Archive for category culture

Third challenge to youths in Malaysia – to promote social media literacy among youths so that they could be informed citizens and critical thinkers to detect lies, half-truths and falsehoods

The Yang di Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah’s message on his official birthday celebration today has reinforced my challenge yesterday to Malaysian youths to prove to the world that Malaysia is a successful example of Alliance of Civilisations and not an example of failure from Clash of Civilisations.

In his message, the King has called on Malaysians to stand tall as a nation that transcends all differences to create lasting unity and togetherness.

His Majesty said to create such an atmosphere, the people and leaders at all levels should not just do nothing and yet dream of achieving success.

On the contrary concerted efforts should be taken to break down elements that would hinder the unity.

The King said: “The fact is that it is not an easy task to manage the divisions and differences that exist in a country. This is due to the fact that every single thing will tend to be viewed and interpreted from different angles.”

As such, ever since taking his oath as the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Jan 31, the Yang di Pertuan Agong has travelled to every corner of the country to stay close to all Malaysians regardless of differences. Read the rest of this entry »

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Social media Malaysia is entirely different from real-life Malaysia and the fake news and hate speech which dominate the social media to incite suspicion, distrust, fear and hate pitting race against race and religion against religion must be strontly curbed

Malaysia yang digambarkan media sosial berbeza sama sekali dengan Malaysia dalam dunia sebenar dan berita palsu yang disebarkan dalam media sosial untuk memecah-belah dan melagakan rakyat Malaysia mestilah dibendung

Semasa dalam perjalanan ke program ini, saya terkenang kepada masa muda saya.

Kewujudan internet membolehkan saya untuk mencari semula sebuah editorial yang saya tulis 62 tahun yang lalu ketika saya menjadi editor majalah kelas III A yang bertajuk Light di Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tinggi Batu Pahat.

Di dalam editorial ini, saya telah menulis:

“Malaya telah menjadi sebuah negara yang baru, kini mengambil tempat dan tanggungjawabnya di dalam dunia yang penuh perselisihan. Ia mesti menerima dan menangani semua cabaran, dan satu hari nanti, diiktiraf sebagai salah satu daripada negara hebat dunia. Namun begitu, tokoh-tokoh masa kini yang sedang mengemudi negara kita tidak akan berada bersama kita selama-lamanya.

“Kita sebagai pemuda masa kini, adalah pemimpin masa depan, yang akan mewarisi tugas dan tanggungjawab untuk mengemudi hala tuju negara, sama ada kearah Utopia atau Kemusnahan. Kita mestilah mempersiapkan diri untuk berkhidmat untuk memimpin. Janganlah kita bazirkan masa kita dengan perbuatan yang sia-sia.

“Peranan sebagai golongan muda di dalam Malaya yang merdeka adalah lebih berat dan sukar untuk dipikul oleh bahu golongan muda generasi kita yang kurang berpengalaman. Kita akan menjadi golongan muda yang pertama yang memikul tanggungjawab ini sebagai negara yang merdeka. Marilah kita berkerja keras dan berazam supaya seluruh dunia boleh mengatakan dan mengiktiraf yang usaha dan tenaga golongan muda Malaya tidak dibazirkan.

“Untuk mencapai hasrat ini di dalam negara baru yang mempunyai demografi yang pelbagai ini, kita mesti sentiasa ingat bahawa kerjasama antara kaum adalah perkara yang paling penting sekali.”

Itulah yang telah saya tuliskan semasa saya berumur 16 tahun. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia will fail as a New Malaysia which is a top world-class nation of unity, freedom, justice, excellence and integrity if we replace a “win-win” formula of nation-building with a zero-sum mentality

With the Cabinet decision yesterday on the Jawi controversy, there are totally contradictory reactions.

One reaction at one end of the spectrum is best represented by the UMNO Vice President, Khaled Nordin who said that the latest Cabinet decision on the Jawi controversy shows that DAP is the true power behind the Pakatan Harapan government.

At the other end of the spectrum, the DAP is regarded as “having gone from hero to zero in the eyes of the Chinese base” and having betrayed the voters and I have become a “running dog” betraying the rights and future of Chinese Malaysians.

Which version is right?

It is not possible for both allegations to be right although both allegations could be wrong – and there is no doubt that in this case, both such allegations are wrong.

Malaysia will fail as a New Malaysia which is a top world-class nation of unity, freedom, justice, excellence and integrity if we replace a “win-win” formula of nation-building with a zero-sum mentality. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mahathir wrong to brand Dong Zong as “racist” but Dong Zong was not right to claim that Jawi lesson for Chinese/Tamil primary school Std. 4 Bahasa Malaysia subject from 2020 was beginning of Islamisation

Perdana Menteri, Dr Mahathir Mohammad salah melabel Dong Zong sebagai “rasis”, tetapi Dong Zong juga tidak betul apabila mendakwa pembelajaran tulisan Jawi bagi mata pelajaran Bahasa Malaysia Tahun Empat di sekolah rendah Cina/Tamil bermula tahun 2020 sebagai permulaan Islamisasi

Perdana Menteri Dr Mahathir Mohammad salah melabel Dong Zong sebagai “rasis”, tetapi Dong Zong juga tidak betul apabila mendakwa pembelajaran tulisan Jawi bagi mata pelajaran Bahasa Malaysia Tahun Empat di sekolah rendah Cina/Tamil bermula tahun 2020 sebagai permulaan Islamisasi.

Kedua-dua insiden ini mengambarkan betapa berat salah faham yang timbul berkenaan tulisan Jawi di sekolah rendah Cina dan Tamil.

Saya berada di Chennai, Salem, Bangalore dan New Dehli ketika kontroversi subjek tulisan Jawi meledak dan taklimat oleh Timbalan Menteri Pendidikan, Teo Nie Ching dalam perjumpaan untuk ahli-ahli DAP Melaka semalam merupakan kali pertama saya mengetahui tentang punca sebenar kontroversi berkenaan.

Terdapat teori-teori konspirasi bahawa kontroversi tulisan Jawi ini didalangi oleh sama ada Menteri Pendidikan, Maszlee Malek atau Perdana Menteri Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad demi tujuan politik.

Pun begitu, hakikatnya, kontroversi subjek itu adalah warisan daripada kerajaan terdahulu kerana keputusan muktamad mengenai buku teks baru untuk sekolah rendah Cina dan Tamil untuk memperkenalkan subjek tulisan Jawi untuk murid-murid Tahun Empat pada tahun 2020 telah dibuat oleh Jawatankuasa Kurikulum Kementerian Pendidikan yang dipengerusikan oleh menteri pendidikan dan dua timbalan menteri pendidikan dalam satu mesyuarat pada 30 September 2015. Read the rest of this entry »

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DAP will be defeated in Iskandar Puteri parliamentary seat and would lose 30 to 40 per cent of our votes in the country if election is held now, and we need time for the people to realise that the DAP has not betrayed them or that we have not given up on our objective of a New Malaysia of unity, freedom, justice, excellence and integrity

DAP akan kehilangan kerusi Parlimen Iskandar Puteri dan mungkin kehilangan sejumlah 30 ke 40 peratus undi jika pilihanraya umum diadakan sekarang, kita perlukan masa untuk rakyat menyedari yang DAP tidak pernah mengkhianati mereka mahupun melupakan matlamat bersama Malaysia Baharu yang berteraskan perpaduan, keadilan, kebebasan, dan integrity

DAP akan kalah di kawasan parlimen Iskandar Puteri dan kehilangan antara 30 hingga 40 peratus undi di seluruh negara jika piliharanraya umum diadakan sekarang.

Inilah tahap salah faham penyokong DAP yang terhadap DAP yang kini berada di dalam kerajaan Pakatan Harapan.

Kami memerlukan masa bagi menjelaskan kepada penyokong kami dan rakyat Malaysia yang DAP tidak mengkhianati dan kami masih belum melupakan matlamat bersama Malaysia Baharu.

Jika benarlah DAP telah mengkhianati perjuangan kami selama ini, adalah mustahil untuk kami mendapatkan semula sokongan rakyat, walaupun selama mana pun masa yang diberi. Malah, sokongan kepada kami hanya akan menjadi lebih teruk.

Setelah berjuang dan berkorban selama berdekad lamanya, DAP tidak akan sama sekali mengkhianati rakyat Malaysia, prinsip-prinsip kami, dan matlamat kami untuk membina sebuah Malaysia yang baharu yang berteraskan perpaduan, kebebasan, keadilan, dan integriti. Oleh itu, para pemimpin DAP haruslah berdaya tahan, bersabar, dan terus komited kepada agenda Malaysia Baharu. Read the rest of this entry »

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I have never said that one must learn Jawi to be a Malaysian – all I said was learning Jawi did not “make me any less of a Chinese, and may have helped in making me more of a Malaysian”

A friend has sent me a newspaper headline which quoted me as saying: “Learn Jawi To Be More Malaysian”.

I have never said one must learn Jawi to be a Malaysian – all I said in my statement from Salem, Tamil Nadu yesterday was learning Jawi while I was serving my first detention in Muar in 1969 did not “make me any less of a Chinese, and may have helped in making me more of a Malaysian”.

Malaysia is a multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious nation and we should leverage on our unique position where the great Islamic, Chinese, Indian and Western civilisations meet in confluence in Malaysia to build a great Malaysian nation.

We must be careful not to fall into the trap of conspirators who want to pit race against race, religion against religion to arouse suspicion, distrust and hatred in our plural society to regain political power and work against the flowering of the best of our multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious nation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysians must develop a new self-confidence, a new “Malaysia Boleh” spirit, to exorcise the contrived or imaginary fears and demons so as to achieve a golden age for Malaysia

Kita semua haruslah membina suatu keyakinan diri yang baharu, satu semangat Malaysia Boleh, untuk kita melawan segala momokan dan ancaman yang dibuat-buat bagi mencapai era kegemilangan untuk Malaysia

Saya telah mengadakan perjumpaan dengan rakyat dan pelajar Malaysia semasa lawatan saya ke Salem semalam.

Daripada negara orang, saya telah mengikuti perkembangan semasa di tanah air, termasuklah kontroversi mengenai pengenalan seni khat jawi kepada pelajar darjah empat melalui kurikulum pendidikan Bahasa Malaysia di Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina dan Tamil.

Beberapa persoalan telah timbul dan telahpun dijawab berkenaan dengan isu ini, antaranya:

Adakah menjadi kewajipan kepada pelajar-pelajar di SJK Cina dan Tamil untuk mempelajari tulisan jawi di bawah rancangan baru ini?

Tidak, kerana Kementerian Pelajaran tidak berhasrat untuk melaksanakan ujian atau peperiksaan untuk seni khat ini.

Bilakah rancangan untuk memperkenalkan seni khat jawi ini diputuskan?
Pada tahun 2016 oleh kerajaan Barisan Nasional.

Adakah kementerian berhasrat untuk mendengar pendapat-pendapat lain mengenai perkara ini?

Pihak Kementerian Pelajaran akan meneruskan pelaksanaan rancangan ini, tetapi pandangan daripada pelbagai pihak akan terus didengari untuk memastikan terdapatnya pertimbangan yang adil.

Mungkin soalan yang lebih penting untuk ditanya adalah: Adakah seseorang yang belajar tulisan jawi itu mengkhianati bahasa dan budaya orang Cina?

Pada saya, jawapannya adalah tidak. Read the rest of this entry »

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What has Tengku Razaleigh done to stop the 1MDB scandal during the Najib premiership and what has he done in the past 14 months to cleanse UMNO of global kleptocracy?

Apakah tindakan Tengku Razaleigh untuk menghentikan skandal 1MDB pada waktu pemerintahan Najib dan apakah yang sudah beliau lakukan dalam 14 bulan yang lepas untuk membersihkan UMNO daripada unsur kleptokrasi

Di Rumah Terbuka Aidilfitri Meraikan Penggiat Seni dan Sastera yang dianjurkan secara bersama oleh Pak Samad dan saya di Sentul malam tadi, saya telah diminta oleh pihak media untuk memberikan komen mengenai seruan Tengku Razaleigh untuk kerajaan melaksanakan cadangan-cadangan Suruhanjaya DiRaja mengenai Urusan Perdagangan Matawang Asing Bank Negara pada tahun 90an.

Saya telah menolak permintaan tersebut memandangkan majlis ini adalah satu majlis untuk meraikan seni dan sastera dan adalah tidak bersesuaian untuk bercakap mengenai perkara lain dalam majlis ini.

Majlis ini telah dihadiri oleh empat sasterawan negara — selain daripada Pak Samad (Datuk Seri Abdul Samad bin Mohamad Said), turut dihadiri oleh Dato Dr Ahmad Khamal Abdullah, Dato Dr Zurinah Hasan, dan Professor Emeritus Dr Mohd Haji Salleh.

Majlis seni dan sastera yang pertama kali dianjurkan oleh DAP ini turut dihadiri oleh Ketua Pengarah DBP, Datuk Ahmad Sallehudin, Pengerusi Lembaga Pengarah dan Pengurus Besar ITBM, Encik Mazmi Bin Kamal dan Encik Sakri Abdullah, Presiden dan Setiausaha Agung PENA, Dr Mohamad Saleeh Rahamad dan Saifulizan Yahaya, dan Ahli Panel Penasihat FINAS, Bront Palarae.

Timbalan Menteri Belia dan Sukan, Steven Sim telah memulakan acara dengan membacakan dua puisi. Wakil-wakil rakyat DAP lain yang turut hadir memeriahkan majlis ini adalah Exco Negeri Johor, Sheikh Omar Ali, Ahli Parlimen Kluang, Wong Shu Qi, Ahli Parlimen Sandakan, Vivien Wong, Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri Selangor, Edry Faizal (Dusun Tua) dan Lim Yi Wei (Kampung Tunku, Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri Pulau Pinang, Syerleena Binti Abdul Rashid (Seri Delima), dan Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri Pahang, Young Shefura Binti Othman (Ketari). Read the rest of this entry »

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Tahniah Dato’ Seri A. Samad Said, sasterawan rakyat bersenjata pena dan puisi

Saya ingin mengambil kesempatan ini untuk mengucapkan tahniah kepada Sasterawan Negara Dato’ Seri A. Samad Said di atas penganugerahan Darjah Gemilang Pangkuan Negeri oleh TYT Tun Dato’ Seri Utama Dr Haji Abdul Rahman Haji Abbas, Yang di-Pertua Negeri Pulau Pinang.

Penganugerahan ini adalah satu simbol pengiktirafan kepada beliau, atas khidmat bakti yang telah dicurahkan dalam dunia kesusasteraan dan budaya di tanah air, selain untuk sumbangan yang tidak ternilai harganya kepada lapangan aktivisme dan politik negara.

Pak Samad, seperti panggilannya di kalangan kita semua, adalah manifestasi ‘puisi jadi senjata’ di tengah-tengah medan politik Malaysia yang kini sedang berada di perbatasan pilihanraya paling penting dalam sejarah negara. Pak Samad adalah panglima rakyat, dengan bersenjatakan pena dan kata-kata, memujuk hati nurani kita semua agar mengusung perubahan dan mencapai impian kita sebagai rakyat Malaysia yang cintakan negara.

Hasil-hasil karya Pak Samad tidak pernah gagal membawa tema dan suara rakyat marhaen ke khalayak umum. Novel ‘Salina’ contohnya menjadi cerminan kesempitan hidup rakyat pasca perang dunia kedua, dan bagaimana rakyat marhaen ditindas.

Sajak-sajak Pak Samad setelah terjun ke lapangan aktivisme lebih-lebih lagi menggambarkan perasaannya yang menyala-nyala. Sajaknya yang dibaca bersempena Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat, beberapa bulan sebelum pilihanraya umum ke-13 sangat mengesankan. Dan sehingga kini pun masih terus meniup bara semangat kita semua. Read the rest of this entry »

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Conversations and Explorations: Pauline Fan an Exciting Time for Malaysian Literature

By Gareth Richards
Penang Monthly
January 2017

Translation matters. It always has, but perhaps now more than ever. It is a paradox that globalisation offers the technological means of communication and conversation across borders, and yet politics (including the culture wars) seems to be driven by small-mindedness, xenophobia and enmity. It is these “moments in time when the world is changing” that “bring out the best and the worst in people,” as Malaysian author Tan Twan Eng puts it. If literature possesses an emancipatory potential – if it can open up spaces for critical thinking and be a flame in the darkness – then the act of translating fiction and poetry surely lies somewhere near its centre.

The recent edition of the George Town Literary Festival offered a clear focus on the potential of literary translation. In general terms, the thematic core of the festival – captured by the Welsh word hiraeth, the longing for a homeland that is no longer there – necessarily explored the ways in which literatures travel, across time and space. In addition, there were also dedicated panels that discussed the subtle arts of reading, reimagining and translating foreign fiction and poetry across many different languages. One thing was made clear: no one will ever read an author’s work as closely as her translator does.

We caught up with a number of respected literary translators at the festival to reflect on the process, products and prospects for this work in Malaysia and beyond. Here we feature the KL-based poet Pauline Fan, who is also co-editor of NARATIF | Kisah, a bilingual literary journal that features work by both Malaysian and international authors. For her, translation is a “confluence” of literary traditions where important connections are made. And this work is nested within an ongoing moment of “encounter, engagement and critical contemplation”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Chinese New Year medley (A Cappella)

Pleasantly surprised to receive a video by very passionate Malaysians and musicians who produced a Chinese New Year: A Cappella Medley, by Kong Xian Ming and Colour of Voices (A Malay cappella group).

What a great and creative way to usher in the celebration of Chinese New Year the Malaysian way.

This is what makes Malaysia different.

We are a nation with a confluence of different races, languages, cultures and religions, where Malaysians celebrate the diverse ethnic and religious festivities not in an exclusive but in an inclusive Malaysian manner.

Just as Chinese in Malaysia celebrate the Chinese New Year together with Malays, Indians, Kadazans and Ibans; Muslims celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri together with non-Muslims; Hindus celebrate Deepavali and Thaipusam with non-Hindus and Christians celebrate Christmas with non-Christians – without fear of losing our respective ethnic or religious identities.

This make Malaysians unique and distinct from other peoples in the world!

Let us continue to celebrate Malaysia’s diversity, an asset which could lead to Malaysia’s greater achievements as a people and a nation.

Kudos to Xian Ming and Colour of Voices for blazing the way

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Malaysia’s Stunning Street Art: The Coolest Murals and Where to Find Them

Yahoo Travel Explorers
August 10, 2015
By David Hogan/Malaysia Asia

In recent years, street art in Malaysia has picked up quite a bit, and you’ll now find murals and paintings by both local and international artists.

While this form of art has been alive and well in many other areas of the world for decades, the movement in Malaysia really got rolling in 2012, when Ernest Zacharevic created six murals for Penang’s George Town Culture festival. The paintings were so popular that the BBC even called him the Banksy of Malaysia. Today, there are many cities around the country following in Penang’s footsteps, calling on locals of all ages to add new life to their walls. For visitors, that means it’s easy to find these open-air museums; since they are usually located in high tourist areas, you barely have to look around. But you do need to know which towns and cities to start in. Here are some of my favorites:

Penang

Penang artist Ernest Zacharevic has been called the Banksy of Malaysia. (Photo: Ernest Zacharevic)

Read the rest of this entry »

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The True Measure Of A Culture

M. Bakri Musa
(www.bakrimusa.com)

The true measure of a culture is how well it prepares its members to sudden changes and challenges, especially when those are unanticipated or imposed from the outside. That different societies react very differently is obvious.

Consider the March 2011 tsunami that demolished the coastal areas of Northern Japan. Thousands were killed and billions worth of properties damaged, with whole villages and families wiped out. Compare the reactions of the Japanese to that tragedy of August 2005 when Katrina hurricane devastated the southern coast of United States.

The differences in reactions could not be more profound. Today only a few years after the tragedy, Northern Japan is almost fully recovered. In Louisiana they are still entangled in massive lawsuits, and the finger pointing has not yet stopped. Both Japan and America are developed societies, so we cannot account the difference to socioeconomic status, only to culture. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nilai memperkasa mahasiswa Melayu: Apresiasi budaya orang lain

– Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi
The Malaysian Insider
3 June 2014

Dalam keghairahan umat Melayu daripada Perkasa dan umat Islam daripada Isma menghina masyarakat Cina dan Kristian di Malaysia dengan memberi mesej bahawa umat Melayu terbantut perkembangan ekonomi, spiritual dan intelek kerana kehadiran kedua-dua jenis manusia sebegini, saya ingin memberi sedikit refleksi daripada buku yang sedang saya usahakan bertajuk “Memperkasa Mahasiswa Melayu dalam Industri”.

Dalam buku ini saya memperincikan 7 nilai penting yang perlu ada pada mahasiswa Melayu jika mereka ingin diangkat sebagai pemimpin Industri dan masyarakat yang terbaik di antara semua kaum dalam dunia.

Nilai pertama adalah Apresiasi Budaya Orang Lain, kedua adalah Berjuang untuk Semua, ketiga adalah Membina Jaringan Manusia, keempat adalah Membina Minda Kritis, kelima adalah Membangun Diri Sendiri, keenam Menyalahkan Diri Sendiri dan ketujuh, Merebut Inisiatif. Semua nilai ini adalah hasil refleksi pengalaman saya sendiri sebagai seorang ahli akademik dan daripada pembacaan peribadi terhadap buku-buku tulisan pakar motivasi, spiritualis Barat, koleksi hadis daripada 4 kitab utama, buku sufisme dan banyak lagi.

Mesejnya adalah jika kita orang Melayu sanggup melihat ke dalam diri sendiri dan jangan mudah terpedaya dengan dakyah-dakyah parti politik, NGO atau individu yang menghasut serta meracuni fikiran kita, dengan bantuan Alllah Yang Maha Megetahui, kita akan menjadi orang yang berjaya dan dihormati serta disayangi oleh semua golongan manusia yang mempunyai keikhlasan jiwa.

Mahasiswa Melayu perlu mempunyai nilai apresiasi budaya lain jika mereka hendak menjadi seorang pemimpin cemerlang dalam masyarakat dan industri. Sesebuah syarikat akan pasti mengambil individu yang yakin dapat bekerja dengan budaya lain dengan mudah supaya syarikat tersebut dapat melantik mahasiswa itu menjadi pengurus cawangan di mana-mana tempat dalam dunia atau menghantar mahasiswa tersebut untuk bertemu klien-klien besar kerana mahasiswa ini berupaya mengendalikan mesyuarat untuk mendapat projek atau menjelaskan perjalanan projek sedia ada. Read the rest of this entry »

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HERITAGE: Poetry in motion

By Pauline Fan
New Straits Times
02 February 2014

Pauline Fan delves into the significance of the horse in human civilisation, imagination, ritual and material culture the world over

Lean in build, like the point of a lance;
Two ears sharp as bamboo spikes;
Four hooves light as though born of the wind.
Heading away across the endless spaces,
Truly, you may entrust him with your life — Du Fu (8th Century Chinese poet)

THE great Tang Dynasty poet, Du Fu, composed these lines about the horse of an imperial officer named Fang. Du Fu was captivated by the supple grace and swiftness of Fang’s stallion, a magnificent breed of Central Asian origin known as the Ferghana. These Ferghana horses were so revered in China that a legend arose that they were spawned from celestial steeds.

Believed by some historians to be descendants of Alexander the Great’s mighty black stallion, Bucephalus, these horses were first introduced to China in the 2nd Century BC, during the reign of Emperor Wu of the Western Han Dynasty. Read the rest of this entry »

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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 »

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Reform TITAS to ensure fair and balanced teaching of civilisation studies

— Lim Teck Ghee and Din Merican
The Malay Mail Online
JULY 23, 2013

JULY 23 — We owe a debt of gratitude to Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli and other supporters of the proposed Islamic and Asian Civilisation Studies (TITAS) course for opening the Pandora’s box on the educational value and desirability of this officially decreed course previously imposed on public universities and now planned to be extended to private universities.

For now, there has been nothing offered by way of justification or in defence of the course design by the Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and his subordinate, Higher Education Department director-general Morshidi Sirat, to allay the concern that the introduction of the course is politically motivated to serve the ruling government’s agenda, and not the interest of our young.

We should have no illusions that even with the spotlight of public criticism strongly on it, the authorities will not continue with the planned enforcement of the course. The political stakes are too high for the minister of education, soon contesting the Umno elections, to do an about-turn.

Recognising that it is well-nigh impossible to expect the authorities to withdraw its proposal, we urge Rafizi and others in favour of the course to support the following measures to ensure that TITAS does not become another platform to load our young with politically, racially or religiously skewed knowledge. A narrowly conceived, ethnocentric and politically biased TITAS is counter-productive in a world characterised by diversity and pluralism and in our homeland which is one of the major cultural and civilisation crossroads of Asia.

If indeed the intention is noble and aimed at instilling cross cultural learning and appreciation of the major civilisations of the region among all students, Malays and non-Malays, surely no one in their right mind will object to the safeguards below to ensure that this intention is achieved and not subverted. Read the rest of this entry »

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TITAS is about cross learning in a multicultural society

— Rafizi Ramli
The Malay Mail Online
July 22, 2013

JULY 22 — I must begin by conveying my gratitude to Dr Lim Teck Ghee and S. Thayaparan for their views on the position I took with regards to the implementation of TITAS at private tertiary institutions (IPTS).

While the ensuing exchange of views on the matter had earned me many labels from some of the readers of Malaysiakini (including lumping me as another Umno prototype), I look at it positively. If Malaysia were to progress, we must be able to debate openly and accept criticisms both ways.

I will explain the basis for the position I had taken before I respond to some of the issues brought by both of them. Read the rest of this entry »

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Alvivi – a dignified response

by Sheela R.

As a young girl, growing up in multi-cultural Malaysia, I have had my fair share of challenges. Raised as a vegetarian long before it was recognised and accepted as a healthy lifestyle, I have had to constantly explain my dietary habits to people who are unaquainted with vegetarianism.

As a student at the primary and secondary levels, I had to frequently put up with comments such as,

“Oh! You don’t know what you are missing!”

“If you eat only vegetables you are going to grow up looking green!”

“If you don’t eat meat you won’t be strong!”

“Ikan tak boleh, ayam tak boleh, semua tak boleh, kesian!”

“A vegetarian? What’s that? Are you some sort of vegetable?”

Naturally, such comments riled me, but over the years, I grew to understand that they stemmed from silliness or ignorance rather than wilful malice. I learned not to react to such distasteful comments but to respond with dignity. I eventually found ways to explain to others, the socio-cultural reasons for my diet. Invariably, once they understood my reasons for abstaining from meat, they became highly respectful and sensitive towards my dietary requirements. Read the rest of this entry »

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KLPAC insists Singapore ballet application was rejected

By Clara Chooi
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 05, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, April 5 — The KL Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC) maintained today it had submitted a permit application for the Singapore Dance Theatre (SDT) to federal authorities a month ago, refuting a federal minister’s claim that it had not done so.

KLPAC executive producer and co-founder Datuk Faridah Merican explained in a statement here that the application was “personally” submitted to Puspal, or the Central Agency for the Application for Filming and Performance by Foreign Artists, on March 7 by KLPAC production manager Freddy Tan.

Tan, she said, was subsequently “advised” by a Puspal officer last Wednesday that the application had been rejected for two reasons – costuming and foreign performers.

“This was most unusual because we had applied for performances by the Singapore Dance Theatre on two previous occasions and both were approved,” Faridah said.

“In fact, we have always found Puspal to be most helpful and understanding.”

It is believed that the two reasons given by Puspal were not communicated in great detail to Tan.

Faridah said that following the permit rejection, an appeal was submitted on the same day.

But despite this, she confirmed that the ballet performance, titled “Ballet Illuminations”, originally scheduled for April 6 and 7 at KLPAC, had to be cancelled. Read the rest of this entry »

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