Posts

Showing posts from November, 2013

Housing is a human right but unheeded in Malaysia

Image
Article 25 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes the right to housing as part of the right to an adequate standard of living.

Everyone has the right to the standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age, or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
Oh well, this doesn't seem applicable to many urban and rural poor in Malaysia, not to mention those struggling to keep their heads above water in the corporate rat race. What of the refugees, migrant workers and other communities made vulnerable by societal ignorance?


It's nice to know the Malaysian PM lives in comfort & luxury while the rural and urban poor live in misery. #HousingNightmare
— Zashnain Zainal (@bedlamfury) November 23, 2013
Despite the wealth, Kuala Lumpu…

Floods in the south: the calamity of ignorance and apathy

Image
Floods reported down south.

Since the beginning of the week, Narathiwat has experienced heavy, drenching rain. Landslides, regular wrath of nature and the ineffectiveness of political power in the southern constituencies have always been troubling the population.

The grey downpour won't stop just because folks offer prayers and contribute their daily coin in the name of charity. Relief workers and resources are needed, though their MPs and political cronies need not hear this again from a traveler like myself.

Overwhelming flash floods and persistent natural disasters have made the people of ThaiSouth somewhat bewildered, particularly on the fact that other provinces care not of their state of affairs. Critically, I view the southern politicians as redundant, their political scheming ways to sustain their positions and indulges in their unofficial corrupted practices have kept the people they swore to serve in continual poverty.

Local journalists, those with the luxury of being ab…

Brief interruption, the mind explains

"Not to concern yourself." I told her, looking down at my left foot. It's been this way, on and off, first bruised, then a persistent uncomfortable sensation. Not the first time I've had injuries. Scars decorate lovingly on my limbs, none that I'm concerned about.
I wish I could make the limp disappear, but it's easier said than done. I make all sorts of excuses, even to myself, even when the left leg taunts as I walk.
I resist the urge to rub it. Best I rest, least I become a burden to others, particularly to HER. A recovery has been planned, early December, with an R&R, that highly-anticipated process set in motion.
This, I thought, is as it should be.


History carved on the walls of old structures in Penang

Image
Something about Penang that keeps me going to the island, despite the mega development of its wild terrain, areas of sparse clean beaches, the crawl of the overheated vehicles stuck in traffic and the superficial bloated commercialism in its fancy shopping malls and high-society restaurants.

I appreciate the presence of temples, mosques and churches, where the cluster places of worship stands within walking distance of each other. The Penang trip was a much needed break from the hectic urban labyrinth of Thailand, and memories of past visits to the island had placed a smile on my face.

People in Penang are different, most are incredibly multi-faceted in personality though I see more of a stronger Malaysian spirit of cultural mosaic than their kin in peninsula. Penang's multiculturalism, is delightfully unique, especially when one gawks at the history carved on the walls of old structures.



Pada NamaMu

Pada namaMu
Mereka menjadi sombong
Pada namaMu
Mereka membunuh
Pada namaMu
Mereka merasa Maha Tahu segala
Pada namaMu
Mereka aturkan siapa masuk
Neraka
Dan siapa mencium syurga
Pada namaMu
Mereka lupa mereka sama manusia Dan mereka yang merasa
wakil mu Tuhan
Mereka menutup mata
Pada hal yg kau ciptakan
Yang beragam
Yang berjenis
Yang bermacam-macam Mereka merebut namaMu
Tanpa mengenali
Tanpa mencintai
Dibalik makna namaMu Dan aku hanya mampu melihat saja
Sandiwara manusia
Kekalutan drama mereka
Tragedi yang mereka cipta
Kata-kata panas kalah neraka
Konon mengataskan nama agama
Padahal jelas mereka lupa
Kerana arogant menjadi manusia
Yang lupa merasa ciptaanMu dgn hati
dan memaknai namaMu dengan benci. -ili | 22 Okt’13 | @_bungarumput www.pohonbintang.wordpress.com/

Sequence of Calm, the Solitude of the Plantation

Image
Remembrance of the quietness, that eerie feeling of being alone in the palm oil plantation back in Malaysia. Banishing such thoughts, not an easy feat, nor would I consciously do it now. Poverty, homelessness and that sticky cesspool of social stigmatization that can be found in the grueling fields of tall trees and wild shrubs.








Into the Realms of Destitution and Social Exclusion

Image
Thais and foreigners face uphill challenges of securing or maintaining safe housing, and irregular income has made the urban poor extremely vulnerable. Blame it on the heightened blast of capitalism, or the bloated social hierarchy that facilitates the widening of classes and stigmatization of the lesser breeds.

Bangkok, the city that provides opportunities for those lucky to earn enough or if one is fortunate to be born into an upper middle class family. As for the homeless, its common for them to make ends meet by working odd jobs - very often digging through the trash bins, looking for a recyclable tin or discarded bottle to be resold.

Life, as we know it, is controlled by those with the wealth and intellectual might. Then on, enfeeblement sets in, as society accepts the striking fact that the poor are needed to serve the whims of the elites. Someone after all has to continue running in the hamster wheel, to make the rich feel special, so that they can nod in gratitude of their hig…

Demonstration in Bangkok: forgive the sins or embrace justice

Image
Ripples of energy surging through the crowd. Thursday 31st October afternoon, and my legs feel taunt after walking from Victory Monument to the Samsen train station. Bangkok is seeing more and more demonstrations, politically motivated, extra heightened with zeal and propaganda. This city seems to be torn by gaps of social superiority, extreme political rivalries, and at times oblivious to the wretched poor. 
‎Trains, slowing down at the station, appear almost unreal - old lumbering faded machines from the old days, with amused, bright and puzzled faces peeking at the gathering nearby.
By 6 PM, nearly 5,000 demonstrators have piled the narrow roads and small space to show their support to their politicians, their leaders who used the stage to express their objections to the proposed amnesty bill. A bill that would basically reset the alleged crimes and violations of the past. A reset that the present administration feels needed to move forward. 
In 2010, the then prime minister, Abhi…