Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Whiter Shade of Paler Fashion

A Whiter Shade of Paler Fashion

A Whiter Shade of Paler Fashion

Posted: 24 Jul 2012 08:47 AM PDT

Skin whitening seems to be very popular amongst Asians, Middle Easterners, Latin American and Africans as well. According to this site:

Asian, African, Latin American and Middle Eastern cultures cherish fairness stemming back to ancient Japan and China. Whiter skin was a noble status for beauty and social rank.

Japanese Geishas painted their skin white for their graceful profession as entertainers (nope, they're not prostitutes). The Chinese ground pearls from seashells and swallowed them to lighten their skin.

And during the Achaemenid dynasty in Persia (now Iran), farmers used hydroquinone lightening creams to offset the tanning they get from baking under the sun.

Pale skin fashion reigned among men and women.

In 1901, the Lions of Women used whitening Cuticura Soap and Ointment. Skin whitening soaps, 500 years ago, were marketed as "Antiseptic Soaps" with toxic mercury and hydroquinone in them.

Lemon and dandelion have been used in skin whitening recipes, and toxic arsenic and mercury were rampant in creams as they bleached the skin of innocent users. CLICK HERE for more.

This evening, I came across this very interesting article by Sokari Ekine - a Nigerian social justice activist and blogger. She writes an award winning blog, Black Looks, which she setup over four years ago, writing on a range of topics such as gender issues, human rights, the Niger Delta and Land Rights.

Beyond the Pale by Sokari Ekine

I thought that the practice of skin-whitening / skin bleaching had ended with the 1980s but apparently not. According to Amina Mire writing in Counter Punch a few years ago, 'there is an emerging skin-whitening industry' where expensive skin bleaching products are being marketed as anti-aging creams for white women (with promises to 'restore' and 'transform' aging skins) and as skin-lightening creams (with the promise of 'White Perfect') for Asian women - the second largest market after white women. Black women are using the creams less, but when they do use them, they tend to use the cheaper - and therefore more toxic - variety. African women who have chosen to use skin-bleaching creams have very often suffered devastating disfigurement from their toxicity, as well as condemnation by society at large. Before we condemn the many Black and African women who have chosen to use the creams, however, we should note that even today many communities believe the lighter the skin the better, especially in women. It may not be as overt as 50 years ago, but the colour / hair complex and associated colonial mentality within our communities still exits.

The article provides a brief history and background to the skin-bleaching industry, which was originally targeted at both Black women and southern white women in the US as early as 1889. The marketing ran:

'A white person objects to a swarthy brown-hued or mulatto-like skin, therefore if staying much out of doors use regularly Satin Skin Vanishing Greaseless Cream to keep the skin normally white.'

Responding from the Heart

Posted: 24 Jul 2012 08:04 AM PDT

Earlier this evening, I posted What Ails Us? HERE. Overhelmed by UP41's kind response and Walla's beautifully written discourse on Penang,  I am resposting those comments here for they merit airing. Thanks, UP41 and Walla!!!

1. UP41 At one time I liked to take photo of those parents who refused to queue like everyone and jump queue and cut into the lane when sending their children to school. Here are some example


So don't let them get into you & spoil yr day

2. walla I'm now horribly terrified and will have to sleep shrouded under the blanket from now on.

You see i was actually trying to youtube Deep Blue Sea starring Rachel Weisz but ended up watching snippets of the same title starring some super-smart sharks in a movie by the same director of Die Hard 2. Surfing is all so dangerous these days.

3. walla The one thing i used to remember about THE island were those little colorful wall tiles that front those quaint link shop-lots. That they were of thai origin must probably explain why you used to see them in old places like Siam Road.

Nowadays i can only remember the stall in Jelutong market where the lady sells fried fish with some spicy curry paste...or is it the other one at Pulau Tikus market where you can acar ...oh dear, could it even be yet another one at Chowrasta market where there's this pulut-ikan dish? Yummy tummy for dummy like me, eh?

4. walla Ah i got it. It's the otak-otak at Supertanker.

Foreign philistines may be forgiven for thinking THE island has a super-sized oil tanker marooned ON it in which brains are sold. For their information, and in the national interest of our tourism industry, otak-otak, as i vaguely recall now, is a scrumptious, spicy and peppery dish made of fish, eggs and herbs.

Foodies will say it goes down nicely with the heavenly cendol at Penang Road (the road stall on the right and in front of the assam laksa stall in the corner cafe).

Thinking of the mee rebus at the corner shop off the Pulau Tikus main road, i shall suspend violent disagreement but only momentarily.

The only thing to think about these days, i reckon, is how does one get around to be at those places if the roads are constantly snarled?

Read on.

5. walla I guess there's a price to everything. In the case of Penang, development means congestion and denudation. What she's facing is what Singapore must have initially faced, later to give way to improvements made when enough funds had been accumulated. Perhaps that's the state government's game-plan. To be to Malaysia what Singapore is to itself.

People have never asked what is needed to develop a state. Some will say development should be more balanced. But where to be the location of the balancing point?

As things stand, the island has been neglected for far too long. If she is to catch up in order to present visionary possibilities for new generations yet to come, then there must be funds available in her coffers that can be used to kick-start infrastructural and services improvement. But you can hardly expect such funds to come from the federal government which appears to be constricting capitation grants to opposition states to try and decapitate those states.

Of course there is a flip side to development. Prices go up and there will be income gaps between those who have assets and those who only earn wages. But the situation is dynamic. Like what had happened across the causeway, wage earners should get more opportunities to diversify their income streams if the state economy gets to grow faster. Of course, initially it'll be just trading and simple services. However if they can see the crap that is dished out by the federal education system, they should lose no time to pick up on their own such skills and knowledge as would enable them to tap new opportunities as may arise. Or create them if they are energetic and enterprising enough.

After all, Penang and its mainland are part of the Northern Growth Triangle that can include Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia's Sumatra. In fact, from north of Myanmar you can get into south of China and swing up to hit the famous Silk Road, heading westwards to resource-rich Central Europe.

If someone can figure out how to get fresh fish to those land-locked places in exchange for their heavenly tasty exotic fruits or super-efficient military-grade water-filters, as examples, then business can be done. And new industries created.

We must individually try to get out of mind-traps.

6. walla One of which is to ride on changes because intrinsic in the molecule of life is the atom of change which of course by now everyone knows contains the Higg's boson, better known as the God particle.

With each year added to our resume of existence, we must pay more and more attention to the Higg's boson. Because that's where our mass comes from. No, i don't mean the church mass.

You see, those four uncouth tum-tum-chiun women in that car have lost their Higg's bosons. They were directionless in their behaviour. Just like those others who make use of people as bridges to overcome their own lack of preparedness for tasks which they probably had thought overwhelming because prior to the tsunami of 2008 they never thought that subsequent to it the whole jingbang menu of administrative, communication and planning requirements would be cascading on them day after day. Even if what they were doing was to try and rustle up political interest in faceless people living arid lives.

So we try to forget the inadequacies of others as much as we can allow ourselves to do so without losing our inner concern even if the process of relaxing a bit will lose us the inner fire which we believe had made our being more poignant.

7. walla Everyday we are individually challenged by new equations of the calculus of discovery, adjustment, accomodation, and change spun by a world engorged with 'simplexities'.

This year is particularly bad because of the Mayan prophecy of planetary realignments. Which must also explain why there's so much road rage in recent weeks - here. I don't know about the island though.

Best we can do is to remember good things and small blessings that have come our way and be grateful for them even as our senses, cognitive powers and years may wane, hold ourselves to some code or badge of honour in a world of lemmings eager to cut corners, and be true to our innermost compulsion to help others make their journeys with less pain.

What else can be asked of us?

Gute Nacht, schlaf gut und träum süß!

Khariy, nobody said court decision absolved Bersih!

Posted: 24 Jul 2012 07:57 AM PDT

So, now it's official.

Bersih 2.0 is legal, judge rules

Remember, Umno was once ruled illegal by a judge. On February 4, 1988, when delivering his judgment, the then High Court Judge, Justice Datuk Harun Hashim said, "'It is a very hard decision to declare UMNO unlawful. But the law was made by our Parliament and certainly UMNO was aware [of the Societies Act] because they were in the majority [in Parliament] at all times [when the law was made]. Under the 1966 Act, amended five times over the years, and most recently by Mahathir's government, each of the society's branches has to register separately with the Registrar...." (Source: Wikipedia).

Chicken Herbal Soup

Posted: 24 Jul 2012 07:01 AM PDT

Chix Herbal Soup

I made chicken herbal soup for dinner yesterday.

The ingredients:
3 pieces of American Ginseng
10 red dates
7 pieces of codonopsis root (dong sum)
A hand-pinch wolfberries
2 chicken drumsticks
Slightly more than a liter of water to boil

I love drinking soups. Yummy, yummy! Can you feel the QI increasing? :P

Ulamak Muda UMNO Memfitnah Ketua Pemuda PAS

Posted: 24 Jul 2012 10:44 AM PDT

Inilah fitnah dan pendustaan melampau dari dia yang bergelar Ulamak Muda UMNO di dalam bulan Ramadhan yang mulia ini. Menuduh Ketua Pemuda PAS kononnya "rela" disolekkan oleh jurusolek ASTRO Awani dan memuji Ulamak Muda UMNO Fathul Bari kononnya memilih untuk menyolek diri sendiri kerana khuatir dan bimbang tersetuh dengan wanita.

Kemudian ditambahkan pula dengan rumusan yang meluatkan berbentuk pertanyaan: apa guna perjuangkan Islam anda! hal semudah itu tidak dapat dijaga.renung2kan.

Sedangkan hakikat (kebenaran)nya ialah seperti gambar di bawah ini:

Siapakah di dalam foto di atas yang membenarkan dirinya disolek oleh jurusolek itu? Ketua Pemuda PASkah atau Ulamak Muda UMNO, iaitu Fathul Bari namanya?

Firmanullah s.w.t:

Orang yang memfitnah orang mukmin (yang lelaki) dan mukminah (yang perempuan), kemudian mereka tidak bertaubat, bagi mereka azab jahanam dan neraka yang membakar. Al-Buruj : 10

FITNAH seakan sudah menjadi budaya dan darah daging UMNO, daripada presidennya, para menterinya, akhbarnya, bloggernya, para ulamak tua dan mudanya.

Komain lancang mulut mereka bercakap dan tangan mereka menulis fitnah-fitnah demi untuk mempertahankan nyawa parti mereka yang sednag nazak itu.

Dan GB tertanya-tanya: layakkah dia bergelar "ulamak" atau "ustaz" seandainya FITNAHnya begitu jelas dan ketara?

From goats to horses, they have graduated.....

Posted: 24 Jul 2012 06:52 AM PDT

At one time Jordanian Troops did it with goats, with all that practice a North African had his head kicked in by a horse. (Spain) Diario de Alermia reports that a North African male has been hospitalised with a caved in face after the mare he tried to have carnal relations decided, that she was having none of that and kicked him in the face, resulting in a very broken face. Hat tip: Eye On The World

Here is the screen dump of the above link translated:

What a way to go!!!

Posted: 24 Jul 2012 06:44 AM PDT

(Nigeria) A Nigerian man was killed by his six wives after they forced him to have sexual intercourse with them all. Five of the wives came at him, with knives and sticks, in jealousy after seeing him entering his youngest wife's room, to demand that he have sex with all of them, according to reports. He reportedly stopped breathing when he was going to bed with the fifth wife after having had sex with four of his other wives. The five ran away after they saw that he had died, according to the youngest wife.
"Suddenly, my husband stopped breathing, and they all ran out, still laughing, but when they saw that I could not resuscitate him, they all ran into the forest," the youngest wife said.
Now, isn't that a better way to die than having some idiot blow you to bloody bits?

Sixty Years of Egyptian Misery

Posted: 24 Jul 2012 06:39 AM PDT

This week marks 60 years since Egypt's self-proclaimed Free Officers overthrew the constitutional monarchy of King Farouk — and it's the first anniversary when one can imagine the demise of the military despotism that for so long has wounded the country. Sadly, its most likely replacement will bring on an even worse rule. The era of monarchy had plenty of faults, from iniquitous levels of inequality to violent movements (foremost among them, the Muslim Brotherhood), but it was an era of modernization, of a growing economy, and of increasing influence in the world. Industrialization had begun, women threw off their face coverings, and Egyptian soft power had a wide impact in Arabic-speaking countries. Tarek Osman recalls this time in his excellent Egypt on the Brink: From Nasser to Mubarak as "liberal, glamorous, cosmopolitan."

The dreary rule of generals and colonels began on July 23, 1952, led by the ambitious Gamal Abdul Nasser. The grandiose Anwar Sadat followed him in 1970, and finally the pompous Hosni Mubarak assumed control when Sadat was assassinated in 1981. Nasser, much the worst of the trio, danced to the demons of anti-capitalist resentment and anti-imperialist frustration; his rule saw crippling confiscation of private property and inane foreign adventures (with Syria, against Israel, in Yemen), incurring costs the country still pays.

The regime specialized in deception. The junta donned mufti even as the military's reach extended over the economy, the security services, the legislature, and the judiciary. Unity with Syria masked bitter hostility. Ostentatious rivalry with Islamists hid a squalid competition over spoils. Peace with Israel disguised continued warfare through other means.

During the long, painful, and regressive reign of the army boots, Egypt moved backward according to every meaningful index, from standard of living to diplomatic clout, even as the population quadrupled from 20 to 83 million and Islamist ideology flourished. Egypt and South Korea, Osman notes, were on a socioeconomic par in 1952; now, Egypt has fallen far behind. He writes that "society did not progress" under the soldiers' rule but, to the contrary, "on many fronts, it actually regressed." He discerns since 1952 "an overarching feeling of an irreparable sense of damage, a national defeat." From football games to poetry, one senses that defeatism. On approaching his 30th year in power, Pharaoh Mubarak decided, in a paroxysm of hubris, to sideline his military colleagues. He aspired to steal yet more money, even if that meant denying the officers their share, and (under pressure from his wife) he sought to have, not another military officer but his son, the banker Gamal, succeed him as president.

The outraged general officers bided their time. In early 2011, when brave, secular, and modern young people in Tahrir Square announced their impatience with tyranny, the junta exploited them to push Mubarak from office. Liberals thought they had won, but they served merely as a tool and a pretext for the military to be rid of its despised master. Having served their purpose, liberals were shunted aside as officers and Islamists competed for loot.

Which brings us to the present: The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) still runs the country, and the Muslim Brotherhood wants to push it aside. Which of these unworthy, autocratic forces will win? The SCAF has, in my view, an 80 percent chance of holding power, meaning that Islamists will prevail only if they display enough talent. The SCAF cleverly sidelined the Muslim Brotherhood's most charismatic and capable leader, Khairat al-Shater, on dubious technical grounds (his imprisonment by the Mubarak regime). That left the much less competent Mohammed Morsi as the Brotherhood's standard-bearer and the country's new president. His first few weeks have shown him to be a mumbler and bumbler with no aptitude for waging political battle even against the incompetents who staff the SCAF.

As Egyptians endure the 60th anniversary of the military's power grab, they have little to look forward to. If more July 23 celebrations likely await them, at least they are not suffering through the first anniversary of Islamist rule. Better domination by greedy soldiers than by Islamist ideologues.

But Egyptians and their supporters abroad can aspire to better. The liberals who rallied in Tahrir Square remain the country's only hope and the West's only allies; they deserve support. However remote they are from the corridors of power, their rise uniquely offers an antidote to 60 years of tyranny and decline.

— Daniel Pipes is President of the Middle East Forum and Taube Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. © 2012 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.
National Review

Fatwa Bans Christian Priests from Public Transportation to Church by Raymond Ibrahim

Posted: 24 Jul 2012 06:38 AM PDT

July 23, 2012 at 3:50 pm
Dr. Yassir al-Burhami, a prominent figure in Egypt's Salafi movement and vice president of the Salafi Call—the same sheikh who seeks to punish Muslim apostates, condemns Mother's Day, and advocates deceiving Israel—has just issued a fatwa, published in the "Voice of the Righteous Salaf," forbidding Muslim taxi-drivers and bus-drivers from transporting Coptic Christian priests to their churches, which he depicted as "more forbidden than taking someone to a liquor bar."

Rohingyas recount terror of Burma clashes

Posted: 24 Jul 2012 06:32 AM PDT

Zohara Khatun and family

Zohara Khatun says she and her family ran for their lives – her father was killed

Rohingyas recount terror of Burma clashes By Anbarasan Ethirajan BBC News, Teknaf, near Bangladesh-Burma border

"My father was shot dead by the Burmese military in front me. Our entire village was destroyed. We ran for our lives. I still don't know what happened to my mother," she said, sitting in a thatched hut in a fishing village near the town of Teknaf in south-eastern Bangladesh.

Ms Khatun is one of the Rohingya Muslims who have managed to cross into Bangladesh following the communal unrest in western Burma's Rakhine province.

The 30-year old broke down repeatedly as she tried to explain what happened over the border.

She says their village came under attack during clashes between majority Buddhists and local Muslims, mostly from the Rohingya minority. Nearly 80 people were killed in the fighting and thousands were displaced.

Human rights groups allege that Burmese security forces continue to carry out mass arrests, forcing many Rohingya Muslims to flee. A state of emergency declared last month is still in force in many places of the province.


There is no independent confirmation of the claims of extra-judicial killings and other abuses – journalists are denied access to the area. Burma denies its security forces are responsible for human rights abuses.

Since the June clashes, many hundreds of refugees have been trying to get into Bangladesh, taking perilous boat journeys along the Bay of Bengal and across the river Naf, which separates the two countries.

"We were floating on water for six days. I could not feed my children for days," Ms Khatun said.

"When we tried to reach Bangladesh, we were not allowed to enter. We did not know where to go."

There are an estimated 800,000 Rohingya Muslims living in western Burma. The Burmese authorities argue that the Rohingyas are recent migrants from the Indian sub-continent.

But Dhaka says they belong to Burma, so they are not welcome in Bangladesh either. Dhaka says there are already 400,000 Rohingyas living inside the country, most of them, it says illegally.

Bangladesh has pushed nearly 1,500 Rohingya Muslims back into Burma since June saying it cannot afford to help them.

Some – like the family of Zohara Khatun – have managed to get in. The Rohingyas who came recently have been living in hiding among Bangladeshi villagers. They are afraid that if the authorities come to know about them they will be sent back to Burma immediately.

Bangladeshi authorities say they are determined to stop the latest influx.

Lt Col Zahid Hasan of the Bangladeshi border guards showed me how his men have been patrolling the river Naf to prevent Rohingyas from crossing into the country.

"It is really putting a direct effect on our social stability as well as the economy. If this influx continues then the problem of stability will be at stake," Col Hasan said.

"Sometimes these Rohingya people are involved in drug trafficking, human trafficking and other anti-social activities which are really affecting the social stability in this area."

The Rohingyas deny such allegations.

'We belong to Burma'

The refugees I spoke to accused Burmese security forces of turning a blind eye when their villages came under attack.

Sayeda Begum Sayeda Begum now has no husband and her children no father

"My husband was killed in the riots. The Burmese police were shooting only at the Muslims, not the Buddhists. The military was just watching from the rooftop and they did not intervene," said Sayeda Begum, another Rohingya Muslim woman.

Rohingya Muslims have flocked to Bangladesh over the past 30 years, bringing with them tales of oppression and exclusion.

They are denied citizenship and land rights in Burma. Human rights groups say they are among the most persecuted minorities in the world.

But Bangladesh's refusal to allow in the recent wave of refugees has also attracted criticism.

"We understand it is not that easy. So we advocate with the government of Bangladesh to give at least temporary protection status to those arriving from Rakhine state of Myanmar [Burma]," said Dirk Hebecker, a senior official from the UN Refugee Agency in the Bangladeshi town of Cox's Bazaar.

The Rohingyas who crossed into Bangladesh in the past three decades have been living in camps along the border. The unofficial refugee camps have no running water, drainage or health facilities. The Rohingyas live in abject poverty and squalor in these camps.

Rohingyas in camp near Teknaf Conditions in the unofficial Rohingya refugee camps are squalid

The recent statement by Burmese President Thein Sein that the Rohingyas should be resettled in a third country has also added to the anxiety of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

"We are concerned by the president's comments. We belong to Burma and we want to go back to our villages. It is difficult to live in refugee camps like this," said Ahmed Hossain, a Rohingya community leader in Kutupalong camp, near Cox's Bazaar.

"We are willing to go back to Burma only if our security and rights are guaranteed."

For years, Bangladesh has been urging the Burmese authorities to take back the Rohingya refugees living in various camps but without much success.

The latest crisis comes at a time when Burma is gradually moving towards democracy. But many here in Bangladesh argue that the process may not be complete unless the Rohingya issue is resolved.

ပါကစၥတန္ လူ႔အခြင့္အေရး ေခါင္းေဆာင္ ရခိုင္ျပည္နယ္ လာမည္

Posted: 24 Jul 2012 05:17 AM PDT

OIC Muslim countries should warn CHINA and Russia not to use the VETO. If they don't agree just abstain from voting or could vote against the UNSC resolution.

Why Mizzima added a shit at the end?
Why need to mention the rape case which could be a set-up by Radical Terrorists to use as a lame excuse to start killing Muslims.
Why end with the shameless FALSE news that persons who killed 10 Myanmar Muslims are punished.
Where are the news naming in person and labeling as TERRORIST MURDERER Bama Buddhists or Radical Rakhine Buddhists. And WHERE R the Masterminds who arranged the mass killings?
Why never mention the numerous anti-Muslim activities especially those 5-6 cases around Myanmar?
Why never mention the Hate Speeches repeatedly spread in Myanmar MSM and online?Now read the Mizzima  news: ပါကစၥတန္ လူ႔အခြင့္အေရး ေခါင္းေဆာင္ ရခိုင္ျပည္နယ္ လာမည္

နယူးေဒလီ (မဇၥ်ိမ) ။       ။ ရခိုင္ျပည္နယ္ရွိ ႐ိုဟင္ဂ်ာ မူဆလင္မ်ားအေရး ကိုယ္တိုင္ ေလ့လာ ကူညီရန္အတြက္ ပါကစၥတန္ႏိုင္ငံမွ လူ႔အခြင့္အေရးလႈပ္ရွားမႈ ေခါင္းေဆာင္ Ansar Burney သည္ ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံသို႔ လာေရာက္မည္
ျဖစ္ေၾကာင္း သိရသည္။

ကုလသမဂၢ လူ႔အခြင့္အေရးဆိုင္ရာ အၾကံေပး ပုဂိၢဳလ္ေဟာင္းလည္း ျဖစ္သည့္ Ansar Burney အပါအဝင္ Ansar Burney Trust မွ ေလးဦး ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံသို႔   ျပည္ဝင္ခြင့္ဗီဇာ ေလွ်ာက္ထားၿပီးျဖစ္ေၾကာင္း တနလၤာေန႔က ထုတ္ျပန္

လူမ်ဳိးေရး အၾကမ္းဖက္မႈမ်ား၊ မူဆလင္မ်ား အစုလိုက္ သတ္ျဖတ္ခံရမႈေၾကာင့္ ရခိုင္ ေဒသမွာ ညက္ညက္ေၾကျပဳန္းခဲ့ ရေၾကာင္း အစီရင္ခံခ်က္မ်ားေၾကာင့္ ဆက္လက္ ျဖစ္ေပၚေနၿပီး ထိုအထဲတြင္ မူဆလင္မ်ားအား ပစ္မွတ္ထားကာ တိုက္ခိုက္မႈ၊ သတ္ျဖတ္မႈ၊ အဓမၼ ျပဳက်င့္မႈ၊ လက္ေရာက္ေစာ္ကားမႈ အစီရင္ခံခ်က္မ်ားမွာ အျပည္ျပည္ဆိုင္ရာ အသိုင္းအဝိုင္းႏွင့္ လူ႔အခြင့္အေရးအဖြဲ႔မ်ားအတြင္း ရႈတ္ေထြးမႈမ်ား ဖန္တီးေနသည္ဟု ဆိုသည္။

အသက္ ၅၆ ႏွစ္အရြယ္ရွိ Ansar Burney မွာ ပါကစၥတန္ႏိုင္ငံ၏ ပထမဆံုးေသာ လူ႔အခြင့္အေရး ဝန္ႀကီး ျဖစ္ခဲ့ဖူးၿပီး အေမရိကန္ ႏိုင္ငံျခားေရးန္ၾကီးဌာန အစီရင္ခံစာတြင္ 'လူကုန္ကူးမႈ ဆန္႔က်င္ေရး သူရဲေကာင္း'အျဖစ္ ဂုဏ္ျပဳခံရဖူး သည္။

ယခု လာေရာက္မည့္ ခရီးစဥ္မွာ အခ်က္အလက္မ်ား ရွာေဖြရန္ႏွင့္ ငိုေၾကြးေန၊ ေသလုဆဲဆဲ ျဖစ္ေနၾကေသာ သူမ်ားအား ကူညီရန္အတြက္ ျဖစ္သည္ဟု ေၾကညာခ်က္က ဆိုသည္။

ရခိုင္ျပည္နယ္တြင္း မူဆလင္မ်ား အစုလိုက္ သတ္ျဖတ္ခံရမႈမ်ားႏွင့္ပတ္သက္၍ လံုျခံဳေရးတပ္ဖြဲ႔မ်ား၊ ရခိုင္တိုင္းရင္းသား ဗုဒၶဘာသာဝင္မ်ားအား Ansar Burney Trust က စြပ္စြဲလိုက္သည္။

"အစိုးရက အေရးေပၚအေျခအေန ေၾကညာၿပီး တပ္ေတြ ျဖန္႔လႊတ္ထားတာဟာ ဆူပူထၾကြမႈေတြကို ေခ်မႈန္းဖို႔နဲ႔
ေမာ့စ္နဲ႔ဘုန္းေတာ္ႀကီးေက်ာင္းေတြ ႏွစ္ခုလံုးကို ကာကြယ္ေပးဖို႔ ပါတယ္။ ဒါေပမယ့္ မူဆလင္မ်ားနဲ႔ ေမာ့စ္ေတြကို တိုက္ခိုက္မႈေတြဟာ အစိုးရနဲ႔ စစ္တပ္ ထီးရိပ္ေအာက္ကေန ဆက္လက္ျဖစ္ေပၚေနဆဲပါ" ဟု Ansar Burney က ဆိုသည္။

ပါကစၥတန္ မူဆလင္အဖြဲ႔ခ်ဳပ္ PML-Q၊ Jamaat-e-Islami (JI)ပါတီတို႔ကလည္း ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံတြင္း မူဆလင္ သတ္ျဖတ္ ခံရမႈမ်ားကို ကန္႔ကြက္ရႈတ္ခ်ၾကကာ ကုလသမဂၢႏွင့္ အစၥလာမ္ကြန္ဖရင့္(OIC)တို႔သို႔ အေရးယူေဆာင္ရြက္မႈမ်ားျပဳရန္
ေတာင္းဆိုထားၾကသည္။ JI ပါတီ ေခါင္းေဆာင္ Munawar ကလည္း ျမန္မာျပည္ မူဆလင္အေရး ေဆြးေႏြးရန္အတြက္ ပါကစၥတန္အစိုးရအား အေထြေထြညီလာခံ ေခၚဆိုေပးရန္ ေတာင္းဆိုထားသည္။

ပါကစၥတန္ ေက်ာင္းသူမ်ား သမဂၢတခုျဖစ္သည့္ Islami Jamiat-e-Talbat (IJT) ၏ ေခါင္းေဆာင္ Nazima Ayesha က သတင္းေထာက္မ်ားအား ေသာၾကာေန႔က ေျပာဆိုရာတြင္ ၅၂ ႏိုင္ငံေသာ မူဆလင္ကမၻာ၏ ရဲတိုက္ႀကီး တခုသဖြယ္ ျဖစ္သည့္ ပါကစၥတန္အေနျဖင့္ ျမန္မာျပည္အတြင္း ဤကဲ့သို႔ မူဆလင္မ်ားအား ရက္ရက္စက္စက္ သတ္ျဖတ္ေနမႈ ကိစၥမ်ဳိးမ်ားကို သုတ္သင္ပစ္ရန္ ကမၻာ့အသိုင္းအဝိုင္းႏွင့္အတူတကြ လက္တြဲကာ မိမိအခန္းက႑ ကိုလည္း တက္တက္ၾကြၾကြ ပါဝင္ေဆာင္ရြက္သင့္ေၾကာင္း ေျပာဆိုသြားသည္။

အဆိုပါ ျမန္မာျပည္အေရးႏွင့္ပတ္သက္၍ ပါကစၥတန္ႏိုင္ငံ လာဟိုးၿမိဳ႕တြင္ ဇူလိုင္လ ၂ဝ ရက္ေန႔က Pakistan Sunni Tehrik (PST) ပါတီ ဦးေဆာင္သည့္ ခ်ီတက္ဆႏၵျပပြဲတရပ္ ျပဳလုပ္ခဲ့ၾကသည္။

ကုလသမဂၢဆိုင္ရာ အီရန္ႏိုင္ငံ အျမဲတမ္း ကိုယ္စားလွယ္ Mohammad Khazaee ကလည္း အတြင္းေရးမႉးခ်ဳပ္ မစၥတာ ဘန္ကီမြန္းထံ စာေရးသားကာ ျမန္မာျပည္အတြင္း မူဆလင္ သတ္ျဖတ္မႈမ်ား ရပ္တန္႔သြားရန္အတြက္ အလွ်င္အျမန္ အေရးယူ ေဆာင္ရြက္မႈမ်ားျပဳရန္ စေနေန႔က ေတာင္းဆိုထားသည္။

အာဖဂန္နစၥတန္ရွိ တာလီဘန္မ်ာကလည္း ျမန္မာျပည္အတြင္း မူဆလင္မ်ား အစုအျပံဳလိုက္ သတ္ျဖတ္ခံရမႈကို
ျပင္းထန္စြာ ရႈတ္ခ်ထားၿပီး ထိုသတ္ျဖတ္မႈမ်ား ရပ္တန္႔ေစရန္အတြက္ ကမၻာၾကီးမွ ခ်က္ခ်င္း လုပ္ေဆာင္မႈမ်ား ျပဳၾကရန္

"ျမန္မာ(အစိုးရ) သိထားဖို႔လိုတာက မူဆလင္ေတြကို အစုလိုက္အျပံဳလိုက္ သတ္ျဖတ္မႈဆိုတာ တိုင္းျပည္တခုတည္းမွာ တင္ ျဖစ္တဲ့ ရာဇဝတ္မႈ တခုမွ်သာ မဟုတ္ဘဲ ခြင့္လႊတ္လို႔ မရႏိုင္တဲ့ လူသားမ်ဳိးႏြယ္ဆန္႔က်င္ေရး အထူးသျဖင့္ မူဆလင္ကမၻာကို ဆန္႔က်င္ေရး ျဖစ္ေနတယ္ဆိုတာပဲ" ဟု တာလီဘန္ ေျပာခြင့္ရပုဂၢိဳလ္ Zabihullah Mujahid က ဆိုသည္။

အျပည္ျပည္ဆိုင္ရာ လြတ္ၿငိမ္းခ်မ္းသာခြင့္အဖြဲ႔ (AI)၏ ေသာၾကာေန႔ အစီရင္ခ်က္တခုတြင္ "အေရးေပၚအေျခအေန
ေၾကညာၿပီးေနာက္ သီတင္းပါတ္ ေျခာက္ပါတ္ ၾကာသည္အထိ လူမ်ဳိးေရးအၾကမ္းဖက္မႈမ်ား ျမန္မာျပည္ အေနာက္ ဖက္ျခမ္းတြင္ ဆက္ျဖစ္ပြားလ်က္ ရွိသည္။ လူနည္းစု မူဆလင္ ႐ိုဟင္ဂ်ာမ်ားအား ဦးတည္ၿပီး ႐ိုက္ႏွက္မႈ၊ အဓမၼျပဳက်င့္ မႈႏွင့္ သတ္ျဖတ္မႈမ်ားျဖစ္သည္" ဟု ပါရွိလာၿပီးေနာက္ ထိုသို႔ မူဆလင္ကမၻာ၏ ျမန္မာအစိုးရအေပၚ ေဝဖန္မႈမ်ား ပိုမိုျပင္းထန္လာျခင္း ျဖစ္သည္။

ထို႔ျပင္ တူရကီ NGO တခုျဖစ္သည့္ လူသားခ်င္းစာနာမႈအကူအညီ ေဖာင္ေဒးရွင္ (YHH)၏ ဇူလိုင္ ၂ဝ ရက္ေန႔ထုတ္ အစီရင္ခံစာအရ ရခိုင္ျပည္နယ္အတြင္း ဇြန္လတြင္း စတင္ျဖစ္ပြားခဲ့သည့္ အၾကမ္းဖက္တိုက္ခိုက္မႈမ်ားတြင္ ႐ိုဟင္ဂ်ာ မူဆလင္ ၁,ဝဝဝ ေက်ာ္ ေသဆံုးခဲ့ရၿပီး ၉ဝ,ဝဝဝ ေက်ာ္ အိုးအိမ္မဲ့ ျဖစ္က်န္ခဲ့ရေၾကာင္း ေရးသားထားသည္ကို

သို႔ေသာ္ ျမန္မာအစိုးရ တရားဝင္ထုတ္ျပန္ခ်က္မ်ားအရ ဇြန္လ ၁၄ ရက္ေန႔အထိ ေသဆံုးသူ စုစုေပါင္း ၅ဝ ဦး ရွိခဲ့ၿပီး ဇြန္လ ၁၉ ရက္ေန႔က ရေသ့ေတာင္ၿမိဳ႕နယ္တြင္ ထပ္မံျဖစ္ပြားခဲ့သည့္ အၾကမ္းဖက္မႈေၾကာင့္ ၁၂ ဦး ထပ္မံေသဆံုး ခဲ့ရေၾကာင္း သိရသည္။

ရခိုင္ျပည္နယ္တြင္း ေမလကုန္ပိုင္းမွ စတင္ျဖစ္ပြားခဲ့ေသာ အၾကမ္းဖက္ မတရားမႈမ်ားကို အစိုးရမွ စံုစမ္းေရးေကာ္မရွင္ ဖြဲ႔၍ စစ္ေဆးခဲ့ရာ ေဖာ္ထုတ္ ရရွိခ်က္မ်ားကို ဇူလိုင္လ ၁ ရက္ေန႔က ထုတ္ျပန္ေၾကညာထားသည္။

ေမလ ၂၈ ရက္ေန႔မွ ရမ္းၿဗဲၿမိဳ႕နယ္မွ မသီတာေထြး အား အဓမၼျပဳက်င့္ကာ သတ္ျဖတ္ခဲ့မႈ၊ ဇြန္လ ၃ ရက္ေန႔က
ေတာင္ကုန္ၿမိဳ႕နယ္တြင္ မူဆလင္ ၁၀ ဦးအား သတ္ျဖတ္ခဲ့မႈႏွင့္ ဇြန္လ ၃ ရက္ေန႔က စစ္ေတြၿမိဳ႕ အမွတ္(၁)ရဲစခန္း တိုက္ခိုက္ခံရမႈတို႔ကို ေဖာ္ထုတ္ၿပီး ဖမ္းဆီးအေရးယူ အျပစ္ေပးမႈမ်ား ျပဳလုပ္ခဲ့ေၾကာင္း ၁၆ ဦးပါ စံုစမ္းေရးအဖြဲ႔က

Over protecting the GLCs...

Posted: 24 Jul 2012 04:16 AM PDT

Last Thursday saw Syarikat Jalur Lebar Nasional (Jalenas) signed a memorandum of understanding with its Swedish counterpart Metroverse Sdn Bhd, a move that will see it investing RM850mil over the next five years on high-speed broadband (HSBB) infrastructure.

Metroverse, the local partner and sole distributor for Swedish broadband management systems provider PacketFront AB is to develop the core component used by Jalenas in its networks.

For a company like Jalenas, it has to fork out its own money to stay in competition, without any assistance from the government, which from time to time shouts about 'helping the Bumiputra entrepreneurs' and introducing new business insentives and more grants to help develop them.

But for Jalenas, it was a sad story.

The MCMC refused to issue them with an operating license about five years ago, forcing Jalenas to buy the government's RM20,000 license for RM1.5 million from a non-Bumi company. And up till today, the MCMC threats the company as an alien and a 'pain in the ass'.

When Datuk Seri Najib launched Jalenas project in Kuantan (in his capacity as the Deputy Prime Minister) in early April 2008, he said the government should give more space to the new and upcoming companies, especially Bumiputra who venture into such a project.

As to whether Najib, as the PM now realise how much pain Jalenas has taken to sustain its business, the issue here is the government (as I see it) has been over-protecting some of its GLCs by not allowing any competition in similar business.

Telekom Malaysia, for instance, was given a development grant worth RM2.4 billion despite its subsidiary TMI incurred losses in its overseas operation, particularly in India and Sri Lanka.

Companies such as Jalenas and at least two more broadband solution entities which pose no competition to giant TM are neglected in terms of a fair deal, both by the government and its agencies like MCMC and TM itself.

With no grant to support and expand its operation, Jalenas which has spent about RM40 million from its own purse to complement TM services nationwide, was left choking. Worst was when a local bank linked to Najib's brother chose to back off from financing the business due to some pressure, both politically and from a royal family.

I don't care who runs Jalenas but I do care about the kind of business offered - to wire the whole nation by means of broadband application.

Sometimes its really beyond comprehension to note that while we work hard to attain a fully-developed status by the year 2020, we are not paying much attention to such a business. Compared to Singapore which is among the world's top 5 for full broadband penetration, Malaysia is still proud with its above-50 rank.

Politics aside, I believe Jalenas deserves recognition both from the Cabinet and Telekom Malaysia for taking such a drive.

The government should relax a bit the protection for its GLCs and give some rooms for companies like Jalenas to share a small piece of the business cake. Unless if the government wants to see the company and others go tumbling down just because there is no business to execute.

The MCMC should also review its stand in this matter. While it has issued many licenses to non-Bumi companies - for ISP, NSP or others - those at the helm of it must subscribe to a more positive attitude in dealing with businessmen.

If I am the minister in charge, I will try get at least RM200 million in the form of development grant for Jalenas, which is the only company offering an open access fibre-to-the-home technology broadband connectivity.

Taking into account the 61 per cent Internet access for the whole country as at today, Jalenas should be given more opportunity to work together with TM and other providers. Why must there be worries that they would eventually gulp up TM business?

That's absurd!

Keajaiban Dan Keanehan Air Zam-Zam

Posted: 24 Jul 2012 07:03 AM PDT

Tidak ramai yang tahu bagaimana telaga zam-zam boleh mengeluarkan puluhan juta liter pada musim haji dan ia tidak pernah kering walaupun sekali.

Seorang pengkaji diperintahkan oleh raja Faisal untuk menyelidik telaga zam-zam bagi menjawab tuduhan liar seorang doktor dari Mesir.

Berapa Juta Liter Air Zam-Zam?

Berapa banyak air zam-zam yang di ambil setiap kali musim haji? Mari kita kira secara rambang, Jemaah haji yang datang dari seluruh pelusuk dunia pada setiap musim haji dewasa ini berjumlah lebih kurang dua juta orang.

Semua jemaah diberi 5 liter air zam-zam ketika pulang ke tanah airnya, jika 2 juta orang membawa pulang masing-masing 5 liter air zam-zam ke negaranya, ini sahaja sudah menjadi 10 juta liter

Disamping itu sepanjang berada di Mekah dan kebanyakannya jemaah tinggal 25 hari dan setiap orang menghabiskan 1 liter sehari maka jumlahnya sudah 50 juta liter.

Keanehan Air Zam-Zam

Pada tahun 1971, seorang doktor dari Mesir mengatakan kepada akhbar di Eropah bahawa air zam-zam tidak sihat untuk diminum.

Pendapatnya berdasarkan bahawa kota Mekah itu ada di bawah garis permukaan laut, Air Zamzam itu berasal dari air sisa buangan penduduk kota Mekah yang meresap, kemudian mendap terbawa bersama-sama air hujan dan keluar dari telaga air zamzam.

Berita ini sampai ke telinga Raja Faisal yang kemudian memerintahkan Menteri Pertanian dan Sumber Air untuk menyelidiki masalah ini dan menghantar sampel air zam-zam ke Laboratorium-laboratorium di Eropah untuk diuji.

Tariq Hussain seorang jurutera kimia yang bekerja di Institut Penapisan Air Laut untuk diminum di Jedah, mendapat tugas menyelidikinya.

Pada masa memulakan tugasnya Tariq belum ada gambaran bagaimana telaga air zam-zam boleh menyimpan air yang begitu banyak seperti tidak ada hadnya.

Ketika sampai di dalam sumur, Tariq amat terkejut apabila melihat bahawa ukuran "kolam" telaga itu hanya 18 x 14 kaki saja (Kira-kira 5 x 4 meter).

Tidak terbayang bagaimana telaga sekecil ini boleh mengeluarkan jutaan galen air setiap kali musim haji, dan ini berlaku sejak ribuan tahun yang lalu semenjak zaman Nabi Ibrahim AS

Penyelidikan menunjukkan bahawa mata air zam-zam boleh mengeluarkan air sebanyak 11-18 liter air per saat, dengan demikian setiap minit 660 liter air akan dihasilkan, itulah yang mengejutkan.

Tariq mula mengukur kedalaman air telaga dan meminta pembantunya masuk ke dalam air, ternyata air telaga itu hanya mencapai sedikit di atas bahu pembantunya yang tinggi tubuhnya 5 kaki 8 inci.

Lalu dia menyuruh pembantunya untuk memeriksa, apakah mungkin ada cerukan atau saluran paip di dalamnya. Setelah memeriksa dari satu tempat ke tempat lainnya, ternyata tidak menemui apapun!

Dia berfikir mungkin sahaja air telaga ini diambil dari luar melalui saluran pam berkapisiti besar, jika itu keadaannya maka dia boleh melihat turun-naiknya permukaan air secara tiba-tiba.

Tetapi dugaannya meleset, beliau tidak menemui gerakan air yang mencurigakan, juga tidak menemui ada alat yang boleh mendatangkan air dalam jumlah besar.

Seterusnya dia minta pembantunya masuk lagi ke dalam telaga, lalu menyuruh berdiri dan diam ditempatnya sambil mengamati sekelilingnya.

Perhatikan dengan cermat dan laporkan apa yang terjadi walau sekecil apapun, setelah melakukan proses ini dengan cermat, pembantunya tiba-tiba mengangkat kedua tangannya sambil berteriak:

"Alhamdulillah, Saya temuinya ! Pasir halus menari-nari di bawah telapak kakiku, dan air itu keluar dari dasar telaga".

Lalu pembantunya diminta berpusing mengelilingi telaga ketika tiba masa pengepaman air (untuk disalurkan ke tempat pengagihan air) berlaku. Dia merasakan bahawa air yang keluar dari dasar telaga sama besarnya seperti sebelum tempoh pengepaman.

Aliran air yang keluar besarnya sama di setiap titik di semua kawasan, ini menyebabkan permukaan telaga itu stabil tidak ada goncangan yang besar.

Mengandungi Zat Anti Kuman

Hasil penyelidikan sampel air di Eropah dan Arab Saudi menunjukkan bahawa air zam-zam mengandungi zat fluorida yang ada daya efektif membunuh kuman, sama seperti sudah mengandungi ubat.

Lalu perbezaan air zam-zam dibandingkan dengan air telaga lain di Mekah dan sekitar Arab adalah dalam hal kuantiti kalsium dan garam magnesium

Kandungan kedua-kedua mineral itu sedikit lebih banyak pada air zam-zam, mungkin sebab itulah air zam-zam dapat menyegarkan bagi jemaah yang keletihan.

Keistimewaan lain komposisi dan rasa kandungan garamnya sentiasa stabil sentiasa sama dari sejak terbentuknya telaga ini. Rasanya" selalu terjaga, diakui oleh semua jemaah haji dan umrah yang selalu datang setiap tahun.

Boleh Menyembuhkan Penyakit

Nabi saw menjelaskan: "Sesungguhnya, air zam-zam ini air yang sangat diberkahi, ia adalah makanan yang mengandungi gizi".

Nabi S.A.W. menambahkan: "Air zamzam bermanfaat untuk apa saja yang diniatkan ketika meminumnya. Jika engkau minum dengan maksud agar sembuh dari penyakitmu, maka Allah menyembuhkannya. Jika engkau minum dengan maksud supaya merasa kenyang, maka Allah mengenyangkan engkau. Jika engkau meminumnya agar hilang rasa hausmu, maka Allah akan menghilangkan dahagamu itu. Ia adalah air tekanan tumit Jibril, minuman dari Allah untuk Ismail".
(HR Daruqutni, Ahmad, Ibnu Majah, dari Ibnu Abbas).

Rasulullah (S.A.W.) pernah mengambil air zam-zam dalam sebuah kendi dan bekas dari kulit, kemudian membawanya kembali ke Madinah dan Air zam-zam itu digunakan Rasulullah (saw) untuk memercikkan kepada orang sakit dan kemudian disuruh meminumnya.

Dalam penyelidikan ilmiah yang dilakukan di laboratorium Eropah, terbukti bahawa air zamzam memang lain dari yang lain. Kandungan airnya berbeza dengan telaga-telaga yang ada di sekitar Makah.

1) Kadar Kalsium dan garam Magnesiumnya lebih tinggi dibanding telaga lain, berkhasiat untuk menghilangkan rasa haus dan kesan penyembuhan.

2) Air Zam-zam juga mengandungi zat fluorida yang berkhasiat memusnahkan kuman-kuman yang terdapat dalam kandungan airnya.

3) Yang juga menakjubkan adalah tidak ada sedikit pun lumut di telaga ini. Air Zam-zam sentiasa bebas dari pencemaran kuman.

4) Ajaibnya lagi, pada masa semua telaga air di sekitar Mekah dalam keadaan kering, telaga air zam-zam tetap berair. Dan air zam-zam memang tidak pernah kering sepanjang zaman.

Beberapa ulama fiqah mencadangkan agar jemaah haji membawa air zam-zam ketika pulang ke negaranya kerana air zam-zam boleh jadi sebagai ubat untuk penyembuhan.

Ini terbukti ramai jemaah dari negara umat Islam mahupun negara lain yang pernah merasakan keajaiban air zam-zam. -Crewfathi

What Ails Us?

Posted: 24 Jul 2012 02:16 AM PDT

Honestly, I hate driving in Penang. It is strange how my friends overseas or from other parts of Malaysia wax lyrical about Penang but it is not as rosy as some want others to think. The truth of the matter is that the traffic problem in Penang HAS NOT BEEN SOLVED by both the past and present state governments. In fact, it appears that is has worsened and may worsen further once they finish constructing the second link and the tunnel project. Some boast about linking here and there but pray tell me the rationale behind chanelling MORE traffic to the island when the road system and poor infrastructure cannot support the population growth and the increase in the number of vehicles on the road.

With the bottleneck, traffic jams, faulty traffic lights, poor road systems, the absence of a structured development plan that does not jeopardise the quality of life of Penangites coupled with the lack of genuine concern for the social and physical impact of developments, is it any wonder that road rage is common today?

Penang has had to pay a heavy price for development. The faster pace of life and materialism has not bred civic consciousness or a caring spirit that stems from a heart that cares. Of course, there are organizations that practise charity etc but I am talking about being civil not just to friends but also to strangers. I am talking about the ability to be considerate to fellow citizens, to friends and even family members. For leaders, it should be the willingness to descend from their delusional state that they are paragons of virtues come to bless us with development.  To me, the only development we need would be housing for the poor and homeless, not for foreigners who jack up the property prices by speculative practices.

An expat friend of mine who constantly lobbies with regards to environmental issues often laments about the sheer apathetic state that many seem to adopt - as long as it does not affect them personally, they will remain silent or indifferent. Worse still, there are those who speak out against those who voice their concerns and objections to development - accusing them of selfish desires to preserve their neighbourhood.

When I was in KL the week before, a friend related to  me how some from another Asian nation have become millionaires just by their speculative purchases. According to her, Mr A buys a house in Neighbourhood #1 by offering a price above market value. Thrilled they will sell. The neighbours are excited and hope their property will appreciate in value. So Mr A sends his accomplice to buy property # 2 in Neighbourhood # 1. The house owner resists and demands for an ever higher value. Then he sells and the domino effect comes into place. Subsequently, after making a few purchases, the foreigner then sells ALL the properties he bought in Neighbourhood #1, earns a hefty profit and makes a run for another neighbourhood and the whole cycle begins again. After two years, they return to their motherland as BILLIONAIRES while we have to pay through our nose for those properties.

Besides traffic jams, there is another Malaysian malaise. In many respects, I do not think the Net has blessed us with positive effects. Many remain in their comfort zones, hide behind anonymity, lambaste when they feel like it without considering the whole picture. The power of the click of the mouse seems to delude us from facing or even acknowledging reality squarely.

We can see selfishness in the way people park their cars, honk at others or even jump queue.

Today, I was the victim of two groups of road bullies. While waiting to pick my son from school, I was parked along the road and then came along this car filled with four ladies who wanted to turn into another road in the opposite direction. I thought I was being kindhearted when  I wound down my window to let them know that they were intending to turn into the EXIT road. And then all hell broke lose. The four ladies started scolding me and believe me, their faces were so distorted and contorted that the first thing that came to my mind was the witches in Shakespeare's "Macbeth". Then they happily turned into the other road with their what they heck I could not care less type of expressions on the faces. As long as they get to where they want, it does not matter who they hurt.

Then of course there are the 'users'. Users are those who love to use people to advance their agenda. Once there is no  more use of them in terms of need or if one used does not conform to their value/political system, these users are retired and put into cold storage and the poor victims will be left in the cold asking, "What did I do to deserve this?" When reality hits home that such unscrupulous and unfeeling beings exist, the pain and disappointment may be too great to bear for some but a piece of cake for the more resilient ones.

Let's not forget the sheep i.e. those who follow popular opinion and go on to give their inaugural lectures in coffee shop discussions when they themselves have done nothing else apart from yakity-yakking. All for show. All in the name for the desire for attention.

Sadly, malicious characters out to further their own agenda make use of such gullible characters leading them by the nose in all kinds of spins. Those who do research to find out more may unravel the truth. Those who do otherwise become pawns in the power game. Sadly, the latter think the former are barking up the wrong tree. Worse still are those positioned to shape public opinion in a mercenary manner. This is such a sorry state of affairs because with the decline in the quality and standard of education, it is likely that the electorate in the future may be more gullible. Some say - no way because information is now readily available. They could not be further from the truth. The harsh reality is that whilst we may have access to MORE information, how much is true, believable and sincere especially with regards to political issues?

I could go on and on and if you are wondering why I am in such a mood today, it is because I have bottled it up for so long and it took two road bullies to unleash the tigress in me in my blog to rant in this manner.

I am so angry with the state of affairs -especially with road bullies, selfish people, users etc that I wrote this post in 25 minutes without planning but plain hammering of the keyboard to rant. It took me four hours to cool down before I could start writing. Otherwise, I would have posted something around noon as I usually do.


Anyway, do share your responses, observations and solutions. Thanks! Have a nice day!

The Arakan Conflict and Nationalist Threats In Burma

Posted: 24 Jul 2012 01:55 AM PDT

Source: Asia Sentinel – The Arakan Conflict and Nationalist Threats In Burma Written by Sai Latt

As society liberalizes after 60 years, new strains appear

The continuing strife in western Burma signifies a dangerous future for an ethnically diverse country that has experienced ethnic conflicts for more than 60 years. It is not simply a campaign against the minority Rohingya as a group. It is a reflection of a tragic political hangover of the nation-state system that operates through an ominous and troubling nationalism.

The Arakan conflict is about nation-state building and state territorialization, which are being articulated by mainstreaming a singular ethno-religious identity — Buddhist Burmese, the basis of official nationalism. The root cause of the historical antagonism between the dominant Burman leadership and ethnic groups has been reactivated.

Politics of identity and difference

The first danger the anti-Rohingya campaign poses to ethnic harmony at the national level, not just at the Arakan (also known as Rakhine) state level, relates to the politics of identity and difference. Historically, ethnic Rakhine were antagonistic to ethnic Burmans for 'destroying' the Rakhine kingdom in the 18th century despite the fact that the majority of both ethnic groups were Theravada Buddhists. Nationalists now have mobilized Buddhist Burmans for their campaign against the Rohingya by presenting Arakan state as the western gate of Buddhist Burma against 'flooding' Muslims from Bangladesh.

As the anti-Rohingya campaign began to intensify in November 2011, Buddhism became the common ground for fostering an alliance between the Rakhine and Burmans. Discourses of anti-Rohingyas came to be constructed in term of protecting amyo barthar thartana — race/nation and religion. Religion refers exclusively to Buddhism.

In this situation, the already unclear definition of amyo (race/nation), and the elements that constitute this category, further blur the boundary between ethnic Rakhine, Burmans and Burmese citizenry. But it takes the general categorical form of 'Buddhist and/or Burmese' where 'Burmese' generally refers both to the country's citizens as well as the majority ethnic Bumans. They also blur the boundaries between Rohingyas, Islam and Burmese Muslims. Ethnic Burmans, with or without the Rakhines' mobilization, joined the campaign in the name of "safeguarding the nation."

Therefore, differences and historical antagonism between ethnic Rakhines and Burmans have temporarily faded into a common "Buddhist Burmese" identity vis-à-vis the Rohingya. This merger is obvious as the Burmese government as well as senior opposition leaders from Aung San Suu Kyi's party including Tin Oo, Nyan Win and Win Tin jumped on the bandwagon to speak out against the Rohingyas. Well-known celebrities, scholars and well-respected writers agreed.

The supposed global champion of freedom and democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi, said during her Europe trip in June this year that she did not know if Rohingya were citizens of Burma. She did not even say one clear word that insults and deadly attacks on vulnerable Rohingyas must stop immediately.

Ko Ko Gyi, the leader of the 88 Generation Students, even denounced the Rohingya as a threat to national security. Likewise, Burmese freedom fighters and refugees in the West have openly campaigned against the Rohingya, arguing that denial of citizenship for them is the majority's desire, however racist and exclusive, effectively turning democracy into mob rule. Some activists, just like the junta, claim that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights does not fit with Burma.

The Burmese media, especially the domestic journals, also launched a media war by supporting attacks and expulsion of the Rohingya from Arakan state – all in the name of protecting the nation.

The most disturbing statement came from President Thein Sein who told UN refugee agency officials that the Rohingya would be sent to camps and delivered to third countries as refugees. All these are a reflection that those who dominate Burma's political and social lives express and engage in political actions based on deeply ingrained nationalist sentiment, however deadly and violent.

Geographical misconception of history and territory

Another important factor in the Arakan conflict is the public's geographical imagination of national history and territory. For example, the title of a book written by a retired army officer, Thaung Wai Oo, is literally translated as We love [the land] because it is the inheritance from our forefathers. These words are also the lyrics of the national anthem. The book is about Thaung Wai Oo's experience working with army officers who were deployed in counterinsurgency operations in various parts of the country.

It is odd that the author, being a Burmese military officer from the central plain of modern Burma, imagines ethnic territories beyond the plain as an inheritance from forefathers as if these ethnic territories have been part of modern Burma since time immemorial. Such a perception misses an important historical reality — that modern Burma itself is very new. Today's ethnic territories that appear on the national map as unified ethnic states were separate and relatively independent polities with distinct ethnic groups, cultural practices, and political histories.

It was only in 1947 when the rulers and leaders of these polities voluntarily attached their lands to "Burma Proper" [the lowland plain region in central Burma] to establish the Union of Burma. They were convinced by the promises of independence hero General Aung San and his forward-looking colleagues to join the Union on equal terms.

As General Aung San and his fellows were assassinated before independence, the Burmese nationalists also killed Aung San's promises. The result is internal colonization. When the dictator Ne Win took over the country in 1962 in the name of protecting the nation from disintegration, he denied Aung San's promises to ethnic peoples. Over time, Ne Win's self-important textbook history convinced the public that they are indigenous to all the lands within the modern national borders, as imagined by Thaung Wai Oo.

The reality is that these ethnic states are not in any way the inheritance of Burman elites. They are lands historically, politically, and symbolically specific to ethnic minority groups. Failure to understand the historical geography of the nation has led the public to internalize Ne Win's lies that ethnic groups demanding the fulfillment of Aung San's promises are separatists and 'rebels'. The Burmese term for insurgents 'thaung gyan tu' means rioters, looters and criminals – or a combination thereof.

Constructing official nationalism vis-à-vis foreigners and ethnic 'separatists,' Ne Win instilled a strong nationalistic attitude among the public. Before his coup, Burman nationalists' promulgation of Buddhism as a state religion in 1961 dismayed ethnic groups whose majority members practice Christianity or traditional belief systems.

In short, imagining the entire national territory as a singular entity and the land mass as that of the Burmese (whatever the term refers to exactly), and deeming the country a Buddhist nation led to inscribing the national space with singular ethno-religious identity, a common but problematic practice of nation-state building.

This predicament has results in burning churches, and beating and killing religious leaders in the Kachin, Chin, Karen and Karenni states and making the accusation that Christianity is encroaching on a Buddhist nation. In the ongoing Kachin conflict, churches have been turned into temporary military camps. Worse, Kachin News Agency reported in May 2012 that Burmese soldiers gang-raped an ethnic Kachin woman in a church.

The same logic applies to the Arakan conflict. Imagining the Arakan state as a unified territory in the west of Buddhist Burma, it is deemed to be an entirely Buddhist Burmese space. This completely disregards the fact that Arakan state is a combination of multiple territories inhabited by peoples with distinct cultures, religions and languages, just as in the Shan state where there are territories of the Wa, Kokant, etc.

Imagining a different reality in political centers far away from Arakan state, the Burmese disregard the reality that non-Buddhists, non-Burmese and non-Rakhine also have lived in different territories within Arakan state for centuries. Just as with all other borderlands in the world, peoples from both sides of the border move around in the Burma-Bangladesh borderland, known today as Arakan state. Having 'illegal' immigrants does not negate the reality that a segment of Muslims – whether they call themselves Rohingya or not – are indigenous to some territories in Arakan state.

This reality does not matter. The Burmese from political centers, alongside Rakhine nationalists, claim Muslims' territories by means of wiping them out: Thein Sein's plan, which is supported by the public. All these examples of state territorialization signify that internal colonization from the political centers is still the principle of politics in Burma.

The Arakan conflict and Burma's ethnic future

The nationalist response to the Arakan conflict raises an important question of what this conflict means to the country's broader ethnic relations. The Arakan conflict is testimony that the political mainstream continues to be nationalistic. Just like the state, mainstream oppositions stand up not for the principles of freedom, democracy and human rights, but for their own interests against power. They united against the Rohingya with complete disrespect for human life, dignity and human rights. Who would guarantee that they would not react to potential crises involving other minority groups just like the way they responded to the Rohingya?

This is a legitimate question especially because the mainstream political opposition has never taken the plight of ethnic peoples seriously. For the mainstream opposition, both at home and in exile, the problems are about the lack of democracy, human rights, and lately the 'rule of law'.

According to them, ethnic affairs that consist of broken promises to ethnic groups, loss of territorial rights, human rights violations in ethnic states, cultural oppression, and a federal state based on equal political representation are not the primary concerns. Their fight for democracy has rather sidelined anything 'ethnic'.

That is why the mainstream opposition has not taken any proactive stance against a decades-long history of deadly violence in ethnic states despite the military's openly stated commitment to 'wiping out' all insurgent groups. As witnessed, the military's attempt to 'wipe out' insurgent groups does not discriminate between insurgents and civilians, resulting in mass execution, torture, sexual violence and expulsion of people.

Even in a reformed Burma where people can speak freely, the mainstream opposition including Aung San Suu Kyi has not spoken out clearly against the Burmese military's offensives and human rights violations in Kachin State. This is an indication that the mainstream political opposition is not on the same page as ethnic groups.

In such a political environment, bolstering Burmese nationalism, although in opposition to Rohingyas in the context of defining who belongs to the nation, reinforces the centrality of Buddhist Burmese in the political life, which automatically further relegates the position of minorities to oblivion.

The Arakan conflict demonstrates that the political mainstream can be easy prey if nationalism is exploited. This is even disconcerting as those who dominate political stage, the media, the youth, celebrities etc. are all prepared to not only speak the language of oppressors but also to act with them in the name of race/national and religion or national security.

If the government frames a potential conflict with an ethnic group just as the Arakan conflict was framed along nationalist lines, who will guarantee that the majority with the tools of power would be fair? Who would guarantee that they would not band together and parade behind the military against those they deem to be the nation's enemies, as plotted by the government's sick drama via discourses of amyo barthar thartanar?

Until the mainstream Burmese stand up for the principles of freedom and human rights including enfranchisement of the minorities, the ethnic minorities are vulnerable. Until the people realize that modern Burma as a nation-state is not homogenous, but composed of territories with diverse cultures and religions, internal colonization and conflict will ensue.

(Sai Latt is a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography at Simon Fraser University in Canada.)

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Masa Depan Asrul Terjejas, Buta Sebelah Mata Terkena Kanister Gas Pemedih Mata

Posted: 24 Jul 2012 02:34 AM PDT

Kuala Lumpur: Seorang anggota Unit Amal memberitahu Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia (Suhakam) bahawa mata kanannya kemungkinan besar mengalami kecacatan kekal akibat terkena kelongsong gas pemedih mata pada perhimpunan Bersih, 28 April lalu.

Asrul Hadi Ahmad, 26 berkata, beliau menerima rawatan di lima hospital, dua hospital kerajaan dan tiga hospital swasta.

"Doktor bagitahu penglihatan saya ada masalah dan pakar telah memberitahu mata saya sukar untuk pulih atau cynical blind," kata beliau pada sidang pendengaran awam mengenai dakwaan pelanggaran semasa dan selepas perhimpunan Bersih 3.0 di Ibu Pejabat Suhakam hari ini.

Asrul yang berasal dari Pulau Pinang menerima sembilan jahitan di mata dan dua jahitan di hidung dan masih menerima rawatan susulan sehingga hari ini.

Ketika kejadian, beliau berada di kawasan Masjid Jamek untuk menyertai perhimpunan Bersih 'Duduk Bantah'.

Ketika mencari ayahnya yang terpisah selepas gas pemedih mata dilepaskan, satu kelongsong gas yang dilepaskan mengenai tepat mata kanannya.

Beliau pengsan dan dirawat orang sekeliling sebelum dibawa ke Hospital Besar Kuala Lumpur.

Menurut Asrul juga, masa depannya turut terjejas akibat kecacatan tersebut.

"Sepatutnya saya lapor diri di sebuah syarikat selepas 28 April tapi akibat mata saya yang macam ni, saya tidak diterima bekerja.

"Saya pun ada pergi temuduga di tempat lain tapi syarikat kata sukar nak ambil saya kerja sebab mata itu sangat penting. Susah kalau saya hanya dapat melihat sebelah mata sahaja," kata beliau yang berkelulusan jurutera mekanikal dari universiti tempatan.

Asrul memberi keterangan di hadapan panel siasatan yang dipengerusikan Naib Pengerusi Suhakam, Datuk Dr Khaw Lake Tee dan dibantu oleh Pesuruhjaya Profesor Datuk Dr Mahmood Zuhdi Abdul Majid dan Detta Samen. -HD

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