Showing posts from March, 2013

Malaysia's General Election: Parody of Democracy

Seems to me, nowadays the Malaysian Institution supports the art of 'civilized behavior' among the citizens. Despite the boasts of being an educated society, Malaysians tend to resort to hooliganism - preferring such to dialogues or respecting the freedom of assembly.

I find it disgusting that this 'educated' Malaysian society has chosen to embrace hypocrisy for the sake of prestige and sucking up to the those who are of higher caste then the rest. The 13th General Election or simply known as #GE13 and the events leading to it, is a highly inflamed soap-opera, and not just for this supposedly right of a democratic nation but also how people become professional thugs in order to 'convince' the undecided to vote for their political party.

And naturally why is it that when it comes to the urgent issues, needs and concerns of the marginalized poor, Malaysians do not take to the streets to protests against injustices and social oppression? Maybe, Malaysians are stil…

West Papua: Resistance against Occupation

Neglected by the international community, rendered invisible by the on-going tyranny of Indonesia, the occupied West Papuan community are forced to live in utter misery and poverty. The indigenous people enslaved by Indo colonists resist for self-determination and freedom of their land, children, heritage and future. 

This is #Indonesia in #WestPapua. Please share to the world. RT and share…
— Free West Papua(@FreeWestPapua) March 21, 2013 #Indonesia is trying to create a good international image but with the ongoing human rights violations in #WestPapua that image is FUCKED !
— ポール (@PurePapua) March 22, 2013
West Papua: Update: Papuans Behind Bars February 2013
— AK Rockefeller (@akrockefeller) March 26, 2013
15 years jail for peacefully raising a flag. Does Indonesian occupied #WestPapua sound like a democracy to you?
— Benny Wenda (@BennyWenda) March 25, 2013
#INDONESIA: Police and military officers molested a #pregnant woman and …

Thailand in the Serenity of Calm-Sweeping Mawlid

I arrived late, my Thai Muslim friends were already speaking in rapid-tones and almost meaningless sequences, sharing news and gossiping about the state of untold violence in Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala.

The southern Thai Melayu language is different from the mixed-matched slang of those living in Malaysia's northern states of Kelantan, Kedah, Perlis and Terengganu. I only find it challenging to understand when they speak with excitement. My proficient is Thai is almost non-existent however I pat myself on the back when it comes to the South Thai lingo.

Telly was blasting loudly, a special broadcast, showing Yingluck Shinawatra, prime minister of Thailand, at a Mawlid event. She was surrounded by Thai Muslims, those living in Bangkok and others from the ThaiSouth.  Mawlid is an observance of the birthday of Islam's Prophet Muhammad. 
While watching the segment, my young friends spoke in undertones, some were quiet while sipping strong sweet black coffee. They were curious abo…

Joys of Seeking and Hoping without Limits

My first trip to Bangkok was when I was a mere lad, accompanying my father and the family on a series of wondrous globetrotting. My late father was a serious Malaysian Minangkabau diplomat, and similar in characteristic like his father who left our ancestral land in West Sumatra seeking his fortunes in Malaya, way before independence. It was only natural in less than a decade of my father's death, I continued travelling in the early '90s, completely consumed by the wanderlust.
Anyway, back to Bangkok.

Back and forth, in early 2011 for a harm reduction workshop, and later in the year, for the Great Thai Flood which swept through many of the Thai provinces, from north to south - raging mud-covered flash floods to stagnant polluted waters. Slums, protests, a heavy dose of travelling in 2012, I was then fortunate to have visited Narathiwat, in the "Deep South" of Thailand.

The urge to write something...

I've contemplated writing a book, though I have poor skills in w…

Modern Day Genocide in Burma - #OpRohingya #Anonymous

"My people are rotting."

In Wisdom We Follow

Pandeik Tun spent a total of 12 years in prison in Burma, arrested twice since 1998, as a political prisoner. He was released recently on January 2012 after five years being imprisoned the second time round. He is named after the title Pandit given to Jawaharlal Nehru, which means wisdom, and in the Pali language, the word is spelt as his name. "I am ashamed to tell people what it means because I am not wise." I like him instantly.

Today he drives a cab to earn money.

In the first detention, he spent 5 years and like all the other political prisoners, in solitary confinement. "It was a 12 by 7 feet cell, with a small ventilation. For 25 minutes a day, we could get out of the cell for our bath. The rest of the 23 hours and 35 minutes, we were in our cells. Sometimes we would shout out to talk to the other prisoners. Then the prison guard would come and break it up and shift us further away from each other."

But things had improved in the prisons by the time he was…

The Trail of Dirt, the Story of Endless Struggle

I wash the dirt off my feet. The dirt that has been trampled by the regime in all its forms. The dirt that has given refuge to the fleeing souls. The dirt that has been kicked into the face of the powerless.

In this heat, the dirt and sand sticks to your feet. It is from the city that is under construction and yearning to be developed.

Men and women are hard at work to build and build. Yet, neither the city, nor the country, is out to please, or impress. It has years of repression, and of allowing hostilities to fester, to get out of hand, like it has now in various parts of the country.

The image of the compassionate Buddhist society has lost its appeal. What is manifest is hatred and political manipulation at its worse.

Muslim vs Buddhists. Rakhine vs Rohingyas. Army vs armed groups. Thein Sein vs Aung San Suu Kyi. People vs people.

In all its resilience and dream for a free country, why are the people easily driven into these mindless violence and clashes? Money, greed, pow…

My Way into the Flickering Shadows

Tonight. A reawakening. A revival of a neglected soul,
The day was painful but disappearance of the sun's glory brought about the resurgence, at last, the night setting my balance, my tranquility,
Reconstruct these fleeting thoughts, memories shifting into paradox,
A change for the better; inhalation and exhalation of air. I am back.
Restoring consciousness. Calm of forgetfulness, all gone...
Those miserable resuscitation of past deeds, they are wiped clean from the mind.
My everlasting punishment; doom no more.
We suffer, we boil, altogether, into the pot of damnation, of intellectual pessimism.
Allowing the sensation, almost pleasurable, then leaping away from the plague of calamity.
I miss the sight of rising of water along the seashore, waves breaking the sand and a combination of wind and lightning tearing the terrain.
That sheer joy, a cataclysm, to feel Her presence tenderly touching my face; I smile, welcoming that Storm, those memories.
The trial of tears; visitation of tender trib…

GT200: Detecting Amusement and Ridicule

Dr. Pornthip Rojanasunand, aka Dr. Death, may have been a proficient Thai forensic pathologist in the distant past. However her endorsement of the dubious GT200, a ridiculous bomb detector that was used extensively in the ThaiSouth, has made her the laughing stock of the country, and possibly the militants. Much to the embarrassment of government officials and the Thai forensic circles.

The previous prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, chagrined, halted the purchase of the devices and according to a news report in early 2010, the previous Thai government had spent over USD $20 millionfor some 700 devices.

Now, the National Anti-Corruption Commission has set up a panel to look into the procurement of the GT200 and Alpha 6 bomb-detectors by 13 state-agencies.

Rohingya: Cries Falling on Deaf Ears

Many are wandering through Thailand, particularly heading past the ThaiSouth, towards the Malaysian border. Others resort to the unavoidable crowding of travel by sea. Both ways, many have lost their lives in the attempt, or once in Muslim-majority Malaysia, they find that the "Caring Society" doesn't exist.

Bangkok, a sprawling metropolis that seems to consume those with little money, or those who are ignorant of the prevalent social pyramid that doesn't allow the stateless marginalized communities to survive, or barely. Yet this capital city of Thailand harbors small groups of Rohingya, those who seek a temporary livelihood, before saving what they can for the journey down to Malaysia. Bangkok is definitely not the land of opportunities for many Rohingya refugees. To some, the city is a crowded Buddhist location, while the deep south is wrecked with daily violence, where Thai fundamental extremists slaughter fellow Muslims in an abandonment of blood and tears.


Burma: Pulling the Strings of a Nobel Laureate

"You said you wouldn't trick the people"

Aung San Suu Kyi faced a crowd of angry protesters in Tonywa village in Monywa after the release of the Latpadaung copper mine report.
In reality, the (in)famous Burmese politician does no justice for anyone. Slaughtered Rohingya community, a deeply divided country with ethnic unrest, corporations raping the land, leaving the poor and marginalized to live in misery. All this and the military-backed junta, who have abandoned their military uniform for expensive suits and polished leather shoes, merely watch in delight at this wondrous concept of a controlled, US-endorsed ideology called Democracy. 

South Africa School: Lifting Families out of Poverty

Students at the Centre of Science and Technology in Cape Town, South Africa, have high hopes: to become doctors and engineers, win top awards, and lift their families out of poverty. This video previews a year-long series that will chronicle the struggles of these exceptional students from Khayelitsha, one of South Africa’ most densely populated, low-income areas.

Tradition in Poetry, My Brothers and I

The family tradition in poetry, created masterpieces by the desire to inflict upon the senses. That sheer need to toy with the unknown and embrace the loss, simple amusements with those proficient in this imaginary duel. Self-taught definitely not, seems at times the weight of the cosmos would consume the mind and heart. More like, perhaps, in-born ability to control the mind and allow the heart to determine the words.

My brother, a man who does nothing to conform to the stringent expectations of society. When we meet, on those rare occasions, without a sound, our minds commune. Poem written, that often meant one thing read from right to left and something entirely different when digested; a haze of sensations, when the brain shuts down, allowing the fermentation of understanding.

Poetry was so much of a culture, a part of our lives.

We shared insights to the unexplored realm of words. Emotions tossed, phrases with triple meaning, puns, verses in a prearranged rhyme pattern, long s…

The Energy of Fire and Spite

A video of a bombing in Narathiwat on 1st March 2013.

Violence. Intensity, the untamed force of oppression and savagery. Welcome to the horrors faced by the people of the south. 

A Woolgathering Moment in Bangkok

Walking, observing and enlightening myself to some modern and traditional aspects of Bangkok. 

Behind the Smiles: Callous Indifference to the Suffering of Others

Wandered the streets of Bangkok, with lit well-used pavements for the tourists and shadowy alleys where even the ownerless dogs refuse to roam. Bangkok is a city filled with surprises, at times emanating a wave of negation that seems to consume its inhabitants.

People walk by, most with little care for the disabled, the children and the elderly who decorate the uneven roads. Stretched palms, others bowing low at every pedestrian who passes by, people live in either utter misery or burdened with irregular misfortune. Thais and foreigners can't escape the poverty and urban grimness that consumes most of the city, leaving only the privileged few scattered in high-rise condos or luxury bungalows. 
Looking ahead, the night seems unbearable. The smog is different, maybe the reaction of pollution and a vile sense of toxic loss. I see the homeless, chained to this culture of modernization where people chase after a dream that are beyond their means - and sacrificing their core values tha…

PULO Barking for Legitimacy, Fearful of Being Neglected

I read with great interest and partial amusement the declaration by the Patani United Liberation Organization (PULO), that was posted on their website.

It states:
"We hope that Malaysia is sincere..." Quite amusing as Malaysian government and a largely sympathetic Melayu community have often shown blatant or quiet support for the indiscriminate attempts by ThaiSouth militants to "liberate" Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat from the clutches of the infidel Thai Buddhists. Kafir (a person who is not a Muslim) ranks off the grid when it comes to inhabiting, or governing Melayu-owned land. Such sentiments are not based on Islamic values, but more of a prejudice-laced ethno-economical stereotyping by nationalists, fascists and ultra-racists.

There are far too many rumors and facts about the power influence of the Thai army in the ThaiSouth. One can easily absorb the information from the internet, or engage in a discussion with political scientists, security experts and even …

Birth of Hope: A Friend from Pattani

My networks, buzzing with activity and the usual dose of opinions via the internet and among the people of the south. The exhaustion of four nights, chattering like mad squirrels and refusing to halt the momentum, took its effect on me.
Discussion done but feeling the exhaustion creeping in. Wished had more time; making do with whatever comes my way.
— Zashnain Zainal (@bedlamfury) February 27, 2013
Smoky room, light flickering at the side. Everything seems to move slowly, as if time threatens to stop. Dazed.
— Zashnain Zainal (@bedlamfury) February 27, 2013 Its this inflammation of senses, trying to get as much information as one could possibly can about the upcoming dialogues between the Thai government and ThaiSouth's Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN). BRN was founded in the 1960s, ethno-nationalist leaning on socialism. It's goal is simply to fight for an independent state of Pattani.

The Malaysian government facilitating the dialogue, as one of my contacts from Malaysia d…