islam.
"Sebagai penaung kepada orang Melayu dan ketua Islam, Majlis Raja-Raja diharap dapat memberikan pembelaan kepada orang Islam," kata Hashim.
Beliau optimims bahawa pembatalan lesen judi tersebut akan dipersetujui oleh ramai pihak.
"Bahkan ramai orang bukan Islam yang turut menentang cadangan usaha tersebut", katanya lagi. -sk
Kepada ulamak-ulamak UMNO, ketara sangat mereka pengecut dan bacul untuk menegakkan kebenaran. Mereka penjilat dan mereka adalah perosak agama. Mereka pengampu dan pembodek kepada Bapa Judi.
Nabi Saw bersabda:
"Orang yang berdiam diri dari kebenaran (tidak mahu mengingatkan atau berusaha membuat perubahan), adalah seperti syaitan yang bisu." [HR. Al Hakim]
Posted: 25 May 2010 08:43 AM PDT
The government campaign appears to target public support ahead of plans to restructure the subsidy system, in an apparent move to warm up the public to the idea of major subsidy slashes. The Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) of the government has engaged an events management company to hand out 'Have Your Say' survey forms at KLCC since Saturday. The 'Have Your Say' survey, similar to an online survey on the think tank's website, is being done in conjunction with the Subsidy Rationalisation Lab Open Day on Thursday at the KL Convention Centre, which is open to the public.
What's the point of having this 'Have Your Say' survey when the goverment still wants to 'Have My Way'!?
You tell me.
To me, this campaign is another exercise that wastes rakyat's money!
(image source: malaysiakini)
Posted: 25 May 2010 07:30 AM PDT
There are alot of hypocrites I for one do not believe in their religion. I always have a problem with this, whenever 'holier than thou people' encroach into the values of others. It is the supremacist tendencies that try to impose their will on the non believers. That is why there are cases of body snatching, minor conversion of minors, cow head incidents and the likes, I have been there.
There are hypocrites, read as facists, encroaching into the realm of others. There are, Non Muslims who gamble and other who don't. One should not deny their right, who the hell are you to speak for them? Is it because of your faith, you want to impose your beliefs on others. Non Muslims who are religious have their beliefs, they know what is right or wrong. They have their conscience, they are adults and can decide. You do not have to draw up rules. Rules are for fools and for wise men to use as a guide. You might be okay with your religious police, sorry, I am intolerant of those narrow minded 'rag heads'. To each his own. That is the problem with you people, you like to impose your beliefs which most of us do not believe, unto others.
Policing, this is moral policing. We do not need them, the religious police. Non Muslims do not need religious policing. It is agains our grain. We know what is right or wrong. We are wise. We will decide. Not bigots who want to impose their religious beliefs upon us. Sort out your own hypocritical lives first, there are many, from submarines, Lina Joy, Moorthy, Altantuya, BMF, San Miguel beer, Kutty's (mamak Mhathir) son, Dung Mokhtar and Zizi, Port Dickson and Zarina. Here is a quiz: General Knowledge Quiz
a.. The Chief Editor of a mainstream Malay newspaper who had an affair with a young girl while his wife lay paralysed in bed?
b.. The Chief Minister who eloped to Thailand to secretly marry his second wife?
c.. The Federal Minister who was caught with a female artiste in a Port Dickson hotel room?
d.. The Federal Minister whose brother was arrested for drug trafficking?
e.. The Federal Minister who had an affair with someone else's wife that eventually resulted in a broken marriage?
f.. The Chief Minister who had an affair with someone else's wife that eventually resulted in a broken marriage?
g.. The Chief Minister who had an affair with an under-aged girl which resulted in an illegitimate child?
h.. The Chief Minister who had an affair with a girl who eventually gave birth to an illegitimate child?
i.. The Chief Minister who kept an under-aged mistress at a condominium in Kuala Lumpur ?
j.. The religious leader who had an illicit affair and who is now holding a prominent position in a very important government religious body like the National Fatwa Council?
k.. The Chief Minister who had an affair with his sister-in-law who gave birth to an illegitimate child?
Then talk to me about the evils of gambling!! Yes, this is only the beginning!! I drink alcohol, am I a bad person? I love beers. I have not stolen from the people. I am not a " Robber Baron", nor have I cheated anyone with lies about my religion. I know that my religion is one of compassion and mercy, without advertising that mine is a 'religion of peace'. You know, what? You asked for this, I just could not resist sending a flame thrower up yours!!!
Posted: 25 May 2010 06:47 AM PDT
Krisis antara UMNO dan MIC bertambah buruk hari ini apabila anak Datuk Seri Samy Vellu menuduh UMNO sebagai mendalangi kempen untuk membunuh kerjaya politik ayahnya.
Timbalan Presiden UMNO Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin pula menyifatkan dakwaan oleh S Vell Paari itu sebagai biadap dan meminta Samy supaya menasihati anaknya.
Pertikaman lidah antara UMNO dan MIC itu adalah yang terburuk dalam sejarah Barisan Nasional dan mencerminkan ketidakstabilan yang semakin ketara dalam gagasan itu.
Samy Vellu menjadi sasaran beberapa kerat pemimpin MIC yang mendesak beliau supaya meletakkan jawatan setelah menerajui parti itu sejak tahun 1974.
Pergeseran antara UMNO dan MIC pula semakin buruk apabila Perdana Menteri Najib Razak menolak calon pilihan parti itu untuk bertanding pada pilihanraya kecil Hulu Selangor bulan lalu.
Ini kali pertama Umno masuk campur dan menentukan calon yang mana harus diletakkan oleh MIC. Tindakan itu dilihat sebagai mengaibkan Samy di samping mengundang kritikan terhadap kepimpinannya.
Beberapa orang yang mengkritik Samy kemudian menubuhkan Gerakan Anti Samy Vellu (GAS) bagi memaksa beliau berundur sebagai presiden MIC.
Vell Paari anak kepada Samy semalam membuat kenyataan terbuka bahawa gerakan itu turut didalangi oleh UMNO dan mendedahkan bahawa UMNO telah lama mendominasi parti-parti komponen lain dalam BN.
"Umno akan menentukan siapa memimpin MIC jika pihak luar tak henti campurtangan dalam urusan dalaman MIC" ujar Vell Paari.
Vell Paari mendakwa Umno menggunakan pendekatan "pembunuhan politik" untuk memecahbelahkan MIC.
Dalam reaksi kilas, Muhyiddin menyifatkan Vell Paari sebagai biadap kerana menuduh Umno cuba menjatuhkan ayahnya.
"Umno ingin menafikan sekeras-kerasnya tuduhan oleh anak Samy Vellu itu. Ia adalah sesuatu yang biadap"ujat Muhyiddin.
Timbalan perdana menteri menafikan sekeras-kerasnya tuduhan itu dan meminta Vell Paari supaya menghentikan tindakan tidak bertanggungjawabnya itu.
Muhyiddin juga meminta Samy Vellu supaya menasihatkan anaknya supaya tidak lagi mengeluarkan kenyataan yang boleh menjejaskan sensitiviti parti-parti komponen BN yang lain.
"Samy Vellu boleh nasihatkan anaknya" tambahnya lagi. -TVS
Posted: 25 May 2010 06:44 AM PDT
It was thirty-five years ago in 1975 that Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong came to Sibu to preach for the first time. At the age of thirty-five then, his vocal strength was pretty astounding. Age has crept up on his face. But his service to God has not decelerated with aging. May God continue to bless Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong with the best of health and lead him to where the Almighty wants him to go.
Photo (1) shows Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong preaching at Padang Tuanku Haji Bujang, Sibu in an open-space gospel rally in 1996. With him was Rev. Siew Chiu Huo who acted as Foochow translator. The gospel rally, organised by Sarawak Chinese Annual Conference of Methodist Church, attracted a congregation of ten thousand. It was a blessing that my parents were moved to attend the rally. Seriously, it was not easy to get my father going! My dad told me more than one time that Rev. Stephen Tong was very respectful.
Photo (2) shows some participants of gospel rally disembarking from the motor launches. In 1977 when Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong came to Sibu for the second time to preach, the organiser Methodist Church chartered a few motor launches to transport participants from down-Rajang rural areas. It was a pretty touching scene, showing the eagerness of rural folks for God's word. I missed the rally as I was at Taylor's College, KL in 1977.
Photo (3) shows Stephen Tong Gospel Rally of Sibu in 1983. The first night of it was caught in a torrential rain, making it one of my most cherished memories.
Photo (4) shows Rev. Stephen Tong preaching at Stephen Tong Gospel Rally of Sibu in 1977. Rev. Siew Chiu Huo teamed up with him to give Foochow translation. The duo made the ministry a great honour to God!
The last picture shows Stephen Tong Gospel Rally of Sibu in 1996.
My heartfelt thanks go to brother Meng Lei for the valuable photos. May God continue to bless him in his photoshooting!
Posted: 25 May 2010 06:01 AM PDT
On Saturday, Pres. Barack Obama gave a commencement speech at the United States Military Academy at West Point, which in effect told the thousand or so soon-to-be second lieutenants that, if he has his way, they'll soon be out of a job.
Obama outlined for the cadets his vision of a new international order organized around bodies such as the United Nations. In Obama's future, American military force will give way to American diplomacy joined together with new multilateral partnerships, while "stronger international standards and institutions" will replace unilateral assertion of national interests — including our own. Obama told West Point's Class of 2010 that he sees them not battling our enemies but "combating a changing climate and sustaining global growth, [and] helping countries feed themselves" even as their citizens achieve their "universal rights."
We've had presidents who wanted to thrust visions of a new world order on us: after World War I, after World War II, and then after Desert Storm. But all these great grand visions came hot on the heels of amazing American success in war and foreign policy. Obama, in contrast, is pushing his new multilateral "international order" hot on the heels of two important failures — in Iran and North Korea. Obama's vision for America's future flies in the face of reality and fails to account for his own experience as president.
Last week, Iranian president Ahmadinejad gleefully joined hands with the presidents of Brazil and Turkey after striking a deal that all but ensures Iran's acquisition of a nuclear weapon — a development that Obama and his predecessors, Democrat and Republican, hoped to prevent. Promises of tough future United Nations sanctions are worthless. The critical votes on the Security Council, China and Russia, are clear that they will never approve anything that interferes with their economic interests in Iran. In China's case, that means new lucrative oil and natural-gas deals, while Russia is selling Tehran surface-to-air missiles that will render Iran's nuclear sites impregnable by anything short of American stealth bombers.
Those stealth bombers are directed and piloted by the U.S. Air Force, meaning that the counterparts of the West Point cadets in Obama's audience will soon be all that stands between the world and a nuclear-armed Iran, thanks to a misplaced faith in diplomacy and multi-lateral engagement.
Then there is North Korea. We learned last week that its torpedoing of a South Korean warship last March, an act of aggression that killed 46, was deliberate and probably was ordered by dictator Kim Jong Il. The North Korean situation is also the product of faith in diplomacy without strength, and faith in the same two fickle partners, Russia and China. Back in the Clinton years, our goal was to keep North Korea from acquiring a nuclear bomb. When that failed, the goal became preventing Pyongyang from building and testing the missiles needed to wreak nuclear annihilation on its neighbors. North Korea's success at acquiring long-range missiles means that neighborhood may now include Alaska. 2
Posted: 25 May 2010 05:49 AM PDT
Questions to ask the man who wants to build a Muslim cultural center near the former Twin Towers. Before you shoot off your mouth think about the Church in Shah Alam-edit.
The conservative blogosphere is buzzing with outrage over plans to build a 13-story mosque and Muslim cultural center just a few hundred feet from Ground Zero. As a resident of lower Manhattan, I see it differently: The center—to be known as Cordoba House and built (if it is ever built) at a cost of $100 million—might yet serve as an excellent test case for tolerance.
Muslim tolerance, that is.
That, at least, is how the concept is being advertised by Feisal Abdul Rauf, the Kuwaiti-born imam whose brainchild this is. "We see it as a major step toward the Americanization of the Muslim community," Mr. Rauf told members of the financial district's community board, which approved the project unanimously less than a week after the attempted Times Square bombing. His wife, Daisy Khan, who runs an outfit called the American Society for Muslim Advancement, adds that "it's going to be a place not only for Muslim activity, but interfaith activity of the highest order."
Opponents of the center insist that Mr. Rauf's image as a moderate is a sham. In the American Thinker, an online magazine, Madeleine Brooks reports that in a recent sermon she personally heard Mr. Rauf "deny that Muslims perpetrated 9/11," though she doesn't quote him directly. Alyssa Lappen of Pajamas Media website notes that the imam has urged the U.S. to allow "religious communities more leeway to judge among themselves according to their own laws," which in his case means Shariah law. There's also a question of how Mr. Rauf's Cordoba Initiative, which in 2008 had assets of $18,255 according to its IRS tax filing, plans to raise $100 million.
Opponents also argue that building the center so close to Ground Zero is an insult to the memory of the victims of 9/11. Germany has spent six decades in conspicuous and mainly sincere atonement for Nazi crimes. But it surely has no plans to showcase the tolerant society it has become by building a cultural center down the road from Auschwitz. Japan is no doubt equally disinclined to finance a Shinto shrine in the vicinity of the Pearl Harbor memorial.
But discretion does not seem to be part of Mr. Rauf's playbook: He is nothing if not American in his penchant for publicity-seeking. He also seems to know exactly how to play to the great conceit of modern American liberalism, which constantly seeks opportunities to congratulate itself for its superior capacity for tolerance. Apparently it did not occur to the members of the community board who so eagerly green-lighted Cordoba House to suggest to Mr. Rauf that the $100 million might be better spent building centers of "interfaith activity" in Riyadh, Islamabad and Kuwait City.
Be that as it may, I still think Mr. Rauf and his wife should be taken at their word—provided they are also held to it. As a confidence-building measure for those of us who live in the neighborhood, it would help if the pair voluntarily answered some questions about the nature of their beliefs. A sampler:
Who perpetrated the attacks of 9/11, and what was their religion?
Are suicide attacks or other forms of violent jihad acceptable under any circumstances, including against American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan?
Does Israel have a right to exist as a Jewish state?
Do they agree with the State Department's designation of Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist organizations?
What aspects of Shariah law, if any, do they repudiate?
Will their center invite the input and participation of Muslim gay and lesbian groups?
Do they consider the Muslim Brotherhood to be extreme?
What influence will any foreign funding of Cordoba House have on its programs or on the literature it distributes?
Finally, it is worth asking Mr. Rauf and Ms. Khan the broader question of how they think about tolerance itself. In the case of the famous Muhammad cartoons, "moderate" Muslims typically make the case that while free speech has its place, the sensitivities of the Muslim community should be respected. But tolerance can't just be a one-way street, and sensitivity is not the preserve of Muslims alone. So what do they make of the sensitivities of 9/11 families in the face of their mega-mosque? And if they are prepared to so lightly traduce on those sensitivities, will they perhaps return the favor by hosting an exhibition of pictorial depictions of the prophet?
The offending Danish cartoons won't be necessary: For material, they can draw on a rich tradition of Islamic portraits of their prophet, not least from the collection of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul.
Eager as the imam and his wife are to present themselves and their center as progressive, mainstream and all-American, I have no doubt they will answer these questions in a way that satisfies community standards in Tribeca. It certainly should not embarrass the Tribeca city fathers—so keen to show off their liberal bona fides—to ask them. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted: 25 May 2010 05:43 AM PDT
Discussing United States policy toward North Korea can seem exhaustingly futile. There are no "good" options, and the North's behavior appears utterly intractable; yet because of its magnitude, the threat from Pyongyang demands our constant attention.
That threat was thrown into stark relief on March 26, when a North Korean torpedo slammed into South Korea's Cheonan warship, killing 46 servicemen. It is surely Pyongyang's most spectacular atrocity since the 1987 terrorist bombing of Korean Air Flight 858, which left 115 dead. The proof of North Korea's culpability is now overwhelming; indeed, the North's repeated denials would be comical if the act itself were not so appalling.
In response, the U.S. and South Korean governments have planned joint military exercises, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is working to build support for a fresh round of global sanctions on the Communist regime. We don't expect new sanctions to topple the dictatorship, nor do we expect them dramatically to alter North Korea's conduct. However, tightening our grip on Pyongyang's finances would bolster U.S. leverage at a critical moment in Korean history, with 69-year-old Kim Jong Il in deteriorating health (it is believed he suffered a stroke in 2008) and a shaky leadership transition already under way.
Sinking the Cheonan was a heinous act, and also a desperate one, carried out by a regime that urgently needs hard currency to mitigate a severe domestic economic crisis. Now is the time to do everything possible to choke Pyongyang's cash flows. Of course, passing a robust Security Council measure will be impossible without gaining Chinese support, and Beijing's North Korea policy continues to be guided by its twin fears of (1) a massive refugee disaster and (2) a unified, pro-American democracy on the Korean peninsula.
If the Obama administration is unable to win Chinese backing for an aggressive Security Council resolution, U.S. officials should re-freeze North Korean assets at Banco Delta Asia (assets that were originally frozen in 2005 but then released as part of a 2007 nuclear-disarmament accord) and also target specific North Korean entities. Meanwhile, the United States should re-list North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. Removing Pyongyang from the State Department blacklist was a premature decision in 2008, given that Pyongyang still refuses to account for the untold number of Japanese citizens it abducted during the 1970s and 1980s. Today, the decision seems embarrassing. The Cheonan incident was nothing short of a terroristic massacre; moreover, there is strong evidence that North Korea has been selling weapons to Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran, and Syria.
We don't have a silver bullet to topple the North Korean dictatorship and should not expect sanctions or moral pressure to trigger a velvet revolution. But the steps outlined above would weaken Pyongyang and boost America's Asian alliances, while providing incentives for a post-Kim regime to seek rapprochement with its democratic neighbors. Democrats on Capitol Hill could do their part to affirm U.S. solidarity with South Korea by approving the bilateral free-trade deal that was signed in June 2007 and has effectively been held hostage by the United Auto Workers ever since.
We must remember that the key foreign player in the North Korean saga is China, which has long subsidized the Hermit Kingdom with food and fuel aid. The coming weeks will tell us whether the Cheonan incident has finally spurred Beijing to rethink its approach. As a former U.S. Asia hand puts it, "This is a defining moment for China's foreign policy." It's also a defining moment for the Obama administration, which now has an opportunity to avoid the mistakes of its predecessor and embrace a Korea strategy that is tough, forward-looking, and realistic. Editors at National Review
Posted: 25 May 2010 05:34 AM PDT
One of the many beliefs — i.e., non-empirically based doctrines — of the post-Christian West has been that moral progress is the human norm, especially so with the demise of religion. In a secular world, the self-described enlightened thinking goes, superstition is replaced by reason and reason leads to the moral good. Of course, it turned out that the post-Christian West produced considerably more evil than the Christian world had. No mass cruelty in the name of Christianity approximated the vastness of the cruelty unleashed by secular doctrines and regimes in the post-Christian world. The argument against religion that more people have been killed in the name of religion than by any other doctrine is false propaganda on behalf of secularism and leftism.
The amount of evil done by Christians — against, for example, "heretics" and Jews — in both the Western and Eastern branches of Christianity was extensive, as was the failure of most European Christians to see Nazism for the evil that it was. The good news is that Christian evils have been acknowledged and addressed by most Christian leaders and thinkers. But there were never any Christian Auschwitzes — systematic genocides of every man, woman, and child of a particular race or religion. Nor were there Christian Gulags — the shipping of millions of innocents to conditions so horrific that prolonged suffering leading to death was the almost inevitable end.
The anti-religious Left offers two responses to these facts. The first is that modern technology made the Nazi and Communist murders of scores of millions possible; had the church been technologically able to do so, it would have made its own Auschwitz and Gulag. The second is that Nazism and Communism were religions and not secular doctrines. The response to the first is that technology was not necessary for the Communist murders of over 100 million innocent people in the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, and elsewhere. In Cambodia, millions were murdered with hammers, in Rwanda, with machetes.
The response to the second is that Communism and Nazism were secular movements, and to deny that is to tell a gargantuan lie. Even if one argues that Nazism and Communism were religions, they were nevertheless secular religions. That too many Christians morally failed when confronted with Nazism is true but irrelevant to the fact that Nazism was in no way a Christian movement. And now the post-Christian world is getting worse. The moral news about the world in which we live is almost unremittingly negative.
Russia is devoid of a moral values system. Whatever moral role the Russian Orthodox Church played was largely extinguished during the seven decades of Communist suppression of religion. Today, pockets of religious morality notwithstanding, Russia is essentially a nihilistic state. Under the leadership of a former KGB director, Russia now plays a destructive role in world affairs. Russia today is characterized by major arms shipments to Syria, protection of Iran while it becomes a nuclear power, imposition of Russia's will on Ukraine and other neighboring states, and the violent suppression of domestic critics who shed any light on the organized-crime syndicate that rules the geographically largest nation in the world. Continue here to Dennis Prager's article....
Posted: 25 May 2010 05:27 AM PDT
The 7/7 bombings in London, in which Islamists killed 52 and injured 700, prompted British authorities to work with Muslims to avoid future violence. However, rather than turn to anti-Islamist Muslims who reject the triumphalist goal of applying Islamic law in Europe, they promoted non-violent Islamists, hoping these would persuade coreligionists to express their hatred of the West in lawful ways. This effort featured Tariq Ramadan (b. 1962), a prominent Islamist intellectual. For example, London's Metropolitan Police partially funded a conference that Ramadan addressed, and Prime Minister Tony Blair appointed him to an official "working group on tackling extremism."
Deploying an Islamist may have seemed like an original and clever idea, but it was neither. Western governments have been allying without success with Islamists for decades. Indeed, they have been allying with Ramadan's own family.In 1953, Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower hosted a group of foreign Muslims that included Said Ramadan (1926–95), a leader of arguably the most influential Islamist organization of the twentieth century, the rabidly anti-West Muslim Brotherhood — and also Tariq's father. The Eisenhower-Ramadan meeting took place in the context of sustained U.S. government efforts to rally Muslims against Soviet Communism, in part by putting Said Ramadan on the CIA payroll. Talcott Seelye, an American diplomat who met with him about that time, explains: "We thought of Islam as a counterweight to communism."
Then there was Hasan al-Banna (1906–49), Tariq's grandfather, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, and recipient of Nazi funding. American diplomats in Cairo in the late 1940s had "regular meetings" with al-Banna, found him "perfectly empathetic," and perceived his organization to be a "moderate" and even a "positive" force. The British apparently offered al-Banna money.In other words, Western governments have a history of ignoring the Islamists' repulsive ideology and working with them, even strengthening them.
In a stunning piece of investigative historical research, Ian Johnson, a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist formerly with the Wall Street Journal, reveals new twists and turns of this drama in his just-released book, A Mosque in Munich: Nazis, the CIA, and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the West.Johnson opens with a review of the systematic Nazi efforts to recruit Soviet Muslims from among their prisoners of war. Many Muslims loathed Stalin, and between 150,000 and 300,000 of them fought for the Axis in World War II. In other words, over and above their unfulfilled propaganda effort directed at Arabs, the Nazis actually fielded a substantial force of mainly Turkic Muslims under the leadership of a scholarly Nazi enthusiast named Gerhard von Mende.
After the German defeat in 1945, Johnson follows von Mende as he continued his anti-Communist work with ex-Soviet Muslims, now in a Cold War context. But his network of former soldiers proved not very competent at the task of arousing Muslim hostility against the Soviet Union. Their leading intellectual, for example, had served as the imam of an SS division that helped suppress the Warsaw uprising of 1944. Islamists quickly proved themselves far more competent at this political and religious challenge. Johnson explains that they "wear suits, have university degrees, and can formulate their demands in ways that a politician can understand."
The heart of his fascinating study lies in tracing the evolution, much of it in Munich, from old soldiers to new Islamists. It's a classic tale of 1950s intrigue, complete with rehabilitated Nazis, CIA front organizations, and dueling Soviet and American ambitions. Johnson shows how, without anyone quite planning it, the Americans usurped von Mende's network and handed it over to Said Ramadan. This early U.S. boost to the Muslim Brotherhood, Johnson argues, gave it the means to establish an Islamist framework just in time to welcome the surge of Muslim immigration to Europe in the 1970s.
Thus did the Islamist domination of European Muslims have two hidden facilitators, Nazi and American. Its origins in Operation Barbarossa reveal the ugly pedigree of today's Islamist strength. Hitler and his thugs could not have foreseen it, but they helped set the stage for Eurabia. American backing for Islamists prompts Johnson to warn against the futility of allying with the Muslim Brotherhood and its ilk — as Tony Blair once again recently attempted. However tempting, it invariably harms the West. The lesson is simple: Be cognizant of history and do not assist the Islamists. National Review
— Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.
Posted: 25 May 2010 05:12 AM PDT
Tukar tanah KTMB dengan tapak perjudian?
Belum selesai isu judi bola sepak, Datuk Seri Najib Razak telah bersetuju untuk menyerahkan tanah Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) di Singapura kepada syarikat usahasama dan digantikan dengan tanah di kawasan perjudian Singapura iaitu di Marina Bay.
Alasan yang digunakan adalah, tanah ini mungkin akan ditukar ganti dengan tanah yang lebih bernilai dan mudah dimajukan apabila Malaysia dan Singapura menubuhkan sebuah syarikat usaha sama sebelum 31 Disember 2010 ini.
Namun, Marina Bay adalah tapak perjudian yang dijangka menjadi resort perjudian yang terbaik di dunia.
Semalam Perdana Menteri Najib telah menandatangani perjanjian itu dalam retreatnya dengan Perdana Menteri Singapura, Lee Hsien Loong.
Melalui perjanjian itu, Malaysia menyerahkan tanah KTMB itu kepada satu syarikat milik bersama antara Malaysia dan Singapura.
Padahal, sejak sekian lama Malaysia berpendirian, tanah itu adalah milik penuh KTMB kerana ia telah dimiliki syarikat itu sejak Singapura berada dalam Malaysia lagi.
Kedua-dua negara, katanya, bersetuju untuk menubuhkan M-S Pte. Ltd. bagi tujuan membangunkan tanah-tanah milik KTMB di Tanjong Pagar, Kranji, Woodlands dan Bukit Timah di sini.
Najib berkata, Khazanah Nasional Bhd. akan menguasai 60 peratus kepentingan dalam syarikat terbabit manakala baki 40 peratus lagi dimiliki pihak Singapura melalui Temasek Holdings Ltd.
Tanah yang dikatakan bernilai itu adalah di Marina Bay iaitu kawasan yang terletaknya Marina Bay Sands Casino Resort.
"Marina Bay Sands dijangka akan menjadi resort perjudian yang terbaik di dunia," tulis Tom Jones, Staff Editor, CasinoGamblingWeb.com dalam tulisannya 25 April baru-baru ini.
Sementara itu, PAS menyelar tindakan perdana menteri itu yang seolah oleh tidak pernah belajar dari beberapa kesilapan kerajaan berhubung isu penyerahan kawasan dan kedaulatan negara kepada negara luar.
Pengerusi Lajnah Antarabangsa PAS, Dr. Syed Azman Syed Ahmad Nawawi berkata, PAS tetap berpendirian bahawa kesemua tanah KTMB itu adalah hak mutlak Malaysia, dan Singapura tiada hak ke atasnya.
"Kita mempertahan Tanjung Pagar itu dari sudut sejarahnya, faktanya adalah sebahagian hak Malaysia dan tidak boleh dibahagi-bahagi," katanya.
Najib katanya perlu lebih telus dan terbuka menjelaskan kepada rakyat berhubung tujuan di sebalik pemberian 40 peratus kepada Singapura itu.
Ini kerana, rakyat katanya tidak mahu kedaulatan negara terus digadai kepada negara luar seperti apa yang berlaku terhadap dua blok minyak, L dan M yang diserah kepada kerajaan Brunei sehingga merugikan negara.
Malaysia juga jelasnya, telah kecundang dalam menuntut hak kedaulatan ke atas Pulau Batu Putih dan isu pangkalan TLDM Woodlands.
"Kita tidak tahu apa yang Najib deal dengan perdana menteri Singapura dan rakyat tidak mendapat penjelasan lanjut, sepatutnya ia diperhalusi.
"Ini bukan soal hak tanah, tapi soal kedaulatan dan maruah negara," katanya lagi.
Katanya lagi, Najib sewajarnya ingat sejarah Umno melepaskan Singapura yang dahulunya sebahagian dari Malaysia di zaman Tunku Abdul Rahman menjadi perdana menteri ekoran kegagalan menangani krisis dalaman dengan Lee Kwan Yew. - harakahdaily
Posted: 25 May 2010 03:06 AM PDT
Malaysiakini carried an interesting post HERE about TDM's views of politics and corruption. The report said:
Former and current BN leaders have admitted that Umno and MCA have used money in questionable ways during internal and legislative elections, according to a new report on political financing.
I applaud TDM's courage in calling a spade a spade and his brave admissions. However, I believe that it does NOT have to be that way and it MUST NOT be that way either. The culture of corruption has to stop and if politicians have the moral courage and political will to establish a clean government, they have to be honest and true before the Almighty and put to death any corrupt practice once and for all.
Corruption is, in its simplest terms, the abuse of power, most often for personal gain or for the benefit of a group to which one owes allegiance. This act of deceit can be motivated by greed either of one, a few or many, by the desire to retain or increase one's power, or, perversely idealistic enough, by the ludicrous justification that it is done for a supposed greater good.
Click HERE for a more detailed definition from WIKIPEDIA.
Commonly, the layman may confine such acts to politicians or civil servants in that they think of it in terms of abuse of public power found in virtually every sphere of life. Basically, most know and understand the insidious nature of corruption but the main problem is that different people see it differently.
From a sociological viewpoint, corruption has been around, in one form or another, from the earliest days of social organization. However, we must realize that with development, information about corrupt practices is easily available if and when governments are unable to conceal evidence of wrong-doing due to whistle-blowers such as in the case of the Watergate scandal. Besides, we have to acknowledge that the level of public tolerance for corruption has declined due to various social changes.
At the same time, current trends both in the net and MSM provide less fertile ground in which corruption can flourish as the vox populi are ever ready to lambaste such acts. Corruption, however, bears down most heavily upon the poorest sections of society who must ultimately bear the cost of the distortions and deprivations it produces.
One must also bear in mind that in many parts of the world, various degrees of corruption have shown us that there are heads of state, ministers and senior officials for private pecuniary gain by partaking in the misuse of public power by highly placed individuals who exploit their position to extract large bribes from various sources by simply transferring large sums of money from the public treasury into private (usually overseas) bank accounts.
One Swiss banking source has estimated that more then US$420 billion is held in that country's banks by African heads of state alone. (P. McCauslan, 'A New Deal for Africa?' Royal African Society Institute of Commonwealth Studies Conference Corruption in Africa, Institute of Commonwealth Studies (London), November 1993.)
Hedrick Smith in his book "The Power Game.. How Washington Works" (New York: Random House, 1988) stated that cronyism, a term habitually associated with the Third World, is clearly pervasive among political and business elites in the north. In this masterly written account of 'how Washington works', Smith catalogued the multifarious exchanges—federal employment, access to key figures and information, free flights on private jets, holidays overseas, tickets for major sporting events, invitations to dinner with 'big shots' and so on—which constitute the core of 'the power game' in the United States (page 19). Tell me, doesn't Washington sound a little too familiar for Malaysians? If so, can the same thing be done by MACC to compute the dollars and cents of alleged corrupt practices and take necessary action to stem this disease before it becomes an acceptable social practice?
On the home front, Malaysians have taken umbrage to the PKFZ scandal and many other issues. Concerned Malaysians have written about it such as over HERE and HERE and HERE.
This may sound simplistic - I believe that if the amendments are passed to weed out corruption in Malaysia, it will be a step forward for Malaysia if these bear fruit and the government practise what they preach for the rakyat to enjoy the benefits of transparency, integrity, accountability, honesty and other moral values in economic and social terms. But is it so easy to put to death corruption, corrupt politics in any sphere of life and most importantly, the culture of corruption?
Many take umbrage to corruption but we need to look at it at a microscopic level in order to understand why it is so important to lobby so that the government can take the necessary steps to obliterate this terrible disease. Socially and economically, corruption poses a serious development challenge. Politically, it undermines democracy and good governance by flouting or even subverting formal processes. Where elections are concerned, corruption in elections and in legislative bodies reduces accountability and distorts representation in policy making; corruption in the judiciary compromises the rule of law; and corruption in public administration results in the inefficient provision of services. Ultimately, corruption undermines the legitimacy of any government and democratic values such as trust and tolerance.
Economically, corruption retards development by generating considerable distortions and inefficiency - e.g. increases the cost of business through the price of illicit payments themselves, the management cost of negotiating with officials, and the risk of breached agreements or detection. Without sounding corrupt myself, I must acknowledge that some quarters argue that corruption reduces costs by cutting red tape or even inducing officials to contrive new rules and delays. Where business is concerned, corruption distorts reality by protecting firms with connections from competition and thereby sustaining inefficient firms. And who pays the price for all this? Citizens via taxes!
Worse still, if corruption exists, economic distortions in the public sector could occur if public investment are diverted into capital projects where bribes and kickbacks are more plentiful. Officials may increase the technical complexity of public sector projects to conceal or pave way for such dealings, thus further distorting investment. Corruption also lowers compliance with construction, environmental, or other regulations, reduces the quality of government services and infrastructure, and increases budgetary pressures on government. Remember the Sichuan earthquake in China where so many innocent children perished due to poor building standards stemming from corrupt practices?
So what is the point that I am trying to make? Simple.
Steps must be taken to weed out corruption at EVERY LEVEL in EVERY STATE without fear or favor and at turbo speed, instead of the current laid-back speed. So, will such a move restore or strengthen people's confidence in the current regime? Only if they are SERIOUS, SINCERE and SINGLE-HEARTED in that mission to step up in order to stamp out corruption in every form, every place and of any magnitude. Otherwise, one may look at such manoeuvres as feeble attempts to gain lost ground from the Opposition. In fact, BOTH the status quo AND the Opposition must play their roles to deal with this vilest form of 'contamination' before the cancer spreads to the young.
Politicians MUST put to death the culture of corruption and take a very committed look to understand and to deal with the politics of corruption - if not, we may witness the corruption of politics! Perhaps we already have! Money should not be the fuel to influence voting in any way. Money should only be used to drive projects that bring benefit to the rakyat and not to anyone else!
At the same time, citizens must play their roles to be courageous whistle-blowers or to participate in watchdog organizations to submit practical steps or evidence to deal with the problem. So, it is a mission not just for BN, not just for the Opposition - but one mission for everyone FOR MALAYSIA!!! The question that remains is, are we ready to do all that or is it all talk and no action or window dressing or cosmetic surgery to make things look better than what it is? Only God knows! May God bless Malaysia as we traverse far and near on this nation-building journey.
Highly recommended for further reading: POLITICAL CORRUPTION
Have a nice day!
Posted: 25 May 2010 02:50 AM PDT
Call him a nationalist, a chauvinist or anything. What this former Cabinet minister and Umno veteran wrote here demands us to reconsider our political atmosphere, our unity and of course, our 1Malaysia. Datuk Najib, Muhyiddin, Soi Lek, Samy Vellu, Kit Siang, Anwar and others should read this piece - about next general elections, the future of the Malays and Malaysians and how national unity will be at stake if we take things for granted.
He reminds us about the possible status confrontation we might possibly face during the next PRU, the attitude of the Malaysian Chinese towards the government and how Umno leaders are facing conflict of detente in wooing back the support of the Malays, including its members.
"...Seorang bekas Timbalan Perdana Menteri telah menjanjikan Islam sebagai wadah perjuangan sebelum beliau menjadi Menteri sehingga beliau begitu popular dan dipilih menjadi pemimpin di peringkat atasan. Apabila beliau memegang jawatan sebagai Menteri Kewangan beliau menjanjikan pula kekayaan dan kemewahan kepada penyokong-penyokongnya. Ternyata wang lebih popular dari agama sebagai hadiah untuk mendapat sokongan. Apabila ditakdirkan hilang kuasanya sebagai Timbalan Perdana Menteri beliau terpaksa merobah janjinya untuk memperjuangkan keadilan untuk rakyat jelata. Keadilan yang mempunyai berbagai wajah ini pula ditafsirkan oleh yang bukan Melayu dan Bumiputra sebagai usaha menghapuskan hak dan keistimewaan orang-orang Melayu dan Islam..."
"... Sudah terlalu ramai pula dari kaum China yang bangga dengan ke Chinaannya, tetapi anti sikap 'racist' yang ada pada Melayu, turut marah jika diingatkan sifat imigran yang ada padanya, tetapi lupa untuk berterima kasih kepada pemimpin mereka yang terdahulu seperti Tun Tan Siew Sin dan Tun Sambanthan yang tidak lupa berterima kasih kepada pemimpin Melayu yang dengan rela dan senang hati menerima nenek moyang imigran mereka untuk menjadi rakan senegera dengan pemberian kerakyatan..."
As usual, readers have different comments. one of whom suggested that its time for the Malays to start eating pork in order to advance their status like the Chinese and Japanese.
"... Maybe as suggested, the malays should copy the Chinese and start eating pork to improve themselves overall. Obviously, not eating pork hasn't helped them to advance.."
Not with any bad intention, I guess. Sanusi was focusing more on the plight of the Malay politics and how their leaders have failed them in so many aspects. I reserve my comment.
Posted: 25 May 2010 02:25 AM PDT
Forum : Sibu by-election:
Objectives: to learn positive lessons for democracy from the Sibu by-elections from the experiences of those who have been there or are doing work related to Sibu by-election. Perspectives included are: political party, election observers, media and legal.
Date: May 30th (Sunday)
Enq. 013-5900339(Ong BK), Yi Chan (019-4150331)
All welcome! Please forward to all your friends!
Ong Boon Keong (MALVU)
Posted: 25 May 2010 02:16 AM PDT
Khairy tamat latihan askar wataniah
Ketua Pemuda Umno Khairy Jamaluddin hari ini menamatkan latihan sebagai askar Wataniah selepas menjalani latihan ketenteraan selama sebulan di sekitar Negeri Sembilan dan Johor.
Menurut Khairy, penyertaannya dalam pasukan simpanan tentera darat itu semata-mata untuk berkhidmat kepada negara dan bukan disebabkan dorongan politik.
Bercakap kepada pemberita selepas lulus sebagai askar Wataniah dalam majlis perbarisan Tamat Kursus Asas Perajurit Muda Siri 1/2010 Rejimen 508 Askar Wataniah, Khairy berkata beliau mempelajari banyak perkara semasa dalam latihan itu dan berharap dapat menarik golongan muda tanpa mengira fahaman politik untuk menyertai askar Wataniah.
Turut hadir menyaksikan Khairy dan seramai 87 orang dalam skuadnya berbaris ialah mentuanya Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi dan Tun Jeanne Abdullah.
Khairy berkata walaupun sebelum ini beliau ditawarkan untuk mendapat pangkat Mejar Kehormat (tanpa proses latihan) tetapi berpendapat sebagai orang muda dan mempunyai sedikit stamina, beliau mahu menyertai Wataniah dan turut menjalani latihan tentera.
Posted: 24 May 2010 11:36 AM PDT
My family attended an eight-course Chinese dinner function at the Stone Bay Restaurant on the island recently. Although we enjoyed the food, I can't say that it was really very good. The Starview Restaurant at the New World Park is better. Anyway, the piece de resistance at the dinner was this very first course - a double-boiled soup course - containing delicacies that only we Chinese can really appreciate, such as scallops, fish maw, abalone and many others. I think it's called Nine Treasures. I overheard a passing comment that this soup dish alone cost RM300. Wow....
Posted: 25 May 2010 12:22 AM PDT
I am so excited!!! I just cannot contain my excitement and I have been so hyper ever since I came home. Earlier, I had lunch with my old friend Patrick Tan and then I headed to a music store to service one of my guitars and to restring it plus buy a new case.
Originally, I wanted to get another acoustic guitar and had selected Custom Acoustic FG28E Dreadnought which comes with a build-in pickup tuner and equalizer and had also selected an amplifier to go with it.
Just as I was about to leave the store, I casually asked to see their range of saxophones. I had always longed to learn a brass instrument. So the proprietor showed me an alto saxophone and then a soprano saxophone. He said that I should get a soprano sax but I don't like the sound and in my heart opted for the alto saxophone.
Mr. Lim was kind enough to make introduce a teacher and I drove immediately to the music school and spoke to the owner and after that to the instructor!!!
I am so so so so excited!!! I will be starting my lessons next week and Ican't believe that at my age I am going to be a music student again. I play the piano and guitar and was a disaster at the flute so I hope my saxophone classes will be ok. Years ago, I gave keyboard and guitar lessons and composed lots of music, one of which has been recorded in an album (blogged about it last year) and I am trying to get in touch with a few music publishers to sell my music :-).
So I hope this new foray in the world of brass marks a rejuvenation of my musical roots! I think some of you may not know that if I could do it again, I would choose to be a musician and then a writer :-)....the bohemian mws emerges today.
Of course I will not give up blogging. Never will.....:-) This post is an outlet to release my excitement and exuberance because I have always wanted to learn how to play the saxophone, thanks to Kenny G etc. My sons are also very musical. My older boy, a final year contemporary music student in university is in the semi-finals of a talent competition this weekend and I am also so excited about that.
Ok. That's all for now. If you are in Penang, please head to the Chinese Town Hall tonight @ 8pm for a forum on the Sibu by-election. Penang CM, Tunku Aziz, Dr. Dzulkefly and many others will be there. Next post will be up in two to three hours after I finish surfing the net. Have a nice day!
Posted: 25 May 2010 12:24 AM PDT
I find that "giving face" tends to oil the gears of public interactions rather than gritting them up.
My experience is that a humble attitude, a gentle voice and a grateful smile does wonders for the service received.
Whether it is with shopkeepers, clerks or policemen, an arrogant or confrontational attitude only invites conflicts and unnecessary hurdles, even though you know you are in the right.
This has been especially apparent in government offices.
I have witnessed clients loudly demanding to be served and the staff responding with indifference.
By contrast, I get pleasant smiles and quick service when I act politely and humbly – perhaps because it is such a surprising change from the rudeness the staff encounter on a daily basis.
Read all _ Nothing to gain by being arrogant to others
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