Monday, 25 July 2016

Dispensations for Miscreants

If nonagenarians are allowed to be vexatious, septuagenarians like Ash can be as grumpy as they please.

My non-negotiable human rights.

Every Monday (from 9am to 2pm) is Tung Shin Hospital Day.  Ash risks life and limbs on the outward journey and the spouse takes over  the skirmishes on our way home.

Today is the 20th day of Syawal and Muslims are still on overdrive celebrating the end of Ramadan.  But the air of joy and the bloated stomachs, it seems,  have dulled the need to be as good as gold when those Muslims get into their cars.  I have categorically chosen Muslims because the selfish cretins we encountered today- five in total - were all garbed in their tudungs  oops hijabs!

The incredible stupidity, the audacity. the egotistic behaviour when these sisters are behind their wheels belie the devout and pure expression that the hijab is supposed to represent. One screamed past us from the left on AKLEH, another dashed across our 'bows' from the right because she could not wait to make her left turn which was just a couple of metres in front of us.

At Ampang, just past KLCC another hijabed sweet and sour young thing displayed a daring swing from the left lane to the centre lane (where we were) and straight on to the right lane - her ultimate destination without any indicating.  With that kind of guts and skill she would be a good candidate for Formula One  Racing, hijab or no hijab!

When you drive in KL you put your life into the hands of idiots, male and female, Muslims and non-Muslims!

The most frightening display of  a Muslim woman driver's asinine behaviour was at Wangsa Maju.  This sister was too busy getting herself and her shopping into the driving seat while parked on a very busy road - completely ignoring her little hijabed daughter (of around five years old), and leaving her to dash across the road.  Thank goodness the septuagenarian spouse was alert enough ( we over-70s are supposed to be gaga and slow-minded drivers) to grind to a halt and save himself from being beaten up for running over a child!    And this is just one of many such experiences with errant Muslim drivers - including actual collision.

These drivers who think they are invincible and  somehow protected from the fate of other miscreants drive anything from Proton Saga to Suzuki and BMW - with a high proportion of hijab-clad sisters driving huge SUVs..

Let's see.... as Muslims in Malaysia are so susceptible to imitating everything Arab and Arabic, and especially Saudi Arabia - why not go the whole hog (ugh!)and ban Muslim women from driving!?!!?  We can then leave the field wide open for the menfolk to do their utmost to ignore every rule in the man-made Highway Code.  (After all, you can't be ensured a foothold in paradise if you obey all the rules that licensed you as a driver and motorbike rider.)


AND IN THE BEGINNING: The child is father of the man. (William Wordsworth)

During the last 40 years or so, Malaysia (and Singapore too) have seen the "revival" of Islam and the "purification"  of Muslims.

In tandem with that: in Malaysia we have also observed the rise and rise of  wealth and the good life as well as hypocrisy, corruption and the lust for power - basic ingredients for a nation's moral and spiritual bankruptcy.

On Hari Raya , a collection of emptied packets of  duit raya was strewn just outside our gate.

The remains of manna from Hari Raya.  The blob of cat-shit ( within the red square) is such a symbolic attachment.

 I can just picture this.  After their visits to the various houses for Hari Raya Salam Alaikum, these kids could not wait to tear into their packets to count their 'loot', and then discard the rubbish at the scene of the big count.  I was told they cock a snoot at any gift below two ringgit. From little acorns large fat cats grow!  Sorry for the mixed metaphors.

Is this what Hari Raya is all about - for the children and grandchildren of the Baby Boomers, for Generations X, Y and Z?

AND AT THE END - Takkan  Melayu hilang di dunia.  I reckon it will not be a matter of 'if' but one of 'when'.  It's an imitation of the fate of a gibbon being given a flower. 


Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri

Tis the season for berzakat, berfitrah, bersedekah  ---  amidst all the killings and the slaughter surrounding us today  --- don't forget to remember  ....

Thursday, 23 June 2016

A Brexiteer

A lot of arguments and discussions have been going on in the UK in the past few weeks about leaving or remaining in the EU.  Much scaremongering and selective facts and figures have been put forward to (supposedly) guide the voter in making a decision.

The most ferocious debate concerns the issue of immigration.  The argument has been over simplified with the Leave people being tagged as racists and bigots by the Remain campaign, whose voices strongly represent the liberal urban elites - especially in and around London.

Daily Mail - DM Comment  21 June 2016

Frank Field - The Guardian 14 June 2016

Daily Mail DM Comment 21 June 2016

Until 2004 when East Europeans joined the EU, there was no large scale migration to Britain.  There are now 3.3 million EU nationals living in Britain - up by 2 Million since 2003.  Unlike migrants from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and parts of Africa, they do not have to go through the hurdles of an English language test, or a UK citizenship test.  As soon as they enter Britain they are granted special privileges - and eventually all the rights of a British national - because they are members of the EU.  Unlike other non-EU migrants, their numbers cannot be restricted as UK as a member of the EU are bound by European treaties and European law.


In comparison, I reckon Sabah and Sarawak got a better deal when they joined Malaysia.   For instance Peninsular Malaysians need a work permit to work in East Malaysia and they are also restricted from  buying land in these two states.


If I am in Leicester right now, I would vote for LEAVE.  My reasons are very personal because of my  empathy and concern for the plight of my work mates, my  working class friends.

These mates of mine and all the other places I worked at are the ones who pay the price of the EU's "Freedom of Movement" i.e the right to migrate within the EU to whereever the grass is greener.  I  know the problems they are facing: unemployment , short term contracts, reduced benefits, school place for their kids, and registration at Doctors' Surgeries.

The Unions who are supposed to represent them have done nowt and somehow managed to put their backsides on two stools - Leave and Remain!!

 Daily Mail - by Ian Dury & James Slack, 20 June 2016

Paul Mason - The Guardian 20 June 2016

These are the 'native' population that have been thrown on the scrap heap in the name of globalisation and free-market economics practised by their neo-liberal elites in both the Labour and Conservative Parties

Paul Mason - The Guardian 20 June 2016

If their anger is not placated the rise of more right-wing extremists in Britain is inevitable.

The other consequence of this anti-immigration mood is the effect on those refugees who are desperately and justifiably in need of support, of the most basic of security.    In comparison to such people, the relatively secure East Europeans, tripping around looking for greener pastures, are very privileged people indeed.

Mondoweiss - 9 Sept 2015

Must Read:

I cannot help but observe the uncanny similarity of 'class politics' in Britain and here in Malaysia - of the gaping fissure between the luvvie elite in the urban centres and the hoi polloi poorer working class.  In Malaysia it's the gap between the city centres like KL and Penang and the rural/smaller towns.  In Britain there is the North-South divide with the well-heeled 'salariat' ensconced in the South.

This piece by Umar Mukhtar makes my point .....


...... especially:

Umar Mukhtar - reference as above

Umar Mukhtar - reference as above

Alas, in Britain, for my working class mates; and in Malaysia for friends like Osman and Aishah - our local road sweepers from Kampung Ayer Kuning, near Kampar - they shall for ever be the mentimum tossed and scraped by the durian.

I shall await with trepidation the results of the Referendum.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Sunday School teachers, entertainers, celebrities, politicians, Methodist ministers, Catholic priests - fathers & stepfathers, uncles, teachers ........

When  news of Huckle's litany of child abuse got to Malaysia two weeks ago, I recalled this nursery rhyme I learned in Primary One.

One, two buckle my shoe,
Three, four, shut the door,
Five, six, pick up sticks.
Seven, eight. lay them straight.
Nine, ten, a big fat hen.

With Richard Huckle in mind this is my revised version

Nursery rhyme for a Sunday School Teacher

One, two, unbuckle my shoe.
Three, four, (he) shuts the door.
Five, six, he made me sick.
Seven, eight, I'm ridden with self-hate,
Nine, ten, a big, evil man.

Here's one victim's recall of the abuse she suffered - cited in a Report on Child Abuse in the Methodist Church in Britain,

I have learned that it is impossible to recover from sexual abuse when no one recognises the seriousness of it.  My church did not want a scandal, my parents did not want a scandal.  I was left to feel worthless and devalued, while the man was left to get on with his life and, for all I know, repeat the crime with someone else."  


As for Huckle, after admitting to 71 offences of abuse against children between the ages of 6 months to 12 years from 2006 to 2014, an English Court sentenced him to 22 life sentences - to be served for at least 25 years. It's mind-boggling for any lay person to figure out "22 life sentences" when this pervert has got only one life.  What and whose purpose does this  punishment serve?

Penitent ??  Or grateful and relieved?  

As for his victims and their families, they face a life sentence too for what they suffered, knowing that by 2041, when Huckle is just 55, he will be set loose on society.

Only this time, I hope the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service), the NCA (National Crime Agency) and the might of the British Judiciary will guarantee that Huckle remains in his motherland and keep him away from the poorer people of the world - whether they are Christians or not!

This predator has a record of writing and admitting :

1.  " Impoverished kids are definitely much more easier to seduce than middle class western kids."   (Mail Online 2 June 2016)   

2,  "As long as I keep a broad number of contacts amongst the poorer people I know, I'm sure some would be inclined for someone of 'high status' such as myself to be caring for their kids for long or short term."    (BuzzFeed 2 June 2016)

      Note: 'high status' means white and westerner.

In Malaysia, much outrage was expressed by both authorities and NGOs - as well it should be.


Mail Online 2 June

As for the NCA - they were using "legislation that allows UK nationals to be prosecuted in the UK for offences committed overseas."  One cannot help but realise that this seemingly decent piece of legislation has a double edged sword : one to ensure punishment of British miscreants abroad, the other is to protect their criminals from any 'alien' (?) or 'barbaric'(?) justice system. - punishments like death sentences are anathema to the liberal western system of justice,  Maybe that is why Huckle looked relieved and held his hands in prayer after sentencing at the Old Bailey.

An example of responses from Malaysia's NGOs :

Certainly after this case, Malaysia needs not only to enforce a stronger protection of children, harsh punishment for the perpetrators, but also more transnational cooperation in nabbing and prosecuting the paedophiles.

But wait a moment.   Britain hardly has a creditable record of protecting their children either.

1. There's the much loved entertainer Sir Jimmy Savile.

From humble DJ to Lord of the Realm

Top of the Paedophile Parade.

Who?  Me??

2.  Australia's entertainer-export to Britain and the Commonwealth.

This was no kangaroo court.

How did he get away with 33 years of sexual offences?

3. Lord  Greville Janner - a scion of Leicester society

That police were pressured by politicians - you mean this is possible in  a non-banana republic/state like Great Britain?

4.  Glam rocker Gary Glitter.

All that glitters is not gold.

5.  Then there are institutions like Children's Homes and the long-running involvement of the Church in child abuse.  The Catholic Church especially has a long history of covering up for the perpetrators while the victims are shunted aside.  Here's just one example from the US, but the revelations go further afield to many other parts of the world.

6.  Just last year the Methodist Church made an apology to the 2,000 cases of physical and sexual abuse within the institution  dating from the 1950s.   "The children's charity National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children  (NSPCC) described it as a horrifying catalogue of abuse."

Sorry is no cure!

7.  Politicians and Paedophilia

     i) Dolphin Square

Dolphin Square

          ii) Elm House

Read this if you have the stomach for it.

And listen to Richard Kerr - the victim's pain.

We in Malaysia have a lot to learn about dealing with sexual and child abuse, about the enactment of laws to protect the child and punish the perpetrators, about counselling and helping the victims and their families.    BUT ....  we also need to turn to the values and mores of our own culture before taking on wholesale the methods and ethos of countries like Britain.

A few years ago, when Gary Glitter was exposed as a paedophile who had set up in Cambodia to ravage children, with impunity it seemed, there were many in Malaysia (including myself) who breathed a sigh of relief: no, it could never happen in Malaysia.

But now it has.  What lessons shall we learn from this awful milestone?


Postscript:  Listening to Richard Kerr brings back distressing memories of my failure as a teacher, for turning my back on a cry for help.

Today, she would be almost the same age as Richard Kerr.  I dearly hope she survived
 her pain.

My one massive failing as a teacher.

But I do feel a sense of warmth when, many years ago, I demonstrated my support and care for one of my senior boys - who had been abused by his own father - when he was diagnosed with VD.  The teachers gossiped about him, told each other tales of how to keep their distance away from him in class.

During my geography lesson, I went to his desk and demonstrated how to measure the length of a river with a string on his textbook - Bunnett's Kajian Peta.  I shall never forget the happy smile he gave me.  He was eventually cleared of his blight and he must be a grandfather by now.

Monday, 9 May 2016

A Malay Malady - Episode 2

Caution:  There is a point to this long pictorial posting which you will discover towards the end.

1. What could be more  Malay than a rumah kampung?  This is a photograph from 1966.

Our  kampung house - 691 Pasir Panjang Road, Singapore

2. What could be more  meticulous than this drawing?

Carving on a tiang seri of a kampung house.

3. What could be more  joyous than remembering :

1.  a walk in the kampung ......

The old lady is how Iain Buchanan remembers his mother-in-law, AsH's mother

......  and this image was prompted by this 1948 (?) photo of her brother Mustapha taking a walk with Macik Ayik at Kampung Chantek, Dunearn Road.

2.  Here is a tikar  in the making, from Fatimah's Kampung .

AsH had such fond memories of the tikar on the floor - whch was much more flexible and portable than a sofa bed.  " It was as if all those years of use, all the sitting upon and the rolling up and the shaking out, had moulded it perfectly to Atok's comfort."

This mat has travelled from Singapore to Brunei (1978), then to Leicester (1984) and finally to Kuala Lumpur (2007).  I bought it in Port Dickson in 1970.

3.  AsH was a tomboy - with breaks in between  - like putting on the school uniform, or for Hari Raya or family outings.  Nevertheless she treasured the plywood doll house that Abah made for his two little girls.  The spouse drew this doll house for Fatimah, which looked more posh and traditional.


4. What could be more  unforgettable than Busu's wedding in the small town where I was born. Like  many Malays from the kampungs and small towns of Malaya in the 1950s, the opportunity for employment was not in the shops or industries in Kuala Lumpur or Penang or Ipoh or Seremban or Johor Baru.   Their best chance was to enrol in the Police or British Armed Forces. Here, they did not merely "square bash" on the Parade Square.  They learned a trade, depending on which unit they joined.  They acquired discipline and initiative and enterprise.  When I was teaching at Sekolah Menengah Yusof Ishak from the late 1960s, I could not help but notice how the children of these soldiers were far more hardworking and enthusiastic about learning..  Their turnout was always clean and smart, their homework was always submitted on time and they gave us teachers far less disciplinary problems.

Busu Kamaruddin bin Moin was one of these enterprising Malays from Selangor.  He enrolled in the RAF (Singapore) and with a steady and secure income he was able to give some financial help to his much-loved kakak, our Macik Munah and her family.  Her greatest joy was to see her  adik bongsu married.  Between them there was not much money to be had for Busu's big day.  Her cousins (all male, including my Abah) offered and gave some assistance but they were determined to make it on their own.  It was a simple and unforgettable wedding.  Busu was a quiet and sweet uncle.  Ma'Busu was a lively and loving aunt.  This photograph says it all for us and the extended family.

3 - Macik Munah

To commemorate this special event the spouse recreated the above photograph - by drawing it in  hundreds of thousands (perhaps around a million) black dots (to imitate pixels).  He was determined to be absolutely computer-free and this was the result.

"Atok used to joke about the plastic tablecloth and the tent for the wedding feast that leaked."


5. What could be more  yummy than the finger-licking taste of durian from the kampung?

Abah,  a Sanitary Inspector by profession was a civilian in the RAMC.

Abah's colleagues and students would come back from home trips to the kampung and we would be feted with our favourite durian, rambutan, mangosteen, ikan sepat from the sawah, tempoyak, kerdas and petai.  He would tell us stories about durian-hunting in the kampung and that inspired this drawing .....

Durian Watch


6. What could be  a greater tribute to Allah's creation than to imitate the beauty and glory of the forest in these images?


7. What could be more  devastating than to see this splendour  destroyed by man and his greed?


8. What could be more  graphic than this geographer's portrayal of the 'development' of his wife's tanah air through an LRT window?

The First Half - beginning with the forest ....

........ and the Second Half ending with the concrete jungle.

9. What could be more  loving than one man's love for his Malay wife and her tanah air to set out on an 8-year labour of love to write an illustrated story of Fatimah's Kampung ?

Note the vignette of the petai, the author's favourite ulam.

"Now, looking back, it is good to know that the two of us could eventually come together, and- by creating Fatimah and her Kampung - could say something we both needed to say."

For my 70th birthday the spouse drew a series of pictures for his little tropical flower - my favourite, the bunga tahi ayam.   This one is the best.


Today's posting by AsH is quite unusual.  Made up mainly of a series of  illustrations from her spouse's book (published in 2008) AND smothered with 'copyright Iain Buchanan' on each one, readers may be forgiven if they think proprietorial AsH is touting her husband's book.  Well, if I am publicising and hawking Fatimah's Kampung I should have done that years ago!

I merely desire to explain the learning, the research, the skills, the patience, commitment and especially the love that went into Fatimah's Kampung by Iain Buchanan - Ash's soulmate!

In a quaint and depressing way, this posting is to illustrate another piece of Malay Malady.  I am angry, I am ashamed, and I am sad when I have to face the extent to which a member of my bangsa has such cheek to pilfer someone else's toil and labour to earn a living and to profit from such an act of cheating.

My good friend and neighbour, Zarina puts it so neatly, " Kak, to our Malays, only arak and babi are haram!"

10. What could be more   despicable than this?

The above was plagiarised and purloined and corrupted into this

 No wonder Information Technology is such a popular subject in Malaysia!

By the way, this business was given a leg-up in Utusan Malaysia February 2014.

And now a song of apology and comfort from a Malay wife to her  Scottish-English husband.