Approaching the end. Then what? (Farewell Karpal)

IMG_734848 hours ago, I began to write my post about my experiences watching the movie The Grand Budapest Hotel. I was writing in the middle of the night again, my forbidden, yet ironically my most productive hours when I stopped, saved the draft at around 0100 and went to sleep.

As I woke up in the morning, my phone was flashing about DAP’s Karpal Singh’s -the Tiger Of Jelutong- death. He was killed in an accident on the PLUS highway near Gua Tempurung, Ipoh in a well known accident-prone area.

Despite him hailing from a political party which is an anathema to many -yours truly included- I must say that with his exit from this world, is a great loss to the country and Malaysia is much poorer due to it.

We may not liked or agreed with many of the things he said -I certainly didn’t- but it can’t be denied that Karpal belongs in a different class of politicians compared to most of what we have now.

Most of what he spoke, he spoke because he truly believed in it and not because he was trying to score political points. Who can forget his video about him asking Anwar Ibrahim to bertaubat? (Note : I’ve tried to find the original video on YouTube but I’m still unable to locate it. Just ones of Karpal saying “Anwar Ibrahim harus bertaubat” repeatedly are available.) This is Anwar Ibrahim we’re talking about. One whose ego knows no end.

When generations to come look back on this time in the history of the country, they will see him as one of the truly great Malaysians, a legend, even eclipsing that of his long time comrade Lim Kit Siang. Love him or hate him, we will forever admire his principals and wish for more Malaysian politicians to be at least a bit like him.

Thank you and farewell Karpal Singh.

karpal

To your family, this is dedicated by me to you :

With his passing, one cannot help worry for Malaysia. With the inevitable passage of time, the Old Guard are slowly but surely slipping away. Since the past decade we have already lost the likes of Tun Lim Keng Yaik, Tun Ghafar Baba and now Karpal. The generation that witnessed and helped pull Malaysia from an agricultural 19th century society into a modern technological 20th century one -be it in the ruling government or in the opposition- is slowly slipping away.

At least Tun Dr. Mahathir and Tun Daim Zainuddin are still with us for now. Former Kelantan Menteri Besar Dato’ Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat is ill with pancreatic cancer. I fear for Malaysia when they leave.

The current generation of politicians from both the Barisan Nasional and the Pakatan Rakyat don’t give us much hope. They certainly don’t have the finesse, the class or the intellect that many of our politicians of old possess.

There is no inspiration, no energy from them. I’ve noticed this many years ago and wrote about this in a previous post which I’ve since removed due to my blog reset. Things are no better now.

Let’s take heed Malaysians. Some may have failed Malaysia but let’s not be one of them. Malaysia is our one and only country. Let’s step up.

Postscript :

Karpal Singh has been infamously attributed to have said “Malaysia is an Islamic state over my dead body”.

This alleged statement of his has been used time and time again to attack Karpal politically.

However, I’ve heard two version regarding this. One is the above-mentioned while the other version was him saying/meaning/implying that “Malaysia can be considered to be an Islamic state over my dead body” with the intention that based on the current administration and legal system of this country, the country is considered a secular state and that if it was to be considered an Islamic state, it would be over his dead body.

The bad choice of words on Karpal’s part aside, I take the belief that the real version is the latter one. Karpal may be many things but one of them that he certainly is not is stupid.

And more so since he is now no more with us, let’s do the Islamic thing and bersangka baik regarding this issue. Karpal Singh is no Teresa Kok, Hannah Yeoh or even Lim Kit Siang. He is in a different class altogether. That is something that all Malaysians should never forget.

The BOC issue and hard truths for Malaysia

  • I’m happy that the government -especially Home Minister Dato’ Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamid- did not give a blank cheque to  those involved in the British Overseas Citizenship (BOC) issue to return to Malaysia. They would need at least 17 years to regain Malaysian citizenship.
  • Those involved showed their true feelings to Malaysia when they surrendered their citizenship and ran off to Britain only to get shafted by them. If Britain felt that they had any value and wanted them, they would have found ways to accept those people to become British citizens. (Kind of reminds me of Hannah Yeoh and her failed attempt to shaft Malaysia only to get shafted by Australia instead.)
  • Some links on this subject :

    http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/04/12/17-years-to-regain-citizenship-Zahid-BOC-holders-in-for-a-long-wait-to-be-Malaysians-again/

    http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/bahasa/article/hanya-tiga-pemegang-pasport-boc-dibenarkan-pulang-kata-zahid-hamidi

  • In the same vein, I think that the tide has turned. Seeing how the Anwar Ibrahim-led, DAP-powered Pakatan Rakyat coalition has damaged the minds of many minority (non-Bumiputera) race Malaysians in regards to the country, it is now up to them (the said minorities) to show and prove their loyalty to the country and not for the country, government or the Barisan Nasional (In my contex, the three said entities are separate) for that matter, to prove anything to them.
  • It’s not a racist or an extremist position. I think it’s a fair position as no country wants to have fifth columnists.
  • This photo will explain why. For your infomation, he’s not from the major minority race. He’s from the other one and he’s currently in Ipoh happily earning money there. (I must add however, that I think that this minority race does not have as much to prove as that particular major minority race.)
    photo
  • Read all of above again to this music. It sort of puts things in perspective.

Malaysia needs more soft power…

I wanted to blog about heavier stuff but then once again, I find myself writing in the middle of the night despite me telling myself not to do so.

Despite it not being that deep into the night relative to my previous posts, I really want to keep proper writing times as I have the tendency to make atrocious grammatical mistakes when sleepy.

These past few days, in addition to the usual Girls’ Generation stuff I always listen to, I’ve been adding Zhang Li Yin (张力尹) to my playlists.

In Korea, she is known as Jang Ri-In and she’s actually Chinese, hailing from Chengdu, Sichuan which is in the central south of the People’s Republic Of China.

As some of you may remember, I posted her video Lover in one of blog posts some time back.

That song was actually Part 2. Part 1 was this one – I Will

Li Yin actually recorded this song in both Chinese and Korean, but for me, the Korean version has more feeling to it. Some people feel otherwise, and logically, it should be so as her first language is Mandarin Chinese, but for some reason for me, the song pulls off better in Korean.

Her vocals are powerful and you can feel the emotion when she sings and I feel she will truly go far.

I won’t spend time talking about her life’s history. It’s up there to read in Wikipedia.

Here’s the link : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhang_Li-Yin

It’s strange though the S.M. Entertainment, the same company which manages Girls’ Generation doesn’t promote her as much as they should. They prefer to focus on their big names like SNSD, SHINee, Super Junior and the likes.

It’s a pity but I think she’ll eventually find her niche. She can count me as a fan :D

All this which brings me to what I’ve been thinking and which will be the main point of my thoughts tonight : Soft power.

I’m sure everyone has heard of the term before, but I’m not sure if everyone really understands what it means.

Basically, it means the use of non-violent, non-millitary methods to influence and persuade another party. To expand it further, it can also mean creating a positive image of a country/person in the eyes of others.

The on-going MH370 crisis has exposed that Malaysia would need much more soft power than it currently has/uses. Not that we’re totally deficient, I think Malaysia has a pretty good name in many different parts of the world.

I remember being on the metro in Guangzhou last year and the first thing that an Egyptian exclaimed upon hearing that I was from Malaysia was “Dr. Mahathir!”. Now that’s something.

People mostly think that soft power should come political angles, but that’s not entirely true. A lot of soft power can be generated through the arts. The Korean wave that’s been spreading around the world and infecting a great many people (including yours truly) in a magnificent example of soft power.

Of course, it doesn’t mean that by liking Korean dramas and music, we will suddenly find ourselves in love and loyal to Korea (certainly not, my heart only lies with Malaysia) or be blinded by fantasy (I’ve had experiences with Koreans – watching their movies and knowing them in real life can be two diametrical experiences altogether) but still, the effectiveness of such a display of soft power must not be underestimated.

At the very minimum, the correct and effective utilization of soft power will create a positive feel for Malaysia in places where we have nothing in common. For example, it would be easier for us to create a positive image for ourselves in Egypt or say Turkey as all of us are Muslim majority countries and due to that will have some degree of similarity. But it would be more difficult for us to repeat this with say Greece despite the fact that at the current moment, we’re probably much better off than them in every single way. We just nothing in common and thus, it’s near impossible to relate to under normal circumstances.

That’s why Malaysia needs to enhance it’s film and music industry to step up to the challenge. We have talented artistes – Shila Amzah comes to mind- and actors/actresses but we need to polish them and stop giving them silly songs to sing and/or stupid dramas/movies to act in. I’m pretty sure that many would agree that most Malay-language dramas are not only pretty similar from each other but have terribly low-quality storylines.

Or as my friend put it :

photoI trust in his judgement as he is a walking encyclopedia for the Malaysian movie industry. He can talk about even the most obscure celebrities that I’m sure most of us have never even heard of.

It’s not impossible for Malaysia to produce world-class movies and songs. We have done it before (I think many will not disagree with me that the late P. Ramlee and the late Sudirman aren’t world-class) and even now, we do create stuff that can be world class. Also don’t forget that Malaysia has many of its graphic designers involved in movies such as the Transformers and so it can’t be denied that we have the talent.

Seeing the damage done the country by the Red Bean Army-led Pakatan Rakyat supporters during the first weeks of the MH370 crises, having a vibrant film and music industry will help offset some of the mess that has been flung at the country. Of course, this is not a cure-all but will certainly migitate the damage somewhat.

But we need to produce stuff that is way, way, way better than what we produce now. We produce a lot of stuff that is nonensical. We need stuff that can capture our imagination or pull hard at our heart strings. Not just in a superficial way, but in a deep way. We need films, music that can speak to the soul of those who listen, never mind if we don’t understand the language. (Please tell me that 90% of those who love K-pop outside Korea actually understand Korean. You know that’s not true.)

We need something like Winter Sonata or maybe Full House. Also we need to step up our artistes to the international stage. Sheila Amzah is certainly going in the right direction and more should certainly follow in her footsteps.

Let’s face it, the Red Bean Army and its supporters are going to be around for a while. They’re going to be damaging the country at every chance that they get with their perverse logic. For them, the Barisan Nasional can do no good and Pakatan Rakyat can do no wrong. It’s a malaise that we have to deal with it, like it or not.

And this way is one relatively simple but effective way to fight back.

I think I’ve made my points pretty clear. I know I’ve been rambling a bit, but this is what happens when I write in the middle of the night.

Going to stop now and on to watch a moviebefore bed and then work in the morning. Good night everyone!

(Update note : I’ve removed the poster and deleted the name of the movie that I’m currently watching. It has too much sexual overtones that I feel it would be inappropriate since I have no idea the of ages of people who actually read this blog)

Something light today…

Two things :

  • I’m not writing politics today. Too much toxicity swirling around and some fresh air is certainly needed.
  • I have to stop writing my posts in the middle of the night (like I’m doing now). I was shocked to find so many English mistakes in my last post. Some were corrected but I still missed some.

Today I’m going to write about how my friends and colleagues are actually closet SONEs [aka fans of Girls' Generation (SNSD) -The greatest, bestest, ultimatest girl group in the universe, past, present and future!!!] but refuse to admit it no matter what you do to them.

SNSD_Cooky_Phone

I have no idea why it’s so difficult for men to admit that they love this group. I mean, seriously, how is it not possible to love this group? Those 9 girls are just so perfect! I love them to death! :D

Anyway, this post has its roots in something that happened in my office yesterday. I was sitting around watching SNSD Youtube videos (because I can! Woot!) and when I was playing this particular video…

my mid-to-late 40-something colleague came up. Commenting on their gelek sempoi (heh heh heh), he then busted himself (in the manner that all closet SONEs usually do) by mentioning about how the song playing (Dancing Queen) was a remake of an American/British song. I looked at him and my mind flashed…

HOW THE HECK DID YOU KNOW THAT???

I mean seriously, this is only something that a true SONE will know. The song Dancing Queen

is a remake of a Duffy song “Mercy”…

which totally sucks in any case :D

Duffy’s original version sounds like a cat that’s being slowly strangled to death.

On the other hand, maybe that does prove she has talent…haha

But then again, I’m not into animal torture videos… o_O

Back to my colleague, I did not attempt to pin him down because I did not want a long drawn out affair with my bank manager friend who until today refuses to admit that he’s a fan.

Come on guys, what’s the worst that could happen? Just admit it, I mean, seriously, those girls are adorable! I listen to SNSD at last 2-3 hours minimum daily and their songs just never get old.

The girls are beautiful and talented and every song they sing just makes us happy and put a smile on our faces. We’re truly living in great times :D

Millions of people across the world love them as evident by the amount of screaming in each live video, so come on, just admit it, you love them as well ;)

Before I sign off, here’s a video from 2011 of YoonA singing in a wedding dress. How does one not love her? Haha…

When the dust settles…

I was supposed to write about something slightly different, but due to the annoumcent a few hours ago by Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak declaring flight MH370 as having “ended in the southern Indian Ocean”, I’ve kind of hand to change plans.

Promising another press conference tomorrow to explain more, it is certainly something I am waiting for. As for me, I’m of the stand that until I’m actually shown something from the plane, they’re alive until proven dead. This stand is not as sensationalist as you might think it is. Unless Najib’s press conference tomorrow provides more conclusive information/details, the whole idea that flight MH370 ended up in the southern Indian Ocean is something based on many assumptions.

You can get an idea of some of them here : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/10719304/How-British-satellite-company-Inmarsat-tracked-down-MH370.html

If you read carefully, the idea that the plane has crashed in the southern Indian Ocean -while based on good science- is still based on several assumptions. Hence, my stand that alive until proven dead gains remains relevant.

But eventually, regardless of whatever the final outcome will be -including a possibility that everyone will be miraculously found alive somewhere- Malaysia will have to deal with a much bigger problem than that of the 239 souls gone missing aboard the MH370.

Rats.

Mj69XmWkQPaoKYNW3zxGAAYes, you read that correctly. Rats.

The crisis of MH370 has revealed a seriously ugly side in our country. That we’re infested by rats.

Politicians and people alike have questioned their loyalty to the country before but most of the time when it happens, their own side will quieten them down.

But I think that this community have been particularly shameful in their behaviour in regards towards the handling by Malaysia of the unfolding MH370 crisis.

Running down their own country at every turn, cursing MAS, calling the government incompetent and all-in-all, pretending to be so damn smart when all they are doing is just sitting behind a computer screen/smartphone while the real heroes are out there doing real work finding the plane. It doesn’t help that their heroes from Pakatan Rakyat -led by their Clown-In-Chief no less- join in and throw politics into the equation when they should just sit back and mostly leave those who have responsibilities to do carry them out in peace.

It’s not wrong to question (or tegur), but it has to be done respectfully and with consideration due to the feelings of the next of kin of those on MH370. Instead, it became a free-for-all and a great embarassment for the country as the whole world can see for themselves how ungrateful these people are.

It can be accepted that in every country, there will certainly be a bunch of its citizens that feel no love for it and want nothing to do with it. That’s normal and perhaps inevitable. But to have a majority of a major minority doing this is certainly a serious problem.

Their attitude reminds me from this scene from Stargate : Universe S01 E10 Justice…

“We will never be done!” I think most of you will get what I’m trying to say.

We must all really sit down and think what needs to be done. If a majority of a major minority sincerely feels the way they seem to feel, Malaysia is heading for a very serious train wreck.

When the dust has settled, the government really has to figure out what to do and do it decisively. We simply cannot afford to have citizens who may or may not be fifth columnists. I know I seem to be saying something that may be borderline dangerous, but it’s a serious problem. If anyone in the government actually reads the petty ramblings that I post from time to time, please take note. I’m really not joking.

Meanwhile, I think the government handled the MH370 issue fairly well and hats off to them. Of course, it was not all perfect but granted that this is an unprecedented aviation crisis, I think the government has really pulled it off well.

Syabas! We’re all proud of you!

And now more importantly, for the families of those who were on flight MH370, don’t worry. Many Malaysians are behind you. We feel your pain and sufferings.

However, as I said keep in mind that alive until actually proven dead. You may never know. Allah has the knack of doing things sometimes.

I would like to dedicate this song to you the families of those affected. Not Alone by Girls’ Generation.

Remember, no matter what, you are truly not alone. We are all behind you in our hearts.

Close your eyes and drift away to a world beyond the stars.