Week 2

LOCALLY
Elections, Be Calm in Tenang

With the election only 2 days away, the government (Barisan National) is fighting really hard to win Tenang as calmly as possible. Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin told the people to not make the mistake of voting for PAS as Barisan National is the government for both state and the federal.

The Tenang candidate for Tenang, Mohd Azahar Ibrahim was accused of being sued over a land deal, which PAS had claimed in a press conference, they organized on Tuesday. The BN candidate for Tenang claims that he wished to ‘concentrate on winning the by-elections with a larger majority instead of wasting time commenting on my (his) opponent or the latest allegations by Pakatan Rakyat.’

As for the PAS candidate, Normala Sudirman is just as confident that she has gained the trust of the people of Tenang.

However, today the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, himself is confident that the people of Tenang will eventually vote for Barisan National although it is not a general election.

 

INTERNATIONALLY
Korea VS Korea

It’s been after a year since North Korea threatened war on South Korea. However,  South Korea claimed that an apology for the attacks last year is not necessarily required but it is required to determine on whether the six-party talks process can be done about dismantling its nuclear weapon program.

A few days ago, U.S President Barack Obama urged North Korea to abort atomic weapons in support to Seoul, as South Korea are allies to the U.S.

New Movie Review: “Season Of The Witch”

STARRING : Nicholas Cage, Ron Perlmen, Christopher Lee, Claire Foy

DIRECTOR : Dominic Sena

WRITER : Bragi F. Schut

LANGUAGE : English

DURATION : 95 minutes

GENRE : Action | Adventure | Fantasy

Two ex-crusaders, along a priest, an old knight, an enthusiastic youth who dreams to be a knight and a conman goes on a journey to bring a witch, who was accused for the black plague, to a fair trial.

Doodles

The Instruction Given:-
Draw a map of south-east asia, name the ten countries that are members of the inter-governmental organisation ASEAN, locate three geographical features (a mountain, a river, a sea).

This is what I got…

And sorry if my drawing is horrible!

Yellow : Thailand
Red : Malaysia
Green : Indonesia
Blue : Singapore
Purple : Brunei
Orange : Philippines

Actual map is this;-


I missed out 4 other countries: Cambodia, Burma, Laos, Vietnam. Sad, huh? I suck at geography and I studied geography in 1999… After my Form 3, I had the option of not doing geography.

Oh well.

Week 1

LOCALLY
The Book That Launched A Controversy

Just like how Helen of Troy had launched a thousand ships, Abdullah Hussain’s book, “Interlok” recently launched a controversy. Initially, this book is about the main three races in Malaysia: the Malays, the Chinese and the Indians, and their struggles before the Japanese occupation. This was the book required for the Form Five Malay literature students in national schools. However, the Indian society was enraged at the fact that the author used the word ‘pariah’ in the book. It is a very offensive word to the Indian society just like how the word ‘nigger’ is to African-Americans.

Now, everyone is making statements about what they think about the book and some people are coming up with solutions to settle the “Interlok” problem and one of the solutions is to censor certain parts of the book.

I personally think by censoring certain parts of the book would destroy the context and I have read the synopsis of the book, not only were the Indians are being talked about. The Malays and the Chinese are, too being touched on in the book. On the plus side, the Indian character, Maniam is described as a grateful, faithful and loving man. What more can we ask for? In fact, our society should learn to be more open-minded to literature. That way, we understand the true meaning of a book and its content.

INTERNATIONALLY
“We Want Jobs!”

It all started last year, when a man; a young graduate, torched himself to death, in order to protest against the poverty of Tunisia, after the Tunisian police confiscated his unlicensed fruit cart as he was not able to get a job, thus selling fruits and vegetables to earn a living.

Tunisian youths used social network sites like Facebook to organise protest against the regime. January 15th, the president of Tunisia of 23 years, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia due to the overwhelming of protestors protesting against unemployment among the educated and the lack of freedom. The police killed many demonstrators in order to restore order.

On January 18th, however, Mohammed Ghannouchi, the current governor of the country, claimed that he would remain as the head of the unity government until the general election coming within the next 6 months in order to set up a new government. This riot had caused 94 people to get injured, while 78 people were killed during the protest.

As A Consumer of Information

I was born in the 1984 in a little city called Kuching to a family of readers and writers. My Dad enjoys reading and writing. His favourites were epic poetries like The Iliad, The Odyssey and Desiderata. My Dad was also a writer for poetries and stories. I was influenced by that love for literature. I write poetries and stories and I enjoy it.

As a consumer of information, back in the days when there was no Internet to rely on, we relied very much on what is on the television, radio and even printed media. I watched a lot of television when I was young. I watched P. Ramlee movies and learnt a few things, which I still remember today and I still laugh remembering the values in his movies. However, I do not watch the television as much as I used to as a child because I think that, especially our local moviemakers, do not put in values the way P. Ramlee did in the past. Somehow, only one person in this current day does it: Afdlin Shauki. Personally, I think that Afdlin Shauki is the modern day P. Ramlee. (plus, he is a fun guy to meet)

Another influence as a consumer of information would be music. I mentioned earlier that I love poetry and to me, songs are like poetry. My type of music is old skool. I listen to rock music, especially bands like Queen, KISS, Van Halen and more. I also listen to oldies, very often songs by Cliff Richard, Engelbert Humperdink, Bobby Goldsboro, Elvis Presley, The Osmonds and more. When I say old skool music, I mean before the recent ‘trash’ we hear on the radio nowadays. In terms of pop music, I love the 80s and the 90s. I was a huge fan of Boyzone and Take That. I prefer songs like these mainly because of the lyrics. They are deep and meaningful. To compare with songs now, I do not think I have any respect for songs which objectify women or songs by little boys who are not even old enough to know what the birds and the bees are about to sing songs about the birds and the bees.

Experience also plays a role in my life as a consumer of information and it all comes back to reading but instead of buying books from the bookstore, we all have something most of us cannot live without: The Internet. I can relate experience with the Internet because my family has this reputation to travel overseas to historical places. We do not travel to go shopping only but we travel to learn new cultures. Last year, my family and I had the opportunity to visit Greece and Macedonia. Before experiencing these two wonderful history packed places, we did some research on the Internet to know what the people are like and how the country is like. However, I mentioned earlier that my Dad loves epic poems like The Iliad and The Odyssey. Since young, my sisters and I learnt mostly from movies and even from our Dad about heroes in the Ancient Greek Mythology. We love mythology so much, my elder sister named her daughter after a Greek goddess of wisdom and war strategies: Athena. When we got to Athens, named after the patron goddess Athena, we knew exactly where we wanted to go and what we wanted to eat. I owe it all to my friend, the Internet.

Speaking of experience, I did mention that I come from across the South China Sea; the largest state in Malaysia, Sarawak. I am a hardcore Sarawakian it offends me like hell when people ask me if we Sarawakians still live in caves or on trees. I have been staying 90% of my time in Selangor since 2010 and I learnt a lot from experience, which neither book nor the ever-knowing Internet could show me on how different and similar some of the things here are to what I have seen all my life in Kuching.

Yet, the biggest influence of all, as a consumer of information is my Dad. Whenever I have questions about anything at all, I would always run to my Dad for answers. It is typical to being a father’s daughter, you tend to think that your own father is the smartest person in the world and it is very true because my sisters and I think that no one is more ‘superior’ than our Dad and I am pretty sure that everyone thinks the same way about their fathers.

 

An Introduction: My name is Sharifah, and I am a Malaysian

“My name is Sharifah and I am a Malaysian.”

I dare say, after reading that statement, you might wonder if I was under the “My Name Is Khan, and I am not a terrorist” influence. I was influenced by that quote but noticed how I ended up saying, “… and I am a Malaysian.”

Still wondering why? I hail from Sarawak, the largest state in Malaysia. I was born in Kuching and was brought up there all my life. My parents are also both Sarawakians but my father goes to Kuala Lumpur often as it is required by his job. Some 25 years and 9 months later, I decide to study in a college in Selangor. Studying in Selangor made a big impact in my life. I was even more exposed to the culture here as it is slightly different compared to back home. Language barrier, however, is not a major problem but I am still struggling hard not to use my local dialect and still find it a bit difficult to converse in standardize Malay because not only I am still so used to my local dialect; I speak English at home.

However, I got angry with a former housemate when she asked me this question, “How is the weather like in your country?” It is a pet peeve for me. It is like asking me if I am a Malaysian. Then, a question pop into my head, “Did you ever learn geography or history in class?” and this very nasty thought also pop into me; That girl is either ignorant or just stupid. I also find is very offensive when I listen to politicians, who are supposedly more knowledgeable in this matter, making speeches about Malaysia and they say things like, “Malaysia and not to forget Sabah and Sarawak.” Often, I tell my parents, if I were in his or her presence, I would have thrown something at the person giving the speech.

I love my state so much because it is home, it is where I grew up and the sad part is, I know so much about other people’s states but these are the people who ask me questions like, “Do you still live on trees?”

It has been a year since I have being staying here in Selangor and I realized that the Sarawak Tourism Board is to be blamed for that misconception because whenever we advertise about Sarawak, we often show an Iban man in the jungle with his blowpipe.

I know that the government intends to show that Sarawak is very natural state but please expose to people outside Sarawak that we are not as uncivilized as some people take us for. We, too, are proud to be Malaysians.

Now, often I tell my West Malaysian friends, whenever they want a breakaway from the hustle and bustle in West Malaysia, do visit my hometown and you will see that we are Malaysians, too.