Saturday, March 3, 2012

Always In My Heart

Always In My Heart

Always In My Heart

Posted: 03 Mar 2012 09:32 AM PST

Personally, I treasure friendship and believe one must make an effort to keep friendships strong unless the other party retreats for whatever reasons known to them. Yet, I do not think of them unkindly but instead, treasure the moments shared in the past and still keep a place in my heart for those individuals. If ties are renewed, good. If not, still I would remember them fondly and not think the worst of them.

I have had a few painful experiences in my life on those rare occasions when I did open up to certain individuals. Contrary to what some may think, I am not an extrovert. It is VERY difficult for me to open up to people to reveal who I am. Few in this world really know me. It is different when blogging because behind the computer screen, I am just words to the reader. However, those who have read my blog long enough would be able to understand what sort of person I am.

Having being hurt many times in the past, I have been very cautious in developing friendships with people. There are acquaintances, friends and then there are true friends. And it is utterly painful when after a period of time when the friendship has developed, due to some misunderstanding the cord is broken.

In the last three years during my 'hibernation' period whereby I have been most hesitant in opening up to people, meeting people or even going for public meetings, it has happened to me three times. Looking back, I do admit even though it still hurts, I miss them. :-( I miss the connection, the exchange and the times shared.

It is too painful to talk about it but the hurt, pain and disappointment will always be there. Yet, the memories of the times shared, exchange of ideas etc will always be there. Sometimes, one cannot explain the chemistry in a friendship when two persons can just talk and talk for hours over a variety of topics and be able to relate with each other in ways that we cannot with others.

On one occasion, we actually talked for seven hours and I kid you not. On another occasion, we talked for five hours non-stop. And one stupid question related to membership was all it took for that person to withdraw and the cold wall was slowly built. I did apologise and tried to mend the walls but alas, due to differences in perspectives, that person shut out not just me, but the rest of us. It has been two years since we last spoke. The last conversation was in December 2009 during which every single response given was 'No', 'No' and 'No'. I never called again. We all do not know the reason for the withdrawal but I hope one day, there will be some form of reconciliation. I never sent that person the poem I wrote about our friendship. :-(

The second person is someone whom I have never met in the real world. All I knew was the pseudonym and that person wrote to me and encouraged me during the worst times of my life. I don't think I would have survived without the support, advice, wisdom  and even scientific knowledge breathed into my life then. One day, out of the blue, I received an email saying that the whole family was migrating and that was it. For the last two years, I still send emails to touch base but alas, no response. Still, I will be forever grateful for the connection and will always treasure all the emails shared.

I wrote the following poem and sent it to that mysterious person who was such a pillar of strength for a year. I always wondered if the two were the same person. I guess I will never know.


Like a cool summer's breeze you drifted one day into my life,
In the midst of all my anguish, pain, tears and strife.

From then till now I know not your identity,
Who you are remains a baffling mystery.

Trying relentlessly to discover your name,
Has been such an endless puzzling game.

How I wish had your telephone number,
I'd call you instead of writing this in my state of slumber.

Through the months your mails have breathed into me,
Hope, Faith and Confidence into this worrisome lady.

There were times when thoughts of you filled me with fear,
And yet strangely, it's with you I shared my fears and tears.

Then, suspicion had clouded my complex and perplexed mind,
For I did not realize your sincerity till later as I was blind.

And then one day when the clouds finally drifted away,
In my heart I hope you'll be a friend who'll stay.

The path to self-discovery has truly not been easy,
It has been one wrought with so much pain and misery.

From a mystery to an enigma and now a faceless friend,
I know I can share with you my deepest feelings and rant.

So much value and kindness you have added to my life,
Without your friendship and support, I doubt I would have survived.

If ever you choose to exit from my life,
I want you to know, that disappointment I'll never survive.

I cannot understand the 'how and why' of this connection,
I hope one day, you will provide a clear revelation.

And so in this simple rhyme of mine,
I wish you love, happiness and joy sublime.

A lifetime of sharing, caring and a friendship with you,
Is all I ask and hope from you.

~written by Masterwordsmith~
    26th February 2009

I still read those emails shared with those lost friends now and then. It hurts, even now. I will never know why but I guess they were my friends for a reason, for a season.  Just when I thought I would never open up to any other person, this person came along and the connection has been a slow one and we could exchange much thoughts and perspectives but just when I could develop trust and thought I had found a good friend, changes came like the British weather. Sometimes the sun blazed brightly and suddenly, winter strikes. Enough said. Too painful. All three experiences hurt in different ways and intensity.

I think the most hurtful part of any friendship is silence. Whatever it is, it takes both parties to maintain a friendship and I pray for the day when things will be normal again. I leave the door open for that day to come because I believe for true friends, we can just pick up from where we left off. Even if that day does not come, they will always have a place in my heart. And yes, I do miss them. Very much. Regardless, I am thankful for those friends who have been with me through the years, through thick and thin, .

Anyway, pardon the midnight rants of a sentimental old lady...Here's a video of the famous poem below. You can watch it AT THIS LINK.

Reason, Season, or Lifetime

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.

When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.

They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.

They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.

Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.

What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.

They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.


And if any one of them is reading this post, THIS SONG IS FOR YOU.

'Misi Damai' Kedah Masih Bersidang

Posted: 03 Mar 2012 09:43 AM PST

ALOR SETAR - Pertemuan khas misi damai yang disertai barisan Jawatankuasa Kerja Pas Pusat dan Badan Perhubungan Negeri bagi menyelesaikan kemelut kepimpinan parti peringkat negeri Kedah sedang berlangsung di kediaman rasmi Menteri Besar di Seri Mentaloon di sini.

Setakat ini, pertemuan itu sudah lebih dua jam berlangsung.

Bagaimanapun pertemuan bersejarah ini, menurut pemerhati dan penganalisis tidak mungkin akan membawa kepada penyelesaian muktamad malam ini.

Antara pemimpin Pas Pusat yang dilihat hadir awal ialah Timbalan Presiden Mohamad Sabu dan dua Naib Presiden iaitu Salahuddin Ayub dan Datuk Mahfuz Omar.

Pertemuan malam ini dipengerusikan oleh Presiden Pas, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, yang hanya tiba di kediaman Menteri Besar sekitar jam 9.45 malam.

Sinar Harian difahamkan perbincangan hanya bermula sekitar jam 10 malam, lewat sejam berbanding maklumat sebelum ini.

Keperluan mengadakan pertemuan malam ini diputuskan pada mesyuarat khas Jawatankuasa Kerja Pas Pusat yang diadakan di ibu negara, malam kelmarin susulan kunjungan misi khas oleh Salahuddin ke Kedah awal minggu ini.

Sementara pemimpin negeri yang kelihatan di kediaman rasmi Menteri Besar ialah Exco Abang Ghani Ahmad dan Datuk Ir Amiruddin Hamzah.

Datuk Ir Phahrolrazi Zawawi yang menjadi fokus kontroversi semasa apabila menolak tawaran untuk dilantik semula sebagai Exco juga kelihatan di kediaman rasmi Menteri Besar.

Bagaimanapun seorang lagi Exco yang turut menolak tawaran pelantikan semula, Dr Ismail Salleh tidak kelihatan setakat 9 malam tadi.

Phahrolrazi dan Dr Ismail masing-masing merupakan Timbalan Pesuruhjaya Pas Negeri I dan II. Azizan adalah Pesuruhjaya Pas Negeri.

Pihak media tidak dibenarkan masuk ke premis kediaman rasmi Menteri Besar, sebaliknya hanya dibenarkan berkumpul di depan pintu masuk utama. Maklumat awal mengatakan tidak akan ada sidang media apabila pertemuan khas malam ini selesai, dijangka akan berlarutan sehingga tengah malam.

Tinjauan Sinar Harian mendapati setiap kenderaan yang masuk ke premis kediaman rasmi Menteri Besar diperiksa rapi dengan hanya mereka yang berkaitan sahaja dibenarkan masuk.

Sinar Harian juga difahamkan dua pemeriksaan perlu dilalui setiap kenderaan yang masuk ke pekarangan kediaman rasmi Menteri Besar.

Mereka sekali lagi diperiksa sebelum masuk ke dalam dewan mesyuarat.

Malah ada sumber memberitahu bahawa kesemua pemimpin tidak dibenarkan membawa masuk alat perakam termasuk telefon bimbit ke dalam bilik mesyuarat bagi mengelak perbincangan disebarkan kepada umum. -SH

Ulasan GB

Belum dapat dikemaskinikan dengan sempurna. Setakat jam 12.00 mlm laporan rasmi belum dikeluarkan lagi. InsyaAllah esok pagi.

Union is strength !! Together Rakyat can bury BN! ;)

Posted: 03 Mar 2012 07:12 AM PST

Najib Minta Maaf Tetapi Terus Caci Parti Lawan

Posted: 03 Mar 2012 06:57 AM PST

Najib Minta Maaf Atas Kesilapan Lalu BN

BALING: Barisan Nasional (BN) akan memperbetulkan kesilapan lalu sehingga kalah banyak kerusi dan beberapa negeri termasuk Kedah dalam pilihan raya umum 2008, kata Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Untuk itu, Perdana Menteri berkata beliau memohon maaf bagi pihak BN atas kesilapan itu tetapi berjanji akan membetulkannya dengan memberikan perkhidmatan terbaik kepada rakyat.

Katanya jika pengundi menolak BN seperti di Kedah, sedikit sebanyak adalah kerana BN telah membuat kesilapan.

"Pada saya kita jangan angkuh dan bongkak. Sebab kita mesti tunduk kepada kuasa rakyat dalam demokrasi berparlimen. Kalau rakyat tolak BN dulu mesti ada kesilapan kita.

"Kita minta maaf atas kesilapan kita dulu. Yang menang minta maaf yang kalah pun minta maaf," katanya pada Perjumpaan Bersama Rakyat di Padang Awam, Kuala Ketil, dekat sini, Sabtu.

Perdana Menteri berkata BN akan belajar dan bangkit semula daripada kesilapan itu.

"Daripada runtuhan BN di Kedah kita akan bangkit dan bina mahligai yang kukuh dan kuat. Itu azam kita. kita berazam bahawa kita sudah mempelajari daripada kesilapan kita. Kita beri perakuan, akujanji kepada rakyat bahawa akan datang kita akan laksanakan perkhidmatan yang cukup baik kepada rakyat.

"Yang dulu jadi sempadan jangan dibangkit-bangkit lagi...kita janjikan perubahan untuk rakyat Malaysia dan Kedah. Perjalanan sudah bermula," katanya.

Beliau berkata hanya BN sahaja yang dapat memberikan masa depan yang lebih baik kepada rakyat.

"Kita ada perancangan yang jelas, kita ada agenda yang tersusun rapi, kita ada peta jalan, kita ada fakta dan ada angka.

Perangkaan yang cukup lengkap untuk memacu perubahan, membawa negara ke arah wawasan menobatkan negara sebagai negara maju berpendapatan tinggi. Ini bukan macam Buku Jingga," katanya.

Najib berkata kerajaan mahu memberi isyarat dan gambaran jelas bahawa kerajaan sudah hampir untuk melakukan transfomasi perubahan yang memberi banyak manfaat kepada rakyat.

Antara yang hadir sama pada majlis itu ialah Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom dan Pengerusi Badan Perhubungan UMNO Negeri Kedah Datuk Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah.- BERNAMA

'Parti Asyik Serabut' Sering Menyusahkan Rakyat - Najib

BALING: Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak berkata PAS kini menjadi 'Parti Asyik Serabut' yang sering menyusahkan rakyat kerana pemimpinnya kerap mengeluarkan kenyataan yang bercanggah.

Katanya beliau sendiri tidak faham dengan hala tuju perjuangan parti berkenaan dan sering menyerabutkan pemikiran rakyat.

"Mula-mula dia kata negara Islam, kemudian negara berkebajikan dan kata bukan Melayu boleh jadi Timbalan Presiden, tapi Musyidul Am kata tidak boleh. Banyak menyusahkan rakyat, banyak bagi serabut," katanya ketika berucap pada Majlis Perjumpaan Bersama Rakyat di Padang Awam Kuala Ketil, dekat, sini Sabtu.

Katanya dalam isu PAS di Kedah di mana dua Exco tidak mahu dilantik semula, kemelut yang tidak selesai telah menyusahkan rakyat Kedah.

Beliau berkata Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) pula banyak menimbulkan masalah serta membuat kenyataan tidak tentu arah dan menyifatkannya sebagai "Parti Kalut dan Ribut".

"Masalah video tak selesai, masalah Jabatan Agama Islam Pahang pun tak selesai... DAP pula 'Depa Ambil Peluang', dia cari peluang saja, kalau nak masa depan terjamin lebih senang sokong Barisan Nasional (BN)," katanya.

"Kita (BN) tak pernah lari daripada prinsip perjuangan kita... BN parti yang boleh diharapkan," katanya.

"Bagaimanapun saya lihat kini sudah ada perubahan termasuk di Kedah...angin kencang menjurus kepada perubahan. InsyaAllah kita akan buat perubahan besar kepada negeri Kedah," katanya. - BERNAMA

Ulasan GB

Apa jenis manusia bernama Najib ini?

Minta maaf kepada rakyat di atas kesilapan BN yang lampaum tapi mencaci PAS sebagai Parti Asyik Serabut, PKR sebagai Parti Kalut & Ribut dan DAP sebagai Depa Ambil peluang, sedangkan rakyatlah yang memilih Pakatan Rakyat mengganti BN di kedah, Pulau Pinang, Kelantan dan Selangor.

Ia melambangkan hipokrisi Najib sendiri, menunjukkan ketidak-ikhlasan beliau sendiri meminta maaf kepada rakyat kerana mencaci dan menghina parti-parti yang rakyat sendiri telah pilih untuk gantikan BN di pilihanraya yang lalu.

Dahulu anda tuduh pihak parti lawan anda suka mencaci. Sekarang terbukti siapa sebenarnya yang kuat mencaci.

Apa yang dilakukan oleh Najib tak pernah dilakukan ayahnya Tun Abdul Razak. betapa dasyat dan rendahnya moral Najib yang terdesak.

Teruskan caci - kerana apa yang anda beri akan kembali kepada diri anda sendiri, itu Hukum Kebenaran dan Keadilan.

p/s pasal kes lembu, pasal belanja melampau Rosmah, pasal hubungan dagang dengan Israel, pasal Perak, Pasal peretmuan dengan Saiful dan lain-lain bila mau minta maaf?

Is life like a box of chocolate?

Posted: 03 Mar 2012 04:50 AM PST

Forest Gump's mama said "Life is like a box of chocolate, you don't know what you will get" 

Is there true?
Hmmm... To somebody life is like a box of chocolate but to me, i always choose my chocolate and i like chocolate with bittersweet and dark. Please do not label me as racist eh~ Chocolate and Race doesn't gel...

Anyway, I have come to a junction, a junction which i wanna a change but unfortunately I don't have all the controls to the change. Please do not ask me what is the change, let's keep this as low profile at this moment cause my friend told me if i announce it to the whole world and make it high profile, most likely it will not happen.

TZ's mouth zipped...  

Sisa buangan selamat? Buang saja ke Pekan Najib

Posted: 03 Mar 2012 05:00 AM PST

March 02, 2012
One commentor named 'dingy' said it best:
Malaysia is a small country. There is no place to store rare earth waste. Our climate is not suitable as rain may carry radioactive subtace down to the river, thus poluting it. Australia is such a big country and the waste can be dumped at the desert where there is no rainfall.
If Najib wants to convince the people that the waste is harmless, then why not find a place in Pekan. The people of Pekan have trust in Najib so if Najib said it's safe so it must be safe.

Comparing the Unique Characters of 1984, Animal Farm and Burmese Days

Posted: 03 Mar 2012 04:55 AM PST

Source: Comparing the Unique Characters of 1984, Animal Farm and Burmese Days

George Orwell, an alias of Eric Arthur Blair, is know for the books 1984 and Animal Farm. In both of these, as well as in most of his others, he seems to delight in using vivid and wholly believable characters, easily believable because of their obvious and tragic faults. Another similarity seems to be the consistent use of irony, a stylistic choice which plays big in Burmese Days and in several other works. Also, Blair enjoyed placing his characters in situations and settings that were out-of-the- ordinary, constantly reversing or switching roles. It is a mark of talent that he is able to use all of these so effectively, making us believe the unbelievable and accept the incredible at the same time that he makes us emphasize with the characters and see similarities between them and ourselves, long after they were written.

Blair's penchant for extremely well-done characters, entirely believable and understandable, is shown by both his major works as well as his lesser known first fiction piece, Burmese Days. In 1984, the main focus of the story is Winston Smith, an Normal Party member living in the year 1984 except for his dislike of all that the Party stands for and distrust of its message. Of course, these qualities, questioning of authority and subtle disloyalty to unfair persecutors, are considered good by the public today. In the book however, these abilities were destroyed, smothered, and obliterated through careful means, and anyone having them was branded insane, dangerous, and antisocial. Thus, the author creates an immediate bond between us and the suffering main character by showing a little person vs. Big Brother (Blair being the first person to use the word). "The Thought Police would get him just the same. He had committed, even if he had never set pen to paper, the essential crime that contained all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it. Thoughtcrime could not be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for a while, even for years, but sooner or later they ware bound to get you" (Orwell 166).

This passage, particularly the final sentence, slowly builds up the reader's bond with Winston. He is being persecuted for being innocent, for thinking, and this persecution makes him seem all the more likable. The final, and perhaps most interesting part of Winston's development in 1984 is near the end of the novel. The character, who has been anti-Party all along, is given drugs and mental therapy and changes his tune drastically. "O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exiled from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won victory over himself. He loved Big Brother" (Orwell 245).

This final sentence signals a horrific change in Winston's persona one that each and every single one of us would make if tasked with the trials he went through. The final betrayal, inevitable and unavoidable, of everything we care about to save ourselves. Blair showed us the best and worst of people in 1984, the good ending up as evil as the rest, and the evil becoming indistinguishable from ourselves.

In Animal Farm, Blair achieves much the same effect. By using animals to represent human beings, he forces us to see ourselves without our self-imposed superiority and delusional sense of indifference to the animals (Reilly 88). The animals in the book display a cross-section of the world as a whole, with strong workers as Boxer the horse the naive and persecuted genius in Snowball, and the dominating egotistical role of Napoleon. The final words of this book also say it best: "No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which" (Orwell 128). In this closing paragraph, Orwell reveals the pigs, the smartest and cruelest of the animal bunch, as what they really are: no better or worse than the men they had become.

One is led to like and then pity the main character in Burmese Days, who is a white man that insists he is no better than the Indians which are widely and severely brutalized and forced into slavery. For this, he is considered to us a good man, but to the society he lived in an awful and strange one. And in the end, after making a somewhat pathetic attempt to help an Indian friend and losing a lovely but horribly ignorant girlfriend, he kills his dog then himself, opting for the easy way out of his troubles. "She crouched down and whined for forgiveness. It hurt him to hear it. "Come on old girl! Dear old Flo! Master wouldn't hurt you. Come here!" She crawled very slowly to his feet, flat on her belly, whining, her head down as though afraid to look at him. When she was a yard away he fired, blowing her skull to fragments" (Orwell 226).

The line "Master wouldn't hurt you." shows all the pain, the lies, the suffering we must go through and really brings home the point- we are not infallible, we are not perfect, we tend to destroy that which we love the most (Thomas 131).

In all of his works, Blair makes good use of irony, invoking it any way he can find it seems. Of course, both the characters actions and the setting of the stories are themselves ironic, but they are separate from the tragic irony the permeates his works. Blair seems to be fond of making situations as ironic as possible. In his book, evil usually wins and good perishes or becomes indistinguishable from the evil, entirely smashing expectations. In 1984 especially, every person and object and idea in the fictional world seems to have a manifestation in our own (Thomas 98). The Thought Police and Big Brother are similar to the CIA/NSA/FBI, and the telescreens seem a oddly recognizable mix of camera and TV. The female referred to in the passages is the main character's love, also a secret Party-hater, but ignorant and unconcerned about truth and other such abstract concepts. "Often she was able to accept the official mythology, simply because the difference between truth and falsehood did not seem important to her" (Orwell 185). Another example is "Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every pictures has been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed, every date has been altered" (Orwell 163).

These terrible quotes seem to be a parallel to our own world of translations and interpretations and reissuings and transformations. Indeed, the incredible similarities between the made-up Oceania of 1984 and our own, current, "real" 1997 seen shocking.

Another example of irony is that of the comparison between the fat, pink pigs and the human race in Animal Farm. The names of characters, too, seem ironic, with Napoleon being an obvious connection. And the use of "comrade" in both 1984 and Animal Farm in place of the word "friend" suggests a subtle distinction between a true friend, nonexistent, and the almost-pal "comrade". "The Seven Commandments: Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend. No animal shall wear clothes. No animal shall sleep in a bad. No animal shall drink alcohol. No animal shall kill any other. All animals are equal" (Orwell 33).

These rules of Animal Farm are an unsettling twist on the ten commandments, as well as the Constitution. When the pigs break every one of them, they rewrite them to please, being the smartest of all the inhabitants. Other animals, most of them illiterate, are satisfied by the pigs' explanations and excuses, while the pigs walk on two legs, become greedy and fat, drink and produce liquor, sleep in beds, and other sacrilegious human behaviors. And the last Commandment- "All animals are equal", becomes the now infamous and ingenious line "All animals are equal…but some are more equal than others."

A further example of irony in Animal Farm is the contrast between the animal's rousing songs, the first of which stood for the unity and friendship of the animals, the other of which was created by Napoleon for self-serving and egotistical purposes.

Soon or late the day is coming, Tyrant Man shall be o'erthrown
And the fruitful field of England shall be trod by beasts alone.
Rings shall vanish from our noses, and the harness from our back,
Bit and spur shall rust forever, cruel whips no more shall crack.
Riches more than mind can picture, wheat and barley, oats and hay,
Clover, beans, and magel-wurzels, shall be ours upon that day.
For that day we all must labor, though we die before it break,
Cows and horses, geese and turkeys, all must toil for freedom's sake (Orwell 23).

Thou are the giver of all that creatures love,
Full belly twice a day, clean straw to roll upon,
Every beast great or small, sleeps at peace in his stall,
Thou watchest over all,
Comrade Napoleon!
Had I grown a suckling-pig, ere he had ever grown as big,
Even as a pint bottle or rolling pin,
He should have learned to be, faithful and true to thee,
Yes, his first squeak should be
"Comrade Napoleon!" (Orwell 91).

Notice the patriotic sound of the first song, the all for one and one for all feel, with the second being a clear "Ode to Napoleon" forced upon the other animals as a bow to their dominating and self-appointed lead and his hog associates.

Blair used setting to create a distance from reality while making the fiction seem similar enough to be believable (Lee 109). By creating or placing characters in different states, such as in the future or replaced by animals, the author underlines and emphasizes the points he is trying to make by transferring certain characteristics into the situation and changing, almost beyond recognition, the surrounding circumstances, names, and other features (Lee 113).

As shown in 1984, the core human natures and political philosophies are still in place, but the world is quite different from the world Blair knew. "They were the homes of the four ministries between which the entire apparatus of government was divided: the Ministry of Truth, which concerned itself with news; the Ministry of Peace, which concerned itself with War; the Ministry of Love, which maintained law and order; an the Ministry of Plenty, which was responsible for economic affairs. Their names, in Newspeak Minitrue, Minipax, Miniluv, and Miniplenty" (Orwell 8).

Of course, none of these organizations are part of any government that I know of, and Newspeak is not a language (at least not an official one). But the four ironic Ministries, named in direct opposite to what they did, are similar to some our current agencies and bureaus. And Newspeak merely a composite language, created and described by George Orwell as a language with which it is quite near impossible to communicate any unorthodox or rebellious opinions, indeed a language in which most abstract concepts simply cease to exist (Orwell 255).

Again from 1984: "One day a chocolate ration was issued. There had been no such issue for weeks or months past. He remembered quite clearly that precious little morsel of chocolate. It was a two-ounce slab (they still talked about ounces in those days)…"

Chocolate and ounces, rations and issues make the commonplace slightly surreal and connect the imaginary with the existing.

A final example of unsettling setting is in Animal Farm, obviously an impossible creation (or is it?) with it's speaking and very intelligent animals, some able to read and write and convince the others to help overthrown the evil human dictators. "No sentimentality, comrade!" cried Snowball, from whose wounds the blood was still dripping. "War is war. The only good human being is a dead one."

"I have no wish to take life, not even human life," repeated Boxer, and his eyes were full of tears (Orwell 49).

Sound familiar? Replace the words "human being" in Snowball's quote with any number of ethnic or racial names, and you can begin to see the subtle but saddening parallels from Animal Farm to our own twisted world (Edward 74). Boxer, the hardworking but innocent horse, truly wishes he didn't have to behave like such an "animal" and kill another being, if only a mere human. There is more humanity in many of the four-legged friends in Animal Farm than in many of our two-legged ones.

Eric Arthur Blair was an effective writer, using irony, character, and setting effectively and twisting them to be applicable to almost any time period, including this one. The universal message of his books, and his honest but somewhat depressing plot devices and conclusions may not make for the most enjoyable reading. But they are definitely thought-provoking and make us think about the foundations on which we as a species rest–government, religion, et cetera–and wonder about our nature and place in the scheme of things (Lee 77). And his works certainly cause a one to wonder if we or our world are any better that the tragically flawed persons and places presented. Hopefully, 1984 will never become reality, and we will continue to question authority, to think for ourselves, and to act in contrast to the pigs.

Eric Arthur Blair, a.k.a. George Orwell, lived a fascinating life and traveled throughout the world. He based much of his works on his ideas, political and philosophical, and on his travels and experiences.

For instance, the novel Burmese Days occurs within Burma, birthplace and homeland of Blair, where he discovered the terrible treatment of the native Indians. The book also contains links to his life through the eyes of the main character, a while sympathetic man probably based upon Orwell himself, known for his kindness to the natives in India (Reilly 108).

Another character direct from Blair's life in the same book is a self-centered and selfish soldier, who Blair possibly based upon some of his fellow Imperial Indian Army men, Blair had joined the service, wanting to travel more, and wasn't pleased with the whole experience (Reilly 109).

Animal Farm contained some no-so-obvious connections to Blair's life. The characters are variously based upon composite personalities of country stereotypes, Russia through an Englishman's eyes and vice versa (Reilly 118).

Also, Eric's beliefs were similar to those of the martyr pigs, and he seemed to display himself most through Snowball, an intelligent but impractical pig, and through Major, who told the pigs of a better life and of the oppression they should resist.

However, 1984, Blair's final work and published shortly before he died, seem to most "give away" Orwell (Lee 33). In that work, Orwell discusses his thinly veiled philosophy: that we are all alone (epistemic loneliness), and that human nature is to kill each other and ourselves, destroy everything we care about, and generally be pretty poor examples.

Eric must have been depressed writing the novel, seeing the misery we were putting our world through, and viewing the disguises of politics and religion as they gave us false hopes and crushed individuality. His fight against the oppressive Franco in the POUM is paralleled in Winston's flee from the likewise oppressive Party and their restrictive ideologies (Reilly 122).

1984 also contains Blair's ideas on religion and politics, basically that they were just illusions at best, responsible for much death and destruction as well as the constant regression we face as a world. Angered at anyone who dismissed his books as impossible or "nice little novel", and equally as distraught by the massive amount of organizations, groups, militias, countries and people who proudly proclaimed vindication and support by Blair by confusing and misinterpreting his message, the author was willing to pass up a substantial offer by the Book of the Month Club to publish 1984, in favor of finding a publisher who would send it out complete and unedited. The Club rethought their original offer, having previously threatened to take out the section about the Underground Brotherhood manual as well as the Guide to Newspeak at the end, and the book was published in it's original form.

Eric Arthur Blair drew upon a wide variety of people he met and places he visited in creating his books. The ideas and quotes from his made-up characters are uniquely Orwell, and the settings of his earlier nonfiction works are completely drawn from his life as a dishwasher, bum, and poor writer. Although he may not have found all of his characters in his life, many were inspired by normal people who interested the author and attempted to portray them accurately.

Works Cited and Consulted
Lee, Robert A. Orwell's Fiction. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1968.
Orwell, George. 1984. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1949.
Orwell, George. Animal Farm. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1946.
Orwell, George. Burmese Days. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1934.
Thomas, Edward. Orwell. Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1965.

The Infidel (1 hour 39 minutes)

Posted: 03 Mar 2012 04:44 AM PST

Sometimes the best way to approach an inflammatory or scary subject — death, for instance, or corporate malfeasance — is through humor. That is what "The Infidel," an amusing little film from Britain, does with one of the touchiest subjects of them all, the animosity between Jews and Muslims.

Omid Djalili has a fine time playing Mahmud, a moderate Muslim in England who discovers while cleaning out his recently deceased mother's house that he was adopted and was born to Jewish parents. The revelation comes at the worst possible time: Mahmud's son is trying to impress a radical Muslim cleric who happens to be the stepfather of his fiancée. Mr. Djalili is delightful as he sneaks behind his family's back, trying to learn what being Jewish is all about. He pairs nicely with Richard Schiff, playing an American Jew who helps him.

The humor in David Baddiel's script isn't particularly caustic — "South Park" need not fear this competition — and the film cops out with an improbable ending, rather than making a statement. But the director, Josh Appignanesi, has a nice sense of comic timing, slipping in some of the best jokes when you least expect them. And Mr. Djalili manages to make his foul-mouthed character — goodness, those moderate Muslims curse a lot — an object of sympathy, essential for pulling off this type of tale.

THE INFIDEL Opens on Wednesday in Manhattan. Directed by Josh Appignanesi; written by David Baddiel; director of photography, Natasha Braier; edited by Kim Gaster; music by Erran Baron Cohen; production designer, Erik Rehl; costumes by Marianne Agertoft; produced by Arvind Ethan David, Uzma Hasan and Stewart le Marechal; released by Tribeca Film. At the Tribeca Cinemas, 54 Varick Street, at Laight Street. Running time: 1 hour 45 minutes. This film is not rated.WITH: Omid Djalili (Mahmud), Richard Schiff (Lenny), Archie Panjabi (Saamiya), Amit Shah (Rashid), Igal Naor (Arshad) and Mina Anwar (Muna). New York Times

Laporan SPRM Terhadap Datuk Hafarizam Dan Tun Zaki

Posted: 03 Mar 2012 05:25 AM PST

Rampasan kuasa yang berlaku di Negeri Perak dilakukan dengan penglibatan pelbagai agensi kerajaan yang telah diperkudakan untuk kepentingan politik Barisan Nasional. Sistem Demokrasi tidak dihormati dan keluruhan perlembagan negara juga telah dicemari.

Dewan Negeri Perak yang mulia juga telah diceroboh oleh pihak polis dan samseng diatas arahan yang diberikan oleh Barisan Nasional.

Krisis Negeri Perak hanya boleh diselesaikan oleh pihak legislatif yang dipilih oleh rakyat melalui pilihanraya. Tetapi pihak eksekutif telah campurtangan dalam isu dewan perundangan untuk menjatuhkan kerajaan yang diberi mandat oleh rakyat. Tambahan pula pihak eksekutif telah memperalatkan mahkamah untuk kepentingan mereka. Mahkamah merupakan platfom terakhir kepada rakyat Malaysia untuk menuntut keadilan. Setiap warga negara mengharapkan keadilan yang suci daripada pihak mahkamah. Mahkamah tidak boleh dipengaruhi oleh mana-mana pihak. Mahkamah harus memberi pengadilan kepada pihak-pihak yang terlibat mengikut lunas undang-undang dan perlembagan negara.

Apa akan berlaku jika pihak mahkamah itu sendiri tidak boleh memberi pengadilan yang sebenar kerana dipengaruhi oleh faktor-faktor lain?

Terdapat beberapa kes penting di negeri Perak. Antaranya ialah kes Dato Seri Nizar vs Dato Seri Zambry, V.Sivakumar vs Dato R.Ganesan, V.Sivakumar vs Jamaludin, Osman & Hee Yit Foong, V.Sivakumar vs SPR, V.Sivakumar vs Zambry & EXCO. Pakatan Rakyat kalah dalam semua kes-kes di atas walaupun banyak kes-kes sebelum ini dan undang-undang negara lebih mirip dan condong kearah Pakatan Rakyat. Kenapa ini boleh berlaku? Kenapa pihak mahkamah kabur melihat undang-undang dan sanggup memberi keputusan berpihak kepada Barisan Nasional? Jawapan untuk soalan-soalan ini akan diperjelaskan satu per satu.

Peguam untuk Barisan Nasional ialah penasihat undang-undang UMNO iaitu Datuk Hafarizam Harun. Ketua Hakim Negara pada masa itu ialah Tun Zaki Azmi. Kontroversi terbaru timbul ekoran pemberian konsesi bernilai RM2.2 billion Lebuhraya Kinrara- Damansara (Kidex) kepada kedua-dua tokoh ini. Konsesi ini diberikan kepada dua orang tokoh yang terlibat secara lansung dalam menggulingkan kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat Perak. Antara perkara-perkara yang perlu dilihat dan diberi perhatian adalah seperti berikut:

1) Datuk Hafarizam adalah merupakan pengarah 2 buah syarikat yang menerima konsesi tersebut iaitu Emrail Sdn Bhd dan Zabima Engineering Sdn Bhd.

2) Nik Sazlina Mohd Zain, Isteri kepada Tun Zaki pula merupakan pengarah Syarikat Emrail.

3) Peguam UMNO dan Isteri Ketua Hakim Negara merupakan pengarah-pengarah dalam syarikat yang sama diberi konsesi oleh kerajaan yang bernilai RM2.2 billion. Terdapat konflik kepentingan yang jelas dalam perkara ini.

4) Emrail tidak mempunyai rekod dalam pembinaan lebuhraya. Syarikat ini hanya berhasrat menjadi syarikat kejuruteraan Rel Utama di negara dan rantau ini.

5) Apakah sebab tender ini diberikan kepada kedua-dua syarikat ini? Apakah kriteria-kriteria yang telah diguna pakai dalam isu pemberian konsesi ini ? Adakah syarikat-syarikat lain juga dipertimbangkan? Adakah tender terbuka dibuat? Apakah terma-terma konsesi? Apakah kadar tol dan perkongsian keuntungan?

6) Hafarizam sendiri mengaku bahawa syarikat-syarikatnya diserang memandangkan mereka adalah antara sebilangan kecil syarikat Bumiputera yang dianugerahkan projek ini.

7) Raja Petra dalam blognya mendakwa bahawa kerajaan Malaysia mengamalkan kroni dalam menganugerahkan konsesi projek lebuhraya ini.

Laporan dibuat di SPRM Ipoh untuk menyiasat perkara-perkara kontroversial yang ada kena mengena dengan kemelut negeri Perak. Pada dasarnya, pemberian konsesi ini adalah dilihat sebagai habuan untuk penglibatan kedua-dua tokoh ini dalam ramapasan kuasa negeri Perak. -speakforperak

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Do we look like each other?

Posted: 03 Mar 2012 04:07 AM PST

Prelims are halfway here, and I am feeling the heat. But I seem to end up relaxing more than studying.

Anyway, I had came upon some pics online where they combine daughter and mum, son and dad, cousins photos together. As in one side is the daughter, and the other side mummy's face. Put both of them together to compare the facial similarities (and genes).

And here's my low quality photoshopped version of me and my mum!

Her jawlines are slightly lower than mine. But in order to have that overall effect, I decided to play cheat, and did "surgery" for her to bring her jawline up. and yes, in this photo, she too decided to WEAR CONTACTS LIKE ME! (uh actually i just photoshopped it away la! HAHA. =PP)

So, what do you guys think, do we look alike?

p.s. now my skin is no longer like in the photo (took this in 2009). now is my 3rd year in uni and school means stress and with stress, it would leads to ACNE! *facepalm*

someone sponsor me some facial treatment please!

Filed under: Random-ness

Dr Jeyakumar's solitary political journey by Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN, formerly of the Royal Malaysian Navy

Posted: 03 Mar 2012 02:25 AM PST

In the realm of ideas everything depends on enthusiasm... in the real world all rests on perseverance.' - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I approach politics and politicians with great skepticism. In Malaysia, where race and politics are intimately entwined, one quickly learns that race-blind altruism is a commodity in short supply.

Dr Michael Jeyakumar is an anomaly among politicians. He is a recently elected member of parliament who subscribes to an antiquated leftist ideology (at least here in Malaysia), and is routinely demonised by the religious right and scorned by the hardcore capitalists who dominate the mainstream discourse,. Yet, he is someone who has earned the respect of grassroots-level participants from both sides of the political divide.

The real work of serving the people happens far from the corridors of Putrajaya and in Sungai Siput where Jeyakumar in 2008 prevailed over the bellicose S Samy Vellu, president of the MIC. This country doctor and his team of four full-time staff and eight volunteers work in relative obscurity, attempting to forge a new political and social paradigm, one with roots both in grassroots-level activism and macro-level political and social change.

In this interview, which covers a wide range of topics, Jeyakumar provides insight into what it means to stand apart from the political mainstream but still engage with it. Last year, Jeyakumar and other PSM (Parti Sosialis Malaysia) members were detained under the obscene charge of waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong during the height of the build-up to the Bersih 2.0 rally.

This would be a natural start this interview, considering the level of harassment opposition politicians face in this country.

Malaysiakini: Could you elaborate on your experience while in detention?

Jeyakumar: It was rather unpleasant. The powerlessness. Being held in solitary confinement. Being denied all reading material. They even refused to give me a Bible. I was very anxious that our detention was just the prelude to a wider political crackdown and perhaps the banning of the PSM. As the interrogation proceeded, I came to feel that the police were not looking for the truth, but for bits of information that they could then stitch together as a plausible communist-conspiracy story.

It would have been relatively easy for them to release us after the Bersih event or to allow our first habeas corpus application to be upheld. But when they passed over these two opportunities of releasing us without looking like they were flip-flopping, I knew I was looking at a possible two-year stint. That is when I decided to go on the hunger strike. But I had to wait till the family visit so that I could let the outside world know before I started. That was a frustrating 10-day wait as we had no family visits.

What was the level of PSM's involvement during the Perak state government crisis and has the current state government been of any assistance in your work in Sungai Siput?

We enjoyed reasonable access to the Perak state government under YB Nizar (Jamaluddin). It was easy for us to arrange meetings between marginalised sectors and the state exco then. The current state government is of no assistance. The YDP (Yang Dipertua) for Sungai Siput has not given me an appointment to meet despite being asked three times over the past 18 months. Ditto the land officer.

I and all other opposition MPs and Adun (state assemblypersons) are never invited to the Majlis Tindakan Daerah (District Action Committee) meetings that are held monthly ever since the Nizar administration collapsed. Communities facing problems who go to the MB's office are told that they will only get help if they cut ties with me and the PSM.

And what have been the responses of those communities who have been told to cut ties from you and the PSM? Do you find support lagging for your work there?

It depends. Some communities have scolded the BN types who admonished them. Sometimes their overt support for us decreases for a bit, but if their main grievances are not handled by the BN, then it's a matter of time before they come back to us for assistance. So, in this game, timing is crucial. Sometimes we have to give them room to explore the options offered by the other side, and not try to hold them back by threats or "emotional blackmail". But we must maintain contact so that we know when there is a need to mobilise them to protest some blatantly unfair decision of the government.

The Orang Asli are on the whole more timid (generally the poorer the community, the more beholden it is to the BN) and it has been very difficult to do work with them since the collapse of the PR (Pakatan Rakyat) in Perak - despite the bridge in Perje.

But on the whole, support for PSM's work has steadily increased since March 2008 among the Malays, Chinese and Indians, for they can see close up how the PSM works.

In many parts of the country, rejection of BN misrule is what fuels support for the opposition. In Sungai Siput, in addition to this, our work on the ground is a plus point for us.

Could you describe your working relationship with Pakatan and the kind of assistance you get from them, if any?

Working relations are cordial. I think the PR parties at Sungai Siput and Perak levels recognise and are impressed with the kind of work we are doing.

PAS played a big role in the bridge that we built for Kg Perje, the Orang Asli kampung.

Most people would be unfamiliar with the Kg Perje Bridge and the Orang Asli kampong. Could you elaborate on this project and how exactly PSM and PAS worked together?

Kg Perje is an Orang Asli kampung located about 40km from Sungai Siput town. About 20km of that distance is along a logging trail. The 40 families there wanted to repair the existing hanging bridge. My team felt that this would be difficult and proposed that we build a new bridge. At the time of decision, we didn't realise how difficult that would be. The project to build the 150-foot long bridge, mounted on four 24-foot high beams, took 18 months and close to RM80,000 to complete. We had to go in about 20 times to do the work, gotong-royong style.

A PAS leader, who is an engineer, helped us design the bridge and visited the site several times, and supervised the technically difficult step of raising the cables. Several PAS members came in with us on several occasions for the gotong-royong. A PAS member loaned us his cement mixer for a nine-month period. Perak PAS also contributed RM5,000 for the project. It really was a case of biting off more than you should have. But the party members and friends rallied around and completed a project that was far too exacting, given our meagre resources.

But getting it done boosted the morale of the PSM members in Sungai Siput, and provided a very concrete example, showcasing our commitment to help the Orang Asli. We also won the admiration and support of the component members of the Pakatan Rakyat.

Do religious or cultural sensitivities hinder the work you do?

Not too much. All religions have a "socialist" core. Politics does hinder though. Sometimes people are afraid to come and participate as they are afraid that they will be spotted by the BN and then denied the bits of aid that they are getting.

How does the PSM manage to balance the expectations of the diverse communities you represent?

It is not a zero-sum game where we have to deprive one to cater to the needs of the other. The fight of the small vegetable farmers for their rights to hold on to their land does not impinge negatively on the fight of poor Malay farmers being cheated by an Umno-linked company, or on the struggle for urban pioneers to get grants for the plots they have built their houses on.

In fact, our strategy is to try and get them to come together to support one another's demands.

What is the communication process like?

We try to get the different communities together for discussion sessions. This can be difficult because though everyone speaks Malay, the level of proficiency is sometimes not good enough to have a deeper discussion.

The PSM is essentially a grassroots-level political movement. How exactly does it enable the kind of dramatic headline-grabbing changes when lack of resources and manpower means it's best suited for small communities?

I believe that we shouldn't be overly concerned with dramatic headlines and media "spin". The real work that we do will speak eloquently enough, especially with the emergence of the alternative media. And because our class-based, community-centred, civil disobedience approach is now quite unique in the present Malaysian political context, headline "grabbing" moments will develop from time to time.

Being overly focused on spinning the media belies a certain dismissive and even manipulative stance vis-a-vis the rakyat. However, in the past one year, we have got more than our share of "dramatic headlines" though it was more due to the miscalculation of the police than to the success of our own plans.

But dramatic headlines draw attention to social/political causes, like the Bersih movement and Hindraf, for example.

Yes, dramatic headlines do help spread one's cause. And I think that we have had our share in the past four years since March 2008.

1. December 2008 - The bicycle campaign, especially when the CPO (chief police officer) of Selangor arrested the entire northern team in Rawang.

2. Our annual asset declaration ritual.

3. The case I filed against the Prime Minister's Department for the withholding of constituency funds to the opposition MPs.

4. The EO (Emergency Orders) detention took the cake, but we never imagined that that might happen.

But there must be a baseline of serious work on grassroots and national issues. Only then does the party come out looking good, with the spotlight on us. Otherwise, people will view the headline grabbing efforts as cheap and desperate stunts. Malaysiakini

Tomorrow: Where PSM differs with Hindraf

Ku Li Gesa BN Selesaikan Royalti Sebelum PRU

Posted: 03 Mar 2012 04:07 AM PST

Shah Alam - Barisan Nasional (BN) perlu menyelesaikan isu royalti petroleum yang dituntut oleh kerajaan negeri pimpinan Pas sebelum Pilihan Raya Umum ke-13 (PRU13), yang disebut-sebut akan diadakan dalam beberapa bulan ini, kata Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.

Pemimpin politik veteran kelahiran Kelantan ini berkata, perkara itu, yang kini didengar oleh mahkamah, adalah isu utama yang perlu diselesaikan jika BN mahu meningkatkan peluang mentadbir semula Kelantan.

Kerajaan Negeri Kelantan ditadbir oleh Pas sejak 1990. Kerajaan Negeri memfailkan kes tuntutan royalti minyak di Mahkamah Tinggi Kuala Lumpur 30 Ogos 2010, sehari sebelum negara menyambut ulang tahun sambutan Hari Kemerdekaan.

"Saya nak ingatkan kita tak boleh nak kata ini tuntutan Pas, bukan tuntutan Pas kebetulan saja Pas mendapat mandat dan menubuhkan kerajaan di negeri Kelantan tetapi ramai juga orang yang menyokong Umno di sana," kata beliau dalam temu bual dengan Astro Awani, yang dirakamkan kira-kira seminggu lalu dan disiarkan hari ini.

Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak telah mengadakan lawatan kerja satu hari ke Kelantan semalam, dan antara lain meminta rakyatnya memberi mandat kepada kerajaan BN untuk memerintah negeri ini pada PRU13 bagi membolehkan perikatan itu menyelesaikan masalah dihadapi rakyat selama di bawah pemerintahan Pas.

Perdana Menteri berkata, kerajaan BN mampu menyelesaikan masalah rakyat termasuk masalah bekalan air, ladang rakyat, kemudahan asas dan perumahan rakyat.

Najib berkata, kerajaan BN akan mengubah landskap Kelantan dengan pelbagai pembangunan yang menjadikan Kelantan membangun dan maju.

Kerajaan negeri Kelantan memulakan tindakan perundangan dengan memfailkan saman terhadap Petronas mendakwa syarikat petroleum nasional itu tidak membayar royalti dianggarkan RM800 setahun sejak 2005 terhadap hasil minyak diperoleh dari luar pesisir pantai Kelantan.

Menurut kerajaan negeri Kelantan, tindakan Petronas itu bukan sahaja melanggar undang-undang sedia ada, tetapi juga mendakwa bercanggah dengan Perlembagaan Persekutuan.

Tengku Razaleigh berkata, BN perlu menyelesaikan isu tuntutan royalti minyak memandangkan ia sudah sebati dengan rakyat negeri pantai timur itu.

"Itu satu hal kerana begitu..begitu terlekat di hati orang Kelantan.

"Jadi kalau kita tak layan macam mana kita nak cari dia nak sokong kita, jadi ini satu faktor yang besar, kita tak boleh nak ketepikan kepentingan dia dan tiba-tiba kita nak dia sokong kita,"
kata bekas Menteri Kewangan ini dan juga Pengerusi Petronas semasa perjanjian royalti petroleum ditandatangani dengan Kerajaan Negeri Kelantan pada 1975.

Dalam pada itu, Tengku Razaleigh berpendapat pemimpin Umno perlu mendekati rakyat Kelantan sepanjang masa kalau mahu diterima.

"Jadi kalaulah dekat pilihan raya baru kita nak tunjuk muka saya rasa kita tak laku, apatah lagi ada orang yang berceramah malam siang, selalu dengan mereka, kita hanya datang bermusim susah kita nak mengatasi pengaruh yang ditanam mereka mendekati rakyat umpamanya," katanya yang merupakan Ahli Parlimen Gua Musang sejak 1969.

Malah menurut beliau, politik bermusim hanya menyebabkan hubungan rakyat dan pemimpin renggang.

Whither the Indian community?

Posted: 03 Mar 2012 12:52 AM PST

Their votes may be pivotal in the 13th GE but they are a species under threat and the future looks dim unless concerted efforts are made to safeguard their future.

Najib Tun Razak was a beleaguered politician at the Thaipusam celebrations at Batu Caves on Feb 7, 2012. Many listened intently as he appealed to the Indian community of largely Tamil descent to place and put their "Nambikei" (trust) in him.

This was not a whimsical appeal. In the run up to the last general election, towards the end of 2007, the Hindraf episode was the wake up call to Umno-BN that their long held sway and hold on Malaysians was now to be put to a stern test.

A much maligned BN tottered virtually on the edge of defeat and only just managed to stave off the effects of a political tsunami. The lessons of that episode still rankles in the minds of BN leaders and they are aware that the Indian votes in the 13th GE could prove decisive to both sides of the political divide.

The Indians are savouring their moments of glory and greatly relishing the overtures of Najib's "Nambikei" and have even cheekily requested for a two-day Deepavali holiday. The BN views them as prime voters whose votes they want to build upon to maintain their grip on power, and later, as envisaged, to firm up and tighten this grip once more as before.

While the Chinese community appear to have all but deserted the MCA and Gerakan to opt for DAP, and the Malays are skewered three-ways between PAS, PKR and Umno, the Indians are being wooed by BN as Pakatan appear to have offered them not much so far.

Can and should Indians put their trust in the call of the prime minister? Perhaps it is up to each individual Indian voter to do some soul searching before casting their precious vote, as much is at stake and they should certainly not play their cards wrongly.

The Indian community is under much stress and things are not looking up for them right. Their future is in limbo and this is due to a number of factors. But the community should learn to sit up and pay heed to where they are heading in the quagmire of the currently changing Malaysian political landscape.

Dwindling population
Long considered the third largest ethnic group in Malaysia, the community's dwindling population needs to be addressed or they will see themselves being eclipsed by persons of Indonesian origin as the third largest race in the country.

In the past, if the community had any difficulty, it was the exceedingly high birth rate. The birth of large numbers of infants in an Indian family caused much hardship and deprivation to them.

This was especially true among the families working and residing in the rubber plantations in the rural areas. While in the past this population explosion was viewed with concern, now it is the declining birth rate among Indians that is of concern.

Falling birth rates among Indians have reached alarming proportions. Indians constitute only 9% of the population of the nation as opposed to much higher percentages in the last few decades.

Wither the Indian community in Malaysia? This certainly means that Indians as a race have in all probability been displaced as the third major component or racial group with the influx of Indonesian immigrants.

There are a number of factors that have led to the Malaysian Indian population dwindling. The most important is that the strength of their economic status has been downgraded, causing them to either not marry or have few children in the event they are married couples.

Another important factor is the emigration of highly qualified and educated individuals, who have left Malaysia for greener pastures. Their departure along with their families in tow has resulted in the Indian population to dwindle further.

What is now becoming a bigger worry is the number of Indian youth who are opting to stay single or tying the knot at much older ages, usually well past their prime and causing the number of childless marriages among Indians to go on the rise.

While the Chinese community has addressed this problem by forming Cupid Clubs to play matchmaker and get single Chinese men and women to court and marry, the same measure may have to be adopted by Indian groups representing the community.

The formation of Cupid Clubs have resulted in a greater number of marriages taking place within the Chinese community. The Indian groups can also play a similar matchmaker role among single Indian men and women.

Wake up call for Indians
While the Indian community needs to repopulate itself, there is also a dire need for them to reinvent themselves in the sphere of economic activity so as to gain a larger share of the economic pie.

While on this front, several groups representing the interests of the Indian community have taken upon themselves the role to empower Indians by creating business and educational opportunities, the momentum needs to be sustained and to grow much further.

The admission of Indian students to public and private institutions of higher learning in this country has also witnessed a drastic drop in numbers. The reluctance of a growing number of Indian youths to secure a sound education and a brighter future is now glaringly evident.

Instead, what is happening is that Indian youth are more likely to be associated or linked with criminal and underworld activities, with Malaysian jails housing large numbers of Indian prisoners in ratio to the numbers of their population.

This has caused the socio-economic status of the Indian to downgrade rapidly. There is a need by Indian groups representing and leading the Indian community to be more watchful and vigilant and to steer Indians, especially Indian youth, in the right direction.

While all is not lost, the Indian community needs to wake up to the challenges of a globalised world or they will only have themselves to blame for becoming failures in their own country.

The need is urgent and pressing that Indians in Malaysia not go into a time warp but be aware that they are a species under threat and in all likelihood may not count or favour anymore as voters or as an important ethnic group in the years to come.

It is therefore imperative that Indians rise up and answer this wake up call to pull the community out of the doldrums and to strive to contribute in a greater and more meaningful and impactful way towards building a better Malaysian society.

Christopher Fernandez

The writer has been teaching and writing throughout Asia since 1984.

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