Archive for July 24th, 2013

Once we were beautiful

– Art Harun
The Malaysian Insider
July 24, 2013

I am blessed.

So are many of my friends who are of or around my age.

So are many who are older than me.

As a child of the 60s, I went through my formative years in an English-stream school. It was a big school in town.

And there were hundreds of us Malays, Chinese and Indian boys (it wasn’t co-ed).

Our first headmaster was a Chinese gentleman who was as fierce as they came those days.

When he left, he was replaced by an Indian gentleman, who also was as fierce.

My first class teacher was Ms Leong, all long haired and short skirted.

And yes, armed with a wooden ruler, she would knock my knuckles for failing to properly write the number 8.

My first English sentence, learnt on the first day at school was to be uttered after raising my right hand, “Please teacher may I go out?”

That was to be said if any of us had to go to the toilet to do the normal stuffs we all do in the toilet (and not to eat).

Then there were Mr Linggam, Cikgu Aziz and wife, Sharom, Mr Lee the karate guy, Mr Khor, Cikgu Mutalib and various others.

We were a happy bunch. We played together, ate together, learned together and of course, at times, punished together. Read the rest of this entry »


Wanted in Malaysia: Empathy

by The Malaysian Insider
July 24, 2013

How did Malaysia come to this point? Where billions have been spent on national unity programmes, Bangsa Malaysia initiatives and grandiose 1Malaysia schemes and yet EMPATHY for each other is so glaringly missing from daily life.

The Oxford Dictionary defines empathy as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Some may see it as “standing in someone else’s shoes” or “seeing through someone else’s eyes”.

Whatever the definition, implicit in it is a feeling of compassion for another.

If the feeling of empathy courses through the veins of Malaysians, we would be very slow to ridicule the religious practices of another or even place each other in racial pigeonholes. Very slow. Because we would feel the hurt that a wayward word or action could cause another group of Malaysians.

In addition, we would be quick to condemn or disapprove of behaviour not in keeping with our national psyche. Read the rest of this entry »


Stupid Prank and Double Standards

By Kee Thuan Chye
23 July 2013

Alvin Tan Jye Yee and Vivian Lee May Ling, collectively known as Alvivi, are now in prison, awaiting trial. The judge denied them bail after they pleaded not guilty to three charges related to alleged sedition, causing enmity between people of different religions, and displaying pornographic pictures on their blog.

The charges – under the Sedition Act, the Film Censorship Act and the Penal Code – are pretty serious. If found guilty, they could go to jail for some years. Not a bright prospect for two supposedly smart people in their mid-20s.

But why were they not granted bail? What further harm could they inflict? Whom could they harm? How severe, really, is their offence? Even people charged with committing far worse offences, like rape, have been given bail.

Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail says Alvivi were denied bail because of their tendency to post content on their blog that could potentially anger the public.

I think that’s being presumptuous. It is not backed up with any evidence. Besides, potentially angering the public is a poor excuse. And since we are engaging in making assumptions, I would hazard that it’s very unlikely that the duo would still opt to arouse public anger after having faced those serious charges. In fact, even before they were arrested, they had already apologised. Read the rest of this entry »