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Showing posts from March, 2014

Of disability, of daily struggle, and societal apathy

She sits on a wheelchair having sprained her ankle yesterday at a restaurant, thanks to the uneven floor. Siti Zatiah Zainal, my sister, a 36 years old woman with 4 children. I fondly call her by her nickname, Intan, for as long as I remember. Intan, meaning diamond, in the Melayu tongue, has been living with epilepsy since she was 15.
She holds her youngest, a ‎11-month year old daughter, while we chat in the living room. Her darting eyes never leave the sight of her other distracted playful children. It's amazing to see their energy, children running about in the room, away from the blistering heat and ‎haze of the polluted Malaysian air.
Intan shares endless stories of living with disability, and how the situation impacts on her and her family. Two of Intan's children are autistic. In Malaysia, the disabled and those with disabilities are categorise as Orang Kurang Upaya (OKU) - a local politically correct word which has yet to widely replace the stigma-laced and often the de…

Embracing the Evil: Puritans, basking in their morality

Shia, the second largest Muslim community in the world, are being ostracised in Malaysia. Oppressed despite the constitutional right for freedom of faith, they are unable to openly practise their religion due to the blinding fury of Melayu Shafi'i Muslims in Malaysia. Stigma bred to break the Shia.
Institutionalised prejudice against those seen as "deviants" seem to be in the fashion nowadays, with heavy doses of hate speech about the so-called villainous perverted nature of the Shia.
I arrived at a small village, off the dusty roads from Sungai Pelek in the state of Selangor. I've been here, many times before, whether for outreach in rural Malaysia, or simply when the need to travel consumed my common sense.

Kamaruddin, a young man with wide rough hands and broad shoulders, smokes a kretek while toying with his car key. An anxious twitch on his jaw, as we sat opposite of the shared table. This 25 year old Malaysian of Javanese bloodline is an amateur at political analy…

A Thai city broken and battered by the arrogance of class segregation

‎Bangkok. A labyrinth of conformity to the hybrid of societal desires. What glory, the burst of daily sound stimulating the senses, and the twitch of the muscles when confronted by the endless buffet of physical delights. 
Eyes, unable to grasp the reality, hallucinating by the millions dwelling in the towering structures of capitalistic whims; and of the lowly hearts in the blacken pits of poverty.
Pitiful boxes some call home, those seeking temporary sanctuary away from the pounding humidity, the acidic smog, the tearing of the eyes by the corrupted stinging air; they experience these and that, with wishful thoughts to materialistic enlightenment and possession. And perhaps, a release from the painful illusion created by those laying such standards of compliance.
Bangkok, a pure random burst of abstract greed that burns within the pulsing life of a social order that breeds an unthinkable sensibility for a monstrous complexity. Tears are ignored, cries are muffled, while the elitism o…