Saturday, August 28, 2010



Max Alexander Lüer
, my #1 grandchild, turns 10 today! A few days ago my daughter Belle proudly showed me some digital doodles her son had created on her iPhone with some funky app he had just downloaded...

This was the first doodle I saw and I was absolutely impressed by the confident strokes Max had used to generate this simple but striking abstract piece. The color scheme is spot on - looks like a virus!

Hmm, that stylized cloaca looks a bit rude...

Such vibrant colors and freeflowing lines!

Minimalist variation on a Maximalist theme? :-)

The Devil in him begins to emerge... ;-)

Animal, vegetable, human or extraterrestrial?

Reminds me of the brilliant art produced by my friend
Marianne Naerebout!

Max is one of the most widely traveled kids I know, since his parents happen to be ardent jetsetters. On a recent trip to South Africa (to watch the World Cup), Max was treated to a joyride on a catamaran.

First one in! Max has been participating in triathlons with great enthusiasm... and he's done really well!

Portrait of a natural-born runner...

A stylish bike racer too...

Dressed up as Harry Potter for a Halloween party?

Prince Max appreciating the German landscape...

Watching the World Cup in Jo'burg with mama Belle and papa Marcus

Like father, like son: two jocks on a sightseeing tour of Cape Town

Three generations of Lüers: Max with his other Grandpa Manfred
and proud daddy Marcus

My grandson, the budding heartthrob :-)

Guess what Max gave me for my rebirthday in January? I'd been hassling him to lend me his face so I can go to parties and get lucky all over again... so Max very kindly obliged, such a generous soul ;-)

This was powerful medicine indeed - and quite possibly saved my life when I was struck down by an assassin anopheles and landed up in the ICU at Sungai Buloh Hospital. I'm keeping the original in my archive.

Thank you so much, darling Max, for making it such a total joy to be called "Grand Pupa" by you (it's better than being called "Grand Poo-Poo" that's for sure! :-)


Molly Fu
(28 August 1950 - 12 June 2006)

Max shares a birthday with his magnificent grand-aunt Molly
who babysat him a lot -
and who also took care of Belle and her sister Moon
when they were babies.
"An Angel returned to Heaven..."
is how Belle describes this beautiful, gentle soul.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Le roi est mort, vive le roi... woof!

Mr Wong died shortly after noon on 25 August 2010.

We suspect he was at least 13 years old (91 in human years), though that's pure conjecture. Mr Wong's origins remain a mystery even if I'm convinced he was indeed the grandson of the venerable Madam Wu (maiden name Curly-Wurly or Curlington-Wurlington on account of her spitz pedigree), one of the original Magick River dogs.

He was also known as Mr Wong Beng Oi or Golden Boy. His official designation at Magick River was Head of Homeland Security. He was undoubtedly the Dog of Dogs, veritably an ascended canine.

Madam Wu was already at an advanced age when she moved to Ampang Jaya long enough to get impregnated by Mary Maguire's mutt, Deputy Dawg (originally of the Yap clan, judging by the nervous tone of his bark). When Mary relocated to Kuala Kubu Bharu in 1997, Madam Wu returned to her former life as a jungle dog, while her daughter Lulu Yap née Lulu Wu stayed on with Mary in Kuala Kubu Bharu and later Sungai Choh. Lulu was seduced by Milligan (a rakish stray adopted by Mary) and had her first litter when she was still in her teens. Lulu's pups were all given away as soon as they were weaned so I never got to know them well.

Sometime in 1999 I found a compact yellow dog lying weak with hunger under a rambutan tree. He had an ugly sore on his back, the remains of a rope around his neck, and his fur had been ravaged by mange. But his eyes sparkled with soulful intelligence and I was compelled to nurture him back to health. My black bitch Anubis took an immediate shine to the short-legged chap I decided to call Wong. Within a week Wong was looking fine and cheerful again. It dawned on me that he could be one of Lulu's pups, born in that very house more than a year earlier. Perhaps he had been unkindly treated and opted to break loose. His instincts had taken him straight back to his birthplace...

Wong and Anubis truly loved one another. She was fond of grooming him and when she got in heat, was exceedingly patient with him, crouching down to facilitate penetration (Anubis was much taller than her royal consort Mr Wong).

Wong was extremely gentle with humans and showed a great fondness for felines. His first cat buddy was Mira, who loved rubbing herself against her canine protector and purring loudly. In fact, Mr Wong was greatly loved by everybody who had any contact with him. Even the Orang Asli were fond of him, because he never once barked at them, chased their kids or harassed motorcyclists. They kept asking me for Wong's offspring but, truth be told, Orang Asli dogs generally don't live very long.

Barely a month old, Pocahontas discovered that Uncle Wong was a warm and wonderfully bullyable friend. She was undeterred by all the tall tales I told her about Mr Wong's murky past as Chief Inspector Wong of the Special Branch (dishonorably discharged from the Force because of his unorthodox interrogation methods)...

Mr Wong enjoys the cool of the evening with Marie Cocteau - who started a fan club for the Dog of Dogs and appointed herself Purresident. Poor Marie Cocteau vanished within a few days of Baggins and Milly's arrival in Pertak. Baggins and Milly are Mary's cat-chasing mutts who grew up in Puchong (a rough neighborhood overspilling with dog-hating datuks). Baggins got into my bad books almost immediately by biting Mr Wong on the leg in a kurang ajar display of alpha male superiority. This incident broke Mr Wong's indomitable spirit and caused him to feel uneasy in his own territory.

But over the last few years Mr Wong had been showing signs of breathlessness and several times became listless and depressed. After a booster jab of multivitamins and some antibiotics, he would rally and regain his bounce. The thought that Mr Wong was, after all, a mortal being and may one day have to leave us saddened me greatly. So when a pretty female pup with Doberman Pinscher markings spontaneously appeared on the scene one day, I decided to let her stay and named her Lulu (in honor of Wong's mum). Perhaps Wong will take her as his child bride, I figured, and from their union an heir to the canine kingdom would be conceived.

As it turned out, Lulu's first litter consisted of two roly-poly pups I named Rupert and Amrita. Neither resembled Mr Wong in any way. Both had inherited their mother's chicken claw - extra toes on their hind legs that look a bit like rooster spurs.

Rupertino, a Valentino amongst dogs, was an exceedingly handsome fellow. Tragically, he was murdered together with mother Lulu on 25 May 2009 by a gang of demonically possessed Orang Asli (no thanks to the cheap brain-pickling spirits they enjoy guzzling). Another great Malaysian murder mystery that remains unsolved...

About six months before she was killed, Lulu gave birth to a single pup. A fat and feisty furball I decided to name Roger Reginald Putra because he arrived aound the time Raja Petra Kamarudin (Blogger King and webmaster of Malaysia Today) was miraculously released from unlawful detention under the evil ISA. It was a day I shall never forget, when it felt as if the winds of political change would blow away the hoodlums in high office like so much dandruff (although it would take a great deal longer than we thought...)

This little tyke was unmistakably descended from Mr Wong Beng Oi - the extreme cuteness of his being and shortness of his legs were a dead giveaway. Roger inherited his mother's characteristic rooster spur.

Roger Putra enjoyed a supremely happy puppyhood, took endless naps, and was adored by everybody.

On account of his thick coat Roger always seeks out the shadiest spots on hot days. Indeed, as a pup he would disappear from sight for hours - only to be discovered fast asleep behind the dragon jar in the bathroom, the coolest spot in the house.

Roger and his father, Mr Wong, were great buddies and only once had a falling out. The bone of contention was, what else? - a smelly bone Roger had been gnawing but when he abandoned it, his father took over and Roger didn't like that. Thought he was strong enough to stand up to the old man... he never again picked a fight with Wong Beng Oi alias B.O. Wong.

Roger, Wong and Mindy Coots aka Mrs Wong chill out on the veranda with my pet djembe.

Apart from food, sleep is a major preoccupation with Roger Reginald Putra.

I suspect there is some Wookie in Roger's lineage as he often makes Wookie sounds. Remember Chewbacca in Star Wars?

In December 2009 (three days before I was rushed to the Sungai Buloh Hospital by ambulance), Roger Putra failed to come home after chasing monkeys into the forest. I went to the river several times a day, calling for him - but heard no signs of a dog in distress. Then, on 21 December, as I was heading towards the car to be driven to the KKB hospital for a blood test, I saw Roger limping home. The adventurous tyke had been caught in an Orang Asli snare and somehow managed to free himself, though the wire had cut almost right through his right leg. Mary took him to the vet and with some antibiotics, antiseptic cream and a massive dose of TLC, he managed to heal completely.

Roger with Ayita Randhawa (whose mother is from Pertak Village).

Mr Wong used to compete with Roger for my affection. But now that Wong's gone, his beautiful, brave and beloved son will surely miss the wise and noble company of his splendid father, even though he shall relish being the new Dog of Dogs and King of All He Surveys...

Roger Reginald Putra in typical Lion King pose.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Nurul Izzah takes on the rabid racists

A new script for Malaysia
Free Malaysia Today | Tue, 24 Aug 2010 06:00

By Nurul Izzah Anwar

A Malay daily recently declared that a civil war would break out in the country. And this war would dwarf the May 13 1969 racial riot – the worst in Malaysia’s history. The war, said the newspaper, is a response to a non-existing amended constitution that abolishes the special position of the Malays and Islam.

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin also made reference to the 1969 riot in his comment when he reminded his Barisan Nasional (BN) colleague, Dr Chua Soi Lek, to tone down his demands to scrap what the government likes to call the pro-Malay economic policy.

In Penang, we heard stories that the name of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has been replaced with Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng in Friday sermons in some mosques in the state.

Apart from some Umno leaders who are fond of making racist comments, we also now have Perkasa which claimed to champion the constitutional position of the Malays.

These stories have been reported at length and front-paged by many newspapers, inviting discussions from both sides of the political divide.

These stories are not new. Many of us have heard similar stories not too long ago.

Remember in 1987 when Umno organised a racially charged political rally? It was followed by detention of many opposition leaders, including Karpal Singh and Guan Eng, under Operasi Lalang.

I wonder what the people behind the recent racial provocations hope to achieve.

Political theatre

I was too young to remember Operasi Lalang, but from my understanding of the event, it sounds so similar to the political theatre we are watching right now.

Every now and then, Malaysians are forced to watch the show based on an outdated script, written perhaps by those in power who benefit from racial polarisation.

Except for the change in the cast, the script always revolves around racial hatred, and how one community is a threat to another community’s interest.

Thank God, this latest show has not resulted in a new racial riot, or the “great war” that the Malay daily was trying to instigate.

Obviously, this tactic has not worked with Malaysians. Young Malaysians now demand a new script for the nation to be written by them.

In saying that the latest attempt at disuniting the country has failed, I am not entirely dismissing the fact that the racial rhetoric might have attracted some groups of young Malaysians.

Reading reports on Perkasa activities, I noticed the presence of a small number of young Malays. These are the people that I wish to reach out and to join other young Malaysians to write a new script for the nation.

Real issues

Perkasa has been accused of only trying to defend rent-seeking activities, but I doubt these youths are awarded any government contract. My suspicion is they have been indoctrinated with years of racist propaganda.

They are not alone. I have heard of civil servants and even teachers who made racist remarks while on the job.

For them, this country is all about “us” versus “them”, “oppression by certain group” or “risk of losing political power.”

But I have not given up on them.

I want to tell them that it is not hard to look beyond the colour of our skin, to understand that diversity has always been the foundation of this country.

I would like for all of us to focus on the real issues that will destroy this country: such as corruption, low foreign investment, lack of job opportunities and many other problems shared by all Malaysians.

It would not be easy to make them understand, but the success of the new script for Malaysia’s future depends on not just one group but also others who have been misled and marginalised. That is why all Malaysians must speak out and decide once and for all what the new script would be. A script built on the promise and vision of an independent Malaysia for all citizens: based on the rule of law, justice and equality.

Those who deny the will of the people for a better Malaysia should take note. Malaysians recognise theatre as it is, and the days of political theatre are over.

Nurul Izzah Anwar is PKR's MP for Lembah Pantai.