Thursday, March 15, 2018

Reposting THE BARD IN MANGLISH ~ Julius Caesar (Act I, Scene 2)

Who said kennot? You orways tink defler Shakespeare wankain hard to understand, so waffor you bodder to read de bladibarger? No ploblem lah – now oridi terangslated into Proper Manglish, so seemple oni. Got no space to print de hole ting, eggcerpt enough lah. Dis one from Julius Caesar. Vely famous one dis play  - got murder, got politics, but sorry lah, no sex (becos in Italy ah, got Mona Lisa but no Mona Fandey, remember her ornot, Rosmah’s infamous step-aunty?) Wen people see you reading dis dey weel tink you got cowture wan. Orait man!

Shakespearean                            Manglish
Caesar: Let me have men about me that are fat; sleek-headed men, and such as sleep o’ nights. Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; he thinks too much. Such men are dangerous.
Caesar: Aiseh betayuall fatty bom-bom makan all de taim one; Brylcreem your hair lah, and at night sleeping like a pig oni. Defler Cassius orways looking so skeeny like one year never eat; orways tinking too much. Aitelyu ah, dis kain of fler helluva dangerous.
Antony: Fear him not, Caesar, he’s not dangerous; he is a noble Roman, and well given.
Antony: Aiyah, Caesar, no nid to skad him one, hauken defler dangerous? He got class one, orways spik nicely and wearing stylo one.
Caesar: Would he were fatter! But I fear him not, Yet if my name were liable to fear, I do not know the man I should avoid so soon as that spare Cassius. He reads much. He is a great observer, and he looks quite through the deeds of men.

He loves no plays, as thou dost, Antony; he hears no music, seldom he smiles, and as if he mock’d himself, and scorn’d his spirit that could be mov’d to smile at anything. Such men as he be never at heart’s ease whiles they behold a greater than themselves, and therefore they are evry dangerous.

I rather tell thee what is to be fear’d than what I fear; for always I am Caesar. Come on my right hand, for this ear is deaf, and tell me truly what thou think’st of him.
Caesar: I oni weesh we can call him fatso! But ackchwurly I not skad him. Say oni lah, sahposing I am a takut fler, I woon go near dat bamboo-stick Cassius. Orways reading book, see everyting wankain oni, aitelyu nobody can blarf de bladibarger one.

Never fool araun, not like you lah, Antony; he never lissen music. Seldom oni smailing, and wen he smail, like buaya oni, tweested lah, I tink maybe defler doan like himself or wat, as if oni stoopid ijiot like to smail one. Flers like dat ah, kennot relak one – until dey bekum Nombor Satu. Dat’s why aiseh very dangerous.

Oni telling you why you must wochaut lah – not to say I am skad of any barger; hauken Caesar skad, I arsk you? Eh, you come over here, my left ear got lobang kennot hear properly. Den you tell me frankly spikking wat yuting of defler.
[Sennet. Exeunt Caesar & his Train.]

Casca: You pulled me by the cloak. Would you speak with me?
[Kompang. Caesar & his Member semua keluar.]

Casca: Why you catch my sarong? You wan to tok, tok lah, doan pull my baju ok?
Brutus: Ay, Casca; tell me what hath chanc’d today, that Caesar looks so sad
Brutus: Ya, Casca; wat happen just now ah, why Caesar looking wankain teruk oni?
Casca: Why, you were with him, were you not?
Casca: I thot you saw oso wat, waffor you arsk me?
Brutus: I should not then ask Casca what had chanc’d.
Brutus: No, man, dat’s why arsking you.
Casca: Why, there was a crown offer’d him; and being offer’d him, he put it by with the back of his hand, thus; and then the people fell a-shouting.
Casca: Aiyah, people gif him chan to wear de Agong’s hat, but defler push away with his hand, like dis; and den de people bising lah.
Brutus: What was the second noise for?
Brutus: Seckand taim why dey shout?
Casca: Why, for that too.
Casca: Same ting lah.
Cassius: They shouted thrice; what was the last cry for?
Cassius: Shouting tree taims wat, I hear; so wat happen ah?
Casca: Why, for that too.
Casca: Same story lah, yutingwat.
Brutus: Was the crown offer’d him thrice?
Brutus: Wah, tree taims ah, dey awfer him Agong’s hat?
Casca: Ay, marry, was’t, and he put it by thrice, every time gentler than other; and at every putting by mine honest neighbours shouted.
Casca: Yala, no joke, man; and defler say dowan tree taims, everytaim more slowly lah, tarik harga lah; and ofcoslah everytaim he do like dat, our rakyat setia bising oni.
Cassius: Who offer’d him the crown?
Cassius: Who awfer him de Agong’s hat?
Casca: Why, Antony.
Casca: Who else, Antony lah.
Brutus: Tell us the manner of it, gentle Casca.
Brutus: Plis gif us blow-by-blow akaun, saudara Casca.
Casca: I can as well be hang’d as tell the manner of it; it was mere foolery; I did not mark it. I saw Mark Antony offer him a crown – yet ‘twas not a crown neither, ‘twas one of these coronets – and, as I told you, he put it by once; but for all that, to my thinking, he would fain have had it.

Then he offer’d it to him again; then he put it by again; but to my thinking, he was very loath to lay his fingers off it. And then he offer’d it the third time; he put it the third time by; and still as he refus’d it, the rabblement hooted, and clapp’d their chopt hands, and threw up their sweaty night-caps, and uttered such a deal of stinking breath because Caesar refus’d the crown, that it almost choked Caesar; for he swooned and fell down at it. 

And for mine own part I durst not laugh, for fear of opening my lips and receiving the bad air.
Casca: Aiyah, wasting taim oni, all for show one lah, yuting I doan know ah. Dat barger Mark Antony gif him see de Agong’s hat –ackchwurly not the real ting lah, fancy baseball cap oni – and like aiseh, first taim he push aside lah; but look like secretly ah, defler wannit lah.

Den again he awfer him; den again he push aside; but frankly spikking ah, defler dam reluktan to let go, man. And den de turd taim he awfer; and still de barger refuse. So de stoopid rakyat start bellowing like kerbau, and clapping like bladifools lah, and dey all chuck their smelly songkoks in the air, and bising like baboon kena belacan until Caesar awmos kennot stand; defler pengsan, man, and fall down lah. 

I myself ah, I dare not to open my maut and laugh oso – arfturds I kena sial punya angin.
Cassius: But soft, I pray you. What, did Caesar swoon?
Cassius: Alamak, you min de barsket Caesar pengsan ah?
Casca: He fell down in the market-place, and foam’d at mouth, and was speechless.
Casca: He collapse infrun of KLSE, boy, his maut got white-white ting coming out, and kennot spik oridi.
Brutus: ‘Tis very like. He hath the falling sickness.
Brutus: I am not surprais lah. Defler got weak heart wat.
Cassius: No, Caesar hath it not; but you, and I, and honest Casca, we have the falling sickness.
Cassius: Aitelyu frankly one, not Caesar lah; but I, and you, and our goodfren Casca, we are de bladibargers who got weak hearts.
Casca: I know not what you mean by that, but I am sure Caesar fell down. If the rag-tag people did not clap him and hiss him, according as he pleas’d and displeas’d them, as they use to do the players in the theatre, I am no true man.
Casca: Doan tokkok lah, I doan booshit you, aitelyu Caesar conked out, boy. Aiyo, dose bladi peasants tink it’s all wayang kulit show, cheering and booing like chewren see cartoon oni, you doan belif me you can tell me to go and fark spaider.
Antares © 1995-2018

Et tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar! | Pukimamak! Mukhriz dan Muh.... mampuslah!
[First posted 5 October 2012. Reposted 5 March 2014 & 19 April 2015]

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Passing Wind & The Paranormal Music Society ~ featuring Linsey Pollak @ Professor Squealy Deetbum!

One of the most amazing artists I had the privilege of bumping into in 1991 on my first visit to Australia (sponsored by the Department of Cultural Affairs) was a muso named Linsey Pollak, who happened to be creating some music for Doppio Teatro (a trilingual touring theatre company founded by Teresa Crea) .

I knew he was amazing within minutes of our meeting. How so? I showed him my Balinese flutes and he tried one out and instantly was able to coax the sweetest sounds out of it. At the time I didn't know Linsey could coax sweet sounds out of garden hoses and broomsticks. Linsey gave me a cassette his group - the Paranormal Music Society - had recently released, which featured Linsey playing, among other odd instruments, the kitchen sink and a rubber glove gaida (a miniature bagpipe made from a surgical glove - that's right, another Pollak invention).

Twenty-one years later, I chance upon Linsey Pollak yet again - this time on YouTube. Actually, I was looking for some inspiring music to feature on this blog and did a search for the Paranormals. The original band seems to have disappeared - but Linsey Pollak is just as amazing and musically alive as ever, perhaps even more so. Indeed, I regard this unassuming genius as one of the most masterful musicians I have ever been inspired by. Linsey Pollak certainly gives Didier Malherbe (wind instrumentalist with Gong) and Jan Garbarek a jolly good run for their money... and he's a damn lot funnier!

The Paranormal Music Society consisted of: Professor Crivici (Romano Crivici) on keys and violin; Frank Brutal (Blair Greenberg) on percussion and guitar; and Denis Bland (Linsey Pollak) on winds (of many persuasions). The Paranormals (as they were fondly called) had a cult following in Sydney and were known for channeling the works of dead composers (especially Hidegarde Spumoni, a lesser known Baroque composer) and playing music whose notes were determined by rolls of a giant dice. They improvised requests called out by the audience. Things like: the pinnacle guinea pig races, haddock, Bob Marley goes to Turkey, Rawhide and so on. They recorded two albums (but only released one, Moving On), They were a legend in their own time.

Devised by Linsey, Out of the Frying Pan was commissioned by The Out of The Box Festival in Brisbane, directed by Chris Willems and produced by Performing Lines. It created music from house and garden objects with a cast of musician/actors that included Ceri McCoy, Jorge Rico, Penny Glass, Kari and Linsey. It was a show for 3-8 year olds that created music from bottles, glasses, brooms, mops, chairs, a ladder, rubbish bins, a garden fork, an ironing board, a carrot, inflatable trousers, a hammer, a kettle, a pumpkin, etc, etc.

The Art of Food ~ solo show (1999-2002) directed by Mark Bromilow 

Ivan is a home-styled kitchen-hand with a difference. He's eccentric, hilarious and totally irresistible. And he lives in a musical world where anything is possible. From the moment Ivan walks into the kitchen, everything becomes musical: carrots, potatoes, satay sticks, meat cleavers, and even an electric drill, with which he transforms a carrot into a clarinet before our very eyes. This musical world that Ivan creates is more than a series of clever tricks. It is an aural world of depth, energy and beauty. Although the materials are disconcertingly simple, the music itself is complex, rich and emotive, ranging from energetic and percussive cross-rhythms to haunting and lyrical woodwind (or should we say vegiewind) melodies. As with his previous solo show, Knocking on Kevin's Door, Linsey uses digital technology to record sounds instantaneously so that the audience is able to see each piece being constructed layer by layer, but in this show all the sounds come from the cooking utensils and the food. The Art of Food is an aural feast, an ode to the music of everyday life, which is there for everyone who cares to open their ears.

Linsey live loops voice percussion and melodica, soloing with Rubber Glove bagpipe, Chinese bamboo flute, and kaossilator. From his solo show, Live & Loopy.

Linsey loops balloon, kaossilator and vocals, using TC Helicon VoiceLive Touch.

This piece called "Ghosting 13" (in 13/8) is from Linsey's solo show, Live & Loopy. It features the saxillo and carrot clarinet. Linsey live loops vocal percussion, bubble wrap drum, melodica and kaossilator, with solos on saxillo (a wooden soprano sax-like instrument designed and made by Linsey) plus a carrot clarinet.

Linsey Pollak drills out a carrot and turns it into a clarinet and plays it, live looping with a Boss RC20 to record 3 layers. From his solo show, Making Jam.

How to make a carrot clarinet:
overall length of carrot is 187mm
bore: 12mm. (I use a spade bit)
6 fingerholes and thumbhole are all 7mm diameter
thumbhole is 22mm from top of carrot
fingerholes are: 39mm, 54mm, 74mm, 97mm, 123mm,140mm from top of carrot
I use an alto sax mouthpiece (Yamaha 4C used in this video)
The mouthpiece is connected to the carrot with a 12mm OD tube 35mm long. (Use electrical tape to increase diameter to suit mouthpiece). Bottom of mouthpiece is at top of carrot. This design is by Linsey Pollak and has been developed since 1995.

Linsey Pollak plays "Mr Curly" (a contra bass clarinet made from garden hose) - from his show, Passing Wind, as well as the feather duster clarinet.

Linsey Pollak live loops watering can clarinet - from his solo show, Live & Loopy.

Professor Squealy Deetbum (aka Linsey Pollak) plays the Harmonic Handlebar from his solo show CYCOLOGY.

Professor Squealy Deetbum (aka Linsey Pollak) plays the bicycle seat clarinet...

Professor Squealy Deetbum (aka Linsey Pollak) plays the spokes, frame and gear cable...

Professor Squealy Deetbum (aka Linsey Pollak) plays the bicycle and accessories in the Finale from his solo show, CYCOLOGY.

Two condoms are used (one inside the other) to create the bag for this bagpipe. The chanter and drone are aluminium tubes with a membrane reed at the top of each.

[First posted 14 May 2012, reposted 3 March 2014]

Friday, March 9, 2018

Camel or rope, still can't squeeze through! (revisited)

"And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." ~ Matthew 19:24

This well-known quote from the New Testament attributed to the apostle Matthew has been the subject of endless debate over the centuries. Some scholars say that the Master Yeshua (called "Jesus" by modern-day Christians) wasn't referring to a camel but to a rope. One bible study site I stumbled upon while researching this subject has this to say:

Jesus and all the Jews spoke a language called Aramaic, and the word gamla meant either a camel or a large rope, just as we have words which are spelled the same, but have different meanings. And some of the earlier translators or copyists must have taken the wrong meaning here. For no one would ever talk about a camel going through a needle's eye. But every Jewish house had several large ropes, that were used to tie bundles on the backs of men and animals.

Even in Greek the camel-rope confusion persists. The Greek word for "thick rope" is kamilos; and "camel" is kamelos. But in wasting so much breath arguing about whether the Master meant "rope" or "camel" many theologians have completely missed the point.

And the point is the Eye of the Needle. Graphically, you can visualize it as a very narrow aperture that the thread absolutely has to squeeze through if you want to do any sewing with it.

I prefer to use "more scientific" terminology by calling it the Frequency Scanner. What, you may ask, is a "frequency scanner"? The secular definition is what radio buffs would be familiar with and it has to do with identifying the source of radio transmissions by means of a vast database of terrestrial radiowave frequencies.

As I'm not a radio buff I generally go with the "spiritual" definition wherein the Frequency Scanner is what measures an individual's auric purity and molecular integrity. All of us are born with hardwired frequency scanners which we may not necessarily be aware of. Those who unconsciously use their frequency scanners to suss other people might call it "intuition" or "instinct" or "following their gut feelings."

The Eye of the Needle, therefore, is a powerful metaphor for the perfectly natural process of self-selection whereby each soul determines its own onward evolution - or otherwise. Each of us must gather all the different threads of our genetic memories and converge them into a single point, in order to penetrate the most modest of apertures - the vulva of a vestal virgin, who represents the call of the Mother of all Goddesses, to return to our divine origins in her cosmic womb and be reborn anew.

I view the soul's pilgrimage through the fields of density and complexity as the method by which the Atman (Divine Self) gathers experiential data and then rearranges it to generate coherent patterns, which often take the forms of sacred geometry. If you imagine each life as a colored thread warping and woofing through the tapestry of eternity, it's almost inevitable that you will eventually begin to perceive the grand mandala of Life Itself and experience a glorious eureka moment.

Was the Master Yeshua a closet socialist? Why such a pronounced prejudice against rich folks? When he is quoted as saying there's no way a rich man can gain entry into "the kingdom of God" - does he mean this literally? Or was it just a bad hair day for Jesus that yielded this particular injunction?

My sons-in-law are all fairly rich guys. And I consider them decent and goodhearted souls. The only essential difference between us is that they are almost entirely focused on building their businesses and ensuring their families enjoy the very best that life can offer - while I'm almost entirely focused on freeing myself from any form of busyness.

Having spent more than 50 years researching what some may call the esoteric realm, I consider myself fairly well informed about the funky stuff that goes on within the Inner Planes. However, when it comes to subjects like sports or the stock market, my understanding of these worldly matters borders on the imbecilic.

So, from my personal perspective, what the Master Yeshua actually meant by his provocative statement was simply this: those who get overly caught up in external reality will find it a lot harder to attune to their own inner voice. If all one ever hears is the loud chattering of the marketplace, sportscasters and airheaded radio DJs, it's quite unlikely that one will ever acquire the necessary neural acumen to break free of the artificial holographic matrix wherein our anthropocentric games of buy-and-sell and win-or-lose are being played out.

No matter how much money you may have stashed away in some offshore account, you will still end up shitting your pants when you wake up one morning to discover that Wall Street no longer exists. The Jewish brokers made off with all your cash while you were fast asleep. What those silly scammers intend to do with all their worthless currency notes not even God knows.

They could use their $50 bills for rolling tobacco, just to remind themselves that they were once loyal subjects of Rex Mundi. Or they could pile up all the currency notes and make the most extravagant bonfire in history. Or wipe their bottoms with $10 bills just to prove they are no longer obsessed with "the bottom line."

In any case, you can rest assured that money distilled from the blood, sweat and tears of countless generations of semi-conscious and mentally enslaved humans will not be accepted as legal - or illegal - tender in the kingdom of God (I prefer to use the term "heaven").

All the fang-and-claw scenarios of dog-eat-dog politicians... the feeding frenzy of cocaine-crazed remisiers... the hustle and push of insurance and snake oil salesmen... the wheelers and the dealers... prime movers and shakers... the cigar-chomping moguls and ghoulish martini-swilling financiers behind the glitter and glamor of Hollywood, Bollywood and Follywood... I'm not letting them into heaven, no way!

Not unless they clear their emotional garbage and get their auric fields clear and fragrant.

God's love is both unconditional and conditional.

(If you happen to be a fan of Richard Dawkins and don't believe in God, that's fine. I don't need you to believe in me to be whatever and whoever I am, because the only God I accept as authentic is the one I see in the mirror, and in every pair of eyes looking back at me. In any case, God is actually an atheist, like Professor Dawkins.)

"Unconditional" - in the sense that even the ones who end up in a hell of their own making are still cherished and valued as souls and will always be offered another opportunity to clean up their acts and get out of their ruts.

"Conditional" - in the sense that if you misunderstand what Mastery is all about and go about enslaving and exploiting a whole lot of other lifeforms - human and more-than-human - because you erroneously believe that's what Masters do, then you've pretty much flunked this evolutionary semester.

Or if you vehemently deny that you've just shit your pants - when everyone else in the room is holding their noses and glaring at you and pointing to that gooey brown liquid oozing from your trouser leg and onto the plush carpet - well, then I suppose we shall just have to label you another "Hisham" or "Najib" and frogmarch you to the sanitization facility where, after a thorough cleansing, you'll be given all the emotional therapy you need to qualify for rebirth as a protozoon.

And it won't cost you a penny, don't worry.

Carl Jung was fond of recounting an old ecclesiastical joke that goes like this:

Student: There were men in the olden days who saw the face of God. Why don't they see it any more?

Rabbi: Because nowadays no one can stoop so low.

[First posted 4 December 2009 & reposted 9 December 2013 & 2 November 2015]

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The real change is happening quietly, inwardly, unreported and unnoticed...

Adversarial politics, as practised in Malaysia, is every bit as polluting as the worst kinds of industries. The toxicity, in this instance, is mainly psychic, and results in clouding up the real issues.

On the second day of 2012, Raja Petra Kamarudin let off a loud and extremely smelly fart in the face of Pakatan Rakyat by declaring Anwar Ibrahim "morally unfit" to become Malaysia's 7th prime minister. The fact that RPK chose to do so via the Umno-owned media, a few days ahead of the January 9th sodomy trial judgement reveals that his intent was to inflict maximum damage on Anwar.

What has transpired between these erstwhile political allies to sour their relationship is unknown to me and, no doubt, will be the subject of much speculation. In 1998 when Anwar Ibrahim was sacked as deputy prime minister and finance minister and viciously booted out of Umno, RPK rose to his defence by inaugurating the online Free Anwar Campaign. Either RPK didn't buy the malicious gossip that Anwar is bisexual - or it didn't really matter to him then.

Well known to be a maverick and loose cannon, RPK isn't someone who can join any club without ultimately coveting the position of supremo. He has an ego that matches his mercurial intelligence - and his immense popularity in the period leading up to and after GE12 was largely due to the sheer audacity of his "No Holds Barred" column in Malaysia Today.

Soon after RPK went into self-exile to avoid another stint in Kamunting, he collaborated with Pakatan Rakyat leaders to forge a united front against Umno/BN. However, disagreements in strategy must have arisen, leading to the formation of the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) supported by concerned citizens who didn't necessarily wish to be embroiled in partisan politics but were convinced that the primary goal was to remove Umno/BN from power.

AS MCLM started gaining credibility and clout, RPK began criticizing Anwar and Pakatan Rakyat over what he perceived as their weaknesses and shortcomings. He made it clear that his own mission to restore good governance and justice in Malaysia was above party politics - and, as such, it was his duty to "whack" politicians on both sides of the BN/PR divide whenever they got out of line. Fair enough, and those of us who admired RPK's guts and brilliant mind were happy to endorse MCLM's public outreach activities.

However, just before the Sarawak elections, RPK stunned the nation by agreeing to be interviewed in Australia by TV3. The gist of his revelations was that he had been misled and left in the lurch by a conspiracy to thwart Najib Razak's rise to power and replace him with Tengku Razaleigh as interim prime minister. The edited interview focused on RPK's declaration that he had no evidence of Rosmah Mansor's involvement with Altantuya's gruesome execution - and that he had accepted on good faith the testimony of one Colonel Azmi Zainal Abidin, a military intelligence officer. RPK added that the military intelligence report he had been shown no longer existed.

The timing of RPK's TV3 interview created shockwaves amongst his fans and many turned against him, convinced that he had finally succumbed to temptation and reneged on his own principles. After a few months, the antagonism subsided but avid followers of Malaysia Today had grown a little wary of RPK's volatile temperament.

With his latest move, conspiring with the utterly despised Utusan Malaysia and New Straits Times to dismiss Anwar Ibrahim's candidacy as prime minister, RPK has lost even more admirers - perhaps permanently this time.

RPK, of course, is entitled to his views on what constitutes moral fitness for the nation's highest post. He says it's possible that Anwar Ibrahim may be bisexual; that he's "90% convinced" Anwar is the main actor in the sleazy video produced by the infamous "Datuk T" trio. Nothing anyone in Umno/BN hasn't already loudly proclaimed through the mainstream media as an indictment of Anwar Ibrahim's "immoral" tendencies.

Amidst the myriad moral lapses that tend to characterize public figures, we need to draw clear distinctions as to which ones we must view seriously and which ones we can afford to overlook.

Putting your hand on somebody's lap and putting your hand in the till may be regarded as moral lapses - but each act has entirely different consequences. If I put my hand on your lap and you find it pleasurable, we'll soon be having a bit of grownup fun, at nobody's expense. However, by stealing from the public coffers, my act can be classified criminal and it will eventually impoverish the entire nation.

In a social climate supercharged with false piety and genuine hypocrisy, it may be a sign of moral weakness on my part to deny that I have enjoyed extramarital affairs or smoked a bit of weed or had a couple of beers with my chums or watched some porn.

But to allow crooks to infiltrate the judiciary and law enforcement agencies just to prop up my personal power is most certainly not an act of moral strength. And to say and do absolutely nothing as my uniformed goons beat people to death in custody and throw them out of highrise windows goes beyond moral weakness - it's abominably evil.

The endless catalog of crimes committed under the watch of every Umno prime minister since Hussein Onn needs no elucidation. Most Malaysians with access to the Internet acknowledge that many abominable evils became the norm during Mahathir's 22-year tenure - and that Najib's power rides upon the endemic corruption and moral degeneracy he inherited as the current Umno president and crime minister.

To my mind, if a new Pakatan Rakyat federal government led by Anwar Ibrahim can abolish once-and-for-all the oppressive laws that keep citizens docile, submissive and afraid of their own shadows, then I will lend their ascendancy to power my wholehearted support.

I wish to see a new attitude of dedicated service amongst elected representatives of the people - ministers who do not glorify themselves by arriving an hour late with police outriders just to officiate at public events; who totally understand that they are paid good wages to attend to problem-solving and the smooth administration of essential public utilities and social services - not to hog the limelight or rouse the rabble to racist hysteria.

If a Pakatan Rakyat government can oversee the outright abolition or massive overhaul of our dysfunctional public institutions - starting with PDRM and the judiciary; encourage the healthy growth of participatory democracy and ensure freedom of thought and expression; set a shining example to all citizens and motivate them to greater aspirations, instead of making them cynical and apathetic, then it's absolutely no concern of mine whether members of the cabinet are transsexual, bisexual, trisexual, metrosexual or pansexual. I might feel a tad anxious if one of them was exposed as asexual - simply because I find asexual people a bit creepy.

I would consider anyone morally unfit to be a leader if he or she is a congenital liar with a penchant for excessive luxury and self-aggrandizement - and is prepared to murder anyone who stands in the way of their grotesque ambition.

As far as I know, Anwar Ibrahim has never ordered any of his political rivals to be tortured by psychopathic goons, poisoned, bludgeoned to death, shot in the head, or blown to smithereens with military grade explosives.

The only reservation I have about Anwar's political ideology is that he doesn't seem to share my profound respect for Mother Nature and continues to regard logging and mining as legitimate industries. When he becomes PM, I shall have to convince him that a deep understanding of ecology is far more important than the stupid economy.

RPK, whom I continue to respect and love as a brother and friend, even though we may be diametrically opposed in specific instances - and to whom I will always be grateful for his magnificent role as a powerful galvanizer of political awareness - may have decided that Anwar Ibrahim is "morally unfit" to be appointed our 7th prime minister. He has every right to his personal opinion.*

My personal opinion is that we will never know if Anwar Ibrahim will make a great prime minister until we have given him at least 5 years to lead the nation to a more glorious and noble destiny. At this juncture, Anwar remains the most qualified candidate - and perhaps the only political icon with sufficient charisma and influence to win over enough hearts and minds and reunify this divided nation.

Meanwhile, I'm happy to report that I have been meeting a growing number of mentally and spiritually awakened young people who are more than capable of thinking for themselves and knowing when to put an end to systems that no longer work, because they have been abused for far too long by those who are truly morally unfit to lead.

*[Editor's Note: since January 2012 when this essay was written, much has changed in the political landscape, In recent years RPK has not only come out in open support of Najib and Rosmah's rogue regime, he has also revealed that he wholeheartedly subscribes to Ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy) - which means that all his past pronouncements about social justice and democratic principles were a mere pretence. I find it no longer possible to describe RPK as "a brother and friend." Indeed, just hearing his name mentioned evinces utter revulsion and a deep sadness in my heart.]

First posted 3 January 2012

Monday, March 5, 2018

A liquid poem by Weedflower


The first time we met
Unaware I was swept away
Hesitant resistance
I dip my toe in the river

The second time we met
Trust in myself and then you
A tribute engaged
I walked in the river

The third time we met
We embrace and dance
Surrender and control
Intertwined we played

Now my legs are dipped
And soon my being will flow
In the vastness of you
I'll come and visit
to remember
to remember

Photo & poem by Weedflower aka Paik Yin.
First posted 10 February 2011.

Friday, March 2, 2018

An Enlightening Chat With Robert Happé

Robert Happé was born in Amsterdam, Holland. He dedicated himself to discover the meaning of life and studied religions and philosophies in Europe. He also studied Buddhism, Vedanta and Taoism in the Far East for a period of 14 years, while living and working with people of different cultures, such as the Indian, Nepalese, Tibetan, Cambodian and Taiwanese.

On his return to Europe he felt the need to share his experiences in consciousness and did so at various universities, where he learned to work and share information with groups of people who were interested in self-development and discovering their true potential as creative beings.

Since 1987, he has been sharing information in the form of seminars in many European countries, as well as South Africa, Australia, USA, Argentina and Brazil.

He works independently and is in no way associated with any religious organizations, cult or group.

[Kindly brought to my attention by Gushiv Wo. First posted 23 March 2010]

Thursday, March 1, 2018


I UNDERSTAND the colonial mind extremely well. That's because the memory of having been a series of megalomaniacal empire-builders remains vividly imprinted in my deep psyche and prompts me to do everything in my power to warn the present generation against the insidious dangers of attempting to impose a rigid control grid over forces beyond our comprehension.

Perhaps this explains my visceral rejection of all forms of bureaucratic arrogance and misguided efforts to "civilize and domesticate" the natural world. Much as I love my sister, daughter #1, son-in-law, granddaughters, and all my beautiful nieces, nephews, cousins and grandnieces in Singapore - I'm always loath to visit the so-called Merlion City with all its infamous restrictions (no smoking in public places except where specially designated; and, in the old days, no longhaired men which necessitated my buying a shorthair wig just to gain entry).

In November 2009 I had a close encounter with bureaucratic heavyhandedness which left a slightly sour taste in my mouth. It all arose over the hoo-ha a local businessman raised about the illegal road upgrading project in Pertak Village. This guy happens to be a member of PPP (People's Progressive Party) and a close friend of Dato' T. Murugiah (left), deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Department who oversees the Public Complaints Bureau.

I was surprised to receive a phonecall from T. Murugiah's personal assistant, a very pleasant lady named Shamini Bhaskaran, asking me for some background to the situation. So I wrote her a long email detailing the scenario and, before I knew what was happening, was informed that Dato' T. Murugiah was planning a visit to Pertak Village to see for himself what was going on. But before he could do so, he required a formal complaint to be lodged with his department, so I accepted the role - since Murugiah's businessman friend was unwilling to expose himself to the risk of losing the support of local bureaucrats who largely remain loyal to the Barisan Nasional.

On 15 September I had been visited by three Special Branch officers who informed me they were investigating a police report lodged against me by one Rapi Bata Abdullah - an Orang Asli Muslim convert and Umno member who had written a letter to Kuala Kubu Bharu state assemblyman Wong Koon Mun (right) requesting that the old logging trail through the Pertak forest reserve be asphalted.

To legitimize his request, Rapi had persuaded Bidar Chik, Batin of Pertak, to sign the letter. According to the SB officers, Rapi Bata had accused me of "obstructing" his road upgrading project (and thereby opposing "development" for the marginalized Orang Asli). He also alleged I was an agent of Western environmentalists and was harboring "Mat Salleh" activists - that's right, who are all jealous of Malaysia's success (yup, Mahathir has certainly left his indelible mamark... oops, I mean, mark on an entire generation of civil servants)!

This was followed by a visit from several high-ranking officers from the Selangor JHEOA (Orang Asli Affairs Department) who gently reproached me for bypassing them and going straight to the Public Complaints Bureau. I told them to their face that if it were up to me I would shut down their department without hesitation. Of course, I'd ensure that the people who worked in JHEOA would either be reassigned to other departments - or be given a generous payout so they could start their own businesses or acquire some useful skills.

Murugiah is crowned King of PPP in a party coup staged in May 2009

Dato' T. Murugiah's visit, originally scheduled for 30 October, was postponed for a week (his p.a. called up at the last minute and apologized on behalf of her boss, saying he was under the weather). My cellphone began ringing non-stop on the morning of 6 November. Reporters from the national news agency Bernama and Utusan Malaysia (Umno's much-maligned mouthpiece, famous for its acute ethnocentric halitosis) called up asking directions to Pertak Village.

It was amusing to see the media circus surrounding Dato' T. Murugiah's official visit. YB Wong Koon Mun was there accompanied by a cadre of MCA flunkeys in their North Korea-style paramilitary uniforms, along with reporters from Sin Chew Jit Poh and possibly Nanyang Siang Pau too. The New Straits Times was represented by a friendly but understandably jaded hack, while NTV7 sent a mobile unit and a very gung-ho crew to cover Murugiah's historic visit.

Even the district police chief, Supt Norel Azmi Affandi Yahya, was present with a platoon of senior officers (including the delectable Inspector Yusnita Samsudin who had "interviewed" me at the KKB police station at 11pm the night before, having sent a vanload of bullies-in-blue to summon me to her office).

When I was given the chance to speak, I voiced my indignation at the rude behavior of the policemen who had arrived at my residence at 10:30pm, demanding that I go down to the station to record a statement - and threatening me with arrest if I didn't comply.

They had clearly exceeded their authority in so doing, since I had commited no offence - and the urgency of the matter was entirely due to their dragging their feet on this case till the very last minute. They could have telephoned me anytime over the course of six or seven weeks, politely requesting that I come to the station at my own convenience to tell my side of the story.

In response, Supt Norel could only brag that the police in their zeal to perform their duties do not observe office hours. Such a smug and pompous old-school cop, he certainly would look the part better with a 19th-century-style handlebar mustache.

All in all, I estimate a total of 90 people were involved in this public relations exercise which was essentially an attempt to justify the RM200,000 roadworks through a forest reserve - and demonstrate how caring and generous the Barisan Nasional government was towards rural voters like the Temuan of Pertak Village.

My original complaint focused on the possibility of hanky-panky involving the misuse of public funds. YB Wong Koon Mun is, after all, a contractor and entrepreneur with fingers in many pies; and his Umno cronies have never been known to be overly concerned about how the Orang Asli are faring (indeed, the only thing that interests them is whether there are any logging concessions or resort projects they can apply for). Furthermore, Wong had instructed his contractor to start digging without obtaining the necessary permits from the District Office and Forestry Department.

When the Selangor state government learnt about this, a stop-work order had been issued through district councillor Chua Yee Ling - but, as to be expected, that only delayed MCA Wong for 3 or 4 days - the time it took for him to erect an official signboard announcing the road upgrading project.

This was clear proof that the Pakatan Rakyat state government is being undermined every step of the way by deadwood bureaucrats who haven't yet understood that Barisan Nasional wasn't appointed by Allah to forever misrule the country and enrich itself at public expense. It's a very serious issue that must be addressed. But how? Only a complete change of government at the federal level will resolve the problem.

Nevertheless, if an expensive "infrastructural upgrade" could be conjured out of thin air, these Barisan Nasional types become suddenly very anxious to help their indigenous brethren assimilate into the modern world (never mind lah that most of them remain stubbornly heathen) And, of course, what better emblems of modernity than asphalted roads (complete with speedbumps), cellphone towers, and - serunai fanfare plus a brief burst of kompang, please - STREETLIGHTS! Yes, the very things one requires to live comfortably at the edge of a forest. [Note: in 2016 the Orang Asli Affairs Department suggested that a toll-gate be constructed so that all visitors to the popular picnic area could be charged RM1. The Orang Asli seem quite happy to follow suit and become rent-seekers, albeit low-end ones, but making visitors pay a toll just to commune with nature has certainly degraded the magical feeling people used to experience upon arriving at this scenic spot.]

MCA Wong described my protest as Greenpeace-inspired activism. Thanks for the compliment, Wong!

Rapi Bata Abdullah was the featured guest star of the day - a showcase Orang Asli with all the correct-correct-correct attitudes. First he had become a Muslim (at least in name); next he had joined Umno and seen the light. He understood all about commissions and cost overruns and how to instigate environmentally ruinous projects. Above all, he was loyal to the Barisan Nasional government and was aware that "militant tree-huggers" like me are the Enemies of Progress (as measured in the shallowest and most superficial terms).

In his desire to be seen as "progressive" Rapi had unwittingly turned himself into the Orang Asli version of an Uncle Tom. For a few official favors (and some quick bucks by way of payoffs) he had severed his own ancestral connections to the sacredness and inviolability of the land and was proud to be paraded before the crony media as an Orang Asli ready to embrace "modern values" - as represented by physical trappings such as asphalted roads, piped water, electricity, satellite TV, mobile phones, streetlights, neatly-mown lawns, even a toll gate - and endless bills to pay.

The way the mid-level bureaucrats fawned and fussed over the visiting deputy minister, one would have imagined him to be at least a royal emissary, if not a king.

A century ago, T. Murugiah would probably have arrived on elephant back, with a full panoply of ceremonial guards and a bugle brigade. He would have been carried in a gilded palanquin to inspect the roadworks whilst being fed exotic tidbits by native girls bedecked with multicolored hibiscuses in their perfumed hair.

This is precisely what's wrong with the Barisan Nasional misgovernment. They're too enamored of pomp and circumstance. They love a splendid display of extravagance (city streets festooned with flashing lights and giant ketupats every Hari Raya) and, of course, the demonstrations of almighty grandeur and worldly power the Sultans have made their royal trademark.

(courtesy of

Can I blame the Brits for this, I wonder? After all, it was they who handpicked the most corruptible and compliant amongst the contending Malay chiefs to be crowned as Sultans (an honorific conveniently borrowed from the Turks). It was in their own interests to cultivate a narcissistic, self-serving species of native leader who would be so aloof and detached from their own subjects they would pose few problems for the colonial masters, who would then supplant the Sultans as the real government of the land.

When the Brits created a Malay political class to take over the lower echelons of bureaucracy, they taught them how to keep the hoi polloi at arm's length and present an unassailable façade of divinely ordained authority. Indeed, if you observe how Barisan Nasional ministers like to be fêted and fawned over wherever they go, you will certainly conclude that they all believe that being voted into public office gives them the divine right to be treated like pseudo-royalty. Hence, they view it as their religious duty to squirrel away massive amounts of non-declarable lucre in some offshore account whilst keeping just enough to set themselves up in palatial style.

And now, some 60 years after the Brits have returned to their swiftly shrinking, once-great imperial home, their political heirs, the Umno fat-cat bureaucrats, are faithfully maintaining the colonial legacy by recolonizing the original natives of this fair and bountiful land.

If the Orang Asli Affairs Department is allowed to continue existing, it wouldn't surprise me to find a future generation of Orang Asli behaving as corruptly, myopically, and arrogantly as their Malay mentors. By then they would willingly have exchanged their Orang Asli status for the dubious privilege of being lumped together with the Sumatran, Javanese and Bugis descendants of brigands, pirates and refugees from tribal wars.

As for Dato' T. Murugiah himself, I found him fairly intelligent and suave, oozing with effortless charm and self-confidence - but, alas, too typically a Barisan Nasional politician to be taken seriously as a human being. A few weeks after his visit to Pertak Village, I read in the news (online, of course) that Murugiah was in the process of being thrown out of the PPP. Should that happen, he would become a partyless deputy minister, and therefore vulnerable to vicious attacks from his cannibalistic colleagues in the increasingly irrelevant, insufferably arrogant and irredeemably corrupt Barisan Nasional.

Indeed, Murugiah might even lose his cabinet seat. Well, if that does occur, his p.a. has my phone number. I'd be happy to offer him some counseling on how to regain his human core and child-like spontaneity - and charge him ten times my usual fee.

[Originally posted 6 December 2009]

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Alan Watts and The Skin-Encapsulated Ego (reprise)

Several decades ago I stumbled upon the writings of a wry English theologian and philosopher named Alan Watts (1915-1973).

I owe Alan Wilson Watts a huge debt of gratitude for having provided me effortless access to the essence of Eastern mysticism as expressed in the Tao Te Ching and the basic tenets of Zen. Ironic, isn't it, that someone like me whose physical body can be categorized as "Asian" has to engage the timeless teachings of Eastern mystics through the medium of an Englishman's mind?

The most endearing - and enduring - quality of Alan Watts's writing is its elegant, poetic lucidity, and the tangible warmth of his exquisitely noble personality. Watts had the uncanny knack of drawing his readers gently into his private thought-streams and lofty musings minus the intellectual haughtiness of so many run-of-the-mill academics.

Brian Cameron

Picking up one of his books was akin to enjoying a leisurely walk in the woods with a totally affable and erudite friend. Alan Watts showed me the sheer joy of being alive and fully aware of the world around me. He was a shining example of someone perfectly comfortable with himself and his physical surroundings; whose laser-sharp, inquiring mind was ceaselessly probing the outer limits of thought and perception.

The insights Alan Watts gleaned from his own intense study of Eastern mystical traditions were refreshing, vigorous, transcendental. Oftentimes it takes an "outsider" to appreciate the essence of and to add contemporary value to a long-established cultural and philosophical system.

Much has been written about Zen consciousness but few can match the limpidity with which Watts explains the meaning of "Is-ness." Allow me to quote from The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts (published 1951):

What is the use of planning to be able to eat next week unless I can really enjoy the meals when they come? If I am so busy planning how to eat next week that I cannot fully enjoy what I am eating now, I will be in the same predicament when next week’s meals become “now.”

If my happiness at this moment consists largely in reviewing happy memories and expectations, I am but dimly aware of this present. I shall still be dimly aware of the present when the good things that I have been expecting come to pass. For I shall have formed a habit of looking behind and ahead, making it difficult for me to attend to the here and now. If, then, my awareness of the past and future makes me less aware of the present, I must begin to wonder whether I am actually living in the real world.

After all, the future is quite meaningless and unimportant unless, sooner or later, it is going to become the present. Thus to plan for a future which is not going to become present is hardly more absurd than to plan for a future which, when it comes to me, will find me “absent,” looking fixedly over its shoulder instead of into its face.

Naked Maja by Francisco Goya

However, of all the unforgettable and profound gems of truth I gleaned from reading several books by Alan Watts, one that stands out above everything else is his description of the individuation process as the formation of the skin-encapsulated ego.

Watts observed that as babies we tend towards "polymorphous perversity" (an inspired phrase coined by the noted psychologist William James). This means the boundaries are vague that separate us as individuals from our external environment - and therefore the infant finds every sensation erotically charged. It doesn't matter what the baby is experiencing - the feel of its own soiled nappy, a puddle of warm piss, or an interesting found object like, for instance, a moist grain of fresh lizard shit.

As the child matures, the adults around it unconsciously encourage it to form definite ego boundaries until its sense of selfhood becomes confined within its own skin. Anything beyond the child's skin is automatically defined as "NOT ME" - and this is how each of us becomes "a skin-encapsulated ego" feeling distinctly separate from every other skin-encapsulated ego as well as everything we perceive as our physical environment.

In effect, the skin serves as the "official border" between what and who we believe ourselves to be and what we believe exists independently of and separately from ourselves. Close friends and family members are given citizenship status or granted permanent residence within our ego boundaries - while "strangers" are required to apply for an "entry visa" which occasionally gets cancelled or denied outright.

Obviously, these egoic patternings apply not only to human individuals but also to larger groupings of individuals which we identify as tribes and, on an even larger scale, nations. Apart from humans, it would appear that most vertebrate animals have sufficiently complex neural circuits to experience a rudimentary form of "individuality."

Occasionally, an individual experiences a spontaneous dilation of the ego membrane which temporarily takes him or her beyond the skin-encapsulated ego. When this occurs, the individual ceases to perceive itself as merely an isolated particle of awareness and begins to access an oceanic consciousness which seems to simultaneously ripple inwards and outwards, encompassing both inner and outer space. You could say that what exists outside the skin-encapsulated ego is the morphogenetic field of the species, which interlinks with the morphogenetic fields of all other species and, ultimately, with the entire spectrum of life.

Eastern and Middle Eastern mystics call this transcendental state by various names: satori in Japanese; samadhi in Sanskrit; and baraka in Arabic.

Western esotericists have used terms like beatitude, ecstasy and divine grace to describe this blissful state of being.

Adventurous psychoanalysts and clinical psychiatrists like Ronald Laing and Stanislav Grof call these transcendental "altered states" by various names: ego death, OOBE (out-of-body experiences), psychedelic (mind-revealing) or entheogenic (connecting with the divine) episodes.

Whatever one chooses to label these transcendental, transpersonal, peak experiences, there is no doubt whatsoever that those who have had them are forever changed. They can no longer be confined to thinking and feeling within their own skin-encapsulated egos. This is the point where empathy kicks in, along with compassion.

When empathy becomes an integral aspect of an individual's perceptions and thoughts, one can access a telepathic dimension wherein the body-mind-soul complex can consciously fuse with whatever it encounters - whether it appears as a rock, plant, animal, another human, the physical landscape, a whole planet, an entire galaxy, or the greater universe "out there."

Alan Watts's skin-encapsulated ego is, in effect, the proverbial coconut shell beneath which the frog resides, as in the popular Malay saying, katak di bawah tempurung. Unless the creature emerges from under the protective cover of the coconut shell, it can't begin to explore and experience increasingly greater realities. However, the skin-encapsulated ego is vital to the process of individuation without which nothing would be unique, and there would be hardly any distinct texture to reality itself.

In other words, the skin-encapsulated ego isn't necessarily a negative thing, for it is what defines our precious individuality. However, we would do well to learn how to dilate our ego membrane at will, so that we can shift effortlessly in and out of a specific perspective or paradigm.

Individuals and cities that have acquired this skill are called "cosmopolitan." Those that have yet to do so are called "provincial."

Within certain cults, cultures and tribes, local ruling elites have deliberately ensured that the skin-encapsulated ego is only partially formed - so that their subjects will remain loyal to their tribal leaders and not become overly individualistic. In such instances, the skin may be viewed as an artificially generated sense of kinship amongst members of a specific tribe or racial grouping.

Those who desire to control large sections of the population will invariably attempt to emphasize trivial differences while downplaying truly significant similarities.

This explains why in Malaysia, for example, a vast majority of Malay-Muslims cling ferociously to antiquated and absurd taboos such as the injunction against eating the flesh of pigs or being licked by dogs - even when there is no longer any logical or reasonable basis to such fears (since the contextual origins of the taboos - a widespread outbreak of trichinosis and rabies - no longer apply).

It is the abject fear itself of breaking tribal taboos that reinforces the social cohesion of the tribe, so that a feeling of Us-versus-Them can be perpetrated as a psychologically insurmountable barrier.

As one who has repeatedly experienced transcendental states, I have learned how to maintain a healthy balance between cherishing my own individuality while remaining constantly open to feeling a sense of unity with all life. Even when I consciously opt to play the role of adversary to certain political figures, I never forget that in the final analysis it's all just a joyous dance of energy - what Hindu mystics call lila, the Divine Play - and that whatever antagonism and hostility I may temporarily experience while engaged in the political game will rinse off the moment I step into the cleansing waters of the river.

In short, political entities like Henry Kissinger, Karl Rove, Hillary Clinton, Mahathir Mohamad, Robert Mugabe, Najib Razak, Rosmah Mansor and Zahid Hamidi may trigger instinctive revulsion at the level of my skin-encapsulated ego - but the moment they get off the political stage and give up the artificial power they have abused, they potentially become befriendable human beings. Well, in theory, at least...

In any case, skin is truly a delightful substance and the ego is infinitely wise to have chosen it as its preferred form of outer wrapping, don't you think?

A 1971 television recording with Alan Watts walking in the mountains and talking about the limitations of technology and the problem of trying to keep track of an infinite universe with a single tracked mind. Video posted by Alan's son, Mark watts, courtesy of

[First published 10 June 2009. Reposted 26 September 2013 & 3 April 2015 & 17 June 2015]