July 31, 2006

I gotta shut up soon

Posted in Malaysia, The Cause at 11:52 pm by egalitaria

According to our dear Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin, or otherwise more fondly known as ZAM, websites are going to be controlled by the government. Ooooooh… And why?

The government must control the internet and websites to curb the spread of rumours and news that can harm racial unity in the country, said Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin today.

He said he agreed with Deputy Internal Security Minister Fu Ah Kiow that stern warning must be issued and action taken against rumour-mongers for causing problems to the extent of disturbing public order.

Now doesn’t this seem like a backward clock that our country is experiencing. And the citizens are getting more and more confused over the state of Malaysia, its direction, and what the leaders foresee for the country’s future. First they say they want openness, transparency and so on. Then there’s stopping the forum on speaking rights – more ridiculous is that they are propagating rights from the Constitution, the very legal document that forms the backbone of Malaysia. And now this clamping down on online websites and media.

The control was not to muzzle press freedom but to stop the spread of news based on rumours, articles and features with racial undertones, he added.

Now let’s see…. his reason for doing so was to stop the spread of news based on RUMOURS. Okay, I do understand the government’s concerns that rumour-mongering will certainly harm race-relations in the country. But what the government does not seem to understand is that a country that is seeking to move towards being a developed nation by the year 2020 is also characteristically practising liberal democracy. The aspect of giving information freely to all its citizens is apparent.

Whether or not this information is true is a different matter altogether. Daily we receive lots of data on the internet – borders are no longer in place. It is really up to the individual to THINK for oneself and SIFT through the facts and figures one receives. Furthermore, it will be disturbing to note who will decide upon what is fact and what is fiction!

That we are not mature enough to decipher rumour from fact is all the more TELLING of our EDUCATION SYSTEM. This means we are not educating our children enough to teach them CRITICAL THINKING!!

The control on media content will boost credibility of a website as the people will know the news published was accurate and no longer based on rumours.

Does he know how ridiculous he sounds? Who gets to “control the media content”? Oh yes, the government. And we superly duperly trust that.

So, I guess, the price that we bloggers and site builders have to pay for a poorly executed system of teaching Malaysians how to THINK for themselves, is that eventually we have to shut up. Let’s count the days till the close of this blog. Boo hoo for the Jeff Oois, Raja Petras, Aisehmans (men?) of Malaysia. Boo hoo for Egalitaria.

*Note: i’m not saying online media is all that reliable. I’m just for freedom of information, so people can judge for themselves. Saying we are not able to – is just downright insulting.

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Breather

Posted in Malaysia at 1:18 am by egalitaria

Everyone needed to take a breather from the heated week we just had. Cool down the rising temperatures!

Everyday something new comes up. Ethnic relations guidebook, Article 11 Forums, Dr M sprayed with mace, his firebolt speech and comments, 10000 people gathered at a mosque gathering etc.

I personally needed a breather over the weekend before the battle begins again tomorrow.

Boycott Israel Campaign

Posted in Religion at 12:53 am by egalitaria

An interesting site that has ramifications on marketers, brand and product development, international relations around the world:

Boycott Israel Campaign, that calls on the boycotting on hundreds of brands, amongst the list are included the following:

  • Banana Republic
  • Biotherm
  • Disney
  • Calvin Klein
  • Schweppes
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Kotex

And the list goes on! Imagine the impact when the forces get together and truly decide to abandon these products. Islamisation and globalisation: when the two meet, it gets ugly.

July 29, 2006

Rise and Fall

Posted in Malaysia, Reflections, The Cause at 12:22 am by egalitaria

We talked about the systems of government and why some failed and others succeeded.

One possible theory I postulated was that of the Russian example. Both Russia and China were still ruled under the Communist regime for the longest time. What happened after that, that made Russia collapse so suddenly and China maintain its stability until today?

Both countries’ leaders had for all this time bound their citizens with an iron rule in both economic and political spheres. Russia, under its new leader Mikhail Gorbachev, however, decided that it was time to open up its systems. He told his citizens and fellow leaders within the government to be open with him. Be critical and tell him what they think. Opening up the political and economic spheres, he thought, was the only way forward in imitation of the American model.

However, the timing was just not right. It was too quick, too soon. Gorbachev should have waited and bided his time. The government system itself was not ready. He was the solo man riding the tide of dissatisfaction. The system imploded and collapsed before you could say ‘democracy’.

China? Oh, China knew the time was never right. Their choice was to keep close control of the political environment but decided to liberalise the economy – slowly, slowly.

Zoom back to 2006, Badawi’s government. Are they losing control of Malaysia, both politically and economically? If yes, why so? Has the country not been liberalising itself in the economy sufficiently over the past couple of decades? Then why is it that political liberalism (although we proclaim ourselves a democracy – maybe just a pseudo one) has not succeeded sufficiently in this country? Is the timing not right? When will it ever be? And till then, do we observe an elegant silence whilst others continue to feel marginalised?

Are we really so immature and not prepared for the kind of liberal democracy that is practiced in 1st world countries around? And if so, isn’t that what we want at the end of the day?

Is Malaysia trying to look for a solution to its unique problem in its very own “Malaysian” style? If so, what Malaysian style is this? And how “right” can it be if this style totally disregards any form of international standards? (For this is what it tantamounts to when one says that international human rights are insignificant and not applicable in Malaysia.)

What then is our goal? We have to know this, or we confuse ourselves into thinking that Malaysia is capable of achieving its Wawasan 2020 of being a developed nation when it refuses to behave in a way that is befitting of one!! And that’s what we must think about.

July 28, 2006

Read the Constitution for yourself

Posted in Malaysia at 1:04 am by egalitaria

In the US of A, citizens can easily quote Amendments of their Constitution. They learn it at school. They regularly use it, it is within reach and disposal. This is why a country has a Constitution in the first place.

Malaysians should read our Constitution for themselves and form their own conclusions. Too much noise is playing in the background. Now, for starters you can click here for your perusal of the Federal Constitution. You can even click on each Article for your convenience! Note: the Articles of contention here are Article 11 and Article 121 1(A), which isn’t in its total form but I’ve extracted it here for you:

Article 121(1A) of the federal constitution – which amendment came into effect on June 10, 1988 (prior to which the High Court had unfettered jurisdiction over all matters in the federation) – provides that the (civil) high courts ‘… shall have no jurisdiction in respect of any matter within the jurisdiction of the syariah courts.’ It is important to reflect on the negative (as opposed to the positive) way in which the Article is framed. (Extract taken from malaysiakini.com)

Sick sick sick

Posted in Astronomy, Malaysia at 12:51 am by egalitaria

I’m getting so sick of each issue cropping up daily.

I need new thoughts, new issues, new hobbies to take my mind off the state of this sorry nation.

Let’s return to my love for astronomy. Found this society called Star Finder Malaysia. The website is here.  They get into activities that I yearned for years ago but never joined a club for – stargazing, meteor shower observation and so on. Let’s get that telescope brushed and dusted! Astronomy is a beautiful way of escaping far, far away from here.. burying oneself in the sea of stars above you.

On another note, Starlight Cinema is back to paint Sentul Park bright and warm in the cool evenings of KL.

July 26, 2006

Uni-Versity

Posted in Language, Malaysia at 11:21 pm by egalitaria

This is a record day for me: 9 postings in a day.

When inspiration strikes, you answer its call, and this is the final entry for the day:

Did you know the word University really means “unity in diversity”?

We have got it right all along when pushing for a society that is united but practices its various cultures! Now how do we put that into action… thinking caps on, everyone! But wait a minute, this ought to be practiced within universities. In Malaysia, you say? Little hope then. Gottes segen dein Land!

Dystopia!

Posted in Philosophy, The Cause at 11:10 pm by egalitaria

I learnt a new word today: dystopia.

A dystopia (alternatively, cacotopia[1], kakotopia or anti-utopia) is a fictional society that is the antithesis of utopia.

A dystopia is usually characterized by an authoritarian or totalitarian form of government, or some other kind of oppressive social control.

Amongst the characteristics of a dystopian society are:

  • State propaganda programs and educational systems that scare most citizens into worshipping the state and its government, in an attempt to convince them to believe that life under the regime is good and just, e.g. Alan Moore‘s V for Vendetta.
  • Strict conformity among citizens and a general assumption that dissent and individuality are bad, as in We, where people are permitted to live out of public view for only an hour a day, and are not only referred to by numbers instead of names, but are neither “citizens” nor “people”, but “numbers.”
  • A state figurehead that people worship fanatically through a vast personality cult, such as Nineteen Eighty-Four‘s Big Brother, We‘s The Benefactor, or Equilibrium‘s Father.
  • Fear of, or disgust at, the world outside the state.
  • A common view of traditional life, particularly organized religion, as primitive and nonsensical.

Why does this feel vaguely familiar?

Hail Big Bro

Posted in Malaysia, Religion, The Cause at 10:56 pm by egalitaria

My goodness, it was just yesterday that I lauded the social engineering processes as outlined in 1984 and Brave New World. Apparently our leaders seem to stick closely to authoritarian tactics. Does AAB think he is Big Brother?

Article 11 forums to discuss inter-faith issues must stop immediately because they are deemed to cause tension in our multi-religious society, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said.

If possible such discussions should not be carried out at all. It has passed the stage where it is worrying all of us. The Government will monitor the situation and developments.

How delighted one and all must be that the government will monitor the situation! How willingly we are to delegate all responsibility into their hands, since (of course) we fully entrust the governing of the nation to them, for crying out loud! But Wong Nai Chee, MCA parliamentarian pointed out clearly that:

Sweeping the issue under the carpet will not placate the minority groups into silence … assuming them into a pressured position from the strident voices of majority group. Firstly, the constitutional rights of every Malaysian is a matter of public concern, and secondly, the objective of the forums is to discuss matters on freedom of religion and it does not question the position of Islam as the official religion of Malaysia.

The general consensus on religious issues among the public could only be reached by having a rational public debate.

Is there such a thing as rational public debate in this country? Surely you don’t imply this is an impossibility! *with wide innocent eyes* Anyway, now Article 11 is seeking a meeting with our beloved Big Brother.

“(We) will seek a meeting with (him) to request further information about his concerns regarding the coalition’s activities and to provide clarification on the misconception that links (us) with the IFC.

Let’s see what Big Bro has in store for us tomorrow. Every morning a new story, everyday a new discovery in the continuing sandiwara journey of Malaysia. Keranamu Malaysia!

Clueless Bliss

Posted in Malaysia, The Cause at 9:03 am by egalitaria

From Bernama: (and boy oh boy, are they living in an ancient world. With a single statement, they blot out the significance of ANY sort of New Media, including value-added Wikipedia and online citizen reporting.)

Alternative media, that include websites and blogs, should refer to the mainstream media for news and resources and not the other way round, said Deputy Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

“What is happening now is that there are some mainstream media that pick up news from websites and blogs and other sources on the sidelines.

“Unfortunately most of the information are not based on sources that can be relied upon,” he told reporters upon arriving at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport, here Tuesday evening.

Therefore, Zahid said, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s call for mainstream media to avoid competing with Internet websites and blogs in publishing materials and news that were speculative and sensational in nature, was right and timely.

The Prime Minister Tuesday said that mainstream media should play its role in delivering information to the people while being aware of the need to not report anything that could prompt adverse reactions and create uneasy situations.

Zahid said: “To me, though the people have the choice in seeking news sources, the best option is to obtain information sourced from the mainstream media where their credibility could be defended.

“If the statements are untrue, those responsible are often taken to court. What is important is the crediblity of the material and the source.”

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