Showing posts from August, 2013

Memorandum Kepada Tuhan

Tuhan Aku menulis ini Sebagai doa ku setiap malam
Kau membuka hatiku Untuk menerima perbedaan Yang aku lihat dalam segala ciptaan-Mu Yang berjenis, beragam dan berwarna Sekecil apapun mahluk itu ada fungsinya Tidak mengira besar kecil satu pohon Matahari dan hujan dapat sama rata
Tuhan, Aku mempelajari Rasa syukur adalah Dari aksiku dan tingkahku Setiap hari memberi kasih Tidak mengenal perbedaan Kerana semua sama manusia
Kau lihatkan aku bahawa Setiap diri manusia  dan ciptaanmu berbeza Punya hati dan otak sendiri unik Tidak kira jantina Disisi mu sama rata Saling melengkapi Saling menjaga saling menghormati Saling mengasihani
Kau membuka hatiku Dengan memberi cahaya Walau payah hidup setiap hariku Ia mengajar aku dewasa Tidak mengalah Dan hidup dalam bahaya
Tapi tuhan Murka kah kau kepadaku  jika aku bertanya Kenapa ada manusia yg konon bijak agama Mengajarkan aku berbeda? Membentuk aku untuk menelan muntah hal jantina Bahawa kaum hawa kelas kedua

The fearless Freedom Flotilla sails for occupied West Papua

On August 17th, a group of heroic activists set sail from Cairns, Australia, bound for West Papua in the Freedom Flotilla. Their mission is to land on West Papuan soil against the express wishes of the government of Indonesia and use their journey to draw attention to the human rights abuses taking place in West Papua. The cruel occupation of West Papua by the Indonesian military is normally invisible to the outside world since Indonesia prevents any international journalists from entering West Papua. The Freedom Flotilla is organized in part by aboriginal elder Uncle Kevin Buzzacott, West Papuan exiled activists Jacob Rumbiak, Amos Wainggai and Ronny Kareni (Rize of the Morning Star), and Melbourne rapper, Izzy Brown. Read more about them on the Freedom Flotilla website. Demonstrations of creative resistance like the Freedom Flotilla have the ability to focus the world's attention on West Papua and shine a light on the true gravity of the Papuan people's current sit…

Bangkok Clear: a campaign of prejudice against the marginalized community

The mega city is a dream come true for those with the wealth to spend and invest, a city filled with temples, mosques and shrines dedicated to almost every known immortal and a launching pad for travel-hungry tourists. It is also home to the homeless, the residents of slums and people using drugs, among many other most-at-risk populations (MARP).

I know, I've been harping on this issue on Twitter, that the city's independent government, called Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), is on a quest to "clean" the streets of undesirables, the vagabonds, the economically oppressed and members of rejected communities. The campaign, covering the span of this mighty city, is simply called "BANGKOK CLEAR" with that usual swag of publicity, photo-shoot opportunities, high-society lectures, and supposedly intelligent members of organizations that clearly don't believe in harm reduction, much less the human rights aspect of drug users and the urban poor.
The Go…

A sphere of suppressing authority, we spiral out of control

Tyranny fermenting in the minds of the weak, the disposition of grand delusions that is chained to the prison of insecurity. Much have been done, and much have been said, of the core values we humans pepper each other, whether tied to addictive patriotism, a perverted sniff of nationalism, or bowing low to the invisible, that creation we set forth to dominate the abiding sense of doubt and uncertainty of your mind.
Servitude, we seek, fearing that chance of being called upon, out to stand before others, and to make decisions for ourselves. Humanity fears of making mistakes, of doing something that resembles unpopularity, and that need to be accepted by the majority, or by the privileged few.

As we retreat into obedience, we mock others into similar circumstance, if have to - forcibly - exerting pressure of conformity. We prefer, somewhat, that others stand or grovel with us, as we transform our hypocrisy into civilized abomination.

Strength in words but rallying to whose cause?

Four hundred people rallying inside the Lumphini Park on a Sunday night, though throw in the gathering number of street vendors, curious homeless people and foreign tourists and you'll easily push the figure to five hundred souls.
A public revelry, a carnival-like experience outside the steel gates of the park, with vendors selling hot food and soothing beverages, while tired-looking entrepreneurs offering the usual variety of politically-inspired propaganda items for sale: the ever present Guy Fawkes masks, large handkerchiefs and assortment of provocative black and dark blue t-shirts.
There's a strong tendency to mobilize and crowd upon someone who's screaming on top of his lungs a name that has been repeated to the point of weariness, regardless of one's perception or delusions of the man.
Thaksin. Ah yes, that word from the lips of politicians, and add the surname of Shinawatra and you'll find all sorts of reaction. The small crowd applaud though I know not of …

Men who are trained to fight the impossible are scared of peace

Celebration of Eid al-Fitr, or known as "Hari Raya Aidilfitri" by Malaysians, was welcomed back home among the dense plantations, despite the thick patches of ferns, imposing palm oil trees and wild monkeys. Yet now back in the complicated urban networks of streets, alleys and pavements, I've returned to Bangkok. One week in Malaysia has enabled me to reach almost a state of equilibrium, the refreshment of body and mind.
In Bangkok, a friend Rani nudges me to pour coffee, a small tin pot of sweet black brew that many southern Thais love so much. She's back from Suan Plu wet market, almost immune to the rapid-changing humidity of the city and barely perspires. She's 27 years old, a flowery purple hijab over her head, armed with that eye-catching smile, someone I got to know well within four months. Meeting her at the corner of the market, at her uncle's flat, bearing sweet treats and news from Malaysia brought about a cheerful appearance, that delightful beami…

Disorderly, solitary thoughts spoken in darkness

A busy week, something unexpected burst out from the routine. Uncertain on what is expected tomorrow, the day after and next week. Though recent days have left that annoying imprint, scattered about on one thought to another. Swirling, perhaps, clashing, yes. Jumbled, even as I try to sort out the pained memories from the raw sensations.
The streets, the pain lingering on those bent backs and tired limbs. I hide, away from the bitter sunlight, half expecting the slums to consume me whole, into the merciless darkness. Poverty, oh twisting poverty, that damned feeling of neglect.

Strained dry eyes, they stare at tattered hanging moldy curtains. Voices, at a distance, fade away. War on the streets, vicious nightmares revisiting as old souls seek an end to the dazed existence. Survival of the wretched, the poor are still neglected in this oh so great city, a metropolis of beggarism, a realm of visiting ghastly memories.

Homelessness. Someone taps on my shoulder. Holds my hand.

I hate it.
I hate holidays.
I hate crowds.

They rush.
They step on my sleeping pad.
They stare at me.
They judge me.

I turn away.
I can sense their arrogance.
I can hear them laughing.
I can feel it directed at me.

Someone taps on my shoulder.
Holds my hand.
A lady.
Says "Take this, buy food"
Crack in her voice.
Sorrow in her eyes.
I look at my palm.
A red note.
"I don't want your sympathy"
Unsaid words.
I nod and thank her instead.
I'm hopeless.

I close my eyes.
Where to run?
Where to hide?
I stand up.
I walk away.

I have come undone.
God, help me.


Lady Ali shares her thoughts about homelessness and loss. Follow her on Twitter: @alithelady

An Inseparable Shadow, the Shade to our Fear

Uninhibited, such shadowy-infested dwellings in the mind, It was not crafted by the hands of an architect. Surrounded by crumbing fortresses, shifting shades following, Down the steps, further into the unknown. A mirrored image, perhaps, somewhere or a reflection of a phantom, Enveloped in darkness, now, your eyes have been deceived. This wasteland, our inhibited fear, of being alone.

Cleaning the streets for the sake of our sensibility

Raids, or for the sake of civility, "intervention" or "rescue" by uniformed authorities in Bangkok are applauded by society in general, followed by NGOs who either don't know what to do or harbor prejudice against homeless people and drug-users. This useless cycle which seems to profit those conducting the raids or those who came up with the idea.
Temporary displacement for the marginalized, where they'll be placed in some God-forsaken bootcamp or forgotten detention hole; and in a matter of time, they'll be back on the streets or slums, and most probably in a traumatized state.

Health Care for the Rural Poor are Subjected to our Whims

What's worrying people living and working in the palm oil plantation hasn't changed much. Accessibility to basic rights: health care.
Access to health care facility is naturally a concern for the rural poor. Small communities which also includes Orang Asli (indigenous tribes), marginalized by socio-economic status - along with racial stereotyping, face barriers when it comes to clinics and hospitals. People live deep within the settlements (popularly known as "estates" by Malaysians) of the plantations which in itself is a harsh kingdom controlled by corporations, upper middle class and government entities.

Clinics, hospitals, medical assistants, nurses and doctors. Key words that determine the longevity of those facing hardship in a man-made environment of 'agriculture'. Those with motorcycles or fortunate enough to own a 2nd-hand vehicle, are somewhat able to access health care facilities, such as the nearby clinic outside of the boundary of the plantation.…

End of Ramadan, Conflicting Emotions and Life

Life in the plantation, and the village, is far from dull. The nearby beach, the swaying coconut trees, frequent fresh sea breeze, wild vegetation and friendly villagers add color to the bleakness of the imposing, tall palm-oil trees belonging to the plantations.

Returning to my country, Malaysia - a country with a population of 28 million people, is never easy. Too much of the past, untold misery, revisited. Not to mention, the greed of former acquaintances, inheritance-grabbing individuals and some, supposedly, people of purity. Aye, a beautiful country with a society bent on consuming itself.

End of Ramadan, and yet I'm back despite my hesitation. I'm not fleeing from societal contradictions. I'm just keen to be in the company of people, family, who are not judgmental. I'm back, even briefly, for those treasured memories and delightful senses.

Returning to a country where society is blind because of purity

As the plane flew over the landscape, the thick clouds parted revealing the haze over the congested airport. LCCT seems swallowed by the haze, the legacy of organized land-clearing by farmers and the unchecked corporate pollution. Fire and pesticide, commonly used by farmers and plantation workers, from Malaysia and neighboring country, Indonesia, to remove vegetation and trees. Such primitive and destructive acts are deeply ingrained in the behaviors of the labourers and their land masters, while politicians mimic outrage and environmentalists offer no sustainable change... well, except to make speeches about rights sound articulate to a redundant society.
Back in Malaysia, my country. Feels good to be back, even for a while. I intend to complete this trip as swiftly as possible. The uncertainty, this ghastly political climate which offers no hope for society to remove itself from more than five decades of indoctrination and dependency on a crazed system of governance.
I don't…

Wandering, in Bangkok, homeless and ignored

The buzz. Rumours of political instability hits the metropolis, that annoying buzz of the Hive. Yet despite the rumours and gossips, people seem indifferent to the poverty in Bangkok. It's always about politicians and power-hungry wannabes, of their intellectual might and their vast wealth... never truly about the homeless woman sheltering her sickly child, or the street vendor who works on endless back-breaking hours, or even the wandering man who walks the streets unnoticed.It's always about the needs for a materialistic world, suiting the whims of the rich.