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Free at last

There is a time to be quiet and a time to talk. People must work in unison. Only then can we achieve our goal.

Aung Sang Suu Kyi yesterday

from The Guardian

11.09am: Aung San Suu Kyi has finally been released. The BBCs Adam Mynott says she is standing on a box outside her house, waving at the crowd, trying to quieten them so she can speak.

GMT 11.24am: The BBC reports that Aung San Suu Kyi has briefly adressed the crowd. She said: There is a time to be quiet and a time to talk. People must work in unison. Only then can we achieve our goal. She has now gone back inside her house. It is unclear what her movements will be for the rest of the day, but she will speak at greater length tomorrow at midday local time.

GMT 11.36am: Zoya Phan, international co-ordinator at Burma Campaign UK, has described Aung San Suu Kyis release as a public relations exercise by the military junta, which should not be mistaken for a step towards democratic reform. it is designed to get positive publicity for the dictatorship after the blatant rigging of elections on November 7. We must not forget the thousands of other political prisoners still suffering in Burmas jails. There are more than 2,200 political prisoners in Burma held under vague laws frequently used to criminalise peaceful political dissent, according to human rights campaigners.

GMT 11.38am: Former prime minister Gordon Brown said: There will be joy round the world at the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, the worlds most renowned and courageous prisoner of conscience.


See What Pakatan Rakyat Gotta Say?

What's in a Plastic Bag?

The no plastic bag day that seem to be enthusiastically being promoted and imposed now in Pakatan controlled states, namely Penang and Selangor is getting mixed reaction from businesses and the public.

There is claim by businesses that they are losing up to 30% business due to the ruling because customers do not want to pay 20 sen for the plastic bag and buy less. There is element of truth in such claims when consumers are unable or refuse to adapt to the ruling.

Some businesses are trying to get supporters from scientists to dispel the claim that plastic bags do not contribute to environmental damage or a threat to it. Plastics should not be compared to polystyrene or styrofoam as the latter takes a very long time, a thousand years some claim to disintegrate.

Businesses associated with plastic bags will definitely be affected if consumers don't use them like they use tissue paper! And unfriendly businesses programmes would cause the issue to snowball into a huge opposition against the two governments. Knowing that businesses have political clout in the form of contributing money to programmes, causes or anyone who will support them, it would be interesting to see how the two Pakatan government is going to get the businesses affected to support them.

And using plastic bags means having to use the safer alternative paper bags where they argue it will mean killing more trees to produce plastic bags, discounting the fact that paper bags are mostly produced from recycled paper.

The no plastic bag controversy some claim may even bring down the Pakatan government if there is enough opposition being drummed up like by BN fellos to oppose the Pakatan government's move as anti business.

For the moment, the BN party is keeping quiet. It would be unwise for them to oppose this environment friendly practice because their silence is really surprising. It either shows they are being hypocritical about being honestly green even if they go round the world telling others that we! are pur suing green technology and earth friendly or they are afraid if they support the Pakatan government, the BN fellos will be put in a bad light.

So by being quiet, BN is playing a safe quiet game. Expect when they control back these two States, they will rescind the order on the pretext helping the plastic manufacturers to survive as well as adopting latest green technology to handle increasing plastic bag consumption. If that is the case, then the Pakatan government haven't done enough research to look at better green technology to handle the disposal of plastic bag. Or find the solution too expensive and cheaper to ban its use.

But why are we complaining it is a bad idea? Let us live to our belief we are greenie and helping to save mother earth. It's ironical visiting booths and exhibitions on green technology and save the environment and all that, the fellos manning the booths are drinking their teh tarik from plastic bags, plastic or styrofoam cups and plastic water bottles, eating their packed lunch from styrofoam and plastic cups and fork! And worse some use plastic tree and those tacky flower petals and ferns to deco their booth!!!

In the early 60's and 70's before the advert of the ubiquitous plastic bag, housewives brought their rafiah bags or caned weaved bags, the vegie sellers would roll your veg in newsprint, the chow kwei teoh will be packed in waxed lined paper and you would carry a tiffin carrier to buy your noodles or laksa! No one felt like an auntie or uncle or old fashioned or kampung.

These days, to be seen carrying environment friendly bags will raise eye brows and the young leng luis will give you a piecing stare like you are from an old fashioned ulu era!

Why is the government not promoting the reduction in use of plastic bags or at least promote biodegradable plastic bags that disintegrate after about six to nine months they are manufactured. IKEA and a few supermarkets, the upmark ones are using such plastic bags.

"So are you a supporter o! f this p lastic bag ban thing," a lady fren asked seeing me carry a green bag everywhere. "Yes, why not? Besides it helps me not to hoard buying and only need to buy 'need now' stuff than fill the trolley!"

It does make good sense to carry a green bag as it helps you be a moderate spender! So my green bag is in my backpack where I go. One for wet type with newspaper as lining and another for drier stuff like books, even if I go into a clothes retail shop! The green bag can be folded and slipped into your pants pocket and supermarkets are now friendlier allowing customers to carry in their own bags.

And I am beginning to take my tiffin carrier to bungkus my noodles and the noodle lady does not mind and said it reminded her younger days when it was the norm then rather than an exception.

"I won't carry a tiffin, makes me so auntie and so stingy or kedukut!" a fren remarked.

It's really a catch 22 situation using tiffin carrier to bungkus. You need water and soap to clean it and it is not good to clean your utensils in toilet sinks no? And it looks encamp if you need to lug it around to a number of places before you bungkus your meal! And there is spillage issues, blah.

But looking back, those days, we managed and there was not much fuss. In fact bring your food to school and scouting for tupperware was a serious affair! These days given it's rather risky and dangerous to bring your home cooked meal to school, the tiffin will not be a part of the item in school bags!

On a serious note, the no plastic day should be supported and it is surprising the BN government or the Ministry supposed to take care of environment are not supporting the campaign. If it is turned into a political issue by the BN government, we will know the hypocrisy of their seriousness on being environmental friendly!

Each of us are guilty of being plastic bag hoarders really. We cannot do without them to put our rubbish and stuff all our other 'rubbish'! But we need to reduce its dependence. Already! I'm usi ng tupperware to store food in the fridge and freezer and newsprint to store the vegies, which does make the veg last longer. But when you need to separate your drumstick, the plastic bag is indispensable for the moment! Therein lies our dilemma, no?

So to lessen the guilt, avoid taking on more plastic bags is the face saving solution for the moment, no? I've already started buying coffee now using the tumbler which is savings in the long run as you get RM2 off if you use the tumbler sold by the green mermaid! Just last week the second time was a victim of their beef pie where paper was found inside it! Now that is going a bit too far in being green, isn't it?!

My organisation thankfully has gone out to live up to its CSR commitment that we are going green. Plastic paper bags have been replaced by paper/green bags and door gifts as much as possible are from environmental friendly materials. Annual reports and other official reports used recycled materials. Individual printers have been removed for a common pool printer. Online editing than needing to print drafts. Little things, difficult to cope with at first but now taken for granted. And huge savings to stationary and office bills too!

There should be more efforts to educate the public on using alternative. Even if the price is higher, the price is worth it.

You might think I am and the growing number of conscious consumers who are living up or trying our best to live up to being greenie, are fighting a losing battle and being hypocritical. But then, at least we are genuine and honest about living up to what we believe and advocate without being hypocrites like some politicians.

Kudos then to Pakatan for taking the initiative. The 20 sen is not a contradiction. In fact it should be 50 sen! And businesses dealing with plastics? Change to manufacture safer green 'plastic bags'. If the whole industry offer such bags, consumers will have to live with it. Is there really a national political will to tackle this plastic b! ag issue ?

Having lived overseas, we don't see the Brits and conscientious green friendly nations complaining they are charged for their paper bags and while there we pay for it too without complaining! Why are we eager and ready to support other societies being green but back home we are all plastic people, pun intended too!

You might think what's one paper or styrofoam and what's in a plastic bag. Read a book on food and in that book, it reported the findings of British scientists who monitor the fish being caught in the British seas. Two to three decades ago, the scientists discovered using powerful microscope whitish spots and materials in the flesh of the marine animals. There weren't such white substance in their samples till 70s or so. They finally diagnosed the white substance. They were styrofoam and plastic materials that the marine life ingested feeding on the debris of decaying and disintegrating styrofoams and plastics being disposed in our seas! So the food cycle has been polluted no thanks to man, right?

So the next time we ask for or use a plastic bag or styrofoam, we are really killing ourselves, no? And oh, anyone for sashimi?YAHMEH!!!
See What Barisan Nasional Gotta Say?

Book Review Podcast

This Week: Author Darcey Steinke, "The Lady Upstairs" by Marilyn Nissenson, "The Last Mughal" by William Dalrymple and best seller news.
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The Lady Upstairs:

Dorothy Schiff and the New York Post
Front Cover

St. Martin's Press, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 512 pages
"The Lady Upstairs "is the dramatic story of Dorothy Schiff--liberal activist, society stalwart, and the most dynamic female newspaper publisher of her day. From 1939 until 1976 she owned and guided the "New York Post"," " the oldest continuously published daily newspaper in the United States. Dolly, as she was called, made the "Post "one of the most dedicated supporters of New Deal liberalism in the country, while simultaneously maintaining its distinct personality as a chatty, parochial, New York tabloid.
Unfazed by political or personal controversy, Schiff backed editorial writers like James Wechsler and Max Lerner and reporters like Murray Kempton and Pete Hamill. Under her guidance the "Post "broke the story of Richard Nixon's slush fund. It helped bring down such icons of the day as Joseph McCarthy, Walter Winchell, and Robert Moses. It supported the civil rights movement and opposed the Vietnam War. Although Dolly seldom appeared in the newsroom, she approved and commented on every major story and every minor column in the paper, until eventually selling it to Rupert Murdoch.
Dolly's private life could have been a staple of the "Post"'s society gossip columns. Endlessly flirtatious, she married four times and had extramarital romances with, among others, Franklin Roosevelt and Max Beaverbrook. She was a friend of national politicians such as Adlai Stevenson, the Kennedys, Lyndon Johnson, and Nelson Rockefeller. Born into a staunchly Republican German-Jewish banking family, she used her inheritance to further causes of the political left. She used her charm and her social connections in the service of her paper, which was the center of her life.
"The Lady Upstairs "is the portrait of a unique life and a crucial era in American history.

Marilyn Nissenson, a veteran journalist, moved to New York after college. She remembers reading "The" "New York Times "for news coverage and Dolly Schiff's "Post "for everything else. "The Lady Upstairs"is the dramatic story of Dorothy Schiff--liberal activist, society stalwart, and the most dynamic female newspaper publisher of her day. From 1939 until 1976 she owned and guided the "New York Post," the oldest continuously published daily newspaper in the United States. Dolly, as she was called, made the "Post "one of the most dedicated supporters of New Deal liberalism in the country, while simultaneously maintaining its distinct personality as a chatty, parochial, New York tabloid. Unfazed by political or personal controversy, Schiff backed editorial writers like James Wechsler and Max Lerner and reporters like Murray Kempton and Pete Hamill. Under her guidance the "Post "broke the story of Richard Nixon's slush fund. It helped bring down such icons of the day as Joseph McCarthy, Walter Winchell, and Robert Moses. It supported the civil rights movement and opposed the Vietnam War. Although Dolly seldom appeared in the newsroom, she approved and commented on every major story and every minor column in the paper, until eventually selling it to Rupert Murdoch. Dolly's private life could have been a staple of the "Post"'s society gossip columns. Endlessly flirtatious, she married four times and had extra-marital romances with, among others, Franklin Roosevelt and Max Beaverbrook. She was a friend of national politicians such as Adlai Stevenson, the Kennedys, Lyndon Johnson, and Nelson Rockefeller. Born into a staunchly Republican German-Jewish banking family, she used her inheritance to further causes of the political left. She used her charm and her social connections in the service of her paper, which was the center of her life.
"""The Lady Upstairs "is the portrait of a unique life and a crucial era in American history. "Schiff's life and complicated character have all the promising elements of a terrific biography. While not exactly 'a gay byproduct of female emancipation, wearing the pants and using the vote, ' as Kenneth Tynan wrote of Katharine Hepburn, Schiff was much too fond of showing off her legs--she was certainly a pioneer, a complex woman who was both flirt and boss, frosty heiress and labor champion; though she rejected the feminist label, she strongly believed in the relationship between work and human integrity, hiring more women than the other newspaper bosses of her day . . . She was a skinflint in a fur coat, a cloistered snob with common tastes. She once served Ed Koch a dry tuna sandwich. She once assigned an investigative article about hard-boiled eggs. All these eccentric tidbits are included in "The Lady Upstairs, " a scrupulously researched book that fairly spills with archival material and personal testimony."--Jennifer Senior, "The New York Times"
"" "It is a tribute to the judgment, research, intelligence, and elegant prose of Marilyn Nissenson that although I disagree with some of her political assumptions, I find her portrait of Dorothy Schiff accurate, nuanced, compelling, and a pleasure to read."--Victor Navasky, publisher emeritus, "The Nation"
"In this first book, Nissenson, a producer of TV documentaries, coaxes out the contradictions of pioneering newspaper woman Dolly Schiff, who owned and published the "New York Post "from 1939 to 1976, when she sold to Rupert Murdoch. Peppering her historical research with incisive family testimony, personal notes, professional epistles and combative newspaper editorials, the author paints Schiff as profoundly human in her distinctive paradoxes. Her liberal politics evinced a strong connection to the plight of common folk, though she remained cold and aloof to her newspaper underlings. She was a visionary socialite who poured millions of her own inheritance into the tabloid, while serving powerful politicians meager tuna-fish sandwiches and steaming off unused postage stamps to be recycled. She championed women's rights, but never considered herself a feminist. Contradictions aside, her shrewd management and endless personal financial commitment transformed the "Post "into a profit-generating enterprise as well as a bastion of New Deal liberalism. A consummate flirt, she devoured and discarded husbands at an alarming rate, and Nissenson brings new light to the legend of Schiff's extramarital affair with FDR with suggestive details but no definitive answers. At times this biography reads like a perfunctory tour guide through the touchstones of 20th-century American history, but Schiff's character brims with spunk and surprise along the way."--"Publishers Weekly"

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What people are saying - Write a review

Editorial Review - Publishers Weekly vol. 254 iss. 9 p. 73 (c) 02/26/2007

In this first book, Nissenson, a producer of TV documentaries, coaxes out the contradictions of pioneering newspaper woman Dolly Schiff, who owned and published the New York Post from 1939 to 1976, when she sold to Rupert Murdoch. Peppering her historical research with incisive family testimony, personal notes, professional epistles and combative newspaper editorials, the author paints Schiff as profoundly human in her distinctive paradoxes. Her liberal politics evinced a strong connection to the plight of common folk, though she remained cold and aloof to her newspaper underlings. She was a visionary socialite who poured millions of her own inheritance into the tabloid, while serving powerful politicians meager tuna-fish sandwiches and steaming off unused postage stamps to be recycled. She championed women's rights, but never considered herself a feminist. Contradictions aside, her shrewd management and endless personal financial commitment transformed the Post into a profit-generating enterprise as well as a bastion of New Deal liberalism. A consummate flirt, she devoured and discarded husbands at an alarming rate, and Nissenson brings new light to the legend of Schiff's extramarital affair with FDR with suggestive details but no definitive answers. At times this biography reads like a perfunctory tour guide through the touchstones of 20th-century American history, but Schiff's character brims with spunk and surprise along the way. (Apr. 5)

William's new book – Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India – was published by Bloomsbury in October 2009. A preview one of the Nine Lives is available here and is now available for order.

Nine Lives: A Portrait of Modern India Cover

Praise for Nine Lives

“Beautifully written, ridiculously erudite and, more than any of his previous work, reveals Dalrymple to be remarkably warm and open-hearted. A towering talent.”
Brian Schofield, The Sunday Times
“William Dalrymple’s study of the people and beliefs of India ranks with the very finest travel writing… Nine Livesis a travel book, but it is also a series of biographies which unpick the rich religious heritage of the subcontinent. It makes its political points more powerfully than any newspaper article, while quietly adjusting a readers attitude to faith. It displays deep knowledge of the culture. At its best travel writing beats fiction, firing the imagination with tales of foreign peoples drawn close by our common humanity. This is travel writing at its very best. I hope it sparks a revival”
Ruaridh Nicoll, Observer

Chinese empire reclaims vase for RM266m

Growing power of new Chinese empire

As the Asian Games opened with the now-usual spectacular display of glitz and gongs, a clash of empires was taking place further away. In a musty warehouse in north-west London on Thursday night, the old Chinese empire reclaimed a piece of itself from a corner of the old British empire.

A young Chinese man, on behalf of an anonymous buyer in Beijing, bid a record-setting 53m (RM266m) for this exquisite 18th century vase. Just 16 inches high, fired in the imperial Chinese kilns and marked with the Imperial seal, it was made for the Emperor by a master craftsman, says the Dail Mail.

It had sat for decades on top of a bookcase in a small council semi-d house in Pinner, inherited from an uncle who travelled extensively in the Far East. The family had no idea of its value. It was insured for only 800; and a BBC expert had once pronounced it a fake.

At a chaotic, crowded sale on Thursday night, the family (a woman in her 70s and her son in his 40s) watched in disbelief as frantic bidding changed their fortunes in a matter of minutes. Bidding suddenly rocketed from 500,000 to tens of millions.

It was the most expensive item of Asian art ever sold, as well as the worlds priciest objet dart, excluding paintings and bronze sculpture. The son had to go outside for a breath of fresh air when it became clear they had been unwittingly sitting on a fortune.


A second cylinder inside the outer wall of a virtuoso work of craftsmanship bearing the imperial seal

In a sidebar, A piece of perfection, sold at the perfect time antiques expert John Axford explained the huge price the vase fetched.

Experts have known that the market in Chinese antiques is in a dynamic state, but the 53million price tag for this exquisite 18th cent! ury vase is far beyond the bounds of all reasonable expectation.

It is little wonder that the sellers were reported to be in shock even being helped out of the auction room as the bidding reached fever pitch before smashing the world record for a porcelain vase.

There are a number of reasons for the astonishing price achieved.

One was the perfect timing the sale took place during the middle of Asian Art week n London, when many of the worlds leading dealers were in the capital.

More importantly, there is an eagerness from wealthy Chinese collectors to buy up part of their heritage from the West.

It is a trend fuelled by the unprecedented growth of the Chinese economy in recent years, which has created a new elite of billionaires. Antiques have become one of the prime targets of this surging affluence.

In 2009, the value of goods bought by Chinese clients at auction house Christies increased by 94 per cent. Only last month, another porcelain vase was sold in Hong Kong for 18.2million at the time a world record. Now that milestone has been dramatically overtaken.

Equally significant is the matchless quality of the vase itself, which is a virtuoso work of the most delicate craftsmanship.

Nothing like this has been up for auction in decades. Sixteen inches high, it is quite heavy because it contains a second, beautifully patterned, cylinder within the outer wall.

The object would probably have been commissioned in the mid-18th century by the Qianlong Emperor for one of his great summer palaces.

The astounding nature of the craftsmanship just shows how advanced the ruling Qianlong dynasty was at this time. It presided over an amazingly sophisticated, well-ordered civilisation based on deep respect for the scholarship, the arts and science. In terms of ceramics, the Qianlong Chinese were light years ahead of the Europeans.

In Britain, porcelain was not even made until the 1740s and at first only the most naive artefacts were produced.

The new ! Chinese empire of the Third Millenium is flexing its power. Therell be more to come.

FULL DETAILS:
How 53million Chinese vase was kept on wobbly bookcase in a semi and insured for just 800 The Daily Mail


See What Pakatan Rakyat Gotta Say?

Raining gold vs raining stones

There’s this old Malay saying that goes something like “Hujan emas di negeri orang, hujan batu di negeri sendiri, lebih baik di negeri sendiri.” Roughly translated it means that although it may rain gold in other countries but only stones here at home, we somehow still prefer home.

I’m sure there are lots of people out there who would love to point out how wrong and dated this old adage is, but for someone with a big jones for backpacking and discovering other countries like me, it has proven to be quite true in at least one major respect — food.

I always chuckle at Isham Rais’ quip in his book “Tapai” about how some people only eat when there’s a sign that says “Ditanggung Halal” (guaranteed halal), but for foodies it should really be a simple case of “Ditanggung Sendiri” (roughly means “bear on my own”, a play on the word “ditanggung” which means both guaranteed and bear). If you are of the “Ditanggung Sendiri” type, then of course hunting down an awesome makan place in a foreign land is a much easier task than it is for the “Ditanggung Halal” folks.

The age-old rule of “if the place is swarmed by locals, then the food must be good” is always a good one to uphold wherever you might be. “Ditanggung Sendiri” folks will definitely have a field day exploring and discovering new tastes if they follow this rule while “Ditanggung Halal” folks will find it a lot harder because they’re restricted to only a few halal places, but that still doesn’t mean that you can’t discover and enjoy new tastes as well.

Although my travels have so far only taken me to mostly Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam, I always find that the things I remember the most are the food I ate in these countries. Sometimes they even have a better version of food I consider to be Malaysian staples, like the murtabak or even a simple meal of rice with curry.

I think quite a lot of people already know about the awesome murtabak at Zam Zam Restaurant in the Arab Street area in Singapore. This is a pretty gigantic slab of beef murtabak sprinkled with crunchy pieces of minced beef on top of it to really seal the deal. In fact, it is so famous that there’s even a knock-off version of it (but not as tasty as the real thing, I must say) in the Keramat AU area here in Kuala Lumpur.

What many people may not know is that one of the best murtabaks I’ve ever tasted is in Bangkok, at a little old shop called Roti Mataba not too far away from the backpacker area of Khao San Road. So good is the food there that the shop is always packed with locals either eating in or ordering takeaway at any time of the day.

My trips to Indonesia, on the other hand, are usually filled with one thing, which is to try and eat as much fried rice I possibly can from any place that sells it because I’ve yet to taste a plate of fried rice that is less than “very good.” Even a simple roadside stall selling the simplest fried rice (only rice and eggs, with no vegetables) never fails to blow me away. I have no idea how they do it, it might be the soya sauce they use, or the chilli they put in, but that is a nation of truly fantastic fried rice cooks!

Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City has a little canteen hidden at the back of its Central Mosque that serves wonderful rice and curry dishes, perhaps as good as, if not better, than the best curry places here at home. Their fried egg, generously filled with big and juicily sweet Vietnamese onions, is one that I’m particularly hooked on. And don’t even get me started on the Mee Goreng Mamak at another makan place there that has a giant sign that says “Kedai Makan Melayu”. It is not the pure Mee Goreng Mamak that we usually get here as there is a little taste of Mee Hailam in there as well, and I’m sure their Vietnamese tastebuds had a little say in the mix too, but it is very, very nice to eat indeed.

Yet, even as I am enjoying myself at all these fantastic makan places, I’ve never failed to miss the food at home. Eventually my mind will start to wonder about those tiny 70-sen packets of Nasi Lemak Cikgu (or better known as Nasi Lemak CT Garden) in Kampung Baru. Or that fantastic plate of Phad Kapau (I’m never sure how people spell this) in a roadside kedai makan near Kampung Sungai Penchala.

Or the wonderfully crunchy and pleasing plate of Nasi Ayam Sesame at Medan Selera, Jalan Raja Muda Musa. Or just a plate of my mom’s nasi lemak with sambal telur itik in the morning. We may have our own little problems as a country, but it is still home, and no matter how happy we are discovering new things abroad, there will always be that little piece inside us that will miss home.

Opinion

Aidil Rusli loves rock 'n' roll, still believes in the words "indie" and "underground", and after all these years still sings in his band Couplemyspace.com/couple. You can get in touch with Aidil by emailing: encik.aidil@gmail.com

Conflicting signals from Umno: Now, it doesn't want Zaid anymore

Tengku Adnan - No, no. Door is closed.Malaysia Chronicle

Umno leaders crop up to have opposing views about their argumentative ex-colleague Zaid Ibrahim. Just days ago, vice president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was reported as revelation Bernama that Umno's doors would stay open for Zaid if he motionless to leave Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim's PKR celebration or was sacked.

However, Umno secretary-general Tengku Adnan now says Umno would not take Zaid back. But despite his clever words, Tengku Adnan has been overruled before, most noticeably in a new conflict involving Perkasa arch Ibrahim Ali in that a Umno leader had publicly tried to distance his celebration from Perkasa.

Days later, Adnan was forced to U-turn after former premier Mahathir Mohamad issued a notice to Prime Minister Najib Razak not to ostracize ultra-Malay rights NGO, of that he is a patron.

Meanwhile, Zaid is widely approaching to announce his abdication from PKR soon. He has already dropped out of a emissary presidential competition as well as give up all celebration posts except his membership.

There are drawn out doubts about Zaid's faithfulness both inside of PKR as well as a Pakatan Rakyat coalition given his supporters have mostly threatened to form a "third force" or a new domestic party.

In fact, Zaid has himself threatened to form Keadilan Baru, suggestive of Mahathir's Umno Baru in a 1980s, if he were to be asked to leave PKR.


Tengku Adnan: Umno will not accept Zaid back

PUTRAJAYA, Nov thirteen Umno will not accept former Minister in a Prime Ministers Department Datuk Zaid Ibrahim behind into a party, Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said.

Zaid, you have diminished him. Why should you take him back? he said when asked upon Zaids chance should he wish to lapse to Umnos fold.

He will additio! nally gi ve us problems. We dont similar to to have people who give problems. We wish people who stick upon our party, a Barisan Nasional(BN) component parties, to assimilate a celebration struggle, not those who wish to pursue their own interests, he told reporters after opening a crowd day for Kemas kindergartens in Putrajaya today.

On Nov 8, Zaid announced his withdrawal as a claimant for a Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) emissary presidents post as well as abdication from all celebration posts following allegations that there was no transparency in a celebration election.

However, Zaid, who was diminished from Umno in December 2008 as well as afterwards joined PKR 6 months later, has nonetheless to voice his goal to lapse to Umnos fold.

There have usually been reports of his goal to form a new party. Bernama

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Anwar: No Umn! o cultur e in PKR though maybe a little Trojan horses...
Pakatan leaders impact Zaid for "unjustified" BN support comments...
Zaid losing steam as PKR No. 2 competition enters final lap...
Battle for PKR No. 2 : Power equation expected to change...
Zaid burning his bridges with PKR
PKR No. 2 chase: Waiting for a neutrals to sway
PKR No.2: Azmin 33 nominations, Zaid 19, Mustaffa 6, Tian 2 ...
PKR polls: Azmin pulls ahead of Zaid
Khairy questions PKR's celebration polls, Nik Nazmi wallops back...
PKR approach polls flog off with Kedah, Kelantan divisional AGMs...
Zaid upon celebration polls as well as celebration enemies
Anwar declines PKR nominations despite calls from Husin, Khalid...
Syed Husin will not defend PKR No 2 post...
PKR contestants told not to burst a gun
PKR emissary presidency: One prohibited battle upon a cards...
Tanding jawatan Presiden PKR: Anwar belum ada jawapan...
S'gor MB Khalid does not rule out contesting for PKR No. 2...
Anwar's celebration lays belligerent for a new era
Selangor groups propose Anwar, Azizah for top dual posts ...
Dirty linen is not transparency: Time for Azmin, Zaid to cold it...
Azmin, Zaid among frontrunners for PKR emissary presidency...
First red blood to Azmin though Zaid seen catching up in PKR No.2 competition ...
VIDEO PKR MPs, senators behind Azmin for emissary presidency...
The follow to be Timbalan as well as because Syed Husin should defend his No.2 post...
PKR splits state from party, initially asked Zaid to conduct S'gor Azmin Replaces Khalid As S'gor PKR Chief, Zaid Is ...
PKR retreat: Leaders impact media blitz, say will not be distracted...
Kemelut PKR Selangor: Perebutan kuasa sesuatu yang...
Separating state from party: The subsequent era o...
Tiada ahli parlimen PKR cuba guling Khalid
PKR faces most enemies as well as its Selangor arch faces a Brutus...
PKR retreat: Enough, a time has come to take clever action.

My Brickfields


NOT TODAY
By SUJESH PAVITHRAN


We look before and after ... but do we pine for what is not? (With apologies to P.B. Shelley.)

MUSIC blared from portable PA systems and the makeshift stalls were festooned with brightly-coloured salwar kameez suits and elegant kurta. A seething mass of humanity snaked its way through the shops, browsing, bargaining, buying and, sometimes, just basking in the festive air.

Indian sweets of vivid hues and the aroma of thosai enticed hungry passers-by, arms loaded with plastic bags, into restaurants.

The main street, lined with arches, was clogged with traffic, and from my vantage point at the corner of an alley, the train of cars and buses seemed endless. Motorcycles deftly twisted their frenzied way to nowhere and at one point, an ambulance burrowed through the vehicular morass, siren screeching in an almost futile attempt to reach its destination.

The night sky was almost lost in the blaze of street lights and neon signs.

I sighed ... it was the week before Deepavali, and I was in Chennai.

Okay, I'm kidding ... I was actually in Little India, Brickfields of KL, waiting for my missus and mum to finish their tour of the stalls. But we could well have been in any south Indian city, so authentic was the atmosphere.

Later, as we drove out, I spied the remnants of the legendary "Pines" row of Chinese restaurants, demolished to make way for a modern complex.

Nostalgia prodded me. Back in the mid-1980s, I lived in Brickfields – not the notorious Lido area but what is now Little India – for three years, after returning from India, where I had spent a decade and a half.

Having no place to stay initially, I crashed with friends. Brickfields was "home" to the years that I struggled to earn a living as a writer and photo-journalist, my handful of possessions being my clothes, books, guitar, camera and rackety old typewriter.

The Pines row was where we – my new friends, mostly newly-employed twentysomethings – would treat ourselves to dinner and booze when we could afford it. The wee hours would inevitably find us in the last restaurant open for the night, for a final round before we stumbled back to our rooms.

Saturday night, especially, was a time for extended revelry. Then, late Sunday morning, nursing hangovers, we would crawl into Mathais' crowded stall at the Peking Hotel, not far from The Pines, for his famed fried fish, chicken curry and rice. The piping hot food fixed our hangovers; after that, Sundays were easier to get through despite the spectre of Monday.

Some days when I wasn't broke, I would drop by the Anthonian bookstore to pick up sci-fi books on sale.

I moved a couple of times, but always near The Pines and under the shadow of the gigantic – so it seemed then – Crescent Court condominium, which lent the area a dash of class. Hey, it was the 1980s!

One place I rented was a tiny room in a flat behind the Sri Kota supermarket. Some nights, I would spend hours pounding on that typewriter, then suddenly realise it was 4am and I was hungry. The short walk to the hive of hawkers at the corner near the supermarket took care of that. Also located in the area was "Gandhi's" stall; so delicious were the fried rice and noodles, we believed the dark arts were evoked in their making!

Like The Pines, most of these places are now gone, and as I drove away that humid night before Deepavali, I realised I missed the old Brickfields. Sure, it had a big drain running along the main road then but the occasional flood only added to the character of the place!

This century's Brickfields may be more "cosmopolitan" but its "Malaysian-ness" seems to have receded deeper into the alleys.

Azizah issues warning, Zaid called political 'parasite', his camp slams Anwar

A fed-up Azizah issues notice Malaysia Chronicle

As PKR's historic approach choosing moves into a final lap, celebration president has slapped upon a wisecrack order as well as reminded all parties to adhere to existing guidelines upon campaigning. Meanwhile, participants in a hotly contested emissary presidential competition one after another to hit out during any other. Perceived supporters of Zaid Ibrahim's ferried in 3 busloads of often Indian teenagaers to lift upon his grousing opposite Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim as well as leading No. 2 contender Azmin Ali even though Zaid has already forsaken out of a race.


Malaysia Chronicle appends below a comments done by assorted PKR leaders sourced from several media sources including Malaysiakini as well as Malaysian Insider


Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, PKR presidentWe have already started receiving movement as well as a concentration is upon cases that have clear signs. Stern movement will be taken opposite any parties who have been found guilty of starting opposite PKRs formula of ethics.

With this guarantee, we hope that there will be no some-more open criticisms between celebration leaders as well as members because this will usually give enemies some-more excuses to attack us.


Azmin Ali, emissary presidential aspirantDon't allow a brand new candidate who assimilated merely a year ago to try to hurt a struggle of 12 years, asking Anwar Ibrahim to step down. Who have been we (to contend this)?

You have never even gone to a travel demonstration, never been arrested, never felt how it is to be poor as well as have no understanding of what Reformasi means. (Yet we can say) 'Anwar, step back.' This is outrageous.

A certain someone pronounced he is an advocate of democracy as well as human rights. In a initial week (of central polling) he was still because he! was lea ding. Azmin trailing by a few hundred votes... it was no problem. In a third week he crashed. Why was we blamed?

No complement is perfect though we have to make suggestions a right approach by a autarchic council, not by Utusan as well as TV3. If leaders have no fortify afterwards how can he fortify his followers?

Abdul Wahab Ibrahim, Malacca PKRIt's a good thing that he did not win in a Hulu Selangor by-election, because he would have really been a frog in Parliament (by quitting a party). He has usually been in a celebration for 8 months as well as already wants a emissary president post. He is impatient, miserly as well as forward - all Umno traits that he is bringing into a party.

Mustaffa Kamil Ayub, emissary presidential aspirantI had already left when he pronounced that, as well as has no idea what happened. we swear to God. For a consequence of celebration dignity, we will not lift out of a race. Win or lose is not a question, though we want fairness in a process. Charity starts during home, so too does justice.

Badrul Hisham Shaharin, PKR Youth arch aspirantIf we collect a state chiefs they will just follow me similar to Teletubbies. But if we collect them, they will attend to you.

P Jenapala, sacked PKR who brought 3 busloads of often Indian teenagers to demonstrate opposite Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim as well as Azmin Ali during a PKR HQ Azizah should step in to compromise a problems, if she cant she should step down. So should Anwar. Being a de facto personality is not something that is legally recognisable. If we want to be a leader, contest.

KS Kottapan, former Selangor PKR treasurer we await what Zaid is fighting for, a celebration has to absolved itself from corruption or else we would not be here today.

FreedomFilmFest2010 - Penang

from The Middle Ground

FreedomFilmFest2010 is back for the 7th year. The annual human rights film festival will be held throughout the month of October & November, gracing cities across the nation including Petaling Jaya, Johor Bahru, Miri and Georgetown!

This year, KOMAS & SUARAM PENANG is proud to announce that the premier of FreedomFilmFest2010 in Penang is organised in cooperation with the PENANG STATE GOVERNMENT under the care of Exco Kesenian YB Wong Hong Wai.

Date: 13 & 14 November, 2010

Venue: Penang Caring Society Complex, Jalan Utama, 10450 Georgetown (Google Map)

The two-day festival will feature 14 award winning Malaysian and international human rights documentaries.

This is a private closed door event. Please REGISTER ONLINE to get your FREE tickets: http://freedomfilmfest.komas.org/tickets

Enquiries: freedomfilmfest@komas.org



FILM SCREENING SCHEDULE

All thematic sessions will be followed by a 20min facilitated discussion with exciting and knowledgeable resource persons. So come prepared with your questions/if any, and to participate and share!!

Sat, 13 Nov, 2pm
Theme: OUR RIGHTS & POLICE POWERS
“The Story of Human Rights”

“Every Mother's Son”


Sat, 13 Nov, 3.30pm
Theme: RIGHTS OF THE POOR
“Raul The Terrible”

Sat, 13 Nov, 5pm
Theme: CONSIDERING NUCLEAR AS AN ENERGY SOURCE
“Uranium – Is it a Country?”

Sat, 13 Nov, 7.30pm
OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF PENANG FFF2010 by YB Wong Hong Wai EXCO Kesenian Negeri Pulau Pinang.
PREMIERE OF FFF2010 COMPETITION FILMS

8.25pm “Pilih”
9.15pm “Hak DiNafikan”
10.05pm “Kisah Tauke Mancis&Minyak Tumpah”


Sun, 14 Nov, 12pm

Theme: EMPOWERING INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES
“Hutan Kehidupan Kami (Land is our life)”

Sun, 14 Nov, 2pm
Theme: APPLICATION OF ISLAMIC LAWS IN MALAYSIA

“Mencari Kartika (Searching for Kartika)"


Sun, 14 Nov, 3.30pm
Theme: MIGRANTS IN LIMBO
“Special Pass”

Sun, 14 Nov, 4.40pm

Theme: MALAYSIA – INDONESIA: SAME-SAME?

“Budaya Tak Terbatas (Borderless culture)”


Sun, 14 Nov, 5:30pm
Theme: FOCUS ON BURMA

“Hongsha's Bag"
“Burma's Hidden Killers”

Sun, 14 Nov, 8pm

Theme: WOMEN HEROES IN CONFLICT RESOLUTION

“Pray the devil back to hell”


*Full film synopsis available at http://freedomfilmfest.komas.org


FREEDOMFILMFEST2010 is funded by the EUROPEAN UNION in cooperation with KONRAD ADENAUER STIFTUNG.


Check out OUR WEBSITE for more screenings dates. Do email us freedomfilmfest@komas.org if you're interested to host your own screening party on our behalf at your OWN hometown!


http://freedomfilmfest.komas.org

"Allah's Tailors" gaining profile in Turkey


Reuters – Models present creations for Muslim women during an Islamic Fashion Fair in Istanbul April 11, 2010. …

ISTANBUL (Reuters Life!) – Along Istanbul's busy Eminonu waterfront women swathed in dark coats and scarves knotted once under the chin jostle past others clad in vivid colors and head coverings carefully sculpted around the face.

Two decades ago such a polished, pious look scarcely existed in Turkey. But today it has the highest profile exponents in First Lady Hayrunnisa Gul and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's wife Emine, and the brands behind it plan ambitious expansion.

The headscarf remains one of Turkey's most divisive issues. Everything from the way it is tied and accessorized, to the poise and demeanor of the wearer, is laden with meaning in this majority Muslim but officially secular country of 74 million.

From a simple headcovering, stigmatized in the early days of the Turkish Republic as backward and rural, it has become, in the last decades, a carefully crafted garment and highly marketable commodity, embodying the challenge of a new class of conservative Muslims to Turkey's secularist elites.

"It was hard to find anything chic for the covered women 10 years ago, but fashion for pious women has made huge progress in the last 6-7 years," said Alpaslan Akman, an executive in charge of production and marketing at Muslim fashion brand Armine.

Armine is known for its high-impact campaigns. Huge posters have hung in the heart of Istanbul's bar and nightclub district -- the serene models contrasting with the commotion below.

The brand teams colorful scarves with figure-skimming coats, pert collars, big buttons and ruffled sleeves.

A coat typically sells for around 200 Turkish lira ($143.2), while scarves retail for around 50 lira.

"We are much luckier than previous generations, we have more designs and colors of scarves to choose from," said 30-year-old Filiz Albayrak, a sales assistant in an Istanbul scarf shop.

Around 69 percent of Turkish women cover their heads in some form, with 16 percent using the more concealing and self-consciously stylish "turban" style scarf, which tightly covers the hair and neck, according to a 2007 study.

Getting it to sit right takes much time and effort, and usually requires an under bonnet to first provide a stiff base.

GROWING CONFIDENCE

Turkey's first lady, who wears a turban, co-hosted Republic Day celebrations with her husband for the first time last month, in a sign of confidence among the pious establishment.

Encountering Hayrunissa Gul in her headscarf in the Presidential Palace was too much for the staunchly secularist military however, who refused to show up.

Mustafa Karaduman, founder of Islamic fashion house Tekbir in 1982 and nicknamed "Allah's Tailor" in the Turkish media, sees the changes in society and is hopeful of further growth.

"Our work was quite amateur in the first decade. Then in 1992 we organized the very first headscarf fashion show, which brought us global attention. Now Islamic style clothes are on the agenda everywhere around the world," he said.

He plans to add to his 90 stores in Turkey and 10 abroad. Armine, like Tekbir also has ambitious expansion plans.

"We are very aggressive in terms of targets...I'll say we are successful when the day comes that people think 'Who's Armani? It must be fake Armine,'" joked Akman.

Turkish daily Milliyet estimated the Islamic clothing market to be worth $2.9 billion.

Despite its presence on the streets, women students and civil servants are banned from wearing the scarf in the institutions of the secular state, a rule the governing AK Party, led by conservative Muslims, has pledged to end.

The secular establishment fears any change to the ban could see uncovered women feel pressure to cover their heads.

An attempt by the AK Party to remove the ban three years ago was blocked by the Constitutional Court and nearly saw the party closed down for anti-secular activities.

Continued discussions over the headscarf mirror Turkey's socio-economic development and the struggle over the defining line between the country's political and religious characters.

Rapid economic growth has given many people more income to spend on themselves, while rising political consciousness among an ascendant class of pious Muslims has led to highly visible veiling as they stake a claim in society.

Religion became more prominent in society after a 1980 military coup, and was tolerated as a foil to leftist ideologies. Young urban women started wearing home-made baggy coats and large scarves as a political statement, according to Ozlem Sandikci, assistant professor of marketing at Ankara's Bilkent university.

Garments gradually became more shapely and colorful, as pious women wanted to be seen and acknowledged, she said.

"Turkey already had the textile know-how. So as women started to cover it is obvious that business would emerge and start to supply them. These small companies began to grow and have become increasingly influential players," she said.

Today the most conservative Muslims frown on the Islamic fashion industry's commodification of the headscarf, while staunch secularists say the clothes are ostentatious and betray little of the modesty that wearing a headscarf is supposed to express.

"Modesty is a requirement but it is not the only requirement," Sandikci said. "Women are also supposed to demonstrate a pleasant look so as to act as a role model, and a positive example of Islam."

(Additional reporting by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Paul Casciato)

Accountants Fighting Corruption



Felicity Banks, the head of business law from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales speaks on the role of accountants in the ongoing battle against corruption and money laundering

Malaysia's Politicians Even Politicize Sausages !

Mom in non-halal uproar wants school to act

By Joe Fernandez

KOTA KINABALU: Angela Jabing Beginda, whose 10-year old son Basil was caned 10 times on Oct 15 by the Muslim senior assistant of his mission school in Kuching for bringing non-halal food for his recess break, wants principal Alice Chung to act on the matter instead of waiting for the education department.

“It’s not necessary for Chung to wait for the outcome of a disciplinary committee set up by the department,” said Beginda last night. “St Thomas Primary School can act on its own accord if its regulations have been breached.”

She was commenting on a press statement on Nov 11 by Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department, Fatimah Abdullah, who gave the state government’s stand on the matter.

Renewing “the school must act first theme”, Beginda pointed out that the senior assistant, Iskander Fadeli, from Simunjan, was not among the four teachers authorised by the school to cane students. For this infringement alone, Beginda said, she wants Chung to show some backbone and either do what is right or step aside, “failing which be put on the carpet by the school board”.

Dismissing Fatimah’s version, she stressed that the Nov 9 meeting at the school did not resolve that no action should be taken against Iskander. “What the meeting decided was that the school board did not have the authority to take any form of disciplinary action against the senior assistant,” said Beginda. “So, it was decided to leave the matter in the hands of the disciplinary committee.”

Fatimah also disclosed that the education department will soon decide on how best to deal with the senior assistant who has since admitted caning Basil. The form of action to be taken will depend on recommendations to be made by the disciplinary committee set up by the department.

The disciplinary committee is currently going through the report of a meeting of various parties held on Nov 9. The mission school has reportedly left the caning incident in the hands of the department since the disciplinary panel also includes its members besides the department and its divisional office.

“It’s up to the disciplinary committee to decide... as long as it’s fair and appropriate,” said Fatimah.

'A good lesson'

Fatimah could not explain why the school couldn’t take action against the senior assistant for caning a student without being duly authorised to do so.

Instead, Fatimah stressed the caning incident was “a good lesson” for the school, the senior assistant and the parents of the boy concerned.

“It’s also a learning process. We must learn from our mistakes,” said Fatimah. “The school and the senior assistant have learnt the best way to tackle similar cases if they happen again in the future.”

Fatimah also took issue with a February circular by the education department banning the sale of non-halal food at school canteens in the state. She deems it “inappropriate” and not because the Muslims are in a definite minority in Sarawak.

“We live in a multiracial country,” said Fatimah. “Some schools are 100% non-Muslim, some are mixed while others are 100% Muslim.”

She said it’s more important that parents educate their children – on sensitivities – although the Ministry of Education “has given leeway to schools to have their own rules and regulations”.

She urged that schools make their regulations clear and explain nicely to the students and parents before misunderstandings arise.

She has a particular message for non- Muslim parents.

“If your children bring non-halal food to school, they should have it alone and not pass them to Muslim friends,” she said without relating it to the caning incident.

There has been no suggestion so far that Basil offered his non-halal food – friend rice with pork sausages – to any Muslim student at the school.

Two conditions

According to Beginda, it was the senior assistant’s son who confirmed for his father that Basil had brought non-halal food to school on that fateful day. This was after a Muslim boy, an Alif, complained to the senior assistant about Basil bringing non-halal food to school. The tell-tale boy had apparently gone over to the corner of the school hall where Basil was finishing his food to check on what he was eating.

“My son would never share his food with anyone,” said Beginda. “He’s very stingy about that.”

Beginda also clarified that she’s giving the disciplinary committee another week to take appropriate action against the senior assistant.

Beginda said that she doesn’t want the caning incident to veer off in other directions involving questions over the religious status of her husband, Beginda Anak Minda from Kapit.

She said that her husband, an Iban like her, remains a pagan while she and her children are Christians of the Anglican Church. She’s from Engkili but resident in Kuching where she’s attached to the Sarawak chapter of PKR as executive secretary.

She expressed willingness last Tuesday, albiet grudgingly, to accept a belated apology from the senior assistant for the caning incident. The senior assistant did not refer to the caning incident when he apologised, according to Beginda.

However, she has set two conditions if she’s to accept the apology.

She wants the senior assistant to be removed from the school for caning her son. Beginda made the demand on the grounds that her son “lives in fear of the senior assistant”, had been traumatised by the incident and that the senior assistant had acted arbitrarily.

She also wants the education department to clarify a February circular on halal food. The department had promised to issue an immediate clarification on the circular which states that no non-halal food can be sold at school canteens, according to Beginda.

“They should state their stand on the sale of beef and other meat as well, besides pork, since these are not allowed by certain faiths and vegans.”

Beginda’s first request, however, is under consideration by the department pending disciplinary action against Iskander.

Which is more innocent - the 10-year schoolboy or the sausage?

Schoolboy's mum Angela (left) wants an explanation

Tay Tian Yan

Many people love sausages, as well as gluttons would insist that pig sausages have been far some-more tasty than those done from alternative meats, not to mention the different varieties accessible in the market.

Pork sausages have been found everywhere, from common roadside stalls to posh restaurants.

But pig sausages do have the little dark bulletin in real life.

It was said that the first propagandize tyro in Kuching was caned by his clergyman only because he had brought pig sausages to school.

And the uncanny thing is, no the single seems to know what sacrament the schoolboy actually belongs to

Or who should decide whether the child is authorised to take sausages. Parents? Teachers? Religious department? Or politicians?

The boy's mom put the little pig sausages inside his lunch box, as well as he got the whip after the clergyman saw it.

Based upon the boy's birth certificate, his mom is the Christian while the mainstay upon his father's sacrament has been left blank.

Some contend the boy's father used to be the Muslim because of his prior marriage, though is no longer the single after the divorce.

How should adults discuss it the 10-year-old child what halal food is as well as who should stay away from non-halal food, why pig is not halal as well as what sorts of sausages have been halal, as well as how to discuss it the difference in between pig as well as duck sausages?

In the boy's innocent world, all that he knows is that the food inside his lunch box can be eaten as well as that pig sausages ambience marvellous.

When he feels hungry, he will open his lunch box as well as gobbles up whatever lies inside.

This is human nature, the instinct for one after another survival that should, by right, not offend anyone.

But he got the rotan.

East! Malaysi a is relatively liberal where religious taboos have been concerned, though unfortunately the intolerancef of West Malaysians has now gained the little belligerent opposite the South China Sea.

The issue was later brought to the Parliament, as well as eccentric repute Zulkifli Noordin, well known for his in advance utterances, swore over the sins of pig sausages in his self-proclaimed genius as the protector of the Islamic faith.

Dr Dzulkefly from PAS, also in the antithesis camp, rebutted him for trying to fan up open emotions.

While their names receptive to advice hardly any different, the viewpoints of Zulkifli as well as Dzulkefly upon pig sausages have been though worlds apart.

We can see the eminence in between intolerancef as well as forbearance from only the small piece of pig sausage.

This is where the segmentation of the Malaysian multitude lies. Not differences in religions nor political principles, though dichotomy in mindset as well as ideological beliefs.

Before you push the piece of pig sausage down your throat next time, do think about the experience of this innocent schoolboy as well as anticipate that approach the nation should bring itself to in the future.