Tuesday, 28 September 2010

The Si Mata Sepet and Si Botol

Quote of the week:

The Assistant Director of the National Civics Bureau, the institution responsible for promoting and inculcating patriotism and unity among civil servants called the Chinese 'slit-eyed' and the Indians 'alcoholics'

“The ‘si mata sepet’ that has never gone to a mosque or surau only has one vote. The ‘si botol’ that only knows how to go up to Batu Caves up and down only has one vote”.

In the meantime, the Prime Minister in his maiden address at the UN held up Malaysia as a shining example of a country that celebrates her racial and cultural diversity.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Revisiting some pre-war buildings

There has been a spate of refurbishment or renovation of prewar buildings recently. Some have been torn down and completely rebuilt, while others have their interiors redone and given a new coat of paint. It is apparent that the Chinese character of the old town itself is slowly but surely changing. I suppose it is a sign of progress as the old will have to give way to the new. But sadly, that sense of uniqueness and timelessness which these buildings evoke will be lost and the people will be poorer for that.

The rather sorry state of Tai Kong, the iconic goldsmith cum pawn shop belonging to one of the richest families in Batu Pahat.

A new coat of paint, and new signboard to advertise its new pawn shop business

This block of building which used to house a coffee shop, a barber shop and a tailoring shop at Jalan Sultanah has been torn down to make way for a high rise building.

The new block under construction

The old Ong Ban Hong Leong vehicle spare parts shop

After renovation, the windows of this building resemble pigeon holes

Part of a row of shop houses near the old market. I am not sure if it is going to be torn down or renovated. Only the other hand, at the opposite end of the row, the owner has given it a new coat of paint, and the motifs that embellish columns and beams of the shops have been carefully painted

After repainting

Note that the owner has retained the wood slatted windows. None of those aluminum glass windows for him

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Sri Medan, the iron ore village town

I recently paid a visit to Sri Medan, Batu Pahat to attend a close friend's funeral. Given the well known historical fact that it was once a hive of mining activity, it is now, sadly, a village town with little to show, of its importance as one of the richest iron ore mines in Malaya during the colonial era. A Japanese entrepreneur was quick to seize the opportunity to exploit the rich iron ore deposits to feed imperial Japan's ever hungry industrialization programme in the 1920s. What is left now is a huge hole, which is now a lake, and the vestiges of a once ambitious plan to build a recreational park to attract visitors to this sleepy hollow. Little of its history is known to Batu Pahat residents, except the older generation. Another similar fate befell Tasik Bukit Pasir, which was once a bauxite mine. An ambitious plan to convert the lake into a water theme park has also fallen through, and the place remains empty of visitors, except for occasional love birds who wish to sit and gaze dreamily at the shimmering lake. I wonder who foot the bill for its development? The District Council? Or some entrepreneur who probably lost a lot of money on the project? I suspect the former.
A nursery

The walkway to view the lake

Just about the only people who come here are newly married couples for wedding photos

An interesting account was written about Sri Medan by Malaysia Land Rover Owners' Club.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

TV3 's Gaffe

Ho Ho Ho... The Malaysian government's TV3 station people must have patted themselves on the back for using the latest computer generated (cg) production techniques in producing this advertisement for the Hari Raya celebration. Hey, why don't we try something in the mould of 'Avatar'? That would be cool, they thought. Little did they anticipate that it would whip up a storm of condemnation from the Malay-muslim population. The ad was subsequently pulled off the air amidst a flurry of police reports made against it for insulting Islam.

A blogger added his thoughts on why Malays reacted the way they did.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Is This Really Happening?

An email has been circulating the cyberworld condemning the indiscriminate slaughter of pilot whales in Denmark. The gory, blood soaked sea of whales is a horrendous spectacle, enough to turn one's stomach. But is it really true?

According to one report it is true, but the 'perpetrators' defended the hunt as a practice that has existed for hundreds of years. In short, it is part of the culture of the Faroe Islanders, but it has raised the heckles of conservationists who have railed against Japanese whaling.

The manner in which a whale is dragged from the shallow water and killed is cruel, but the islanders claimed that it is painless:

Men gather on the shore to kill the beached whales. Ideally, most of the whales will strand far enough up on shore that it is unnecessary to secure them. However, those remaining in the shallows must be secured and hauled closer. Traditionally, this is done by driving a steel hook, or gaff, with a rope attached to it into the back of the whale. A new blunt hook inserted into an airsac in the whale’s blowhole has now been widely tested in practice and it is hoped that this new equipment may eventually replace the traditional gaff as the standard method for securing whales. The whale is killed using a sharp knife to cut down to sever the spinal cord, which also severs the major blood supply to the brain, ensuring both the loss of consciousness and death within seconds.

Judge for yourself.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Malaysia's Tragicomedy Court Case

Apart from NameWee's video clip that has provoked a storm of protests as well as and outpouring of support, the video clips that have become immensely popular, all for the wrong reason, are the antics of the Deputy Public Prosecutor for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission during the inquest into the cause of death of Teo Beng Hock, a political aide to a Member of Parliament. The question that persistently pops up in the mind is why didn't the MACC send someone more capable in arguing the case that has generated so much negative perception for the MACC? What is the real intention of MACC? To show that the ongoing inquest is a charade? Whatever the intention, it will be a shameful reminder of the incompetence and lackadaisical approach of MACC. The first part alone had 147,000 hits.

View the 8 part video here.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

NameWee On Racism

Here is the video that kicked up a storm of controversy. NameWee has been hauled up for questioning. He may be charged with sedition. Judge for yourself if it is seditious. Vulgarity of course is his trademark.

This is an interesting response to NameWee' s video.