Thursday, 30 June 2011

Scared, are you?* - Better than Ezra

Dear Hishammuddin,

I have been reading with interest your response to the rally planned by Bersih next weekend.

The Bersih office was raided without a warrant. Individuals who were out distributing our Malaysian flags were detained. You were reported to have outlawed certain t-shirts (although we are still baffled at such a declaration since only the law can decide what is right and what is not). The IGP - the head of our police force - has even made references to shoes!!!!

The police in Georgetown have obtained a court ruling preventing people from attending 2 talks (see here).

This morning, we awoke to the news that sounds very much like a threat - that the police will take action against those who are taking part in the rally.

Let us get some things in perspective - what is this rally that is seemingly causing you so much fear and anxiety that you will resort to those above measures? It is not a rally calling people to overturn the government. It is not a rally asking people to commit crimes. It is not a rally to support hate and racism.

It is a rally asking that we have a clean election, one that is fair and just. Surely you cannot fault the organiser’s intentions.

Furthermore, you should know yourself that what they are planning to do is allowed in our Constitution. Even the Human Rights Commission of our country is of the view that it is the right of Malaysians to assemble and express their views in a peaceful manner (see here).

Should not the government be supportive of an initiative like this? The only people who would stand up against such an effort should be those who do not want a clean and fair elections.

If you are concerned about public order, the government and the police should be helping the organisers instead of harassing, threatening and antagonising them. Perhaps you can talk with the organisers and work out how best to have the rally. Perhaps roads may have to be closed for a period of time. But this is over the weekend. We have recently also experienced road closures due to the filming of a Hong Kong movie recently.

When I was in the UK in 2006, a group of Muslims were allowed to have a rally in the heart of London. The London police were dispatched to close some major roads and allowed these people to have their march. Their rights were respected, protected and fulfilled. I do not see why we cannot do the same thing here.

If it is really the concern of the government that there may be chaos and problems arising from this planned peaceful march, then that is the role of our police force to ensure that it is stopped. After all, there will always be such a risk when a large crowd of people assemble – in sports events, in shopping malls during sales, in night markets etc. But we do not stop these events because we recognise the right of people to participate in these events – how much more should the government support the participation of events which call for a fair and just election? Again, I will say those who oppose it must be afraid of having a clean election.

So please stop giving the impression that the government is afraid of a fair, clean and just election. Stop giving the impression that the government does not respect the human rights of Malaysians to assemble and express their views in a peaceful manner.

If any public disorder arises from the planned rally, the police and the government should be held responsible for it if they did not take reasonable steps to prevent it.

Thank you.

*Track #5 from their album, Friction, Baby which was released in 1996.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Yellow* - Coldplay

Yellow - so what does the colour stand for? What does it mean? I did a quick search and here is what i found:-
"Yellow symbolizes wisdom. Yellow means joy and happiness. Like the energy of a bright sunny day, yellow brings clarity and awareness."

"Because of the high visibility of bright yellow, it is often used for hazard signs and some emergency vehicles. For years yellow ribbons were worn as a sign of hope..."

"Yellow shines with optimism, enlightenment, and happiness. Shades of golden yellow carry the promise of a positive future. Yellow will advance from surrounding colors and instill optimism and energy..."

Actually, all this sounds like what Bersih is all about. To me, anyways.They are asking for a clean elections. They are raising awareness for the need to have fair elections. It is also a warning to those who are considering dirty tactics in the coming elections.

But some people have been responding to Bersih with fear! Why else would they start to outlaw t-shirts and shoes?????

Perhaps, that is why yellow is also used to represent cowards!

People like Pua Chu Kang, the Digi Yellow Man, Mr Squarepants and the Simpsons better steer clear of this country in the next few days!!!

*I remembered that they actually used this song in one of The Simpsons trailers!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

I'm so excited* - Pointer Sisters

So thankfully, as with every year, we have Wimbledon to keep us entertained while the EPL rests.

And for this year, it looks really good. Was talking about it with my colleague and we agreed that this year's men's tournament is one of the most open one in a long time. And it's not just a 2 horse race - it is a 4 horse race!

We have the best British player and crowd favourite, Andy Murray! With home ground advantage and coming into the tournament after winning the Aegon Championships at Queen's, his confidence is surely high and this is arguably his best chance to be the long awaited Brit winner at Wimbledon!

Then there is the best player of the day - and the defending champion! Coming into the tournament after winning the French Open, his confidence should be high - but the manner in which he won left much to be desired by his fans. He din win it very convincingly. Still, it'll be a fool to write him off!

How about this player - the best player of the year! Unbeaten except in one game by the next person i'm gonna talk about.

And finally, the person who is to me, arguably the best player of all time and on grass!

But unfortunately, i've not had the chance to really watch any matches yet (which is a good thing cuz seeing Li Na lose would be rather painful). There's this week!!!!

And after that, Copa America!!! Woohoo!

*One of their classics released in their 1982 album, never fails to get feet tapping!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Freak out* - Avril Lavigne

The people around me were trying to calm me down. I must really look stressed!

It won't be surprising cuz i felt that way!!! It has been a long long time since i felt that way. Perhaps like before my first lecture, or going up to speak on the pulpit. But no, this time was prolly the worst! I really was on the verge of freaking out!!!

This time was so different because when i go for a lecture or go up to the pulpit, i go prepared. Sure, there is some level of nervousness but it is all manageable. I just need to go up there, say what i have already prepared - and making references to the notes/power point slides to assist me. And of course, speak in English!!! =)

But that time, it was a whole new ball game! It was a LIVE TV interview - conducted in Bahasa Malaysia! The Malay language. Being a "live" interview, there is no fixed script - altho they gave us answers to possible questions that will be asked, it is still pretty daunting!

And my BM is so rusty!!!! Sure, i can go buy food and even strike up a conversation with the man on the street. But in the interview, i was supposed to explain things like what is "Student Centred Learning", how it developes cognitive skills. what are "soft skills" etc!!! I would even have problems explaining that off-hand in English (but i did that quite easily when interviewed by students on campus - yes you can see clips of that being screened on the flat-screen tvs around campus. Dunno if they still show it or not).

I initially thought the interview was to focus on Aida, my student - and i am just there as her lecturer. But upon reading the possible questions that will be asked (which i only receive a few days before the interview), i realised that the main focus is on me!!!! And it i snot about the Law School - but about Taylor's Uni!!!!! That would mean that not only will the viewers be housewives and ppl in the hospital waiting rooms, but also every top gub in the Uni management!!!! If i embarass meself, i'll embarass the entire Uni!!!! Talk about having the weight of everyone on my shoulders!!!!!

So yes, i was not surprised when the colleagues who were there were a little amused and a touch concerned to see how freaked out i look that morning while waiting to be interviewed.

I tried to prepare meself by listening to a Malay radio channel all week - and even dug up my old Sheila Majid albums to listen. It din help that everyone at the TV studio was speaking in English!!! Even the interviewer was chatting with us in English just minutes b4 we went on air.

The feeling i had brought back memories of life as a practising lawyer - having to submit in the Malay language and preparing self to be asked anything and everything on the subject matter, having the expectations (and sometimes the life savings) of my clients weighing heavy on my shoulders.

Maybe tt's the reason why i din last in the practice. Well, 7 years is quite long! But comparing life now with how it was back then, it is indeed a pleasant stroll in the park these days!

Still, i'm glad to say that the interview went alright. Just like in practice, the moment we started, i went thru it quite easily - my colleagues said that i was a totally different person when on air, full of confidence. It wasn't perfect, tho.

I din realise it until i rewatched it that they got the Uni name wrong thruout the interview!!!! They kept referring to us as Taylor's College!!!! And when i do refer to the Uni, i only refered to is as "Taylor's". The management may not have been too pleased with that!!!

And oh - i looked really fat on TV!!!

p/s - i oso got a taste of how my students feel just before going for their moots!!!

p/p/s - the studio was interesting. it was surprisingly easy to get in and security seemed to be pretty minimal. We walked past quite a number of radio pragrammes being broadcasted "live". I was told that the actual studio we were filmed in was actually small compared to RTM's. And i was a little surprised that as we sat waiting in the studio, we could actually whisper to each other as the show is going on just a few metres away!

*Track 11 from her 2nd studio album.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

At the beginning* - Donna Lewis & Richard Marx

I had only a few hours of sleep. And it was gonna be a long day. A long weekend ahead, in fact! I was to drive to another state that day. But i had to watch it.

I have been waiting for a long time - but cautiously. After all, when your expectations have not been met a couple of times, one tends to be more careful. X-Men was really good - but X2 was simply brilliant, out-doing its predecessor! X3 was alright - but only because i kept my expectations really low after hearing all the negative comments about it. Wolverine was pretty bad.

The trailer for First Class looked good. But dun most trailers look good? And how good would an X-Men movie be without Wolverine? Further, Star Wars and George Lucas has made prequels into a bad thing!

But thanks to Ruey's positive comment on FB, i went to watch it. And it was gooooood!

I think this is by far the best movie i've seen this year!

Everything about it is good! The acting was pretty good. The 3 main male leads really carried the movie well - James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Kevin Bacon.

The effect were pretty cool - submarines being pulled out of the water, Azazel teleporting, Emma Frost turning into diamond, Raven turning into - anything!

Complaints? Well, the Beast was a little disappointing tho - like a man dressed in a bad ape suit in the Smurf colour! And i thought January Jones did not have what it takes to pull off Emma Frost!

But the best thing was the storyline! I like the story - how it used a real historic event and retell it in an interesting manner. I love seeing how familiar characters started off. I love being introduced to new characters - it made me actually go back and do research on them!

I like how they showed humans reacting in fear to the unknown, to what is different, and instead of being more accepting, they turn against what they do not understand. But isn't that true of us? We fear what we do not know - and most of the time, the fear, which is uncalled for, leads to prejudice and ostracising. That is prolly why the Bible says that perfect love drives out all fear.

The most important storyline for me is the friendship of Charles and Erik. I loved it! And although everyone who knows just a little bit of X-Men will know that they become bitter enemies, i still had tears in my eyes when it finally happened. It was kinda like how Clark Kent and Lex Luthor were frens in Smallville.

Yes, this is a great movie in my books - even better than X2, which ranks pretty high in my list! I'm definitely gonna watch it again!

*Taken from the soundtrack of Anastacia.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Anything that costs me nothing* - Bobby Michaels

The retreat is over and done - and i breathed a sigh of relief when it finally came to an end. Altho there is still the surveys to look at and a final post-mortem to be done, the main event is over.

Quite a number of people did come up to ask me why did i take up the role as the chairman of the organising committee when i have my own wedding to plan for? Truth be told, i asked myself that question too. I should have joined everyone else and gave at my navel when a volunteer was asked to take up the role during the deacons' meeting.

But the day after the retreat ended, i read this verse during my morning Bible reading:-

But King David replied to Araunah, "No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the LORD what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing." (1 Chronicles 21:24)

And i thought again about that question i asked and was asked. Should i only have taken up the responsibility when it was convenient for me to do so? What kind of service to the Lord would it be?

Surely he deserves our all - and i'm reminded that we should not be "convenient Crhistians" ie only serve when it is convenient to do so. The sacrifices offered to the Lord must cost me something to repay back what he has given to me and to reflect the devotion i have to him.

I thank God for the timely lesson and reminder.

*This song was based on that very verse which i refered to above.

Monday, 6 June 2011

If not for you* - Olivia Newton-John

So Nadal wins his 10th Grand Slam! At the expense of Roger Federer again, equalling the record set by Borg to win 6 French Open tournaments! Congratulations! Well done.

I am disappointed, to be honest. I have always been a huge fan of Roger Federer - and while i do not argue with the rankings, i personally rank Federer as the most complete tennis player. In addition to his skills, he brings a touch of grace and elegance to the game - not just the brute force and sheer tenacity shown by others. This is - to me - a gentleman's game!

So last nite, as i watch Nadal triumph over him again, i felt really really sad for him. One thing that was said by the commentators was pretty interesting - Federer is actually quite a good clay court tennis player! Only 2 other persons have played more times in the finals at the Frebch Open than he - Borg and Nadal.

With all due respect to Borg, perhaps he did not have an equal back in those days. And today, if Nadal never appeared in the tennis scene, there would be few - if any - who can challenge Federer as the King of Clay!

Unfortunately, he has only won once at the French Open - not because he is not good on clay but only becuase there was someone else better than him!

I wonder how many times it must have crossed his mind - albeit briefly as he like us is just human - that if not for Nadal, things would be so different for him. If Nadal was born in a different time - or if Federer was born in a different time - things would be different.

(Pic taken from

But they both are with us in this lifetime, in this generation, and it has given us some some really great tennis to watch!

Now for Wimbledon! =)

*One of the earliest songs i listened to as a little child - now i find out that it was actually a cover of Bob Dylan's song! This cover however was her first international hit.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

With a little help from my friends* - Joe Cocker

Supposed to be one of the most stressful time of the year...

But it wasn't so bad this time round. In fact, this was prolly the easiest i've had, ever! I'm thankful to God for my frens who helped made it that way! =)

*The theme song of "The Wonder Years" - used to be my fav TV show at that time.