Thursday, December 31, 2009

What does “New Year” mean?

It certainly means that the numeral has changed from 2009 to 2010.

A whole year has passed and only memories are left of it – good and bad

Is the year “new” or will we be “new”?

That we may have another year to appreciate Life that God has given us

It surely means that we all have grown older

And therefore inching towards death.

What does “Happy New year” mean?

Happiness is relative.

Some are happy being selfish and the “new” year is used to further fuel their selfish desires

Many people’s happiness is gained at the expense of other people’s misery.

I have never understood the New Year celebrations since I was a teenager. Growing older, I realize that people are simply creatures of habits and rituals – they simply do things that they do not understand because everyone else is doing it.

So, I won’t wish you a Happy New Year. From the bottom of my heart I wish you and myself the following reminders and wishes:

“May you all be less burdened in life and may you all cause less burden to others. If you cannot make the world a better place, do not make it worse.

While you are struggling to live a life, remember others have been given life to live too.

While you find your brown skinned child deserving of all the good things in life, try to remember that the yellow, black, white, etc children too have that same need. Sharing will not kill you. We will all die one day without trying.

While you believe you love God and have found a way to express your love for Him, try to remember that others too have found their way. Being violent in expressing love is not love – it is narcissism, violence and dangerous obsession.

Let us remind ourselves that our “good” station in life is a gift, not a representation of our ability. Like wise our “poor station” in life is not a representation of our ability either. It is a test and we will overcome”.

Wish you all a less burdened and sharing journey in this temporary life!

Peace !

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


By Osman Hj. Kamaluddin

Most of us have learned to ride a bicycle when we were small. Well, let us see the learning process that we went through. First, we told our self, (THOUGHT) that we want to learn and the reasons for our decision would be:

  1. It can be done as others have done it.
  2. It is fun.
  3. It is useful as a mode of transport. (Better than walking!)

From the above, we could say that because of the reasons mentioned, we got motivated (MOTIVATE) and decided (DECIDE) that we want to learn. So, after we made the decision, we took the BIG STEP, that is, learning to ride the bicycle (ACTION).

After we started to learn, we find that we were unable to do it with ease and to some of us (I believe, most of us), we had some ‘nightmare’ and even the ‘scars’ may have remained until now. (Mine, had to drink a couple of gallons of drain water from the drain in Klang back in the 70’s). Even though we had those bad experiences (OBSTACLES/PROBLEMS), we did not gave up! We went on learning even though, we had to go through, some of the ‘nightmares’ again. (PERSEVERANCE). We went on because we kept on ‘putting in our head’, the reasons mentioned above and also, those people who are closed to us gave us some ‘words of encouragement’ (MOTIVATE AGAIN). We learned and learned until we became good in riding the bicycle (PERSEVERANCE AGAIN).

Once we have mastered how to ride the bicycle, we felt the joys of achieving it. So, from the above, we could summarize the simple process of learning as follows:-


However, whether we realized it or not, our learning process we used when we were learning to ride the bicycle, did not stop when we could ride the bicycle! Nobody ‘hung up’ their bicycles immediately when they could ride the bicycles! Did we?

So, what did we do after we have learned the skill i.e. ride a bicycle? Of course, after that, we utilized it. We rode the bicycle to the school, to friends' houses, to shops etc. We rode and rode our bicycles until we had other modes of transportation that we know how to use. That is why, until now, if you have not ridden a bicycle for such a long time and if given one to ride, you could still do it and with ease. This type of learning process puts the skill and/or knowledge that you have acquired not only into your brain but also into your body or system. So, the Re- Summarized Learning Process should be:-


No wonder I cannot remember my algebra now!

Osman Hj Kamaludin is a marine surveyor who has for the past many years researched and observed on accelerated learning techniques. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

1Malaysia – Where is it heading to?.

When Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak first announced “1Malaysia”, I felt that it excited a large segment of the Rakyat. I was certainly excited as the slogan, if carried to its most logical conclusion could be a practical, far-reaching guide to the achievement of a true 1Nation. It can actually be vision for the government and the Rakyat to achieve.

1Malaysia is something that all the Rakyat can identify with. Most of the Rakyat had been living in peace since independence and before. Malaysia had the ugly experience of May 13, 1969 but then again, it was the result of politics rather than real hatred and enmity between the different ethnic origins. Even then, I recall that while a few of the participants in May 13 were going amuck, the bigger majority were shielding and helping each other out despite ethnic differences.

Today, however, the ghost of May 13 is unknown to the younger generation even though some irresponsible and uncreative older generation politicians keep trying to play it up. While the citizenry landscape has changed, many of the politicians’ mindset has not. There has been so many inter-marriages that it becomes almost ludicrous and cruel to differentiate Malaysians based on ethnic origins. To take the example of the former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who married a non-Malay (biologically as constitutionally, she may be a Malay)

In mixed marriages, while all are cousins at home, the moment they step into society, they are separated into Malay, Chinese, Indian, etc category by the adults who insist on laws and unwritten policies to this effect. It may take a while for these adults in power to realize that they will have to answer to God on the day of Judgement for infusing division from childhood purely for political ends.

The younger generation is generally embarrassed by the older generations’ insistence on ethnic segregation and ethnic based policies and speeches. Further, 50 years of Merdeka has also shown that it is untrue that solidarity based on ethnic similarity per se guarantees well-being. Even religious similarity is not a guarantee that the person who belongs to the same religious grouping with you will not oppress you. Many leaders have betrayed their own ethnic groupings many times over while others have assisted people from different ethnic groupings. Greed and treachery is not the monopoly of any one ethnic group. Good people and bad people are found everywhere.

The dramatic change in the political landscape has also educated the people that ethnicity is a wrong premise to proceed in the quest of justice for all. Today, you have almost equal number of participants from different ethnic origins on both sides of the political divide. The “Malay, Chinese or Indian political card” is now frowned upon as racist and an affront to human dignity (“perjuangan yang tidak bermaruah”).

In the above backdrop, 1Malaysia appears to give hope to the common folk that finally we can take the necessary real and bold steps to truly live as Malaysians under the Malaysian sun. This is a real hope and because I think a large segment of the Rakyat truly believes in this, it is for now a double edged sword for the Barisan Nasional Government. If Najib understands what this slogan means for the people (it does not matter what it means to him), and he can deliver it, then he will be remembered as the “Bapa Malaysia” and his BN government may get more votes at PRU13. However, if he does not live up to the Rakyat’s expectation of 1Malaysia, then, the Rakyat will find it hard to ever trust the BN again. I will so go so far to say that 1Malaysia is, in a sense an extremely powerful slogan.

I like the slogan. To me, it is the right guiding principle of governance in multi-ethnic and multi religious Malaysia. I think it can be utilized to bring forth radical and fundamental changes that will benefit the Rakyat in the long-run. It is due to this that the moment Najib announced the slogan, I began to write about what 1Malaysia should be about. I think I started writing it on my blog even before Najib could complete his eight principles of 1Malaysia on his blog!

I sincerely wish Najib all the strength and courage to actualize 1Malaysia into a reality that could make us feel truly Malaysian. To do this, the disbelievers should be removed and he must put in place people who will support him in making 1Malaysia a reality and not just a passing political slogan like “Islam Hadhari”.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Part 3: The Economy is doomed forever? – Boom-Bust Cycles

Boom-Bust Business Cycle – democapitalists lie on the people.

Ancient Chinese warfare discipline has good advice – before you want to chart out the strategy, understand the terrain that you want to conquer. So, let’s try to do that here.

It is accepted in current democratic-capitalistic (hereinafter referred to as “demo-capitalistic system”) thought that the economy will undergo cyclical patterns of “ups and downs” or “booms and bust”.  It has its roots in the classic business cycle theory. According to this theory, booms are initiated by a series of real inventions which in turn lead to real investment (employment of resources). Early periods of “boom” often leads to “jumping on the bandwagon” type of behaviour (economists call this competitive pressures caused by optimism) resulting in further investment than is necessary or profitable. They argue that this inevitably causes collapse or a bust of the economy. 

Business cycle economist actually welcomes this boom-bust phenomenon arguing that the economic forces will play out an equilibrium position thus achieving “efficiency of allocation of resources”! (we will have to come back to analyse this phrase). Their reasoning sounds perfectly logical and indeed up to the date of writing this article, it is accepted as an “economic truth” by none less than the economists of the renowned universities of the world (Harvard, Oxford, etc).

I have always had my apprehensions about “mutated economic theories” masquerading for centuries as premised on Adam Smith’s framework. Today we have various “sects” from the time of Adam Smith – the monetarists, the neo-classical economists, the Keynesians, etc. etc, etc. The world experience since the economic depressions of the 1930s has heightened my skepticism and in fact disbelief in these theories. The fact is, today one cannot really pinpoint what is the philosophical basis of any economic policy other than a concoction of fire-fighting measures with a view to temporarily sustaining the “economy” within the political life span of an elected leader. Other than that, it is clearly business as usual for the vested interest groups discussed earlier despite the impact on the mass citizenry.

The boom-bust theory with its justification of an equilibrium at the end of it seems to have overlooked the critical role of one greedy rascal – the banks and the financial institutions of sorts, that is, the glorified and protected ‘alongs’ (hereinafter referred to as the “gralongs”).

Recapping the boom-bust cycle: with inventions, there is investment leading to optimism and further over-investment.  This over-investment leads to a bust which in turn is said to eventually lead to equilibrium of the economy at which point it is argued that there is efficient employment of resources (hereinafter referred to as “The cycle logic”). I see the following flaws in this “logical argument’:-

1)                  The so-called equilibrium is a self defining concept. The trick is this: it does not solve any economic woes (there is still unemployment of resources) but in the world of demo-capitalistic economic thought, once equilibrium is reached, the situation is defined as efficient. You create the game and the rules, and according to the rules, the problem is solved! What about the unemployed, your ordinary mind may ask. That, in the world of the demo-capitalists is a wrong question. You should be asking: what about the employable but they are unemployed. In the past fifty years or so, it has become “employable and unemployable” and no longer “employed or unemployed”.  This is a very subtle development in the demo-capitalistic system which many are unaware of or choose to remain silent.  The implications and impact is massive – among other thing, it sustains the vested interest groups and ensures that the vast majority of the people remain worker ants in a state of dependency.

2)                  The cycle logic also overlooks the role of the gralongs. Firstly, we have to be very clear about the gralongs – they do not have any noble intentions other than to maximize their profits by creating DEBT.  Let us not get duped or conned into the jargons that have sprung in the last fifty years such as securities, bonds, mortgages, etc (nowadays they are termed in Arabic to appear divine sanctioned). Basically, they are debts.  There is nothing wrong with debt per se.  I still owe one of my staff twenty ringgit which she advanced when I was overseas. 

Back to the cycle logic, this is the missing link: there is no longer a distinction being made between “real” and “monetary”. For example, you produce a pencil and it is priced at RM10. If there are 10 pencils in the economy, the statistics will show that there is RM100 worth of pencils in the economy. Assuming, the price of pencils increase to RM20 each but the number of pencils remain the same. Statistically, your capitalist politician will boast to you that there is now RM200 worth of pencils. Statistically it has doubled! Very few will investigate and find out that in real terms, you actually have the same number of pencils. Now, assuming that your income had remained the same despite the doubling in the price of the pencil, you now may not be able to afford the pencil! Your standard of living in real terms is now worse off.  Unfortunately, we have now entered the era of the statistical dupers.

Now, the cycle logic seems to deliberately or inadvertently omit the role of the gralongs during the period of upswing and downswing. Gralongs often give out debts (investment more polite!), and thus while encouraging greater increase in production and consumption they actually magnify the boom artificially. However, when there is the slightest pessimism in the market, they magnify the bust by their sudden and abrupt withdrawal of facilities - head you lose, tails they win. It is only at the time of default of payment that the banks get its hands on real goods – your property, your cars, etc.  The boom is often characterized by the ‘monetary layer’ which will burst and hurt very innocent hardworking people because the ‘real layer’ has never increased or had increased when it was not necessary. For example, allowing the construction of houses in a particular area because that area is seen profitable even though the real need is elsewhere (this another area where is a complex web of deceit going on).

Since therefore, the gralongs are playing prominent roles in the boom-bust cycle and it is no longer due to demand and supply of real goods and services, the solution seems to be to urgently review the roles of these gralongs. However, as argued earlier, vested interest groups will not allow this. Further, the boom-bust cycle has become a major deceit and a lie couched in very clever and sophisticated language and statistics. This is because, it has ignored the rise and the critical role played by the financial capitalists. 

It may sound complex but the basics are simple. Assuming we play a game of monopoly. You buy houses or hotels as the dice falls. But somewhere through the game, we decide to use (buy/sell) the currency instead to see who can win the game. The currency, which in the beginning was the medium of exchange has now become a good unto itself! At the end of the game, there will be no hotels and houses built but we will all have monopoly money!!! And if there is only one house on the board, all the others will be priced out by the person with the most amount of currency in his hand. Now wonder we are doomed!

3)                  The boom-bust cycle pretends to be a result of free market mechanism and ignores other factors such as the role of the capitalists, the oligopolies and the speculators. ……….to be continued in PART 4 – God willing.

Peace !

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Luckiest Nut In The World !!!

I thought it is good if  I post a few videos (if we can find them!) related to the topic under discussion (economy) before I post the article on "Fundamental approaches to economic reform" . The following video is a well done effort by Emily James on free trade,  liberalization of the economy, loans by world bank, IMF, WTO and in short the "current economic system". Enjoy or be sad ! Either way, hopefully you are enlightened.


The Economy Is Doomed Forever? - Part 2

The Fundamental approach verses the current vested interest approach

by Jahaberdeen MOhamed Yunoos.

Prologue:- the vested interest groups.

Allow me to briefly clarify what I mean by the “vested interest group”. They consist of the following groups:

1) The ‘experts’ or the ‘gurus” of the current economic ‘system’. They will argue in sophisticated language and use the favourite mesmerizing trick of charts and statistics to beguile the unsuspecting and ignorant public to sustain or to continue supporting the system. They will also present the case to the public that the world has consistently benefited from the current system and explain away major defects as transient anomalies in the system which will be ironed out. They know that we are too busy “living” and too preoccupied with our respective trivia that we leave critically important things in our lives to the gurus or the experts. Believe it or not, our educational system has been designed to make us uncritical and averse to thinking and to turn us into mere worker ants. We seem to forget however, that we are created as human beings and not ants.

2) The economic/financial advisers/ executives – the fanatical disciples of the gurus or experts who have everything to lose if the entire system was revamped or thrown out. You will notice that only those who are agreeable to the axioms, theorems and processes of the economic system will be hailed as “excellent”, “brilliant” and therefore given positions to safeguard the system. Hence, we must be totally gullible fools to expect these very same people to reform the system that they want to safeguard!

3) The politicians in the “democratic-capitalistic” system of governance. The political structure is based on the basis of “vote-buying” in various forms and it has worked well for sustaining the political elites in power. There has to be major inequality between them and the majority of the citizens to enable them to lord over the citizens. It is not accidental. It is deliberate. This is called ensuring that “the playing field is not level”. The masses are forever kept in the position of dependence on their political lords. If we had landlord-peasant relationship in the past, we still have the same relationship but called differently.

With very few exceptions, all over the democratic-capitalistic world, political power has become the inheritance of select elitist families for decades.

Further more, the current political thought in so-called democratic societies accept that funding and lots of them are necessary for anyone who aspires to serve the country. Can you see the contradiction in terms which we seem to have helplessly and ignorantly accepted? The source of such funding can only come from the current economic system. Is this why capitalism, especially financial capitalism and current form of “democracy” go hand in glove with each other? These politicians have a vested interest for the system not to be reformed fundamentally.

4) Further more, the current political thought in so-called democratic societies accept that funding and lots of them are necessary for anyone who aspires to serve the country. To get into the position where you want to contribute, you must first be wealthy! Can you see the contradiction in terms which we seem to have helplessly and ignorantly accepted? The source of such funding can only come from the current economic system. Is this why capitalism, especially financial capitalism and current form of “democracy” go hand in glove with each other? These politicians have a vested interest for the system not to be reformed fundamentally.

The political system with its need for “political funds” necessarily gives rise to the need for cronyism, nepotism and corruption. As long as the current democratic-capitalistic system and current political thought dominates, these can never be eliminated. All over the “democratic world”, you will find that top politicians have their hand deep in some critical and profitable business either directly or indirectly. They depend on the current economic “system” for their power and maintenance of lifestyles.

Have you not realized that no politician has seriously implemented a policy of complete non involvement in business by anyone who is part of the Government?

5) The capitalist lords themselves. All over the world, industries and sectors are controlled by families or select elitist groups. It is always the same people. With the capital that they have, they exert tremendous power over the shaping of opinions in all aspect of life all over the world. They have in their armoury not only capital but through it so-called experts to endorse what they want, diverse institutions (including and especially institutions of “learning” for the purposes of indoctrination), and such. It is a massive network beyond the reach and understanding of the commoner.

The vested groups will never allow for any fundamental change in the current system or thought even though it may benefit the greater majority of the people in a real sense (not cosmetic as it is now). Hence, do not expect any real change, maybe semblance of change but it is still within the same arena with the same players and hence, the same set of problems for the greater majority.

And for those who are hardcore mentally indolent - imagine you being in politics for 15 years and has never held a permanent job or in any real business, is it possible for you to own a bungalow? If you look around, you will find many such folks who not only own bungalows but are able to live lifestyles which even a hardworking lawyer or architect is unable to afford in relative terms! This is the “miracle” of the capitalistic-democratic system for its diehard disciples and worshippers.

In brief, therefore, the vested interest approach will not be interested to reform the system fundamentally. Whatever “reforms” they present will be peripherals that will not hurt the system and hence, them. Can you imagine a banker agreeing that they will now behave like all other businesses ie take business risks as usual without the mind boggling special protection that they now enjoy?

And the consistent problem with the laid back public is this: what they do not understand, they applaud. Heroes are made not because the person is ‘heroic’ but because the rest are turkeys (no offence to the turkey).


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Economy Is Doomed Forever? - Part 1

by Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos

It is almost a truism to say that there will always be problems in life. I would add “in all aspects of life”. Often times, I do not see what occurs as a problem but a hurdle or an event that needs to be addressed. It only mutates into a problem when the event or thing is not addressed or is addressed but inappropriately.

For example, one may see it as a problem that one has to move from point A to point B. But to me, it is simply a life situation that needs to be addressed with several options – walk, use a bullock cart, bicycle, car, train, plane, etc. The choice of the option is critically important – short term measure or long term, expedient or fundamental and so on. Unfortunately, I have seen that Governments (due largely because of the nature of the citizens themselves) often opt for the short term and expedient option. Since it is short term and expedient, the so called ‘solution’ itself raises a host of diverse other problems. I see this happening particularly in developing countries that refuse to learn from the experiences of the developed countries.

Take the economy, for example. Up to the time of writing this article, Laissez faire or free market enterprise is being taught in the universities as if it is being practiced in any part of the world. Adam Smith’s ideas as expounded in his book “The Wealth of Nations” and the magical ‘invisible hand’ that will equitably distribute resources in the economy is a Shangri La that does not exist in real time. Today, one cannot really describe accurately what the nature of the economy of any country is.

The reality appears to be an arbitrary concoction of free market, state controlled and everything else thrown into the boiling economic pot in the spirit of fire fighting which we have been accustomed to since the depressions of the 1930s. Hence, we are crisis managing the economy all the time. The so-called economic experts justify our inability to confront the truth of our refusal to address fundamentals by inventing jargons like “cyclical phenomenon”, “overheating”, “financial meltdown”, and so on. The fact is: we are in a major world economic crisis and it will recur even if we “recover” in the short term. The crisis started long ago when we imported the capitalistic model and then became worse when it silently mutated into financial capitalism.

Fundamentals are never addressed, largely due to the existing vested interests of the very people who are supposed to be the caretakers of the economy and our paid, appointed thinkers. This will be addressed subsequently in this article. Let me move to an issue which is more easily discussed – living with misconceptions or in simple words – believing the lies that are told to us.

Everyone who wakes up wakes up accepting that we live in a free market capitalistic economy. What this implies is that people believe that, basically, demand and supply proceeds unhindered, there is movement of capital towards the creation of good and services (hence employment) and that competitiveness ensures efficiency and quality. The reality however shows this perception to be largely untrue for several reasons. I will discuss three of them here.

Firstly, there are many aspects of our life where the goods and services are not actually desired but they are just put into the market. Your needs are created for you and you do not really have much choice. Houses are built and if you can afford it (economists call this affordability as “demand’), you buy it. Demand has nothing to do with desire. If you want to buy a car, the economy dictates the process through which you can own the car – get a bank loan and service the interest.

The economy dictates that since you live in a terrace house and therefore own no land to grow your food, you have to find a job to buy your food. And to satisfy your other needs (clothing, education, medical, etc), you have to be gainfully employed.

Effectively, to live or survive in this economy, you must be healthy, and able to work until your dying day. In this economy, you will have been converted into a slave of the economy for the purposes of “sustaining” the economy. We have all, through years of indoctrination accepted this as a reality. We do not think of other available options because they will be presented as unavailable by the vested interest groups which you are blissfully ignorant.

Secondly, and I have argued this even when I was a mere student of economics, the so-called free market will mutate naturally mutate into monopolies and oligopolies. This is the natural progression of human caprice and the power of capital when left unregulated by responsible governments.

For example, small banks have systematically been eased out and replaced by a few banks – oligopoly. How much bargaining power do you have with banks? How many contract terms with the banks have you negotiated? You just sign! Everyone seems to have forgotten that commercial banks are businesses like every other business with the aim of maximising profits. However, they enjoy greater advantages and power over the so-called “customers”. Raperas must see that there are increasingly greater oligopolistic tendencies in the financial market and hence greater control over the customers. Those who control the very medium of exchange (money) needed in this economy controls your life. As a reminder, the banks are lending you "credit" - what is that??? (Another area where the public should be educated on)

Raperas should be worried that almost all the essential industries are largely in the hands of oligopolies – food, water, medical, etc. The argument often advanced is that of economies of scale and efficiency but I am certain it is going to and has lead to profiteering and bondage of the ordinary people. This will lead (if it has not already) to the phenomenon of “corporatism” – where corporations controls our lives in every aspect. Almost everyone today is getting caught up with the hype of "food biotechnology" without having thought out the longer term repercussions.

Thirdly, the rise of financial capitalism disguising as free market capitalism. Malaysians have an apt description for this phenomenon – “rise of the alongs and gamblers”. Finance capitalism has nothing to do with developing the real economy. It is characterized by the pursuit of profit from the purchase and sale of financial products such as bonds, stocks, futures and other derivatives.

It also includes the lending of capital at interest and trading in currencies. Financial capitalism destroys the philosophy behind free market. Financial capitalism puts income into the hands of those who do not produce any real goods and services – they have the “demand”. In simple language, these groups can and do price out goods and services beyond the reach of ordinary people. Some economists explain this away as "inflationary tendencies". What I am saying is this: the majority WILL get poorer sooner or later!

NEXT: The Fundamental approach verses the current vested interest approach. God Willing.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Nazri says Dr M is a racist...and calls himself a hypocrite!

Mac, a brother blogger writes an "interesting logic" at To Think About It.

"The Selangor state government, under Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, claims that the BTN course is a political machine used by UMNO to brainwash/indoctrinate the people. Not having gone for any BTN courses myself, I am in no position to comment with the greatest certainty, but I can say that I am not surprised. Well actually, I am surprised that it has taken so long for this to be brought to light".

You can continue reading it here.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Struggle for Justice vs Pragmatism

by Jahaberdeeen Mohamed Yunoos

"Without the slightest of doubt, everyone you speak to will want justice. They will extol virtues of justice and make speeches of it. But how many will fight for it? How many will fight against injustice when it does not affect them indirectly? Allah says this:

“O you who believe! Why say you that which you do not do? Grievously odious is it in the sight of God that you say that which you do not do”. (Quran: 61:2-3)

We are all good people, we like to believe. We often tell ourselves that we should try to live a “non-controversial life, a safe life” and therefore we do not want to meddle with things that do not directly concern us or our family. We even turn a blind eye to the injustice suffered by others on the pretext of: “what can I alone do?” Since everyone asks that question, nobody does anything!...."

You may continue reading it further here.

Friday, December 11, 2009

For The Weekend!

by Rustam

Since Jahamy is away and has left me to is jahamy's current favourite singer and actress..Monica Agnes to entertain you for the weekend.

And this is English...

Enjoy ! (Life should be complete ... not too serious all the time!!!)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Power Hungry Clerics Can Confuse The People.

History has repeatedly shown us the danger posed by power hungry clerics when they have the opportunity to occupy positions of power in politics This opportunity is often used to confuse the people with regards to truth and falsehood. With this confusion, it becomes easy for them to infuse their influence in the minds and hearts of the people. A Muslim who is guided by the Quran know the warning alerted by God as follows in surah At-Taubah:

“O you who believe! there are indeed many among the priests and anchorites, who in falsehood devour the wealth of people and hinder (them) from the way of God. And there are those who bury gold and silver and spend it not in the way of God: announce unto them a most grievous penalty” (Quran: 9:34)

Such power hungry clerics not only cheat people of their wealth but also hinder them from God’s way.

You can continue reading it here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Illusion and deception of Power and Glory

Contrary to popular belief, power and glory are not ‘difficult’ to achieve though it is thought to be achieved by only a select few in society. In a sense, everyone who is born gradually attains power of sorts as he grows until he reaches a pinnacle of power whereupon; his power declines and then ends with death. A simple example will be the comparison between a baby and a teenager. The teenager yields much power compared to a baby.

This natural aspect of power has often been forgotten by many because of the distraction of “artificial” power”. By artificial power, I mean that power that is enhanced by the use of illusions and deceptive methods. Example, teenager A of equal natural capacity with teenager B is of equal power naturally. However, when the image of teenager B is artificially propped up by various means, teenager B creates the illusion that he is more powerful than teenager A. Examples of artificially propping tools are like certain clothing, a fictitious storyline, etc.

You can continue reading it at The Third Eye.

Peace !

Sunday, November 29, 2009

What Malaysia Do We Have?

Do we have the true love for our country and its people to ask the difficult questions that need to be asked?

Do we have the will and courage to put aside political, religious and racial differences to find right answers and give effect to them?

Do we care enough for all the children of this Nation that we, as adults, will cleanse our souls, minds and hearts of all the prejudices we may have inherited?

What hope are we giving our children and the youth?

Do we truly believe that God has given this Nation enough for all to share and to make life better for the underprivileged?

Can we be united against those racists, religionists, bigots, and vested interests groups that want to divide us and to stay disunited?

What Malaysia do we have? What Malaysia do we want?

Peace !

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Respon Dr Ngo Kepada Dr Ridhuan Tee dalam Isu Bahasa Malaysia

Dr. Mohd Ridhuan Tee bin Abdullah (Tee Chuan Seng) menulis dalam blog nya bahawa:

"Saya amat mengharapkan kerajaan tidak akan tunduk kepada desakan Persekutuan Persatuan-persatuan Cina Malaysia (Hua Zong) supaya membantu 60 Chinese Independent Secondary School serta mengikhtiraf sijil yang dikeluarkan (UEC)".

Dan juga bertanya: "Saya tidak menafikan ada segelintir pelajar Cina yang berjaya mendapat keputusan cemerlang dalam bahasa Melayu, tetapi bilangan amat kecil. Itupun setelah diwajibkan lulus. Bayangkan jika syarat itu tidak ada. Apakah belajar bahasa Melayu kerana terpaksa belajar atau semangat sayangkan bahasa kebangsaan? Fikirkanlah".

Dr Ngo Han Chiang memberi respon kepada artikel Dr Ridhuan dalam blog nya dengan menulis:

"Ada banyak cara untuk memperkasakan bangsa. Bahasa merupakan di antara cara yang berkesan. Di Malaysia tidak ada pertikaian langsung soal Bahasa Malaysia sebagai bahasa rasmi. Ia dipelihara , dipertahan dan diperuntukkan dalam Perlembagaan. Cuma di Malaysia, bahasa ibunda kaum lain juga diberi hak untuk digunakan dan diperkembangkan dan ini menjadi titik persoalan di antara pejuang-pejuang Dong Cong,Hua Zong, parti politik, ahli akademik dan persatuan bahasa kebangsaan yang lain".

Dr Ngo selanjutnya menjawab Dr Ridhuan Tee sebegini:

"Walaupun orang Cina dan India baik di kampung mahupun di bandar tidak mempunyai penguasaan BahasaMalaysia yang kononnya tidak baik, namun ini tidak bermakna mereka anti Melayu atau anti bahasa Malaysia. Malah di kalangan mereka, rakan yang paling baik mereka adalah orang Melayu. Bukan semua orang Melayu yang belajar di sekolah kebangsaan juga dapat menguasai bahasa Malaysia dengan baik. Cuba suruh orang Melayu kelantan atau melayu Kedah atau Pinang bercakap atau menulis menggunakan bahasa loghat mereka. Saya rasa orang Melayu lain pun tidak faham apatah lagi bangsa bukan Melayu yang lain!

Penguasaan atau kurangnya penguasaan Bahasa Malaysia tidak menjadikan kita ‘kurang keMalaysiaan’.Ramai orang Cina, India dan yang lain menguasai Bahasa Malaysia dengan baik. Ia bukan lagi satu perkara yang dimegah-megahkan (to shout about) jika mereka ini boleh bertutur dan menulis dengan baik. Sebenarnya kecekapan menguasai Bahasa Malaysia oleh orang bukan Melayu sudah merupakan satu perkara yang lumrah dan semula jadi seperti orang Inggeris bertutur Bahasa Inggeris!"

Baca lah artikel Dr Ridhuan Tee dahulu dan kemudian artikel Dr Ngo di blog masing-masing dan buat penilian - pemikiran siapa lebih berasaskan perlembagaan, nilai universal mahupun nilai-nilai anjuran Al-Quran serta objektif.


Thursday, November 26, 2009


By Osman Hj. Kamaluddin

Ever wondered why there are so many tuition centers in town? If we were to ask any parents whether they send their kids to these tuition centers, the replies received would be, mostly do! So, what does this imply? What kind of ‘signal’ is it sending?

Could it be that the present kids are not clever enough? Could it be that because of this, they need further ‘coaching’? Well, I don’t think so, as there are no and/or any scientific researches and/or findings to show that they are any difference form the kids in the past. If this is not the reason, than what could it be? Could it be the education system we have?
Let us ‘explore’ the education system we are using.

In our education system, the basic method of teaching is using the ‘classroom method’ i.e. taking 30 to 40 students then put them in a room called classroom and teach. This is the method which we and mostly others, are using since time in memorial. Did anybody ever thought about the history of this ‘classroom method’?


It’s well known that the roots of our education system go back to the early Industrial Revolution. The demand then was for large numbers of workers who would mind machines and neither complains nor question.

The model for the system was, literally, the Prussian army. The driving thought behind the education and training of the Prussian army was that 20 percent of the recruits would turn out to be officers and 80 percent would be troops (or cannon fodder!) So, a factory model system of education was produced, large classes designed for basic skills. The education of the many sacrificed to the needs of the few!

And to quote from Wikipedia – Prussian Education System:


"During the 18th century, the Kingdom of Prussia was among the first countries in the world to introduce tax-funded and generally compulsory primary education, comprising an eight-year course of primary education, Volksschule. It provided not only the skills needed in an early industrialized world (reading, writing, and arithmetic), but also a strict education in ethics, duty, discipline, and obedience. Affluent children often went on to attend preparatory private schools for an additional four years, but the general population had virtually no access to secondary education. Current U.S education comes from the Prussian system, a system designed to create good employees and soldiers, people who blindly follow orders, waiting to be told what to do, including what to do with there money. Prussian model teaches to obey orders and do what you are told, become employees who are content to work for the rich or become soldiers who sacrifice their lives to protect the wealth of the rich"..


Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I saw the movie. I like it very much for many reasons. Mainly because all through the movie so many verses from the Quran keep coming to my mind – those relating to end of times, those relating to human nature, etc. Amazing is it not? A movie made in Hollywood inspired me to recall verses from the Quran! Is this allowed???

Other reasons, the main one being – when “shit hits the roof”, the first to suffer are ordinary folks like you and me. Politicians, corporate guys with tonnes of money and the other elitists seem to be able to escape or at least make the attempt first. The rest of us “obedient, subservient fools” all our life – kapito!!! Well, slaves do not have rights.

We have never mattered other than to be door mats for them to go forward. By the time we wake up, it is time to sleep forever! Aren’t you having fun living your life like this?

The movie also exemplifies reality – it is the ordinary unselfish, caring, saviour citizen or Rapera, if you like, that really makes the difference when there are real chaos. Politicians and religionists are relevant only during the good times. Of course, otherwise, how to organize the pomp and crowd?

And why the movie will never be made in Malaysia? A few reasons like these:

1. Our film industry is still in a sorry state - because of the mindset and circumstances our politicians and religionists have created for YEARS!
2. Creativity is not allowed;
3. Such a movie may be disallowed as the relevant authorities may say that it will affect the “faith” of the movie goers – my God – depicting end of times??? NO! No! – hence never in BM. Those who can understand Malay need constant “protection” in all areas of life.
4. You may not get political support – nothing moves in Malaysia unless the political demigods give YOU, the puny citizen the go-ahead.
5. A movie cannot be made in Malaysia unless it is artificially flavoured with some political agenda disguising as “policies”.
6. Budget may be inflated due to “sumbangan ikhlas” and hence not economic.

Peace !

Monday, November 23, 2009

Why don’t people just realize this?

When you are sick, you go and see a doctor. If it is a simple cold or fever, his medicine may help you recover. Actually, most of the time, we do not know whether the medicine actually helped us recover or merely expedited the recovery. In any event, the point is: if you or your child is sick or very sick, YOU or your immediate family or friends will have to take care of that – not some government authority.

When you become unemployed or have not found a job and worry about your 4 kids and your wife, it is you who will be making an effort to find the necessary money so that your family can sustain itself. There is a need to buy food, rents to pay, and other financial commitments to settle. This will be the time when the banks and the credit card companies will not only be unfriendly but downright cruel. No religious authority or cleric or any government authority will knock on your door to find our if your child has eaten last night. At the worst moment, you will have to swallow your pride and borrow from your friends or relatives. Bottom line – YOU and YOU ALONE will have to fend for and take care of your family’s safety and future. And of course, the direct assistance of God. Have you ever in your life called up any religious authority or any Ulama or cleric to come and help you?  DO you think they will come if you call them?

We all have personal problems. Life can be a roller coaster. There are times when life seems too unbearable and things around us simply disturbs us.  This is the time we need someone who we can talk too. Someone who can lift our spirits up or just to listen. Who do you call? The nearest Ustad? You ask him how to sort out your feelings? I am sure you talk to your good friends or maybe to someone in your family.

Who do you think is going to take care of you when you are very old, frail and worse very sick? While you are alive, it is most probably your family or your friends. Or for those without families, the old folks home. Do you find any religious authority there to help you through your old age? Do they come and wipe your buttocks when you shit in bed or change your adult diapers because you cannot move to the toilet? Be sure that they will be there only when you die – to pray for your dead body!

Think. Think.

All your life in all the vital moments, who is beside you and around you bearing and sharing the burden of life with you? Think. Talk to yourself and think about all the difficult times of your life. How did you face them? Who helped you to face them? Some stranger with a name tag saying that he is a religious authority?

Do you not realize that the so-called religious authorities are there only during the happy and safe moments in life to exert their power over you?

If I am wrong in this, please, please let me know and I will apologise for what I have written here.

If I am right, then what in God’s name makes you surrender to them?

Peace !

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Reader's idea of Rapera

I received this email and the pics from Osman Hj Kamaluddin. Very inspiring.


I believe Rapera ni macam lighthouse dalam 2 gambar ni.
Walaupun dalam keadaan tenang tetapi tetap menjalankan amanah nya. Tak complacent.
Walaupun di landa ombak dan badai, ia tetap utuh dan tak gentar untuk menjalankan prinsip nya.
Lebih kurang macam tu lah........
Apa macam ok kah......?

[I think you got it right!. Thanks Osman] For the picture below thanks to Flickr from Yahoo.

What do you think? We are looking for logos to represent the Rapera spirit.  The oil lamp is being "temporarily" used inspired by Quran 24: 35-36.

lately, I have been getting many emails asking me what is the concept of "Rapera". To get an idea of what I mean by "Rapera", you may go to the following links:

Any ideas for a logo?

Peace !

Friday, November 20, 2009


By Osman Hj. Kamaluddin

Not sure whether we (especially teachers) do realize or not what really happened in a classroom learning process. What I mean is that, usually, the teacher would start with teaching the students, providing relevant information on the subject that is being taught. After ‘transferring’ the knowledge to the students, the teacher would obviously want to know whether the ‘transferring’ has been achieved and this is usually done by the teacher asking that one million dollar question! ANY QUESTION?

When this question is put forward, the teacher would be scanning around for any reaction from the student. Within these few seconds, the students, after receiving that question from the teacher would be thinking how to react and usually, in their mind (which I have identified only 3 but maybe more.), these types of thought would be playing:

1. The Pretenders – These students really don’t understand and want to ask questions. BUT when they look around, they see that nobody raises up their hands. So, they would interpret that everyone understands except them. These would make them feel stupid in front of everyone and that is not a nice feeling. It could also be that they do not want to ask questions fearing ‘prosecution’ from the teacher. They may be thinking that the teacher would interpret that by them asking the questions, the teacher would be thinking that they were not paying attention as others were paying attention and that’s why the others didn’t ask any question! Sometimes, they also fear sarcasm from teachers with remarks like ‘simple thing like that also cannot understand? Or ‘have explained everything in details also cannot understand?’

So, with all these thoughts in their mind, these students would react like this, PRETEND TO UNDERSTAND!

2. The You First – This group would usually involve 2 closed friends or partners. Student A would ask student B whether he/she understand and student B answers No and likewise when student B ask the same question, student A would answer the same i.e. NO. So, after that, student A would instruct student B to ask the question and likewise, student B comes back, instructing student A to ask the question. So, you will hear the ‘YOU ASK LAH!’ being whispered many times!

3. The Thinker – These students may understand about 80 % only. So, they would be thinking whether to ask about the remaining 20 % BUT they take a very long time to make the decision because they are THINKERS!

At the end, after the teacher finished scanning around for reaction (that would be a few seconds only) and when nobody asks anything, the teacher would assume that everyone understands and would say ‘ OK, let’s go to the next subject !’


Osman Hj Kamaludin is a marine surveyor who has for the past many years researched and observed on accelerated learning techniques.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Peristiwa penuduhan Dr. Mohd. Asri Zainul Abidin: mencabar kewibawaan Mufti dan menimbulkan persoalan lain?

oleh: Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos

Kosmos online melapurkan bahawa:

“Mengikut pertuduhan, Asri didakwa mengajar agama Islam tanpa tauliah daripada JAIS di kediaman No. 2, Lorong 2C, Taman Sri Ukay, Ampang dekat sini antara pukul 8.10 malam dan 9.45 malam 1 November lalu.
Asri didakwa mengikut Seksyen 119(1) Enakmen Pentadbiran Agama Islam Selangor 2003 yang membawa hukuman denda maksimum RM3,000 atau penjara maksimum dua tahun atau kedua-duanya jika sabit kesalahan”.

Di dalam “sejarah agama Islam” di Malaysia, ini merupakan pertama kali seorang bekas Mufti di dakwa diatas pertuduhan mengajar tanpa bertauliah. Pada peringkat ini, memang terlalu awal untuk membuat sebarang komen terhadap inti pati pertuduhan kerana kes ini belum bermula lagi. Sepasti nya perjalanan kes ini akan melibatkan pelbagai perkara seperti takrif “mengajar”, “agama Islam” dan sebagai nya. Dari aspek ini, mungkin perjalanan kes ini akan meningkatkan kefahaman orang awam mengenai “pentadbiran agama Islam” oleh “ajensi agama” di Negara ini.

Memandangkan dewan Undangan Negri Selangor telah meluluskan Enakmen Pentadbiran Agama Islam Selangor 2003 dan kini sudah pun ada pertuduhan di bawah Enakmen ini di hadapkan teradap Dr Asri dalam Mahkamah Syariah, maka seelok nya kita biarkan proses undang-undang ini berjalan. Dalam konteks ini, tidak tepat juga seorang Ahli Parlimen yang tidak berparti (tetapi tidak jelas bebas) untuk mempersoalkan implementasi undang-undang ini yang di bawah kerajaan PKR. Ia seharusnya bertanya kepada kerajaan Selangor.

Namun, kita harus mengkaji nya dari aspek-aspek yang lain. Pertama, Peristiwa ini jelas menunjukkan bahawa pihak Jais berpendapat seorang Mufti itu sendiri perlu untuk mendapatkan tauliah apabila tempoh nya sebagai mufti habis. Seorang Mufti di anggap atau sekurang-kurang nya di ketengahkan kepada masyarakat sebagai seorang yang arif di dalam agama Islam. Mufti di anggap bukan sahaja sebagai seorang “jurist” atau ahlul fekah tetapi sebagai seorang “ulamak agama”. Hampir jarang atau tidak kedengaran seorang Melayu Muslim tidak setuju dengan pandangan seorang Mufti kalau dibandingkan sebagai contoh dengan Peguam Negara.

Ini adalah kerana seorang Mufti bukan sahaja di lihat sebagai pakar undang-undang syariah tetapi secara amnya sebagai seorang agama yang disegani. Persepsi am selama ini ialah: bercanggah pendapat dengan seorang Mufti samalah dengan bercanggah pendapat dengan ajaran Islam. Besar kemungkinan pertuduhan terhadap Dr Asri akan mengubah persepsi ini di kalangan masyarakat terhadap kumpulan orang agama. Kini jelas bahawa seolah-olah seorang Mufti hilang “kewibawaan” bercakap mengenai Islam apabila ia menjadi bekas Mufti.

Kalau kita ambil contoh Peguam Negara, satu jawatan yang di hormati oleh peguam-peguam di Negara ini, perkara sedemikian tidak timbul. Bagi Peguam Negara, sebarang pandangan yang bercangah dengan beliau tidak menjadi masalah langsung. Beliau tidak akan kecil hati serta tidak menjadi kesalahan di bawah “perundangan sibil”. Ini adalah kerana didalam disiplin perundangan sibil, perbezaan pandangan benar-benar dianggap sebagai memperkayakan sistem perundangan Negara. Kepelbagaian pandangan adalah suatu yang lazim dan tidak seorang peguam mahupun peguam Negara sendiri yang menekankan hanya pandangan nya diterima sebagai betul. Kesemua hujah-hujah adalah berasaskan nas dan kemunasabahan.

Kedua, faktor keperluan untuk mendapatkan tauliah untuk “mengajar Islam” juga mungkin menimbulkan pelbagai persepsi. Ia membawa implikasi bahawa amalan Islam di Negara ini terikat amat rapat dengan perundangan. Dalam ertikata lain, seorang Melayu Muslim dalam Negara ini tidak dapat mengamalkan Islam kecuali seperti mana yang ditentukan oleh perundangan syariah Negara ini iaitu pengubal-pengubal undang-undang tersebut. Adakah ini membawa maksud bahawa individu Muslim tidak mempunyai sebarang pemilihan dalam mengamalkan Islam seperti mana yang difahami oleh nya?

Walaupun perkara ini adalah berkaitan dengan “mengajar mengenai Islam”, namun rakyat Muslim akan bertanya samada wujud nya perundangan-perundangan lain yang tidak diketahui umum yang membatasi atau mengawal amalan Islam mereka. Tanda tanya ini menjadi serius apabila orang awam membandingkan diri mereka dengan seorang yang berstatus bekas mufti dan graduan universiti berkelulusan phd.

Ketiga, peristiwa ini juga akan mencetuskan perbincangan mengenai apakah yang dimaksudkan dengan istilah “undang-undang” syariah di Negara ini? Ahli akademik memang arif tentang maksud istilah ini dari aspek teori nya. Begitu juga orang awam sekian lama menganggap bahawa istilah ini merujuk kepada “undang-undang Islam” tanpa sebarang soal atau selidik. Namun, kini akan timbul apakah maksud istilah ini dari segi praktiknya?

Setiap orang Islam yang mengambil agama nya secara serius tahu bahawa amalan agama nya adalah bersumberkan Al-Quran dan Sunnah. Ramai yang tidak sedar bahawa perundangan syariah dalam praktis adalah juga bersumberkan ijma ulama dan kias. Kini, seolah-olah terdapat satu lagi kawalan terhadap amalan mereka dari segi praktik iaitu perundangan yang di istilahkan “syariah”. Adakah menjadi kesalahan dibawah perundangan syariah Negara ini sekiranya seorang rakyat Muslim ingin mengesahkan samada yang di istilahkan sebagai “undang-undang syariah” itu benar-benar bertepatan dengan Al-Quran dan Sunnah? Bagaimana jika seorang Muslim itu berpandangan bahawa suatu peruntukkan dibawah undang-undang syariah itu tidak bertepatan dengan AL-Quran dan Sunnah?

Persoalan-persoalan seperti diatas perlu diperjelaskan oleh kerajaan serta ajensi agama supaya Muslim yang ikhlas tidak terlanggar undang-undang syariah Negara ini.
Persoalan-persoalan ini juga penting supaya rakyat Muslim tahu tanggunjawap mereka dibawah undang-undang syariah di Negara ini. Pendekata, jika rakyat Muslim tahu bahawa Islam amalan Negara ini adalah seperti yang ditentukan oleh agensi-agensi agama, maka mudah bagi rakyat Muslim untuk merujuk kepada ajensi berkenaan mengenai sebarang kemusykilan agama.

Jika ini kedudukan nya, paling elok ialah sebuah buku diterbitkan untuk kegunaan rakyat Muslim supaya mereka tahu amalan Islam yang dibenarkan. Melalui cara ini, kita dapat mengelakkan perlanggaran undang-undang secara tidak sengaja.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Antara Taksub dan Berfikir - Boleh bincang?

"Berbicara mengenai Maha Pencipta seharusnya menimbulkan pelbagai perasaan diantaranya gementar dalam jiwa (“taqwa”), cinta (“muaddah”) serta kesyukuran. Sepastinya ia juga akan menimbulkan suatu perasaan kuat untuk berkhidmat sebaik mungkin sesama manusia supaya kesejahteraan dapat dirasai bersama.............
Boleh kah Al-Quran menjadi penentu utama tindak tanduk kita sekiranya kita tidak memikirkan, mengupas atau membincangnya?"

You can read the article further here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Stealing Maize from starving Kid?

This picture taken by Tom Staddart was emailed to me from England. Apparently, the well dressed man has stolen the maize from the kid (yes, he is a human).

While some citizens in some Asian countries are busy fighting with each other on who should get more and who should get less, all this kid in the photo wants, I suppose is just

a little food,
a little clothes
a little home
a little love.

May God forgive us all.

Peace !

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Are we being sacrificied by our apathy?

There are too many dangerously disturbing things that are occurring around us and yet we have decided to remain apathetic. Many reasons why we decide to act like that. it does not affect us. It is someone else's problem. They are the minority and therefore they can be sacrificed.

My experience and observation in life has taught me that if you are apathetic to injustice done to others, it will visit you and your family one day.

It will destroy society in the long run.

Remember, remaining apathetic and indifferent is a decision NOT to act.

A friend of mine sent me this email which I would like to share with the Raperas.

Insight into Decision Making - Good One

"A group of children were playing near two railway tracks.

Only one child played on the disused track and the rest are playing on the operational track.

The train is coming and you are just beside the track interchange.
You can make the train change its course to the disused track and save most
of the kids.

However that would also mean the lone child playing by the disused track
would be sacrificed or would you rather let the train go its way?

Let's take a pause to think what kind of decision we could make.......

Most people might choose to divert the course of the train and sacrifice
only one child.

You might think the same way I guess.

To save most of the children at the expense of only one child was a rational decision but most people would make the decision morally and emotionally.
But have you ever thought that the child choosing to play on the disused
track had in fact made the right decision to play at a safe place?

Nevertheless, he had to be sacrificed because of his ignorant friends who
chose to play where the danger was.

This kind of dilemma happens around us everyday.
In the office, community, in politics and especially in a democratic society,
the minority is often sacrificed for the interest of the majority
no matter how foolish or ignorant the majority are and how farsighted and knowledgeable the minority are. The child who chose not to play with the
rest on the operational track was sidelined.

And in the case he was sacrificed no one would shed a tear for him.

The great critic Leo Velski Julian who told the story said he would not try
to change the course of the train because he believed that the kids playing on the operational track should have known very well that track was still
in use and that they should have run away if they heard the train's sirens..

If the train was diverted that lonely child would definitely die because he never thought the train could come over to that track! Moreover that track was not in use probably because it was not safe.

If the train was diverted to the track we could put the lives of all passengers on board at stake!

And in your attempt to save a few kids by sacrificing one child you might end up sacrificing hundreds of people to save these few kids.

While we are all aware that life is full of tough decisions that need to be made
we may not realize that hasty decisions may not always be the right one.

'Remember that what's right isn't always popular... and what's popular isn't always right.'

Everybody makes mistakes, that's why they put erasers on pencils".

Peace !

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sex and politics: Political Impotence in Malaysia.

Used in the sexual sense, impotence refers to the man’s consistent inability to sustain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse or the inability to achieve ejaculation, or both. Impotence can vary. It can involve a total inability to achieve an erection or ejaculation, an inconsistent ability to do so, or a tendency to sustain only very brief erections.

Compare this with political impotence. Can we say that political impotence refers to “the politicians’ consistent inability to sustain the political will sufficient for holistic reforms or the inability to achieve holistic advancement of the Nation, or both. Impotence can vary. It can involve a total inability to achieve holistic advancement of the Nation or holistic reforms, an inconsistent ability to do so, or a tendency to sustain only very brief political will.

On the causes of impotence, it says that “The risk of impotence increases with age. Men with less education are also more likely to experience impotence, perhaps because they tend to have less healthy lifestyles, eat a less healthy diet, drink more and exercise less. Physical exercise tends to lessen the risk of impotence”.

Again, the risks of sexual impotence seem to be consistent with the risks of political impotence. The longer a politician is in power, he is at a higher risk of political impotence. Hence the need to shorten him term in power.

Politicians with less education (one should not confuse with the mere possession of a degree or masters and nowadays even with Phd.s with education), tend to suffer greater degree of political impotence. They have no vision, they are unable to recognize the changes in society (dinasourous attitude) and even when they speak, the thinking Rakyat feels offended or embarrassed. This probably explains why many politicians in Malaysia like to employ “school debate style” of making speeches. What is lacking in substance is desperately dressed in the form of theatrics, “jokes”, and often they seem to shout into the microphone. The worse form of offence is their presumption that merely because the audience cannot “switch them off” like a television, they think the audience enjoys the sound of their voice!

Don’t you yearn or fantasise for a speech of substance?

If you had mingled with those in power and politics, you will find that the last serious text book that they read was for their last examination paper in University. Since then, their information comes solely from the mainstream newspaper, their political cronies and flies constantly around them and the occasional photocopied section of a magazine prepared by their political secretaries whose discerning ability is equally in question.

In any event, it does not take a genius to figure out that with the number of publicity events, meeting their supporters, dinning, opening this and that, etc, etc…they have no time to read, reflect and think. Is it any wonder than that they scorn and ridicule the thinking section of the public? Is it also any wonder than that intellectuals and thinking people avoid political parties like a plague and even if they were a member of any party, they will remain in the far corner of party membership till their dying day.

You must and need to know this – the politicians are actually averse to any well-informed, critical and intelligent Rakyat. This is the reason why they, either directly or indirectly, play a critical role in the suppression of thoughts, ideas, books and knowledge in general. What they do not understand, they feel threatened and hence, surgical removal is their quick solution.

Back to sexual impotence which may be due to lack of physical exercise, political impotence occurs when there is a lack of mental exercise. When the mind is not properly utilized and challenged, it becomes dull and uncreative. When it is dull and uncreative, it regurgitates ideas that have outlived their shelf life. Hence, it should not be surprising at all that we find politicians across all divides speaking of the same things for decades and excuse it in the name of continuity!

I think we the Rakyat may be focusing on the wrong things for now in terms of political choice. Of course it will be easy to limit our choices to the existing parties. That seems to be what we are doing with our new clamour for a two party system. That’s fine. But we need to go further, the People have to find a way to increase the quality of politicians in our midst especially those who presumptuously become leaders upon being elected.

We have to somehow send a signal to the existing crop of politicians that if we want good quality drama or comedy we can either select from the cable channels or simply youtube. Maybe we should just get up and leave a speech if it gets rather unintelligent or comical? This may seem rude. Possibly we should hold a demonstration if a mainstream newspaper gives front page coverage to a really dumb statement from a clueless politician? Doesn’t help and I am merely kidding with this one.

I think we may start with this – insist that before any politician speaks, he must share with us in brief a good serious book that he has read that week – and understood. Hmm….

Peace !

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin to head Syariah Reforms (tajdid) Commission in this country?

Our experience in the past 10 years or so has shown that there are many serious issues confronting the Syariah laws as passed in this country. Much of the syariah laws are hand me downs from the colonial era with some amendments here and there. Quite apart from these. You also have for example, the Criminal Procedure Code remodified for the purposes of use in some Syariah Courts and renamed as Syariah Criminal Procedure Code.

There has also been serious problems with the manner in which discretions were used by the respective religious authorities. There are unhealthy perceptions among the Malaysian public that some of these discretions were applied selectively and arbitrarily. Such a perception needs to be addressed as it will impact upon the institution of syariah aws in the country. For example, while the syariah law of the respective state allowed the caning of Kartika for the offence with which she was charged, many were not only surprised but even appeared to question the sentence of caning. This does not augur well for the “syariah system”, for the “image of Islam” and for the Nation as a whole.

I feel that it is beyond time that the Nation embarked on a serious, long term reform of the “syariah system”. Since independence to date, it seems that there has been no effort to form a serious committee to seriously relook at the nature of syariah laws and its implementation in the country.

To this end, I humbly suggest that the Government take steps to form the commission that will be empowered to study and suggest various reforms to the syariah laws. In some cases, it can identify which areas of the laws that requires reform and further study.

Admittedly, this will not be an easy task. This is because, the task will require for the commission members to primarily start from the premise of the accepted sources of Islamic jurisprudence that is:

1) Quran - will not pose much problem
2) Sunnah – may pose some problems
3) Ijmak - will pose great problems
4) Qias – will pose great problems.

The problem with Sunnah/hadith will be the differentiation between what is authentic and what is not. Many Islamic scholars, as Dr Asri himself has pointed out before that many Islamic scholars quite uncaringly or negligently rely on doubtful hadith in thier speeches and writings. For those familiar with Islamic jurisprudence, this is trite. Apart from the basic four above, there are also other ‘accepted sources of Islamic jurisprudence.

In Malaysia, the recognized “understanding of Islam” is sunnah wal jamaah or Sunni. Shia and other “brands of Islam” is illegal. In this Sunni group, there are four main schools of thought namely, Shafie, Maliki, Hanafi and Hambali. Shafie views are given particular predominance in search for legal rulings. However, here also one may encounter problems of diverse juristic exegesis within and among the said schools.

So, as I said, it can be quite a challenge for the commission members to come up with agreed recommendations for reform especially when details are descended into. Nevertheless, the alternative seems to be continued chaos.

I would suggest that the Tajdid commission should comprise scholars from various universities and various disciplines. It will be a mistake to take only the scholars from a particular Middle Eastern University as they will probably prefer the understanding and teachings of their respective professors. Likewise, I will also suggest that the commission members should be made up of scholars and/or intellectual thinkers who have not gone through the formal “Islamic formal education system”. This is important as it will give a fresh dimension to the thinking and discussion that will take place among the commission members.

The inclusion of scholars and/or intellectual thinkers who have not gone through the formal “Islamic formal education system” may assist the commission to look beyond the form and at the substance.

Further, the commission should also include legal experts from the non-syariah system. Again, through the discussion, exchange of views among the commission members, we cannot discount the possibility that one Malaysian Legal System may emerge. Fro example, is the traffic light rules and regulations from the non-syariah system uniIslamic?

And who better than Dr Asri or Dr Maza, as he is popularly called to head the commission?

Peace !

Friday, November 6, 2009

Religious Arrogance – Dangerous attitude for peaceful living. A SECURITY THREAT?

The StarOnline reported that the Malaysian Syariah Lawyers Association (PGSM)has apologied to Dr Asri over a memorandum the association submitted to the King protesting against Dr Mohd Asri’s proposed appointment as head the Islamic Da’wah Foun-dation Malaysia (Yadim). Of course it is the sole right of Dr Asri whether to accept or reject the apology without further action.

However, as far as the public is concerned we should NOT forget the larger issues and simply treat each matter in a fire fighting manner or sweep matters under the carpet in a typical "Malaysian good natured way" only to breed a worse monster in the future!

The outcome of the debacle involving Jais and Dr Azri is still pending.

In the mean time, I thought it may be useful to revisit these two articles which I wrote in April and June 2009.

Peace !

[As usual, I stand to be corrected]

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Can Islamic issues be discussed without the permission of the religious authorities?

Dr Mohd Asri’s recent debacle with Jais has raised very pertinent questions for the Nation as a whole. Initially reports seem to suggest that his dramatic arrest (there were almost 30 police personnel and Jais officers) concerns him delivering a lecture on Islam without a “tauliah”. For all practical purposes, a “tauliah” will denote permission from the relevant religious authorities to lecture on “matters Islamic”. This need for permission from religious authorities before someone can speak on Islamic matters raises serious issues.

1. Firstly, the impact on an ordinary Muslim’s right and duty to share and exchange views on Islam. It is every Muslim’s duty to call people towards the performance of good deeds and the avoidance of evil deeds. This duty will necessarily involve a Muslim speaking from his Muslim perspective and from his understanding of the Quran and Sunnah. It will appear from the arrest of a former Mufti for purportedly giving his views on Islamic issues that prior permission must be obtained from the religious authority before any Muslim wants to express his views on Islam. There is now this confusion and concern among the Muslims in the country.

The ordinary Muslim is not aware that there is a need to obtain prior permission from the religious authorities before they can share their views on Islam or engage in a discussion on Islamic issues. If indeed this permission is required under the State syariah laws, several other questions may arise. What are the criteria of approval or is it merely arbitrary? Who decides the criteria on behalf of the millions of Muslims in this country? Will this impinge on the Muslim’s duty to practice his Muslim obligations without fear or favour? If at all the Muslims in this country feel that there must be control over the Muslim’s right of expression, then surely there must clear and publicized set of guidelines/rules?

2. Secondly, it also raises concerns whether academics, bloggers, columnists and such will now be subjected to the requirement that they must first obtain prior approval from the religious authorities before they can express their views and thoughts. Again, one needs to consider whether such a requirement will in the long run stifle academic and intellectual development in Islamic thought since the ones who are going to determine whether permission should be granted or not are paid civil servants. There is also the issue of mazhab preference and issue-centric preference. What will happen if the “approval person” of the day is not inclined to the thoughts of a particular mazhab? This will result in the general public not benefiting from the knowledge.

3. As a result of point (2) above, we have to seriously consider the impact on the growth and development of Islamic thought in the country. It is a real possibility that control over the expression and discussion of diverse views on Islam will lead to the existence of only one mode of thinking and state of mind which need not necessarily be consonant with the principles of the Quran and the Sunnah. If laws and state apparatus are used to control the ordinary Muslim’s mind, then who is to question whether what is stated is indeed consistent with the Quran and the Sunnah? Under such a regime, any sincere effort to invite alternative thinking and to consider alternative interpretations will become a state offence.

4. Thirdly, one has to ask what is the role of the Federal Constitution in all these. Article 10 (1) of the Federal Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and expression to all the citizens subject only to such restrictions as Parliament may pass pursuant to Article 10(2). It is arguable that requiring a Muslim to seek permission from the State before he can speak or write on his own religion is an infringement of his constitutional rights so long as they do not offend the provisions under Article 10 (2).

5. Fourthly, Article 11 (1) guarantees that, subject to clause (4), every citizen has the right to practice and profess his religion. Surely this right must also extend to the Muslim citizen to profess and practice his religion. Surely the Muslim also has equal protection (Article 8) and rights under the law as the non-Muslims? However, while the non-Muslim does not have to seek prior approval to organize talks or seminars with regards to his religion, the Muslim citizen appears to have this added hurdle to cross in order to exercise his rights under Article 10 and Article 11 (1). Is this constitutional? Is this legal? I will not ask the question if this hurdle is consistent with the Quran since it is not (my humble view – stand to be corrected).

6. Fifthly, this Dr Asri episode also requires us to visit and understand article 11 (4) of the Federal Constitution. Art 11 (4) provides that state and federal laws may control or restrict the propagation of any religious beliefs or doctrines among persons professing the religion of Islam. All this while, many lawyers I have spoken to have usually interpreted this to refer to the propagation of other religions to Muslims. However, the word used in the constitution is “any” religion and in the “Islamic world” there are diverse views even though the basic belief is the same. Hence, on these two facts coupled with Dr Asri’s episode, will it not be correct to say that Article 11 (4) may be interpreted to mean that even a Muslim may be restricted to propagate Islamic doctrines and beliefs to another Muslim or group of Muslims? Possibly the “correct” interpretation is that only authorized persons can propagate “Islamic beliefs and doctrines” to Muslims citizens. In other words, “state determined Islam” which will therefore be largely dependant on “who (person/individuals) is the real ‘state’ at the particular time”. Mind boggling? Yes, this is what happens when you legislate faith!

I welcome comments on the above article as I think it has immense far reaching implications not only on the issues of law but also on the position of the Muslim as being a servant of Allah.

Peace !