September 30, 2006

Elections 1999, 2004, 2007?

Posted in Malaysia, The Cause at 12:26 am by egalitaria

Now what does this symbolise? Balance of … power? equity? anything at all? Should I do a whoop-de-whoop or tear my clothes apart?

Clad in my horrifically ugly turquoise-blue school pinafore, I stared wonder-eyed at the brilliantly coloured flags waving gaily in the wind outside my school walls. Election Year 1999 came and went with little interest amongst my peers but quietly brooding I, (attempting to address my major examinations) contemplated Malaysian politics “through a glass darkly” and yearned for the day I would cast my first vote.

Came the next elections, excitably ensuring all details were sorted out and registrations completed. Pushing and campaigning for friends and peers in age group and above would Please Go And Register To Vote. Come Judgment Day, one strides into the room with no traffic to obstruct the way because Nobody in your age group has turned up. You see veterans walking and limping, in wheelchairs, queuing up to save the country from what they consider Big Trouble.

Today more than ever I feel the urge to ensure everyone I know, who is legitimate, registers themselves as voters. This is a right that everyone needs to appreciate. People may think it’s just one lousy teeny weeny vote but come on, please don’t self-deprecate yourself that way. Each vote counts. If there was trouble before, perhaps this time us citizens need to wake up to the disease of the nation.

Think about countries around the world that have been slowly diseased. Poison kills a person slowly, and such thick, sick, bitterness can cut off purity, righteousness, justice and honour like the haze does to clean air and oxygen. Think about nations that bow to corruption and never regain its sense of pride. It take aeons for democratic action to heal the land, but that is the way forward. If only the people get their act together sooner rather than later.

So what do you need to do? (I’m starting this way early so you have a chance to GO NOW or forever hold your piece, or peace..)

Go to the Election Commission website here, and the instructions will tell you what to do. Basically you need to either go to the EC Headquarters here OR go to State Election offices here OR go to your nearest post office, bring your IC along and just get a form to fill up! Voila you are done. I did it the post office way, which was the most convenient for me – it’s near my house. Make sure you check online after that whether you are confirmed as registered, and your constituency is correct. If you shift homes then you ought to ensure your data is altered as well, or you will perhaps contribute to the growing number of ghost voters.

Election year is when things get heated up and it’s an all out mud-slinging session. Maybe I’m talking about it too early but the next one year leading up to the General Elections will be sehr, sehr interessant.. very, very interesting indeed.  Stay Tuned.

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September 29, 2006

Sorrow in the Morrow

Posted in Malaysia, Reflections, The Cause at 11:45 pm by egalitaria

God in the Old Testament cried out for Israel, which was, at the time, His chosen land. Despite the numerous times He held out His hand to help His people, they stumbled and fell, again. He had a deep, deep sorrow for this land that He so loved. And yet – and yet – they rejected Him.

It’s not right to draw parallels, but what can I say about this country of mine? We are bombarded with issues left, right and centre. You’ve got your issues of religion, where the Prime Minister has stated loud and clear that any inter-religious dialogue that touch on the sensitivities of Islam in Malaysia should not be publicly discussed. With one fall swoop, he has cut off all positive aspects of such interfaith dialogue. Malaysia already has so little opportunity for citizens to interact – the government claims it wants to promote national unity but this clearly contradicts their claim. What little chance there was, through Article 11 Forums, the Malaysian Interfaith Network, the MCCBCHS (Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism) and the proposed Inter-Faith Council – have been obliterated by one snap call. How ridiculous! Has the government not heard about the wonderful development called the Internet, where you can have MORE than national public debates, but in an international arena. Such topics are welcomed and discussed with a common understanding that rational discourse is the order of the day. Nobody welcomes rash opinions based on … well, based on nothing.

And then you’ve got the alphabet soup of racial issues. You have Lee Kuan Yew claiming that the Chinese are marginalised in Malaysia and our government kicking up a big fuss, asking him to retract his statement. The opposition leaders in Malaysia agreeing with him. Who wouldn’t agree with him? Is there any ounce within his statement that ISN’T TRUE?

You’ve got the recent Centre for Public Policy Studies report claiming that Bumiputera share equity as way higher than the current government estimates. It’s all about the calculations, and highly unlikely that us in the public will see any statistics being released from the big cold B (buildings) of the big cold G (government).

You’ve got the Bar Council and the whole country (well, I do exaggerate, I beg thy pardon) calling for the review of the 1988 Tun Salleh Abas case. This was the landmark case in which the Independence of the Malaysian Judiciary was seriously questioned. What a sad situation for the legal world – which I believe all lawyers should fight for instead of getting obsessed with making their first million bucks as Regal Legal Eagles.

You’ve got the calls for an IPCMC – Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission. You’ve got Parliamentarians making fools of themselves… I call it the zoo I tell you.. There are more animals than just deer and monkeys on the hill where Parliament lies. Now, are you proud, fellow Malaysians, of the level of debate in this country? Does it amaze you that the country of 27 billion is run by people who can say to the physically crippled, “You are jealous of me because I can stand up”??

This year more than any other, I’ve had people saying that they couldn’t even muster up enough emotional strength to take out their Malaysian flags from their dusty cupboards to Fly the Wonderful Jalur Gemilang in conjunction with Hari Merdeka (National Day). Now why is that? Has our system come to this extent? Is it merely frustration that the people are exhibiting (which has always been the case… where people constantly curse and swear at their Blardy Garment).

Or is it the same deep, deep sorrow that God felt at the prospect of Israel’s Evil? Yes, that is it. It’s the right word to use. Our country is turning down the path of darkness – it’s not just a sense of fact, it is a sense of trepidation. We tread with fear, not knowing what tomorrow brings. That would be fine if the problem was MERELY economic and financial. But no, the hinge upon which society hangs on is a fraction of the huge looming problems. It spans beyond the numbers. What about social safety nets? Can people afford to be cheated of their land and homes? Can the police and the Law (oh, that noble, sick, noble, sick word) and the Great Protectors of the country defend those in need any quicker than they can say the words “Saya Ada Connection la, Brader”?

I’m really not sure.

I do so want to be patriotic to this land of mine. Heck, if I don’t belong here, where else can I? But come on people. Give me a reason to continue loving the country, to FEEL patriotic. Give me a reason.

Death Cab for Cutie

Posted in Malaysia at 11:03 pm by egalitaria

What a strange name for a band. Death Cab for Cutie. When I first heard of it, it kindled in me feelings of unexpressed awe for a hardcore grunge-metal band. But its music is one of a kind. Get a hand of it. The intricate weaving of twanging guitars, beautiful lyrics that seep into you, and this epitomises many a wandering life:

Sorrow drips into your heart through a pinhole,

Just like a faucet that leaks and there is comfort in the sound,

And while you debate half-empty or half-full,

It slowly rises, Your love is gonna drown.

For many do not contemplate the circumstances they are in. And day by day, sorrow eats in, destroying a soul. Before you know it, you awaken and realise you’ve been had for a number of years.

This is the best way to exact negative change unto society without them knowing it. You introduce something as subtle as air, and the people breathe it in unbeknownst to its consequences. You convince the world that sorrow is good for them. You leak it in as if it’s part of the system, that people just HAVE to live with this system until the day of death. You allow them to believe that they are living with no choice. And that is when I fear the death of an individual. You leak in darkness, and before I know it all my light is taken away. And I no longer see it. No longer trust it even if I do see it.

This is what has happened in Malaysia. We’re on a Death Cab. Welcome to Bolehland.

September 5, 2006

Justice

Posted in Reflections at 12:25 am by egalitaria

Justice can be meted out in more ways than one.

Your Love

Posted in Music, Personal, Religion at 12:14 am by egalitaria

Like a foolish dreamer, trying to build a highway to the sky
All my hopes would come tumbling down, and I never knew just why
Until today, when you pulled away the clouds that hung like curtains on my eyes
Well I’ve been blind all these wasted years and I thought I was so wise
But then you took me by surprise
Like waking up from the longest dream, how real it seemed
Until your love broke through
I’ve been lost in a fantasy, that blinded me
Until your love broke through
All my life I’ve been searching for that crazy missing part
And with one touch, you just rolled away the stone that held my heart
And now I see that the answer was as easy, as just asking you in
And I am so sure I could never doubt your gentle touch again
It’s like the power of the wind
Like waking up from the longest dream, how real it seemed
Until your love broke through
I’ve been lost in a fantasy, that blinded me
Until your love, until your love, broke through

by Keith Green