All in the name of Religion Part 2


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The issue of religion in this country has been a very sticky issue especially when it comes to issues relating to Muslims and Non Muslims.

One such case is the issue of implementing hudud – it will be interesting to see how this works out the non Muslim component political parties of the Government with the upcoming RUU 355 which will be presented by the Government in Parliament. There is already voices of dissenting to the proposed changes from MCA, MIC and component political parties from East Malaysia but let’s see how these guys will actually react when the changes actually tabled in Parliament. If you ask me, the whole thing about RUU 355 looks more politicial than religion.

Another has been the unilateral conversion of children in a marriage where one parent converts to Islam – a case in point has been the case of Indira Gandhi, a case that gone all the way up to the Federal Court for decision. The husband convert already gone into hiding with one of the children and remains missing despite mounting court orders. I am not sure what that achieves other than causing high distress and bad experience for the children. In the end, the family remains disunited and parents at each other’s throats and time wasted at the courts.

Of course, there are others that is considered “out of this world” such as building tombstone in a school. It does not matter if 80% of the students in the school is not Muslim or if there is no consent from the parents & teachers. But it does a great concern when we try mixing religion & politics into our schools. It would have been a different story if the same parties had build a science lab or an astronomy observatory for the students. I don’t see how we can achieve high income nation status with building tombstones and not science labs. We sure need to make a reality check on what we need to present as educational item for the young minds.

Anyway as I said, the issue of religion in this country has been a very sticky issue and it will be so in the coming years. Now that leads me to a very interesting news recently relating to my fellow Hindus for Thaipusam.

A group of vigilantes behind the Facebook page called the “Thaipusam Spraying Group”, have threatened to use aerosol spray paint on women, including those who wear the saree (Indian traditional dress for women) with their backs exposed.

Accompanying the warning were pictures of saree blouse designs that the group deemed inappropriate. “Advance Warning to Hindu Female Patrons coming to Thaipusam festival, beware of being sprayed with Aerosol paint if found inappropriately dressed”, said the group in its “about the page” column.

Federal police Corporate Communications Head ACP Asmawati Ahmad told FMT the post could be considered a crime, punishable under Section 507 of the Penal Code for criminal intimidation, or Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act for improper use of network facilities or network services. “So don’t taint a religious event by doing things that can disrupt public harmony and peace,” she advised.

The post was published last week, and at the time of publication, the group had close to 150 members. A Facebook user by the name of Henry Barnabas, who allegedly created the page, wrote on his personal Facebook page that the post was meant to protect the “ritual and culture” of Hindus.

“Let’s spread the positive message through this group, so they will also get knowledge and respect the meaning of Thaipusam. “Most youngsters these days don’t know our history. Thaipusam for them is just to be glamorous, dancing, etc. Let’s bring some awareness among the youth and the upcoming generation,” he said.

Barnabas also called for his followers to make the post viral, saying that women today were behaving like “call girls”. “Who to blame? Boys trying to protect girls but girls behaving like call girls and at the end of the day, when they are in trouble they will blame the guys.”

(Source)

I can’t recall when was the last time I visited Batu Caves (even worse, Batu Caves during Thaipusam) but if I am not mistaken it was couple years ago when I attended someone’s wedding at the wedding hall in the temple grounds or when we had to shave my daughter’s head during prayers. I don’t know which is which. The massive crowd, lack of parking space, the heaps of rubbish, the issue of safety, my own reflection of religion – I don’t know which of these reasons that made me to shun Batu Caves during Thaipusam. I guess, I rather pray in a more conducive manner.

So when I heard of the “Thaipusam Spraying Group”, I admit I had mixed feelings. On one hand I was concerned that someone is trying to force their set of religious values onto others by means of violence (even though it may be limited to spraying), something seems to be rare when it comes to Indians – we even had people with short pants coming to temples for prayers in the past (how about naked Sandhus during Kumbh Mela, one of the most important Hindu event in India?), so what is so wrong with some sarees with modern designs?

On the other hand, it was comical since there are worse things happening during Thaipusam than some pretty ladies wearing a designer saree – how about starting with cleanliness of the temple area in the first place?

Yes I agree that there should be minimal standards when it comes to devotees coming to places of religion (no one will accept anyone walking in naked to pray unless of course it is a Sandhu, right?) but I don’t think sarees with some designs is so degrading and causes high tension at places of religion. Seriously guys, the notion of pushing down one’s religious throat with force and violence need to stop. Religion as I mentioned before, in my opinion is something personal and it is just between you and Him. This is also why I prefer morality compared to religion any time, any day.

The last thing we need in this country is moral policing vigilantes that makes threats and causes apprehension on others. So calm down everyone, designer sarees will not cause the end of the world and we do have other priorities in life. So please have great days ahead.

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When Service Really Sucks!


Don’t mind me, it has been sometime since I bitched about service at a restaurant or is it is because it is the weekend again.

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(I have walked off from restaurants couple of times before when there was no service or when my orders delivered late but it was a bit hard difficult to do the same when you have a family in tow. Image source: http://www.insightwithpassion.co.uk)

I did not realise that eating sushis for lunch (which was excellent and my son had a good run on the available choices) can make you really hungry later in the evening.

When we came back home, it was just nice for a quiet afternoon nap. And some hours later, my wife and my son was soon feeling hungry again. But since we were going off to see one of our aunty who were not well, we decided to go for dinner on the way later. Just then my mom and my sisters had came back from their Deepavali shopping and since my wife had not cooked anything for dinner, they asked if we can “tapau” some food back.

Someone mentioned thosai and the Indian restaurant just near the house where we once had our usual fare of good thosai, roti naan and roti canai did crossed my mind. However the problem is that their level of service is nothing to shout about – its sucked big time (a norm in some restaurants). You actually need to remind the morons at the restaurant several times on your orders and I have kind of had avoided going to the restaurant for some time. Which was unfortunate because the place is clean, the food is great and the price of food is quite reasonable. It is also quite near to the house and have plenty of parking spots near to the restaurant. These days we pick on another Indian restaurant couple kilometers away where their service is better. Unfortunately it is far from where the aunty resides and since my son now had started to complain that he is really hungry and could not wait another minute more, I had to make the dreaded decision – to head to that nearest restaurant where service is known to be bad. My wife tried to protest but since my son’s complaint had become louder, she kept quiet, hoping for the best.

As we pulled in to the parking spot in front of the restaurant, we could see that the restaurant was packed – the reason was due to another restaurant nearby (with the same level of service that sucks) had closed for the day and its patrons had decided to eat in this restaurant. I looked at my wife and told her that it looks like we need to wait longer for the food. That did not go well with my son but somehow he understood the situation. Despite the crowd, we found empty seats. Trays, plates and cups from the previous patrons left on the table. We took our seats and I immediately waved my hands asking the waiter to clean the table but no one came. One guy passed our table and only remarked “wait”. We understood that the restaurant had more patrons than usual and it will be slow. Sensing that someone will come over later to clean, we decided to wait for the table to be cleaned. But then on the other side, another group of patrons had left and to my irk, the waiter who told us to wait, was soon got busy clearing the plates and cups whilst the same remained on our table.

I was losing my patience – why they don’t clean tables where patrons are still waiting? They can’t be that dumb, right? We understand if they are busy with patrons who came before us. I waved to another waiter and he only came after I had raised my voice. He cleared the plates and cups but left his rag cloth on the table without cleaning the table. He left us rather abruptly to take order from another table. We saw another waiter but he seemed busy chit-chatting with the cook. The restaurant was crowded and the workers were very busy no doubt but it looked like they were not interested taking our orders. To make things worse, they were entertaining patrons who came in after us. If they are too busy with the existing patrons, I completely understand their situation and I will patiently wait for our turn. But seeing patrons who came after us getting their orders done did struck the right cord with me.

I had enough of the nonsense – I somehow regretted coming over to this restaurant in the first place. I should have just listened to my instinct and go to our usual place for our dinner. Never mind the traffic or the distance or my son saying that he is very hungry. I told my wife in a loud voice that if no one come over and take our order in the next minute, we are walking out from here – I did not realise I was loud but I guess I was rather annoyed with the level service. It was loud enough to be heard by the patrons near to where we were seated. Despite the need to disappoint my son who was complaining, we decided to have dinner at our usual place. It seemed this restaurant was “rich” enough to turn away customers.

Just when we was about to walk out and head to our usual restaurant, the earlier waiter then came back and asked us on our orders. His rag cloth was still on the table. My wife was about to tell her order when I stopped her. I looked at the waiter rather annoyingly and told him to clean the table first. We kept quiet until the table was really cleaned. Only after he had properly cleaned the table, we gave him our orders, expecting another round of waiting for the order to come (somehow I regretted this decision). But it was not the case. The food came without much delays – probably because I was keeping an eye on the waiter and the kitchen. Or perhaps the waiter knows that if the food was delayed or if patrons who came after us got their food first, we would have just walked out (it is not the first time I have done that).

Lesson well learned – 1. no point giving some people a second chance. Some people does not know what a good service means and take things for granted 2. just follow instinct and go to places known for good food and good service and 3. simply walk out if service turns out to be bad

GE13: You Know, BN Talks Cock Too


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(A kiss on the cheek and all religion bad-mouth nonsense is quickly forgiven? Never mind it looks more like Zul is being strangled than being kissed but it’s irrelevant. Najib seems to think that all can be forgotten with a simple peek on the cheek. So can Salman Rushdie do the same? Image source: Malaysiakini)

Over the last few days as we get nearer to 5th May, the focus has shifted to Najib and how he has been the “best” PM to date and how the country will be better if “Najib led” BN continues to rule it. I am not sure about you but Najib is definitely better than the sleepy Pak Lah but is he the best PM to date? If you ask me, that honor should go to the first PM – Tuanku Abdul Rahman.

Anyway, in between the subtle messages in the media to remind Malaysians to be more “grateful” and how the oppositions have been (and will be) “screwing up” things up, some of the BN politicians have been putting their foot in the mouth. Are they talking cock or the truth or they are simply too dumb to run for office?

Let’s start with the obvious:-

BN chairperson Najib Abdul Razak today attempted to douse the anger over Perkasa vice-president Zulkifli Noordin‘s disparaging remarks about Hindus, claiming that Indians have now warmed up to him.

“There are Indians who have even kissed him already,” Najib said, adding that he endorsed Zulkifli’s (right) candidacy for the Shah Alam parliamentary seat.

“Forget about the remarks he has made. He has apologised. Let it be,” the caretaker prime minister said in Shah Alam as he stressed that the statements were made when Zulkifli was part of a “backward” party.

(Source)

Somehow after lacing the Indians with water cannon, tear-gas and imprisonment without trial under draconian ISA, it was a big surprise when Hindraf turned around, wipes the dried stain from their back and then worships the same old BN as their one and only savior. It does not take rocket science to know why Najib had become extra polite to the Indians this time around. Hindraf may have opened their champagne on the day Najib signed the MOU with them but seriously how they expect to enforce a MOU if it is not carried out. And speaking about the Indian votes, I am sure that would have been last on his mind when Najib set Zul loose to run in Shah Alam against the tolerant, well-liked Khalid Samad from PAS.

Yes, the Indians were not happy. MIC has been silent and so do the new ally of BN – Hindraf. Najib may have his own strategy with Zul in Shah Alam but I think he should not rub it in with the Indians by saying that the Indians are warming up to him and some of them (must have been highly paid morons) had even kissed him. Make no mistake about it – Zulkifli Noordin is not an angel. He lied about making the racial and insensitive statement about the Indians 10 years ago. He made fresh one last March. And we all know that his half forced apology is nothing but a ruse to gain some votes from the Indians. And of course, he took the opportunity that blame on his one sided view of the various races and religions in this country on PAS. You have to be a very dumb person to believe that. If it is indeed that it is due to PAS, then what about Khalid Samad – his opponent in Shah Alam who even gave a talk in a church and very moderate in his views on race and religion. What about the other PAS politicians who highly respect other Malaysians irrespective of race or religion? Even there is some sense of truth on his claims, doesn’t he has a brain and self-conviction to sense something is not right and resign from the political party?

Then we had this:

A newcomer representing BN in the Pasir Gudang parliamentary constituency has urged Indian voters to be patient with the government in solving the longstanding issue of stateless Indians as the government does not want to create another Sabah.

Linking the stateless Indian issue with the influx of illegal immigrants into Sabah, Normala Abdul Samad explained that the government should learn from the lesson in Sabah and be cautious in handing out citizenship to Indians.

(Source)

I don’t know who Normala Abdul Samad character is but it is clear that this “newcomer” is certainly walking on the wrong side of the plank. The issue of citizenship in Sabah is a whole different than the issue of citizenship to Malaysian Indians in the country. The one who got the citizenship in Sabah were foreigners and some are newcomers. And if we follow the serious allegations in Dr M’s Project IC, it even borders on sense of treason. Stateless Indians on the other hand were born to parents who are Malaysians and had failed to get their national identity card due to missing documentary evidence, plain ignorance and procedural red-tape. If you trust the figures on the net, it is frightening too:-

The plight of some 300,000 stateless Indians is more than enough a reason for you to change the federal government. This problem should have been resolved long ago and therefore the Indian community in Malaysia cannot continue to trust the Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) federal government.

These stateless Indians have either lived here for decades or were born in this country. They can also communicate fluently in Bahasa Malaysia. Why must their application for citizenship be rejected or their files left in the cupboard to collect dust?

In contrast, why were 600,000 Muslims from Indonesia and the Philippines in Sabah given citizenship and bumiputra status to vote in Malaysia? The majority of the Filipinos cannot even speak Bahasa Malaysia.

(Source)

Thus to say that it is one and the same with the issue in Sabah itself and then asking the same Indians to be patience (when they have been very patience for some bloody years) is derogatory and insulting to Malaysian Indians. And the issue of Sabah although has been an issue for sometime now, hardly made any dent on the federal government list of critical issues until lately when the Government is somehow forced to set a RCI on the issue. One cannot use it as an excuse to hold back the granting of citizenship to the Malaysian Indians who should have gotten them a long time ago. So is Hindraf still comfortable with the BN being the one and only saviour for the community when simple things like stateless Indians are kept on hold with dumb excuses?

And finally here is the evidence why the Pakatan led state government are having hard time to get the necessary funding and assistance from the Federal Government:-

The Barisan Nasional (BN) wants to wrest Selangor in the May 5 general election to pursue the coalition’s transformation programme for the people in the state, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak said today. He said the support from Selangor voters was needed to return BN to power in the state.

“We want the state leadership in Selangor to return to BN’s fold. We’re tired of the Pakatan Rakyat-led state government (in Selangor). “If the state government is different from the federal government, it’s difficult,” he said when speaking to BN supporters at Taman Melawati in Hulu Kelang.

(Source)

Najib may have forgotten that it was the people of Selangor back in 2008 voted for Pakatan Rakyat. It was not like they woke up one fine morning and found that the government had magically changed hands to Pakatan. And if the only excuse that Najib is making his case for the state to be returned to BN is that it will be “difficult” if the state government is different from the federal government, then it is high time we go for a complete change of the federal government. What BN is expecting in a free democratic country? Are they expecting to have BN to be ruling every nook and cranny of Malaysia forever? It’s time they wake up and accept reality.

It is obvious that in the last 5 years, the one who have been making things “difficult” for the people in the state is not the State Government.

Think about it – when Pakatan took power, instead of channelling the necessary funding to the new State Government entitled to, the Federal Government went on and appointed BN friendly “representatives” at village level, duplicating the work of the official appointed headmen, usurping powers illegally and end up making things hard for the State to do its work. And the State failed to carry on with its project due to a lack of funding and necessary approvals from the federal government, it did not take long for BN fellows to jump in and accuse the State as not keeping their promises. That was back in 2008 when unexpected happened and BN lost the states of Selangor, Penang, Perak and Kedah to Pakatan.

Moving forward, what does Najib implies when he says “if the state government is different from the federal government, its difficult”? It is a warning to the voters not to vote for opposition? The federal government can make it difficult for the state government if only if they want to. The last general election in 2008 already showed that things are changing and its high time they change their stand too.

Indian Wedding Part 5


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Another wedding, another story…

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(The garlands that me and my son went to pick up for the wedding – we had to walk a bit far to a small stall by the road side and the man behind the “counter” asked why we were late and we went like ‘huh?’. He pointed to a box next to the stall – it was all sealed up and it was cold. We walked back fast, hoping the ice cubes in the box have not melt away before the wedding starts)

This time, it was my sister-in-law’s wedding and by right I should not been around for the wedding. I suppose to be away on an overseas assignment and I suppose to be back only after the wedding had long ended. Since it was a “crucial” wedding (after all it was my wife’s younger sister wedding) and I won’t be around, I decided to offer to do something else – a drive to Taiping the next day for the bride & bridegroom (the wedding is in KL but they must be “back” to Taiping as the girl’s house is in Taiping and tradition dictates the newly weds to be in the bride’s house for at least 3 days after the wedding). But then at the very last minute, my trip got postponed and suddenly I was available for the wedding.

With that premise, let’s start the story.

The event started as usual, the night before the wedding where last minute ceremonies had to be done before it was all “green-light” for the wedding the next morning. I had to work, it was left to my wife to do the necessary last minute shopping and attend the said ceremony at another sister’s house. I came back home late after work and had a slow hot shower – a small break before the big day. My wife was not back from the ceremony early so I watched TV waiting for her to be back. The plan was for her to be back home from her sister’s house (not the one who is getting married) and we would make our way to another sister’s house (once again, not the one who is getting married) since it is nearer to the wedding hall. My understanding was that we would sleep the night over at the sister’s rather “empty” house and get ready early in the morning for the wedding. On the way, we would pick up one of our aunties along for the wedding.

When we arrived at the sister’s house, it was chaos all around – a bulk of our relatives had also decided to make the house as the starting point for the wedding next day. All the bedrooms was fully occupied with tired, sleepy relatives, the hall was loud with some of our uncles busy with the football match on the TV and to make things worse, hyperactive kids running around playing “catching” just when the clock on the wall turned midnight. I did not need the “spidey sense” to know that to continue to be around in the house just before a major event would be a disaster. After a quick check with my wife, I decided to drive back home for a quiet house for a proper sleep. My wife had to “work” on the preparation and my son seeing his uncles and his cousins, decided to stay back.

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(One of my brother-in-law who had to step in as the bridegroom’s best man, well he had no choice – he looked cool all the way but when it comes to the time when he had to get the ring from the bridegroom, his hand was shaking on a Richter scale of 8. The bridegroom had to hold down his fingers to put on the ring)

The wedding starts at about 9 am the next day but since I had to pick up my wife and my son (and I am very sure, a couple of my aunties and uncles would tag along too), my day actually started at 3.30 am. I woke up, had a quick shower and by 5 am I was already at the sister’s house where everyone was fast asleep. It took some shouting and pushing to get everyone up and get ready for the bathrooms and time was ticking away. Then a funny happened – almost everyone was up and ready to go to the wedding hall (although the queue outside the bathroom took some time to be sorted out) but no one wanted to make the actual move to leave the house. 2 cars (with its drivers – one included me) was all up and ready to go but the passengers were missing. They were still lingering around, asking who want to go first but not moving themselves.

After a moment of “finger-pointing” and the clock ticking away, a decision was made on who will go first – my car was the first to leave the house to the wedding hall – me, my son and all 3 of my aunties leaving my wife and the rest still in the house packing things up. Despite the short trip and it is being a well-known route, I missed the route and had to make a U-turn but we still arrived earlier than anyone else. After a quick unload of the aunties who soon got themselves busy with the items for the wedding, me and my son went off to get the wedding garlands. Once we had done that, we had nothing else to do except to wait for rest of the guests. The transportation of the bride from the house to the make-up studio and then to the wedding hall was taken care by another cousin of mine. My brother-in-law handled other things for the day including ensuring the caterers arrive on time.

Sitting at the front, I took out my DSLR and was toying with the settings when my son asked for my phone – he too wanted to take some photos (and play some games whilst he waited). I thought about it and decided to pass on my DSLR to my son instead. I stood next to him guiding him (initially) on what to take and when and more importantly to do without being in the way of the official professional photographer and videographer. My son had some limited experience with my DSLR before in another event, so he knew how to hold the camera (the first thing I taught him as my wife was worried that he may accidentally drop it), how to work the auto-focus (although he need a lot of practice get the angles right) and lens functions (setting it to auto was helpful too).

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(This shot was taken by my son – he had to make way for the professional photographer but this was an interesting angle nonetheless. A nice touch of colours especially purple – a shot that I probably would not have taken. It will be interesting to see what else my son will take from his point of sight as he get used to my DSLR and be the next family photographer in coming events)

When most of the guests made it to the wedding hall in time, the wedding ceremony well on-the-way without any hassle and my son at the stage busy snapping photos, I decided to head back to the main entrance in case we had any last minute guests coming in when another brother-in-law walked over looking rather concerned and asked me if I were busy. When I said no, he smiled and he just wanted to know because he thought two of us could take a break from the wedding and have teh-tarik at the nearby restaurant. After all those work in the morning (couple of months for my brother in law), it all came to a closure in the morning. We made it back in time for the bridegroom to tie the “sacred” string and my son starting to get tired and hungry. Lunch was really good despite it was all vegetarian and surprisingly we need not queue for the food (the crowd was not that mean too).

Wedding was officially over by 12 pm but it was not the end of the day – we still had plenty of things to do. We all went back to the house (it took another round of pushing people to leave the wedding hall) before the newly-weds arrive in the house. A bit more of ceremony to be done at the house before the newly-weds can be “safely parcelled off” for the day and all of us can take a break. The house was still in a “chaos” with relatives and well-wishers lingering around the house – some waiting for their transport back home, some busy with the cooking and some busy with the cleaning up. We waited for a while to help out but it was clear that all of us needed a proper break. When a bulk of things has been done, we said goodbye and head back home – it was already 4 pm by then. My son was already dozing off in the car and we had a hard time to wake him up. We pushed him to take a shower first and after a quick bite, had him to go straight to the bed (he slept throughout the night, not waking up for dinner and only waking up the next morning).

There was one last thing I had to do – to make good of my offer to drive the newly-weds to Taiping…

And God Strikes Back!


Just a quick one before I am off for the holidays…

(It was good to see a very familiar face at the helm of, surprisingly a public demo – perhaps it was high time to learn a thing or two on public demo from Hindraf and Bersih. Unfortunately this was done before it was revealed that it was BN and not Pakatan who approved the development plans. It then turned to be a comedy piece from there onwards)

Happy belated Deepavali and happy holidays to all and since we are on the subject of religion & culture, let me tell you a story.

A long time ago or rather more than 100 years old someone “discovered” Batu Caves and decided to open a temple in one of the caves (thank God that no one lives in caves these days; otherwise we would have another cow-head incident). And over all those years, this temple have grown bigger, more organised and became one of the “must have” place for the Hindus in this country to visit and pray – more so during Thaipusam. And it has been so for damn good years until the 2012 when someone discovered that a private developer is going to build a 29 storey condominium project near the temple and started to make some noise. Religion fanatics, opportunists and issue-hunger politicians then decided to put their 2-cents words and squarely blamed the State Government and demanded that the project to be scrapped otherwise to face the wrath of the Indian community (hoo, are you scared now?) and legal suits. After all, Batu Caves is in Selangor and election is just around the corner – so who want to miss this rare opportunity to create some “inconveniences” to the State Government? Well they tried with the water issue and then with the Talam issue but nothing much happened, so this is not so surprising.

Former MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu spearheaded today a demonstration at the Batu Caves Hindu temple, objecting to the construction of a 29-storey condominium project, in what is seen as a bid to pressure the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat (PR) administration ahead of the 13th general election.

The former works minister accused the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) of having approved the construction project without a proper study. He said legal action could be taken against the council.

“This project is not planned properly and without referring to any professional party,” Samy Vellu told a 300-strong crowd of Hindus and non-governmental activists who had turned up at the famous temple complex this morning to protest the condominium construction, saying the work was an environmental risk and would jeopardise the temple grounds.

(Source)

More accusations flew in the media and the long-lost political party readied themselves to come out from the political wilderness and to champion this great “danger” to the rights of the community. It is not a big secret that some Indians (there’s one in every community) are quite passionate (and brainless) when it comes to religion and any intrusion to their turf (despite having too many unregistered temples at the same place) and how the destruction of temples in Selangor was one of the key factor for the swing of Indian votes to Pakatan in 2008. The plan on paper was rather simple – highlight the great “danger” to the temple due to the development so to “unite” Indians from both divides, give a final option to the Pakatan led Government (well knowing that Pakatan Government cannot keep due to obvious legal implications and short of time) and once that deadline is passed, accuse Pakatan of selling out the Indians in the State and tell the Indians that the ONLY way out from the mess is to vote Pakatan out from the State (as predicted, with the usual I help you, you help me kind of pre-election promises thrown in for good measures).

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has given the assurance that Barisan Nasional will stop the controversial 29-storey condominium project in Batu Caves if it regains power in Selangor.

In making this promise, the Prime Minister said Batu Caves is a revered and respected site among the Hindu community in the country and worldwide. “I give you my assurance that if Barisan takes over Selangor, we will cancel this project.

“We do not want development of the surrounding area to pose a threat to this place,” he said at the MIC Deepavali open house held at the Batu Caves temple complex. The Prime Minister also said the Cabinet had decided to submit an application to Unesco for Batu Caves to be considered a World Heritage Site.

(Source)

Of course, during this chaos, the so-called community champions will conveniently forget some key questions – why no demonstration and objections when the development was approved back in 2007? It was not like they were kept in the dark. Why nothing was done in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011? Why nothing was done in the first few months of 2012? Why only now the Federal Government has plans to apply Unesco World Heritage Site status despite for donkey odd years BN ruled Selangor? Why only now Batu Caves is “deemed” a revered and respected site among the Hindu community in the country and worldwide? And doesn’t the World Heritage Site status irrespective of who govern the State is good for Malaysia (and the Indian community) as whole?

Of course, none of these questions would be made and heavily discussed in public by the same champions but the condemnation and accusations against the Pakatan led State Government will continue, hoping the Indian community will fail to see the bigger picture and will swallow whatever that is dished out by the crusaders of the community as the gospel truth.

Apparently God has been watching this for some time now and decided that the whack way back in 2008 was not enough. Nothing much has changed since then, nothing much is likely to change in the near future. He decided to throw in the spanner into the woodwork – just for the fun of it.

Its official – all 19 members who attended the full board meeting of the Selayang Municipal Council voted in favour of approving the Dolomite Avenue Park project in Batu Caves in 2007. Despite earlier denials and assertions by some councillors that they were neither party nor privy to the approval process, minutes of the meeting held on Nov 29, 2007 – obtained by theSun – show otherwise.

Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk A. Kohilan Pillai, who was a councillor between 1997 and 2008, had voted in favour of the project. So did the three councillors from the MIC – Rajakupal Sinnathamby, Jayakumaran Govindasamy and Rajandran Muniandy.

(Source)

Wonder who is having the last laugh now? It was interesting to see how the same crusaders and the 300 odd demonstrators are going to spin themselves out of this new found truth. Many thanks to good sensible journalism by theSun, we now know that out of the 19 fellows who approved the development way back in 2007 (before Pakatan came in power),  THREE were MIC councillors and also included Gerakan’s Kohilan Pillai.

As much as Kohilan must be given a chance to give his side of the story, equally important is that he gives plausible explanations.

Are we to assume that the Selayang council at one time or the other operated like a “secret society” keeping vital information away from the residents? Are we to assume that minutes are not recorded accurately? Are we to assume that the minute-taker took it upon himself or herself to “censor” the proceedings and only showed the “good side” of the council reflecting the buddy-buddy working relationship of councillors with no dissent? Are we to assume minutes of council meetings are nothing but pieces of formalities to record what had been previously agreed upon?

Something is certainly fishy. So many questions remain unanswered. The most important is: Why did the council, including its president and the councillors, defy the views of the Department of Environment which stated that development would cause imminent danger to the nearby limestone hills? Enough of pussy-footing. Let’s have some straight answers.

(Source)

In the end this is a story of how some people screwed themselves left, right and center. In the meantime, enjoy the up-coming wayang kulits and a string of memory lapses as the Pakatan State Government gets their hands into the mess left behind by the same community crusaders. Happy holidays to all.

Nice But Short-Sighted?


It’s good to be back…but I catch cold once arrived, sigh

(My usual lunch when I was away – the portion was big and it was good but seriously the noodles back in Malaysia is still the best – plenty of “ajinamoto” and much cheaper too. Photos & videos captured on Nokia N8)

And immediately after my return to home, I have been busy with…eating. I lost about 4kg and somehow it seems like events that have been lined up after my return home may make it impossible to keep up with that 4kg lost.

My brother-in-law and his wife celebrated their newborn and the celebration food was heavy – with huge prawns and spicy mutton. Then the next day after a heavy lunch at Pizza Hut, I had to attend my nephew’s birthday in the evening– another round of chicken and mutton on the house. The next day after attending a close relative’s open house lunch which had huge spread, we went to a wedding in the evening. An Indian wedding that is and chicken and mutton would be one of the must have dishes.

Talking about the wedding, from the very start, we were a bit lazy to attend the wedding – and it had nothing to do with the bride or the brides groom. We were not that close but we knew the parents and grandparents rather closely. We were a bit lazy because of the weather – it was raining cats and dogs (you know how bad the rain has been in the last few days) and it was so niceeeee to sleep. But we knew we could not give the wedding a miss – we already done that for the engagement. So, we dragged ourselves to the wedding – it was still raining when we left the house but stopped by the time we reached the wedding hall.

Perhaps due to the rain (or the RM1 parking fees, I don’t know) the cars at the parking lot seemed sparse and I managed to get a good parking spot. I dropped my family off at the entrance before I went off to park the car. The air was cold and surprisingly fresh. I walked into the hall but what caught my eyes was not the crowd but the arch at the entrance litted full of burning lamps.

On the onset, it looks nice – it was not overwhelming as well but who ever had thought of having an arch full of litted lamps at the entrance probably did not think of this dreadful scenario – a large crowd barging in and someone’s clothes (sarees especially) falling on the litted lamp without them realizing it and catching fire. It is almost like walking through an arch of fire. And if you see in the video above, one lady almost get her saree on the fire and thankfully pulled in time.

At the very least, they should have stationed someone to keep an eye on the litted lamps as people walking in and out of the arch. Artistic values is one thing but whenever there is a big crowd, safety should always comes first. But thankfully nothing serious happened and the wedding continued without any other incidents.

Overall, it was a good day – with additional load of the delicious food from the dinner, of course.

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Indian Weddings


Last week was my cousin’s wedding. Even though, I was not involved actively in the wedding celebrations, I had to attend as he was one of my closest cousins. Otherwise, I can’t attend another family function without having to answer for it to every of my aunties and uncles.

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The entrance to the wedding hall. Grand and very inviting

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The bride and the bride-groom (immediately after the wedding)

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The “rock band” for the wedding…sorry, they don’t play “Sweet Child of Mine

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Sorry brother, no beers served for today