Storming of the Bastille, 14 July 1789
Yesterday I received notifications from Blogger that two of my blogs had been locked. I had to laugh, because my first thought was that a BN cybertrooper or some inarticulate injured party had flagged my blogs in fury. "Great!" I said to myself. "My kick in the groin must have connected!" However, the explanation could also be that Blogger's robot patrols mistakenly identified my blogs as spamsites. How ironic! Nobody detests spam as much as I do, and here's some stupid, soulless cyberbot accusing me of spamming.
I know how Anwar must feel, constantly being accused of sodomy and corruption by those who themselves may be the biggest, baddest and most corrupt pederasts on earth.
Anyway, even as Barisan Nasional begins to sink out of sight below the horizon of basic decency, the Malaysian people are swiftly rising to the occasion and boldly speaking their thoughts and feelings - thanks to web portals like Malaysiakini and Malaysia Today - not to mention the thousands of blogs sprouting up every week, run by rank amateurs as well as seasoned veterans.
Because my blogs were locked, I decided to spend some time reading other people's contributions to Malaysiakini and was rewarded by several excellent pieces that resonated so robustly, I simply had to promote them on my blog. So I've cloned one of the essays and provided a few links to the others. The well-crafted essay below (credited only to "Kein") comes pretty close to expressing my own dream and nightmare scenarios whenever I consider the political crossroads Malaysia has reached today...
BETWEEN A DREAM AND A NIGHTMARE...
Kein | Aug 1, 08 4:19pm
Last night I had a dream. I dreamt that it was 2010 and Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had handed power over to his deputy Najib, putting an end to his pointless and rudderless rule. Malaysia was now in firmer hands and the country had passed a defining fork in the river of time.
As I dreamt on, time seemed to be compressed into fast changing glimpses of unfolding events. The nascent opposition had failed to take over the federal government in 2008. Anwar Ibrahim was languishing in prison, convicted of sodomy in a scandalous show trial without an iota of credible evidence. The government shrugged off the torrent of international condemnation as ‘meddling in internal affairs’ and carried on business as usual.
Najib stamped his mark on Malaysia as an authoritarian in the mould of Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Democratic space which allowed the opposition to flourish under Abdullah’s rule was severely curtailed. Political blogs were outlawed and control over the mainstream pres tightened. The ISA was liberally used to quell dissent.
Social reforms proposed for the judiciary, the ACA, the police and the AG’s chambers during Abdullah’s time were stalemated and never saw the light of day. The rule of law had broken down with the acquittal of all accused in the murder of a Mongolian lady.
The economy went into free fall under the onslaught of massive corruption and the implementation of unproductive mega-projects which did not benefit the rakyat but were vehicles for enrichment of a small group of elite. Foreign investment dried up, the ringgit depreciated drastically, the gap between rich and poor widened and people’s lives became harder.
When the time came for the 13th general elections, the ruling party pulled out all the stops to win. Free and fair elections were impossible with the total control of the mass media by the ruling party and the use of threats, intimidation, vote-buying, repression of the opposition and massive cheating. The ruling party won with a handsome majority in parliament..
Meanwhile, the shrinking economic pie led to a resurgence of Malay nationalism instigated and nurtured by Umno leaders. Chinese, Indians and other non-Malays faced a slew of racially-based polices which imposed new limits on their education, employment and economic opportunities.
The best and brightest of human capital fled overseas to escape the racial discrimination. On their heels were to come maids, labourers and other unskilled workers seeking work overseas as unemployment soared.
But for the ordinary Malays themselves, life did not improve. They were deceived by the nebulous notion of Ketuanan Melayu, Malay special rights and NEP which did little for them except to benefit a ruling oligarchy. They had begun to realise the deceit but it was too late to turn back the clock. A pseudo-democracy had replaced real democracy in a political system which the ruling party could never lose.
Deteriorating economic conditions led to widespread social discontent but suppression of public demonstrations had become more brutal. I watched as intimidating-looking red-helmeted FRU men armed with clubs and shields beat a defenseless crowd demonstrating over a surge in inflation.
The air was thick with the acrid smell of tear gas and a short distance away, a water canon was spewing a powerful gush of chemically-laced water as the crowd ran helter-skelter. Amid the noise and the commotion, I heard a sharp crack and an old lady fell in front of me, her weary face lined with pain as I woke with an abrupt start with her scream of pain reverberating in my ears.
Moonlight filtered through the windows and rain pattered on the roof with a steady rhythm as the wind howled outside. I was drenched in cold sweat with a feeling of extreme disquiet. The alarm clock read 2 am, it was too early to get up so I had a drink of water before settling down again to try to sleep.
I thought of Malaysia, the future of the country and the reality that social injustice and authoritarian methods always lead to economic decline. I drifted off again and was soon again in the dimension of dreams.
It was a sitting of parliament and Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was addressing the lawmakers in the presence of the King and Queen. He promised a new Malaysia where all races were equal partners in the economic and social life of the country while the special rights of the Malays guaranteed under the constitution will remain protected.
Corruption will not be tolerated, social justice upheld and emphasis given to reviving the economy. His first act was to lower the price of oil to assist the wheels of economy which he asserted Malaysia could afford as an oil-exporting country.
Under the new government, wide-ranging reforms were made to repair severely damaged democratic institutions. The judiciary, the police and the ACA benefitted from reforms which accorded them true independence from the executive. An independent police complaints commission was set up, the powers of the attorney-general clipped and good men were appointed to helm all these institutions. A host of oppressive laws such as the ISA, OSA, UUCA and PPPA were repealed.
On the economic front, open tenders were conducted for all government contracts and non- productive projects which do not benefit the rakyat were cancelled. Unfair one-sided agreements with toll concessionaires and IPPs were re-negotiated. The billions saved were used to subsidise oil prices and spent on projects with real benefit for the people.
Foreign investments flooded in following open market policies without race-based restrictions and the ringgit appreciated.
In the new climate of meritocracy and equal opportunities, the ‘brain drain’ which had afflicted Malaysia for decades reversed itself. The country no longer bled its best and brightest youth to foreign shores and local professionals and specialists who had gone overseas made a beeline back to the country they still called home to contribute their energies and skills.
The much abused NEP was replaced by the Malaysian Economic Agenda which channels affirmative action based on need instead of race. Help flowed to those who really needed it..
With proper economic management, foreign inflows and a stronger ringgit, the per capita income of the people increased and poverty was drastically reduced.
The end of race-based policies and racial politics brought the various races closer together. In schools and colleges, in work places and entertainment outlets, people of all races mingled and interacted in the spirit of genuine friendship. Malaysia became a shining beacon of democracy where the various races lived together in harmony and a true ‘Bangsa Malaysia’ began to emerge.
The cheerful sound of big band music sliced through the clear morning air as Malaysia celebrated its Independence Day. It was a joyous occasion which saw an endless parade of colourful uniformed bodies marching proudly past a spellbound crowd.
At the grandstand, Prime Minister Anwar lifted a ceremonial keris high in the air to shouts of ‘Merdeka!’ as trumpets blared and a shrill ringing became louder and louder until it cut through the reverie to wake me from my slumber.
Outside, the rain had given way to a cool breeze rustling the leaves outside my window. Night was slowly receding to the pale light of a new day, a full moon looked down while the faint barking of a dog could be heard in the distance. I looked at the new dawn breaking above the horizon and dared to hope.
More juicy contributions by Malaysiakini subscribers:
DID THE POLICE COVER ALL THE ANGLES?
Aug 1, 08 10:33am
MR PM, PLEASE ANSWER MY DAUGHTER
True Malaysian | Aug 1, 08 4:05pm
WAN AZIZAH, A TOWERING MALAYSIAN WOMAN
Richard Kamalanathan | Aug 1, 08 4:16pm
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Saiful Bukhari Azlan's lawyer, Zamri Idrus, could do with a crash course in holding media conferences. His whole demeanor, body language, and evasiveness mark him as somebody with a hidden agenda - and those tinted glasses hardly help to dispel the impression that we're looking at a somewhat "shady" character. All the man can say is:
"Let the polis investigate."
"It's under polis investigation."
"No need to go into this issue."
"I can't comment on that."
Asked about the first medical report by Dr Osman Hamid of Hospital Pusrawi, Zamri's ridiculous reaction is that nobody knows what "the so-called report" is all about. Hey, bodoh... it's about Saiful Bukhari being a goddam liar, making up a wicked story about being sodomized eight times by a guy with a bad back.
The reporters want to know why Saiful is under polis protection. "He requested it," Zamri says. Boy, the Malaysian polis are ever so accommodating, always eager to serve the rakyat. Does Saiful think Anwar's supporters will hunt him down and hang him from a lamppost? Obviously, these Umno thugs believe everybody else thinks just like them.
Not only Zamri Idrus, but every Umno mouthpiece that has commented on this repulsive piece of chicanery - from Badawi (PM) to Botak (home minister) to Moh Choon Toy (health minister) - has used this phrase, "Let the polis investigate," like a magic mantra. Indeed, the phrase seems to be interchangeable with "Leave it in God's hands!"
And Malaysia is NOT a polis state??? Well, whatever it may be, Malaysia is definitely in a totally psychotic state - or, at least, the hoodlums are that have been misruling this poor country for decades. Now that Umno is facing its own imminent demise, panic has broken out and is causing it to sink deeper and deeper and deeper, with every move it makes, into a stinking quagmire from which it will never be able to extricate itself.
Glub glub glub. Good riddance, Umno.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Dammit… look at that bunch of utter nincompoops strutting around the corridors of power today: anal-retentive Umno stereotypes like Abdullah Badawi, Najib Razak, Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, Syed Hamid Albar, Muhammad Muhammad Taib, and Khir Toyo… DO YOU TRUST THESE CREATURES? They can’t even speak in public without sounding like robots or reading from scripts! Anwar is human and passionate and you can sense a burning intelligence in his eyes.
Okay, back in the mid-1970s when I first read about this hotheaded leader of ABIM (Muslim Youth Movement), I went ho-hum. Back then Anwar Ibrahim was your archetypal ethnocentric nationalist sporting the mujahideen goatee - but at least he was outspoken on issues affecting the rural poor, and that got him into jail. Seeing his leadership potential, Mahathir persuaded Anwar to join Umno and got him spewing forth the expected foam about bangsa and ugama. I confess that in 1989 I actually did a caricature of him and labeled it "Anal Ibrim" little suspecting that within a decade Anwar would be plagued by that very word. And I'm still troubled by a rumor I once heard, naming Anwar Ibrahim as the minister who came up with the wicked idea to convert the dysfunctional Jabatan Hal Ehwal Orang Asli (Orang Asli Affairs Department) into a tool for converting the Orang Asli to Islam and assimilating them into the Malay mainstream.
Well, I don't know if there's any truth to that accusation - but even if it were true, that was back in 1990, and the man has suffered six years in prison for that reprehensible gaffe. You could say Anwar has paid all his karmic dues. Let's delete Anwar's slightly murky past when he was Umno deputy president and Dr M's hand-picked protégé, and take a closer look at what happened around the time of the currency depreciation in mid-1997. A bunch of young Turks in Umno were pushing Anwar to the forefront as a potential heir to the throne, goading him to attack Mahathir on the corruption front, the old man's weak underbelly. The Mamak didn't like that one bit - and neither did his former finance minister, Daim Zainuddin. Anwar was given the option to hand in his resignation - or face extreme vilification and political damnation.
Anwar, unlike other DPMs, refused to yield to Mahathir’s awesome might and megalomaniacal ego. Anwar fought back when he could have cut his losses by taking up a diplomatic or academic post abroad, returning quietly to the Umno fold a few years later like Musa Hitam.
On September 2nd, 1998, Anwar Ibrahim underwent a radical transformation from Umno bigwig to political renegade - he literally took on the mantle of a messianic cult hero when Malaysia urgently required one. I’ve watched him closely since his sacking and subsequent arrest - and he has performed impeccably as a spiritual warrior and icon of righteous resistance. Over six years of incarceration Anwar maintained his dignity, focus, perseverance and humanity - and that’s when the beautiful, strong women in his life rose to the occasion.
No man who has seen his wife and daughter go through so much on his behalf would ever behave like a male chauvinist pig; he would have a healthy respect for the feminine principle. This is what I see in Anwar and that is why I have publicly hailed him as Malaysia’s best hope at this critical juncture in our political evolution.
Anwar has every quality that marks him as a man of extraordinary destiny. I trust him as much as I trust myself - and because I fear him not, I would walk up to him and tell him to his face if ever I felt he was turning into a tyrant. As a former victim of Dr M's tyranny, Anwar would never want to go down that ignominious road.
In 2001 while overnighting at a friend's house, I flipped through a copy of Anwar Ibrahim's Asian Renaissance I found in his library. Anwar came across as somebody I could imagine having a damn good conversation with on a one-to-one basis. But what most impressed me and turned my views around on politicians in general and Anwar in particular - was the bibliography at the end of the book which listed - among a broad spectrum of classics including the sublime poetry of Rabindranath Tagore - the Tao Te Ching. Now, anybody who can claim to have read that supreme masterpiece in pithy, organic wisdom is welcome in my household anytime. And if he decides to run for high political office, I'd put my money on him. These are no ordinary times we are living in. Successfully navigating the uncharted political seas immediately ahead calls for an extraordinary helmsman - one who has survived the worst storms!
[Here's an inspiring perspective on Anwar Ibrahim by Charles R. Avila that was uploaded today on Din Merican's blog.]
Wednesday, 30 July 2008
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
At 2.30pm on Wednesday, 25 June 2008, Senior Assistant Commissioner (SAC) II Mohd Rodwan Mohd Yusof met Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan in room 619 of the Concorde Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. Prior to this secret meeting, Rodwan and Saiful spoke on the phone at least eight (8) times.
Three days later, at 2.00pm on 28 June 2008, Saiful went to see Dr Mohamed Osman Abdul Hamid of the Hospital Pusrawi to ‘complain’ that he had been sodomised by ‘a very important person’ and that he wished to lodge a police report. The doctor, however, found no traces or evidence that he had been sodomised and suggested, for purposes of the police report, that Saiful go to a government hospital.
Who is Rodwan, other than the fact that he works for the IGP and is known as the police chief’s bagman and go-between with the organised crime syndicate that controls all the drugs, prostitution, loan-sharking and gambling rackets? Well, read the following archived reports to get a better understanding of this scumbag and slime-ball named Rodwan. Maybe then you can understand why he met Saiful in a hotel room three days before the sodomy allegation against Anwar Ibrahim exploded.
This comment was posted 30 July 2008 on Susan Loone’s blog:
I would like to write the following statement in the name of GOD whom I believe.
I am a government doctor in the rank of consultant working in Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL). I know personally the doctors who examined Saiful on that day - 28 June 2008.
The so-called medical report mentioned in the NST is a fabrication or imagination by the UMNO paper. There is no such medical report submitted to the polis yet.
When examining Saiful, the specialist could not find any signs of Saiful being sodomised. Saiful was very cheerful, unlike real sodomised patients who will usually be very sad and disturbed.
Saiful was subsequently admitted to the ward and observed for a day. He was completely well in the ward and not emotionally disturbed.
Please let RPK know of this.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
A man walks into a restaurant with a full-grown ostrich behind him. The waitress asks them for their orders.
The man says, "A hamburger, fries and a Coke," and turns to the ostrich. "What's yours?"
"I'll have the same," says the ostrich.
A short time later the waitress returns with the order. "That will be $9.40 please," and the man reaches into his pocket and pulls out the exact change for payment.
The next day, the man and the ostrich come again and the man says, "A hamburger, fries and a Coke."
The ostrich says, "I'll have the same."
Again the man reaches into his pocket and pays with exact change.
This becomes routine until the two enter again. "The usual?" asks the waitress.
"No, this is Friday night, so I'll have a steak, baked potatoes and a salad," says the man.
"Same," says the ostrich.
Shortly the waitress brings the order and says, "That will be $32.62."
Once again the man pulls the exact change out of his pocket and places it on the table.
The waitress cannot hold back her curiosity any longer. "Excuse me, sir. How do you manage to always come up with the exact change in your pocket every time?"
"Well," says the man, "several years ago I was cleaning the attic and found an old lamp. When I rubbed it, a Genie appeared and offered me two wishes. My first wish was that if I ever had to pay for anything, I would just put my hand in my pocket and the right amount of money would always be there."
"That's brilliant!" says the waitress. "Most people would ask for a million dollars or something, but you'll always be as rich as you want for as long as you live!"
"That's right. Whether it's a gallon of milk or a Rolls Royce, the exact money is always there," says the man.
The waitress asks, "What's with the ostrich?"
The man sighs, pauses and answers: "My second wish was for a tall chick with a big butt and long legs who agrees with everything I say."
[Forwarded by Jason Rao]