Ahad, 1 September 2013

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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

Forging a unity that transcends tolerance

Posted: 31 Aug 2013 07:01 PM PDT

The words of the founding fathers, in every country, often form the bedrock from which the nation is built. Even as we make great progress in the name of development, the overarching theme of what constitutes our nation remains sacrosanct.

The Star

MERDEKA. Seven times this word was shouted out by Tunku Abdul Rahman, with his right arm raised, on that auspicious day of Aug 31, 1957.

And seven times the crowd roared back, "Merdeka!"

It has been 56 years since that day and many of these initial moments in our nation's history are long since forgotten.

If one were to do a quick survey, not many would get the answer right if asked how many times the Tunku shouted Merdeka that morning.

And how many would know who were the Rulers gathered on the podium, or who represented the British monarch to hand over the instruments of independence to our first prime minister?

What about the Proclamation of Independence and the historic words that heralded the birth of our nation?

Among other things, the Tunku acknowledged that our life as an independent nation was blessed from the beginning because we inherited, from the coloniser, strong foundations like "justice before the law, the legacy of an efficient public service and the highest standard of living in Asia."

But the Tunku was mindful that the road ahead would be tough, reminding us that "Independence is indeed a milestone, but it is only the threshold to high endeavour – the creation of a new and sovereign State."

He declared, "At this solemn moment therefore, I call upon you all to dedicate yourselves to the service of the new Malaya: to work and strive with hand and brain to create a new nation, inspired by the ideals of justice and liberty – a beacon of light in a disturbed and distracted world."

The words of the founding fathers, in every country, often form the bedrock from which the nation is built. Even as we make great progress in the name of development, the overarching theme of what constitutes our nation remains sacrosanct.

If we are to forge ahead with confidence, we must recognise all the good things that have been done in these past 56 years, and how our unique multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-cultural nation not only survived but blossomed to what it is today.

But nothing can and should be taken for granted. Where we have faltered, for example, in areas like ethnic and religious relations, let us make the necessary moves to bring things back on course.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, in his Merdeka Day message, rightfully reminded us that the people must remain united to defend the sovereignty of Malaysia.

"Whatever challenges there are, we must not despair.

"We must move forward to develop the country based on national solidarity," he said.

This year's theme, "My Sovereign Malaysia: My Homeland", reminds us that this is our home.

"We were born in our homeland Malaysia, we grew up in our homeland Malaysia, we make a living in our homeland Malaysia, and God willing, we will be buried in our homeland Malaysia," the Prime Minister said.

Which is why we need to embrace our differences and enhance our similarities to forge a unity that transcends tolerance or compromise.


Beauty of being Malaysian

Posted: 31 Aug 2013 06:56 PM PDT

While our nation is a country of endless possibilities, it is also a land of endless contradictions.

Well, it may be hard for many of us to believe but this is the Land of Countless Contradictions, and the exposure of armpits, mind you, is definitely regarded as "terlalu menggairahkan" (too arousing). We have been lectured on this often enough.

Wong Chun Wai, The Star

IT'S Merdeka Day. No Malaysian can possibly pass through the day (yesterday, to be precise) without a thought for our first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman.

That spellbinding image of Bapa Merdeka raising his right hand and leading the nation in shouting "Merdeka" seven times at the newly built Stadium Merdeka on Aug 31 1957 is etched forever in the minds of every Malaysian.

Nostalgia aside, I also wonder what the Tunku would have thought about the country and us, Malaysians, if he were alive today.

Yes, the slogan "Endless Possibilities" will soon be a buzzword but this is also a Land of Endless Contradictions.

But, as I wrote last week, I love these mind-boggling confusions. Malaysia is surely a more interesting place to live in than the clinically sterile Singapore.

Well, for starters, the Tunku would think we must have gone bonkers if we expect him to pester his Indonesian counterpart for help to ship in Indonesian maids and construction workers to Malaysia!

Bung Karno, as President Sukarno was called, would have freaked out and declared war on Malaysia, and not just a Confrontation!

But here we are, in 2013, and we expect Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to go to Jakarta, or any place where President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is present, to ask him if the maids are coming soon.

Here's the weird part about us Malaysians. We whine and grumble that there are too many foreigners in this country and in the same breath, we complain that the government is slacking by not getting us enough foreign labour.

Now, we are launching a campaign to send the illegals back – and we all know full well that those we send back will return the following week.

We used to blame the foreigners for every single crime in this country and now we are also blaming them for voting the ruling coalition back to power.

So who do we blame for the spike in crime now? The poor Indians – someone has to be the scapegoat, and for good measure we also blame the Tamil movie industry with its violent plots for influencing this 1.7 million minority group in our country to turn to a life of crime.

But the Tunku would have loved the over 100 TV channels available today with most of them showing re-runs of muscular men wrestling with giant catfish and giant snakes.

In his days, there were only two channels although the TV sets came with many knobs to tune in to other channels.

The Sports Toto draw was aired live every Sunday afternoon with Faridah Merican, now Datuk, hosting the "cabutan". Malaysians were so bored then that watching the drawing of numbers became routine on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

But the Tunku would have been perplexed by what is shown on TV these days, though with his open mind, he probably would have cracked a joke or two over it.

Scantily-clad dancers gyrating on Astro's MTV channel are a given but when it comes to the newspapers, the rules are totally the opposite. In print, armpits and navels cannot be exposed, in case the images send some of us into a sexual frenzy!

Well, it may be hard for many of us to believe but this is the Land of Countless Contradictions, and the exposure of armpits, mind you, is definitely regarded as "terlalu menggairahkan" (too arousing). We have been lectured on this often enough.

I am also sure the Tunku would be howling with laughter at some of the ridiculous antics of our politicians.

The golden age of our local cinema movies was during the time of the Tunku when we had P. Ramlee, the Vespa, curry puff hairstyle and the pop yeh yeh at nightclubs. We are talking class here.

But now, we have relegated ourselves to watching local movies of gangsters and hantu (ghosts) while movie makers attempting to make serious, clever movies on history find themselves subjected to threats and bullying – by politicians who have not even watched their movies!

Here's the best part! A movie about a rapist who beats up his wife and visits a nightclub, wins the best movie of the year award, with the leading character being almost hero-worshipped.

And that's not all, the Singaporean actor also wins the best local actor award!

If you are confused, I don't blame you, because many of us are confused, and that's why we keep on doing confusing things.

That's not all - the Tunku was always a football fan. This is the man who turned the Merdeka football tournament into a premier event in the region.

That was the best of the best. It was pure "gaya, mutu dan keunggulan" (style, quality and elegance), as a commercial from back then used to say. We beat the South Koreans, the Myanmars and practically any other foreign team that set foot on our soil.

Now, everybody can beat us. But no one at the Football Association of Malaysia is held responsible, even as the guys from the Maldives, who are trying to save their island from sinking, are ranked higher than us. Macam biasa aje, bro!

And if we talk about freedom, the Tunku would be floored because after 56 years of independence, lovesick Malaysian women are losing millions of ringgit each year to African Romeos posing as handsome and wealthy Englishmen.

It is simply incredible that these con men in Puchong or Sentul are able to convince our gullible ones that they are living in the English countryside and are looking for Malaysian love.

But don't get me wrong! I love this country! I repeat, lest some super-sensitive politician makes an issue out of this column, I love this country.

Well, there's one thing we consistently do very well at every Merdeka celebration – we produce the best TV commercials for these special occasions.

And most Malaysians still can laugh at ourselves, or at least at the politicians. Happy Merdeka Day!


Tell me what else is new

Posted: 31 Aug 2013 01:15 PM PDT


Yes Mahathir is right! We must kongsi. For every ringgit that we make, we must kongsi a percentage with culprits that masquerade as politicians, government servants and their machais. 

CT Ali, FMT 

What we can all agree to is that the leaders we have today are lacking in the values and graces that we would like them to have.

In my view, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has brought himself down just a notch by breaking his elegant silence on the arrogance and the self-serving persona that is Mahathir Mohamad!

There is nothing new in what Abdullah, lovingly known as Pak Lah, has to say on his quarrel with Mahathir in the book 'The Awakening'.

What he does is only to confirm that as prime minister of Malays, he was powerless to put Mahathir in his place – the same problem that the present prime minister, Najib Tun Razak now has.

What does that say about these two leaders? What does it say about Umno? What does it say about the state of politics in our country today?

There is much to be done if we are to put people and country above the needs of an old man who is past his prime, past his use by date in politics and certainly past any hope of redemption in the eyes of many people of this nation.

There was fear and loathing for Mahathir many years ago. Today only loathing remains. There is no need for Pak Lah to confirm this, unless, like all of us, he needed to give vent to all the frustrations and dislike he had for Mahathir.

Like of all us he had his regrets about what he should have done. Like most of us he had no second chance to make right what he thought he had done wrong while in the highest office of this land.

But Pak Lah forgets he can still council his son in law Khairy Jamaluddin. That upstart, too big for his boots, Khairy did much to make us all think just that much less of Pak Lah!

Before Khairy does much more damage to himself, to others and to his potential as a future leader, Pak Lah should do something about it.

I hope this time Pak Lah will make the effort and not again have regrets as to what he should have done and never did. Only by so doing can Pak Lah make Khairy understand the damage that arrogance and corruption do to the very psyche of our people and our nation.

Those of us who have been in business and have worked in Malaysia will know what arrogance and corruption is all about. We all have a heighten awareness of what we have to do with politicians, with government servants and with others who approach us to offer their services to help us in our business.

We look upon them with contempt and loathing and yet we know that without these dregs of society our business will suffer. Their 'expertise' could mean there is food on the table for our family or there is none.

It could mean success or failure to our life, work and all that goes with it – the employment of our staff, education for our children, the well being of our family.

In the early years when I started doing business selling burgers at the hawker's center at Padang Brown in Penang (beside the Penang Prison) I had no problems.

It was only later when I started a trading company in KL and began doing business with the Defence Ministry, DBKL, RISDA and other ministries that I started to understand what the 'kongsi' part of business meant.

Read more at: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2013/09/01/tell-me-what-else-is-new/ 

A review of ‘Tanda Putera’, a film that takes liberties with the truth

Posted: 31 Aug 2013 12:02 PM PDT


An elderly Chinese gentleman in the audience walked out halfway. My one regret is that I could not do the same. 

Erna Mahyuni, MMO 

For Merdeka, I watched Shuhaimi Baba's docu-drama "Tanda Putera". Fourteen other people were in the cinema at GSC Paradigm Mall in Petaling Jaya at 11.30am.

I am unsure if any of them enjoyed the film, though an elderly Chinese gentleman in the audience walked out halfway. My one regret is that I could not do the same. The heart of "Tanda Putera" is the friendship of the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein and Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, played by Rusdi Ramli and Zizan Nin respectively.

Sadly, neither of the actors was up to the mark, but more on that later.

To call this revisionist history would be too kind. "Tanda Putera" is a poorly written, abysmally researched train wreck that makes our local soap operas look like arthouse films.

What amazes me is that it cost RM5 million to make this schlock.

Let me first start with the writing. The dialogue is cringe worthy and I am unsure if it is properly representative of the times. At a critical juncture, an aide described civil unrest as a 'tension' situation. Oh my bahasa.

There is no proper use of narrative in the script. Flashbacks are dumped into the film willy-nilly (possibly to keep the audience from sleeping), nonsensical subplots and completely superfluous characters abound with the last half hour dedicated to the deterioration of Razak's health.

What Shuhaimi attempts to do is paint her impressions of the era and for the first time in film, address Umno's favourite bogeyman: May 1969.

The problem here is that "Tanda Putera" makes no attempt at nuance. There is no balance; it is a limited and unabashedly prejudiced view of history, painting Malays to be put-upon, virtuous and generous people who have to put up with the ungrateful Chinese so easily swayed by the evil Communists.

To top off a horrid script, we have an ensemble cast with the collective expressiveness of IKEA furniture. Rusdi Ramli's attempt at 'method' acting consists of him speaking in an unconvincing 'old-time' accent where he pronounces 'rahsia' (secret) as 'reh-sia' and having just two expressions. Either he is smiling with teeth or looking constipated. Like Keanu Reeves, for Rusdi there is no in-between.

Zizan Nin as Ismail fares no better. His forced camaraderie with Rusdi comes across as a parody of bromance, with a total absence of chemistry. A third of the film is just long, awkward dialogues where both men conspire to keep their wives (and the whole nation) in the dark about their respective health conditions.

The biggest travesty about Shuhaimi's script is that it paints two of our greatest statesmen as pompous idiots who do not trust their wives.

Read more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/a-review-of-tanda-putera-a-film-that-takes-liberties-with-the-truth 

Kredit: www.malaysia-today.net

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