Friday, 28 September 2012

Marina Mahathir In The Star

Who says an apple does not fall far from the tree? I am beginning to wonder whether the "mahathir" after her name is that same "mahathir" who is shooting off his racist mouth all over the place.

Confused over right to choose

We have a far from perfect democracy but then there are no perfect ones anywhere.

People’s right to voice critical opinions is suddenly seen as traitorous. The possibility of alternative administrations is deemed taboo, a word that has connotations beyond the mundanity of voting, rather like talking about sex is considered taboo.

Marina Mahathir, The Star

IN all the past 55 years, we have been proud of being a democracy, minimalist though it may be.

We elect our Parliament like clockwork every five years or so and everyone is aware that that is the first hurdle they have to get over in order to get into power.

Of course, we have a far from perfect democracy but then there are no perfect ones anywhere.

We can do with a more inclusive and representative government and certainly can do with a more vibrant and free media and more space for alternative viewpoints to be heard.

Still, we like to describe our federation with its constitutional monarchy as a democracy – our democracy. So it rather surprises me that of late, there are voices that seem to say that democracy is a bad thing to have.

For some reason, there are people who think that an elected form of government where people have the power to choose who they want to elect is not a good thing.

Perhaps this is because they are unsure that this type of government will put them into power at all. Some are even going so far as to say that democracy is incompatible with our state religion, Islam.

That’s rather odd because I’ve just been at a conference where an Islamic scholar stated that Islam is the most democratic of religions, because everyone has equal access to God. Yet, he added, most Muslims live in undemocratic states.

This sudden turn in attitude towards demo­cracy has had predictable results. Anyone who talks about democracy is suddenly viewed with suspicion, as if they are advocating that the Devil himself should take over the country.

People’s right to voice critical opinions is suddenly seen as traitorous. The possibility of alternative administrations is deemed taboo, a word that has connotations beyond the mundanity of voting, rather like talking about sex is considered taboo.

If the citizens of a country are not allowed to elect whom they want, then they don’t live in a democracy.

So to say that it is taboo to elect anyone other than the present government is to bring the conversation to a realm that is beyond rational argument.

Somehow nowadays, it is a sin to get our people to think democratically, as if democracy is a religion that teaches immorality.

I remember in my childhood being taught about democracy at school. My teachers would talk about how concepts like apartheid or “the colour bar” were undemocratic.

We held mock elections where we would have candidates and campaigns, including “political” rallies, so that we would understand the whole process of how our leaders are elected.

Of great importance were the issues our “candidates” put up; those who had the best solutions to our issues at school were the ones who would get elected.

Today, I hear that schools are not encouraged to have any such thing in case our children get “funny” ideas.

Instead, we are differentiating children by the way they look and dress, rather than treating all of them as equal.

We expose them to possible discrimination, even violence, even though our Federal Constitution says that every citizen has an equal right to education.

Every day, we have new restrictions on our already limited democracy. We can get arrested for comments we never made just because someone made them on our website or Facebook page.

Some of us, in an already limited job market, find ourselves charged with allegedly working against our own religion even though we are not responsible for anything other than doing our jobs.

Even though both our official religion and Constitution give us rights, these rights are now contested. And contested in such a way that those who shout loudest win, even if their numbers are small.

Yet these same folks would be the first to demand their right to speak should anyone object to what they say.

We need to ask ourselves, how did we come to this state where democracy is confused with “total freedom” and “Westernisation”?

Are Westerners the only ones allowed democracy? In that case, why are thousands of people in those autocratic Middle Eastern countries demanding to have a say in how their countries are run?

Are we somehow undeserving of democracy, of the simple right to have a say?

Thursday, 27 September 2012

RIP - Andy Williams

Howard Andrew "Andy" Williams (December 3, 1927 – September 25, 2012). Also worth listening to... 

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Well Worth Listening To...

Do view this interview of Bahraini intellectual Dhiyaa Al-Musawi in 2006. Following that is something that was circulated in my Tigers eGroup; cannot verify the accuracy of the quoted figures but the results do tend to speak for itself. Malaysia could learn quite a lot from the following:


Why are Muslims so powerless?
By: Dr Farrukh Saleem

There are an estimated 1,476,233,470 Muslims on the face of the planet: one billion in Asia, 400 million in Africa, 44 million in Europe and six million in the Americas . Every fifth human being is a Muslim; for every single Hindu there are two Muslims, for every Buddhist there are two Muslims and for every Jew there are one hundred Muslims.

Ever wondered why Muslims are so powerless?

Here is why: There are 57 member-countries of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), and all of them put together have around 500 universities; one university for every three million Muslims. The United States has 5,758 universities and India has 8,407.

In 2004, Shanghai Jiao Tong University compiled an 'Academic Ranking of World Universities' , and intriguingly, not one university from Muslim-majority states was in the top-500.

As per data collected by the UNDP, literacy in the Christian world stands at nearly 90 per cent and 15 Christian-majority states have a literacy rate of 100 per cent.

A Muslim-majority state, as a sharp contrast, has an average literacy rate of around 40 per cent and there is no Muslim-majority state with a literacy rate of 100 per cent.

Some 98 per cent of the 'literates' in the Christian world had completed primary school, while less than 50 per cent of the 'literates' in the Muslim world did the same.

Around 40 per cent of the 'literates' in the Christian world attended university while no more than two per cent of the 'literates' in the Muslim world did the same.

Muslim-majority countries have 230 scientists per one million Muslims. The US has 4,000 scientists per million and Japan has 5,000 per million.

In the entire Arab world, the total number of full-time researchers is 35,000 and there are only 50 technicians per one million Arabs. (in the Christian world there are up to 1,000 technicians per one million).
Furthermore, the Muslim world spends 0.2 per cent of its GDP on research and development, while the Christian world spends around five per cent of its GDP.

Conclusion: The Muslim world lacks the capacity to produce knowledge!

Daily newspapers per 1,000 people and number of book titles per million are two indicators of whether knowledge is being diffused in a society.

In Pakistan, there are 23 daily newspapers per 1,000 Pakistanis while the same ratio in Singapore is 360. In the UK , the number of book titles per million stands at 2,000 while the same in Egypt is 20.

Conclusion: The Muslim world is failing to diffuse knowledge.

Exports of high technology products as a percentage of total exports are an important indicator of knowledge application. Pakistan 's export of high technology products as a percentage of total exports stands at 1%. The same for Saudi Arabia is 0.3 %; Kuwait , Morocco , and Algeria are all at 0.3 %, while Singapore is at 58 %.

Conclusion: The Muslim world is failing to apply knowledge.

Why are Muslims powerless?
.....Because we aren't producing knowledge,
.....Because we aren't diffusing knowledge.,
.....Because we aren't applying knowledge.

And, the future belongs to knowledge-based societies.

Interestingly, the combined annual GDP of 57 OIC-countries is under $2 trillion.
America , just by herself, produces goods and services worth $12 trillion;
China $8 trillion,
Japan $3.8 trillion and
Germany $2.4 trillion (purchasing power parity basis).
Oil rich Saudi Arabia , UAE, Kuwait and Qatar collectively produce goods and services (mostly oil) worth $500 billion;
Spain alone produces goods and services worth over $1 trillion,
Catholic Poland $489 billion and
Buddhist Thailand $545 billion.

..... ( Muslim GDP as a percentage of world GDP is fast declining ).

So, why are Muslims so powerless?

Answer: Lack of education.

All we do is shout to “Allah” the whole day ! and blame everyone else for our multiple failures ! We also do not allow those who can educate others to do so due to prejudice & political expediency.

The writer is the Pakistani Executive Director of the Center for Research and Security Studies, a think tank established in 2007, and an Islamabad-based freelance columnist. 

Dr. Farrukh Saleem is a
Pakistani journalist and political analyst[1] who is currently also the executive director of the Center for Research and Security Studies. Originally a financial professional by occupation, he managed an eight figure equities portfolio invested in the New York Stock Exchange between the years 1988 and 1994.

Saleem has been a columist for
The News International, Pakistan's largest English-language daily, for over 5 years. Prior to that, he wrote weekly columns for the Dawn newspaper in 1996. Throughout 1996, he also worked as a correspondent on issues related to Pakistan, India and Iran for the Vancouver Sun, a Canadian newspaper.[2] Farrukh Saleem has additionally been a guest columnist for the Hong Kong-based Far Eastern Economic Review.[2] He has served in capacity as the CEO of Dominion Stock Funds Limited, a KSE-listed company, and currently lives in Islamabad.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Wow Vell Paari! Did Your Father OK This?

I am sure we have not seen the last of this as Vell Paari s/o Samy Velu fired this barrage at Mahathir, his father's onetime demi-god. Was this a sanctioned "hit"? Ho remains largely a spat between Indians.


Dr M’s low blow uncalled for
MIC CWC member S Vell Paari takes the former premier to task for his unpalatable comments regarding the moral values of Americans.

PETALING JAYA: As a Muslim, Dr Mahathir Mohamad has the right to be upset with US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton for defending the movie “Innocence of Muslims” on the grounds of freedom of expression.

However, MIC media and publicity chief S Vell Paari said the former premier should not insult the moral values of Americans when Malaysia itself was drowning in social ills.

“As a leader who is touted to be wise, how can he make such a generalisation and insult the people of another country just because of differing opinions.

“Such comments are unbefitting of a statesman,” he told FMT.

Vell Paari was commenting on Mahathir’s latest blog posting, where the latter, among others, said that Americans would not be slighted if labelled as “bastards”.

The reason for this, he had argued, was because “their mothers and fathers sleep around with just anybody.”

Whereas Asians and Muslims, he had added, would kill those who uttered such things about their mothers.

What about Interlok?

However, Vell Paari urged Mahathir to reflect on the contents of the infamous Interlok novel which the government deemed fit for students’ consumption despite the litany of racial insults.

He recalled how the author had even suggested that the Chinese would sell their daughters for economic gratification.

“Isn’t this insulting to parents as well? So if we go by Mahathir’s reasoning, do we kill the national laureate who penned the book?” he asked.

Vell Paari also reminded Mahathir that Malaysia was not exactly a shining example of virtues.

“We have a high number of children born out of wedlock, incest and whatnot.

“The only difference is that in America, sexual issues are discussed in the open but here we do it behind closed doors… and that does not make us saints,” he added.

Vell Paari said Mahathir should confine his criticism to the issue in contention which was the US backing for the controversial movie and not launch unpalatable salvoes.

“It is comments like these which give the impression that BN is still trapped in the dark ages. It is this sort of double standard which makes life difficult for BN,” he added.

The MIC leader said while Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was doing his best to win the hearts and minds of the people, it was unfortunate that the premier’s work was being undermined by those within the ruling coalition itself.

“We have a PM who during MIC’s AGM in 2010 admitted that mistakes have been made in the past and has vowed to correct them. He is now trying to re-build the bridge of unity.

“If you cannot help him build the bridge, that’s fine. But don’t pull out the bricks from the bridge he is trying to construct,” he added.

Vell Paari also noted how Mahathir had wrote that no Asian would be able to stomach being called a bastard.

Similarly, he said, non-Malays here found it difficult to come to terms with being termed as immigrants (pendatang) and pariah by certain quarters like Perkasa.

“We, the non-Malays, feel hurt and disappointed when Mahathir graces Perkasa’s events, so what difference is there between the insensitivity shown by him and Hilary Clinton,” he added.

Vell Paari said Mahathir should use his wisdom and expertise to set the Malaysian house in order first before harping on the mess in the houses of others.

“There is a long list of wrongs which need fixing in Malaysia. Let’s focus on that,” he added.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Malaysians Live On Trees...

Once upon a time we used to get irritated because some foreigners actually thought we still lived on trees (figure of speech). Recently, some gems (e.g. the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 and Section 114A of the Evidence Act) have come from our leaders that have put us back on the trees. However, the latest "guidelines" supposedly mentioned by Deputy Education Minister, Puad Zarkashi on LGBT takes the cake. Fantastic quality we have in the Cabinet! Do have a view of this "roasting": 

Saturday, 8 September 2012

E.T. Phone Home...

Now we know we can get to find the energy source to get back.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Another Shithead...

Yup, two wrongs do not make a right. The guy who is seen in this Malaysiakini photo mooning the pictures of Najib, Rosmah and the EC Chief in public should be hauled up; for indecent exposure perhaps.

Idiots like this we do not need.

What difference would his act be from this one?


It would be interesting to see how "non-partisan" NOW can be.