December 26, 2006

Holiday Material

Posted in Reflections at 12:09 am by egalitaria

Holiday material for digestion this season:

1. Gubra – Sequel to Yasmin Ahmad’s Sepet. In the continuation of the fiesty Orked’s life, she discovers her husband is having an affair. She meets up with the brother of Chinese ex-boyfriend and eventually turns to him for comfort. Parallel story runs, of an imam who lives next to a prostitute’s home. Controversial scenes include the imam touching the dog, a butt-naked man in hospital. Movie explores inter-racial relationships in the Malaysian context. Excellent movie, highly recommended. Gubra means anxiety.

2. The Message – Made in 1976, Anthony Quinn stars in the movie which depicts the rising of Islam in Mekkah and Madina. Interesting way of presenting Muhammad’s story, something more people should watch to get a clearer picture of what Islam was in its original form and essence.

3. World on Fire – book by Amy Chua, Yale Law professor. Exploring her thesis of how exporting free market democracy around the world has actually resulted in ethnic conflict. This is because in most cases, globalisation and free markets have benefitted only the ethnic minority in developing countries, making them the economically powerful group. For example, although the Chinese represent between 1-5% of the population in Burma and Philippines, they own up to 60-70% of the economy. The book argues that the Western term of globalisation and free market democracy has not translated into the same meaning in the developing world. Extremely interesting, and something that chimes with my heart. I read Friedman’s books and articles and something seemed to be missing. Amy Chua’s explanations seem to fit perfectly into the abysmal gap that economists tend to ignore. Highly recommended as well.

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December 25, 2006

Blessed Christmas

Posted in Personal at 11:55 pm by egalitaria

Have a blessed Christmas, everyone. It’s been an exciting past few months with lots of numerous things happening, but it’s been good to quiet down and reflect on the past year during this season.

God’s love. Something so commonly heard that it becomes almost dry and overused. But truly, His has been so real and evident. He’s given me continuous inspiration to live life joyously, with vigour and adventure, fascination with people, and to keep on hoping and dreaming. Because His dreams are bigger and greater than anything I would ever be able to cook up.

The next week will be a good time of reflecting, planning and preparing for the new year – and all I will be doing. Surely, He will be the guide and constant provider.

Have a great break, everyone, and see you in 2007.

December 15, 2006

Beginning of the End

Posted in Malaysia, Reflections at 1:40 am by egalitaria

The end of the beginning.

What a year it has been indeed.

One of major controversies. It started out with religious apostasy taking the front seat. Article 11, a coalition of NGOs, was formed. People protested. Tried to stop public forums on religious freedoms from taking place. Letters were issued. Muslim NGOs stood out to form their own protests in mass groups. Tensions arose. Tempers flared.

Dr M, our own Old Man, awakened from his silent slumber. Condemnations flowered the papers (or should I say weeded). His cutting remarks brought blushes to the cheeks of even veteran politicians. How can he make such direct statements and criticisms? Malaysians ought to be subtle and answer in slight nuances, not in your face! Prime Minister Badawi was shamed, having to stoop down and say “Hey I am still in control. Whatever makes people say I am not in control?” What a silly statement to have to make. Honestly.

We had the CPPS controversial equity report that flamed the major newspapers in the country. Statistics became the flavour of the day. Numbers and issues flooded the minds of you and me, the local folk, the financial market, the stock folk, the political folk – and yes, even the Ah Pek in the local hawker centre, the Ahmad in the mamak stall and so on. Ministers jumped up and made stupid statements. They thought they had it made when calling the report “sampah” (rubbish) – they slapped themselves on the face when making contradictory remarks and misquoting international bodies. Shame on you, Malaysian representatives! What will our foreign partners think? Then again, perhaps they don’t really care what the foreigners think…

Because anyway, the religious authorities might as well go around apartments and convict foreign Married couples of khalwat, right? Who cares that this is scaring the heck out of your tourists from around the world. If they can be arrested for doing the thing they are legally allowed to do anywhere in the world (and I mean everywhere) then why bother coming to Malaysia? What’s the point of promoting tourism Malaysia, what is the real point of producing “Malaysia, truly Asia” advertisements so fantabulously (that even the airport guy in Europe can sing the jingle for me) if on the converse, certain quarters are making it ridiculously difficult for me to entice my friends to come over for a visit. Hey, come and visit me. I *assure* you that you won’t be caught for holding hands with your legitimate wife/husband in KLCC park. (oh maybe on a bad day, you may get caught. but it’s a 50-50 chance. let’s take the chance and party while we can!)

You have foreign minister mentors calling our society discriminatory. And the discriminated parties in the country shaking their heads wondering what the big fuss was all about when all responded up in arms.

Keris shaking and kissing all resonated well within the party that condemned other races without being served legal papers on sedition. All very well and done with, every other component party being clueless as to how to react.

What a year it has been indeed. Let’s drink a toast to Malaysia, truly confused Malaysia.

Or maybe we can’t really wave our wine glasses too high in the air after all. Perhaps it is not publicly and politically acceptable after all. It might offend others. Perhaps we may get fined RM500.

The beginning of the end. Or which?

December 1, 2006

My Article in The Sun

Posted in Malaysia at 11:54 am by egalitaria

Click here for the online article.

A policy of basic respect
Tricia Yeoh

Our prime minister, in closing the Umno General Assembly earlier this month, said that leaders of a race who respect and honour the Federal Constitution must also be responsible enough to defend the rights of the non-Malays. He reminded his members that Barisan Nasional, the country’s coalition government, should make decisions based on what is best for the country and its people. Indeed, one accedes to our country’s premier a merit of consistency in calling for tolerance and respect for all ethnic groups alike.

Recent statements by his fellow party members have therefore been more than a little confusing to the public at large, leaving the following examples ringing in our ears.

Bangsa Malaysia, a fundamental concept in espousing national unity in our multiethnic country, has been rejected in favour of limiting the definition of Malaysians to Malays being the main, or pivotal, race in the country. Leaders of Barisan Nasional component parties have been chided for expressing their fears that the communities they represent are being sidelined. Strong and offensively racial statements have been reportedly made in the last fortnight. An Umno leader was asked when he would use the keris some time after brandishing it at the General Assembly.

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