Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Politician, I'll Never Be.

Glancing at Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary, the word politician means:

1: a person experienced in the art or science of government; especially : one actively engaged in conducting the business of a government

2 a: a person engaged in party politics as a profession b: a person primarily interested in political office for selfish or other narrow usually short-sighted reasons

I qualify not based on the above. In the same vein, neither do many Malaysians who are not satisfied in the state-of-affairs in Malaysia.

Not thoroughly satisfied with the definition, I searched the word 'politics' from the same site and found 5 major entries, of which 2 list here:

4: the political opinions or sympathies of a person

5 a: the total complex of relations between people living in society
b: relations or conduct in a particular area of experience especially as seen or dealt with from a political point of view

Here, it can be arguably suggested that any person who opines in matters relating to the society he lives in (hablum minan nas), may be construed as a politician. In this sense then, yes, we are all politicians. From the kedai kopi talks on the streets, to the ala kedai kopi blogging community, we are all politicians, for we touch on topics that concerns the society. And the latest tragedy to strike our beloved nation, is the kidnapping of family members of a PDRM officer. Sadly, or rather ironically, this kidnapping was done by a sister organisation of PDRM - the BPR, which leaves me with no words to say. You can read more on this at Zorro and Malaysia Today.

Reflecting back on one of the definitions for the word 'politician': a person primarily interested in political office for selfish or other narrow usually short-sighted reasons; I believe the people involved in this are none other than the Umno led BN. Otherwise, the BPR would not dare to stoop so low.

A political writer I may never be. But by the same token then, a politician too too, I will never be, insyAllah.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Singing In The Rain.

I'm singing in the rain
Just singing in the rain
What a glorious feelin'
I'm happy again
I'm laughing at clouds
So dark up above
The sun's in my heart
And I'm ready for love
Let the stormy clouds chase
Everyone from the place
Come on with the rain
I've a smile on my face
I walk down the lane
With a happy refrain
Just singin',
Singin' in the rain

- Gene Kelly

There I was standing alone under a tree seeking the bare shade it could afford me. The sky above, perhaps I should say clouds, literally opened and let loose a drenching pour on everyone below. But hey, didn't I tell you I wanted to be a macho man, standing bravely against the onslaught of harmless water that fall from the sky? No? Well, I do.

I mean, growing up watching a heck of a lot of western movies, the parts that I really like is when the hero stands in the open ground with water dripping down his hat (if its a detective movie) or helmet and poncho (if its war) and with a cigarette in his mouth. How - with all the water that's flowing down - he manage to pull more than a drag, I have yet to figure. But the image of such heroic(?) stand was something I really love. I wanted to try it but have always been afraid of standing in the rain without any sense or purpose. I mean, being caught in the rain always brings me down with a fever.

Earlier today, I thought, perhaps, this was my moment of glory! I had been waiting there for the past two and a half hour, waiting for Wak to pick up my calls, waiting for more black and white suits to show up, waiting while temperature and humidity rise ever higher...waiting, waiting. And then when they come, they come in a pack! Together with the unexpected pour! And I said to myself "This is it! This is my moment of glory!" Only to remember that I was fasting, and thus was not carrying any. Tough luck, may be next time. Anyway, there were no fair maidens around for me to show my macho defiance...against water from the sky.

While standing there like the big fool I am, the Bar Council representatives ran out like he was being chased by a bloodhound or perhaps, water? Close on his heels came the hounds, news-hounds I should add. Oops, I'm one of them too, thank you. But they - the Bar Council reps - got into a car and drove off. Strangely, I felt like barking and running after the car. Woof! Woof! But they got away. Never mind, there's Wak!

We got into my car and drove down the road heading towards the mosque. Basically, I was playing follow-the-leader with the cars in front as I had not a single idea where we should head to! As we reach the roundabout, we saw a huge crowd in a circle and instinctively knew that it was the Bar Council Press Conference. I stopped the car for Wak and Hilmi (Wak's son) to step out and cover the PC. Hey! It was still raining and I did not feel like being a macho-man again, mind you.

Less than 5 minutes later, Wak and son came running back into the car. We are off now on our next quest: searching for the spot where Wak left his car! In his haste to follow the protest march on foot, he did not make a mental note of the spot. Thus, we made a short tour of Putrajaya. Once found, we each made our way; while he goes off to cover another event, I made my way to Shah Alam and later, home. By the time I made it back, I was already sneezing my nose off, and head felt like it was casted in iron.

It was certainly not by any chance the best of coverage we ever had. But, we tried. A voluntary trio of news-hounds in an effort to put that extra news that may never see the daylight in mainstream media. None of us ever had any training in either audio/video, camera use or even reporting. We are, as I logged sometime in September 2006, a bunch of bidan terjun newspeople. So, do excuse us for being croaky when ever we sing in the rain.

Monday, September 24, 2007

KP KLH Ramadhan Visit

Late afternoon on Sunday, 23rd September, Kami Perihatin organised another visit to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital to distribute some small tokens for the breaking of fast. Due to lesser funds made available, Kami Perihatin was able to pack Bubur Lambuk and bananas for the patients and staff of KLH.

Due to unforeseen circumstance, I was late on the scene. By the time I arrived, the volunteers of Kami Perihatin had made their visits to the main wards of KLH. Strangely, this time around, there were many empty beds giving us the opportunity to distribute the bubur to the orthopedic ward (as suggested by Kerp) and even the maternity ward. InsyAllah, when more funds are made available, we will continue our efforts again. In all probability, the next visit will be just after Eid Fitri.

I managed to ask permission from Dr L to put KP's account number in my blog in the hope that visitors may be kind enough to contribute a small amount. Kami Perihatin's bank account as as follows:

Dana Kami Perihatin
Bank Islam Taman Melawati

With regards to accepting more volunteers, insyAllah, Kami Perihatin will be announcing it sometime in the near future.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

March of The Bar Council.

I have just received a text message from Encik Md Sha'ani, the Secretary General of FOMCA. From what I have been made to understand, the Bar Council of Malaysia will be organising a march from the Palaca of Justice, Putrajaya, to the Prime Minister's Office. There, they will hand a memorandum calling for a Royal Commission to investigate VK Lingam's video. I still do not have the full details as yet but it can't get far from the below:

Date: September 26, 2007
Time: 11am
Venue: Palace of Justice, Putrajaya

All Malaysians are invited to join the march. Kindly spread this far and wide. Thank you.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Latest on Pakngah

Below, I produce 2 emails with regards to pakngah, the former moderator for harakahdaily yahoogroups. He's condition, sadly to say, has not been improving as hoped by family members and friends.

maslinda mohd wrote:
Salam,Utk makluman shbt, Pak Ngah ( Malek Othman), masih berada di Hospital Teluk Intan, smlm operation masalah buah pingang. Bagi shbt yg berkesempatan, bolehlah ziarah. Dan bagi yg tak mampu ziarah dioakan kesejahteraan beliau.

Bagi yg ingin menyumbang bagi meringankan beban beliau, sila salurkan sumbangan ke maybank akuan 112193043861 ( Mohd Nazri Othman – Adik). Semoga sumbangan kita di terima Allah sbg amal jariah.


p/s ; no phone Abd malik Othman 019-3463065

Salam Aman wrote:

Assalamu'alaikum warahmatullah hi wabarakatuh,

Untuk pengetahuan umum, terutama warga harakahdaily@ yahoogroups. com dan harakah_daily@ yahoogroups. com:

Saudara Abdul Malek Othman, atau lebih dikenali sebagai pakngah dan baru baru ini, kelabuasap, kini sedang dirawati di hospital Teluk Intan disebabkan komplikasi kesihatan berkait dengan buah pinggang.

Pihak kami difahamkan bahawa pakngah berada di katil 13 di Wad2c, selepas menjalani pembedahan kecil. Usaha terkini untuk menghubungi keluarga beliau 03-3224 4403 belum berhasil lagi.

Diharap semua dapat mendoakan kesihatan pakngah dan agar sesiapa yang berada di kawasan Teluk Intan dapat menziarah beliau. Terima kasih.

Wassalamu'alaikum warahmatullah hi wabarakatuh


Ok. I've never done this before, but thanks to tokasid, I'm it, I guess. And I guess the best way to do it is to copy/paste and modify, if you don't mind :)

Five things in my bag:

Nada! Nil! Boliau! Takdak! Ilek! - Er...I don't carry a bag at all!

Five things in my wallet:

1- My Identity Card now commonly known as MyCard.
2-My Driving licence, which like Doc, I too seem to have forgotten the renewal date.
3-ATM card (again, likewise with Doc).
4-Some cash in different denomination (that alone should qualify as more than one)
5- Junks! (Old receipts and don't know who's name cards and so forth).

Five things in my office (should add: opis-pakai-kain-pelekat):

1- My PC
2-A Standing Fan
3-Loads of books, magazines and suratkhabar lama.
4-An old TV
5-A trusty notebook for online matters.

Five things I would like to do:

1- Nak hijrah ke Makkah or Madinah (if possible).
2-Play my very own piano in my own basement studio
3- Buy Camera for photo-blogging
4- Take emak and her siblings for sort of a well-earned reunion holiday
5- Hehe...this one is almost wajib already: Get married.

Five things I'm currently on:

1- Trying to figure why I have to do this 'Tag' thing.
2-(Trying) to work my butts out.
3-Trying to get my blog out of its cocoon.
4-Looking at the plans for webtv8 and Kami Perihatin (looking only ye, cause no. 5...)
5-Trying my damn earnest to get well again.

Now, since I have been almost an anti-social kind of a blogger prior to this, I really have no idea who to tag; serves me right I suppose. Kind of sad, but that's life. But thanks Doc!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Doc, I'm Hungry...

The first and last time I suffered gastritis was some 10 years ago, just after returning home after my first working visit to Jakarta. Since I never had such attack, I was quite engulfed with anxiety and discomfort rather than the pain itself. Anyway, after a visit to a nearby hospital and whatever necessary treatment, the pain subsided and within the next day I was running about again.

Last Monday morning, both emak and I began to have stomach disorder. Thinking it was a mild case of gastritis, we both shrugged it off and each dealt with it quietly until she told me later that the disorder has led her to have bouts of diarrhea. Emak, being emak, would never listen to me but would submit meekly only when Din ask her to go to the clinic. With a mother and son suffering almost the same problem, what else could the doctor deduce but food poisoning.

Later that night, I received a message from a Abdul Malek Othman, or pakngah as he is known within several yahoo groups circle, asking to withdraw himself as the no.2 moderator for harakahdaily@yahoogroups due to health reasons. Much later on the same night, he texted me again as he was rushed to the Teluk Intan Hospital for emergency treatment By that time I was already weakened from my own pain, there was nothing much I could do but console him with my messages.

Tuesday, the whole day and night was lost to emak and I as we both slept long hours to recover our strength. Between Monday morning and late Tuesday night, neither of us had anything but a slice of bread to eat. This morning, alhamdulillah, we felt somewhat stronger, and it suddenly dawned on me to message the Kami Perihatin club regarding Pakngah, in hope that someone from the club could visit him. InsyAllah, an Ustaz Nor Azli will try to do so personally or get his friend to do so.

Have to be honest though, I did felt somewhat awkward in sending those messages to KP as I missed an important date with them yesterday - breaking fast, prayers and meeting.

Though we are recovering well, both emak and I could not help but fall into short sleeps. In between such sleep, I managed to glimpse at "Friday Night Live", a movie about American Football and the passion about it. Can't say much about it as I keep dropping into sleep. But from what I saw, I'd say its pretty much a good story about sports people and their hunger to achieve success.

In the short space of 2 days, so much has happened including a pilot project I am working with a wireless broadband company. Alhamdulillah, after a stalled negotiation for a strategic site, it suddenly jumped back to live when the site manager gave approval, albeit a stiffer rental. Never the less, the company seem happy and insyAllah, I will begin resuming the project soon. Till then, I need to get back to my online voluntary work. Like I said to the Doctor last Monday "Doc, I'm hungry..."

ps. This is something I almost forgotten though I so much wanted to put it in the body text: Reading minci, can only leave one with more food for thought.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Destination: KL Hospital

Kelab Kami Perihatin made a visit to KL Hospital today. Initially the visit was scheduled last Tuesday, but due unavailability of many members - there's roughly about 20 currently - the trip was postponed to another date. Salehudin - one of the senior member - texted me just after maghrib last night to inform of this visit.

I have been hospitalised several time in life, most of the time I was admitted via the emergency door. Having medical insurance does help in the bill payments; not having one means having to seek treatment at a government hospital. It was one of those times when I did not renew such policy that I found myself having to rush to the University Hospital.

The available members of Kami Perihatin rendezvoused at Jalan Raja Laut to pack date fruits and some baulu cakes into bags meant for distribution. As there were no proper parking, we parked illegally by the roadside and did the packing on the road shoulder, causing many pair of eyes to glance and perhaps, wonder quietly about us.

On the particular time mentioned, my body was producing lots of thick phlegm which blocked my air passage and had me coughing, sometime rather violently. A doctor had prescribed prednisolone which was supposed to be taken according to prescription and tapered off slowly to avoid any complications. But I had found them too effective and conveniently took them against prescribed manner.

Once at KLH, we divided ourselves into 4 groups of 3 members each. Each group is then assigned to different wards of different floors. My group consisted of Aishah, Ustazah K, and much to our surprised, a lady visitor who volunteered to wanted to assist; she had gotten to know about us only then and it struck her to become a member of KP there and then. Since we were totally unprepared, was accepted her assistance and will discuss her membership in our next meeting.

I had finished my last prescription of pred for 2 days then, and there were less phlegm. But that night, I awoke to sudden seizure of violent coughs. My body began shaking and my right ribs were experiencing cramps - one of the rib bones was beginning to jut out of its lining and soon hardened like a brick. I had no choice but to call a cab and head directly for UH.

There were many kinds of people of different race and religion, each with a health problem of their own. For a non-medic, there is no way I can ascertain whose health problem is worse. The only thing my mind could make out then was that those patients who had friends and relatives visiting them, are the lucky ones. Those without, lie silently starring straight up the ceiling, looking sad and dejected.

At UH, I was stretchered to a waiting room, and later, yet another waiting room, but this time with the patients lying on their temporary beds. A Chinese-looking doctor then came to have a look at me. I tried explaining but he does not seem to understand. I showed him the rib bone which though was jutting, and had not penetrated out of my body and thus not causing any wounds. He called several other doctors and they spoke in a language I was not familiar with. Strangely, all of them left me there in pain. A nurse later came to give me a sedative which gave me relief and allowed me to sleep briefly later. The doctors, the nurse informed me, were from Myanmar and still new to the hospital.

As I passed several rows of bed, I notice one of our bags on the bed of an Indian patient. The guy looked at me with his sad eyes and I smiled to him. On the way out of the ward, I approached the Indian guy, took the bag from his bed and placed it on his bedside table. We talked a brief while and I learned the guy was suffering from some stomach problems. I did not want to ask about his family as I did not want to add to the sad and lonely look of his face.

At around 8am, an attendant wheel-chaired me to the pharmacy. The guy was kind enough to take my medicine from the counter for me and later wheeled me to the taxi stand where I took a cab home. Except for the medication given by the nurse and assistance of the kindly attendant, I felt like I was cheated and had not received any real treatment to the problem that plagued me that night.

Once all the bags were distributed, we made our way out of KLH. InsyAllah, we will continue visiting in our effort to at least bring cheer to the poor people not only in hospitals around KL but throughout Malaysia, and to oppressed people like those in Kampung Berembang and its like. But we need more funds and more volunteers to enable a continuous effort in assisting the poor and needy, not only in KL but throughout Malaysia. The main aim of KP hospital visit is to bring the people closer to us and allow us to offer our assistance to them in return.

I later learned that the problem I had that night was mainly due to my abuse of the pred. Alhamdulillah, I have since stopped taking pred or any steroid medication. My medical problem later ceased to afflict me after I found a simple medication by the name of jelly gamat.

A Malaysia S.O.S.

On the 12th September 2007, Raja Petra Kamaruddin logged an entry in MalaysiaToday entitled "Petition to The Agong". The petition, I believe, is to seek the DYMM Agong to look into matters of the state, especially as listed in the log.

Earlier this evening I sms-ed to ask of his progress in getting Malaysians of all walk-of-life to send in their support for the petition; though the reply was encouraging - some 5,000 odd within less than 72 hours - he mentioned the need for more signatories. Perhaps, due to many Malaysians lack of interest in matters of greater concern and more to matters not beneficial (see rauf), as well as the (still) lack of inter-net penetration, the figure mentioned, though encouraging, is still below that targeted number (more than 30,000).

Thus, on behalf of a Malaysia that is just and free of corrupt practices, I appeal to Malaysians to send in their support to MalaysiaToday. Spread the news like wildfire and let more Malaysians be made aware and get them to send in their support!

Again, on behalf of a future Malaysia that is just to all, I thank you.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Batu Buruk Tragedy, an UMNO 9-11 Debacle?

Too much have already been said about the September 11 tragedy in NY, USA; yet much more remains to be said. I believe many have looked and read untold number of pictures, videos, news and stories about it, and many more will continue doing so until one day, the truth may well end as a legend. Be it as it may, I only have 2 things to add to the tragedy:

1. Barely a week after the tragedy, an Israeli plane carrying 100 Israel nationalities were shot over Ukraine. Now, we know how supposedly protective Israel is regarding its citizens, especially of its soldiers. Yet due to some unknown factors, the news of the matter just died - I believe it was The Star reporting on an AP news. How could this be when we know how vengeful the Israel nation and army is against the rest of the world, especially against the Palestinians and Arabs. How could the state of Israel not condemn nor take any action against the those responsible? Could those who perished have had some form of connection to 9-11 and their deaths is actually a relief to whomever is behind it? I can only speculate they did.

2. For all the military might and intelligence of the US, they have been proven to be inept, taking into consideration that - were it true - the alleged perpetrators of 9-11 are people who were loosely trained and without any real organisation. Or, at worst, the US Forces are nothing but puppets. The choice between the two, we'll let them decide themselves.

As a result of the 9-11, the US found the excuse it needed to launch an invasion into Afghanistan, purportedly one of the world's least developed nation, and later into Iraq, an arguably dictatorial state. The US government claims victory over victory in their war against terrorism (read: Islam), pushing aside rising evidence and public disbelief over the whole 9-11 tragedy. Like Vietnam, the 9-11 is now becoming a debacle to the US.

Whether coincidence or not, the tragedy at Batu Buruk occurred near to the anniversary date of 9-11. Certainly neither BERSIH nor anyone else could have foreseen the unfurling of event on that day which led to police violence against the very people that have sworn to protect. And similarly like 9-11, much has been said but much more will be said regarding the tragedy. To me personally, I chose not to believe nor to disbelieve anything until an independent body can investigate the matter and listen fairly to all involved there.

However, there is something which I would like to share: 2 photographs that was circulated via the net and are as below.

Picture 1:

Picture 2.

Any person looking at the picture may concur with UMNO that the crowd at Batu Buruk were unruly and can even be considered traitorous by their act of burning the Malaysian flag. What more when some local dailies were to add some suggestive words to paint a truly negative image. But somehow, in my mind, both the pictures just don't seem right.

Picture 1:
a)For a crowd that was painted unruly and a riot, except for the flag burning guy with the helmet, the rest in the picture surely does not seem dressed to kill, were they?

b)Then, except for the guy in background who seems to be walking towards the photographer, how is it the rest in the picture don't seem to notice the flag being burnt? I mean, if they were truly the mob mentioned in mainstream media, would not the crowd there be urging this flag-burning guy more? But as it is, they don't even seem to notice him at all!

C)There's also the sneaky suspicious feeling about the photographer. Now, if I were a photographer or a reporter, the place I want to be in such a moment is where the action is. Normally, the action would take place amongst of in front of a large crowd instead of where this picture was taken. Perhaps it was just luck of the Irish for the photographer. But then, why only one shot? Would not there have been several shots of the scene?

Picture 2.
a) As in 1b and 1c, the rule should apply here as well. Granted the picture is smaller and seem to be conveniently focused on the flag-burner. Even then, the background shows the legs of very few people.

b) Notice the smoke from the fire? It seem ridiculous little when you take into consideration that when fire is applied to still alive leaves and branches, the amount of smoke would be much more. In fact when you look at it, there seem to be more smoke in pic A.

c) Look closely the the flag-burning guy's face; you can't! The picture has been blurred. Why? Good question! One I'm asking myself. With the furor of this incident hot in the news and the supposedly zeal in wanting to capture the flag burners, why would the media distort the image?

Ok, so far I may have sound more like a conspiracy theorist than not. But there's something else I would like you to look closely at - the shadows in pic A. While almost everyone's shadow fall towards the photographer, the flag-burner's seem to fall a different direction. It could not have been due to the light emitted by the camera's flash - the shadow falls totally out of synch! A doctored picture? I don't know.

Taking these and the accounts I have read thus far(including Parliament's refusal to accept a motion to debate this issue), leads me to believe that if truly the riot was caused by UMNO and its stooges, then this will be a debacle they will find hard to rise from.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ramadhan al-Mubaraq!

Selamat Menyambut Ramadhan al-Mubaraq to all!

Monday, September 10, 2007

BERSIH Press Conference on Batu Buruk Tragedy

To all Malaysians,

Please visit Bersih PC on the tragedy at Batu Buruk which is made available at jiwo kelate. And please spread this news far and wide. Thank you.

Story of Jackasses.

Now, before anyone gets the wrong idea, let me put 2 things in proper perspective:

1. I am normally a polite person who seldom ever uses profanities. Now, that does not by any small means, I don’t! For when certain issues gets to me, I do get feverish about them as I do now, and it certainly by no means because I am recovering from a bout of high fever that has been lingering for the past 2 days. Having said that, it must be said that the fever I’m having is not caused by my current feverish bout about some jackasses within the government. I mean, after having glimpsed at the front page of The Star, would it not get one to go on a swearing and cursing fit at not only the incompetent fools who purchased some overly priced items, but the audit department of the ministries involved as well as the jackasses at the Finance Ministry whom, one would have thought, should have been made aware of such purchases. This, if my memory serves me right, is a leaf taken from Reaganomics, where the US Defence Department would purchase materials way above its market price. For example, a simple hammer would be bought for USD500, when the market price was what, USD15! What was that I hear the government echoing “The opposition are stooges for foreign powers?” What a load of crap and a whole load of jackasses!

2. Calling someone or some people jackass/es is very impolite, I agree. But calling them by another word which is actually a corruption of a biological term and now made a derogatory word is even worse! Most friends I have would have called the perpetrators of the above asshole. Now, I am by no means a student of the language, but I do remember that there is no such thing as an asshole, unless they mean the hole at the rear of an ass; an ass here is one of the mule families which are commonly regarded as donkeys. Still, if such is the hole that is intended as a derogatory remark, then the proper spelling would be A-R-S-E. Now, that definitely is a very rude word to use, especially when one intend it for someone else, bearing in mind that out of the arse comes nothing but – pardon me – shit! Certainly then, the people whom I intend to use the remarks for, would rather I would not. Granted! But in the absence of - shall we say - a better word, and taking into consideration of my still unabated fever, leaves me no recourse but to call them jackasses!

There, it’s done! I have gotten it out of my system, but the fever still rage on within me. Which reminds me, a friend whom I was just with, advised me to drink soup. Not just any soup, but Bishop’s Nose, which is supposedly good for my fever. Now, I think he was just teasing me on the whole issue. But after a day of nothing but jackasses, I think not; I’ll just retire for the night or watch Massa in Italy. Now, that guy to me is certainly no jackass.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Animals of Prey 1, Humanity...?

Words fail to convey the sentiments, especially when one link the inhumane treatment of leper and squatter colony especially in places like Kampung Berembang. Just go cikgu.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Just When You Thought It Was Safe...

Foremost, forgive me. The title does not reflect the gravity of the situation nor the sadness I feel inside; it is something that just popped inside my head after reading - this time not a squatter colony - but a leprosy centre, one that has become an icon for Sungai Buloh, now being destroyed. It seems the news came out in NST. But since I only buy papers periodically, missed out on that and only found out at achmedrauff, kindly visit him for the whole story.

For those who have never been to the leper colony, allow me to update you:

The Sungai Buloh Leprosy Centre and Colony was founded more than a century ago to assist those who have contracted the disease. Sometime around the 1970's it was opened to the public as
1) The Medical Board there had ascertained the threat of the disease spreading had been eliminated, and
2) To allow remaining former patients who had nurtured and cultivated orchids and flower nurseries to mingle with the public and earn an income.

On my first visit to the colony, being the kaypochee that I am, I tried to strike conversation with some of the former patients. They were friendly but still kept their distance. That was in the early 1980's. Now, after numerous visits at the insistence of emak who love flowers, orchids and what not, I have managed to make friends with several, and we even talk about how they contracted the disease. Sadly, several of the familiar faces are no longer around.

The question I ask you is this: Have we, Malaysia, run out of space - land - that we now evict Malaysians - squatters and leper colony alike - to make way for development? Who's development then will it be for? And if so we are running out of space, why the bloody **** are we selling land to Singapore?

No matter how you view or make of Sungai Buloh, it is what it is today partly due to the leper colony. Taking it away is like taking part of your identity out of you.

Monday, September 03, 2007

On Air!

Not too long ago when I was working with a funny outfit, I had to accompany the Chairman or Vice Chairman to Press Conferences and radio interviews with various RTM as well as private radio stations. Every radio station I step into had me in awe, no matter how deadbeat look like. There's something about radio broadcast that amazes me. Perhaps I was influenced by the US comedy "WKRP In Cincinnati", or perhaps the red and green lights of the conti (studio) holds me sway like those of a traffic light. Does not matter though, don't think I'll ever be associated with any. The closest I'll ever get is with webtv8, which is more than I can hope for.

Talking of which, webtv8 has finally managed to get back on air after having its website hacked by - as some would put it - keris brandishing lilliputians. Zul and Aidy, the techno-wizards of wtv8, have managed to overcome the lilliputians by simply moving us to another site. Now, wtv8 can be viewed through any of the two links below:




With regards to my Kampung Berembang and Kampung Melayu Sentosa reporting, there will be a slight delay as currently we are very much underhand. InsyAllah, the news will be played sometime this week. Most importantly, we are back ON AIR!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Worlds Apart! - Unintended Continuation.

I was in the midst of writing my last entry when I received a call from a stranger. The man introduced himself as an Ustaz Riduan from Sungai Buluh, requesting wtv8's immediate presence! My number was given to him by Wak Kasiran, my wtv8 partner-cameraman, as I was holding one of wtv8's cameras for our visit to Kampung Berembang and the 2 other villages nearby.

While driving there, I called Dr. L to inform her of the situation and requesting her permission to distribute some of the date fruits I still have in the car. Dr. L responded positively and later called several more of the senior club members to be present on the scene.

As soon I parked the car, Ustaz Riduan and several villagers came to greet and update on the situation. Kampung Melayu Sentosa, had just become the latest victim to Selangor State Government's directive of zero squatter-colony population! Unfortunately, the directive does not take into consideration of the fact that many of the villages that had been destroyed or will be, have been in existent, some for more that several decades, and many were the product of UMNO's behest itself since 1970's. UMNO leaders wanted to increase the Malay population in the city and squatter colonies provided an alternative to low cost housing which was in dire need!

As I begin shooting the scene, Ustaz Riduan filled in more details:

Of the 176 houses within the cramped area, some 10 houses remained defiant against the eviction order by Majlis Perbandaran Subang, the local authority there. The brave villagers who stood their ground were suspicious of the eviction notice as there were 2 different accompanying letters from 2 different developers! Within the short time span of 30 days, the villagers were given a compensation of RM7,000 and forced to find alternative housing. For at least one of the villagers who received the cheque of RM7,000, the bank denied payment due to some technicalities; still the eviction and demolition of the houses were carried out precisely 2 days before Merdeka Day celebrations!

I asked myself: what was the celebration again? Who's Merdeka was it when the nation's citizen are ferreted out of the homes they built with their bare hands? Who's blood, tears and sweat helped shaped our country? Not the people? I'm sorry, I'm missing something here.

I climbed a steep road to interview a lady villager who had been staying there for some 14years. Along the way, all around me were debris of houses, some that had stood decades long, protecting the inhabitants from the natural elements, but now unable to defend themselves against the greed of mankind.

My climb down from the small hill was via a different route. I wanted to catch a different angle that was whispered to me by one of the villagers. True enough as he mentioned, erected just off the road shoulder is signboard that clearly states: Tapak Sekolah oleh Kerajaan. Now, what was it about the developer again?

On the way to my car, I met another villager and her daughter. They had moved out earlier and are now squatting in a relatives place until they could find their own. But with the husband's sole income for the family at RM600, how can they afford a rental of RM700 which is the common rate there? And there is a scarcity of low rental units within the area!

While waiting for the senior members of Kami Prihatin to arrive, an elderly lady lamented how cruel the government was and she liken them to the Pharaoh of old Egypt. Politely I pointed to - as I learned from a pious man - that when the Prophet Moses a.s. requested Allah to destroy the Pharaoh, his request was turned down simply because the Pharaoh - despite his cruelty to other races, and priding himself as a god - distribute alms and charity to the poor of his people himself! For that alone, Allah s.w.t. denied Prophet Moses plea.

Here, we have a scenario where the citizens are being betrayed by the very people they put into office! I left soon after, not knowing how vent my anger and frustration. As soon as I got home, I began rewriting Worlds Apart! When done, I continued staring at the screen before deciding to change the template. It would, at least, keep my mind occupied.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Worlds Apart!

We arrive at our destination soon after Asr. Although I have read about this particular village, I had a minor shock at the scene greeting us. Within the village were not wooden houses or huts, but mere tents as a shelter made from any salvageable materials the residents could find, and erected on uneven land with a broken road running in the middle.

I love to watch documentaries. Sadly, I do not get much chance to do so as emak is not fluent in English. While subtitles are provided, they can sometime be too fast for the elderly who have to cringe their eyes to read. And though I try my best to translate, emak would inevitably doze off or gets turned off and grab something to read. It makes me feel guilty or robbing emak the little time she has for telly; thus I restrict the documentaries to only when she's away or asleep.

Although there were running water provided on a paid basis to the villagers, I did not see any signs of electricity and find it rather perplexing as high-tension pylon towers and cables run literally above.

The other day while she was busy sewing a dress, I managed to catch on "World's Apart!". I do not know about the rest of the series, but on this particular date, the producers transported an entire US family who are used to the trappings of their civilisation, to a remote village in Peru, South America. I did not manage to watch the show to the end, but from what I saw, the US family faced a culture shock and was close to tears at having to live several days without amenities they have back in the US. I quite like the show as I think it brings a new meaning to the US Peace Corps.

I have been to lots of places including Sabah, Indonesia, Thailand and The Philippines, but this is the first time I'm seeing such squalid living here on the peninsular.

Closer to home, yesterday on Merdeka Day, Kelab Kami Prihatin decided to visit some homes as part of our Merdeka Day celebration. 3 volunteers, yours truly included, left Dato' Keramat in 2 cars with some date fruits as a token of remembrance for the coming Ramadhan. When we arrived at our destination, 2 other volunteers were already there waiting for us.

Several of the volunteers in Kami Prihatin, had been on mercy mission to events such the Pakistan earthquake, Aceh Tsunami survivors, and many more. Even to them, the village was quite a shocking scene. Minor it may be to the calamities mentioned, but a shock none the less.

As the head of this visit, a Dr. L went to meet the head of the village who had come out to greet us, while the volunteers packed the dates - already packed in a plastic container - into bags meant for distribution. I, on the other hand, was wearing 2 hats - wtv8 and Kami Prihatin - was busy getting the camera adjusted for shoot.

I began shooting from afar to capture the actual condition of the village as well as the surrounding area, and slowly made close-up shots of several tents.

Soon, we made our way to the center of the village where Dr. L had a short meet with several head of families, informing them the intention of our visit. The villagers, especially the children, were happy with our visit as they felt they have been neglected by not only the society, but also the state and federal governments.

Several tents were using flimsy plywoods covered with canvass to give better protection against the wind, rain and sun. But they were look so shoddy and I don't think they'll stand as an element barrier, taking into consideration of the approaching rain season.

Dr L and party soon made their way to each tent, meeting the family members and distributing the bags of dates. In each tent visited, they were met with sad faces of men, women and older childern.

The younger children, those less than 12 years, were playing games made of crude materials; a plastic bottle filled with stone and meant for kicking and throwing, a broken branch acts as a substitute to a sword or a rifle. To them, life, is ever an adventure.

It was all too fast, too quick; we soon found ourselves back at our vehicles and ready to move on to the next village. But we were sad...I was close to tears, that this village, its people - our people - have to live this part of their lives in such a condition. As we bade farewell for this moment, we know we will try to come back with more volunteers and better gifts, insyAllah. For now, we have to make our way to 2 other villages.

Had I not known better, I would have thought this sordid living we have just witnessed, exist only in another state or another world. But it was not! The village exist in the heart of the Klang Valley in Ampang, bordering metropolitan Kuala Lumpur and the state of Selangor, the village of Kampung Berembang. For all intent and purposes, the authorites has turned this 40-year odd village into a world apart!