Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The pains of unrequited love

What does Merdeka mean to you?

Fake answer: I am happy that I can live here in a multi racial country, where we can interact and live harmoniously together.

Ok, lest anyone thinks that I am anti-Merdeka, anti-Islam, anti-government, etc etc, let me make this clear. I am not.

I am not anti-Islam. In fact I have a lot of Muslim friends with whom I hang out with. I enjoy their company and we share the same humour. Some of them even make fun of their own religion just as I would too. Which I find endearing because it means they can laught at themselves and that makes friendship easier.

Now, what is it then that I go on and on about in this space? It is not that I am anti-Islam. I am just anti-Islamic-favouring policies.

While I may laugh with my Muslim friends, that does not mean that I do not harbour a resentment that they will go on to get a scholarship to study overseas eventhough their parents are richer than mine and their results poorer than mine. And while I enjoy their company that does not mean I do not envy that they will not have to worry about their children not being able to enter our top universities due to a quota system while I may have to worry about spending a fortune having to send my children when their applications are rejected.

While I do not disagree that many Muslims are where they are because they have worked hard for it, I do not agree that some of them deserve to be where they are purely because of their race and religion. And it pains me to know that the Government which has pledged to work for Malaysians, have found it fit to work harder for MALAYsians. It hurts my sense of sportmanship when I find that there are athletes who have trained and won in their respective games are not chosen to represent the country/ state because their team consist of Chinese/Indian girls. So they are told, sorry, we cannot choose you. But to make you feel better, we will allow some of your girls to join our team consisting of all Malay girls to represent our country.
Yes, you may go, oh, AS IF this happens. It does. I assure you. It is a FACT.

And many of you will remind me of how us Malaysian respect other races and how we can live together unlike other countries who fight and have wars in the name of religion. And I tell you, in your face, we have avoided wars so far because there WAS an understanding that we as Chinese, Indians and lain-lain had a place under the Malaysian sun as Tunku Abdul Rahman(and Raja Nazrin) said. However this so called "social contract" is fast becoming a thing of the past, and sentiments are high as new policies are put in place because the Malay population HAVE THE RIGHTS. No, its not a BIRTH right. I am sorry that the Government does not see that.

It makes me grimace in disgust when I know that the party who is supposed to represent us Non-Muslims in coalition is much too caught up in making money, in sucking up to their boss's ass and providing for their families to realise that they are slowly but surely selling their souls at our expense.

I respect the fact that we are all allowed to practise our religion freely in this country. But faith unfortunately comes second to survival. And in this country, while you are free to have faith in the religion of your choice, it also means your faith in that particular religion will be a barometer of how much you are given or whether you are given anything at all.

So you see, I am not that bad a person as many people may think. I respect the religions of my friends.Personally, I like them. In fact, some of them are my good friends. But like I said, that does not mean I am not envious, angry, disgusted, resentful or oblivious to how they are allowed to be so much more, just because they are from a religion called Islam.

Being proud to be Malaysian is hard for me. Sure I beam with pride when our Malaysians won the Thomas Cup. And when Nicol David is the top squash player in the world. And that Jimmy Choo is a revered name in the shoe business. And Zang Toi is doing well in the States. You see, my pride stems from the fact that they are INDIVIDUALS who made it. So it makes me proud to know, hey, I may be able to make it too even if I do not have blonde hair, blue eyes or a foreign accent. Does it make a shred of difference that they happen to be FROM Malaysia? I am afraid that comes in second place.

Ok I may not make much sense.

But at the end of the day, it boils down to hoping that if I, a Chinese girl loves Malaysia, it might one day, someday love me back.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Jesus who?

Ok, so its an established FACT that if you insult Islam, this is what is going to happen:-

1. There will be a story about you in every major newspapers. In fact you will make it to the front pages of every newspaper there is;
2. Our PM will express his disappointment and anger and say something like "we have to act accordingly. Its not right to insult Islam. It will cause racial disharmony. We have to ensure that the Law takes its course."
3. GPMS will call for the death penalty if they could but because they want to seem "moderate" in the thoughts, they call for corporal punishment(or something along those lines);
4. Ministers will overreact and ask for you to be punished for "insulting Islam" and "causing racial disunity";
5. Investigations will be opened to see whether you should be prosecuted to serve as a warning that Islam is supreme and nobody, NOBODY can insult Islam;and
6. You will fall off the face of the earth never to be heard again.

However, if you were to insult Christianity, this is what's going to happen:-

1. You get a small column dedicated to you because some unknown politician made a report about your insensitiveness in insulting Christianity;
2. PM will say (in an even smaller column in the newspaper) "Dont play with religion." and that he is "very disappointed because it was very hurtful and would anger Christians";
3. Nobody else really cares because hey, its not about Islam;
4. You go off scott free because , HEY, ITS NOT ABOUT ISLAM.

So, here its the conclusion. If you insult Islam, you might as well jump of from the Twin Tower's rooftop.(less pain and quicker death than being subjected to stupid comments, irrational calls for prosecution and accusations of causing racial disharmony) but if you insult any other religion, its ok. Nobody really cares cos other religions dont really matter in this country. Da Vinci Code was thought to be insulting Jesus? Oh, Malaysia didnt ban it. Cos it insults Jesus, not Nabi Muhammad. Who cares?!The Government frankly couldnt be bothered. In fact those in the censorship board may be laughing with glee going "TeeHee!Insulting Christianity!Padan muka!"

If you publish pictures of Nabi Muhammad in a bomb shaped turban, your newspapers are BANNED indefinitely! But if you publish a picture of Jesus holding a beer can and a cigarette, well, unless brought to the attention of the Government, they wouldn't even bother. Not Islam mah, who cares? Can cause racial disharmony meh? How?

You see, only insulting Islam is a GRAVE matter which deserves punishment and prosecution. But all other insults of other religions only deserve a "oh, I am so disappointed" or "or they really shouldnt have" or even "yeaka?" followed by inaction.

Yeah you heard it right, INACTION.

So you see, as we approach our 50th year of Independence, the more we should realise that, sadly we're not living harmoniously as we claim in our VISIT MALAYSIA YEAR campaigns. We, non Muslims, are not Malaysians because we're not recognised as fellow countrymen, but its because we were merely born here and therefore the dominant and only important religion and their followers, have no choice but to "tolerate" us. Dont forget, the Muslims "allowed" us Chinese to stay here. So we have to be grateful. We have to be thankful. We cannot make a fuss that they deleted Hang Tuah from History books once they found out he was chinese. We cannot.

We have to be thankful.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Who the heck ARE you?

Gabungan Pelajar-Pelajar Melayu also known as GPMS was established in 1948.
And the aim of GPMS?

"Menjaga hak-hak, mengemukakan segala permintaan dan memperbaiki keadaan pelajar-pelajar dari segenap lapisan masyarakat"

And in addition, it was set up because:-

1. Sedar atas perlunya disatukan tenaga pelajar-pelajar Melayu di seluruh Semenanjung Tanah Melayu;
2. Sedar akan kemunduran Bangsa Melayu dalam ilmu pengetahuan;
3. Sedar akan kewajipan untuk meninggikan darjat pengetahuan bangsa;dan
4. Sedar bahawa maju mundur kaya miskin dan hina mulianya bangsa adalah di tangan pelajar.
[all info obtained from Hari Ini Dalam Sejarah Online]

Now that we all have a rough idea of what GPMS stand for, I dare ask what business do they have calling for a ban on Gwen Stefani's concert? Saying that in the name of protecting Islam and Muslims in the country, her concert should be banned due to her costumes on stage which in their words "promote promiscuity" and is against the tenets of Islam. [ I have a question, how many of us have had the urge to go forth and copulate when we see Gwen bursting out unto the stage with her costumes or when she is in her music videos? I didnt. If we did, the Malaysian population will have increased tenfold]

Now I read the aims of GPMS over and over again and nowhere do I see that it is their duties or calling to "defend" Islam or to determine what is right or wrong in the name of Islam. Seriously, who died and made them the barometer of what is decent and what is not in Malaysia? Lest they forget, Islam is the official religion of the country, but Islam does not govern the lives of all Malaysians. If indeed you think that Gwen's dressing will corrupt your Muslim youth, ban THEM from going to the concert. We Chinese, Indians and Lain-Lain do not need you to tell us what will or will not corrupt our minds thank you very much.

Or perhaps you should ban your 10,000 members from attending Gwen's concert. They consented to joining your association, so they should stick by what you preach. ( I wonder if they actually have any members attending the concert, that would be interesting to know. If I were the promoters of the concert, and I see a GPMS member buying a ticket, I would say OH NO YOU DONT!)

Now, the whole aim of GPMS it to elevate the status of Muslim students nationwide. That they realise that they should all come together to ensure that the Muslim students are moving forward in terms of their education, their thoughts and their ideas. Basically, its understanding that there is a need to work hard to elevate the status of the Muslim Students in order that they do not lag behind all other races. Encourage the students to learn, encourage the students to take up courses they never thought they will excel in, encourage them to open up their minds and to accept ideas of the world and not confine themselves to their own little world.

THAT is what I read from their aims.

However, what THEY interpret from their aims is to basically call for the man who created the Negaraku YouTube video to make a public apology for allegedly insulting Islam, to insist that he makes another video and apologise publicly, and to DEMAND that Gwen Stefani's concert be banned for promoting promiscuity and when that failed, to INSIST that she cover up as it is against Islam to reveal any skin. (a quick visit to Jalan Sultan Ismail will see many Muslim women dressed in the shortest skirts and skimpiest tops and what about the celebrities who grace covers of the magazines in their skimpy cleavage revealing tops?)

So who are these people to demand all these things?
Who are they to say, Oh, WE are the barometer of what is right and wrong? Why did the Government bow to their wishes and demands? This is only an ASSOCIATION which does not even represent the view of all Muslims, but merely 10,000 of them. They do not represent other races (of course) and they are in NO position to demand anything. Yet, they do and the Government bows to their demands.

This is when we say in unison, WTF ?

SO what next GPMS, no music on the radio besides Raihan? No movies besides Quran recital programmes? How about we ban all night clubs and make it compulsory for the whole nation to take a break whenever the is a calling for prayers? Or perhaps we should make it compulsory for Jawi to be taught to everyone ? Or that the only celebrities allowed to come to Malaysia is one who would be covered from head to toe and not promote promiscuity with his/her dressing.

I have a few questions I would like answered.[Forgive me if I sound a little pissed but I am and they have truly gone overboard with their demands]

1. Why is it that you do not ask your fellow Muslim Students to stop relying on Government funding to send them overseas to study?If you are indeed such big advocates of everything Malaysian, stay in Malaysia, study in Malaysia. Why go overseas where the whole environment is allegedly an affront to your religion?
2. How many of your 10,000 members actually studied Islam and can make statements on what is right or wrong in the name of Islam?
3. Why you did not even make a peep when there were videos of your fellow Muslim Students(underage ones too) having sex with young boys circulating on the internet?
4. Why most youths found "in compromising positions" in Tasik Titiwangsa, Kelana Jaya Park, Shah Alam Park are Muslim youths(and I do not simply summarise that they are Muslims, their tudungs were a big giveaway)

Let's not go and govern what other people are doing. Why dont you look at your own backyard? What have you done to elevate the status of your youth? How have you educated them? How have you achieved ANY of the aims you set out to do? Many Muslims are still in their villages, uneducated. Have you sent your people there to see whether they can set up schools for them? Provide them with books and clothes?

Have you done any of that at all?

Funny how I only hear of you when there is a concert or when there is a brouhaha over something. When it comes to promoting education, batang hidung pun tak nampak.

Friday, August 17, 2007

A fragile nation obsessed with symbols

While there are wars going on in some parts of the world, famine in our neighbouring countries, extreme poverty within Malaysia and all bordering countries, we Malaysians have found it appropriate to place Wee Meng Chee on the front pages of our newspapers and threaten him with prosecution under the Sedition Act. What is even sadder is that this is a 24 year old boy, oh, sorry, MAN.(he is not a boy anymore according to Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri)
*cue Britney Spear's "I'm not a girl, not yet a woman"

He merely sang Negaraku with his own interpretations and telling the rest of the world who tuned into his YouTube video, of his fears and his reservations about the way the country was being run and where it was headed.
Is he not entitled to?Apparently he IS entitled to but there are "proper channels" to voice his displeasure? Erm, like what?Shout it out on top of Mt. Kinabalu where nobody can hear?

Is he being persecuted not because he sang Negaraku and so called insulted it but because it insulted Islam and Muslims? Would it have made a difference if he called Buddha fat and Jesus a hippie and hence all their followers suckers? Would the Persatuan Pelajar-Pelajar Melayu Semenanjung(or something like that) demand a public apology and insist he had to do it on another video posted on YouTube?

First I digress- Why is a Persatuan Pelajar-Pelajar Melayu Semenanjung allowed to be set up? Isnt it discriminatory and may cause racial tensions (ala the reason why a Chinese Association was not allowed to be set up in a University because it was limited to Chinese and may hence caused "racial tensions")? Why is there a need for an Association to so call represent Pelajar-Pelajar Melayu? In fact, do they actually represent all the pelajar-pelajar Melayu? I dare say most of my friends in KMYS (where 90% are Muslims) probably never even heard of this Association speaking on their behalf and demanding public apologies from others. And who the heck are they to demand anything?

So what I can surmise from this whole episode is that its not about the Negaraku. If it were, it just goes to show how fragile a nation we are. That a Chinese MAN could by singing Negaraku the "wrong" way on a YouTube video, insult the whole nation and jatuh muka Malaysia. I bet the Australians(yes, it made it to the Aussie press) are thinking how stupid we are. I bet all Malaysians outside of Malaysia are cringing in shame when asked "why Malaysians are making a big deal out of a song".

I wonder if the Singapore Government feels that Singaporeans are insulting their national anthem when 50% of them(more or less) have no idea what it means as it is sung in Malay. Many of them have no idea when their National Day is either. Should those who do not understand (but sing it with gusto) be prosecuted?What about those who say "National day-ah, I dont know when leh." Prosecute them too?

I have mentioned in previous posts before about Malaysia and our incessant obsession with everything symbolic. Flags, songs, campaigns, material things. Its not about the people, its not about us as Malaysians understanding the history and the struggles of becoming a nation. What if say, Wee Meng Chee is a MAN who knows and understands the history of Malaysia so well he could beat Badawi in a quiz about the country, but he sang the Negaraku "wrongly", is he any less a Malaysian?

You know who and what I think its not Malaysian?

Those who brandish the keris and call out for Chinese blood, where Chinese/Indian festivals are not considered a Public Holiday, but all other Muslim celebrations are- Awal Muharram, Hari Raya Qurban, Nuzul Al-Quran, etc etc, where our ex Ms. Malaysia is not even brought up in Malaysia and speaks with a damn Aussie accent,where we have to tick "Chinese, Malay, Indian or lain-lain" when we fill out forms, where certain properties are marked "Bumiputra bidders only" eventhough its not a Malay Reserve land (and this Reserve land is another one as well), allowing Muslims to park any damn where they please when its Friday prayers but saman the rest of us when we park illegally, calling for Muslim women to be allowed to go home early when they fast during Ramadan but not for Christians who also fast....
Those are but a few, the list is long.
THAT I considered being UNMALAYSIAN. Simply because its race based. Being Malaysia is not about being of a particular race, but being a NATION bonded by similarities of being born and bred here and nurtured in our very own Malaysian cultures and environment.

Where if we have a foreigner come up to us and say "Your country is very hot" we shout with gusto "WHY CANNOT MEH? YOUR COUNTRY DAMN COLD LA NOW? YOUR SUMMER NOT HOT MEH? or if he says our food is disgusting, we remark "Well EXCUSE ME, I happen to think its fabulous!"

We as a nation are fragmented from within, so many of us are being discriminated in the INSIDE, but we fight "forces" from the outside with fervour, hoping to blind the rest of us from the injustices breeding within.

I can see. I can hear. And I sure as hell know what it is to be Malaysian. A song will not insult me. My Government sidelining me? THAT is the biggest insult.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

VSS THE mother of solutions!

"Ninety percent of the Kuwaiti workforce is employed by the Government, a substantial of whom do not show up for work but still collect their salaries. Those who do attend mostly ignore the government working hours of 7.30am to 1.30pm and instead put in an appearance between 10am and 11.30am. Despite what has been estimated to be the shortest working week in the world, male government employees can retire on full pensions after twenty years' employment, female after fifteen years."

- Jan Goodwin, in the Novel "Price of Honour"

We Malaysians can substitue the working hours from 8.30am to 4.30pm and them putting in appearance for between 4 hours to 5 hours (with Minum Pagi, Minum Petang, Makan tengah hari, and for Muslims, prayer breaks in between). There really isnt much difference actually because the civil servants can still retire on full pensions or better yet, they have since come up with the perfect solution if their bad at their jobs.

Yes, the Voluntary Separation Scheme.

You see, if the civil servant is underperforming, or has discipline problems, or is basically what we call in Malaysia "makan gaji buta" there are two options available for him/her.

1. VSS
2. Transfer to another department/state

Isnt it great?
If you're basically horrendous at what you do, you get an option to MAKE money from it! And to qualify, you only have to

(i) work 4-5 hours a day; AND
(ii) you can even have discipline problems OR be bad at what you do.

AND, in our dear PM's words, it can even curb corruption and keep the civil servants on their toes!! [Of course HOW it helps curb corruption was never really explained to anybody, but if the PM says it does, it doesla! What? You got problem with that ah?]

Hurrah! We have finally found THE Mother of all solutions to the civil servants inefficiency! Someone please go pat Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Sidek Hassan's back. I tell you this "way out" (in the words of our dear DPM) for those who may no longer be interested in serving the public sector, or are ill qualified or are basically just malas semacam is so ingenious I wonder why nobody has ever thought of it before.

However CUEPACS has its reservations about this scheme. Not because it would reward problematic civil servants or that this is the wrong way to go to increase efficiency, but that this is tantamount to punishing them. How? Because these civil servants will find it hard to find a job somewhere else thats why! Now why would civil servants who has discipline problems or are underperforming find it hard to get jobs in the private sector? Why, oh why? I absolutely cannot think of ANY reasons at all...! Is it because they are bad at their jobs? Or they have discipline problems? or that they are lazy? or its because they actually HAVE to work 9-5pm everyday and not be entitled to their pagi,tengahari,petang breaks? What a toughie.

I say. This scheme is such an ingenious one, it makes me wanna run to the LHDN and pay my taxes pronto!

Its the best ever scheme to use our taxpayers money! Its even better than building that first class sports facility in some god forsaken town in the UK!

I cannot wait!

Friday, August 03, 2007

A fascination with stupidity...

As our 50th Merdeka looms closer, more and more useless "Kempen" are being launched.

Of course as usual, every year there will be one Minister who will go to the press and comment about the lack of patriotism displayed as Malaysians couldnt be arsed(wait, thats just me..) to display the plasticky Jalur Gemilang on our cars. (The damn glue doesnt come out ok? It spoils the paint) OR to drape our cars/home/self(ala Sudirman) with the Jalur Gemilang. Thats biasala..our patriotism is in the form of material displays. RTM felt so pressured to display the flag that they had to spend a whole load of money just to wrap a flag with our past and present PMs around Angkasapuri (arent you glad you dont work in RTM?Imagine Badawi/Mahathir/Tun Razak's face reflected on the window for a whole month just STARING at if working in RTM is not bad enough...)

What other stupid things have been done as the 50th Merdeka celebrations creep up on us.
Well, dont even get me started on the Parade that is held every year. I just dont get it, why must there be a marching parade? And the rehearsals, gawd, it takes days and days and they close up the whole blardy road. Like HELLO? Some people have more important things to do besides marching around in circles under the hot sun? Stop blocking the damn road!

But my FAVOURITE is the fanfare of lauching a new song!
Past years have seen the launching of our flag officially rebranded as "JALUR GEMILANG" So Ministers must show up, people must attend to cheer and clap, everyone must sing the know the drill.

Then this year we launch the "Lagu Malaysiaku Gemilang".
In all honesty, with no disrespect to whomever who came up with the words , this song is just a matter of plucking out words that make our country sound good and meshing them together.
Here's a reproduction (must sing with great patriotism-marching optional)

Marilah kita semua,
Atas nama negara Bangsa
Dengan tekad mulia
Maju berwawasan
Mencipta Keagungan

Berpadulah kita semua
Di dalam suatu suara
Dengan degupan Merdeka
Menjulang Budaya Bangsa
Untuk Malaysia Tercinta

Malaysiaku Gemilang
Merdekanya terbilang
Berdaulat dan Makmur
Berjaya kami Syukur

Malaysia, Kebebasan Kedamaian
Malaysia, Kebahagiaan Kebanggaan
Malaysia, Cemerlang Terbilang
Malaysiaku Gagah Gemilang
[Repeat Chrous to fade..]

Does it make any sense to you? It doesnt make any sense to me.

Its like this, here's my shot at creating a song that doesnt really make sense but has all the great words to let everyone know I'm proud to be a Malaysian dammit!:-

Bersamalah kita semua,
Di bawah jalur gemilang,
Berbangga dan Bermaruah,
Berjuang untuk Negara.

Malaysiaku, Hebat
Malaysiaku Boleh,
Malaysiaku Hebat hebat belaka,
Malaysiaku Canggih Semacam,

This is a great example of a big waste of money.
Who needs a new song? Who sings it? Who can even remember all these stupid songs that are launched? Why must there be a launching? Seriously. Why spend the money on something stupid as that?

How about using the money to say, give to the poor and the disabled. To pledge the money during our Nation's 50th Merdeka to the families of those whom have fought for our country and have lost their lives, or to the poor and needy so that they can share in the glories and abundance that Malaysia has acquired since our independence 50 years ago, or to cleaning and sprucing up the cities in Malaysia, or to ask MAS to buck up you damn Airline and your damn delayed flights?!(wait, that doesnt need money, but I just wanted to say it cos MAS is beginning to piss everyone off with their delayed flights)

Malaysian and its useless kempens. Here's a list of kempens I have come across (which must include a Minister and a launching thingy)
[The words may not be officially accurate but the gist is there]

1. Kempen Negara Sihat
2. Kempen Makanan Sihat
3. Kempen Menembak Burung Gagak (helluva exciting thing I tell you...)
4. Kempen Membayar Cukai Taksiran
5. Kempen Membersih Sungai


Anybody interested in joining my kempen untuk memberi duit untuk membaiki sinki dapur saya?