Monday, 10 December 2007

With all that's going on in the country right now a friend of mine commented that it's a depressing time to be a Malaysian.

I beg to differ. I can't think of a better time to be a Malaysian than right now. We are more well informed and educated enough now to effect change. Malaysia now stands at the cusp, we could go one way or the other and events happening now, today, are what will determine where we stand in the future.

People fear change only if they don't understand it. And, proudly so, Malaysian are pretty much a fearless lot. Change is a product of evolution, how people change is in direct proportion to their surroundings. Some years ago a bunch of Malayans got together and dared to push the boundaries of what was, and thanks to them we celebrated our 50th year of Independence this year. If they hadn't we'd still be singing God Save the Queen at school assemblies, get it?

On Sunday 9 people were arrested for peacefully marching to celebrate International Human Rights Day, a date recognised by the UN since 1950 (before those brave lads and lasses we owe so much to even got around to asking "What if?"). Today Jeff Ooi was asked to come into Bukit Aman's Commercial Crimes Division to answer questions about an Al-Jazeera interview he made that had been cam-corded and up-loaded onto YouTube. Huh? Not the interview itself apparently....

Look around folks, are you truly happy with what we have? If you are, do something about it. And if you're not, do something about it. According to the official statistics 74% (of the 1250 people surveyed, you got a calculator?) say we have fair and impartial elections in this country. The 40,000 that marched with yellow t-shirts a couple of weeks back would beg to differ but hey, lets not split hairs here eh? If you haven't already, go register to vote. And if you have registered, exercise your democratic right at the much rumored General Election coming up.

I'm listening to Beyonce's "Irreplaceable" right now... how apt.


Tuesday, 20 November 2007


Yup, the results are out. And my boy got 3A's and 2B's and I'm dead proud of him!!

He was a bit disappointed with himself, specially since some of his best buddies got 5A's, but since most of them (bar 2 actually) spend a lot of time in Tuition classes I reasoned that if they didn't get shining results their parents would probably ask for a refund. But tuition classes are almost mandatory for townie kids, you wouldn't believe the pressure I had to bear when I decided not to send Aiman to one.

But in Janda Baik (the place where my heart lives) 6 kids got 5A's (a nephew and a niece amongst them) and 6 others scored 4A's and 1B. That's not bad for a kampung school, who's standard 6 population numbers 60. That's 20% folks. There are no tuition classes up there and 12 year old's are forced to share their revision time with working with dad on the farm or helping mum out with her catering business. So that for me was a hell of an achievement for SK Janda Baik.

Maybe I should have sent him there...

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

On the night of the 28th of April, while a major portion of the population were watching the drama come to it's conclusion in Ijok, I was comfortably seated at the back of the nominees section at the AIM awards. It's AIM 14, it's been 6 years since I left it as "back stage left" and I haven't been there since. This year is the first year my son is old enough to be in the hall and he wants to be there. The advantage of once being part of the "Dream Team", they can always hook you up.

We were all there that night to celebrate the best in the Malaysian music industry, from the "who's that guy on the stage?" mix and mastering engineers to the "Oh my God, it's Siti, it's Reshmonu,it's Jac, it's Amy, Awie, Mawi..." just fill in the blanks...

I don't work in the music industry anymore. But I miss it awfully sometimes. Its the one industry where the gung-ho spirit lives on. Its not about "me", its about "us" and what we as individuals can do for the greater good. Ego? We leave that to the Artistes, and they are just a small part of the whole. They know damn well that they could never have a show without the crew, engineers, the lighting boys, the stage builders truck driver. But we let them front for us, its just easier to walk down the street when your anonymous. Ego? Where got? Ha ha ha!

The show is being broadcast live on NTV7 at 8:30pm so on the big screen whilst the audience find their seats they show the news with the sound turned down. As the broadcast director introduces the floor managers and asks for everyones' cooperation to limit movement during the show, the Ijok results were flashed on the screen. There is a quiet but audible groan from the audience, then a smattering of self conscious laughter. Then the lights dim and M. Nasir begins singing.

The people of Ijok are not stupid. They voted for the known quantity, even if they know all that has been promised would probably not come into fruition. Politicians always promise you the moon and stars around election time while the reality is more likely a price hike for the much talked about onion. So why? Simple: Can the opposition promise them anything in return? They have no shadow cabinet, they have no manifesto, they have no organisation. And they can't even promise that things won't get worse, only maybe different. So more than half of the voters returned BN to the drivers seat.

I cried when 4 divas sang "Mulanya Di Sini" as a tribute to Seha. The AIM was partly her idea. She was one of my best friends and I miss her every day.

But what was sad in Ijok was the yob-ism that went on before, during and after the election. What does that say about us as a people? Jeering, bottle flying through the air, cars surrounded and punches thrown. What is this?? Everyone points the finger at every one else, he did it they cry... How afraid must they all have been to resort to such playground tactics? From where does all this fear stem from? I'll mull on that for a while...

An ex-boyfriends' ex-keyboard player takes 2 awards that night. (Yo, the reference is so vague that if you don't already know you'll never be able to figure that one out, so forget it). Sean Ghazi takes one, so does Jac. M. Nasir adds to his already substantial collection. Dragon Red take the Best Hard Rock category, Reshmonu wins "Best Vocal Performance in an Album (Male)". The crowd is cheering each winner, a peer voted in by their peers. Like an UMNO general assembly, and in the same room too. That's where the similarities end.

Ijok is a predominantly Malay community. This was played up by all and sundry on both sides. BN fields a young and relatively inexperienced local Indian boy who's endearingly known as "Cikgu". The opposition take a page out of the BN book and field a Tan Sri, a PKR candidate with an illustrious background. During campaigning the BN dirty works machine go into high gear to discredit the fellow, he in turn wants to sue the DPM for making false and unfounded statements. Malay Tan Sri, Malay community, young Indian candidate. Sounds like the underdog won huh? Great spin...

By the end of the finale everyone is on their feet cheering Search and Wings. God, what a finale! Even the most sedate tuxedo wearing politically correct member of the audience is on his feet applauding the sheer brilliance of the performance. Amy and Awie strut and howl and own the stage. There is nothing like music to get the blood rushing, the emotions soaring. Most especially rock and roll. Demographically this audience is about equal to Malaysia's population. The chairman of the AIM is Malay, the Wirama (lifetime achievement) award recipient is of Portuguese descent, the show producer is half Irish, quarter Chinese and quarter Australian, the soundman's Japanese. But isn't this a true representation of Malaysian Malaysia? How come there's no fear here?

I'm told that Malaysia is awfully sensitive about it's sensitive issues. Really? What are they exactly? How come I am insensitive to these sensitivities? Or is this just an invention to keep the public in line? Aren't we all mature enough to believe in the good in others? Is my Chinese neighbour honestly a closet parang wielding maniac? Is the Indian shopkeeper really trying to cheat me at every turn? I'm not that much of a cynic, and neither are you I bet. Are we getting hoodwinked here?

The Malays hold a special place in our society, we are Bumiputras, we get special dispensation in just about everything. Malaysia's home grown racist policy. Yeah, you heard me, I don't stutter. This dispensation, this special status, should have been phased out years ago. Its as much an insult to the Malays as to the other races. You're telling me that I'm so stupid I won't be where I am today without it? And I'm supposed to be happy about this? And my brilliant Chinese and Indian brothers and sisters leave the country in droves to find a climate where they can work and grow where the colour of their skin does not matter. And I'm supposed to be happy about this??!

Cream will always rise to the top. Always. Even Bumiputra cream. There's no such dispensation in the music industry. So lets take it away and duke it out like they do at the AIM. I don't ever remember a judging session that had jeering in it. Judging at the AIM is a dignified thing, the only arguments are on finer points such as if the majority of the arrangers are Indonesian should the album then be valid for the best engineered award, that kind of thing. Final judging happens early on Sunday morning, and some of the judges were playing late the night before. Some fly in some distance for it. No-one asks why they are here, they all know the importance. No one complains, there is good humour and a sense of camaraderie. The old school rules of fair play prevail and the music industry conducts itself with decorum. This behaviour from the long time bastard of Malaysian society. How dare we make ya'll look so bad?

Long after the next general election, long after there is finally peace in the Middle East (cuz they've bombed each other out of existence), long after greed has raped mother earth of all its natural resources and stands helpless watching her die, somewhere someone will still be making music. He who laughs last....

Long live Rock and Roll.

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Alwi Shihab:
Tolerance does not always lead to true social peace and harmony. To tolerate something is to learn to live with it, even when you think it is wrong and downright evil. Often tolerance is a tolerance of indifference, which is at best a grudging willingness to put up with something or someone you hate and wish would go away. We must go, I believe, beyond tolerance if we are to achieve harmony in our world. We must move the adherents of different faiths from a position of strife and tension to one of harmony and understanding by promoting a multifaith and pluralistic society. We must strive for acceptance of the other based on understanding and respect. Nor should we stop even at mere acceptance of the other; rather, we must accept the other as one of us in humanity and, above all, in dignity.

Friday, 13 April 2007

2 cows standing in a field, chewing cud. One cow says to the other, "You heard about that Mad Cow disease going around? Makes me glad I'm a penguin."
After such a resounding success for Sheih, I wonder if we put "Who gives a shit?" on the national ballot, how many would choose that? Maybe more people would bother to register, who knows...
Saddest thing I saw this week is a car parked at the bottom of a wheelchair ramp
The happiest thing I saw this week was the look on Yin's parents face.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

I've given myself till the end of tomorrow to have this thing posted. Ass to the wind, what the hell. I can only assume it gets easier once I get started since right now I have what my cousin would term as verbal constipation. Performance anxiety you see, what if someone were to base an opinion on something I write? One born every minute... and somehow a majority end up holding office, go figure!

Why A Musing? You'll be reading my musings, one of many you'll read in a day I suppose. And since its only one.. do the maths. Its also amusing how I HAD to start this blog, since there's a picture of me somewhere along with a whole bunch of female bloggers from the first ever NAB meeting last week. Gotta represent now, surely?

Big question now... what's this blog about? Hell I don't have a clue. But as I told another female blogger (one of 3 people in the world who have expressed an interest in reading it) it's not going to be about my pet cat (don't have one), my shoes (too many) or my work (yawn). Let's leave this one unanswered and let the adventure begin.

I can only promise the next one will be better than this so go tell all your friends ha ha