Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Monday, May 26, 2008
I got this button from fellow-blogger Lucia Lai who is a committee member of the Walk. The aim of the Walk is:

Walk for Media Freedom
Date: 1 June 2009
Time: 9.00am
Place: Dataran Merdeka to National Press Club (NPC)

Democracy in Malaysia is evolving and maturing.

Growth means change and growth often calls for one to leave behind zones of comfort and venture into unknown places. While some changes are slower to materialise, other changes that we can observe already taking place are truly refreshing.

One of those changes which will profoundly and positively impact democratic growth is the move towards Information Freedom.

From 9 am on Sunday the 1st of June 2008, Malaysian journalists and their fellow citizens will, together, demonstrate their keen desire for Media Freedom by taking a symbolic Walk at Dataran Merdeka.

To avoid problems with security laws, there will be NO PUBLIC GATHERING. Instead, participants are being asked to arrive on their own in ones and twos, show their respect to the National Flag at the Dataran, and then proceed immediately to the National Press Club which is just around the corner (location map and suggested walking route to be provided). Those who wish to do so are invited to wear something yellow, a reflection that this is a People’s Activity.

Underlining the importance of this initiative, YB Datuk Zaid Ibrahim has kindly consented to deliver the keynote address, explaining his views about the road to Media Freedom. Datuk Zaid is a Minister in the PM’s Department and the de facto Law Minister. From practically the first day of his appointment, he has said and done things that have pleased the people, especially the legal community, and has conveyed a very positive feeling about what he intends to accomplish.

Datuk Zaid has two requests - that journalists turn up in large numbers and that this program calls for ethics and accountability as much as it calls for freedom. Since this is the very thrust of this campaign and exactly what we are calling upon the writer community to deliver, it looks like we are very much in sync.

While we, the organisers, can direct the theme and thrust of the event, journalist participation will be determined by organisations such as the NUJ, the NPC and the various media groups. We look forward to strong support from them. This is an opportunity that they should not miss out on. Please pass the word around and tell every journalist whom you know about this event.

As to ordinary citizens and bloggers, here is your opportunity to show that you desire Media Freedom. Come and take the Walk with your journalist brethren and show your solidarity with them. We, as a people, can help to move our nation forward on the road to civil liberties.

See you there on Sunday 1st June 2008

Benar blog: http://benarffm.wordpress.com/
Of course the media is now free to put out spins and whatever their owners want to be published/aired. If not for the blogs (and rumours), we would not get the other side of the story. Newspapers also have to contend with laws like Printing Presses Act etc. So it is good that we have a free and fair media although "free" is open to many interpretations. So is "fair". Giving the truth is fair. Giving both sides of the story is fair.

So come and jalang-jalang (stroll in Terengganuspeak) on Sunday. I will be there in spirit because I shall not spoil the show with my wheezing and gasping. Heck, I can't even make it from the carpark to the padang.

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Monday, May 19, 2008
At precisely 10.29 pm Monday, I felt my chair pushed back and forth. Thinking that it was Mimi trying to get my immediate attention, I turned around and saw her at her own computer. She felt the tremor too. We confirmed that we were not imagining things by asking the neighbours on the upper floors.
Soon most of the people in our apartment block were downstairs. All felt a strong tremor. We were told that the tremor was even felt in Pandan Indah. No tremor was felt by friends in Pantai Hillpark.
We now know that there was an earthquake in Northern Sumatera, 6.1 on the Richter scale.
What did not happen was a response from DBKL who should have given us an All Clear or something.



Monday, May 12, 2008
Maybe it is Spring and love is in the air. There are many couples getting hitched this month.
Last Saturday Som & Jun's youngest son got himself a lovely senorita for a wife. The groom's elder brother made a speech in Spanish. Ole! Congratulacion to the couple. Muchas gracias to the wonderful hosts. I had a wonderful time in the company of former classmates and schoolmates.

On Sunday, Hyelbaine, a fellow blogger ended his bachelor days. I was honoured to be invited. I arrived in time to see Hyelbaine and his lovely bride walking into the hall. They must be wondering who was the the grinning toothless old man standing by the door. Part of the reason Hyelbaine invited me was to meet me in the flesh. He told me that the wife also reads my blog.

There was no classmates of mine at Hyelbaine's wedding. I was expecting to see some familiar bloggers like Bibi and her ajinomoto but she told me they wanted to come later. So there I was, lonely as a clod. I found an empty seat and when the merenjis ceremony was going on, I ate.

I could not stay long since I have to go home and resurrect my dead computer. I went home as soon as Hyelbaine and his bride came down to eat. I thought of giving the groom a call at 9 pm that night when I was in Taman Tun to pick up Mimi but then you should not disturb newly-weds. Congrats Lan!

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Monday, May 05, 2008
If only our MPs can use English in Parlimen without asking permission then they could study the following excerpts from the Hansard of the British Parliament (House of Commons & House of Lords) where name-calling was almost literary. It got quoted in "The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations".

MPs got called a monkey too but in a more refined way:

I am not going to spend any time whatsoever in attacking the Foreign Secretary. Quite honestly, I am beginning to feel extremely sorry for him. If we complain about the tune, there is no reason to attack the monkey when the organ grinder is present.

(Bevan 1897-1960) Hansard 16 May 1957, col. 680
He also said this in Parliament:

The worst thing I can say about democracy is that it has tolerated the Right Honourable Gentleman [Neville Chamberlain] for four and a half years.
Hansard 23 July 1929, col. 1191

For long-winded MPs, here is what Lord Brabazon (Baron Brabazon of Tara) had to say:

I take the view, and always have, that if you cannot say what you are going to say in twenty minutes you ought to go away and write a book about it.

Hansard (Lords) 21 June 1955, col. 207

Sir Winston Churchill said a lot of memorable words in Parliament. This might describe some of our own MPs:

He [Lord Charles Beresford] is one of those orators of whom it was well said, "Before they get up, they do not know what they are going to say;when they are speaking, they do not know what they are saying; and when they have sat down, they do not know what they have said."
Hansard 20 Dec. 1912, col. 1893

And this could well be OUR government:

So they [the Government] go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent.
Hansard 12 Nov. 1936, col. 1107

Harold Wilson was not happy with a fellow MP:

The Smethwick Conservatives can have the satisfaction of having topped the poll, and of having sent here as their Member one who, until a further General Election restores him to oblivion, will serve his term here as a Parliamentary leper.

Hansard 3 Nov. 1964, col. 71

I hope none of our MPs are going to be restored to oblivion.

Finally, nice insults off the House:

Jean Harlow kept calling Margot Asquith by her first name, or kept trying to: she pronounced it Margot. Finally Margot set her right. "No, no, Jean. The t is silent, as in Harlow."
T. S. Matthews Great Tom (1973) ch. 7

He [Lloyd George?] can't see a belt without hitting below it.
In Listener 11 June 1953 "Margot Oxford: a Personal Impression" by Lady Bonham Carter.

And this is my favourite:

After a heated argument on some trivial matter Nancy (Lady Astor)...shouted, "If I were your wife I would put poison in your coffee!" Whereupon Winston [Churchill] with equal heat and sincerity answered, "And if I were your husband I would drink it."
Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan Glitter and Gold (1952) ch. 7

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