Friday, August 30, 2013

The phenomenal Alex Peters (Malaysia's Rock Machine) is still absolutely awesome after all these years!

Alex Lesley Peters was born in Sentul where his father worked with Malayan Railways (“like all dads in Sentul”), but grew up in the Cochrane Road area. By then, his father had moved to the Orang Asli Affairs Department.

At 12, Peters wanted to become a Catholic priest. At 14, after the household had engaged in tense debate, he began a two-year stay at the Gethsemane Friary in Cheras, from where he bused it to the Jalan Cochrane Secondary School in the neighborhood his family lived. During those two years, music filled the Peters home in a big way. Three older brothers, each on a musical journey of his own, shared a made-in-China Kapok brand acoustic guitar with Lion brand steel strings.

Then there was Alex, home only for holidays, the youngest and clamoring for his turn on the guitar because the music was surging inside him.

“There were four young men in the house, each into Santana, Hendrix, Deep Purple, Rolling Stones, Jethro Tull, Iron Butterfly, King Crimson. The strings popped a lot. Then my first public performance came along.”

It was a penalty thing: if you did not play a sport or join a school club, you had to do something for the annual concert. Alex Peters played the guitar, his head hung down, his eyes fixed on the stage floor throughout the performance. His teammate, equally petrified, sang John Denver’s 'Country Road.'

“We barely heard the words of the song. We were so scared. I was seized with fright."

By 17, Peters was seized with rock‘n’roll. Music had taken over his life. Priestly plans were cancelled. Staying at home, he joined his brother Matthew's band Mainstream, doing mostly soft rock at private events.

Then came the big moves. He told his mother he was going to fail his MCE, that he had decided to be a singer and needed a RM173 loan to invest in a real guitar. She had something of a fit.

“She gave me the money eventually. I was focused. I think she saw that. That was the turning point. I had decided what I wanted to do with my life. There was a definite plan, a clear path.”

A path from which Peters has not veered despite occasional, sometimes long, breaks from singing. From 1978 to 1982, he was part of a group – three separate line-ups of Stratosphere – as bandmates came and went. They played hard rock, soft rock, jazz rock, disco, country & western and reggae.

In 1983, he went solo and slowly purged country & western from his repertoire, turned up the sound and acquired a rock and reggae reputation.

It repelled the older regulars at Bangsar’s Moonraker pub who came in for 'Your Cheating Heart' and couldn’t fathom the pulse of a rocker.

Peters brought in a new generation, set a new trend and attracted a bona fide cult following. One group of diehard loyalists was there every night. They called themselves the Gravediggers – they were young, full of machismo and at an age when men like to give themselves mean-sounding names.

Late in 1984, the voice went away. Alex Peters, diagnosed with voice abuse (gross loss of larynx muscle elasticity) retreated for two years and used that time to learn the workings of new generation sound machines. Then he was back with a vengeance, bringing with him that big sound he is now famous for. He created a serious following at Treffpunkt in Petaling Jaya.

In 1988, he won the first Top of the Pubs contest, sweeping the crowd with a frenzied rendition (which people still talk about) of Herbie Hancock’s 'Rockit.' The contest, now an annual event, made Alex Peters a household name.

[Source: Sunday Style, 1 November 1998]

Sentul Soul-Brother
Alex Peters @
It's virtually impossible to write about Alex Peters - and do the man justice. Simply because his interests span a broad spectrum beyond his public persona as the most popular pub musician Malaysia has ever seen. 

As a musician, his mastery of virtually all musical modalities leaves one breathless with admiration. Ever the perfectionist, he has been known to work 16-hour days just getting his backing tracks right, constantly aiming for that magical blend of polished precision and raw passion.

Somewhat of a recluse and an introvert offstage, Alex Peters possesses a deep, mystical nature that lends him the aura of a scientist monk or medieval alchemist. As long as I've known him, he has walked a taut tightrope between priest and shaman, closet scholar and magus, saint and cynic (he also happens to pay avid attention to geopolitical shenanigans and NWO conspiracies)

I am astounded by his ability to deconstruct complex compositions and lovingly reconstruct them as minus-two backing tracks, adding his own personal flourishes with impeccable guitarwork and sinewy vocals. When I first witnessed Alex Peters the Rock Machine in action during the late 1980s - that was when he pioneered the art of accompanying himself on guitar with richly orchestrated, consummately produced pre-recorded bass & synth tracks - I realized that this guy had achieved my childhood dream of becoming a musical prodigy with an encyclopedic grasp of all music.

In my adolescent fantasies I would imagine myself as leader of a band so versatile that it could play just about anything on earth - whether the classics, popular hits, ethnic-fusion, avant-garde, progressive jazz or pure funk.  Well, Alex Peters had picked up my childhood dream and run off with it - as essentially the world's most versatile one-man band (although he occasionally enjoyed collaborating with other ace musicians like Allan Perera, Simon Justin Leo and Viji).

Whether he's simulating the DJ scratch effect on Herbie Hancock's 'Rockit' with his guitar on overdrive, or creating his own raga-style Indian-flavored anthem ('Higher') with an Open D tuning that approximates the sound of a sitar & tamboura being played together, Alex's instinct for the crowd-pleasing wow factor has always been unerring. He can even out-Santana Carlos on an electronically reconstituted samba... that's how masterful the man is as a musician.

His pitch-perfect voice (which he almost lost to acute laryngitis in 1984) covers a truly remarkable range which allows him to attempt anything from the tenderest ballads and the most soulful R&B to the toughest roughest metal numbers. To my mind Alex Peters has created a musical signature that's a miraculous blend of Michael Jackson, Prince, Stevie Wonder and Jesus Christ Superstar.

As we approach yet another Merdeka (Independence Day) with mixed and murky feelings about the abysmal state of affairs precipitated by what Wilhelm Reich aptly called the Higs - Hoodlums in government - my thoughts turn to all the things that make me proud of and optimistic about Malaysia, despite the shabby treatment some of our greatest talents have been shown. 

The way P. Ramlee was left in the lurch and ignored until long after his death (when his monumental talent was seized upon by officialdom, celebrated and canonized as a Malaysian icon)... the cold-blooded manner in which Sudirman was shunned when it became apparent that he was dying of AIDs... the indifference of our cultural bureaucrats to world-class musicians like the late great Paul Ponnudurai, who spent his last years performing in a Singapore pub... well, suddenly reconnecting (thanks to facebook) with a musical supergenius like Alex Peters - who has still so much more to offer - is verily a brilliant sunbeam breaking forth from behind an ominous dark cloud. So glad we made it to this point, my illustrious Sentul Soul-Brother!

30 August 2013

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Illustration by David Dees

AMERICA is today considered by many the only global superpower in terms of economic and military might. What led a former British colony, with an independent history of just over 200 years, to become “the most powerful nation on Earth” – even if some might view it as a “rogue” nation, feared and loathed by a staggering majority of human beings?

A quote from American Dream, Global Nightmare by Ziauddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn Davies (Icon Books, UK, 2004):

America’s efforts to rule the world and to see its own history as the destiny of all humanity are intrinsic to its mythology. Its lethal righteousness, its claim that its model of democracy is the only model, and the linking of democracy to free markets are all an integral part of its worldview. In other words, America has turned its mythology into pathology.

On planet Earth, the perception of POWER has long been confused with FORCE. All empires were founded at swordpoint, and ruled with an iron hand through sheer terror. Every empire has risen and fallen with the waxing and waning of the authority and might of a specific ruler or dynasty. Each empire has left a cultural and ideological legacy – first through the spread of a language, then through the spread of a religious belief system - and both of these factors inevitably influence the evolution of civilizations and cultures.

Constantine the Great (Gernot Keller)

From Sumeria to Babylon, and from Phoenicia and Egypt to Greece and, subsequently, Rome – the pattern of earthly power is clearly traceable as it migrates to ever greener pastures, in search of natural resources, more equable climates, and room to expand. With the decline of Egypt, Persia and Greece, Rome became the new center of the imperial drive. But even as its military influence began to fade, Roman law and Latin as a language of the ruling elite became firmly entrenched in Europe and Britain.

A few centuries down the line, the Roman eagle – symbol of the predator from on high – migrated across the Atlantic where it became the American eagle; and the indomitable legions of Roman centurions gave way to the efficient and portable killing machine called the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Marine Corps. The degree of destructivity has grown by quantum leaps – from stone-hurling catapults, arrows and spears, to smart missiles armed with nuclear warheads, and a criminally insane arsenal of biological, chemical, electromagnetic, psychological – even climatological - weapons in less than twenty centuries.

HAARP electromagnetic beam transmitter

THE LUNATIC DREAM of world domination has destroyed billions of lives and our dreams of universal peace and harmony - and brought us to the very brink of ecosystemic collapse. Where does it originate, this mad impulse to rule over all instead of oneself? This gross misunderstanding of the meaning of Mastery – which is authentic only when it takes the form of Self-Mastery, but becomes a travesty when the “master” acquires vampiric power through enslaving less aggressive individuals and other lifeforms. Some erroneously believe it is an intrinsic part of “human nature” – but what we label “human nature” is really just a set of inculcated beliefs, prejudices, and legally sanctioned behaviors genetically and socioculturally instilled in each new generation. In effect, what passes as “human nature” is simply a pre-programmed Operating System chromosomally installed in our biocomputers. As such, it is possible to customize, modify, or enable and disable specific functions once we learn the encoding language.

Whether you call it an aberration in the evolutionary impulse, or a defect in the genome of the species Homo sapiens, the impulse to dominate has certainly become a counter-survival program deeply embedded in the DNA of all territorial organisms. We see it clearly manifest in primate behavior, wherein the mark of an “alpha male” is invariably the length of its fangs, and the capacity and ferocity of its will to subjugate others. And yet these very qualities are held up as the unmistakable signs of “leadership potential” and political power has long been in the hands of those most unfit to rule, their genetics being the most acutely distorted by this violent and aberrant implant.

We call it an “implant” because it certainly was never part of the original blueprint of existence. How do we know this to be so? Simply by entering into the primordial consciousness encoded in our DNA and accessible through our own neurology. From that quintessential perspective, it is impossible to conceive of ever creating any evolutionary program that would ultimately bring about such an intense degree of pain, suffering, and sheer abuse upon one’s own progeny. In other words, the original blueprint of existence is purely Edenic – the quest for ever more intimate and expansive degrees of self-knowledge is always predicated on the pleasure principle – never pain! Whatever interrupted and disrupted the original evolutionary program planted the seed of criminality and miscreation within the primordial genetic thread – which is in itself immortal and indestructible, though highly mutable and thus susceptible to unwholesome modification and mutation.

"There were giants upon the earth in those days..."
Those who have read Zecharia Sitchin’s interpretation of the Sumerian cuneiform tablets conclude that it was indeed the Nibiruan ETs (the Anunnaki or Nefilim) who introduced this “master-slave” dominant-submissive polarity into the nascent human psyche when they manufactured the “Adama” in their Earth-based genetic laboratory. Sitchin’s calculations locate the beginning of Homo sapiens at approximately 240,000 years ago. However, paleoanthropologists have found hominid remains dating back at least a couple million years. In effect, there is no immutable data available that allows us to draw any exact conclusions as regards the origins of the present human species.

Nevertheless, we may safely assume that many counter-survival behaviors were deliberately “hardwired” into our neural circuitry – mainly to prevent us from eventually figuring out how the 3D Matrix works and thereby shortcircuiting the frequency fence that keeps our awareness hemmed in, and our bodies trapped within a prescribed set of limitations. Even the aging program is essentially just a built-in mechanism triggered by a preset endocrinal clock.

THE CONCEPT OF AMERICA itself is an ingenious marketing ploy packaged as an extreme form of “brand loyalty” wherein every child raised in the United States is methodically brainwashed into believing he or she lives in “the world’s greatest country.” This is why the typical American grows up totally insulated from any real understanding or knowledge of the world beyond the U.S.A. There is a huge gap between domestic propaganda about America being “the Land of the Free, and Home of the Brave” and America’s ignoble foreign policy - as implemented through covert CIA activities which destabilize and undermine independent local governments, while installing and propping up political stooges friendly to U.S. capital interests. This strategy of world domination through bribery and quiet coercion constitutes the thrust towards “globalization” – really an euphemism for economic and ideological colonization carried out through the clever manipulation of mass communications, thereby molding “public opinion” via the powerful tools of advertising and public relations.

Five hundred years ago, mastery of the high seas was the key to world domination. The British Empire was founded on the colorful maritime exploits of swashbuckling buccaneers who earned their knighthoods by plundering, pillaging, and planting flags in the ruling monarch’s name. By the second half of the 20th century, however, the key to world domination lay in mastery of the airwaves – control of the mass media, and thereby the power to manipulate perceptions on a global scale.

Photo: Richard Lund

This is where America came into its own in the battle for the hearts and minds of the human population. Through the Hollywood Dream Factory and slickly produced TV entertainment packages, America rose to pre-eminence as the world’s biggest purveyor of canned information. Children in far-flung former British colonies grew up watching American-made movies and television programs, and were painlessly indoctrinated into accepting the American cultural idiom as their own. The U.S.A. advertised its own crass, consumeristic brand of “democracy” as the superior way of life – wherein citizens could vote every four years for Tweedledum (Republican) or Tweedledee (Democrat), while choosing from a bewildering array of TV stations and a dazzling kaleidoscope of detergents and shampoos. The American Dream was sold to the whole world under the guise of globalization. America billed itself as the de facto leader of “the Free World” during the so-called Cold War years that marked the end of the Second World War and the beginning of the Third World War – a battle of belief systems, marketing strategies, and corporate propaganda waged by professional “spin doctors” on behalf of their clients, the ├╝ber-elite Old Boys’ Network that owns 99% of the banks and mass media.

HOWEVER, behind (and beyond) the Great American Marketing Machine – and way below the radar of public perception – lurks an insidious influence that has been called a variety of names, none of which comes anywhere close to describing the disease. Some conveniently label it Zionism, the Illuminati Conspiracy... or the Lucifer Effect, alluding to the allegory of how God’s most brilliant Archangel undertook the onerous task of establishing Free Will by leading a revolt in Heaven, thus creating a deep schism in the Universal Mind, splitting Energy itself into negative and positive poles.

This tragicomic dualism of the embattled and “divided self” generates perpetual conflict between our public and private personas, portrayed so memorably in Robert Louis Stevenson’s story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – or J.R.R. Tolkien’s Smeagol and Gollum. Indeed, it can be said that all drama emerges from the interplay of Light and Dark - from the animated shadows on the wall of Plato’s Cave to the buffalo-hide puppets of Javanese wayang kulit, Magic Lantern shows, and Dreamworks’ 3D digital imaging masterpieces.

When we are fast asleep, life is but a dream (alas, sometimes a hideous nightmare). In German, “dream” is rendered as Traum – just one letter short of Trauma. The tug-of-war between Good and Evil, Angel and Demon, Left and Right, Male and Female, Rich and Poor, Arab and Jew, ceases the moment we reconcile and reconnect our inner and outer selves – thereby redeeming and reinstating Lucifer as “The Light Bringer” to his Heavenly Throne - and rejoining the famous Siamese twins, Yin and Yang who, separated at birth, grew up erroneously believing themselves to be archrivals and sworn enemies.

[First published 17 January 2007. Extracted from an unpublished manuscript, THE (UNFINISHED) BOOK OF JOHN ~ Confessions of a former Christian fundamentalist]

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Chain of command: Sirul Azhar's statement recorded on 9 November 2006

Sirul Azhar Statement
Written by Our Correspondent   

Report No : 7380/06
Station : Travers
Name : Sirul Azhar bin Haji Umar
IC No : RF125591
Race : Malay
Date/Place of Birth : 29-1-1971
Age : 35 years male
Occupation : Police officer
Address of workplace : UTK, Bukit Aman
Name of father : Haji Omar bin Haji Hassan
Address of father : Deceased
Recording Officers : Insp Nom Phot a/l Prack Dit at Office D6, 3rd Floor, Bukit Aman on 9th November 2006 at 1307 afternoon.
On 19th (sic) November 2006 I was asked by the investigating officer K/ASP Tony Anak Lunggan to record the statement of a Malay inmate named Sirul Azhar Bin Haji Omar Kp RF 125591. The inmate was then brought to me and I ordered the release of his handcuffs.
I then interviewed the inmate who appeared to be proficient in Malay. I also found the inmate in good health. I then read out the warning under Section 113(1)(a)(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code to the inmate as follows ;-
S. Do you understand the warning that has been read and explained to you?
J. Yes I understand.
S. Do you have any questions about the warning?
J. No.
S. Do you want to give a statement?
J. Yes I want to give a statement.
S. What do you want to tell me?
J. As a member of the Special Action Unit (UTK) on an undetermined date 5 or 6 days before the incident on 19thOctober 2006 while I was in my office I received a telephone call from Tuan Azilah (Azilah) the officer above me requesting that I meet him in Central market. I could not meet him at the time because I was together with Tuan Khairy as his driver.
At that time, I was driving Tuan Khairy to deliver hampers in Selayanga and Batu Caves. On my way to there roughly after 12 noon I received another call from Azilah who asked me where I was and I told Azilah I may be late coming back as I was assisting an officer and I replied I would call him back after completing my duties.
At around 3.00pm, after dropping off the officer at the office in Bukit Aman, Azilah telephoned me again and told me to meet him in Central Market.
At about 3.15pm I met Azilah at Central Market. He instructed me to observe Malaya Hotel where the woman who was disturbing the businessman [sic] stayed. Azilah also informed me there were three women staying in a room on the 8th floor, the number of which I am unable to recollect.
After that I went together with Azilah in my car, a Satria bearing registration number WEA 4717 to look for Malaya Hotel. On the way there, Azilah talked about a reward of between RM50,000 and RM100,000 if the case was settled. Azilah and I however failed to locate the hotel after circling the area many times.
After failing to locate the hotel, Azilah and I returned to Central Market and while we were there, Azilah asked an artist at Central Market for directions to Malaya Hotel.
The artist, who was Malay, drew a plan of the location of Malaya Hotel .
After that Azilah and I walked towards Malaya Hotel. We reached Malaya Hotel at 4.00pm.
When we arrived at Malaya Hotel, Azilah invited me to go to the 8th floor of the hotel. After we reached the 8th floor Azilah showed me the room that was occupied by the woman who was disturbing Razak.
While on the 8th floor, Azilah asked me to "shoot to kill" all three women in the hotel room and asked that I stay in any one of the rooms on the 8th or 7th floor or any other floor with all lodging expenses borne by Azilah.
I informed Azilah that I would not be able to do it because of the presence of CCTV (closed circuit television cameras).

[Read the full statement here.]