Monday, 30 July 2012

Merdeka Hopes Derailed Still

It has been a while now since I have ever enjoyed a real pang of patriotism come Merdeka Day celebrations.

This year’s promises to be no less a bummer of an event with already the federal government courting controversy by insisting in using a politically charged slogan as the Merdeka theme as well as an equally disturbing theme song.

The lame Merdeka logo debacle has yet to die its Malaysian death and here we hear that the song is not only ciplaked but ciplaked from our ever friendly neighbour with a fair dose of religiosity to boot…

Never mind the bodek-strong lyrics...

What are we: a bunch of sado - masochists or something? Or is someone trying to make a statement here?

(Wonder if the song will also die a sudden death just it the ill-fortuned mish mash of promotional statement masquerading as a logo cousin?)

We all know that the god-knows-when-its-gonna-be-called 13th General Elections has got everyone at the precipice but why can’t for once politics is chucked out from the equation?

Is it too tall an order to ask for a non partisan Merdeka Celebrations this year?

Alas, far too late a hope.

Merdeka: Redux

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

On Reading aka With Apologies to Stephen King (again!)

I have this habit of re-reading books I really love countless number of times, and apparently this “behavior” seemed weird to others.

If by chance you are ever in my humble home’s humble makeshift library, these books are recognized by their “kusam” (Malay for “in shreds” or something thereabouts) look.

Some notable titles include Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Frank Miller’s Dark Knight returns, Leon Uris Mila 18, Robert J Shea’s Shike and Jonathan Lynn Antony Jay’s Yes Minister.

There are others, of course, but the above are those that pops easily to mind.

Of late, the pressures work and family has disallowed me this favoured pastime, but off and on, I’ll still slip short reads of often well-remembered paragraphs and pages.

The titles are in particular order of preference really, but if pushed, I would place Yes Minister top ranked followed by Dark Knight Returns a close second.

Both Mila 18 and Shike is part historical part fiction; that is if you buy into the authors’ depiction of events as plotted out in the two titles.

Note the oddity of the pseudo-academic On Writing: A Memoir amongst fictions.

On Writing is very fiction-like in its readability, even the ‘teaching” parts.

The book is actually part biography but it is a still “a page turner”, as blurbs on novels usually put it.

Writers have very distinctively styles that mark them out and thus not easy to replicate.

King puts it as life and people experience; providing examples of dialogues from other authors for comparison.

He talks about passive sentences:” They were unceremoniously ushered out of the hotel room” as opposed to “the Hotel kicked them out”. (MY example)

It is something I’m fully guilty of in my own writings which according to King, originates from timidity.

In writing. Imagine that.

Anyway, I read this following article in the New York Times which provides for some good illustrations in a different kind of writing attitude: pomposity.
I have to reiterate of being guilty of similar offences in my own pieces.

Pompous, eh?
Dark Knight, nuff said!

Monday, 23 July 2012

Serious Water Woahs

Probably no one is surprised with the whole “No Way, Jose” stance by the Serious Water Cabinet Committee on Selangor's serious (treated) water conflict.

Decision No 1: Push the "Take Over Syabas" application to the AG on “substantive and procedural” concerns

Decision No 2: Push ahead the billion Ringgit Langat 2 treatment plant.

Decision No 3: There’ll be no water rationing and Syabas has to ensure waters supplies are a-flowing

Note also all these decisions are made unilaterally and came mere days after the Serious Water Conflict Cabinet Committee was formed.

Apparently, the seriousness level of the serious conflict was not THAT serious to warrant a lengthy drawn out, candle burning, coffee cups re-brewing, inter-missive home calling: “No dear…Still nothing” “Don’t wait up” marathon sessions.

Nope. Nothing of that sort. One meeting was all it took.

Urmm… If things were that bloody simple, why the Sam Hill was there a need to form such a seriously manned, and helmed Cabinet Committee? Collective responsibility? Safety in numbers? Bullying capacity?

Mind also that the water crisis situation is current while the so-needed Langat 2 water treatment plant is said to tackle future ones.

Huh? Aren’t we supposed to be in a serious situation NOW? So, what about the NOW?

Syabas is supposed to ensure free flowing water taps from where? The supposed over utilized current treatment plants?

Anyway: do read up also RPK’s take on the whole Selangor (and elsewhere) water situation and yes, in a way, I do agree with him.

We shouldn’t have gone the way of privatization of such a basic need of the Rakyat in the first place.

After all, it might just (might, mind you) open the Pandora box to a possible milking of serious water crisis situations to milk the state / federal coffer for money to “solve” the crisis.

Again I repeat: might, not would, not could, but might.

Nah. Probably not. We are in good hands of corporates who are all “People first, profits second.”

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Mismatched Gaffe

Good for a short guffaw this.

Apparently the Cabinet has agreed for a Cabinet Committee “aimed at resolving the 'serious' conflict between Putrajaya, Syabas and the Selangor government.”

Announcing this, Energy, Green Tech and Water Minister Peter Chin was quoted as saying, probably in all seriousness, that the committee “…will tackle the issues in a holistic manner."

What means holistic?

Holey Moley? Supercalifragilistic? Holier than thou?

The Cabinet Committee on the Serious Water Conflict is to be led by Muhyiddin Yassin and  the chairs filled by (drum roll, please), Agri and Agro Industry’s Noh Omar, FT and Urban Wellbeing’s Raja Nong Chik and Pemandu Head Honcho Idris Jala.

There will be no invites to the seriously in conflict Selangor state government in this holistically set-up Committee to seriously settle at least two serious issues of water rationing proposal by Syabas and the planned takeover of the alleged seriously delinquent company by the State government.

Seriously shitty stuff here, really.

We’ll see eventually where this will bring us vis a vis the Syabas – Selangor state government water saga.

I’m not holding my breath any longer that needed to recover from the LOL short session (a longer one is seriously not warranted anyway)  as it is clear that one party wants something which the other adamantly doesn’t want to give.

In the meantime, expect more “serious news” to come our way.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Hastened Post

Such haste…

The on-going – can I say saga? – of JAWI versus Border’s on their charging of their staff Nik Raina Nik Aziz exposes further the kind of murky confluence that could occur in a two divergent legal system.

Blogger Din Merican has written extensively on the chronology of the whole drama from the raids on Border’s Mid Valley and Bangsar Village to the charging, the filing of a judicial review on the legality of the raid and consequent charging, the stay application, the request for a swifter hearing of the charging, the courts’ separate acquiescence to two completely conflicting sets of applications…

The three latest dates being bandied as thus as follows: hearing of an application for stay of the Syariah proceedings at the High court on July 30, new mention date for Nik Raina at the Syariah High Court on Aug 7 while the judicial review at the KL High Court on Sept 5.

Note that the original mention date for Nik Raina’s was Sept 19.

It could well be much ado about nothing as usually nothing of consequence occurs in mentions anyway which are often case-administration breathers.

Note also the original catalyst for the whole rigmarole - Irshad Manji's controversial book Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta – is now pretty much yesterday’s news in especially the MSM.
It may well be down to PRINCIPLES.

That an offence has been committed and so the offender has to pay.

Yep. I really, really, really believe this to be it especially in the light of the many other similar instances where the application of the above PRINCIPLE is on display.

Typed straight faced. Honest.

The matter about principles also came up yesterday during the Q & A session post Professor Tariq Ramadan’s talk at ISTAC in Jalan Duta.

In fact, the start was quite a cringeworthy, but fortunately only a passing, moment: a participant stood and stated that he was asking a question from a “VVIP” who couldn’t make it to the talk / lecture who wanted to know if the Arab Spring was Islamic and if the same could occur in Malaysia.

I couldn’t quite recite Professor Ramadan’s answer in its entirety but the gist of his answer was that the majority of the protestors were in fact muslims, young and old, men and women.

And the principles are work are those which are Islamic in essence – good governance and justice, for example.

I’m paraphrasing, of course, as the good Professor - who is banned in a whole list of countries for speaking his mind out loud – provided a far more comprehensive view than I could ever articulate, ever.

As to whether something similar could occur here, his answer was simply: “I do not know. It is for you to tell me.”

VVIP, huh? Usual suspects, I presumed.