Malaysia Unsettled

I expect that most Malaysians at home and overseas must know what’s been happening in and to this country in the past few weeks. They must be aware of, perhaps, the first giant steps we’ve taken towards giving ourselves a shot at installing a ‘new’ government to administer this country. Well, the cries of “INI KALILAH” (THIS TIME) and “UBAH!” (CHANGE) rose to the skies from thousands and hundreds of thousands of throats at Pakatan Rakyat (Peoples’ Coalition) rallies all around the country, in the run up to our 13th General Election. We feared reactionary responses by Barisan Nasional‘s (National Front) minions and supporters. It is not a joke, as we feared the worst. Continue reading “Malaysia Unsettled”

Baroness Privatization R.I.P.

former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatche...
former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in October 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Former Malaysian Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahath...
Former Malaysian Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad addressing the General Assembly on September 25, 2003. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Anti-Margaret Thatcher badge
Anti-Margaret Thatcher badge (Photo credit: dannybirchall)

I wasn’t overjoyed or saddened at the news of Margaret Thatcher’s demise. She was the UK’s first woman Prime Minister, yet seemed less concerned about what concerned most women  – their children. I’m not British, and seeing the trend of ‘capitalist’ and ‘neo-liberal’ behavior she set in motion in Britain and in other countries of similar economic persuasion during her term as PM, I might feel glad not  being a claimant of her legacy. Continue reading “Baroness Privatization R.I.P.”

Maids in Malaysia

Cover of "Maid in Manhattan"
Cover of Maid in Manhattan
Domestic Workers on Sunday
Domestic Workers on Sunday (Photo credit: JMR_Photography)
English: Domestic worker in Colombia Nederland...
English: Domestic worker in Colombia Nederlands: Huishoudster in Colombia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some may remember the 2002 movie “Maid in Manhattan” with Jennifer Lopez as Marisa Ventura, a mother working as a chamber maid in a classy Manhattan hotel. She meets a politician, Christopher Marshall, who falls in love with her and is staying at the hotel where she works. He mistakes her for someone else but later finds out, and she gets fired from her job for this seeming deception. However, after the story runs its course, true love triumphs in the end, and they live happily ever after.
Many young girls,especially those from impoverished rural areas perhaps hope  such dreams will come true for them in a more affluent environment where they can earn a decent living, and get a better life for their families and themselves. But, the reality isn’t as simple or straight-forward as they think. Continue reading “Maids in Malaysia”

Playing with Shadows

Ghatotkacha as seen in Javanese shadow puppet ...
Ghatotkacha as seen in Javanese shadow puppet play (wayang) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Wayang Kulit
English: Wayang Kulit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are many cultures which have taken on the art of using shadows as a medium of communication in performing arts. In Malaysia, we have the “wayang kulit“, a traditional Malay, shadow puppet show. The stylized elaborately designed puppets  interact, dance and glide behind a large white cloth screen on which a  very bright white light is shone. The dramas acted out by these puppets are usually ancient myths and legends. But, the idea of shadow play has actually taken on a more modern usage. Continue reading “Playing with Shadows”

Gangnam Backfire – Daching Upset!

The 2004 Asian Tsunami disaster at Tanjung Tok...
The 2004 Asian Tsunami disaster at Tanjung Tokong, Penang (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
PSY – the mop
PSY – the mop (Photo credit: Joybot)

Following up from my last post on Psy‘s dilemma, it looks like the BN’s sneaky tactic to lure votes, backfired instead, when thousands turned up just to enjoy Psy’s performance. A few incidents took place starting with the ‘yee sang’ fracas… Continue reading “Gangnam Backfire – Daching Upset!”

A Gangnam Dilemma

English: The Penang Bridge was the first expre...
English: The Penang Bridge was the first expressway in Penang. Penang Bridge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Psy
Psy (Photo credit: Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer)

Psy, the world-famous K-Pop star performed in Penang today (11th February 2013). He was called, in a last desperate attempt by the ruling Barisan Nasional (National Front) to re-take Penang state, which was wrested from them by the Opposition Pakatan Rakyat (Peoples’ Coalition) at the last general elections on 8th March 2008. Continue reading “A Gangnam Dilemma”

Flaming Waste!

Daoist (Taoist) symbols carved in stone: yin-y...
Daoist (Taoist) symbols carved in stone: yin-yang and animals of the Chinese zodiac. Qingyanggong temple, Chengdu, Sichuan, China. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The northern tip of Borneo at Tanjung Simpang ...
The northern tip of Borneo at Tanjung Simpang Mengayau. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Waste! Waste! Waste! Really puts chilli in my mouth. Temperature rises and I definitely see red. Chinese New Year is just a week or so away. There’ll be more waste again. It was an article in the newspapers this morning that set me off. Continue reading “Flaming Waste!”

Talking Back – Listen, listen, listen!

No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller
No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Wee Meng Chee
English: Wee Meng Chee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After my last post about the changing images of youth, I apologize for entertaining rather middle-aged thoughts about them, but am quite happy that they, in their exuberance, proved me completely wrong. Thanks, to my favorite niece, who opened the window on youth thinking, wide for me to have a good look outside. Continue reading “Talking Back – Listen, listen, listen!”

TV Frustrations

When it comes to television programs on mainstream TV channels  in Malaysia, it can only be described as a job put in the hands of non-professionals with nil in the commonsense department. For starters, prime time television around 6pm to about 10pm (give or take) is filled with talk shows, game shows, food shows and repeats of old serials from the 1990s, interspersed with news bulletins (in 4 languages). Continue reading “TV Frustrations”

Only in My Home Country

Penang, my home town, is dotted with eateries called “coffee shops” or in local lingo “kopitiam”. These are places patronized by a spectrum of humanity from all walks of life. Here, the food is cheap, mostly good with a variety flavours. One can dine in the open air of a sidewalk or within the premises, at folding or marble topped tables, which usage is lessening as the higher end ‘kopitiam’ and food court establishments use such furniture to create an ambience of days-gone-by. Continue reading “Only in My Home Country”