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On lemang, keramat and opiates

Posted: 05 Aug 2013 02:40 PM PDT

The search for lemang (glutinous rice baked in bamboo) can be trying during the fasting month. Most lemang sellers only operate their stalls at night and usually open for business a few days before Hari Raya. So my search took me to many areas in Datuk Keramat, Keramat Dalam and parts of Setiawangsa. At last, I managed to find one along Jalan Kelang Genting, manned by a sweet Malay lady in her 60s who was being helped by her grandson. I was so happy about finding the stall that I ended up buying most of her stock. She was pleased—you could tell she ended the day happy with herself.

Driving around Keramat is always enjoyable. The Malay in me is elated whenever I enter this traditional Malay area, which is also what happens when I am in Kampung Baru. The modest homes, the mosques and surau and of course the quintessential warong and food stalls selling kuih, tom yam and sup tulang make these neighbourhoods unique and bring back memories of our own kampung far away. Then reality sets in: the sight of old and crowded flats, low-grade shoplots, clogged drains and unkempt playgrounds always brings back the reality of Malay life in the city. The urban Malays have not changed much over the years. In the meantime, the Chinese keep up their pace of acquiring and developing the great city of Kula Lumpur.

Our leaders always speak of Malay rights and promise to defend them at all cost. These promises are really just opiates that dull the Malay senses. Other opiates include our leaders' habit of rewriting history, instilling fear of the Chinese, and making the people believe that the Malay Rulers are being threatened and that Islam itself is under assault. These are false and meaningless slogans, but they have the desired effect of redirecting the Malay consciousness away from examining just how dismal their lives have become and economically neglected they truly are.


Three Months Interregnum Period

Posted: 05 Aug 2013 12:41 PM PDT

It is exactly three months since Sixth Prime Minister Dato' Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak won the 13GE as the BN Chairman. It was his first general election since taking over in April 2009.

Although BN's control of the Parliament was reduced from 140 (at 12GE  on 8 March 2008) to 133 seats in the Dewan Rakyat, UMNO actually improved and obtained 9 extra seats. BN also re-captured Kedah and Perak Dewan Undangan Negeri.

So what did Prime Minister Najib do since the past three months or 92 days (to be exact)?

When the Cabinet was formed on 15 May 2013, he only allocated two ministerial posts for UMNO Johor. That is equivalent of UMNO Perak, Pahang, Negeri Sembilan and Terengganu representation in the Cabinet despite the vast desparity in Dewan Rakyat seats contribution.

Spent bullets such as Dato' Seri Tengku Adnan Yaacob, Dato' Seri Shahidan Kassim and Dato' Hassan Malik were brought into the Cabinet. So is the one time notorious Chief of Operator of the loathed 'Level Four Boys' Khairy Jamaluddin. No one from Wanita UMNO was appointed as a Minister.

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