Short Getaway to Kuala Sepetang, Perak

by Ruby Gege

All hail the weekends, people! Palah and I decided that for our second weekend getaway, we would go to Kuala Sepetang. Where the hell is that? You may ask. Trust me, I asked the same question two years ago. Hahaha.

Kuala Sepetang is a small town 16 km away from Taiping. It is not much of a town, really, but a highly-functional fishing village. It used to be quite busy as a mining area and was formerly known as Port Weld (fancy name, eh?) It is known for its great seafood, fishing village that looked pretty much the same since Merdeka days and its riverside tourism (boat ride, eagle-sighting, dolphin sighting (if you’re lucky) and some fireflies stuff, too). Since I am not a fan of nature, my purpose was mainly to enjoy the scenery and fresh air, aside from going to the Matang Museum and Mangrove Forest walk.

The drive from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Sepetang can be quite tiring. Thus, Palah and I (joined by our master nappers, Jeep and Fatin) decided to stop by Ipoh and spent the first night at Palah’s family home. We headed to Kuala Sepetang the next day, which took us about one hour.

The first place we went was Kedai Makan Yut Sun, a superb kopitiam in Taiping. For the past 2 years, I have been having an intense love affair with this establishment. We orded the best food to have there – kaya and butter bread, chicken chop with rice, Roti Seremban and kuey tiow. The coffee there, I tell you, is one of the best coffee in Malaysia.

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Palah looking absolutely serious and Fatin choosing what to eat.

Afterwards, we headed to Matang Museum, which is situated between Taiping and Kuala Sepetang. Rich in history, it tells the history of a powerful Malay nobleman, Ngah Ibrahim, who ruled Larut (together with Matang and Selama, the districts had Taiping as their capital). During his rule, chaos reigned as the Larut Wars were happening between the clan of Hai San and Ghee Hin, two Chinese secret society based in Malaya during that time. Come the intervention of the Perak Sultanate and the British colonial government, somehow Ngah Ibrahim found himself punished for opposing the British rule. A complex history at that time, to be sure.

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Matang Museum, also known as Kota Ngah Ibrahim

The building itself is beautifuuuul! The fort surrounding the building is actually the original fort of Ngah Ibrahim’s mansion. The house is also quite intact. When we went in, the officers of the museum were quiet but cordial to us. The exhibitions in the museum are also praiseworthy. They have different sections – the different types of miners (Chinese and Malay), the Japanese rule, the replica of offices of Malay noblemen and British officers. Aside from that, the museum also offers lots of knowledge about important historical figures that our mainstream society has seem to have forgotten about.

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Jeep smiling with the vintage background. Looks like a painting, does it not? The wall, I mean, not Jeep.

The outer side of the museum, of course, is highly Instagram-ish. It is a good thing that they did not alter or renovate the paint so much that the building retains a nostalgic and historical feel.

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Where art thou, Captain Speedy? Here’s to me fantasizing myself as a Malay princess 200 years ago, and Jeep ignoring my antics.

A few hundred metres from the main building is the house of Captain Speedy, who was Ngah Ibrahim’s officer. Sadly, though, the building is not open for visitors so we could only get to take a picture outside the house.

Then, off we went to Kuala Sepetang. The first place we stopped by is the Mangrove Forest Reserve. Since I am not much of nature’s lover, I’ll just say this to you – it is quite an amazing place for you to take a nice long walk. In the forest. Literally. Surrounded by a gazillion trees. Palah went cray cray with her love for greeneries. Haha. According to Palah, the Mangrove Forest here was actually declared as the best mangrove forest reserve in the world! Not bad, Malaysia, not bad. Sometimes, the country does make me proud!

There is also a small jetty at the end of our walk. We rested by the jetty for a while. Palah embodied her role as a serious inspiring photographer, taking a picture of what-not.

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After spending some time there, we went to have lunch at the famous Mee Udang Mak Jah. The mee udang there is soooo delicious! It is spicy, soupy and has lots and lots of fresh prawns.

After lunch, we went to our hotel, the Happy 8 Retreat, which is right by the river. It is a nice place to stay, though can be quite tiring as it has no elevator and our room is on the (God forbid) 3rd FLOOR! So, lots of climbing for us fat people! The staffs are quite helpful and friendly, most of them seem to be local people. We took a nap, rested and basically enjoyed our beds and air-conditioner. However, if you guys are serious coffee or tea drinkers like me, I would suggest that you bring your own supply of beverages since they don’t supply it a lot there (like… only one packet of instant coffee for each room).

Finally, after resting and before dinner, we went on a boat ride! I can’t really remember the name of the boat service company (Palah does, so you guys can ask her) but it is situated not more than three shoplots away from our hotel. After our phone call, she came to pick us up right away and took us to the boat. Imagine, only four of us and the aunty and the boat driver and the aunty’s son. The boat ride cost us RM 80 but it is totally worth it. We get to see the fishing village in more details! The houses in each side of the village – the one by the river and the other side which is literally… houses on the river… like… floating).

Come the next day, we did not do much. We rested all morning and drove to Ipoh to visit our friend, Ika. She is teaching English at a centre there and we lepak-ed at Plan B, this high-end food chain from KL. I am so surprised to see how Ipoh has changed in some certain parts. People are trying to be more hipster (kinda like Penang) and that annoyed us a bit. Of course, the food, though, is still alright.

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Jeep and Fatin, possibly over-whelmed by the over-hipsterness of Ipoh…

Of course, we would not want to leave Ipoh without going to a museum. First, we went to the Darul Ridzuan Museum but left extremely disappointed as most sections of the museum were closed for renovation. Determined to never give up, we googled and finally found Ho Yan Hor Museum. The outer look of the museum is very pleasing – blue in colour and homey-like. We did not know what the museum exhibits but the staffs there are extremely hospitable and friendly. Ho Yan Hor is a really famous herbal tea brand in Malaysia created by a pharmacist/tabib/healer decades ago. Due to his hard work, he managed to spread the fame of the tea nation-wide.

After saying goodbye to Ika, we then returned, quite reluctantly, to Kuala Lumpur. The short trip to Perak was short indeed. But it was lovely as hell. So guys, if you are looking for a place to visit which does not require lots of planning or money to be spent, we think Kuala Sepetang is the place for you. If you have more days to spare, you can actually stop by many townships on your way there ie Kuala Kangsar and Teluk Intan as well. I’m sure they have lots of interesting things to offer there as well.

That’s all for now! Bye bye!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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OPUS 2 JAY 2014 WORLD CONCERT/周杰伦《魔天伦2》世界巡回大马演唱会 – Musings of A Super Fan

BY RUBY GEGE

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So I finally did it! After eight years of being a super fan, I saw Jay for the first time ever last night for a two and half hour show! Held on a Saturday, 15 Nov 2014, it was an amazing concert. As a seasoned performer, Jay really knows what he’s doing. There were around 4 to 5 set changes with big props and performances were categorized based on themes. There was the hi-tech theme, school/magician theme, hip-hop theme, piano theme, Zhong Guo Feng theme, guitar/acoustic theme and the last chilled/laid back theme. 

The view from my seat
The view from my seat
I didn't know that Jay's fan colour is pink. But hey, I can live with that.
I didn’t know that Jay’s fan colour is pink. But hey, I can live with that.

The downside of the concert is that I went alone. By myself. A random tall girl with a black headscarf appearing out of nowhere who couldn’t speak more than ten words of Mandarin amidst the 10-11,000 audiences shouting words I don’t understand except for Zhou Jie Lun. So each time he talked, I just stared at him in awe, too amazed by the fact that he was standing in front of me, twenty metres away. Almost fainted. Almost had a seizure. Almost died of hyperactivity. I didn’t care. I didn’t need to understand him. Yes, people, I love him that much! 

His Piano Session!!
His Piano Session!!
His Zhong Guo Feng set (fusion traditional/modern Mandarin songs)
His Zhong Guo Feng set (fusion traditional/modern Mandarin songs)

I think there were more of us non-Mandarin speaking fans back in 2006 (my first year of becoming a fan). We had a number of English forums catering for fans who don’t understand Mandarin. With the help of superbly kind Chinese-speaking moderators, we get translations, explanations and discussions about his music, lyrics and everything Jay-related. It was like an awkwardly awesome universe of its own. Sadly, the forum had been closed down, I think. I guess with the rise of KPop, Mandopop has been sidelined and confined mostly to Mandarin-speaking audiences. But websites like jaychoustudio.com and Jay Chou Diaoness’s Facebook page have been of great help for a fan who cannot read Chinese characters like me. Thank God for these souls! 

How else can an obsessed fan like me find release?!! Haha.

His impromptu keyboard session. Trust me, his hands are magical each time they touch the keys!!
His impromptu keyboard session. Trust me, his hands are magical each time they touch the keys!!
His guitar session! And yes, his hands are also amazing here!
His guitar session! And yes, his hands are also amazing here!

The GREAT GREAT ASPECT of the concert is that he sang all the songs I love love love!!!! Okay, not all. He did not sing Wo Bu Pei, Ju Hua Tai and Fa Ru Xue but that’s okay. However, some songs I thought he was not going to sing, he sang!!! Ke Ai Nu Ren, Long Juan Feng, Qing Tian, Si Mian Chu Ge, Qi Li Xiang, Dao Xiang (a duet with a lucky fan! I was so jealous I almost cried!) and many more. These are some of Jay’s songs you know people will remember and sing along for the rest of their lives. You know what I felt? Do you? It’s like I fell in love again with him over and over and over again! Arghhh… speaking as a crazy fangirl, how can he be so perfect? How can he sing so well? And play the piano so well? And the guitar so well? And walk around and sing so well? And talk so well? (though I understood not one sentence except for “Hao Bu Hao” to which I shouted back “Hao!!!”)

I swore to God when he began singing Long Juan Feng, I was so happy I almost peed! And sang along to Ke Ai Nu Ren with all my heart (though I know my pronunciation is bad. Really, who cares?!)

It is an interesting experience, to be honest. For the past 8 years, I am literally the only Jay Chou fan I know (excluding the cyber world). None of my best friends listen to Mandopop or even understand why I am so devoted to him but they accept me the way I am (but they sometimes tease me by saying that Jay looks like a vegetable seller, which he does not!) Even when I began to have more and more Mandarin-speaking friends, most of them end up being Wang Lee Hom’s fans. And ask me why I love Jay so much, too. Only when I went to his concert that I realized how much I was in a little world of Jay fandom on my own. He had legions of fans whom I had never met and communicated with. The downside of not being well-versed in Mandarin, I must say. *cries*

The parking guard asked me – “are you Malay or Chinese?” I laughed awkwardly, unsure of what to say. “I’m Malay, brother, but I’m going to a Taiwanese singer’s concert.” The brother said he was confused for a while. After the concert ended, a Chinese uncle stared at me in surprise. “Waah, you also like Jay Chou. Are you Chinese or Malay?” Again, I answered awkwardly, “I’m Malay.” Then, he asked, “do you speak Chinese?” I shook my head. He laughed in a manner I was not sure implied slight surprise or approval. “Haha, 1Malaysia!” he joked. Hahahaha. Never have I felt so awkward being a Malay before, considering that I don’t really feel Malay 90% of the time in real life. Hahahahaha. But then, my headscarf is not much of a help in avoiding the stares. What to do… when you do look different from thousands around you. 

Maybe because I’ve been his fan for a very long time, I find it weird that other people think that it’s odd to have a fan like me. Music is a universal languange and that is the main thing that led me to Jay. Then, the lyrics. And the concept. Then, of course lah, I jumped into the whole fandom without any hesitation and stayed there for many years.  

Since my seat did not have a great view, I didn’t take get to take a lot of pictures. Or maybe because I was too focused on looking at him and only him, like what a crazy fangirl would do. In all honestly, I truly enjoyed his concert. His voice sounds way better and his show was so much fun. A day has passed and I am still experiencing the exhausting high post-concert. I am still tired, too happy to go out and lock myself in my room writing this blog post. I feel like smiling all day without a reason.

And I miss him already! I wish I can go to his concert everyday. Ahhh, post-concert depression syndrom begins… now. Jayyyyyyy, I miss you!! *cries*

Quoting my Facebook status – How can love be so intense even when there’s a language barrier? 

Love not Hate, Forgive and Forget!

By The Gorgeous Palah Chingu*The opinions expressed in this post are strictly the author’s personal opinions

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“You can judge a man’s true character by the way he treats his fellow animals.”
― Paul McCartney

Recently Malaysian Youth (who I assured that is mostly a moderate Muslims) has been stricken by a dogma of ‘Haram’ to touch a dog. I am nowhere close to be an “ustazah”, let me tell you that but seeing those who attended event ‘I want to touch a dog’ have been insulted and even discriminated by our own society , something inside me just died.

I am at lost. I was sad. I was shocked. I was taken aback.

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Wait a minute, Let us rewind back. Just because they touched a dog, they are being insulted and even called a disgrace, ‘kafir’ and so many more that is not very nice at all. Wow, so much for defending the so called Islamic teaching, they then turned their back on their Muslim brothers and sisters? Dear sister and brother, isn’t that forgiveness is one of the Islamic value? Isn’t that compassion is one of the Islamic value? If both are the Islamic values that we learned from primary school, Islamic school in the evening, and even until you graduated university, why the hell you didn’t practice it? (Pardon my language, I am just here trying to make a point). The ‘Keyboard Warrior’ culture in face book, whatsapp and twitter somehow dominating the ‘I want to touch a dog’ event and suddenly, everybody claimed that they are saints than those who attend it. Oh wait, no! Let me tell you this, you’re not right after doing such things. By humiliating them? uh-uh (shame on you)..

The Prophet (Pbuh) Said: The One Who Has Humiliated a Follower of Mine Is As If He Intends To Declare War on Me. (Imam Ja’far Al-Saadiq quoting the Prophet (pbuh), book of Al-Usool from Al-Kaafi, Vol. 2, Page 351)

Yes, according to our mazhab that it is ‘Haram’ to touch a dog. I am not arguing on that angle. Yes, some narrow minded people might call me infidel/non believer or asking me to repent for posting this post. However, let’s just stop for a minute and wondering the purpose of the event. The organizer has already told that the purpose of the event is for the sake of education. It is not wrong to attend and even touch a dog for sake of education. We, Muslims, are being educated to be afraid of the dogs because we cannot touch it. This situation led to our mindset to believe that they are fierce and violent. Let’s just say that you have a phobia with dog and one day, you are in a bit of situation where you had to help them? What then? Is it still Haram? Isn’t that permissible to help the poor dog? Unfortunately, you are afraid to even touch them and due to that, the dog died because we are too afraid to touch it and let alone to help it. For me, attending the event for the sake of education is no harm in it. It was okay to touch it to learn it and when the time may come for you to use the knowledge, you are prepared mentally and physically. It also helps to encourage people to be more empathetic towards animal and educating that animal cruelty is not acceptable.

The fact that people said the event has good intention but they are against it because commemorating the picture with dog seems overboard. Is it? For the event itself to take a lot of pictures of those who attend it, can you use a little brain of yours that they might use for a purpose for future marketing and some sort of promotion? For those who take the picture using their own camera, they may want to keep it as memory or recollection of being a first timer to ever touch dog. Honestly speaking, I see no harm in it. It is their freedom to do so. Are they invoking anything that religion prohibited? Before you answer it, ask yourself again what is the purpose of the event ‘I want to touch a dog’? It was beyond belief seeing the organizer has to apologize for the event that they organized after there is possible death threat upon them. What happened to my country? My country that I am so proud of for being a moderately Muslim country up to the point that I even bragged to my foreigner friends. Now, I can’t say the same. We are letting our country is driven by those extremists to the brink of fundamentalism and authoritarianism.

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I lived in the culture when parents said it’s okay to throw stone to dog ( Mind you, it’s not my parents and for that, I am grateful but I’ve seen so many people says it’s okay to do it because they are ‘Haram’). Excuse me, sir, and madam; are you out of your mind? This happened when people focus too much what is forbidden in the Islam and ignored what’s the basic goodness in Islam. As a peaceful religion, this is not the right values to instill in the followers. Let’s go back to basic, isn’t that dog is Allah’s creation? Isn’t that our religion asks us to be merciful towards animal? So why the hell did you teach your child is okay to stone the dog just because we cannot touch it, just because they are ‘Najis’? (Again, pardon my language). It is not okay. Animal cruelty is not okay. Islam prohibited the teaching that cause injury to others, people or animal.

I am a cat person. People might call me a crazy cat lady but if I happen to meet a person who abuse dog or other animals, be prepared to see my wrath. I can even scold baby if he/she happens to hurting them (pulling tails, hairs and etc). I’ve seen it before and their parents seem okay with it because they are babies. Yes, babies don’t know anything but parents, do your job. Education started at the early age and just because he/she doesn’t know anything doesn’t mean he/she cannot be taught. Be respectful to each other regardless of human or animal is the basic value of human being but sadly, we are so lacking of it.

While our society still battling the lack of concern towards animal, I was surprised to see such event is not welcomed in the society. To worsen the situation, the clerics in Malaysia all ganged up to denounce that event is Haram and forbidden while they took so much times to condemn and declare that fighting in the ISIS is not jihad and those who died fighting in the battle is not ‘syahid’. However, I am thankful to some prominent clerics that dare to differ. They argued their point sensibly and rather than strongly detested it, they asked that next time should be done in different way, more pragmatic I should say. Before I am being taunted for voicing my own opinion, I should stop here. I should put an end to my voice. Call me infidel or ‘Kafir’; I stand by my own opinion.

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credit goes to Malaysians for Malaysia

Missile fired at Malaysian plane (MH17)

By The Gorgeous Palah Chingu

Another Sad Tragedy Befell upon Malaysia:

I am speechless. I knew this terrible news from one of my best friends. She informed me that another Malaysian Flight MH17 has been shot down in the border of Russia-Ukraine. All of the passengers and the flight crews has been confirmed dead due to no survivors detected right after the plane blasted in the air. This is indeed sad. It felt that we had been stabbed twice in the heart at the exact same spot metaphorically speaking. The plane was shot down 17 July. What an unfortunate coincidence to have my birthday (which supposed to be a happy day) but instead i cried while scrolling the news on  my laptop. 

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The fact that 298 people died just like that struck me. That’s a human life are we talking about. How can you shot it and apologized for your mistakes later? Have you no shame? what if we did the same to you? How did you feel? A lot of families lost their loved ones in this calamity. The atrocity committed by those who’re involved in this is unspeakable and should not be tolerated at all. On the other hands,The death in Gaza has been rising day by day. Those freaking Zionists somehow didnt show any sign to stop their bloodthirsty action. Now, another innocent civilians has been killed just because the perpetrator(s) could not figure out which of the planes carrying harmless souls with the planes who’ve been suspected to any war activities. In Iraq, People have been killed in this freaking 6 months and the count rate has increases up to 5500 civilians. This killing has to STOP.

I dont want to point finger to anyone. Those who involved directly and indirectly hopefully will be punished for their crime. This misfortune incident is something We should care and know about. It might not occur to us but if it did, how will you feels? I am sure that you might feel angry, sad, depressed and all those emotions will be attached deeply in your heart. To the families who lost their loved ones in this unforgivable cataclysm of MH17, Please know that we are here for you. We will cry together with you. We might not felt the same pain inflicted on you but we would like to share the burden of it. This same goes to the all families around the world especially Gaza and Iraq who’s currently battling and fight for the right to live. We will not forget you. May God grants all of you His Protection.

To the non Muslim families in the tragedy of MH17, May your loved ones rest in peace and I wish i had the right words to say but just know that i am among people in this world that care.

To the Muslim families in the tragedy of MH17, “Surely we belong to Allah and to Him shall we return”.

This Thing about Unilateral Conversions in Malaysia

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by Ruby Gege

I am personally very disappointed today. Over an issue that has been dragged on for years. It should have been solved, could have been solved years before but I’m not sure what was stopping the proper parties from reaching a solution. The solution is clear – it is there, it can provide for a finality in the dispute.

However, due to the fears of offending certain factions of the Malaysian society, the proper parties have somehow intelligently avoided from showing their stances. They need to give a solution. They don’t really want to – I know. It is a difficult thing, indeed. Who wants to be stuck in the middle of that dilemma that involves two faiths of two different persons – the mother and the father?

Unilateral conversions of children have been a major issue in Malaysia and most of the time, the stories had a tragic backdrop to them. Father and mother were a non-Muslim married couple with children. Years later, the marriage turned sour. Father converted to Islam and applied for divorce from the Syariah Court. At the same time, he also converted their children without the consent of the mother, changing their religions to Islam. I don’t think he bothered to ask the children what they think. What more the mother. Then, since the children were supposedly of the same religion with the father, the father was granted custody order. Thus, to him, the children belonged to him.

Based on a number of famous cases in Malaysia, one can safely assume that the mother is always the victim to this one-sided proceedings. The father converted to Islam without telling her, applied for divorce from Syariah Court (which decisions bind only Muslims) without consulting her and converted her children without her knowledge. She was half the unit that gave birth to the children. She was half the unit that raised them. Yet, when it comes to cases such as this, her importance was discarded. Her role as the mother – notwithstanding the religion she subscribed to – was diminished. By whom – the husband, the judiciary or the whole system that seems to be treating her unfairly?

Yes, ‘fairness’ is the main issue here. Is it fair to the mother? I prefer to use the word ‘mother’ here in light of the frequency of the cases which involves the mother not having knowledge of their husbands’ act in converting the children and having them deprived from her. If one is to read all the stories in the newspaper and also the case reports, one could very well conclude that it is not. It is not fair. Nevertheless, in situations like this, most people would react with… “What can we do? What to do? The father has the right to act as such anyway. The mother has the order of the civil court, the father the Syariah court. Both have orders. Both have the rights. So what can we do? How can we favour the mother over the father? We don’t have a right to tear away the children from the father as well.”

For the public, they can say such thing, considering they are the public. As for the proper parties who are entrusted by the public to ensure fairness, I do hope that they would display more determination in this matter. Referring to a number of news for the past few days, many significant leaders have suggested solutions which, in my humble opinion, stray from the clear-cut solutions we have in mind. Instead of offering solutions to solve problems, the suggestions lead to more waiting and confusion.

The suggestion that has triggered this post and the one I personally find most disappointing is that the interfaith custody battle should be determined by the Federal Court. Now, I disagree with such view purely from the technical angle. It is already very costly to hire a lawyer and wait for the case to go to court. After having the relief of bringing the case to the attention of the High Court (which is established by the Federal Constitution which happens to be THE SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND) and obtaining an order, the mother or aggrieved party was then told something similar to this effect – “yeah, sorry, I know you spent so many time and energy to gain your son’s custody. But guess what? The High Court order is not good enough. Now, you have to re-hire your lawyers, spend more money, time and energy and witness the continuation of this case.” Problem is, as a normal insignificant citizen, I don’t see any end to the continuation. I can’t. And I am forever a skeptic as to the Federal Court’s ability to solve the matter further.  

We need a solution. That is clear enough. We also need a determination and finality in that solution. Any so-called solution that proves to drag the matter further, causing more suffering to the parties. We are in dire need of fairness and justice in that solution. From what I observe, all eyes are on the Federal Court now. I did not really take the suggestion seriously when it was mentioned by the Prime Minister. Then, a few minutes ago, the Attorney-General suggested the same thing. And I was a bit surprised. I asked myself – is that it? Is that the solution we have been seeking for? Really?

But then… what about the mothers who have been separated from their children?

What about their children’s happiness? What about fairness?

It seems like my disappointment remains… for now.

MISSING MALAYSIA FLIGHT MH 370

By the Gorgeous Palah Chingu

Never in a million years that i imagine Malaysia would be in the spotlight because of the missing flight tragedy. It is so sudden and shocking. i for once still could not recover from the shock that i just got back from Hong Kong on the same day the news reported of missing MAS FLIGHT MH 370.

There are various of speculations saying it happened due to plane hijacking, possible terrorism activity, engine failures and so many more. malaysia already deploy their search and rescue mission along with the assistance from China,Vietnam and other countries. Lets just hope and pray they managed to find something that could answer what really happened to MALAYSIA MAS FLIGHT MH 370. As a fellow human being and malaysian, i pray that all the family members of this tragedy could get a closure and move on with their life.

I only write a short post regarding this tragedy. You guys can read more on the BBC news, Washington Post, China Daily, Al-jazeera and so on. You guys can also google about the malaysia missing flight.

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“An Ideal for which I am prepared to die” – Nelso Mandela

by Ruby Chingu

Nelson Mandela died yesterday. Like millions of others, his death was sort of expected, considering he had been ill for so long, struggling with old age. I haven’t read his books. Now that the news of his death are everywhere, many people around me suggested some titles, which I am planning to buy.

I admire Mandel for his belief and conviction in democracy and a harmonious and just society. I think not many leaders believe in that.

The other day in my constitutional law class, my professor said something I disagreed, or chose to disagree, considering my opinion could be wrong. He said something like, “democracy is supposed to bring changes, not radical or fundamental changes”. He sounded a bit pessimistic, being such a renowned thinker in law and politics. Perhaps, he, too, like so many Malaysian intellectuals, is disappointed in Malaysian political scene. Honestly, it is quite a circus. Racism-based arguments still sell, religious supremacists rule the day, so many irrational fights are based on emotional and lame reasons. And local newspapers are such a joke with a few notable exceptions.

He has seen about 40 to 50 years of Malaysian politics. I have seen about 5. Maybe I have yet to be crushed by the harsh reality and still retain some optimism and idealism in me to think that democracy is not supposed to bring changes – small or radical. Democracy, for me, is the change. It is not a thing, not a political medium. It is a political belief that one lives by.

My thinking, though, may change in twenty years. Instead of aiming so high, I would most probably end up like so many other Malaysians, quite disillusioned with Malaysian politics that still differentiate Malays, Chinese, Indians, natives of Sabah and Sarawak etc etc.

FYI, Malaysian government, there is not such thing as an Indian race. I’ve seen hundreds of Bollywood films and not once I heard Shah Rukh Khan or Aamir Khan said that they are of the Indian race. They are of Indian nationality. They have Indian citizenship, that is why they call themselves Indian.

But of course, what are we Malaysians without the habit of stereotyping others…?

There is a a paragraph from Mandela’s speech I find to be very inspiring. I shall put them here because I want to read them again and again.

“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” – A statement to the court during the Rivonia trial, April, 20, 1964.