Thursday, January 6, 2011

Joke of the day: 1Malaisea (revisited)

Mahathir, Queen Elizabeth, and Vladimir Putin all die and go to hell.

While there, they spy a red phone and ask what the phone is for. The Devil tells them it is for calling back to Earth.

Putin asks to call Russia and talks for 5 minutes. When he is finished the Devil informs him that the cost is a million dollars, so Putin writes him a check.

Next Queen Elizabeth calls England and talks for 30 minutes. When she is finished the Devil informs her that the cost is 6 million dollars, so she writes him a check.

Finally Mahathir gets his turn and talks for 4 hours. When he is finished the Devil informs him that the cost is $5.00.

When Putin hears this he goes ballistic and asks the Devil why Mahathir got to call Malaysia so cheaply.

The Devil smiles and replies: "Since Najib took over, the country has gone to hell, so it's a local call."

[Courtesy of V. Cornelius]

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

One easy way to work a miraculous transformation in Malaysia...


Institutionalized idolatry... or what? I can understand some folks hanging portraits of their dead ancestors on the wall to honor their memories.

Teenagers tend to adorn their bedroom walls with posters of their current idols - usually chart-topping popstars or icons of the silver screen.

College students generally prefer to decorate their dorm rooms with images of their ideological or athletic heroes.

Bachelors tend to worship buxom bombshells like Playmates of the Month or Bollywood sirens.

So why do some folks hang up formal portraits of royalty? Well, I can sort of understand if they are impressed by figures of authority dressed in ceremonial costumes.

But why put up official portraits of public servants? I mean, unless your maid is as hot looking as Robengah, why would you hang her picture on your living room wall?

Perhaps there are a few kinky people who have a collection of infamous criminals' images on their wall - notorious characters like Jack the Ripper or Jeffrey Dahmer (the serial killer and cannibal) or Dick Cheney or even Pol Pot.

But why Najib? He may be involved up to his eyebrows in the cold-blooded murder of a Mongolian woman he never met... but nothing has been established in court... not yet.

So why accord him such a place of honor on your wall? Wouldn't that only serve to bolster his puffed-up ego and make him believe that 69% of the population actually adores him?

If you wish to do something really positive for your nation, people, take down all those ridiculous portraits of the crime minister... and chuck them in the trashcan.

Believe me, everything will improve overnight in this benighted land!




Monday, January 3, 2011

REMEMBERING STRAVINSKY







Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) was a massive musical influence during my teen years. I was introduced to this brilliantly eccentric Russian composer by Duncan S. Catling - a Peace Corps Volunteer assigned to teach English literature in Batu Pahat High School from 1964 to 1965. I'll never forget the day I visited Duncan in his rented terrace house and he put on The Rite of Spring for me. I was never the same again. Stravinsky had the same transmutative effect on the young Frank Zappa.

The recording of Rite of Spring Duncan played for me was conducted by Ernest Ansermet, a Swiss colleague of Igor Stravinsky and only a year younger than the composer. Ansermet was a highly regarded academic conductor who could be relied upon to render technically consummate interpretations of any score.

Many years later I heard a recording of Rite of Spring conducted by Seiji Ozawa and was completely blown away by the raw, primal feel Ozawa succeeded in capturing, especially with the percussive sections. If you'd rather listen to an X-rated interpretation of Rite of Spring, go for the Ozawa recording!