On racial tensions…

Extracted from AFP… I will let the article speak for itself…

Malaysian Indian Protests Open NEW Racial Faultline

by

Sarah Stewart,
Agence France-Presse (AFP
)

Unprecedented street protests by ethnic Indians have opened up a new faultline in Malaysia’s tense race relations, posing a major problem for the government as it faces elections, analysts said today.

Political observers in the multicultural nation, where minority Indians and ethnic Chinese live alongside the dominant Malay Muslim community, said the ugly scenes at Sunday’s rally represented a new era of racial activism.

It is quite clear we will have an emboldened community willing to fight for their rights. It’s almost a renaissance or a rebirth,” said leading commentator Charles Santiago.

The young Indian population out there especially see discrimination on a daily basis …For a lot of them, they feel they have NOTHING TO LOSE.”

At least 8,000 protesters including women and young people massed near Kuala Lumpur’s iconic Petronas Towers – meeting stiff resistance from police who beat them with batons and unleashed gas and chemical-laced water.

The rally was officially in support of a multi-trillion dollar lawsuit accusing former colonial ruler Britain of being at the root of Indians’ economic problems by bringing their ancestors here as indentured labourers in the 1800s.

Temple demolitions

But it was more squarely aimed at the ruling UMNO , which stands for Malay interests and has ruled the nation since independence a half-century ago.

While Malays control the political scene and the Chinese population is dominant in business, Indians complain they run a distant third in terms of wealth, education and opportunities.

Analysts said that although they had long been a silent minority, many ethnic Indians have become radicalised by the increasing “Islamisation” of Malaysia, which minorities see as undermining their rights.

The destruction of hundreds of Hindu temples in recent years, sometimes with bulldozers moving in even as devotees were praying, has also caused intense anger.

The Indians have become alienated and that has basically transformed the nature of resistance,” said political analyst P Ramasamy, noting that ethnic Indian professionals were well represented at the protest.

The character of struggle has changed. It has taken on a Hindu form – Hinduism versus Islam. And this is something that should not have taken place in a multi-racial society.”

Ramasamy said he was certain there would be more protests, raising the spectre of serious racial violence – not seen since 1969 and something all sides on Malaysia’s political scene are desperate to avoid.

The protests, which come shortly after another mass rally calling for election reforms, are a major headache for the government, which had been expected to call elections early next year.

Ample support

Umno rules in a coalition with race-based parties including the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), which has been under fire for its handling of the crisis.

I think it’s very clear the MIC cannot speak on behalf of the Indian community any more,” Ramasamy said. “Elections are around the corner and whether their majority will be reduced we will see.”

Ordinary Malaysian Indians interviewed Monday defended the protests saying they were forced onto the streets by a government which had ignored their grievances for decades.

I think its a stepping stone for a better future, although change may not come overnight,” communications executive Thavamalar Muniandy told AFP in the capital’s ethnic Indian Brickfields district.

In my opinion the protest achieved its objective – we got the world to focus on us and the government can no longer ignore our concerns,” said 24-year-old law student Sivamalar Ganapathy.

A retiree who gave his name as Subramanian said that since the 1960s conflict, which pitted Chinese against Malays fearful of marginalisation, the nation had focused too much on elevating majority Muslims.

Sadly, we were often neglected in the process of development and side-tracked,” he said.

I’m sad to see that even after 50 years of independence we have to resort to such measures to express our dissatisfaction in a civilised country.”

– AFP

Hoping that a repeat of the 13th May incident is NOT coming our way – Jasmine.

On marching for our rights…

Yet another demonstration, the second in as many weeks for Malaysians living in Kuala Lumpur. Yet another ‘comprehensive’ coverage by Al-Jazeera, CNN and BBC, of our ‘tolerance’ and heavy-handed police presence. Yet another group of disenchanted and disenfranchised people, voicing their anger at being marginalized and capitalized upon…

This time it was the Indians, who claim to have come here in search of the Malayan dream, if there was ever such a thing…

Just to remind the people who claim to run this henhouse of a country, the rakyat are unhappy…

After the call for clean elections, better rights and opportunities for the ethnic Indian minority and what-nots, there WILL be other demonstrations, whether the authorities like it or not. It might or might not matter what the cause is, people will support it, if only to voice their dissatisfaction with the government. Stopping people from coming into the city will only aggravate the situation… Don’t make it any worse than it should be. Keep away those water cannons and tear gas canisters, and save them for the real threats, instead of harmless protesters.

Let us forget that the HINDRAF rally was purpotedly organized by Mahathir’s supporters. Let us forget the fact that they were only fighting for the rights of underpriviliged Indians, while its common knowledge that the underprivileged in this country can be found in every state, regardless of ethnicity. Let us also forget the fact that the organizers were suing the British government for a gazillion bucks…

The argument here is, people must be allowed to express their dissatisfaction or otherwise, regardless of their political or religious bias. The government went to incredulous lengths to stop these gatherings, as long as they’re not being organized by BN. How is that democracy? UMNO Youth were allowed to protest when Condoleezza Rice was here sometime ago…

Why the double standards for BERSIH and HINDRAF? Lets just pray and hope that other ’causes’ in Malaysia get their due demonstrations. It would not matter if it was a ‘Coalition for Cleaner Wet-Markets’ led by old ladies. keep your fingers crossed that the FRU doesn’t drop by with the water trucks, or not the makciks will get a good chemical shower for free!

Keep on demonstrating, fellow Malaysians. Perhaps when the roar of the rakyat is loud enough, the government will wake up and see that we will not stand for this injustice any longer – Jasmine.

On old friends…

Spent the last weekend, in the company of friends old and new… It was to say the least, incredibly enlightening. To be pleasantly surprised that we’ve all changed and matured into relatively well-adjusted individuals. We spent most of Saturday night dining al-fresco, under the stars and a light breeze blowing… We talked and laughed and joked, as if there was never a gap in the time we spent together. Older and wiser certainly, but with the same good graces and humor… What more could I ask for?

Nothing like good food and good company to make you feel better, eh?

There was several old friends, whom we haven’t seen in over 3 years, with a refreshing new outlook on life. There were several newer good friends too, and it was interesting to watch the old meld into new…

Inspired by the weekend’s success, I sought out to reconnect with friends from an even older ‘collection’, those friends from school. With neo-modern tools such as Friendster and Facebook, I had no excuse not to have kept in touch with these people. After all, we spent our formative years together, nevermind the fact I spent most of it scheming how to escape from school…

Investing about ten minutes of my time, I found about half a dozen people from those days, most of whom I no longer keep in touch with… I was never really a social butterfly to begin with, and pretty much kept to myself in those schooling days, but it warmed the cockles of my heart to see their pictures again, and to know what’s happening in their lives…

I do feel apprehensive though, when crunch time came, and the question of whether to ‘add to list of friends’ popped up. It occured to me, there must be a reason for them to be avoiding me all this while (even if they’re only avoiding me in my over-active imagination). If it took me mere minutes to track them down, wouldn’t they have been able to do the same? Would they accept my request to reconnect?

My over-analyzing mind decided that, maybe they really are avoiding me… I wonder what I did to make it so.

The little voice of reason in my head then chided me, “No lah, people just fall out of touch over time…” I’m waiting with bated breath on the results of my requests, and hope that they don’t turn me down… Rejection smacks too much of school days, when I was pretty much a wallflower because I didn’t want to be told that they don’t want to be my friend. I always thought I was a bit of a freak, and as a result didn’t talk to people much…

To those friends, wherever you may be, I wish you well and hope you’ve had and will have a good life. Even if its just by selling refrigerators to Eskimos… My deepest and most heartfelt apology, if I had offended you in any way, or taken advantage of our friendship… I also apologize, if I had knowingly or unknowingly judged upon your choices – may it be in relationships and life choices, to something as simple as what to have in McDonalds… My faults are entirely my own, and by knowing each and everyone of you, my life has been enriched beyond measure…

My missive today is dedicated to Julia, a good friend I had when I was in school. Perhaps we bonded because we were each in our way, a little ‘different’ from the other girls then… Congratulations on your upcoming wedding to Taufik, welcome home and may you have a fulfilling and happy life together…

Looking forward to making contact again, with the people who have made me into what I am today – Jasmine.

On weekend plans and street demonstrations…

It’s Friday today, after a long and slow week grinding along at snail’s pace, most working folks would be looking forward to the coming weekend. Usually for me, weekends are spent catching up on quality time with friends and family – it could be movies, a spot of shopping or a shared meal together. Weekends are also a good time to check out inane things such as the new mall in town, or even just to trawl Petaling Street for a good rip-off designer handbag…

This weekend, as GSC Pavillion is offering free movie tickets, I was planning to catch my usual dose of celluloid without spending too much. The opportunity seemed too good to miss – new cineplex, new shopping complex, good food at shopping complex. It would only make sense for me to seize the opportunity, and be typically kiasu, and print out as many of the coupons that I can, and drag as many family and friends as I can…

There is a damper on my ‘el-cheapo’ weekend plans however, as there is going to be yet another street demonstration this Sunday, smack in the heart of KL. For those of you interested in defending the rights of the minority Indians in Malaysia, come to the British High Commission on Sunday morning dressed in orange. Just in case you didn’t know what the cause is all about, HINDRAF or Hindu Rights Action Force is suing the British Government to the tune of US$4trillion (RM13.5trillion), or US$1million (RM3.4million) for every Indian in Malaysia, filed at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. Simply put, HINDRAF is claiming that the Brits are responsible for the lurch the Indians are in, especially here in Malaysia.

If you’re going to the demonstrations, please keep these simple tips in mind :

1. Take public transport to the venue, preferably LRT or PUTRA. It will be almost impossible to enter the city by driving, as the police want to minimize the number of protesters. Not to mention its going to be hellish to park, right?

2. Keep your handphone, wallet and documents in a Ziplock bag, just in case it rains or you get a ‘free shower’ from FRU.

3. Carry a bottle of clean water and some clean clothes packed in Ziplock bags, just in case they use the water cannon again on the protesters. The water ain’t just H2O, its laced with nasty chemicals, and could cause permanent damage if you don’t wash it out of your eyes, and it really stings the skin. Oh ya, forgot to mention there’s also a flourescent marker that reacts to UV light in it, so if they find you later at night at those endless roadblocks, they can make life difficult for you….

4. Finally, do not forget to document the whole experience, either by still or video camera. If the authorities confiscate your device of choice, don’t forget to remove the memory card before handing it over 😛 . It’ll make great bedtime stories for your grandchildren when you’re old, to say you were actually, part of a revolution, no matter how small your part…

For those of you who are not as interested to participate in such street demonstrations, dire warnings of massive traffic snarls especially when entering the city are already in place.  Roads that are predicted to be affected are Jalan Ampang, Jalan Tun Razak, Salak Selatan, not forgetting massive roadblocks at the Sungai Besi Toll Plaza, Jalan Kuching, Jalan Gombak, Karak Toll Plaza, Brickfields and surrounding areas, Federal Highway, Middle Ring Road II, LDP and Jalan Duta Toll Plaza.

Sharing is caring guys, so spread the news!

Personally, I suppose we’d have to see how our plans will change this Sunday. I will most likely not demonstrate with the HINDRAF fellas, as it really isn’t a cause that I feel I should be part of. I’m also especially worried about how demonstraters will be treated, as there are whispers that the authorities will not hesitate to use force this time. I’m all for peaceful gatherings, but getting kicked and pummeled isn’t really my thing…

As much as we like to think that all is fine and dandy, it cannot be denied that changes are afoot, and whether we like it or not, we are being swept away with it. Even if it only means that your weekend plans are down the drain…

Hoping that the traffic isn’t THAT bad… and waiting gleefully for our politicians to bumble along and make up stories about the demonstration, AND be shown on Al-Jazeera. That should be priceless entertainment… – Jasmine.

On too much of a good thing…

I’m a little at lost for words right now… I can’t even begin to describe this one… Let me begin by giving you three premises, each in their own right, perfectly and ordinarily something one would advocate…

1. Recycling is a good habit.

2. Using condoms is a good habit.

3. One should be innovative and creative when starting a business, or creating consumer goods. Even better if it promotes environmental health.

OK, now that we’ve gotten that straightened out, you gotta wonder how the Chinese got it SO wrong… For some background info, click here and here.

So, how now brown cow? Something as innocently innocuous as hair bands can now potentially give you, at best an STD or at worst, AIDS! For a bargain-sucker like me, this is indeed a disturbing turn of events. I would always choose the cheaper between the two, when presented with equally compelling buys… I just have to keep in mind that it could be recycled God-knows-what, the next time I’m out shopping.

Now, if the prospect of accidentally ingesting a perfect stranger’s bodily fluids scares the bejesus out of you, keep in mind that these days, el-cheapo products from China flood the market the world over, including our own backyard. The next time you’re thinking about buying those cheap hairbands at the ‘pasar malam’, think twice – you never know where that piece of rubber has been. 😛

Thanking the heavens above for the fact that my hair is now pixie short, and can’t be tied back with recycled condoms – Jasmine.

On the ones we love…

Been giving this topic a little thought lately, as I’ve been working my bum off, in more ways than one to keep the people I love in my life, relatively happy and content. I do what I can, for both myself and my loved ones around me, to keep us living in a decent level of comfort. Of course, those that know me will say I do not have to provide for very many mouths, therefore what I earn should be enough, right?

Work lately, has been particularly challenging. My not-so-recent promotion saw a slight increment in pay, but a huge increase on workload, travel and responsibilities. I wonder if the extra hours and headache is worth the extra cents. Of course, I do live slightly more comfortably than before, but I haven’t been really living like a pauper either. Have my own home and car, and our lifestyle could be said to be better than average. The thing that bugs me the most is, in the household, I am the sole constant earner. What my significant other earns vary from month to month, depending on the availability of opportunities. Such is the nature of a freelancing IT fella, isn’t it?

With the current rate of ‘real life’ inflation, what I earn now, although quite substantial, is just ‘ngam ngam’ to maintain our current lifestyle. It would have been possible, perhaps 5 years ago, to be able to live and have extra left over from this pay. What I mean by ‘real life’ inflation is the effect of increasing fuel and toll costs, higher cost for basic necessities such as power and water and consumer goods, and the ever escalating cost of eating out.

Thus, brings me to the topic of the day… (Please forgive the long background rambling :P) To what lengths does one go to, for a loved one? And to what lengths would your loved ones go for you?

I suppose I feel a little resentment towards my significant other, who has infinite flexi-hours. I barely get enough sleep and rest, and I’m forever rushing to meet deadlines… All for the privilege of being barely broke at the end of the month. It’s a constantly thorny issue in our relationship, that I feel I work harder than he does. I repeat, I FEEL that I work harder. It is not a contention whether I do or not… It’s just my perception… The question of the day then, how much sacrifice does one make, to keep your significant other comfortable, and happy?

I trawled around on the net, looking for the ever trashy and kitschy articles on “How To Tell If He REALLY Loves You!”… the results of my research were dismal. Most articles concerned new couples, in the courting stage. There didn’t seem to be any dedicated to couples that have went beyond the initial screwing phase, and moved onto the ‘plateau’ stage of relationships… So, dedicated to those people who have passed the initial lovey-dovey stage, and are now braving the REAL challenges of a relationship – living together, listening to him / her snore while trying to catch 4 hours of sleep before an important presentation, splitting bills and meals, picking up after dirty underwear, washing up after piled up dishes, taking out the trash, and arguing about who walks the dog today…

Give yourself one point for each of the following you answer YES to…

1. He / She starts and ends the day with a kiss, and an ‘I-love-you’ equivalent.

2. He / She picks up after himself or herself – glasses and tapau packets… Extra point if they bring the laundry down!

3. He / She lets you pick the restaurant or venue for meals.

4. He / She fills up the petrol after taking the car out. Extra point if he reloads your Touch & Go card as well!

5. He / She brings you a drink / snack / meal without you asking. Extra point if its after making love…

6. He / She calls or IMs you during the day, just to ask how you are…

7. He / She doesn’t avoid your friends, but does give you room to go out and have fun with them… Extra point if he doesn’t mind not tagging along sometimes!

8. He / She learns to appreciate your interests and concerns.

9. He / She doesn’t mind spending time with YOUR parents – dinner, or taking them out, or picking them up from somewhere. Extra point if he / she takes your mum to Tesco!

10. He / She gives you more space on the bed…

BONUS – Two points extra if he lets you pick the Channel on Astro, and lets you keep the remote control. Especially if its navigating away from E! Channel or DRT…

Now, if you score below 3, don’t despair… There’s still hope. After all, these are the things that matter to me personally. Perhaps you put priority on other criteria like how cute he / she is, how much they earn, or how good they are in bed…

If you score between 3 and 7, your significant other DOES love you, but they’re just retaining a little bit of selfishness. Don’t write them off just yet… It might work out after all… Relationships do require a bit of work, after all…

If your score is beyond 8, then he might just be the one for you… After all, when you’re planning to spend the rest of your life with the same bloke, it WILL matter whether he keeps his end of the bargain in the chores department. He must also be considerate to you, at all times… Some selfishness is allowed… He / she is after all, a human being (Does not apply if your significant other is not human :P)

These are my personal thoughts, and no one else’s… There is no scientific basis whatsoever in the test… It’s just based on my relationship, that’s fast approaching a decade, most of which were spent in cohabitation. He’s pretty much seen everything, and I’ve just about thrown every possible kind of tantrum known to man, and he STILL claims to love me…

Putting into words what I deem to be the markers for true love has made me realize, that perhaps I have indeed been lucky, to find someone who loves me utterly and unconditionally, with all my faults and follies… Good luck to you, my dear readers, in finding the love of your life…

Looking forward to going home, after a hard day’s work, into the arms of the man I love – Jasmine.

On the Malaysian dilemma…

Our Dilemma!

Get Vietnamese workers, dogs goes missing.

Get Bangladeshi workers, Malay girls maybe missing.

Get Indonesian maid workers, she may go missing.

Get Indian workers, jewellery often missing.

Get Chinese women workers, wife bising husband missing.

Call the police, the evidence are missing,

Call the lawyers, the judge went missing.

Call the ministry of transport, the reports will be missing.

Call Putrajaya, The PM IS SNORING!!

ps – Sort of reminds me of the ‘It’s raining, it’s pouring, someone upstairs is snoring… ‘ kiddy-song I used to sing…