The recent hype of the anti-Valentine’s day Campaign by  JAKIM and PAS Youth really spice up the love scene in Malaysia. I was amused to read the news because it managed to garner a considerable attention when all the news were devoted to the people’s protests in Egypt.

Then there’s the youtube vid of an Ustazah calling Valentine’s day and the immoral activities as a Christian culture. It’s saddening because the TV talk show that the Ustazah was invited to speak has a huge number of Malays tuned in to watch. Having that Malays in Malaysia are generally ignorant, submissive and will take word by word of an Ustaz or Ustazah literally without question, I fear that the idea of associating Valentine’s Day as a Christian religious celebration has already spread to the minds of majority Malays.

The problem with the majority Malay muslim society here, they do not dare to question the authority of religious people in power, more often bow to their power abuse and let them dictate what’s haram and what’s sinful. They do not even have the will to use their little pea brain to at least go against such stupid fatwas, moral policing or syariah enactment.

To add salt to injury, politicians are endorsing such action too, as can be seen with PAS Youth statement on Valentine’s day. PAS Youth could be fighting for more important issues like exposing corruption, promoting  freedom of expression, interfaith coöperation, citizen’s right, etc, etc… Yet, news about them will only pop up on trivial and laughable matters like haram-ing Beyonce concert, haram-ing Valentine’s day, haram-ing beer selling at 7-Eleven, halal-ing the forming of unity government with the corrupted UMNO, etc, etc. It cheapens the whole image of PAS as JAKIM’s whore and BN’s lap dog. If they are serious about promoting the core teaching of Islam, then they should be attacking the core issues that is inflicting permanent damage to our nation and society (READ: Corruption).

And about JAKIM?

Seriously, they need lots of love. I have had enough bashing of those laughable clowns, they made my day every time they open their mouth. For those who are in the dark, JAKIM is an acronym for Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia or literally translated as Islamic Development Department of Malaysia. One thing I admire about JAKIM is their hard working spirit of moral policing. No one government department is as enthusiastic as them. I’d be expecting them to cheer up the sombre mood of Valentine’s day.

Funny is, I am no fan of Valentine’s day too. I guess me and JAKIM do have something in common. I do agree that it is an over-hyped, commercialized celebration rip-off for young love birds. I am a romantic at heart, love should definitely be celebrated everyday, where a price of rose is 1/10 of the price of rose sold during Valentine’s day. I have a feeling, that could be the point that JAKIM meant by haram-ing Valentine’s day, they understood the importance of being financially savvy in such bad economic times.

How smart!

The talk about the People’s Power has been a hot cake topic among the buzz in the Malaysian political scene. Thus far, the interpretation of the third force is narrowed to forming spin-off political party or Independent candidates of an ex-major party or a talent scout agency-like political movement. But have all that to do with the Third Force?

When we talked about the rakyat or the people, where do our power lies in this political realm? It is an irony that most Malaysians care less with the politics here yet still harbour complains and dissatisfaction with the whole political system itself. “corrupted, racist, and inefficient” is in the dictionary of  ordinary Malaysians in regards with our government and politics. Where do we go then?

The 2008 General Election was a historical piece that truly reflect the voice of the people, but 2 years down the road, the voices had somehow became less and less prominent, instead is being replaced by the daily political squabble by various political animals.

Then there’s Egypt and Tunisia.

The power of the people should never be under estimated. It originated from just a single idea. As in the film ‘Inception’, once an idea is ingrained in the mind of an individual, it can spread like wild fire and can never be stopped. The idea of democracy in the Arab world has came to a new dawn.

I was amazed by the determination of the Egyptians in pushing for democracy and freedom. What’s more interesting is it is no Iran-like revolution, people from all over Egypt were protesting in peace, camping for days in Tahrir Square. They were motivated to democracy not due to any politician or individual (unlike Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini), but the idea of democracy itself.

The world is fast changing, with the instant accessibility of social media and the internet, it is hard for the establishments to control the minds of the people. The power of state is declining. The government may block the internet access or control the mainstream media, but with the ever changing technology, information is exchanging fast globally, the international community is watching the revolution every second.

The Egypt’s revolution is not merely an Arab phenomena, the event is altering the global politics as well. This may show that where borders are no longer an obstacle, an idea can travel in light speed half way around the world and perhaps inspire the people of other states too.

But why the idea bug hasn’t come to Malaysia, yet?

It seems like we are still caught in the political rat wheel, while every day, more and more Malaysians are immigrating overseas; the cost of living in Malaysia is getting harder; not to forget the increased state-radicalization of religion.

Nowadays, it is hard to feel proud of being a Malaysian. Seems like the grass on the other side of the fence is greener. Frankly speaking, most young Malaysians who can afford to more overseas are already planning their way out. It is hard to live in a city where the cost of living is rising faster, but wages are stagnant. Worst is the baggage of state-sponsor racism and Islamization. While the majority Malaysians (as in Malays) are still living in the dark ages in their little ignorant cocoon. With such bleak hope in our own country, there’s only 2 way out, to get the hell out of here, or to have a revolution.

Unfortunately, the mentality of any average Malaysian is still stagnant. They are caught in a delusional myth from the reality of our ailing nation. While our neighbours are reforming and growing, we are merely a blinded puppet to our elite political masters.

As a Malaysian, I do not want our country to be governed by a dictator nor a radical Islamist. I look forward for a true democracy, secularism and freedom of expression. It is high time for us to have our Egypt-moment too.

A stranger glances by
to a distant face far wide
Is love a fairy tale?
fades as the ship sail
Or a gem that’s worth the risk?
Where the heaven is an eternal kiss
You are my only exception
As we wander into the love inception
I miss you despite the differences
Perhaps love aches and paralyzes
my mind, my body and my heart
I desire your touches and hug
time is eagerly awaiting
Is this real my darling?

Don’t be fooled, it is NOT a Malaysian made movie. Yes, the characters spoke language that sounded like Malay accent and the setting is exactly like the P. Ramlee era movies. Believe it or not, it is 100% Indonesian made movie. And the accent is not fake, it is the accent of the people in Sumatera.

I accidently stumble upon the movie when I was checking on the song “Laskar Pelangi” by Nidji, I love the song very much, very inspirational. The movie was adapted from the 2005 novel Laskar Pelangi by Andrea Hirata. Made in 2008, it was the most successful movie ever made in Indonesia, both local and international.

Here’s the movie synopsis in Wikipedia:

“The movie, set in the 1970s, opens on the first day of the year at a Muhammadiyah elementary school on Belitung. The school needs 10 students but is one short until near the end of the day, when a straggler fills out the ranks for their teachers, Muslimah and Harfan. Muslimah dubs the children “The Rainbow Troops” (sometimes translated as “The Rainbow Warriors”) and the movie traces their development and relationships with the teachers.”

What I love about the movie is the rawness and natural talent of these kids. Mind you, the kids were casted from villages in Belitung, just like Slumdog millionaire, they never acted before. I’d say the  movie is the best Malay-speaking movie I ever seen. It has a very meaningful yet simple message that even our Yasmin Ahmad’s Sepet could not compete.

The thing about Sepet is, it did not dig deeper enough in exploring the issues and development of the character. It is just an inter-racial love story but in the context of our Malaysian society, it failed at addressing real issues and plight, the characters also did not go through in depth transformation. In fact, I’d say my parents and grandparents inter-racial love stories would make a better one if it is produced as a movie.

To be honest, I am not a huge fan of Indonesian movies, except for Ada Apa Dengan Cinta (which I watched when I was 17). I view most of the movies as shallow-popcorn-junk-love story, the same goes to Malaysian-made movies too. Nevertheless, Laskar Pelangi made me cry. I never seen such a simple yet beautiful story that used kampong kids as the main actors.

The movie main message is about the importance of education. In a small village in Belitung (an island on the east coast of Sumatra), the kids and their teachers gone through so many obstacles in order for them to be successful in their education. The unique thing about this movie is, it deeply explore the character development and the society/environment surrounding their lives. Issues such as inter-racial love between a Chinese girl and the ‘Malay’ (sorry, in Malaysia everything has to be put into race boxes) boy, diversity of race and religion of the village dwellers, Islam religion, the extreme level of poverty of the village, true friendship between the kids, female empowerment as depicted by the female teacher, Malay culture and music such as “Bunga Seroja” and the power of dreams and ambition.

Most of the plots are very memorable, but there are a few plots that touches my heart. The first is the inter-racial love story between the Chinese girl and the Malay boy. On the surface it is just an innocent childhood love story, but the deeper meaning is more important. Many would be surprised that there are a large number of Chinese ethnicity living in Sumatera, Kalimantan and other parts of Indonesia. Although in some areas, the Chinese might be threaten (such as the Jakarta Riot 1998), but in most parts of Indonesia, they live peacefully together. It does reminded me of the ‘ancient’ past we had during P. Ramlee’s time.

The fact that both the kids in love were oblivious of their ethnicity and religious background, showed how beautiful love is when people are blinded by colours and beliefs. One of the main reason both characters in love are unaware of their differences is the Indonesian national philosophy of Panca Sila, which promotes freedom of religion, democracy and equality. Besides, Panca sila also placed high importance on the Indonesian national identity, where the biggest impact I think is having a common spoken national language of Indonesia. When people are able to communicate freely in a language that all understands, it is easier to nurture the spirit of unity and solidarity.

Another of my favourite scene is when the kids sang the song “Bunga Seroja”. Funny was I heard this music before, somewhere, somehow. It is a 60s song by S. Affendi, the original Indonesian singer. It was just beautiful. To be honest, I got a bit delusional watching this movie, because I’ve to remind myself constantly this is NOT a Malaysian movie. The accent is just too real. The word ‘kite’, ‘saje’, ape’, mane’, ‘iye ke’, ‘bodoh’, ‘cite-cite’ etc… are just very Malay, which I used daily in my Malay conversation.

The contrast struggle of the kids for their education and dreams in a poverty-stricken village really strikes deep in me. I cried many times seeing the kids made the best out of their limited lives. The final scene of the kid called Lintang, who is a math prodigy but was forced to stop school when his dad died while fishing in the sea. Watching the movie itself made me realized how lucky I am to receive good education, while these Laskar Pelangi kids have to struggle in their daily lives just to receive a humble education. Some of them do not even have shoes to wear. It does reminded me of my mom, who was raised in a very poor family, everyday she had to wear the same school uniform and shoes to school until it became very worn-out and torn. She would stitch them again and again until it became worst than a used table-cloth.

Kudos to the producers, director and the book author for creating such a simple movie yet with such meaningful impact to the reality of our everyday lives, especially the lives of the people in Indonesia.

I was in Indonesia for quite a while and I do realize poverty is a big issue there. This kind of movie is really important to the spirit of the Indonesian young people because only though education and self-determination where a society can develop and prosper. Taking the example of South Koreans and Japanese, where the self-determination of the people themselves made their nation economically and technologically on par with other developed western nations.

Another thing I’d like to share about this movie is the subtle Islamic values that it portrayed. In Malaysia, to be Islamic is very surface, you either have to cover up your head or to show that you pray and wear Islamic clothes. But in this movie, which I totally love, it portray Islam in a very spiritual way.

The female teacher wore a long skirt which show more than her ankle, she wore the tudung like it is just an on-off scarf thingy. In reality, her appearance was an exact resemblance of Malaysia back in the 50s-60s. People do not judge you by your appearance, and clothing do not represent your morality nor your faith with god. The female teacher taught everything to the kids, including Islamic studies. One of it is the 5 pillars of Islam. In the current context in Malaysia, it would be a shocker if a religious teacher to be without wearing head scarf and teaching Islam. Other Islamic values is they incorporated a lot of Arabic words in their daily conversation, such as ’Assalamualaikum’, ‘Alhamdullilah’, ‘Alaikumsaalam’, etc. All of them carry the meaning of peace. Islam is also obvious in their day-to-day lives, such as honesty, humbleness, dedication and hard work, spirituality, love and friendship, being grateful, etc.

The fact that the school is a Muhamadiyah school made the story even more interesting. In Malaysia, there’s two school of thoughts, yes, the UMNO and PAS school of thought. But the uniqueness about Indonesia is the diversity in Islam itself. Muhamadiyah is the second largest muslim organization in Indonesia, but Indonesians are free to choose their religion and the Islamic faith. In the movie, although majority of the students are of Muhamadiyah denomination, they were never taught to segregate themselves or look down on those of other faith/denomination. In fact, one of the student in the Muhammadiyah school (Akiong) is a non-muslim chinese. Being an advocate of secularism, I believe religion can truly prosper and maintain a moderate, peaceful influence to an individual’s life when it is practiced voluntarily as personal values, faith and guidance; rather than forced by state punishment or fear tactic by state-appointed religious zealots. Oh, do you know that there’s no Syariah Law in Indonesia (except in Aceh).

There’s another reason why I love this movie – the female teacher herself. She is a true feminist. She turned down the hand of marriage from a rich businessman because she was ambitious in her effort to raise these kids into smart learners. She is also independent and out-spoken, her silent confidence to me is really attractive and admirable.

In a nutshell, I recommend Malaysians to watch this movie and be inspired. I really hope one day a Malaysian author or film producer can write or produce such good quality art work that hopefully can inspire a whole nation of ours. My wet dream.

P/S: For those of you who grew up in the 80s and 90s, probably you would be familiar with the ‘minyak rambut Tancho’ (Tancho hair wax) used in the ‘Bunga Sejora’ scene. My family was big on that during the 90s 😉

This is how I feel throughout my life as a mixed race Malaysian. Even though they are Americans, their story is spot on.

Reading the article Are You Mixed Up? really made a lot of sense to my reality of life. Being mixed in Malaysia is really a challenge, having others staring at you, figuring what race box you should be placed. I often have this question posed to me “What race are u?”, “Are you Malaysian?”… It is pretty amazing being mixed race means you must be from another country. Since young, I have always been confused with my identity being born into a mixed-race parentage. The problem in Malaysia is, you have to choose, either you are a Chinese, Indian, Malay or Dan Lain-Lain (which mostly refer to the orang asli).

Usually, my darn character would be answering ” I am Malaysian”, and if they asked what race I am, I’ll say, “I don’t believe in the concept of race, I am a Malaysian”. When they get frustrated, then they would ask, “What is your religion?”. D’oh! Do I really need to tell you my personal beliefs?? Whether I am an atheist or muslim or hindu or christian or animist, only God knows. Funny is, the reason they ask such question is not about wanting to KNOW my cultural background, but merely to put me into the race box, so that they can have racist stereotype to act against me. That’s the typical ugly Malaysian mentality. They would never in a billion year tell others of their racist mindset, but once they know you are in their “in-group”, then all the bullshit racial gossiping of the “out-group” races will come forth.

For example, once a Malay is happy to hear that I am “Malay”, he will start bullshitting about Chinese dominance on the economy, on how much a threat they are to Malays; While a Chinese will gossip about the Malays being racist and act like gangster kampung to non-Malays; while the Indians would say that they are always being forgotten and left out in everything, by both the Malays and Chinese. And for Sabahan and Sarawakian? They are already been forgotten long ago. In the end, everybody is gossiping about everybody. If Wikileaks can document this, it would be as entertaining as those US diplomats small talks on Prime Ministers/Presidents of other countries.

One funny incident about my naïve younger brother back when he was in high school, being in a Chinese education school, he automatically was uncomfortable with his racial background, especially applying for tertiary education. Filling the matriculation form, he listed his race as “Dan lain-lain”, since he innocently assumed that he’s not entirely Malay, not entirely Chinese and not entirely Indian. Guess what? he didn’t get a place at all. And the fact that he got quite good marks in his SPM, makes me wonder the institutionalized racism in Malaysia is really killing the talents and good brains of young Malaysians. For me, I didn’t even bother to apply, I do not want to be part of such racist institution.

I hate when some people in Malaysia keep on rambling about their superior cultural identity, sometimes they have this NEED to emphasis that they are “Chinese-Malaysian”, “Indian-Malaysian”, or “Malay/bumiputra-Malaysian”, it sick! I feel pity the moment I see this kind of people, coz they don’t know that they are the problem of the fucked up Malaysia that we have now. They don’t realize that the reason our politics are so racist and communal, is because they indirectly support the action of the politicians on a skin-colour basis. I call this cultural-narcissist malaysians as “pure bloods”.

Personally, I think pure bloods are the problem of racism in Malaysia, pure blood tend to emphasis too much on their own ‘race’ that they look down on other races. I think this pure bloods are the same as PERKASA or UMNO or MCA or MIC, always keep on and on rambling abt how good their race is, when the truth is, it has nothing to do with race but the individual themselves. If there’s poor indians, orang asli and malays, there’s poor chinese too.

Another funny thing is some non-malays have this phobia tendency to Malays that they must constantly tell the world they are (race insert) malaysian, and NOT just Malaysian. To them Malaysian means MALAYsian. What a weird analogy! The truth is, the word Malay is never a race, it is to refer the geography of the archipelago Malay, which now we call – South East Asia. Being a Malaysian has nothing to do with being a Malay, it has everything to do with living and born in a geographical area that is called Malaysia.

You do not shed your cultural identity if you merely refer yourself as Malaysian, that is a terrible assumption. Malaysia is a national identity, u could be a mat salleh or orang hitam or a mixed race like me, but if you are born and breed here, you are a Malaysian, regardless u eat pork or mutton or beef. If being a Malaysian means being Malay, then Sabah and Sarawak would have long gone, coz Malays and UMNO are virtually non-existence there (except as minority ethnicity).

I wish everyone in Malaysia is mixed race, so that we do not think too highly of our ‘race’ and only focus on our national identity, besides being mixed is better, physically and mentally.

If you learn social science, there’s such thing as out-group and in-group. Once ppl start to segregate their identity as Malaysian-chinese, Malaysian-Indian, Malaysian-Malay, Malaysian-Iban, Malaysian-muslim, Malaysian-Christian, Malaysian-Mat Salleh, etc…. Then people will start to create an in-group among their circle, and out-group for ppl who don’t conform to their segregated identity. That’s the reason why our politics is communal and racist, have u ever thought of that?? Do u know, because of the racist in-group perception on a person’s cultural identity, he/she has indirectly contributed to the breeding of racist politics in Malaysia.

For example, when a person believe being (race insert) is so important, naturally he/she has a stereotype on the out-group, (other races insert). And he/she political belief will be influenced by (race insert) political party, coz he/she do not care abt the lives of (other races insert) Malaysians. To the person, their sufferings mean nothing. That is why having a segregated national identity is dangerous, because politics is a game of power, where the leader will only be powerful if the rakyat wants the politics to be played like that. Have u wonder why during election the BN will pour huge money into chinese vernacular schools or pour money to Islamic schools or pour money to Tamil schools? That is how indirectly when pure bloods are supporting the racist political parties, by being racist themselves.

Be honest, as Malaysians, do u care about the plight of the people who do not belong to your “race”? I don’t think so. Because if u care, then BN would probably pour money to improve the national education, and make it into a progressive, secular and high quality education system.

Seriously, for the pure bloods, You prefer to blame the current racist politics, but in the end u are racist yourself by emphasizing too much on your cultural identity (which created this whole bubble of communal politics), instead of being simply proud of your national identity – MALAYSIAN. just MALAYSIAN.

Here I conclude a vid about mixed race identity. I wish we have such community support group in Malaysia where all mixed race Malaysians can unite and drown out the racist voices of the Aryan-Hitler type pure bloods and their indirect/direct stupid agenda to destroy Malaysia (esp economically) with communal politics.

2010 came and gone. 2011 will be a new 365 days of fresh start. Whatever it is, as Malaysians, we must be united as one, and united not on the basis of political ideology nor skin colour; but we should be united based on our love of Malaysia as a nation, our contribution to the country’s freedom & progress, our identity as Anak Bangsa Malaysia and our dream for a better Malaysia.

Here I conclude our 2010 journey with a song from a distant past.

Football has never been taken to new heights until a few days ago, as we learned that our youngest national team fought its way to the finals against Indonesia. Funny was, we Malaysians has never felt prouder, especially since long ago we have been bitching and let disappointed with Malaysian Football and FAM. But today, everything has changed.

Sometimes I feel, change is possible, it is harder the first time, but once there’s a will, there a way. Just imagine, a few weeks ago, Rajagobal’s team were mocked and looked down for their 5-1 lost to Indonesia in the group stage of the AFF Suzuki Cup. Now, they are the proud champion, not to forget Safee scored the most goals throughout the matches. For novice football fan like me, like most Malaysians, we only knew these players and the coach recently in Bukit Jalil’s AFF Suzuki Cup Final 1st Leg. When I googled the word Rajagobal, apparently he has been successful coaching state teams and even brought in Gold medal from the SEA Games.

Today’s 2nd Leg match in Jakarta was something that truly lifted the meaning of football fans to uncharted territory. Due to the laser incident in Bukit Jalil, almost none malaysian fans were in the stadium, scared of being unnecessarily killed by those hooligan Indonesians, so only a sea of red splash. Our boys were professional bunch, never complain like Markus did, never put on a childish tantrum, despite some of them (especially Fahmi) being shone with laser and were overwhelmed with the enemy’s loud curses echoed in the Bung Karno stadium . Mean while, in the cyber space, a war between Malaysian and Indonesian supporters were in full blast in Twitter, Facebook, blogs etc. In fact, almost all Twitter’s Top Trending World Wide were about the football match itself. I was surprised to see the word Khairul Fahmi and Congratulation Malaysia in the top 10 list. Since Indonesia is the 3rd largest Twitter users in the world, I guess it shows 2 things: 1st, Indonesians have calmed down and now see us all as Brothers and Sisters despite the hatred sentiment a few days ago; 2nd, every Indonesian girls are falling for Khairul Fahmi’s Korean star looks now. He could probably be the first and ONLY Malaysian to be able be in Twitter TT. Wow!

It is funny how football has able to break and unite people from both ends. At the end of the day, it was a great match to watch. despite losing, I applaud Indonesian team for they determination to score 2 goals. Nevertheless, the winner aka our national team deserves the ultimate praise for proving to us Malaysians that we ought to feel proud for being Malaysians, and to have such high-level performances and world class standards in football. Although I was rather disappointed with our weak defense, thank goodness our superhero goalkeeper Fahmi saves the day, I was in awe with his high jumps and his brilliant saves at the penalty kick. Rajagobal had gambled his money well, his decision to put the barely-23 young ones to play in such a big match may doubt some people, but now we see your point, King Gobal. He is our biggest Hero, our Sultan, our King. In fact he’s bigger than any idiotic king/politician/MP we have, he managed to do what they are unable to do – uniting Malaysians and instill the spirit of nationalism.

The crucial part, what’s next? Can we let Rajagobal lead the way instead. Can he be part of the FAM Board of Directors? Can he have the veto power instead. For once, FAM should be managed by professionals, not the loser sultan Pahang, and ignorant UMNO Khairy. We wish right?

Thank you Harimau Malaya for bringing us the confidence boost that we Malaysians are longing so badly since the utterly messy politics we have here. For once, it is cool to be patriotic, and it is cool to love our Malaysian football. Maybe World Cup 2018 could be in our wish list too. We want you to be the legendary team that when we are older, we can tell our grandchildren how cool it was supporting Malaysian National Football team. Rajagobal, or now perhaps we should call Maharaja King Gobal, we love you and we want you to take more risk and please train these boys into world-class athletes.

Cheers 2011.

A lady at the window alone…

Pondering her emptiness inside…

Staring at the cold dark night…

The warmth of the bright moon…

Longing for a piece of love…

She feels tired…

Wondering if the love will ever come…

How wonderful it is to share this beautiful world together…

A companion that understands…

She wants to see the world with her love…

The exotic cultures, the lovely scenery, the friendly strangers…

How amazing it is to share her deepest desire and secrets together…

A companion that cares…

She wants to be by the side of her love…

The loving touches, the intimate conversation, the tears and laughter…

Sitting by the window…

She dreams of the prince charming that never came…

The reality of her life is a bitter pill to swallow…

She doesn’t have the answer…

Speaking on behalf of the countless single ladies out there…

Men need to realize…

Please don’t be intimidated by a successful, modern lady…

She is as caring, as fun, as interesting, as loving as you longed for…

Plus she is intelligent, independent and confident…

The modern relationship is based on equality and team work…

No more traditional role of husband and wife,

But a modern expression of love… freedom to be who you are.

This is why i love life…. songs like this… 😉

gorgeous love lavender

Timely Rain Drops

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bitter butter beer ginger~

dusty attic

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