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Showing posts from October, 2013

A Journey to Freedom - West Papua

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The extraordinary journey of Herman Wainggai, a West Papuan independence leader and former political prisoner. He lives in exile in Australia.






[View the story "West Papua: the silent genocide" on Storify]

Day 3: Election protest rally in Phnom Penh

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25th October: I managed to join the rally in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. A peaceful protest, on the third and final day, at the Freedom Park. Led by the opposition, I estimated 5,000 people were cheering, applauding and singing by late afternoon. The Cambodian National Rescue Party has rejected the election results and demanding that PM Hun Sen facilitates an independent investigation.  










Crowd mobilize on the narrow roads. Phnom Penh rally. pic.twitter.com/QtITFsDqhB
— Zashnain Zainal (@bedlamfury) October 25, 2013
Opposition party rally; petition to UN & other countries re election results. #PhnomPenhpic.twitter.com/ufyFNxwFzK
— Zashnain Zainal (@bedlamfury) October 25, 2013

Dilemma of rubber deals and protests in south Thailand

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Prachuap Khiri Khan province. I've passed this province many times, usually in a suffocating white "mini-bus" (a van) which travels at insane mind-bogging speed, courtesy of a time-chasing, glazed looking driver.

Owners of rubber plantations are revolting against the government, again, and still on the issue of crude rubber. They're now demanding 100 baht for each kg, from an agreed 80 baht.
I've been in plantations, lived in some settlements for weeks on end, and worked with vulnerable communities that are often forgotten by not only society, government but also the plantation owners -- whether belonging to huge corporations to a rich landlord.

Either way, plantations are kingdoms on its own, rules created by rich overlords who often abuse/neglect workers, whether locals or foreigners, leaving them in pitiful state. Institutionalized slavery? Indeed.

I'm all for change, though based on my recent conversations with friends in the south, I question on whether …

Absurd nya cinta

Dalam saat aku tidak punya apa-apa
untuk memaknai
Erti hidup dalam definisi harta
Atau wang
Atau pangkat
Atau nama Aku sadar rasa cinta
Yang makin kuat
Saat aku memahami hal-hal kecil
Dari berkata-kata manis tentang perkara besar
Cinta hadir dalam keadaan kusut akal
Memberi hati harapan
Untuk tabah Secara jujurnya
Rasa cinta hadir
Tanpa kau berikan aku apa2
Dan tidak juga aku meminta Cukup dengan
rasa saling menyayangi
Saling mengasihani
Itu yang buatkan aku
Tetap teruskan langkah
Walau hampir tiada jalan
Yang memungkinkan
Untuk kmbali tersenyum
Tanpa kepura-puraan Buat aku
Merasai kedukaan
Tentang perih hidup
Itu adalah rasa cinta Payah tentang hidup
Walaupun ceritanya beda
Tapi tetap sama
Yang mana kita sakit
Gara-gara sistem ciptaan manusia
yang tak pernah Adil
buat orang-orang kecil
Macam kita Apakah erti kehidupan
Kalau
Kita melupakan
Rasa mencintai
Rasa simpati
Rasa duka? Perlukah kita melacur diri
Pada sistem yang sakit ini
Hanya utk kepentingan peribadi Bukankah
Rasa cinta adalah hal yang berharga
Yang buat manusia …

Waiting in the sun for the shade to come

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Dzul, a farmer and part-time fisherman, is born to work the land, with the merciless environment swirling around, above and beneath him; he does what needs to be done to grow his crops and make an income.
Times are tough for him and many like him who have chosen a life away from the luxuries ‎of the city, and feed their families from what they can grow with their hands.
With his dirt-covered rubber boots and a sharp knife, Dzul walks the terrain, pointing out to me nature's might and the bounties offered, at a cost of sweat and hardship. 
He offers some suggestion on sustainability in a roselle farm, and barks harsh words of dwindling benefits that farmers, like himself, face ‎in a country that seems to pride the corporate work culture rather than those who toil in isolated places. Labor work is quite unpopular in Malaysia, particularly among the younger blood.
‎Not many Malaysians are willing to nurture the land, and with that, agriculture becomes a burden to societal whims. Har…

Aspiration of marginalized young people, energized by their determination

I remember a time when a young man approached me when I was shifting from one spot to the next. The homeless bit was the lowest point of my life, a torn backpack filled with clothes and with no place to call home. Then, my constant companion was misery. ‎ Anyway, ‎SH, a 21-year old man, cycled 4km through a forbidding palm-oil plantation, rough dirt roads, in the midst of Malaysia's notorious humidity.
SH had this problem, besides what he called a compulsive character of stubborn determination; he and a small group of friends stuck in the middle of a god-forsaken land, called a plantation. 
Surely you've heard great things of plantations playing a part in making Malaysia economically successful. 
Oh hell, besides the fact that the marginalized few are made poorer in a culture of institutionalized slavery; and as a result young people living and working in plantations are vulnerable to poor health, stigmatized due to their caste, and never truly accepted by their urban peers.

Perubahan Cuma Angan-Angan

Senyum punya banyak makna,
saat hidup dikala senja.
Mungkin kau pikir senyumku habis belanja.
Senyumku hanya menikmati derita. derita boleh macam-macam derita,
hidup makin mahal juga derita,
Bukan hanya tinggal kekasih sahaja
Kerana derita tanpa kekasih
hanyalah derita sementara. Derita ini derita bersama
Kau kerja aku juga
Tengah bulan habis duit kemana
Yang Kerja keras kita
Yang kaya mereka Mereka itu siapa?
Mereka itu yg punya modal
Dan juga posisi dan kuasa
Yang menciptakan “hidup”
Terikat pada lingkaran setan
Hutang kiri kanan
Yang bikin system negara
Tanpa rasa bersama
Yang penting keuntungan
Kroni-kroni sahaja Aku manusia biasa
Yang tak percaya pada slogan
Atau janji manis
Si badut parlimen berdasi
Taunya membahagi
Jatah kuih demokrasi buat
Perut mereka sendiri Untuk apa mereka-mereka ini
Kalau taunya hanya mempamer posisi
Merasa hebat sebagai penjual janji
Makna Perubahan hanya spt menukar jersi Untuk apa bicara transformasi
Tentang perubahan polisi
Kalau hanya sekadar
Menuka…