Thursday, September 20, 2012

A story right out of Star Wars ~ Mahathir turns Malaysia into Malicia

14 years since the police brutalized Anwar: But no investigation, Dr M still UNPUNISHED

By N. Surendran

I refer to the infamous assault upon Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim while under police custody, which took place 14 years ago today on 20 September 1998.

The assault was merciless, life-threatening and disgraced our Nation in the estimation of the world. On the night of 20 September 1998, Anwar was illegally arrested by police special forces acting under the orders of the UMNO-BN government led by then PM Mahathir Mohammad.

The arrest and assault was part of UMNO-BN's conspiracy to fabricate sodomy and corruption charges against Anwar Ibrahim, who had been unlawfully removed as Deputy Prime Minister on 2 September 1998.

Dr M still unpunished

14 years later, the circumstances of the assault are still horrifying and remain a national trauma. While helplessly handcuffed and blindfolded, Anwar was punched and slapped repeatedly causing him to fall upon a concrete slab. He was semi-conscious and bleeding from the nose and mouth. Instead of giving him medical assistance, top police officers made him sign the ISA detention order shortly after the assault.

The entire top leadership of the UMNO-BN police force was present at the scene of the assault, but none of them lodged a police report or took any kind action on the assault. Worse, Anwar was denied any kind of medical assistance until 4 days after the assault! And while in this condition, Anwar was even forced to attend interrogations.

There is no doubt that PM Mahathir and the top Umno-BN leadership were fully aware of the assault and the conditions in which Anwar was being held. Despite this, on 1 October 1998, then Umno-BN PM Mahathir lied to the public by claiming that the injuries were self-inflicted.

Contempt for the law

Former IGP Rahim Noor
The Royal Commission of Inquiry in its report on 6 April 1999 stated that the assault upon Anwar 'seared the very soul of Malaysia'. Yet the real culprits behind the assault and subsequent cover-up have never accepted responsibilty or been brought to justice; the real culprits are the UMNO-BN leadership and former PM Mahathir.

It is UMNO-BN's utter disregard for the rule of law and manipulation of the police leadership against Anwar that led to the assault. 55 years of UMNO-BN rule had so damaged police independence and professionalism that top cops allowed this assault to happen and were party to the subsequent cover-up.

And still seeking another mandate from the people

It is thus a matter of grave concern that the lawless UMNO-BN regime is seeking a fresh mandate from the people of this country. The fabrication of the Sodomy II charges against Anwar in 2008 shows that UMNO-BN has not changed or reformed.

The assault upon our former Deputy Prime Minister and countless high-handed actions since then, proves that no Malaysian is really safe under the arbitrary and amoral rule of UMNO-BN. The assault on Anwar by the country's highest police officer starkly exemplifies the collapse of independent institutions and just governance in Malaysia under UMNO-BN.

[Read the rest here.]


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"Busynessmen, they drink my wine; plowmen dig my earth..."


There must be some way out of here, said the joker to the thief
There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief
Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth
None of them along the line know what any of it is worth

No reason to get excited, the thief he kindly spoke
There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke
But you and I, we've been through that, and this is not our fate
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late

All along the watchtower, princes kept the view
While all the women came and went, their footservants too

Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl
Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

1 Year later ~ Occupy Wall Street briefly reoccupies Zuccotti Park...

Thousands Have Retaken Zuccotti Park Ahead of Occupy Wall Street's One-Year Anniversary...


Even if I were born into the 1%, I wouldn't hesitate to
rejoin humanity and the rest of the planetary biosphere
in visualizing an end to the horrors instigated by
anthropocentrism and hubris.

It's never too late to admit we made a terrible mistake, 
thinking we were destined to rule the world.

An uplifting email from the indefatigable Bruno Manser Fund...

Bruno Manser (25 August  1954 ~ ???)

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear friends,

We would like to inform you that the Bruno Manser Fund is about to release an explosive report on the Malaysian Taib family, one of South East Asia's most notorious kleptocratic clans.

Sarawak has been in Taib Mahmud's
greedy clutches for more than 30 years
The report entitled The Taib Timber Mafia: Facts and Figures on Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) from Sarawak, Malaysia contains twenty portraits and details on the corrupt business connections of long-term Sarawak Chief Minister, Abdul Taib Mahmud ("Taib"), and his closest family members and associates. Taib is the main culprit for the destructive logging of the rainforests of Sarawak, one of the world's biodiversity hotspots.

As an exclusive, the report will give estimates on the net worth of 20 Taib family members and associates and will systematically expose their business ties to the timber, plantation, construction and media sector in Malaysia and other countries such as Australia, Canada, the US, the United Kingdom and Hong Kong. The report follows up on our earlier research on the Taib family, published in December 2011.

The unembarrassable Dompok:
politician with a rhino hide
On Wednesday, 19 September 2012, the report will be presented in Brussels to the EU Commission on the occasion of a visit of the Malaysian Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Bernard Dompok.

The report will be released to the general public on Thursday, 20 September 2012, 3 p.m. GMT. Copies will be sent to all major international financial services providers as well as to cabinet ministers and government agencies from OECD and ASEAN countries. The Bruno Manser Fund calls on the international community to take decisive action against the Taibs, in particular to freeze their illicit assets and to prosecute them for corruption, money-laundering and related crimes.

Interested journalists may obtain a copy of the embargoed report beforehand, by sending us an email.

Your BMF team

Legacy of rainforest "Robin Hood" lives on
11 March 2005

Bruno Manser: officially dead
but not forgotten
Environmentalist Bruno Manser has been declared officially dead by a Swiss court, five years after he disappeared in the Malaysian jungle.

But Manser’s efforts to save the rainforest have not been forgotten and continue to influence attitudes towards tropical wood.

"It’s five years since Bruno vanished without a trace, so it’s not just a legal step, but also a symbolic one," said Lukas Straumann, director of the Bruno Manser Fund, set up by the environmentalist to spearhead his campaign.

"Friends and family have had to say farewell to him in stages."

Manser became a household name in Switzerland in the 1990s, when he staged a spectacular 60-day hunger strike outside parliament in Bern to highlight the plight of Malaysia’s Penan tribesmen.

The Penan, who still live a nomadic lifestyle in the forests of Sarawak on the island of Borneo, are threatened by illegal logging practices that encroach on - and destroy - their habitat.

Manser became interested in the Penan in the 1980s and often clashed with the Malaysian authorities and timber companies as he defended tribal land rights.


"Bruno Manser is still a hero to the Penan because he made their struggle known to the world," Straumann told swissinfo. "He also made a stand when fighting deforestation and related human rights violations was not very popular."

The environmentalist spent six years living with the tribesmen. He was banned from Sarawak after launching his campaign against rainforest logging.

He disappeared in May 2000, when he is believed to have entered Sarawak secretly. Investigations by the Malaysian police and Swiss activists failed to find any trace of Manser.

Many of his friends believe he was killed because of his campaign, which embarrassed the Malaysian government and earned him plenty of enemies along the way.

But despite vanishing, Straumann says that Manser has had a powerful influence on attitudes towards tropical wood. "He is the person who made it headline news in Switzerland," he added.

[Read the rest here.]


Anil Netto reports on Anwar's 14 September visit to Skudai...

Something is happening in Johor

A crowd of 8000 people attended the largest Pakatan dinner in Johor on Friday, 14 September, sending shivers down the ranks of the BN.

The 800-table dinner was held at Sutera Mall near the upmarket Taman Sutera Utama residential area in Skudai, though many of those who turned up seemed to be from outside the neighbourhood.

A thunderous roar from the multi-ethnic crowd greeted Anwar when he arrived with his entourage.

Two observers, a veteran journalist and a former journalist, were struck my the range of people present at the dinner, with all ethnic groups significantly represented. “They were completely unfazed by the heavy presence of police. And they hung on to Anwar’s every word until midnight,” said the veteran journalist.

Entire families were there from grandmothers to children. When Anwar spoke, some of those at the back surged forward giving the impression that some of the tables at the back were half empty.

One of the main organisers was Chua Jui Meng, and the observers were impressed with his ability to draw in the people.

Mat Sabu was a big hit as was Sallahudin. Anwar himself spoke about high-level corruption and the privatization that has benefited cronies.

How does this large turnout translate to seats?

[Read the rest here.]

Monday, September 17, 2012

An Iranian nuclear engineer may hold the key to the planet's future...

Mehran Tavakoli Keshe is an Iranian nuclear engineer who has made some truly astounding breakthroughs in plasma drive systems that will completely revolutionize the technological landscape of our planet - once the massive resistance to Mr Keshe's utopian vision has been overcome.

Some have accused him of being a fraud, others question his scientific credentials - since he has taken pains to distance himself from scientific academicians who serve the existing power structure.

It is obvious, in any case, that the oil, gas and nuclear power industries view the work of the Keshe Foundation with fear and loathing, because widespread acceptance and use of his cutting-edge plasma reactor tech would make fossil fuels utterly obsolete - and inevitably liberate humankind from corporate bondage.

I am in no position to technically assess or review M.T. Keshe's pioneering work in plasma reactor tech. I can only go with my instincts; and my gut feeling is that the Keshe Foundation is very much part of the lineage of visionary scientists like Nikola Tesla whose work was sadly subsumed and neutralized by gross commercial interests with extremely myopic and petty concerns, mainly maximizing on quick profits for themselves and their shareholders, without any serious consideration for the fragile ecosystem or the ultimate well-being of all species.

Don't forget to sign the online petition urging the United Nations to override private interests for the public good.

Visit the Keshe Foundation website for more info.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

How To Cure Ourselves Of Terminal Mahathiritis (reprise)


A lifetime ago I worked in advertising and from that experience have learnt to avoid using meaningless words like "better" (except in reference to those who habitually place bets on everything). When an adman says "We've got a BETTER deal for you!" he rarely specifies better than whose deal. Similarly, the idea of "working towards a BETTER tomorrow" conveniently leaves it to your imagination as to what might constitute "a better tomorrow." Why not focus on being more contented and fulfilled TODAY? I mean, if you're cynical and grouchy now, what makes you think you'll feel otherwise next week?

I love living in this land called Malaysia and calling myself a Malaysian (especially when I'm abroad) - even though I know these are only ephemeral terms of reference. After all, when I was born there wasn't a "Malaysia" on any map. This country was called Malaya; and before that, in the time of Ptolemy, it was known as the Golden Khersonese. If you're into esoteric studies you might even regard this blessed and bountiful land as the westernmost outpost of a long-lost continent called Lemuria.

From the paleontological perspective, the Malayan Peninsula was once part of a gigantic mountain range, the lower parts of which became submerged at the end of the last glacial period, disconnecting it from neighboring peaks that now form the islands of the Malay Archipelego.

Contrary to Umno propaganda, Malaya wasn't named for the fictitious Malay race, but was inspired by the Tamil word for mountain, "malai." Interestingly, the Sanskrit name "Himalaya" comes from "hima" (snow) and "alaya" (abode) - but it could also mean "snowcapped mountains." In other words, the fact that my country of birth was once called Malaya doesn't actually mean it belongs to the Malays, whom the Orang Asli regard as pendatang or dagang (migrants or itinerant traders). Indeed, a thorough study of history reveals extensive Hindu and Buddhist influence when it was part of the Srivijaya - and later the Majapahit - empires.
The fictitious Malay race was supposed to have originated from Jambi, Sumatra, but you won't find any tribe called “Malay” there - although there is reportedly a river called Melayu that runs through a tiny village of the same name in the vicinity of Jambi.

A Singaporean friend once joked that the word "melayu" means "to flee or migrate" - suggesting that Sumatrans who fought tribal wars and lost had to flee across the Straits of Melaka and henceforth were called Melayu (fugitives or migrants). I have yet to find any confirmation for this. According to my tattered kamus (dictionary) "layu" means "to wither, droop, or dry up." So even if I were born Melayu, I'd prefer to be called Malaysian, fictitious though the name be (at least it has fewer negative connotations).

I remember once chatting with a couple of Filipinas whom I had earlier overheard yakking away in Tagaloq. The word malaya came up a couple of times, so I asked the girls what it means in their tongue. “Free,” one of them said. “Malaya means free in Tagaloq.” My ears perked up. “You mean free as in free gift... or free as in not owing the bank any money?” The girls laughed and said malaya means free as in having no master. Now that’s a very nice meaning of Malaya, I thought.

It’s quite possible that the Tamil word "malai" (mountain) became associated with the Tagaloq "malaya" (freedom) because lowlanders have traditionally been subject to institutionalized religion, government and taxation - whereas highlanders are usually safe from the grubby, grasping fingers of priests and princes, owing to the inaccessibility of their habitat. In any case, I’d be very happy to be called Malayan – a free spirit.

My point is: it really doesn't matter what fictitious name we choose to call ourselves. What truly matters is whether we feel a soul connection to the land we have chosen to call home. Because it is precisely how profoundly we love the land that separates true people from pestiliential lifeforms.

All indigenous peoples have a psychic and emotional bond with the land where their ancestors' bones are buried. They feel a powerful sense of belonging to the land - not so much a claim of "ownership" through legal or illegal means. 

Then there are those descended from piratic tribes who have yet to grow a real root wherever they roam in search of plunder - for they feel no spiritual affinity with the land and are only there as opportunists, to rape and steal and ultimately destroy. These are the ones who wouldn't think twice about clear-felling an entire mountain range just to build a few condos, or poisoning the waterways with their relentless search for precious metals.

For the descendants of pirates it's eat, drink and be merry - before we get caught and sent to the gallows. Can you imagine the scenario for disaster when descendants of pirates end up marrying indigenous princesses and elevating themselves to public office? With no real love for the land they see everything around them as a chance to enrich themselves - and so they behave like greedy caterpillars, gorging themselves off the fat of the land, and stopping short of metamorphosing into butterflies.

Being a pirate is a state of mind. You can be a scion of ancient "nobility" like the Bushes, Clintons and Rockefellers - and still fly the Skull & Bones. After all, traditional aristocracies were really just a bunch of brigands and buccaneers in fancy costumes. Those who fought well and brought back lots of booty for the local warlord were rewarded with parcels of land and titles and named Orang Kaya or Baron or Duke.

During the Mahathir era, the entire machinery of state propaganda was harnessed to indoctrinate the masses with a spurious notion of "development."  It was indeed a false glamor, a grand illusion of "success" copied & pasted from the pages of glossy lifestyle magazines.

What our Great Leader Dr M sold us was a false vision - a nicely giftwrapped Pandora's Box of environmental, social and moral problems. But it paid big fat commissions to his family and to his Umnoputera cronies; and it entrenched corporate piracy as a way of life.

So... what bright ideas can I contribute towards "a better Malaysia"? First of all, nothing will change "for the better" until Umno/BN is no longer in power.  If the new Pakatan Rakyat government is genuinely open to feedback, it will be our task to reassess our priorities and make our wishes known to them.  Do we desire to be truly happy, healthy, wealthy, and wise?  Or do we keep going for the Monopoly money and the glitter of fool's gold, enthralled by flickering neon signs and colorful festoons of flashing lights?

What the global financial meltdown offers us is an opportunity to wean ourselves off our addiction to crass consumerism. We can then redirect our attention to the mental and emotional aspects of our development, for so long neglected as we set our focus on the purely physical meaning of growth. We will as a nation regain a sense of perspective wherein we can once again feel a soul connection to the land, and learn to love what's natural and real and truly aligned with life.

A whole generation of unmitigated Malaysia-Bolehism has inflated the national ego to colossal proportions. Look at the phallic skyline of Kuala Lumpur and the gargantuan architecture of Putrajaya – it speaks volumes about a massive inferiority complex, a cultural cringe for which we have been overcompensating.

The Orang Asli have survived for millennia and can show us how to be humble. Our Mahathiritic attempt to “conquer” Mother Nature is like ludah ke langit (spitting at the sky). We end up with spittle in our own eye. Chief Minister Taib Mahmud, take note, and abandon your 13 dam projects in Sarawak. Inviting Chinese (or Tasmanian) contractors to rape the ecosystem isn’t such a clever thing to do – no matter how much money your family can skim off these environmentally disastrous projects. Remember, when earthquakes hit Szechuan, the Chinese had to evacuate millions of people downstream because dangerous cracks appeared in hundreds of large dams.

Abdullah Badawi recently made a big fuss over the upside-down Malaysian flag on Sheih Kickdefella’s blog and used that as an excuse to get the blogger arrested. The flag is only a symbol of the fictitious Malaysia. Why get worked up over mere symbols?

If you really love the land that supports and sustains you, you wouldn’t ever pollute the rivers or denude the mountains.

It’s very easy to mistake the map for the territory. You may destroy as many maps as you want – we can always make more accurate, more detailed ones – but don’t destroy the only thing that’s real, the land where your ancestors’ bones are buried.
"Progress might have been all right once, but it has gone on too long." ~ Ogden Nash
[First published 12 October 2008]