Thursday, September 14, 2017

Atomic Consciousness & my unpretentious friend Raj

He messaged me via Facebook, saying he would appreciate a few words from me to include in the catalog for his upcoming solo exhibition, Atomic Consciousness.

“Raj,” I said, “I haven’t been involved in the arts scene for a very long time, I’m totally out of touch.”

He was insistent, saying it was precisely why he wanted me - not someone with an academic background - to write about his work as a visionary artist. In fact, Raj showed up at my doorstep a few weeks later, clutching his portfolio. I had other guests at the time and everyone gasped when they saw the mindboggling detail and psychedelic quality of his artwork.

I looked through his exquisite pieces, marveling at the man’s sheer patience and stamina, not to mention his technical skill. But what could I say about his vision that wasn’t already being said – and far more eloquently so - by his own outstanding handiwork, every piece a collectible? Can words enhance their impact on the beholder? Do his glorious visual expressions require verbal elaboration?

Before leaving, Raj handed me a printed flyer from an earlier exhibition titled The Pulse of Creation in which he had given voice to what inspires and motivates him to create art. I doubt I can do better than to quote and paraphrase the artist here:

Thangarajoo Kanniah in April 2017
The line that divides also unites. Lines portray both division and unity in the universe. Physical lines divide space into form and structure. Imaginary lines connect ideas and thought. My work is the subconscious manifestation of the mystery of the creative force. In essence it reflects and harmonizes the tangible and the intangible. The paintings are in reality a spiritual journey within the conscious and unconscious realm of form and space.

There you have it - the artist has perfectly articulated the conceptual basis of his own life’s work. All that remains for me to do is to embellish his statement a little with a few anecdotes and flashbacks; and perhaps some personal commentary on Thangarajoo’s unique situation in the context of the Malaysian sociocultural milieu.

I don’t remember exactly when I first met the young Thangarajoo Kanniah. It would have been in the mid-1970s when a friend introduced me to the legendary Latiff Mohidin at Anak Alam – a pioneer artists’ collective located in what is now known as Taman Budaya. Raj, as he prefers to be called, would have been a mere teenager then, happy to be part of a cultural ferment he could already sense would someday be spoken of in reverent – and most certainly nostalgic – terms.

As the token Indian of the group, Raj made it a point to immerse himself fully in whatever activities were happening at Anak Alam – and there were poetry readings, intimate stagings of experimental plays, junk sculpture projects, even community cookouts. Many of the artists and performers associated with Anak Alam later went on to carve distinguished careers for themselves – and Latiff Mohidin himself deservedly achieved iconic status as a painter of international renown, as well as a poet and a translator into Malay of classic works like the Tao Te Ching.

To my mind there is absolutely no reason why Thangarajoo Kanniah should not have attained equal stature with many of the other Anak Alam luminaries – nationally as well as internationally – judging by the quality and prolixity of his artistic output. However, in the art world (as in almost every field of endeavor) a competitive, pushy ego seems to be a prerequisite for substantive commercial success – and Raj is one whose temperament is averse to aggressive self-promotion.

Another massive obstacle would have been the unwholesome trend in the 1970s towards an institutionalized ethnocentric nationalism (in recent years worsened by divisive faux religiosity) which would have effectively made someone like Raj a permanent outsider in the arts patronage stakes.

Instead of simply giving up and doing something more lucrative, Raj just kept soldiering on. In 1984, Raj had a transcendental near-death experience when he slipped and fell down a waterfall in Templer’s Park and found himself trapped underwater for what seemed like an eternity. According to Raj, his soul involuntarily left his physical form and he became a conscious part of the entire reality spectrum. Somehow he found himself back in his body - he can’t recall whether the water pushed him out or if somebody pulled him to safety – but he was never again the same person. From that point on, the bulk of his artistic output became a conscious exploration of the interface between the physical and metaphysical dimensions, between mind and spirit.

Encountering his work in the digital age where fractal motifs proliferate, some may be tempted to compare Raj’s numinous imagery with the hallucinatory work of Alex Grey - who famously taught himself anatomical drawing while preparing cadavers for dissection in the anatomy department at Harvard Medical School (please note that Alex Grey bears no relation to the popular TV series, Grey’s Anatomy). When I asked if he had seen some of Alex Grey’s entheogenic visions, Raj was quick to point out that his externalized innervisions are not the product of consciousness-changing drugs, but they emanate spontaneously from the core of his own cellular (and soulular) being.

Well, here he is, some four decades down the line from those heady Anak Alam days, still the token Indian consumed with a mystical passion to reveal the sacred in all things through his consummate art.

Antares Maitreya
Magick River
Kuala Kubu Bharu

13 May 2017

Catch Atomic Consciousness when it opens at
Bangunan Muzium Belia
on 21 September 2017!
The exhibition will be on for two months.

Mak Minah, Uncrowned Queen of the Temuan (repost)

"Minah Angong" by Andy Maguire (oil on fiberboard, 10" X 8")

Yes, I am pleased to tell you my story. But as I cannot write things down, I will ask my friend to help. He is among those who knew me well in my last years on this earth. I whisper these words in his mind’s ear, for he is still in the world of the living, while I am already back in the realm of spirit, and happily so.

Minah Angong's gravestone
My bones now lie buried on top of a hill overlooking the saddest sight you can imagine. Majestic hills stripped of trees, mountains blown up to make a dam. I may be dead but my spirit lives on in my songs, and in the sacred (and now badly scarred) landscape I love so dearly.  One day my songs will be heard and they will soften the hardened hearts of the greedy ones who destroy more than they construct. When men’s hearts heal, so will the land.

I was born in Pertak, Ulu Selangor, between two world wars, into the Temuan tribe. The identity card issued by the government says I arrived on September 14, 1930, and records my name at birth as Menah Anak Kuntom.  People knew me as Mak Minah because that was my stage name as lead singer with a band called Akar Umbi. Perhaps the most exciting moment of my life was when we performed before 42,000 people at the biggest stadium in Selangor. Afterwards, so many people came and congratulated me. I had a photograph taken with Sharifah Aini and Sahara Yaacob, who were also performing that night. We looked like three queens together!

Anyway, Menah or Minah makes little difference to me, since I can’t spell. Our names keep changing as we change. But once we write anything down, it becomes harder to change. Take my sister’s name: although we have the same father and mother, her name is recorded in her identity card as Indah Anak Merkol, after our  stepfather. My mother’s name was Beresih but all her children called her Mui, which is the Temuan word for Mak or Mother.

As a child I remember life was carefree and fun. Fish was abundant in the streams, and the forest supplied all our needs, except for luxuries like sugar, salt, and milled rice. Fresh meat was easily available as there were many animals that could be hunted or trapped.  We Orang Asli can eat anything, with or without legs or wings, as long as it’s not poisonous (we even know how to remove the poison from some wild plants so that they become edible). Apart from fish and wild boar, we also eat porcupines, pythons, leaf monkeys, deer, birds, and bamboo rats (whose flesh is very clean and sweet, as they feed only on bamboo shoots). These are all gifts of the Great Spirit That Dwells In Everything.

Mak Minah with younger sister Indah (1997) 

The only education I received was from my grandmother, who enjoyed telling us stories. She explained how human beings were seeded on Tanah Tujuh (which is what we call this physical world) by Mamak and Inak Bongsu, a brother and sister who survived the Great Flood by clinging to the top of a gaharu tree on Gunung Raja. 

My grandmother was full of wonderful tales about the beautiful elven races (Orang Halus) who left the planet for the higher heavens when the Difficult Times began. Some chose to remain, because they had grown to love the earth, but they gradually became invisible to human eyes.

Minah claimed she could summon the dragon,
totem of her tribal lineage (Peter Lau)
People ask me if Orang Asli have any religion. I always reply that we don’t need religion because our God is not separate from the everyday world in which we live. The Great Spirit That Dwells In Everything takes all forms and speaks to us as the song of the wind in the bamboo grove, or as the neverending gossip of the river. Sometimes it is the distant call of a mist-covered mountain. Other times, it is as close as a sleeping child breathing gently in its mother’s ear.

During my lifetime I saw how people became blinded by ambition and greed. They began to mine the earth for metals and log the forest for wood. With each passing year the land became hotter and the rivers became dirtier, so we could no longer drink the water without boiling it first.  With each passing year we had to walk farther and farther to find some bamboo or catch some fish because people would come into the forest and take out more than they needed. And with each passing year we saw more and more wilderness cleared so that towns could be built.

I enjoyed going to town where many things could be bought, but to do that we had to sell durians, petai, bamboo, cane (manao) and aromatic wood (gaharu) for cash. Yet I could never imagine myself living in a town where it’s always so noisy and hot. Like all Orang Asli, I dearly love the jungle which is our natural home and hunting ground. I would rather die than be forced to live in a town.

Japanese soldier in Malaya, 1942
When I was 12 the world turned upside down. Planes dropped bombs in the jungle to destroy bridges and railway tracks. We had to hide in caves on the slopes of mountains. For many years my family stayed hidden deep in the forest, for fear that we may be captured or killed by the invaders. During those war years we missed the taste of salt and sugar. We lived in the middle of the Malay Peninsula - far from the sea – and had grown accustomed to flavoring our food with salt bought from the Chinese merchants.  My mother taught me how to make cooking oil from the perah nut.

After the war life became even worse for us. The government put us all in detention camps, surrounded by barbed wire, and guarded by soldiers. They said it was to protect us from the communist guerrillas. Unused to suddenly being confined in a small space so close to town, many of our people became depressed, fell sick, and died. This is how I lost both my parents.

Sembo, Minah's favorite granddaughter
But I was already an attractive young woman with many admirers. My life stretched ahead of me like a newly laid road, and I had a taste for adventure. I found myself married to a man I hardly knew. At least he could take me away from the confines of the resettlement camp. We ran back to our beloved jungle and built a hut along the river, along with many others who could no longer bear living within a fence.

My first marriage was a tragedy. I was too young to be a dutiful mother. My children died of illness and my husband left me. For a while, I flirted with the idea of becoming a white man’s mistress. Then I met Angong who had recently become the Batin (headman) of Kampong Gerachi. He was a patient man with great wisdom. It was he who taught me the ceremonial songs passed down to him by his ancestors. Angong taught me to be proud of my noble naga (dragon) lineage. Not every family has an animal totem. Only those with some knowledge of jungle medicine (jampi) or who possess magical powers (dukun) have special allies in the animal kingdom. 

I bore Angong five children and greatly missed him when he returned to Pulau Buah, where souls go after they drop their physical bodies (which we call baju, or clothes). When my children grew up and started their own families, I moved to Kampong Pertak to live with my younger sister Indah and her husband Rasid. My elder brothers, Diap and Utat, lived nearby.  My eldest son, Ramsit, took over as Batin of Gerachi.

Minah Angong & Nai Anak Lahai with Akar Umbi lineup in August 1995

Mak Minah with Antares & Chandrabhanu
after performing 'Birthplace Reclaimed'
in 1993 (photo by Rafique Rashid)
It was fated that my life would begin to change in 1992. I met a few people from the big city who happened to be musicians. They heard me singing and decided to record my voice, adding musical instruments to give my traditional sawai (healing) songs a modern sound. The first song we created together was called Burung Meniyun. I was asked to sing it on stage during a performance by a famous dancer named Chandrabhanu who lived in Australia. I was surprised and touched that people in the big city would receive my humble song with such open hearts.  Never before had I sung for so many strangers in such a large hall! Chandrabhanu himself was quite a colorful character, dressed up as some kind of witch doctor with all sorts of strange objects dangling from his body. I found it exciting to meet so many new friends who were delighted to hear my ancient songs. 

It all happened so quickly. One moment I was just an Orang Asli widow gathering firewood and tapioca leaves in the forest and going fishing with my sister. Then suddenly I was on national TV singing for thousands of people in a huge stadium! I shall never forget the pleasure of hearing the loud applause and shaking hands with everybody afterwards. I felt proud to be able to please so many people with my simple songs. For once I could feel that no one was looking down on me, or ignoring me, for being an uneducated Orang Asli. 

Can you imagine how it feels to be recognized by someone in Ulu Langat who had seen my performance on TV?  When I went to the market in town, people came up to me and congratulated me on my performance. But back in Kampong Pertak, I was greeted with a mixture of wholehearted support and suspicion. Some whispered behind my back that I was soon going to be too sombong (proud) to be their friend. That really hurt my heart.

Minah performs at the first Rainforest World Music
Festival in Sarawak, August 1998 (Wayne Tarman)
I enjoy singing for people, and my late husband taught me that these songs handed down from our ancestors carry healing power. They are medicine songs. When I sing I can feel my spirit expand like a strong wind blowing through a tree. Naik angin, we call it.  Once I start I must carry on until the wind becomes a breeze and goes quietly on its way. If I don’t let the spirit wind flow (lepas angin) I can get very sick.

My first experience of flying was when Akar Umbi performed in Sarawak at the Rainforest World Music Festival. I had such a grand time and made even more friends. I returned to Sarawak with Akar Umbi the next year, for the last time. At the party after the close of the festival, my newfound friends sang me a rousing Iban farewell. My heart was light and heavy at the same time. Perhaps I knew this was our last meeting on this earth.

Photo by Roland Takeshi
Even as I felt the pleasure of being applauded, I could feel the pain of losing our past and future. The dam project would soon destroy Kampong Gerachi and its durian orchards. A man-made lake would fill the Selangor River Valley, drowning a once-beautiful forest, along with our ancestral graves. I could not imagine anyone so foolish as to declare war against the forces of nature.  Did they have no understanding of, or respect for, our deep love of the land? Were they totally unaware that destroying the land would mean the end of our livelihood and future?  We are the land. If the land dies, we die. 

My sister Indah and brothers Diap and Utat felt the same way that I did. We cherished our traditions and would never lose our heart connection to the land, even if we were offered vast amounts of money.  The Temuan tribe has lived here for many thousands of years; the hills and valleys and rivers are much, much older than that. Our fruit trees can live for over a hundred years and as long as we keep planting new ones, our great-great-grandchildren will never starve. But if they destroy the wilderness and put our people in housing estates and make us work in factories, our tribe will be disappear within a generation. Our nenek-moyang (ancestors) told us: “When Orang Asli are no longer visible on this earth, the sea will rise, the sky will fall, and everything will perish.”

Minah Angong by Antares (1999)

It all seemed hopeless. My own son, as headman, had signed an agreement with the dam builders and loggers, allowing the destruction to begin.  I tried to talk him out of it, but he silenced me, his own mother.  My sorrow ran deep.  Before it had even started the dam project had split our families apart. 

But there were thousands of voices raised against the dam, and I was glad that we had so many friends, people who knew the true value of the rainforest and fought hard to stop the destruction.  I was interviewed by many reporters and I told them how I felt about seeing our way of life being taken from us.  One reporter asked me: “Don’t you want to see your grandchildren getting a good education, which they can only get when development reaches the rural areas?” I replied: “All those who cut down the trees and make the hills bare, causing landslides and floods, aren’t they educated too? If that’s what being educated means, then we Orang Asli don’t want to be educated!” The reporter had nothing to say to that.

Minah gazes at the Indian Ocean at Batu Ferringhi, Penang, 1993 (photo: Rafique Rashid)

In a way, I’m glad I didn’t live to see the bulldozers and excavators arrive. Three weeks after I performed in Sarawak, I fell ill and surrendered my body to the earth. It has become part of the sacred landscape of my ancestors. But my spirit is reunited at last with the Great Spirit That Dwells In Everything and I am happy.

[Originally published in Off The Edge © Antares 2002, first posted 21 September 2014. Reposted 14 September 2016]

Monday, September 11, 2017

16th Anniversary of 9/11 ~ Loose Change (Final Cut, November 2007)

Sixteen years after that fateful morning when the world watched awestruck on millions of TV screens the collapse of New York's landmark World Trade Center Twin Towers - followed seven hours later by the crumbling into a pile of rubble of WTC7, a building that wasn't even hit by any plane - we still don't really know whodunit.

The mass media was immediately fed the "intelligence" that it was 19 Arab hijackers armed with boxcutters, acting on the instructions of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. However, at least 7 of the 19 alleged hijackers subsequently lodged complaints that their identities had been stolen, that it wasn't them on the FBI list of suspects.

When I first heard the news, it was via SMS from a friend glued to her TV in KL. I wasn't particularly shocked because I had been expecting something dramatic to erupt on the geopolitical stage - but I was stunned by the sheer audacity of the ones who had planned this outrageous act of human sacrifice, this colossal false flag operation aimed at injecting terror into the collective psyche, paralyzing the masses into docile acceptance of increased security and surveillance, and sheeplike acquiescence to America's retaliating with a bogus "War on Terror."

By blaming the dastardly deed on Osama bin Laden (who was trained by the CIA in guerrilla warfare) and pinpointing his hideout as "somewhere in the mountainous region between Afghanistan and Pakistan," the Pentagon hawks and the Neocon White House were able to strong-arm a few allies (the Coalition of the Willing) into logistically and morally supporting the military occupation of Afghanistan - followed soon after with a debilitating military offensive against Iraq.

The scope of the whole diabolical plan was so vast and complex it's difficult for anyone who hasn't been researching the sordid history of Black Ops to even begin to grasp the strategic significance of the 9/11 event - what more comprehend the barely concealed ritual symbolism of the entire operation.

With all the evidence that has been gathered by thousands of diligent 9/11 Truth researchers and presented all over the world at packed-out conferences and seminars, it's utterly astounding that so many veteran journalists continue to parrot the Official Version of who stage-managed and funded the 9/11 atrocities.

Since 11 September 2001, the loss of human lives as "collateral damage" numbers in the millions and keeps mounting as the deleterious side-effects of warfare kick in. The only ones who have increased their fortunes through this hellish misfortune are Israeli, U.S. and British defense contractors, private security firms like Blackwater (later Xe Services), and oilfield services corporations like Halliburton (with close links to the Bush family as well as Dick Cheney).

And, for sure, there has been a sharp surge in worldwide demand for high-tech surveillance and security products and services, post 9/11, in tandem with a tightening of borders and an ominous increase of police powers.

It would require several volumes to present a detailed summary of all the evidence - and who and what it all points to. Suffice to say for now that I have read almost every independent probe into the 9/11 false flag operation (the "New Pearl Harbor" ordered by the Project for the New American Century) - and I have come to the inevitable conclusion that, for a start, several individuals must be arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy to defraud humanity, and to perpetrate genocidal and ecocidal programs aimed at culling the population and making it more manageable under the New World Order Central Authority.

The better known among these individuals would be George W. Bush (former President of the United States), Dick Cheney (former Vice-President of the United States), George Herbert Walker Bush (former CIA director and President of the United States), Donald Rumsfeld (former Defense Secretary), Condoleezza Rice (former Secretary of State), Philip D. Zelikow (author of Catastrophic Terrorism and executive director of the 9/11 Commission), Larry Silverstein (real estate mogul who signed a lease for the WTC buildings on 24 July 2001 and collected $4.55 billion in insurance claims 6 years later), and Dov S. Zakheim (foreign policy advisor and Undersecretary of Defense under George W. Bush, financial comptroller of the Pentagon, member of the Council for Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies, intermediary between the Pentagon and the Israel Defense Forces, board member System Planning Corporation, supplier of the Flight Termination System used for shooting planes out of the sky and collaborator in the development of Raytheon's Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle ground control systems).

For sure, many, many more individuals and networks are complicit in this monumentally wicked conspiracy. Most rational people would find the idea of so many accomplices in high places knowingly play a part in, going along with, or covering up such a horrendous crime utterly incredible. Therein, as always, resides the sheer banality of bureaucratic and corporate evil.

Please dedicate a couple of hours to viewing Loose Change 9/11 - and then do some research, for a start, at these helpful sites:


Military, Intelligence and Government Patriots Question 9/11

9/11 REVISITED ~ BY TRUTH ROCKER (most precise & succinct summary!)

Those of you who reside in Malaysia will have witnessed how brazenly a gruesome, premeditated murder involving the abduction, torture, shooting and blowing to pieces of a 28-year-old pregnant Mongolian woman can be covered up and buried under a stinking pile of racist rantings and sodomy accusations.

In both the 9/11 and Altantuya Shaariibuu cases, the sheer force of mainstream media spin appears to have bludgeoned the masses back to business-as-usual apathy.

You fall asleep in a speeding bus driven by a drunken maniac at your own peril.


[First posted 11 September 2013]

Saturday, September 9, 2017


On June 5th, 2009, I attended an 11:11 Activation Ceremony at a local healing center named "Eagle's Nest" in Sungai Penchala Village. It was a difficult spot to locate but scenic enough once I arrived. There were some really sweet folks already gathered there and it promised to be a memorable occasion.

The ceremony proceeded smoothly enough, though the energy was rather low-key throughout. For me the best part was an extended late night supper with three funky women afterwards.

A few days later, to my utmost surprise, both my legs began breaking out in boils. This was something I hadn't experienced in decades. I couldn't figure out what was happening in my body. Where was all this poison coming from?

It so happened that around this time my second daughter paid me one of her rare visits with an empath and energetic healer named Sandra Sweetman in tow. Sandra is extremely sensitive to magnetic fields and in the course of our conversation mentioned that she had recently been to the Eagle's Nest and felt troubled by what she experienced there. She said it was like the scene of a violent murder - the whole place was unsettled and rife with murky frequencies.

I couldn't say for sure that the toxins in my bloodstream erupting as boils on my legs came from the Eagle's Nest. But I had been walking around barefoot part of the time and might have absorbed some of the unwholesome exhalations from the earth. Nevertheless, I was aware that the area was charged with very primitive magic going pretty far back in time. There must have been a large enclave of bomohs (Malay witch-doctors) residing in Sungai Penchala within the last hundred years or so.

It was also clear that ruthless "development" over the last few decades had all but wiped out the original forest, including a thriving Orang Asli community in Bukit Lanjan, leaving tiny patches of green here and there. Perhaps the small hill upon which the Eagle's Nest had been built was the final refuge of all the nature spirits that had been rudely evicted from their forest home by a massive invasion of chainsaws and bulldozers?

A close friend who had been at the June 5th ceremony complained of acute lethargy and went for a medical check-up. It was discovered that she was suffering from severe bacterial infection and required a massive dose of antibiotics. She later had a session with clairvoyant healers who described her condition as a case of vampire attack. Apparently, her body was infested with astral parasites which had to be pulled out like ticks.

The clairvoyants were assisted by a shaman named Ishtar who told my friend he once lived in Sungai Penchala and on one of his walks around the area had noticed a disturbance in the magnetic field. On closer investigation he realized it was a dimensional crack through which many astral and elemental entities were emerging into the physical world. He immediately sealed the portal the best he could - but it appears to have been reopened since.

I tell this anecdote as an example of what happens when humans resort to primitive forms of sorcery to attain petty objectives, e.g., gaining political influence, securing the affections of a desired lover, or attracting heaps of money.

The entire Malay Archipelago is rife with ancient magic and mysterious phenomena. To attain and retain political power in their own countries, many have relied on occult help from professional mystics-for-hire. President Sukarno, for instance, was known to have consulted an old magician who lived in the Elephant Caves of Bali. Even Mahathir, a medical doctor by qualification, was widely rumored to be in possession of a powerful family toyol (gremlin) who did his bidding and protected him from psychic attacks.

By now it's common knowledge that Rosmah Mansor, the crime minister's larger-than-life wife, is particularly fond of magical talismans and charms and that she herself possesses a measure of witchy powers.

On 7 September 2008 I posted a story on my blog with the following commentary:

Oh dear, what is this country coming to? On the eve of the Permatang Pauh by-election, Malaysia Today featured a statutory declaration by one Thangarajoo a/l Thangavelu, former chauffeur of Datuk Kenneth Eswaran, close personal friend of DPM Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor, attesting that he had "on numerous occasions" driven a Hindu mystic named "Mr Ji" to the residence of Najib and Rosmah for the purpose of conducting Hindu prayer rituals "to ward off evil." Swamiji's magic is clearly potent, which might explain why neither Najib nor Rosmah has been subpoenaed to testify at the Altantuya murder trial, despite glaring evidence linking both to the crime.

As Raja Petra Kamarudin rightly pointed out (before he made a dramatic 180-degree turn in 2011 and became Najib's most reviled apologist), if what Mr Thangarajoo stated is true, it would totally invalidate Najib's widely publicized attempt to declare his innocence and non-involvement in the macabre Altantuya murder by swearing on the Koran before a mosque audience that he had "never met that Mongolian woman."

One cannot claim to be a bona fide Muslim and believe in Hindu ritual magic at the same time.

In any case, I must report that ever since the Permatang Pauh by-election in August 2008, which saw Anwar Ibrahim winning massively to become Parliamentary Opposition Leader, the psychic atmosphere in this country has become progressively denser and murkier. The astral gunk became even thicker towards the end of 2008 when Najib's ascension to power came under severe attack on all fronts.

Shortly before Najib took over as prime minister from Abdullah Badawi in April 2009, it was reported in the press that security personnel had stumbled on a mysterious object with Jawi letters written all over it hidden under the PM's chair. What does that mean? As to be expected, there was no follow-up to these reports.

However, I couldn't help but notice that petty squabbles soon began erupting from within the ranks of the Pakatan Rakyat - and every time there was a minor misunderstanding between PKR, DAP or PAS officials, the BN-controlled media would magnify it a hundred times, thereby creating the illusion that the Pakatan Rakyat was on the verge of disintegrating.

Even as spiritual leader of PAS Tok Guru Nik Aziz's health deteriorated, his deputy Abdul Hadi Awang began to push his personal agenda of elbowing out the progressives (who unanimously endorsed Anwar Ibrahim's candidacy as PM-in-waiting) and strengthening his own power base among the rural constituents by renewing the Hudud agenda. Shortly after Nik Aziz died, Hadi Awang's true colors were exposed; he threw out all the progressive leaders in PAS and went all out on Hudud  (with Umno's apparent support). This inevitably led to the break-up of the promising opposition coalition called Pakatan Rakyat - the only hope Malaysians had of booting out the utterly corrupt and reactionary Barisan Nazional.

In the last few years the situation has further deteriorated with the onset of the annual smog caused by oil palm plantations (mostly owned by Malaysian tycoons and their cronies in Umno/BN). I myself have had to make a conscious effort to maintain my emotional equilibrium against a strong tendency towards general irritability, alternating with bouts of despair as I see the forces of darkness and injustice regain ground within the national psyche.

Dzulkifli Ahmad, Umno's new Gestapo Chief
The fact that ever since the obscene Perak power grab people have mostly given up on the Malay rulers as bastions of justice and wisdom doesn't help either. Look around and you will notice that every public institution has been corrupted beyond redemption: first on the list, of course, would be the Polis Di Raja Malaysia, closely followed by the gestapo-like Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the Judiciary (especially the so-called higher courts), and even the Malaysian Medical Council whose director-general, Ismail Merican, has shamelessly revealed himself as a political pawn of the ruling party, particularly over the controversial Saiful and Kugan cases.

Things came to a head in mid-July 2009 with the grotesque death-in-custody of Teoh Beng Hock, a fresh-faced young political secretary with the Democratic Action Party, who was hauled in for "questioning" by the MACC - and never left their premises alive. The inquest is ongoing, albeit at snail's pace.

 Newly appointed Police Inspector General Fuzi Harun
One can easily conclude that the entire nation is now being mismanaged by black magic, just as Haiti was with the entry of the Duvalier family - or Uganda under Idi Amin and Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe.

What can we do to neutralize this extreme negativity?

The most effective method would be to pay close attention to our own personal integrity. Rid your hard drive of corrupted and useless files; uninstall programs you never use; and clear your computer system of any spyware that might have embedded itself in your root directory. In short, cleanse yourself of useless fears, prejudices, and antiquated beliefs.

If you fall ill, look upon it as the body's way of cleansing itself of toxins. I allowed the sores on my legs to run their course in order to rid my body of all the bacteria that had infiltrated my defences. I chose to view it as a special service I was performing for the residents of Eagle's Nest, helping them clear the space for healing.

Awaken the shamanic potential in yourself. Each of us is endowed with a certain amount of psychic sensitivity and the ability to heal ourselves. Now more than ever, these natural gifts are urgently needed - if we are to free ourselves and our beloved land of malignant and vicious parasites that have fattened themselves off our vital energy for generations.

[Originally posted on this blog 13 August 2009; reposted 19 August 2014 & again on 3 July 2015 because of its specific relevance to the present situation]

Thursday, September 7, 2017

John Kaminski on José Argüelles (repost)

José Argüelles: the Pythagoras of our time

Architect of the human future on the path beyond technology


"The finest thing of all is singing." ~ Pythagoras

By John Kaminski

Master and servant. Master of the Law of Time, and servant of the universal vibe.

He was the Pythagoras of our time, whose impact on the future will compare with Newton, Tesla and Jung. Among 20th century philosopher/explorers of new realms of human consciousness, his achievements exceeded even Krishnamurti, who refused to be the Illuminati god, and Castaneda, who confirmed communication with inorganic beings.

José Argüelles, gracious bearer of the gift of natural time, died Wednesday in Australia at the age of 72.

A man's greatness is measured by the duration of his ideas — Euclidean geometry, Newtonian physics, Platonic solids. Pythagoras, for those who don't know, was the ancient Greek who gave us a system of knowledge that developed into modern mathematics and a concept of sacred geometry still ardently practiced today.

Argüelles, this eclectic Mayan mystic artist, rescued us from the unrealized tyranny of artificial time and established a fully functioning system of natural time already well developed among his thousands of followers throughout the world, seeping into people's minds as the obvious truth once you understand what he discovered, which is a clear pathway to a future of delightful and naturally occurring synchronicity and trust.

He left a happy memory of consciousness expanding events across the blazing trail of his life — foundation of Earth Day, 1987 Harmonic Convergence, the Arcturus Probe, the Telektonon prophecies, but best of all, he left us the 13-moon calendar, and the Dreamspell, that smile-generating board game that makes us realize the hollowness of the artificial systems that rule our lives as well as the heights to which our consciousness is about to expand. Argüelles spent his entire life telling us to pay attention to the natural systems we can perceive.

An untiring servant of the universal vibe, Argüelles expanded human consciousness to a degree that will be revered among the highest components of human knowledge in the centuries to come. He leaves us with the gift of natural time, many thousands of followers, and a new, encouraging view of the future.

With a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Chicago, he wrote Earth Ascending in the 1970s. The worldwide celebration of Harmonic Convergence was followed shortly thereafter by the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Dreamspell game became a cult among the very intelligent, whose view of things began to expand greatly with the ever available assistance of universal synchronicity.

In his stunning interview with Regina Meredith just last December ("José Argüelles and the Mayan Calendar"), he left us with a forecast for the future of humanity that can only leave you breathlessly optimistic. We are becoming "biosolar telepaths", whole systems (universes?) unto ourselves who will get our nourishment directly from the Sun yet be connected by telepathy and empathy to everyone and everything.

" . . . our biological nature is totally hooked up to our solar nature. This is what the ancients spoke of as the coming sixth sign of consciousness of the new Solar Age. The new Solar Age is when we realize that our consciousness is intimately related to the Sun, to the solar radiation and the information rays of the Sun. So we are biological nature, that our consciousness is tuned into and regulated by solar pulsations, and that when we integrate the biological and the solar elements we activate our telepathic powers and we become biosolar telepaths."

Son of Mexican immigrants who grew up in Minnesota, the effects of Jung's concept of synchroncity were to mysteriously guide each step in the passage of his life into focusing on the subject of time. As a teenager, he ran all the way to the top of the Teotihuacan pyramid the first time he saw it and experienced a white light he was able to later identify as cosmic knowledge. Shortly thereafter working in a library he chanced across Sylvanus Morley's treatise on Mayan mathematics, and then received a Mayan calendar from Lakota writer Tony Shearer, but the real epiphany came in a clock museum in Geneva, Switzerland.

"I was in the Clock Museum and I realized after two hours that the whole of modern civilization is based on a frequency 12, like the 12 hours that you have on the face of any clock, that you find anywhere; 60 minutes and also the 12-month Gregorian calendar. I knew in a flash; I saw this is the reason why modern civilization is going to fall off the edge of the cliff.

"I was able to see what it was. This Mayan Time is cosmic; it’s universal; it’s endless cycles that put you in the rhythms of Nature.

Artificial time " . . . separates us from Nature. It makes, it separates us from our own souls. It makes us more and more alienated from ourselves. It makes us more and more alienated from Nature. The more alienated from Nature we become the easier it is for us to just deplete the resources and use them for our own goods to make money or to spend our money on. So, I could say that’s just a truck without brakes heading for a brick wall.

"The actual nature of Time is synchronicity, OK. That’s the nature of Time. Everything in the universe is synchronized with itself. The Moon is synchronized going around the Earth; the Earth is synchronized going around the Sun; the Sun is synchronized with its constellation in the local, with the galaxy in going around the galaxy. The whole galaxy cluster is synchronized, and so on, and so forth. So, everything is synchronized. When the birds wake up in the morning, when the first rays of the Sun come up, they stop their tweet-tweet-tweeting when the Sun goes down and everything is a big synchronistic symphony from the point of view of the Earth, the Earth is a whole. If you get out in Space and look at the Earth, sure, one side is dark and one side is light, but it’s always turning. But to the Earth as a whole thing it’s one same moment in Time all the time.

"OK, it’s one same moment in Time all the time. Everything from the Earth’s point of view everything is in a state of synchronicity. But we live in an artificial bubble, so we can’t recognize that. Jung came up with the concept of synchronicity in 1952. That was like starting to scratch at the surface, that the edges were wearing out. You know synchronicity and then we got things like LSD and stuff like that that popped a couple more new holes in the veil there, you know. Then by the time you get to the 1980s, and “The Police” (Rock Music Band) put out an album called Synchronicity, and nowadays people are seeing synchronistic experiences becoming more “normal,” OK, because the fabric of artificial time is wearing out, and people are looking for ways out now. People have synchronistic experiences that’s telling them oh, wait; there is another reality.

"It should be our every day, every moment experience. So, the only way you can get out of it is to stop the clock."

Argüelles thought that the 12:60 system was imposed from without. "Exactly. And in my understanding of it this is precisely, then, why the Mayans incarnated on the other side of the planet to establish the fundamentals of what I call the Mayan Time science.

"Let’s put it this way, that the galactic Mayan surveillance team, let’s say, watching this part of the what I call experimental zone of the universe, this solar system here, they are watching this, they saw that what we might call a karmic stream from a previous world system that wanted to capture, let’s say, a particular planet, inject with this Babylonian/Sumerian idea of Time being based on the 12 and the 60, and that happened.

"And it’s interesting that the Sumerians knew that exactly at what we call the beginning of the Mayan Great Cycle, 3100 BC. So, that’s exactly when that occurred. You have evidence of that existing at that time. So, the Mayans, then, came in at the right time and said OK, well, we have to see where that’s at; we see where that’s going to go. It’s going to create disaster. The only thing that we can do is come down here and plant seeds of the correct timing sensibility, the correct mathematics of Time and pray that like at the right moment all of this gets discovered and that we’ll realize what it is, inject the data in there. I think that they were so uncannily intelligent that they knew that even though what we call 2012 in the Mayan long calendar, mathematically speaking, is They don’t have a fixed starting point date. Everything is different cycles.

"Once we get past this 2012 hump our destiny is to become biosolar telepaths." The key hurdle is realizing this is the wisdom of the ancients. "This is something of what, say for instance, the ancient Mayans or Mexicans or Incas or Egyptians when the so called Sun Worshipers, that they actually knew that the Sun is the regulator of human consciousness, and that’s why they were paying attention to it.

"You know the ancient Mayans knew about this. [That’s] why I refer to them as the galactic wise ones who incarnated here and established themselves as the Mayans, here. They knew about this and they had a very sophisticated language to describe it. And one of the terms that they use is Tinkanata, (sic) which is the paranormal or telepathic powers that the human being has that are directly connected to the solar radiation. Tinkanata. Telepathy and solar radiation have a common ality, they are a kind of media."

Interviewer Regina Meredith asked José: "Looking at technology in the future, there was an interesting event yesterday, where Lynn Roberts led the group into a meditation and you could put yourself into the future and what it looked like. And, I interviewed Barbara Marx Hubbard right after that, and she and I had essentially the same visions, with slight variances, where it was this very organic sense of Time, organic sense of life in close companionship with the Earth, highly telepathic. But, we were in the presence of computer monitors, but it was connecting us with everything that’s possible, is. Anyone you needed to be in communion with anywhere on the planet and beyond was right there. So, it is quite possible, it seemed to me, it seemed quite harmonious and beautiful that even the types of technologies that have in its now primitive form have been given birth to, are going to work very well with the organic sense of Time down the road."

Argüelles agreed and delivered a diagnosis of the technological extravagance run by moral morons that threatens the future of humanity.

" . . . we’ve been too immature to deal with them (high tech inventions); we’ve become infatuated with the clock, developed a runaway system that we never tested, and it’s making morons and obese freaks out of us.

"So, we have to look at that. So, there has to be some kind of moratorium on all of this so we can recalibrate our intelligence and see what it is that we actually do need. Because the thing is, like I always say, wow, that’s really funny for 25,900 years Homo Sapiens did very well without cars and then now can’t do without them.

"So, it’s like you know so hey, wait a minute, we gotta, we have to stop this process. It’s a runaway technology that’s having all sorts of effects on our psyche, on our social psyche and our personal psyche that we can’t even control, and we’re all kind of just like sitting around helpless, you know, and watch our kids go crazy.

"Money is just like an illusion. Don’t worry; we’ve lived without this technology all this time. Just learn to grow a garden and relax. It’s all going to get better."

The doorway to the future is definitely located at the Foundation for the Law of Time.

Jose and I exchanged a few letters back in the early '90s in my pre-destabilization template days, sufficient to make me feel like his younger brother. I had triggered the connection after I read a line in his 1986 book, The Mayan Factor: Path Beyond Technology.

The line went: "The key to integrity is admitting your faults." My life took a significant turn for the better once I integrated that into my paradigm. In large part, it has led me to where I am today, telling you all this. In fact, I'd always planned on meeting him on the Rainbow Bridge, and judging by his website, I may still.

So, as the hunch playing pseudoepidemiologist you know I am, I'm making the bold prediction that the sooner the world comprehends and follows the humble directives of this inspirational servant of the universal vibe, better known in some circles at Valum Votan, president of the Foundation of the Law of Time, the better off we all will be. And I say the sooner the better.

Beloved Memnosis, master of cosmic memory (his persona in The Arcturus Probe).

Bon voyáge, José. We're right behind you, and we'll see you there. Thanks for the guidance.

John Kaminski is a writer who lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida, eternally grateful for the graceful souls who pass through this world and leave gifts that make this life worth living. First posted 26 March 2011.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Mariam Mokhtar on what happened to Umno after Tunku Abdul Rahman (repost)

The happiest PM in the world

Tunku Abdul Rahman (1903-1990)
The Tunku once described himself as “the happiest prime minister” when he was interviewed in 1983, by Peter Hastings, the foreign editor of the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH).

Today, as we read about Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, and the tactics used against the rakyat, NGOs, civil liberty groups and the opposition, we see a man who resorts to foul play, even breaking the law if necessary, to prolong his political career and that of his party, Umno.

Perhaps, what the Tunku possessed and what his successors lack is a sense of humour. Behind the calm purpose of his jokes, Tunku was able to show his spirit of tolerance.

Tunku laughed when Hastings reminded him of the time an Islamic group had sought the Tunku’s support for adulterers to be stoned to death and he had replied: “There are not enough stones in Malaysia.”

In his biography, ‘Tunku: His Life and Times’, the Tunku is described as looking resplendent in his morning coat and top hat, when he posed with Think Big, the race horse which won the Melbourne Cup in 1975. Just before he went up to receive the winner’s trophy, Tunku swopped his top hat for a black songkok and as the cup was placed in his hands, said: “I thank God for our victory”, a phrase which he repeated later that night at the Victory Cup Ball.

Those who knew Tunku would remember that most of his dinners ended-up on the dance-floor. He revived the Ronggeng (a Malay dance) and foreign dignitaries were invited to dance with their Malay hostesses. With this method, he succeeded in diplomacy, both foreign and domestic, something which would be impossible to replicate in today’s intolerant Malaysia.

The current crop of Malay leaders would never dare emulate Tunku by pursuing their hobbies openly, or even attribute gambling successes to God. They’d rather lie, for the sake of political expediency.

Many Malays of today are two-faced. The pious façade they present to the public is only to advance themselves in politics or to gain commercial advantage. It is widely known that prominent Malays including high-ranking members of the civil service, including the judiciary and police, have private poker sessions. The only time they don’t hide from the public eye, is when they are abroad.

So, why is gaming in casinos and betting on horses prohibited, but corruption allowed? Why should politicians be allowed to play Russian roulette with taxpayer’s money but individual Malays prevented from gambling with their own money?

In the SMH interview, Tunku was asked his views on the Look East policy of the prime minister of the time, Mahathir Mohamad. Tunku said: “Look east? Why should I? I have always liked to look in all directions.”

‘I like people to be happy’

At a birthday party in Kuala Lumpur in 1987, Tunku abandoned his prepared text and towards the end of his speech repeated his scorn for Mahathir: “Whether we look East or West, we shall always be friends with England.”

Tunku told Hastings (SMH) about the influence of the Islamic traditionalists and drinking mores of the Malaysian politicians of the 80s: “It is changing. I used to provide scotch, brandy and champagne at my banquets. The people did not mind. They are tolerant, but Tun Razak, my successor, never liked it. He feared the political consequences. I like people to be happy.”

The Tunku comes across as a normal human being, one the rakyat feels comfortable with. He did not hide behind the veil of hypocrisy, unlike his successors.

Perhaps, the Tunku’s “what you see is what you get” attitude endeared him to the public, rather than the sham public face which many of his successors wear.

When Tunku was advised to stop drinking alcohol at one of the earlier Umno meetings, he said: “People must accept me as I am: my bad habits and my virtues. At the age of 48, I cannot change them.”

Like other prominent Malay families, Tunku sent his daughter to study as a boarder at the Light Street Convent in Penang. Today, church halls have to remove crucifixes and other emblems of Christianity when Umno leaders are present. Umno expects people of other faiths to respect Muslims and Islam, but thinks nothing of trampling on the rights of other faiths, or accusing them of taking over the country, simply to rile the Malays.

Mahathir exploited the vulnerability of the Malays and gave the Umno Malays legal protection, in the same way that wildlife organisations protect endangered plants and animals. Mahathir made it an offence for anyone to threaten the Umno Malays by changing the environmental, or other parameters, in which the Umno Malays would thrive.

Two weeks ago, Najib argued that successful Malaysian women risked making men “an endangered species”. He is wrong. What he meant was that Umno Malays are the world’s most protected species.

Didn’t Mahathir and Najib learn in school, that if you take an animal from the wild and domesticate it, the animal soon forgets to fend for itself?

Bred in captivity

Successive generations of Umno Malays have been bred in captivity and have become dependent on the food from their keeper. If released into their natural settings, Umno Malays will die. Like most caged animals, they have become lazy and obese. Their mental processes deteriorate because they lack the stimuli necessary for survival. Umno Malays could be weaned off their bad habits, but Umno will never allow that to happen.

If the zookeepers (Umno leaders) have no animals (Umno Malays) to take care of, then they are out of a job.

In today’s Malaysia, the fund for maintaining the Umno zoo is running low. The keepers have siphoned off most of the takings from the zoo. With food stocks running low, portions are small and feeding is erratic. The animals are distressed. They have been used to large meals, at any time of day, not just at feeding times.

These are dangerous times. The animals are waiting to pounce. One wrong move and the keeper becomes their next meal. Those of us watching from outside the cage would then be happiest. If Umno Malays refuse to be mentally liberated now, they run the risk of extinction.

MARIAM MOKHTAR is a non-conformist traditionalist from Perak, a bucket chemist and an armchair eco-warrior. In ‘real-speak', this translates into that she comes from Ipoh, values change but respects culture, is a petroleum chemist and also an environmental pollution-control scientist.

[Published 15 October 2012 in Malaysiakini. Posted here 16 October. Thanks, Mariam! You are indeed a precious gem.]

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The shameful truth about Burmese refugees in Malaysia (repost)


The Realities of Refugees and Asylum Seekers from Burma in Malaysia

Malaysia is currently host to one of the largest refugee and asylum seeker populations in Asia. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are more than 90,000 registered refugees in the country. Both UNHCR and the refugee communities estimate that the actual number of refugees is much higher, given that thousands have yet to be registered. 92% are Burmese who escaped persecution in Burma, where political turmoil and ruthless military domination have persisted for decades. However, Malaysia has continued to refuse to recognise them as refugees.

Malaysia has not ratified the 1951 Refugee Convention nor the 1967 Protocol. Under the Malaysian Immigration Act 1959/63 (Act 155), refugees and asylum seekers are designated as “illegal migrants” and may be subject to arrest, detention, punishment (including whipping), and deportation. Historically, the focus has been on reducing the number of irregular persons through large-scale (and often violent) ‘crackdowns,' where the aim is to arrest, detain and deport undocumented migrants and refugees. Arrested refugees are often unable to understand the charges read to them and secure appropriate legal assistance.

Life for refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia is extremely difficult. Unable to work legally in the country, and with limited access to basic services (health care, education or legal services), they are vulnerable to poverty, exploitation and health problems. Refugees and asylum seekers scrape by on earnings from work in low paying, unskilled and often part-time/casual jobs in the plantation, construction, manufacturing, or service sectors. Even amongst those who are employed, poverty and indebtedness are endemic. Many earn far less than the government-determined poverty-line income (PLI) of RM800 per household per month.

Forced labor and human trafficking are serious concerns for this community. Moreover, without the protection that legal status provides, refugees and asylum seekers are afraid to come forward to authorities because they fear arrest and detention. At one time, Malaysian immigration officials were even implicated in such activities: it was found that they had trafficked refugees from Burma up to the Malaysia-Thai border where they were handed over to human smugglers/traffickers who held them for ransom. Those who could not pay were sold to Thai fishermen, brothels or private owners.

Refugees’ and asylum seekers’ dire living circumstances, coupled with aggressive, punitive approaches by the state as well as everyday experiences of discrimination by non-state actors, creates an extremely poor environment for refugees in Malaysia. Furthermore, these adverse life events, combined with the persecution they faced in Burma, increase their vulnerability to a number of health problems, including infectious diseases, psychological problems and under-management of chronic conditions.

Refugee Health

Mental health problems among refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia are a serious concern. Health Equity Initiatives’ (HEI) analysis of the scores of 578 refugees and asylum seekers who were screened in April and May 2011 using the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scales 21 (DASS21) indicated that 19.9% experienced either moderate, severe or extremely severe Stress. Almost half (48%) experienced either moderate, severe or extremely severe Anxiety, and 38% experienced either moderate, severe or extremely severe Depression. An earlier analysis of HEI’s mental health clients showed that 22% presented with symptoms that required psychiatric care. A separate study conducted by HEI revealed that, among those with a high level of need for psychosocial services, 77.1% reported they could not afford the services.

In principle, government hospitals in Malaysia are open and available to refugees and asylum seekers, but evidence collected by HEI shows that refugees and asylum seekers experience substantial barriers accessing health care in Malaysia.

The cost of health care is unaffordable for many. This is particularly the case if treatment costs are high and the individual is an asylum seeker (asylum seekers cannot take advantage of the 50% discount off the foreigner rate that registered UNHCR refugees receive). Concerns around arrest and detention are another problem, as refugees and asylum seekers are afraid to travel to seek medical services. Many refugees live outside the city, some in jungle sites, so transportation and security concerns are significant.

Language differences and a lack of information about health services also impact refugees’ ability to access services. Refugees have also cited the poor quality of treatment and discrimination they experience at both public and private health facilities as reasons for not seeking medical treatment when needed. Evidence also showed that refugees delayed seeking medical treatment until the situation became serious, thereby risking their health and increasing their need for hospitalization.

Forced Labor

Forced labor is a situation currently affecting 12.3 million people worldwide. It is defined by the International Labour Organization (ILO) as “all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily.” Simply put, there are two elements to forced labor: 1) the work or service must be exacted under menace of a penalty; and 2) it is undertaken involuntarily.
By making the public aware of research on forced labor in Malaysia, HEI wishes to highlight its prevalence. Although almost 9.5 million people are trapped in forced labor in the Asia-Pacific region, the phenomenon of forced labor is not well understood in our societies. Frequently, forced labor operates in a manner closely connected with local context and is therefore less noticeable for most members of that society. In Malaysia, a combination of shortcomings in both immigration and labor laws has created dangerous circumstances, exposing this vulnerable population to forced labor.

HEI’s research on Burmese refugees and asylum seekers in the Klang Valley revealed that one third of the research sample population has experienced forced labor. Playing into their fear of authorities because of the lack of documentation, employers and agents have used the threat of reports to the police and/or immigration as a way to force them into underpaid and exploitative labor. The negative impact on their well-being is demonstrated by more than 60% of the sample population who display symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress. This is more than twice the rate of the general population.

The graveness of the situation cannot be underemphasized. In Malaysia, practices of forced labor can last for years without being detected. Survivors rarely report their experience for a variety of reasons: they don’t know where to go; they are too afraid to speak out; they fear deportation or imprisonment; or they are simply resigned to accept forced labor as a norm rather than a violation of their fundamental human rights. One man HEI interviewed said simply, “I can’t sit around waiting for the good one. I don’t want to wait for the job.” Basic survival - the need for food and shelter for themselves and their families - has left them with little choice but to take up dismal jobs, often entering into situations of forced labor fully aware of the risks and dangers.

Through our campaign we are seeking to shed light on their experience, and to understand their plight as persons - not just as faceless workers. Our ignorance of forced labor situations has undoubtedly contributed to the continuation of these practices. This is why public awareness is essential. We hope that the witness accounts will show that allowing refugees and asylum seekers to work legally will protect them, improve their well-being, and demonstrate that the recognition of their status as refugees will make a whole world of difference.

[First posted 1 November 2011]