Thursday, June 27, 2013

You have been sentenced to Death.

Imagine that you are in a courtroom. There are people who know you waiting anxiously for the Judge to come to announce the sentence that you must face. Then the court officer announces “All rise” and the Judge takes his place. You are stand up waiting to hear the sentence. 

Then the Judge looks straight into your eyes and says:

“By the powers vested upon me, I now sentence you to death”

How exactly would you feel? How exactly would those who are around you and care for you feel? What would you do now that you know you are going to die – just waiting to know when exactly?

What would those who care for you do that they know you will someday no longer be with them?

I am sure all sorts of unimaginable emotions may arise in you.

Being sentenced to death, however is not a novel thing. We all are.

The day we are born, the only thing that we are certain of is that we will someday die. We know that a death sentence has been passed on us – we only do not know when, where and how. We can do all we want in life but we can never avert this death sentence.

We can be kings or peasants, rich or poor, beautiful or ugly but we all carry the death sentence.

I am not being gloomy here but trying to be honest about life. When I was 12, I imagined how it was to be a lonely, old man waiting for death to come.  Or worse, some sort of sickness that I may have to suffer before death at even an earlier age. I imagined my still body on the ground totally helpless and at the mercy of those who are alive. How powerful or wealthy I may one day become (which is uncertain), I will certainly be absolutely helpless and dead one day.

We are overwhelmed when we hear a death sentence being pronounced on others without really being aware that we are waiting for our own death sentence to be executed. 

Despite the death sentence that we carry, we are busy with our lives segregating human beings on the basis of race, religion, culture, economic status and so on. Some of these differences we even institutionalise and make them laws to live by. We are busy, at all costs, preparing and consumed with the life that we must leave one day.

What would a person who is fully aware that he will die someday do with his temporary life on earth?

What would you do with your death sentence?

Peace !

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A New Era of Democracy or Same Mediocrity ???

The first parliamentary sitting after the 13th General Elections begins on 24th June 2013 and ends on 18th July 2013.

For many years, the Rakyat did not know what was going on in Parliament except that the Yang Berhormats were are "busy debating and passing laws" in the "interest of the Rakyat".

After 2008 elections, THEY experimented with live telecast of the Parliamentary debates and that was when the Rakyats realised that some of the Yang Berhormats are not necessarily "Yang Bersopan" nor "Yang Berkebolehan". The Rakyat, I think were shocked at the low level of debates and sometimes at the speed with which some important bills are passed without debate. That was when I think THEY decided to stop live telecasting the Parliamentary debates. (who are "THEY" who decide anyway?)

I would like a TV station dedicated to live telecasting the parliamentary debates - apa yang nak di malu atau di sembunyi? It is just like a CCTV at work where the boss monitors the workers. SO, why cannot the Rakyat who can vote for them to get into Parliament not see and follow what they are doing there?

If live telecast of parliamentary sittings and debates are not allowed, the Rakyat will make an adverse inference - MPs are scared the people will know they are not performing.

My hope is that Parliament functions for the best interest of the Rakyat and the Nation. Partisan politics should be kept outside the door of the hall when the MPs walk into it. Leave the political campaigning and party whacking out.

The Rakyat hopes to see the Government and the Opposition engage in debates intelligently based on facts and statistics. The rules of the game should be fair and this should be ensured by the Speaker. Members bills should be given due regard and not dismissed outright.

The Rakyat will like to see the BN Government propose good bills and policies and, the Opposition to behave as a responsible opposition. Occasions where the interest of the Rakyat demands that both parties support bills tabled by either party should be readily grabbed.

Let us not turn parliamentary sittings into  a circus of mediocrity.

I wish all the MPs happy sitting and may you be true to the voters who voted you in.


Monday, June 3, 2013

Womens' breast and buttocks cause evil !!!

I made a mistake and switched on my TV at about 530 in the morning today. There was this religious program where the guest was a university lecturer.

He actually spend about 10 minutes on lecturing why breasts and buttocks of women should be covered up because that can be a cause of evil. I  have never advocated public nudity nor  "inappropriate" dressing for both men and women in public.  However, to think that this good professor and Islamic scholar found it to be his priority to speak about breast and buttocks of women ( yes it is always the Muslim womens' fault!) as a source of evil so early in the morning is both embarrassing and mind boggling. Is that the biggest problem faced by the Muslim community at the moment?

It is equally sad and disturbing that having uttered everything possible to make the women responsible for "sexual excitements", the good scholar omitted to state, as most of them often omit, that in the Quran Allah has also enjoined on men to lower their gaze if they find what they are seeing is morally objectionable or disturbing to them. Men too are under duty to maintain chastity and good moral behaviour. This, however, is often not quoted by the scholars who appear to have adopted a sexist interpretation of scriptures and " religious.

 Allah says in the Quran {Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: And Allah is well acquainted with all that they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty} (Surat Al Noor <24:30-31>)

Without the slightest of doubt, sex does play an important role in the relationship between man and women but certainly not all the time and neither is it the most important role. So why is it that I have this feeling that the sexual aspect of women are always highlighted by the religious scholars in this country and of course the advertisers.

Does not "lower your gaze" principle also teaches us that we do not have to look at women in sexual terms all the time? That they are also human beings like men with fears, hopes and aspirations  like men?  This morning's religious talk on the TV also annoyed me - I just could not empathise with the good professor's up skirt joke that he made.  It was in bad taste and if kids were watching it, he just introduced a deviant behaviour which probably was known to him alone!

Anyway, if these are the kind of thoughts and "ceramah agamas" that we deem important to be on national TV, it probably reflects on what we deem as "Islamic". The sad thing is that if these thoughts are the majority, then the minority will be oppressed by the majority's imposition of their understanding.  May Allah have mercy.


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Is UMNO now after Datuk Seri Najib?

Without the slightest of doubt, Najib had worked hard before the elections - traversing the whole country campaigning very hard for the elections. His advisers were very convinced that Najib was very popular with the  Rakyat.  All his policies GTP, ETP, NKRA and a few other acronyms were  presented to the people. There was massive advertisements covering these policies. His advisers were very happy but certainly they seemed to have forgotten to ascertain whether the Rakyat were happy.  Br1m, tr1m, kar1sma and so on were also given out and again it was assumed that this would give BN the support of the Rakyat.

In the midst of Zulkifli Nordins and Ibrahim Alis, BN sought to reach out to the Chinese voters in an unprecedented manner including a concert of Psy thrown in ( whose idea was it anyway????) and yet it did not achieve the desired result. Politics of ethnic and religious extremism does not only not work anymore but ought to be avoided.

When Barisan lost the popular  vote for the first time in Malaysian political history, it showed that whatever strategies BN employed failed. This means that Najib's election strategists failed big time. Admittedly, the cabinet did create a surprise of sorts but many in UMNO are now surprised why the cabinet looks the way it does. What's the direction and message the President of UMNO is giving?

Some quarters in UMNO fear that Najib is not only losing grip of UMNO but also Barisan Nasional.  Governance at the top most level requires the intellectual capacity to understand the reality on the ground and to asses the leader’s own doings and misdoings which probably only he knows for now.

Some things cannot be swept under the carpet. Daim has  already fired the first salvo. Is Tun Mahathir soon to follow? If Tun Mahathir joins the fray, be assured that he usually has basis for doing so. It is best that Najib engages him immediately if necessary to understand the political equation.

Word is that UMNO "big guns" are already planning something on the quiet (not so quiet!). What is the root cause?

Let us see what  Najib's brilliant advisers are going to advise him now. The future will tell whether they are sycophants or realists.