Monday, February 28, 2011

Hunger Strike in Kuala Lumpur

The besieged residents of Batu Estate will be gathering in front of DBKL tomorrow (1st March 2011) at 10.30 am. They will be going on a hunger strike.

This is to protest the planned demolition of their homes by DBKL. Using, of all things, an Emergency Ordinance.

We are surprised to hear about this Emergency. Going about our duties in Kuala Lumpur today, we found the city, and Malaysia, to be in its usual state of UnEmergency. Or lacking any sense of urgency, if you prefer.

But we have, after some research, found that Malaysia labours under several states of Emergency. Which no succesive governments have bothered to repeal. Having, of course, no sense of urgency. Or perhaps, finding it convenient to have such repressive pieces of legislation lying around, just in case they need it.

And thus allowing DBKL to abuse an Emergency Ordinance not at all meant for this purpose. Cynically circumventing a court order in order to achieve their aims. Or, more likely, the aims of the developer, Mayland Developers Sdn Bhd. Who having offered a pittance to the residents and been rejected, now attempt to flex ugly political muscle. They would like to have their cake, and eat it. And all on the cheap.

This atrocity of a demolition cannot be allowed to proceed. And an investigation must be carried out on how it came about. We must be told who requested it, why it was approved and which crass official or officials approved and ordered it.

DBKL can no longer be allowed to hide and operate in unaccountable untransparency.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Uthayakumar's Folly

On Saturday morning PKR's voluble Mr.'Mike' Manickavasagam received a call from Mr.Naragan, HRP's Adviser and a close aide to Mr.Uthayakumar. HRP, he was told, did not want him to attend their rally the next day at KLCC. Nor did they want any other ethnic Indian leader from PKR to attend their rally.
This was in stark contrast to the call on their website for all PKR, DAP and PAS leaders to support them at their rally. They say, it would seem, different things in private from what they profess in public.

A week before that, PKR's Mr.Surendran received a call from the same Mr.Naragan. HRP, he was informed, did not want him issuing any further condemnations of the BN government for their arrests of HRP members. Mr.Surendran, a human rights lawyer, had been representing HRP members arrested during their convoy protest. He had then condemned the BN government for the arrests and harsh treament of these members. To most observers, it would appear a strange thing to ask of Mr.Surendran, as he is always in the forefront of human rights violation cases. And, among his many pro bono clients, is Mr.Uthayakumar himself.

We can reasonably assume other calls were made to other opposition parties, requesting their ethnic Indian leaders not to attend HRP's 27th February rally. HRP and Mr.Uthayakumar, it would appear, are concerned with ensuring that all credit for any 'Indian' struggle in Malaysia is theirs alone. They wish, it seems, to be the sole representative of the Indian community. They want, clearly, to gain control of the Indian Vote and then wield it as they see fit. Which we do not think would be a good thing. For HRP has become cultish, and Mr.Uthayakumar appears too much to aspire to the role played by the cloddish, boorish Mr.Samy Velu for 30 ineffective years.
(Update : As if to prove our conclusions correct, Mr.Gobind Singh, upon going to render legal assistance to the detainees at Jinjang police station was practically chased away by shouts of 'mandore' and 'balik'. He has, of course, left.)

The rally, would, in any event, fail. Mr.Uthayakumar had overestimated and overextended himself. He cannot argue that it was frustrated by police action and roadblocks. For these were also present in 2007. In the end, he could only muster the attendance of a few hundred supporters, a far cry from the 30,000 strong rally 3 years ago. He had made the fatal error of many a political leader; he had believed in his own publicity.

Mr.Uthayakumar had enjoyed the goodwill of many citizens(Indian and not) and groups by the time he was released from ISA detention. And to many Indians he had assumed the form of a hero of mythical proportions. Yet in self-defeating fashion, he immediately set about alienating his supporters.

First, he rejected all his non-Indian supporters by declaring that he would fight for the Indians, setting the tone for the all-Indian HRP that he would form.
Then, he attacked PKR and DAP, despite those parties standing and campaigning strongly for him to be freed when he was in detention. Insultingly, he would label their leaders 'mandores', a derogatory term that up to then he had mostly reserved for MIC politicians.
He had forgotten that most people who had supported him, had also supported PKR and DAP. He may have deluded himself that these supporters would back him instead. But clearly, they prefer to stay with Pakatan, which they view as their only real way of realising the vision of a two-party state.
And he had long ago spurned the thinking, liberal community by forming a race-based party.

Nor does it help that his shrill website has become little more than a crude churner-out of propaganda. And sometimes, it publishes complete falsehoods.
As in claiming that disabled people were arrested at today's rally. It is completely false news. Of this outrage, at least, the police are not guilty.
Or in claiming that no Pakatan leader was involved in the 2007 rally. We know for a fact that several DAP leaders were present in that protest. As were PKR leaders Mr.Tian Chua, Mr.Sivarasah, Mr.Surendran and Mr.Manickavasagam amongst numerous others, in the thick of the protest, reeling from tear gas and water cannon but still bravely organising and trying to manage the protestors. And trying too, to protect the protestors, to the best of their ability, from the brutal attentions of the Malaysian police.
While Mr.Uthayakumar parked himself further up Jalan Ampang, giving speeches, and left, inexplicably, without marching to the British Embassy.
HRP's website, sadly, has degenerated into a veritable Indian Utusan.

How HRP will fare after this unsuccesful protest, we do not care to predict. But Mr.Uthayakumar, by alienating all, and trusting to one throw of the dice, may have undone himself. And cast himself into the role of yesterday's hero, not tomorrow's arbiter of the Indian Vote.

Which, in the interest of rational, progressive Malaysian politics, is for the best.

BN's Brobdingnagian Overreaction To HRP's Liliputian Gathering

Despite our distaste for HRP's brand of ploitics, we are outraged by BN's bludgeoning overreaction to their gathering today.

People have been arrested for, it appears, walking out of their house in the morning, strolling down the road and standing in a corner. At the time of writing, ten in the morning, an estimated 80 or more individuals have been arrested! Included among those arrested were reporters and no doubt, the odd hapless passer-by. This passer-by, who shall remain unnamed, would have been arrested for one reason and one reason only. His race. Racial profiling in all its unglory.

BN's overbearing actions will result in a backlash for themselves, we predict. While the HRP leaders will no doubt be quite pleased to have been provided a distraction from the scant numbers they managed to gather. For all reports indicate that they had been able to attract only several hundreds of protestors, nowhere close to the 30,000 of the 2007 demonstation. This fact may be lost in the dust of anger, outrage and resentment that these draconians arrests will cause. Thanks to BN's doltish overexertions.

BN has ridden roughshod over every tenet of basic freedom. Article 10 of the Malaysian Constitution is mere irrelevant words on pieces of paper to them. We are not a nation of laws. For BN, it seems, is a law unto itself, and will do whatever it pleases. The only cure for BN's authoritarian illnes, we conclude, is to cast them out of power. For they have learnt nothing from their drubbing in 2008.

The protestors had every right to gather, and every right to speak to speak their minds. While the rest of the populace has the right, to agree or disagree with them. And that is all there is to it.

The role of the police should have been to ensure that no untoward incident took place. It would not have been difficult to manage such a small gathering. Instead they uncleverly unleash their secret police who, with merry disregard for legal tenets, arrest citizens who have yet to do anything wrong.

In tribute to some Gaddafian God.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Little To Choose Between Umno and HRP

HRP is organising a march on the 27th of February. We are not certain what precisely it is for. It appears to be a combination of  a march against Umno racism and a march to ban Interlok.

Or, perhaps, more likely, a march to attempt to consolidate the Indian Vote behind HRP.

Which would then strengthen HRP's shrill, intransigent hand in seat negotiations with Pakatan. Or, if that fails, perhaps seat negotiations with BN. For on their own, there is no seat that they can win.

HRP, we read on their website, has called on Pakatan leaders to support their march. But we do not believe they consulted them when organising it.

Pakatan should not support marches, or anything else, organised by race-based organisations. And on HRP's website, they clearly state that they only fight for the Indians.

We are wary of such race-championing parties. The MIC is living proof that race-championing parties in Malaysia will only devolve into ineffective groupings of individuals, bound by collective avarice. And doing little to help those who need their assistance.
Even when given 54 long years to do it.

Having said that, we respect all persons and parties right to freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. It will be the responsibility of the Police to ensure this march is incident-free. Using the same ham-handed tactics as in 2007 to disperse them will only result in increased support and sympathy for HRP.
To the detriment of rational, multi-racial politics in Malaysia.

A 'March Against Umno Racism' by HRP is a contradictory exercise, in any event. For HRP too, is, by representing only one race, perpetuating racism in Malaysia.

Many of us may have supported the march in 2007, for it sought to end the callous destruction of places of worship.

But we should not support this ambiguous, self-serving, march.

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Fool For An Information Minister!

This post is not about Mr.Rais Yatim's annoying habit of talking through his teeth.
Which habit he persists in, despite our many admonishments.

This post is about our conviction that he is an anachronistic, asinine fool.

Oh, what have we said!
Will we now be ex-parte injuncted? And then sued for millions that we don't have?

Mr. Rais Yatim called, last year, among other equally silly statements, for all of us, to avoid using Facebook. Or twitter.
They will, he is convinced, westernly influence us.
Unlike, no doubt, the never ending stream of western movies and journalism that we watch on TV and Astro every day.

While making this grave pronouncement, he was apparently dressed in a rather nice western business suit.

He has yet to back up his statement by cracking down on Mr.Najib.
Whom, being a regular user of Twitter and Facebook, must certainly be wandering about in a most zombie-like state of western influence by now.
Surprisingly, despite his exposure to such dangerous influences, we have yet to see Mr.Najib dye his hair purple. Or pierce his lower lip. Or participate wildly in some punk rock concert, while in drug-induced stupor.

Could it be, that Mr.Rais Yatim was, dare we say it.....wrong?
And.......a silly old fool?

Today, Mr.Rais urged Malaysians not to protest like the Egyptians.
He neglected, however, to tell us whom he wanted us to protest like.

Apparently, the opposition had wanted Malaysians to protest like the Egyptians.
Despite a careful search of news archives, we find that they have made no such call.

Could Mr.Rais be imagining things?
We hope he is not also hearing voices.

And he has now opened himself to the risk of being injuncted. And sued for millions, which he very well may have.

He has also requested that we not be swayed the Opposition's 'Propaganda'.

We assume that he would like us to listen only to his propaganda.
Well, he really should improve it's quality, if he expects us to.
It is blatant, unsubtle, 3rd rate and terribly boring.
No different than it was in the 60's and 70's.
And the 70's are, of course, when Mr.Rais Yatim came to some political prominence.

Whatever is he doing here now?

Mr.Gaddafi And The Pills In The Coffee

We have more word from Mr.Muammar Gaddafi, that valiant defender of, well, himself. And his family.
And his somewhat shrunken circle of friends.

Mr.Gaddafi has apparently uncovered a heinous plot by Mr.Osama to drug young Libyans.
By slipping pills into their coffe. The coffee, Mr.Gaddafi detailed, was served with milk.
And the brand used was Nescafe.
As always, Mr.Gaddafi provides irrefutable proof for his accusations.

Once having been drugged with this Nescafe coffee with milk, they would then feel obliged to join in protests.
The only way for them, perhaps, to get more of this remarkable coffee.

Mr.Gaddafi has, meanwhile, in his clever, subtle way, found a way to cure the youth of their coffee addiction.
He will shoot them. Dead.

We are not certain how these statements will affect Nescafe's fortunes. Though we suspect they may be wishing he had named another brand.

And while Mr.Gaddafi, and his sons, engage in farce; his henchmen continue their brutal cleansing,
Their last deadly stop was a mosque in Zawiya, where up to a 100 may have been killed.

The international community meanwhile, continues to have meetings in various locations around. First New York, then Rome and perhaps Paris next.
While doing nothing of any substance.
And sipping delicately perhaps, their Nescafes.
With milk.

We do congratulate Mr.Sarkozy for announcing that the EU may cut ties with Libya. A matter of critical importance to Mr.Gaddafi right now, no doubt.

We are sure he will immediately stop killing civilians and surrender when he hears of Mr.Sarkozy's stunning pronouncement.

What will they do next?

Revoke his credit cards?

Cancel his subscription to the Sunday papers?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Not Good Enough, Mr.Saifuddin!

Why castigate Mr.Saifuddin Abdullah, you might ask, when he's the only one who seems to have any respect for democratic principles in the entire benighted Higher Education Ministry.

Because he has not done, or said, enough.

He does show a rare element in Mr.Najib's wretched cabinet.
A sense of fair play and some idea of what a democracy is supposed to be.

But it is not enough!

He says he did not order UPM to reverse their decision.
Why didn't he?
When they were blatantly attempting to reverse the results of a democratic election.

He said his reason for providing 'advice' to UPM was because the complaint that they had campaigned as a group had come from the rival Pro-Aspirasi group. Who had also campaigned as a group.
But Mr.Saifuddin is missing the point.
So what if they campaigned as a group?
It is entirely up to them if they want to campaign as a group or as independent individuals.
It is called, for Mr.Saifuddin's benefit, Freedom of Association.

He praised the Vice-Chancellor Mr.Radin Umar for his 'openness' in meeting the students.
Instead of sacking him for duplicitiously attempting to overturn the election results.

And he pretends to not have noticed the elephant in the room. For he has failed to call for the abolishment of the draconian, stifling and undemocratic Universitities And Colleges Act.

Mr.Saifuddin would resign if he is a man of principle.

From his demeaning post and the Barisan Nasional.

It is no place for principled men.

UN Security Council Ignores The Owl!

We are shocked. The UN Security Council has chosen to ignore our advice to them on Libya.

They have done exactly what we cautioned them against; issued yet another meaningless condemnation. Which Mr.Gaddafi will dismiss with a contemptous wave of his silly Green Book.
And carry on killing. We know, because 20 minutes ago heavy gunfire was reported in Tripoli.

We admit to being a rather obscure blog with a somewhat minute readership. So, perhaps we will have to excuse them for dismissing us. But many others, including the former ambassadors of Libya, have suggested almost the same measures that we had. It remains, we believe, the only way to stop the madness.

Whatever is the use of the United Nations?
And of what good is their miserable Security Council?
They deny security to those who need it most desperately.
The Security Council, it seems, will never act. It is a helpless, dysfunctional Council.
They will always be vetoing each other, resulting in never-ending inaction.

Dissapointing too, is Mr. Obama's silence. We really had expected more from him than just a bunch of nice speeches. But he speaks not of Libya.
While Mrs.Clinton will not even mention Mr.Gaddafi's name.
Mr.Cameron meanwhile is touring Egypt. When he should be saving Libya.
The Italian Foreign Minister solemnly pronounces that 1,000 people have been killed. Yet does precisely nothing about it.

While Libyans live in fear in those areas that the raving Mr.Gaddafi still controls.

And fall to the remorseless bullets of his henious henchmen.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Something Is Rotten In The State Of MCLM

In Malaysia, the ruling BN is threatened today, as it has never been before. It is threatened by Pakatan Rakyat, composed of, in the main, by PKR, PAS and DAP.

Yet, BN fears neither DAP nor PAS on their own. They have beaten them in election after election. Most of all, BN fears PKR. For PKR has a multi-racial agenda, reflected in its membership, which appeals to the young and the thinking. And with its rise, has managed to unite those dissimilar parties, PAS and DAP, in common cause. Together they gave the BN, by Malaysian election standards, a humiliating thrashing in 2008.
Which victory, for those of us who hope to see a two party State in our lifetime, we hope to see them extend in the coming 2011 General Election.

So we are surprised when we see those whom we would consider natural allies in the journey towards a two-party State, turn around and criticise PKR. Too often, too often unfairly and sometimes in the BN-controlled mainstream media.

We are, of course, talking about MCLM.
MCLM has, of late, been castigating PKR for having too many 'frogs' in their ranks.
Instead of accepting this as the growing pains of a young party which had an insufficient choice of candidates in the last election.
Fine, they have the right to criticise.
They have chosen to do this in public, in all manners of media.
Not so fine.

They then offer to evaluate PKR reps.
To determine whether they have 'froggish' tendencies. To check whether they are doing a good job.
Instead of leaving it to PKR and the people to determine.

How terribly pompous!
To offer to 'evaluate' elected reps when you yourself are unelected. And hold no brief from anybody but yourselves.We were still going to give MCLM the benefit of the doubt. Their intentions, we hoped, might be good, even though expressed in a clumsy, awkward, public way.

But then they announce a strange alliance. It is described as the MCLM-UBF-SNAP alliance.
How very contradictory. To admonish PKR for having had reps who jump parties, and then join in an alliance with UBF. Which is headed by Mr.Jeffrey Kitingan, who has changed so many parties, that we have really lost count. The last of which was PKR.
This is not an act of principle by MCLM. It is an act of political expedience.
They cannot now be censuring others, or go around conducting 'evaluations' and 'tests'. For if Mr.Jefferey Kitingan can get past their 'tests', so can everybody.

We must also question their choice of candidates.Who are, to put it bluntly, inexperienced, possibly naive and have shown no inclination to uncompromisingly stand up to BN in the past. Neither are we particularly enamoured of Mr.Harris Ibrahim or his ill-natured attack on PKR. (On, of all things, PKR's party elections. Which, well-run or not, makes them the most democratic party in Malaysia. As every member had the right to vote for every post. And, please, spare us the insinuations by the losers. We can clearly see BN's hand in some of those.)

Nor do we know how MCLM's candidates will fare when faced with the pressures that BN's schemings will put on them. Or how they will cope with being, perhaps, in jail, the inside of which, we believe, none of them have ever seen, including, as far as we are aware, Mr.Harris. It is an unavoidable risk for opposition politicians in Malaysia.
It would be so easy, then, like too many have done, to just turn 'independent'. All your problems will be instantly solved.

We fail to understand MCLM's strange alliance. There are now, effectively, two opposition alliances. SNAP is, confusingly, in both alliances.

Is MCLM, in some incredible delusion of grandeur, trying to replace Pakatan? Or are they just trying to supplant PKR?

Either attempt, if indeed the case, would be foolish and only impede the path to a two party state.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mr.Lee's Self-Aggrandising Fairy Tale

Mr.Lee Kuan Yew has a favourite fairy tale that he is often fond of repeating.

The fairy tale goes something like this :

"In 1965, 'we had nothing'. We were surrounded by unfriendly neighbours, a security threat. Yet Singapore, under my leadership prospered and became the nation it is today."

Singapore, apparently, was a damsel in distress, which Mr.Lee, on his white charger, rode to rescue. While simultaneously fighting off the dragons of Indonesia and Malaysia.

It is a lie. Concocted by Mr.Lee, for the self-aggrandisement of Mr.Lee.

In fact Singapore did not have 'nothing'. Singapore was the thriving, bustling business centre of Malaysia.
Kuala Lumpur was the sleepy Administrative centre.
Singapore had the most strategic  and only viable port in the region, thus attracting all shipping here. And in the process turning it into the most convenient regional hub for businesses.
British troops were in Singapore until 1975, providing in plenty, the security that Mr.Lee claimed not to have.

And why would Malaysia threaten Singapore? They had expelled Singapore, we believe, because they were afraid  that the Chinese population would become too big in terms of ratio in their country. More than they were willing to handle.
Why would they then try to take it back? 
They would not.
And they will not.

It was, and is, a bogeyman of Mr.Lee's creation.
It was also a way for him to justify stripping Singaporeans of their freedoms.
Freedoms which he continues to deprive them of, to this day.

In his new book, he as good as admits that having no critical voices made for easier management of Singapore.
A Gaddafian philosophy indeed.
While fear of criticism is often the mark of  insecure poltroons.

In 2011, there is no need to continue to believe Mr.Lee's ancient, creaking fairy tales.
Yet, we have not seen even critical thinkers debunking this too-big lie.
Could it be that this lie has been repeated so many times, that everybody just bovinely accepts it?
Well, we can't have that. For we are unflagging inquirers after the truth.
And Mr.Lee's constant stream of half-truths and outright lies make, for us, an irresistible foil.

Could someone have done better than Mr.Lee?
We will never know, for anybody who was a threat to him then, he imprisoned.
In some cases, for decades.

Now, he still imprisons his new opponents.

And he has added bankrupting them to his ugly arsenal.

Stopping The Massacre In Tripoli

The UN Security Council meets today to discuss the madness in Tripoli. We hope they will not stop with some feeble condemnation or the other. As they too often do.

At least the following must be done :

No-Fly Zones
All  available reports clearly state that aircraft are being used to deadly effect, in one way or the other, against the civilian populace.
No-fly zones must immediately be declared over Libya. Passenger jets can continue. But none of Gaddafi's military aircraft or helicopters can be allowed to fly over Libya.

Unmanned Drones
The no-fly zones will not stop those military or mercenary units still loyal to Gaddafi from continuing their slaughter of Libyans on the ground.
Therefore, drones must fly over Tripoli. And we know how effective they are.
The threat of these drones alone may help to stop the on-ground massacre.
But if not, they will have to be activated.
And act against the remorseless killers.

War Crimes Tribunal
Should be set up right now. Whatever happens today or in the future, what has happened in the past few days must be investigated and those responsible indicted. They must be captured and tried.

No doubt there are other actions that can be taken.

We would like to note that the United Kingdom and the United States have a special moral responsibility to stop the violence in Libya. For they were involved in the supply of arms to a known, ruthless oppressor. And he has not hesitated to use those arms against his people.

The circumstances are desperate.

The United Nations must act decisively.

And act now.

Update : We have watched Mr.Gaddafi's rambling, out-of-touch, self-promoting lunatic speech. As he waved his silly green book about.
He has threatened to cleanse Libya house by house. He has said he will show no mercy. It is even more critical now for the international community to act swiftly.
-The Owl, 22nd February, 7:40 pm Libyan Time.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Where In The World Is Muammar Gaddafi?

We really are concerned about the poor fellow. We may have to report him missing.
Unless he's hiding in a cupboard and sulking, because he's lost control of most of Libya.

According to his Ambassador to China (who has resigned), he is in Venezuala.
Whatever could he be doing there?
Appearing in VTV's 'Yet Another Obnoxious Chat with Hugo' ?
No, that would be too much like talking to himself.

Could it be, that he is in London?
Buying yet another consignment of sniper rifles from the business-friendly British?
That he could then use with devastating effect on hapless, unarmed protesters.
No, they just halted arms sales to Libya.
After they had sold him everything he needed.

Is he in Washington?
They did, after all, outfit his brutal 2nd Brigade for him.
No, they're busy self-righteuosly blaming the British for selling him arms.

Detained by the Secret Police?
Don't think so.

Flying round and round in a plane while his country burns?
Nope, George W. Bush already did that.

Visiting his good friend, Silvio Berlusconi?

In Chad, hiring more mercenaries?
Possible. He'll certainly be needing them.

In Saudi Arabia?
Where all good tyrants go to retire.
It worked for Idi Amin.
Tunisia's Ben-Ali is holed up there as well, claiming to be sick, now that Tunisia wants to extradite him.
We'll have to give it a possible.

Well, we can't figure it out. We give up.

But wherever he is, he really should have taken his idiot son with him.

He's only making things worse.

End Game in Libya

Mr. Seif Gaddafi trotted out the ususal suspects to blame for the uprising in Libya. It was, he claimed, 'a foreign plot'.
Yet the only 'foreign' involvement we could find in any report, were the African mercenaries in his father's pay. Who were mercilessly shooting unarmed protestors.

He accused the protestors of being 'drunks' and 'criminals' and 'foreigners'. Libya, he would have us believe, is threatened by drunken foreign criminals.

He was willing, he said, to 'dialogue' with the protestors. He also offered to 'fight to the last bullet'. All in the same breath.
And after the last bullet? A stealthy escape, perhaps?

He also threatens 'civil war'. Clearly, power is a hard drug to give up. They are more willing to plunge their own country into a holocaust.

Libya, we find, has no constitution. The only logical reason we could think of was that this means, if you are in charge, you could do anything you want. Political parties are not allowed. There are no freedoms. It is, clearly, a tyranny.
In his own country, Mr.Gaddafi is not the buffoon that he is generally perceived to be. He appears to be a cunning leader propped up by an omnipresent Secret Police.

But 42 years is too long. He could have, taking the cue from Egypt, returned his people their freedoms. But he chose to do nothing, hoping that it would all go away. And now, encouraged by the success of protestors in Egypt and elsewhere, his people revolt.

Unlike Egypt, Mr.Gaddafi has chosen to wage, with heavy weapons, a war against his own people, mostly unarmed protestors. The death toll is horrific. It is, for the large part, a massacre.

But there is hope yet for the Libyan people. Reports from Benghazi indicate that protestors may have taken the city. The crack 'Thunderbolt' Army Unit has apparently defected to the protestors and is fighting Mr.Gaddafi's Guard. And there are now protests in Tripoli.

More must be done by the international community.

As individuals, we can help by supporting the sorely needed medical efforts. One such effort is 'The Libyan Relief Effort' on Facebook.

We hope, when this ends, that evil loses. And is punished.

For tyrants everywhere, the message is clear.

For you too, a reckoning will come.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Death in Benghazi

A romantic name, Benghazi. Ancient Euesperides of the Greeks. Mentioned by Herodotus.
It takes us back to adventure stories that we read when we were still children. Perhaps Beau Geste, perhaps others, we cannot remember.

And now Benghazi returns. Covered in a shroud of blood. And pointing, perhaps, an accusing finger at us. For we have done nothing about it, and can do nothing; only hope that Good wins.

Please help, if you can, the medical relief effort by supporting via Facebook the Libyan Relief Effort.
Or any other relief effort you deem fit.

They are using heavy weapons now in Benghazi. Mortars, heavy machine guns, rocket propelled grenades and incredibly, sniper units. African mercenaries now prowl the streets, and they have no feelings towards the Libyans. Where a Libyan might hesitate to fire at his own people, the mercenary would care not. And this is indeed the Gaddafi regime's intent. 200 at least dead, from various news reports.

Mr.Gaddafi plans to stay, no matter how many die. And Libyans must fight, for when this much blood has been spilt, there is no turning back. No room for negotiations with such wanton killers. And they are fighting. Urban Warfare, with territory constantly changing hands.

Despite the terror, Libyans (including lawyers) are back in front of the focal point in Benghazi, the Courts. And a lawyer named Fathi Terbil is broadcasting live video from an open rooftop near the courts. We cannot say how long he will be reporting. He says it will be as long as he is alive.
Some army units have changed sides. Fire, it seems, may now be met with fire. And Libya may burn.

But there appears no other way to topple this bloody-handed tyrant, who has ruthlessly ruled this nation for an incredible forty years.

Will they never learn? They always unleash terror instead of dialogue. And then, when they have been toppled, they escape without being judged, into a happy retirement.
That should not happen in Libya. Gaddafi must be tried, if for nothing else, then for these 200 or more lives lost.

But first the protestors must win this battle for freedom. And in Libya, that appears to mean you must be ready to sacrifice your life.

The international community, meanwhile, including the United Nations, sits around twiddling its thumbs and mouthing ineffective words. While unarmed protestors are attacked with heavy weapons.

We hope the loss of life will stop.

The bell tolls for us all.

Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

-John Donne

Mr.Najib's Divorce.....From Reality

Over the past few days or so, Mr. Najib has made the following outlandish statements, or words to that effect.
As there have been one too many of them, we feel compelled to take him to task.
Because we are so tired of politicians who talk down to citizens.
And assume us to be pliant imbeciles.

The people have accepted 1Malaysia.
No, sir, we have not. We consider it a substanceless political gimmick.
Neither has Utusan, read for yourself.
Neither has Mr.Mahathir. Or his coterie.

Uitm students and staff should be grateful.
Right, you will throw us a bone and we will all yelp excitedly.
Whatever you do, that's your job. We pay you to do it, sir.
And you are using funds from the public coffers, which rightfully belong to the citizens.
Why are you asking to be elected, if you feel its a burden?
The problem, sir, is you are not doing enough!
And enough of this pompous "you should be grateful" gibberish.

Teoh family boycott a delay tactic.
He is dead.
He died while in the custody of one of your agencies. And nobody has been charged.
They do not trust your RCI. And whats the use anyway, if the RCI is only going to look at a bunch of procedures.
The family would not want the same non-result as the inquest.
They want justice.
You are not giving it to them.
Despite your solemn promise that you would.

On the whole, the rising ringgit is beneficial to the economy.
Funny, thats what we were told about the falling ringgit.
How wonderful, to live in Utopia.
How is it beneficial?
Because its cheaper to visit Turkey?
And every other Middle East capital?

Barisan is prepared to face double by-elections.
Why wouldn't you be?
We are supposed to believe you didn't contrive it?
To split the opposition's meagre resources?

We are not like Egypt.
Will you not stop repeating the same thing every other day.
Makes us feel like, .......we are in Egypt.

He challenges Pakatan to unveil a shadow cabinet.
Why? Because it suits you?
Fix your cabinet first, sir!
For all the effect some of your Ministers have, they might as well be shadows!

The Curse Of Race-Based Parties

Malaysian politics continue to be contaminated by anachronisms from another age, race-based parties. How could they possibly have survived into this new century?

The answer of course lies with the Barisan Nasional. It is a disturbingly contradictory coalition, composed of various parties with single-race memberships, lying together in uneasy slumber. We grant that a few members of this coalition claim a multi-racial membership. But when examined, their membership reveals an overwhelming majority of members of one race.
Once the BN grabbed hold of power, 50 years ago, it never relinquished it's grip. And those in power, of course, will never see the need to reform themselves. In the begining, it was convenience. Now, it is, at the very least, inertia.Why bother, when they win anyway? They lack a principled leader, with the strength to implement his convictions.
It is galling to have such an unpalatable entity installed as Malaysia's governing party.

Race-based entities lead to vile results. In South Africa, apartheid. In America's deep south, intolerance, sometimes with deadly results.
In Malaysia, institusionalized racism.

We have watched the video on Free Malaysia Today where a teenager was forced to racially insult himself by others, presumably, of his own age. It cannot be brushed off as the work of crass teenagers.
It is the Barisan Nasional which is responsible for it by maintaining their race-based system, repugnant to all thinking persons. It is that craven party, the MIC, which is responsible for it, by aiding and abetting such a system.
It is this despicable system they practise which leads to such acts.
The only way the Barian Nasional can be reformed, it is clear, is for it to lose power.

Equally unfortunate is that new parties are being formed, with race as their criteria.
Prime among these is the HRP. A visit to their shrill website leaves one in a state of surprised puzzlement. Despite our distaste for the BN, we cannot agree with many of their publishings. It reminds us too much of Umno's mouthpiece, Utusan. Clearly, it is targeted at a more credulous audience than us.
The tragedy of the HRP is that they could have been something much more. Upon release from his ISA detention, Mr.Uthayakumar was asked what he would be fighting for. His answer was that he would be fighting for the Indians.
He would not have heard the collective sigh of dissapointment that went up from the many people of all races who had supported his battle with the BN. Nor that from perhaps the entire thinking, liberal community of Malaysia.
HRP appears to aspire to be nothing more than a new MIC, albeit for now, in the opposition. And we have seen the MIC subverted and debased into Umno's nodding creature.
We cannot, on principle, support Mr.Uthayakumar or his party..
His courage is undoubted. But his methods are cynical and his vision, narrow.

Yet, there is hope for Malaysia.
PKR is an avowed multi-racial party and they have started to win elections.
The DAP too professes itself as a multi-racial party. But they have much work to do, for they have few Malay members. They will have to actively correct how they are perceived.
PAS, to its credit, though based on religion, does not discriminate by race.
Pakatan Rakyat, then, remains our only chance to leave race-based politics behind us.

We look forward to a day when race-based parties, as they rightly should be, are ugly artefacts in Malaysia's past.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

MCLM : On Slippery Road

We have no issue with MCLM's vision and mission. We fully support all efforts to restore liberty to Malaysians.

However, we cannot agree with MCLM's timing. We believe it is too soon for MCLM to be transformed into a demanding political entity. 

We are aware that they believe they have identified 'jump-proof' candidates.
But we do not believe that human nature allows for such sure 'identifications'.
And there are no magical tests that can look into the hearts of men.

MCLM's approach in dealing with PKR does not encourage us. We are aware that they are offering their candidates to PKR only.
But surely we cannot expect an established political party to jump at the crack of an unproven whip.
And why would Mr.Harris Ibrahim see it fit to pass sniping, ill-natured comments against a party he says he wants to work with?
It is a indeed a poor way to start a relationship.

PKR had offered to consider MCLM's candidates, provided they were willing to follow the party line once elected. This MCLM has rejected.
They instead offer to vote according to their conscience. But we cannot possibly depend on the consciences of individuals. We well know how easily they can be perverted.
We would much rather depend on the collective stand of parties.
It would be untenable to have elected politicians representing a single party voting in whatever direction they please. It would make for a highly inconsistent situation.

MCLM's argument is that PKR did not field 'good' candidates in the last general election. Of course they did not. Because not enough 'good' candidates were willing to stand.
Including those now picked as MCLM candidates.
Because few of us believed that an event like March 8 could happen.
We were not willing to participate in what we considered to be a hopeless cause.
The situation is very different now. There are many good candidates who are willing to stand.
For, now, there is hope.

We hope good sense will prevail. By all means negotiate, but let your words and conduct be civil. We sincerely wish that it all works out.

We hope you do not choose the path of standing as independent candidates.
We fear that it may serve to split the anti-BN vote. Even if in only a small way.
And in a General Election where every vote counts, we cannot have our ideal of a two-party state threatened by such futile actions.

And then, even if we share many of the same ideals, we will surely vote against you.

The Dithering Mr.Najib

A few days ago, Mr.Najib announced that he would not censor the internet. He would, instead, 'engage' with its denizens.

Two days later, in The Star, he has 'made no decision' yet. He is still 'reviewing' the possibility of imposing the PPA on internet publications and blogs.

BN politicians, it seems, are very fond of 'reviews'.
Mr.Najib is 'reviewing' the PPA.
Mr.Chuah Soi Lek wants the PPA 'reviewed'.
Mr.Palanivel is 'reviewing' the case of A.Kugan. Still.

It is poor form, Mr.Najib, for Prime Ministers of Nations to change their mind every two days.

Make up your mind and state your stand, sir!

We, meanwhile, will be reviewing this entire situation.

Free The Star First, Mr.Chuah!

In a blatant exercise in hypocrisy, Mr.Chuah Soi Lek has called for a review of the PPA (Printing Presses and Publications Act).

This while The Star (a newspaper under the control of the MCA) remains an unapologetically one-sided pro-establishment paper.
It is filled to the brim with syncophantic news of the BN government and its politicians.
One-sided rantings are presented as 'analysis'.
Opposition news and press releases are rarely covered, and when they are, it is only to twist them in a negative light.

The call for a 'review', in any event, is weak, symptomatic of the MCA's malaise of weakness.
The PPA must be abolished. Call for its abolishment, sir, if you have any gumption at all.
Those unhappy with articles published in free newspapers would have recourse to the courts after all, in the form of injunctions, libel and defamation suits.

Mr.Chuah's call is merely to present himself in the false posture of a 'reformer'.
We predict he will do nothing further about it.
Nor can he, even if he actually wanted to. He will be brushed aside by Umno.
It wouldn't matter to him, though. He has got the headlines he wanted.

Lead by example, Mr.Chuah. Not empty, posturing words.

Free The Star!

Malaysia's Plague Of Frogs

The remarkable increase in the number of frogs in and out of Malaysia's Parliament building is a real cause for concern.
We are not certain whether it is caused by Parliament's constantly leaking roof, but we rather doubt it.
For we have seen these frogs hopping jauntily through the doors.

While we have no quarrel with amphibians as a rule, these seem to be of a particularly toxic, irritating and avaricious variety.
The government appears to be doing nothing about these pestilent creatures. In fact they seem to be encouraging them! We have witnessed on many occassions, ruling party politicians expressing their support of them. Considering that we depend on the government, through their various agencies; to protect our nation from pests; we find their behaviour exceedingly strange.

We have therefore been forced to set out to investigate the malaise ourselves. And we feel it our duty to share our findings with our long-suffering readers.

The plague appears to have started in the state of Perak, where three frogs first emerged. Two of them were male, and were apparently facing various charges in court.
It seems ludicruous, but the government was apparently prosecuting a couple of frogs. But perhaps they did not yet know they were frogs. Or it could be that they were human beings, who because of the curse of this prosecution, morphed into frogs.
Once they proved they were frogs (by hopping); naturally all charges were dropped. We are unable to establish which witch or witches exactly turned them into frogs. But we are sure that they were evil witches.
They were then joined by a female frog, an unhappy, bitter creature who, we are told, was happy to cut off her nose to spite her face. Despite a vigorous inquiry, we are unable to establish whether she was ever human.

Right-thinking Malaysians had hoped that the plague would stop with the events in Perak. But, no!
There was more to come.

It spread to the delightful Island of Penang. Two frogs suddenly appeared there one day. These appeared to be a tag team. One backed up the other, and sometimes they croaked their discordant notes in unison.
Apparently, they had both requested various favours.
When denied their requests; as is in the nature of all frogs; they hopped uncharmingly away.
One of them then subjected us to listen to a torrent of venomous croaks all over the country, untill finally, its day of unglory over, it faded away.

Then came a double-hopping frog. An unlovely creature, it took a long time between its two hops. We predict it will hop again, but to where we don't know and cannot say that we particularly care.
We hear that it suffered from delusions of grandeur. And it too, in a remarkable coincidence, was being prosecuted. And was suspected to be of an avaricious nature.
It had always been a small, not very clever frog, but was convinced that it was a big frog. An all too human failing. And so, it insisted on sitting in a chair that was really far too big for it.
When its betters wisely denied it this privilige, it transformed from a small, not very clever frog into a small, angry, envious and still not very clever frog.
And here is the remarkable thing about this frog.
It does not croak.
It tweets, instead.
But no, not sweetly.
It tweets like an insane, raving bird.
A repititive, dull, insane, raving bird.
We could not ascertain what specific species of bird it fancied itself to be.
But if persuaded to guess, we would hazard that it is a hideous cross between a maniacal crow and a carrion-eating vulture.

We must note that we saw a pleased frog in the news today. It was smiling unintelligently, in gap-toothed glory, happy to have won a court case.
Yes, these frogs have lawyers. And they don't even have to pay for them.

And one has been appointed, in a rare honour for an amphibian, Senator.
Yes, really.
A Senator as in Roman times.
For it fancies itself a Cicero, when it is in fact a Brutus.

There were other frogs, of course, but if we were to delve into them, this post would become over long.
And there will be others, no doubt. This plague, we are certain, has yet to end.

We must now come to the conclusions of our investigations.
We have discovered no way to eliminate them.
But we have found that these frogs, if we are to avoid such plagues in the future, have several remarkable similarities.
They are generally of an avaricious nature, they may very well be facing prosecutions, are particularly self-serving, may recently have lost in internal elections and often have delusions of grandeur about their place in the world.

The good news is that most of them have queitened down. But do not be relieved, for we have it on good authority that they will start up again during the Election season.

For they have found a new master.

Who feeds them little flies.

And tells them when to croak.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Let The Dolphins Go, Resorts World Sentosa!

Despite objections from many groups, including environmentalists and animal rights groups, Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore is continuing with its plan to capture wild dolphins and exhibit them in its cruel marine parks.

They have so far managed to carelessly, uncaringly kill two of these intelligent, caring animals. Capturing them from a happy, carefree life in the oceans surrounding the Solomon Islands, they confined them in a limited space in Langkawi Island.
To 'train' them. To do things they were not meant to do. We well know the brutal methods used in these 'trainings'. They call 'positive reinforcement' what is in fact food deprivation. They isolate these social animals if they do not do what they want them to, causing them untold anguish.
These dolphins used to swim up to 100 miles a day in the wild. Now they are condemned to spend the rest of their lives in 24 foot tanks.

Dolphins are highly intelligent animals. Like humans, they love their young. Like humans, they like to play, with each other and sometimes with passing humans. They seem to like us. Over the centuries, there are many tales of dolphins protecting swimmers from sharks, putting themselves at risk. They do not deserve this cruelty from us.

Resorts World has blamed the deaths of two of the five dolphins that they had imprisoned in Langkawi on 'technical problems'. But the other five survived. We are convinced that the mental anguish that free animals suffer; deprived of their freedom and suddenly confined in small spaces; is what killed them. They died of a very human condition; heartbreak.

We condemm the Solomon Islands for participating in this shameless, cruel trade. What will the Solomon Islanders sell when they run out of dolphins? Their children?

We expect little from the greedy, grasping executives of Resorts World Sentosa. They will not understand the language of compassion.Their only interest is profit. Their entire enterprise is based on fleecing others of their hard-earned cash. The dolphins are of interest to them only as a tool to entice more people into their casinos. While their families visit the theme parks.

We call on all  visitors to Singapore to avoid visiting Resorts World Sentosa untill they return these animals to the wild. We particularly entreat Singaporeans to give Resorts World a miss.
You can free these dolphins.
Loss of revenue is a language Resorts World will understand.

Please help these poor, cruelly imprisoned beasts.

We beg of you.

Update : There are two facebook pages fighting for this cause which you can join.
'Let the Dolphins Go, Resorts World Sentosa'!/home.php?sk=group_104121093001373
'Let the Dolphins Free, Resorts World Sentosa'!/pages/Let-the-dolphins-free-Resorts-World-Sentosa/100649703345785

-The Owl, 21st February 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Half Truths To Keep PAP Going - Part III

Mr.Lee on being a hypocrite "You know as well as I do that there are certain areas where you say one thing as a principle, its another problem when you have to make a choice".
Some of us actually say what we mean, sir.
Because we are not hypocrites.

He threathens Mr.Chee Soon Juan with defamation proceedings "But when we accuse him, we'll stick it on him".
We believe him.
Not just this but we believe he can make anything he likes stick in his courts.

On America, Mr.Lee feels that African-Americans; "have not made enormous progress since the World Wars".
In view of the seriousness of this charge, we feel compelled to recommend that he take it up with their African-American President.

He says that John Kerry and Al Gore were both brighter than George W. Bush.
Ok, we're going to have to give him this one.

If the opposition believes their cause is right; "we're not going to stop you from publishing your newsletters".
As opposed to newspapers.
Which would reach a larger audience.
Which would threaten Mr.Lee's regime.
Which we really can't have, can we?

If the opposition believes their cause is right; "we're not going to stop you from holding indoor meetings".
As opposed to outdoor meetings.
Where you might get scorched by the sun.
Or drenched by the rain.
Or bitten by bees.
Or inhale pollen, and have an allergic reaction.
Or, even, God forbid, accomodate larger crowds.
Thus getting your message out to more voters.
Which would ....., but you get the point.

Mr.Lee on Public Service ; "If you don't have the conviction that you want to do this because you feel strongly you want to do something for the people, don't do it".
Yet, in abject contradiction of his call to Public Service, Mr.Lee insists on paying his Ministers top dollar, the same  as any MNC would pay. A practice unheard of in any other part of the world.
It would appear he has little faith in his Minister's thirst for Public Service.

On what he's not interested in;
 "No, I'm not interested what other people see or don't see. That's irrelevant to me".
Because he knows better.
And because he is always right.

On why he did the book, "What am I doing this book for? I want your readers to know the hard truths".
How wrong we were to conclude that it was an exercise in self-aggrandisement.
Just because it reads like that.

On First World Civility; "I have said if we have a credible First World opposition, we'll treat them with First World civility".
And Third World repression.
Using Third World Laws.

Mr.Lee then reveals his strategy on how he treats his political opponents; "Why should we not demolish them before they get started? Once they get started it's more difficult to demolish them".
Clearly the interviewer has accidentally inserted one of Idi Amin's quotes.
He can't possibly have said that.

We have an insert by the interviewers (who are primarily from the Press) which says of Mr.Lee's shaping of Singapore's media model;  "The model is one of a regulated press that understands its job is not to be the Fourth Estate".
We are glad they are enjoying their career as pet propagandists.

He blows his own trumpet; "In a way, I'm like a local Ronald Reagan".

He is Tony Soprano; "So when I say I'm going to fix that guy, he will be fixed".

"I carry my own hatchet".
Err,.... ok.

On Communists; "....when you enter a blind alley with the communists, only one person comes out alive and I have come out alive".
The communists are gone, Mr.Lee.
They've been gone 40 years now.

On Internet websites and bloggers who are not complimentary to him;
"But they are worthless people, they've got no money".
He's right.
We have no money.
We are......worthless.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Half Truths To Keep PAP Going - Part II

As opposed to the first part of this Book Review, here we are going to start off by complimenting Mr.Lee.
Mr.Lee says  "..Second, every five years there's a free vote.."
We compliment him on keeping a straight face while he said that.

We will now further outrage our readers by agreeing with him.
"If  liberal democracy is so superior, it will take over the world just like the market economy..."
Yes, Mr.Lee, it will.
As it has started to even in Egypt. As it must in Malaysia. As it will in Singapore.
And not all the paranoid, fear-mongering, frightened autocrats and dictators in the world will be able to to stop it.

From an academic point of view, though, we would like to point out that liberal democracies and the market economy are two different things, somewhat like apples and oranges.
Comparing the two can only result in a false anecdote.
Which may, perhaps, be his intention.
Which would be very duplicitious of you, sir.

On the difficulties finding talent, he says "We can't find enough good people to run the government".
Surprising indeed in a population of 5 million. And a well-educated, urban poplulation too.
Perhaps they don't like the idea of being your minions, Mr.Lee.
Or perhaps they find the political system that you have forcibly rammed down their throat; contemptible and odious. And want no part of it.

He believes that Singapore cannot have an alternative set of leaders in the opposition because "the talent is not there".

We must refer here to Malaysia, a nation very like Singapore in many ways, with strong cultural and family ties. Except that Singapore has majority Chinese and a minority Malay population, in reverse to Malaysia. They however share 50-year old authoritarian governments, with neither free press nor freedom of speech, among countless other curbs.

In Malaysia, the ruling Barisan nasional was severely jolted in the 2008 elections by an opposition (Pakatan) which took over 5 states and denied Barisan it's customary two thirds majority in Parliement.
A  senior Pakatan leader had this to say recently “Before the 2008 election, we could not find candidates because people were still afraid and we were a small party with only one MP.”
Now, however, Pakatan has any number of choices in terms of candidates. Before 2008, citizens were not willing to join what seemed to be a hopeless cause. They needed to believe that they could make a difference. Now they do. But to achieve that, they took a risk. They voted in the opposition, even when the cadidates were below par. But it had to be done. There was no other way to bring change. In Malaysia, there is now hope.

But in Singapore, the climate of fear is still a reality. People have lost hope of changing the political status quo. And so they do not join the opposition. They have no wish to be persecuted for what seems like a hopeless cause.
Forebodingly for Mr.Lee and the PAP though, no election has been called in Singapore since that seismic event in Malaysia. Singaporeans have seen change come to Malaysia, and they will have noted that it has made Malaysia a freer nation. A better nation. And in the Middle East recently, they have witnessed that far more oppressive regimes can be brought down.
Mr.Lee and his minionic Ministers (yes, its a new word), other than their usual repressive measures and unfair and unfree elections, have added several new methods to stop any kind of threat to their continued hold on power. They have added SMCs and GRCs, purportedly to make things fairer, but in reality hobbling the tiny opposition even more.

But there is hope yet, if the electorate is determined enough. For Singapore is very like a pre-2008 Malaysia.The next elections will be a critical one for Singaporeans. They have a chance to change their fate, a chance to release themselves from the climate of fear that is a fact of life in Singapore and a chance to turn the tables on their masters with their false painted-benign faces.

But we have digressed away from Mr.Lee's lament of a lack of talent. A vibrant political environment will throw up plenty of candidates. Mr.Lee has denied Singapore that with his political repressions. And now he wrings his hands and laments.

It is much like a market economy, Mr.Lee. Controlled economies, like, for example, India and certainly China used to be, will  not throw up entrepreneurs or make for a healthy, bustling, rapidly growing economy.
Neither will a stale, repressed political environment stir interest in a life of public service or throw up many vibrant, credible politicians.

Free your people, sir, and perhaps you will find their talent.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Half Truths To Keep PAP Going

Most people, when reading a book, would skip the acknowledgments and such, getting right to the first chapter. As book reviewers(albeit self-appointed), we could not be so cavalier. As we read every word religiously, we came upon this startling statement "Collaboration or not, the responsibility for the book's shortcomings lies entirely with the authors". Considering that the book consists primarily of an interview, it is strange that the subject(and he is given top billing on the cover) is, in advance, absolved. It does, however, reflect the state of the Press in Singapore. They grovel and genuflect, ignoring entirely their duty to provide free and fair reporting for their readers.

Mr.Lee starts running down his political opponents right from the outset. Chee Soon Juan and J.B.Jeyaratnam are 'duds'. They are not 'serious men' nor a 'proper alternative'. Nor does he exhibit any particular respect for the dead. They are, after all, only dead 'duds'.
For 'duds', they seem to be rather strong-willed men. Mr.Lee appears to be no believer in the empirical method. He would judge men before they are tested. And we are, of course, expected to assume that he is unbiased.
Yet he was shaken enough by Mr.Jeyaretnam that he took the low road of poltroonery to bankrupt him. That way, he could avoid having to face Mr.Jeyaretnam in elections.

Mr. Lee seems unafraid of defaming public figures. He is, perhaps, secure in the knowledge that no Judge in Singapore would rule against him if he were to be sued for defamation. They will not have forgotten what happened to Senior District Judge Michael Khoo in 1986.

All his relatives in Malaysia, Mr.Lee says, have migrated to Australia. He does not enlighten us on why they didn't choose Singapore. We will have to assume that they wanted to live in a free country.

He appears to accuse Mr.Mahathir of price-gouging for wanting to raise the price of water to RM3 per 1,000 gallons while admitting that Hong Kong paid RM8 per 1,000 gallons to China.
While we cannot pretend to be admirers of Mr.Mahathir; would this comparative price not make it a bargain?
But no, Mr. Lee was only willing to pay the 3 sen he paid in 1957. We forget that it is still 1957 for him, and always will be. Well, perhaps 1965.
As a result of his curious bargaining tactics; though perhaps grandmothers in the fish markets may still practise it; Singaporeans now have to drink recycled urine.
Which, good grief, may have been Mr.Mahathir's dastardly plan all along! He must be laughing, as he totters around Malaysia unleashing racist diatribes.
While Mr.Lee, in his book, boasts about how clever he was.
Actually, Singapreans mostly drink mineral water, for which they pay rather more than RM3 per 1,000 gallons.

Mr. Lee also is at pains to note, when referring to Malaysia, that "we just keep our thoughts to ourselves".
Except, of course, when we are publishing entire books about it. Four hundred and fity-eight page books.

Both the Malaysians and Indonesians, in Mr. Lee's world, built ports to spite him. Not because it is a neccessary infrastructure for growing countries. After all, in 1965, they didn't have ports which competed with Singapore. Why start now?
It must be a cunning conspiracy to undermine him.

"No, I've finished my work. I don't need more achievements for Singapore".
He says this unblushingly, while still staying on as a Senior Minister in the cabinet. We know, we know. Its been Minister Mentor for the past almost seven years. However long do people need to be mentored? They must be awfully slow studys.

On his Ministers and the recession, he says :
"They are getting out of this recession with great skill".
Just like how they got into it? With great skill?

We must stop here. This is after all, a blog, and not a book.
Though, since we barely covered Chapter I, there really may have to be a Part II.

Note : Our intention was to write a book review. A one-post book review. But it may go on a little longer.  It is really too merry a tome to be dismissed with one post. You will not find a book with this title in the book shops. But if you do chance upon one with an eerily similar title, don't buy it if you can at all help yourself. You will be enriching a particularly odious cross between a self-delusional megalomaniac and a latter-day Baron Munchausen.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mr.Lee's Brobdingnagian Lie

Mr. Lee Kuan Yew is fond of depicting his Island Republic as a besieged State. By his neighbours.

This is his excuse for not 'allowing' an opposition. 'Allowing' is his word, not ours.

Oppositions should not be allowed or not by some autocrat. It is the peoples right. To have a system which checks and balances. By extension, this is also his excuse for stifling dissent, for non-freedom of the press and for curbing Singapore citizens right to free speech and free assembly.

We know a nation which indeed was, and to some extent, still is, a besieged State. That would be Israel, not Singapore. They have fought numerous wars with their neighbours. When they started, they could do no trade with their neighbours whose only intent was to wipe them off the map.

A far cry from Singapore. There has never even been a skirmish with its neighbours. Singapore enjoys robust trade relations with its 'besiegers'. None of its neighbours has ever threatened to wipe Singapore 'off the map'.

Yet Mr.Lee continues to pretend, including in his newest book, that he was the Prime Minister of Israel, rather than Singapore.

His reasons for this are completely self-serving. With his fear-mongering, he would perpetuate PAP rule in Singapore. Stifling any attempt for the opposition to grow. Hounding, harrasing and bankrupting his opponents. Turning the Fourth Estate into his fawning, gollum-like creature. Curbing his citizens freedoms; freedoms that are theirs by right.

Israel, despite its genuinely precarious situation, has a Free Press. They have robust, genuinely free elections, with not two but many parties offering candidates. And winning. They have freedom of assembly, and no Israeli Parliement would dare to meddle with an Israeli's right to free speech.

Singaporeans too should be Free.

And not continue to be held hostage by the self-serving lies of an ageing paranoiac.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lawyers for Liberty

Lawyers for Liberty is an organzation in Kuala Lumpur dedicated to the cause of Human Rights and the reform of oppressive laws in Malaysia. Its members are youthful, fearless and unyielding defenders of Human Rights. They have persevered in the face of threats, intimidation and on multiple occassions, arrest. Their founder members include, among others, human rights stalwarts Ms.Latheefa Koya, Ms.Fadiah Nadwa Fikri (who has left her practice to focus on LFL) and Mr.N.Surendran.

While their Facebook page has noted (somewhat wistfully) their offices as being located in "Bangsar or any coffee shops around town", yesterday they launched a more permanent office at Jalan Gasing in PJ. It was a well attended launch, giving us hope that enough Malaysians care and are outraged by the excesses commited by the current ruling party in Malaysia, the Barisan Nasional.

Among the attendees were Dr.Syed Husin Ali (PKR), Ms. Elizabeth Wong (Selangor State Exco Member), Tuan Haji Sulaiman (who defended Anwar Ibrahim on several occassions), the Bar Council President and his Deputy. Also present were family members of several death in custody and police shooting victims (including the case of Aminul Rashid) that LFL is defending pro bono.

Every oppressed nation needs a 'Lawyers for Liberty'. And almost every nation in South-East Asia has, to different extents, oppressive governments.

Some Singaporean lawyers (and citizens) may not quite like to consider themselves oppressed, but we believe a full stomach makes a poor replacement for liberty lost. While Singapore's Law Society is a neutered body that is under the thumb of the ruling PAP, we hope there are some who will believe in freedom and want to remain true to their profession. Which is to stand for Justice, and not a pale mocking shadow of it.
We quote from Mr.Surendran's speech  "If we do not take effective action, then we too are become betrayers of the people, and cogs in the wheel that crushes the people’s liberties. Let us be brutally honest about this, how hard have we lawyers really tried to change things?"

It was our intention to write a little bit on LFL's mission and the challenges that they face, but we fear that whatever we write will be a pale second to the remarkable speech given yesterday by one of their founder members, Mr.Surendran.

We therefore reproduce that speech in full. It applys to us all.

"We are gathered here today to dedicate a new entity which is pledged to defend and promote the cause of Liberty and to claim upon the Promises that once were made to us. These were grand promises made 54 years ago, when the Federal Constitution of this country came into being. We were promised that this was a nation of laws and not of men; that our right to life and liberty would be sacrosanct; that we would be free to speak our mind and express our thoughts as we see fit; that we would not be hindered from peaceably assembling; that every one of us was equal before the law.  These then were the basic and indispensable liberties pledged to us – they gave us our Dignity as free human beings.

But soon we discovered that we had been deceived. The document was flawed from the very beginning and never fully reflected the aspirations of the People. The People wanted to be Independent and free, instead they became Independent and tyrannized. For the Constitution was  loaded and hedged with so many qualifications and equivocations, that an illiberal, cynical and dishonest government, took almost immediate advantage of it to silence and suppress the People, for their own selfish and corrupt ends.

Those promised freedoms have been so ‘cribbed, cabined and confined’ as to render them a nullity. What right had they? I do not accept that the Constitution created those freedoms. We were born with those freedoms and the Constitution, but imperfectly, gave expression to them. In giving expression to our innate rights, what business had they to tamper with or qualify them?
The perfidious English went along with it, though they would not have been so cavalier with the cherished freedoms of the people of their own Island nation. Our Rights should have been carved in stone, but  perversely it was written in water.

But all was not lost, there was room for these tamperings to be interpreted away. We put our trust in the interpreters of the Constitution and the laws, the Judges, to give effect to the spirit of the People and the Constitution. These Judges were to have been the impartial arbiters of the People’s rights and freedoms.
And for half a century now, these fearful old men, their souls all shrivelled up and impervious to the dictates of our common humanity, have let the people down – at every opportunity they take the side of the oppressor against the people. In their defence, they ingenuously claim that they merely interpret the laws and do not make them – well then, by what strange coincidence is it that they always interpret it in favour of those who wield power against the common people? Why is that their decisions always erode our liberties and strengthen the hand of the authorities?
Never did you see such a combination of pomposity and timidity as displayed by our Judges – they have been tested by the times they lived in and miserably failed to measure up. They fell beneath the level of events and have betrayed the great trust given to them.
All the ingenuity and passion of freedom-loving lawyers throughout the decades since independence have not moved them a jot. These Judges personate men of flesh and blood, but are more akin to stocks and stones! I cannot understand why they are so determined not to be on the side of Good?

The lawyers are not free from blame either. We must first abandon the notion that we are practising law in the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand, in merry England where Liberty is near indestructible and the courts free from interference. The English fought for their liberties long ago and won it, so lawyers stop aping the way the English barrister behaves in his natural habitat.
We must not blind ourselves like the proverbial ostrich to the fact that the system here is hopelessly tainted. Fancy arguments in court alone is not going to restore our liberties to us. Lawyers must stop being in denial! Take the bull by the horns and challenge the system head on. We must confront the judiciary and send a message to them that we will not play the game according to their rules anymore.
March, march again and keep on marching, if necessary. Do not forget Pakistan, where the lawyers led and the people followed. Do not forget Egypt, where freedom has triumphed and the oppressor scuttles away for safety!

If we do not take effective action, then we too are become betrayers of the people, and cogs in the wheel that crushes the people’s liberties. Let us be brutally honest about this, how hard have we lawyers really tried to change things? Its okay to fail, but how hard have we tried? How hard? What do we do? Daily we traipse in and out of the courts as if its business as usual, despite not having the slightest doubt that the System is compromised and the People victimised.
Throughout these years  I have had  many discussions and arguments with lawyers and the Bar Council on taking a bolder approach, and I have come away with a sense that many are so half-hearted about it because they don’t think we can beat them or that things can ever change. By despairing, they have lost the battle before the battle was ever lost.

Now it is true that today the long shadow of the oppressor is everywhere – and in this shadow palely wither away independent institutions which were to have protected the rights of the people, in this shadow they try to hide their transgressions and trespasses and hope to muddle and mislead the people. But try as they may, they can never deprive us of our inborn Dignity - if we will not let them. They cannot make us frightened slaves in our own country, if we will not BE ENSLAVED!
In some ways we are fortunate, for it is not every generation that is given such a great task to carry out – which is nothing less than to sever the bonds that bind down the People and to forge a new free Nation, dedicated to Liberty and the rights of Man. The harder the fight for Liberty, the more abiding and imperishable will those freedoms be, when achieved.

But let us have no illusions about one thing – this unjust Government has no compunction in crushing every spark and ember of a new birth of Freedom under their jack-booted heels. Let us not be fooled by the benign painted faces of the Government and its leaders, for we can see well enough what lurks beneath. Ever are these brooding Watchers, watching for signs of resistance or reawakening among the People. Ever vigilant is their massive and corrupt state apparatus. Ever ready are they to concoct criminal charges and put on show trials to imprison political opponents. Some of the political criminal trials going on in this country would make Stalin proud.

But we can take heart, for of this I am certain: These long years of darkness will yet pass, and a new dawn of Freedom will break upon our Nation. In the meantime we must be relentless in a just cause, resolute in the face of every test and and never cease this honourable struggle until the Oppressor capitulates and every Malaysian regains his birthright – his Liberty."

Punish The Tyrants

Egypt is free. The prople have prevailed. Many trials yet await them before they truly become free and elect leaders of their choice. But the first historic step has been taken.

The tyrant has fled. Sort of. He is lounging in a palace in the lovely resort of Sharm-El-Sheikh, actually.

Yet again, it seems, another tyrant will make a comfortable exit and live the rest of his life in happy luxury. He will not be called to account. He will not be tried for the 30 years of misery and fear that his people underwent. Like Idi Amin, Marcos and countless other despots. Nor will most of those who aided and abetted him in his excesses be punished.

Mubarak's sense of entitlement is stupefying. At one point, he wanted to leave with 'dignity'. What about all the people whose dignity he carelessly stripped during his rule? And those who lost their lives opposing him? The tortures that they underwent at the hands of his secret police? The privations that their families suffered?
And the at least 300 Egyptians who died in these last 18 days at the hands of his armed thugs while he made his last desperate bid to hang on to power?
All to be forgotten?

No, Mubarak must be made to face his wrongdoings. He will have to account to his people. So will his minions. In fair trials, unlike what he offered his victims. Reparations must be made to the families of those who died. If he is allowed to walk away scot free, it will only send an encouraging signal to the next would-be tyrant. That you may oppress and plunder for decades, and then, if forced out, still enjoy your ill-gotten gains.

Switzerland has made a positive first step, by proposing to freeze Mubarak's accounts. And confirming thereby, that he has accounts and monies in Swiss Banks. Whatever he has stashed away, and some reports put it as high as USD 70 Billion, must be returned to the Egyptian people. Every cent.

The Army may feel tempted to protect Mubarak. He is, after all, one of their own. They must not.
Various western governments may prefer a quiet retirement for Mubarak rather than a public trial. He may know too much or have embarassing information about their too often cynical manipulations. Justice cannot be denied the Egyptian people to save them enbarassment. And in the era of the Internet and Wikileaks, the truth may out anyway.

Action must be taken now, before Mubarak and all his coterie make their queit escapes. And he must be made an example of, for all current and would-be tyrants. In Egypt, and around the world.

"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty" - Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Prostitution of Journalism

Journalists in Egypt, both from the mainstream newspapers and TV stations, have been quitting in droves. They will no longer write as they're told. Nor twist the facts as instructed. No more are they willing to paste labels such as 'traitors' and 'foreign agents' on the protestors. They will not lie, slander and defame for their daily bread. Some of them proceeded to Tahrir Square, where they then joined the protesting masses. This despite threats, assaults and in one case, being chased by men with knives.

In Malaysia, journalists in the mainstream media appear to have no such moral or ethical compunctions.
They publish as front page headlines what is barely fit for a corner column on Page 5. As long as it puts their masters in good light.
They twist and spin at request. In fact requests are no longer required. They well know whats expected of them and jump to precomply.
Where news is not favourable to the ruling party (or their agencies), they black them out.
Some shamelessly present their writings as 'analysis' when it is anything but.

Utusan spews open, blatant, shameless, venomous, unrepentant racism. While being controlled by the party of Mr.Najib Razak, our duplicitious purveyor of '1Malaysia'.
In the case of Theresa Kok, Utusan advocated a lynching. All just in good fun, no doubt.

We cannot comment on TV3's poor propagandists. A coarser, more virulent version of Fox, if such a thing is possible. We watch them no more. And we have taken The Star to task in a different post. Not that it will make a whit of difference.

They are far from The Fourth Estate. Merely corrupted, subservient tools for their masters use.

The rare journalist, producer or TV reporter who balks at dishonest and unethical journalism will quickly find himself on the street.

Nor is it any different in Singapore. The newspapers fall over themselves performing self-censorship, led by the bland, syncophantic Straits Times. Those publications daring  to produce independant reportage, such as The Online Citizen, will be 'dealt with'. In the case of The Online Citizen, they are being forced to register as, of all things, a 'political party'.
We even watched the sad spectale of a 'Making of' documentary being produced about an interview with Lee Kuan Yew. What is this, Avatar?
We get to see senior reporters and editors sitting there looking like so many schoolchildren, awed by their subject, venturing diffident questions and being sternly lectured by him. They would have us believe it is an interview.
A book is then produced about this 'interview'. We haven't read it, but it will no doubt be suitably cloying and fawning.

To that rare honest journalist (and to those who have been corrupted, but wish to start anew) who still works in these publications and broadcasters; quit.

You may lose your employment, but you will keep your integrity.

And your soul.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

BN's Remarkable Achievements For The Indians

Some say the Indian Vote is returning to BN. While most of these worthies appear to support or are members in MIC or BN, we will still, as unbiased observers, take a careful look at their claims.

To make this a scientific exercise, we must be fair and list out BN's achievements since March 2008. So we will examine their top 5 accomplishments :

They have painted Brickfieds in eye-popingly gaudy, garish colors and constructed obscenely ugly arches.
This has succeeded in sharply reducing the apetite of the majority Indian visitors to this area.
Thus reducing their exposure to a variety of lifestyle diseases.

They have brought the Prime Minister of India to this area during his recent visit to Malaysia.
Thus making him quite lose his apetite for the rest of his visit.
This has saved the taxpayers some money as it reduced the government's catering costs.
Such saved monies will of course benefit and be returned to the taxpayers in some form.
Possibly extra Patrol Boats.

Mr.Najib has done a walkabout in Brickfields.
Thus proving that he cares about you.
And that he's the Prime Minister of all Malaysians.
Never mind Utusan.

Mr.Najib has visited Batu Caves for Thaipusam, a first.
Being sentimental fellows, this should make you all feel nice and warm inside.
You will need the warmth for when you are cold-shouldered for scholarships, jobs and loans.

Samy Vellu has, at long last, been got rid off.
You may now look forward to being ignored, lied to, condescended to and having your money parted from you by a different fellow.

And there it is.

Who dares to argue with these accomplishments?

What, a heckler at the back!
Not accomplishments, you say?
Just a bunch of superficial dramas, camera ops and TV moments that neither help you nor mean a thing?


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Little Temple On The Hill

On weekends, it is a welcome escape from the busy life and stifling traffic of KL and PJ to walk in the green and shady paths of Bukit Gasing. Trees, greenery and wildlife teem here. One can sometimes see silver-backed monkeys leaping in the high branches, monitor lizards, all manner of insects and the occasional snake. It also serves as a critical green lung for local residents beleagured by the threat of overdevelopment. It took 50 years for Bukit Gasing to reach this state after being abandoned as a rubber plantation.

The only real threat to Bukit Gasing has been avaricious developers. And they have been succesful in reducing Bukit Gasing in size. Mostly this has been from the Kuala Lumpur side, aided and abetted by a criminally uncaring DBKL. If there are more sinister reasons why DBKL approved those developments, we have no proof of it.

Yet now Bukit Gasing's fragile ecosystem and shady pathways are under threat from an unexpected new assailant. Cynical politicians. Their 'cause' is a little temple on the hill that has peacefully coexisted with the residents and the environment for as long as we can remember.

The problem started with a Temple Committee that decided to do expansion works on the temple. In cavalier form, they went ahead without seeking the approval of the Public Works Department or the local authority, MPPJ. When their actions started causing lanslides, the authorities stepped in. Work was stopped and the temple closed for safety reasons untill rectification works could be done.

Then, far from the traquility of our little haven, PKR had an election. Some won and some lost and some whined. Thats democracy. Most of us who are not PKR members could care less about their internal quibbles. We are only concerned with the General Elections.

One grotesque fellow however, would not rest. Losing in the elections, passed over for an appointed position and casting about for issues with which to attack his own party leadership, he attempted to exploit the closure of the temple. Pounded with a barrage of proof that the closure was valid, he moved on to the next thing. Of which we are not concerned (and neither it seems, is the PKR leadership. They ignored him and his highly defamatory histrionics. Not even bothering to sue him, a testimony to his insignificance).

And there the matter should have rested.

But a couple of days ago, it flared up again. Mr. Uthayakumar and his associates visited the temple and astoundingly, unilaterally declared it 'open'.

They are not impressed by the reports of PWD engineers who, supported by comprehensive, scientific data, consider it unsafe to open the temple to the public. Nor by MPPJ which concurs. Nor even the Temple Commitee which agrees with the two authorities.

The poisonous nature of race-based politics is glaringly revealed here. The election is coming; they need the attention of their particular race-based constituencies; and they will do whatever it takes, right or wrong, justified or not, to get that attention. They seem uncorncerned that they are exploiting emotive issues. Or that Bukit Gasing is a threatened enviromentally sensitive enclave.Or that visiting unsafe areas in large numbers will endanger lives. There have been so many disasters in hilltop developments that they really should know better.

Let the temple open when rectification and construction works are completed. And it is certified safe by professionals.

Enough of these cynical, exploitative, publicity-seeking spectacles.

And keep all your toxic race-based politickings out of Bukit Gasing.