Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Post GE13 Reform Agenda: in search of a win-win scenario (repost)

Repealing all draconian laws and returning state institutions back to the rakyat

Posted on October 23, 2011 by 

Najib, UMNO and BN will not do this.
We need a new non-BN government post the 13th GE to do this.
Repeal the ISA, the OSA, the PPPA, the UUCA, the Sedition Act.
All the laws that we’ve been asking to have taken off our statute books and from around our necks for so, so long.
Return the judiciary back to us.
The AG’s office.
Election Commission.
And every other institution that ought to be protecting the interests of the rakyat, not UMNO and BN.
And to do all of this early on in their term of administration at Putrajaya.
[Read the rest here.]
Hercules flushing out the Augean
stables and fertilizing the land
I posted a comment to the above which warrants reproduction here, as I've long pondered how any new administration can best approach the Herculean task of cleaning up the Augean stables of moral filth and bureaucratic incompetence left behind by 54 uninterrupted years of Umno/BN mismanagement...
It may not be premature to contemplate an alternative scenario to what RARA proposes. Imagine you're a young Penan asked to choose between two developmental packages. The first involves clearing the forest and urbanizing your ancestral lands (so you and your kids can enjoy better schools and medical care); however, there will be no turning back, your way of life will be destroyed and your children will be forced into the rat race...
If you were a young Penan, would you trade this natural splendor for a Carrefour and a few 7-Elevens?
The second leverages on technological advances such as free (or affordable) helicopter and hovercraft services that bypass the necessity to build destructive highways through the rainforest ecosystem; and broadband internet access via satellite that provides access to the modern world, without destroying the serenity and majestic beauty of your natural environment; plus the benefit of cross-cultural volunteer programs wherein enthusiastic young professionals from all over the world can live amongst the Penan for a while, and impart various skills while documenting their traditional knowledge and wisdom - thereby creating a win-win scenario between traditional and modern cultures.
Let's say Pakatan Rakyat is now the federal government. For sure, oppressive laws must go pronto. The Umno Polis have, for too long, abused archaic laws like the ISA, OSA, Sedition Act, UUCA, PP&PA and the Police Act that outlaws public assembly without permits to browbeat, harass and thwart all political dissent. Twice, PDRM have used the 19th century laws against oral and anal sex to neutralize Anwar Ibrahim as a threat to their deadly stranglehold on power. What does it take, a parliamentary majority? The Agong's assent? 
However, overhauling corrupt and complacent agencies and institutions involves human beings and requires a lot of lateral thinking. Allow me to toss a few scenarios in the air for further contemplation, discussion and elaboration...
PDRM: do we really need such an unwieldy force? Quality over quantity is best, so we sack a few hundred irredeemable senior officers (Khalid Abu Bakar and Wan Bari will top the list, I'm sure) and streamline the police force to one-quarter of its present size. Those that remain in uniform will be given salary increases and refresher courses in how to serve and protect the public; while those who opt for re-education will continue to receive wages for at least 3 years while the new administration sponsors their acquisition of new skills in any field of endeavor or assists them to launch their own modest enterprises - whether it's opening a warung in their kampung, becoming a pasar malam trader, or studying a foreign language and upgrading their personal resumes. Some (particularly retrenched Special Branch officers) may opt to offer courses on self-defence and investigation skills to the public - so that the public will learn to look after themselves instead of relying on outside help to solve minor dramas like petty misdemeanors in the neighborhood.
MACC: assuming new brooms sweep cleaner and the new administration is far cleaner than its predecessor, we won't require an "anti-corruption" agency, as such. By abolishing the OSA and protecting, and even rewarding whistleblowers, every institution would have a built-in mechanism by which it can regulate itself and ensure minimal transgressions and infractions. Those currently employed by the MACC will probably have to be "disinfected" before being released to rejoin the community-at-large. Once cleansed of BTN contamination, these personnel can be offered jobs in any other government department - or opt to go on state-sponsored further studies.
EC: do we really need a massive organization to conduct polls? With existing digital tech it's feasible that public referendums and elections can be digitized. Every citizen that turns 18 becomes eligible to vote and can cast a vote from home, or from a cybercafe, or via the mobile voting service that may be necessary pending nationwide access to the internet. Electoral fraud can be easily prevented using available security software akin to what online banking entails (voter IDs, passwords, captcha, IP tracking, and so on). Election Commission top brass will be assigned to 6 months coaching by prominent comedy troupes like the Instant Cafe Theatre, Comedy Court or the Malaysian Association of Chinese Comedians - and then given their own TV sitcom series. If they refuse to cooperate, they face the prospect of 10-year exiles on the moon or the ocean depths.
As for the Attorney-General's office.... well, everyone serving the present BN regime will have to be retrenched, of course, as unusable bent nails - along with the entire top ranks of the judiciary. Once we have somebody straight and honorable appointed to the offices of AG and CJ, the overhaul can proceed with relative ease and minimal pain to all concerned.
Without the protection of Umno, the 9 rulers will quickly realize their fate lies in their own hands. If they wish to be acknowledged, respected and supported as symbolic monarchs, they have no choice but to discipline themselves, rein in their excesses, reassess their own track record - and resolve to serve as the conscience and spiritual cores of their respective states. 
Failing which, even Ibrahim Ali cannot save their skins. Their crowns and jewels can be placed in a public museum for posterity to gawk at and shake their heads in disbelief; their toy cars can be auctioned off; their palaces converted to boutique hotels like Carcosa.

[First posted 23 October 2011, then reposted 27 March 2014]

Monday, June 30, 2014

Why Robber Barons Love Building Dams... (repost)

The accursed Bakun Dam (brainchild of Mahathir and Daim) is doomed to fail.

Imagine we’re gathered in some holy place. An architectural wonder. Like St Paul’s Cathedral in Rome or the St Sophia Mosque in Instanbul. Or perhaps the Gateway of the Sun in Peru or the Giza Pyramid Complex in Egypt. And we’re here to knock this whole place down and build a megamall right here because it would make better economic sense.

Let's have Wal-Mart and McDonald's at this popular tourist location.

Imagine the tremendous outcry against such an outrage. We’re talking about demolishing a cultural and spiritual artifact – a monument to a whole religious tradition. We’re talking about trading in our prophets for profits. Absolutely unthinkable, right?

Now: imagine you’re living in a small house you built yourself, beside a clear stream in a beautiful, forested river valley. Your ancestors have lived here for a hundred generations. According to your folklore, the landscape is the living flesh of divine progenitors whose essence condensed to form familiar features - like the mountains, the rivers, the rocks and the trees - and who are integral aspects of a Great Spirit inhabiting all forms, a unity in astonishing diversity. To you, the fact that the land is sacred – endowed with meaning, significance, and intrinsic spiritual value – is so obvious, no one needs to put it into words.

Imagine we’re here to log this magnificent forest, blow up the hills, dig up the rocks, turn a green sanctuary into a giant construction site, seriously pollute the water basin, cause massive erosion in a water catchment area, and dam up one of the few remaining free-flowing rivers in the country. Why? Because economic growth demands greater water consumption - and water supply is a growth industry. And because we have been grossly insensitive in the way we use and manage our water resources.

Sungai Luit by Doreen Ong


We are born into cultural perspectives that become imperceptible to us - until we find ourselves outside of them. Like fish that never wonder what water is, we grow up with assumptions about reality we rarely question. For instance, we rarely question the need for governments... or armies... or landlords... or caste systems (whether hereditary or monetary).

When we hear the word “development” we assume we know what it means. We experience the flow of time as linear, just as the world looks flat to a lowlander. When conversing with people from a different cultural and linguistic background, we assume they aren’t as clever as ourselves – because they’re not very fluent in our language.

When urbanites encounter country folk, they unconsciously assume an air of superiority. Surely our sophisticated way of life is far better than theirs! Surely they’re better off becoming more like us (no way they could ever become just like us, of course, since we have too far a headstart on them!)

Civilization creates art, it’s true, but art creates artifice and artificiality. Industrial man sees the wilderness as a vast resource that can be converted into private wealth. Recklessly, ruthlessly, we go about building our national aspirations by tearing down our natural heritage.

Morally, this is no different than a cannibal eyeing an infant as a delicious and convenient source of protein. The wilderness, like a baby, has only beauty and innocence as its defences. When Darwinian notions of “survival of the fittest” form the basis of modern society, the total extermination of entire species becomes justified in terms of Them or Us.


Unfortunately, some of us don’t truly appreciate anything until it’s gone forever. Hardwoods can be converted into hard cash. Ignorant savages can be converted into consumers, taxpayers, mindless believers, obedient slaves of the System.

Filthy heathens have no souls and feel no pain - unlike us civilized God-fearing folks.

Some of us have tried to warn the others about the folly of such shortsighted behavior – and the dangerous consequences lurking ahead. For the most part we have been ignored.

The Earth fights back by getting feverish. When her flesh is torn apart by man’s rapacious machines, she shudders and quakes and sweats profusely, releasing a deluge of mysterious plagues upon us.

The Earth coughs and we realize we're living on the back of a gigantic whale.

At the fountain of knowledge, we drank too thirstily, only to become drunk with a false sense of power. We thought we could manipulate the masses with fear and greed. But the fear and greed enslaved us instead. Now we find ourselves powerless to alter our destructive course. We’re on the fast track and can’t stop the mindless runaway train of economic growth. Our materialistic definition of growth has limited us to the physical world, and excluded us from the limitless realm of the metaphysical. This growth has now taken on the form of a cancer that is about to kill us all – unless we redirect our attention to growth in mental and spiritual terms.

Cash crops bring fast bucks - and fast bucks is what drives "progress."

For a start, we can apologize for the hideous damage we have inflicted on the wilderness and indigenous ways of life. Then we could focus our efforts on helping the wounds heal. Only in a quest for renewed wholeness can we find our collective way home. And only through the heart can we know the universal love that redeems tragedy and transforms it into a higher truth.

Damnation is the fate of those who would turn the Earth into a living hell where everything is measured in terms of buy and sell. Our salvation can only come from regaining our lost innocence and restoring the beauty of our wildernesses.

We don’t really have a choice: win-win or lose-lose are the only options left.

Written in June 2001 in response to the Selangor Dam project; but still topical in view of all the destructive dams currently under construction, or under consideration. First posted 3 November 2009]

Paean to the Pleiades by Enra

Published on 27 Dec 2013

Performamce & Choreography :Saya Watatani , Maki Yokoyama
Director : Nobuyuki Hanabusa
Animator : Seiya Ishii , Nobuyuki Hanabusa
Music : Nobuyuki Hanabusa

Published on 13 May 2014

Director: Nobuyuki Hanabusa, Yusaku Mochizuki
Performer: Yusaku Mochizuki
Animator: Minoru Kusakabe, Nobuyuki Hanabusa
Music: Nobuyuki Hanabusa, Yusaku Mochizuki

Live at the Oxford Union Debating Society ~ The Man England Used To laugh At

[Brought to my attention by Hock Soh]

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Divide-and-Rule ~ It's All About the $$$ (another timely repost!)

Believe it or not, I sat through the entire 2-hour recording of this forum convened by Hindraf and the KL Chinese Assembly Hall Civil Rights Committee. It's taken us more than 42 years since 13 May 1969 to arrive at a point where the once-taboo topic of institutionalized racial inequality as embodied in Article 153 of the Malaysian Constitution can be publicly discussed. Most certainly an important step in the right direction!

Public Forum on Institutionalized Racism in Malaysia
by HINDRAF and KL Chinese Assembly Hall Civil Rights Committee

Forum venue: Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, KL
Date: 17 January 2012 at 7.30 pm.

The speakers were:
1) Mr N. Ganesan - National Advisor to Hindraf

2) Dr Kua Kia Soong - Director of Suaram

3) Assoc. Prof. Dr Azmi Sharom - Law Lecturer and Activist

Chaired by: Dr Lim Teck Ghee - Director, Centre for Policy Initiatives

Malaysia is plagued by a subtle, pervasive and increasingly aggressive form of racism. What started as a defensive affirmative action program has now degeneratied into an aggressive form of institutionalized racism. This is sapping the potential of Malaysian society. The future on this trajectory is disastrous for all Malaysians. It will bring ruin to all of us.

The political, legal and administrative structures of our country - the anchors and sources of this institutionalization need to be fundamentally revamped. For this to happen, the public view of what is truly happening must become sharper. This is not an easy task - given the resources at hand for the beneficiaries of this racist system.

Public opinion must first be aligned with this developing reality, before any change can happen.

This video was presented by the Green Party of Malaysia.

[First posted 22 January 2012]