“We stand together as sky falls”

Skyfall – the latest 007 Bond – is quite a philosophical movie that focuses on the theme of ‘death’.

Time has come that even Bond ponders if his work, patriotism or nationalism is worth dying for after a mission in Turkey where he was accidently shot by an accomplice.

At the start of the movie, while chasing a mercenary to recover a hard disk drive containing the name list of all NATO agents in Terrorists organisations, Bond discovers an agent who was shot but still alive.

While reporting to his boss ‘M’, she tells him quite heartlessly to leave the guy and chase after the mercenary to recover the name list. Although help is sent, the guy did not make it.

After being shot, while struggling with the mercenary on a moving train (incredible feat!), Bond was later considered “missing and presumed dead”, and does not even call his boss to tell her that he is still alive.

She writes an obituary about him and sells his flat – “as is the standard operating procedure for all unmarried agents without a next of kin”.

When he returned to work and was told this, he had felt the coldness of her words and yet that was the reality of his life.

He could have stayed “dead” but he returns after the British secret service M16 is bombed and several colleagues are dead.

Bond later ponders where does humanity, kindness, faith or trust for others figure in this the kind of work he does.

For a moment there, he feels like giving it all up and disappearing (like I sometimes feel like doing!), but returns because there is a sense of duty; or perhaps, that is the only way he knows how to live.

And because his boss needs him to go after the crooks who blew up M16 and killed some of the agents, Bond is allowed to return to work despite failing the fitness test – bending rules to achieve political expediency?

And while on this mission in Shanghai and Macau, Bond is forced to review his own work methods when he meets the villain – another fellow agent gone mad – Silva, who needs only the click of a mouse to achieve his aims – whether it is blowing up a building or a train station.

“All this running around is tiring,” he later tells Bond, who moments earlier has already realised that things have changed or transformed around him especially technology.

But Bond is Bond, and he is not giving up. He returns to what he knows best, to methods which he is the expert, to places he is familiar with, to deal with the villains in his head, and in his work.

And typical as life is, Bond takes us back to his home – Skyfall – the title of the movie – where it all started for him as where he came from is as important as where he is heading.

As it is for all of us. Sometimes to die is also to live. Again.

Merdeka thoughts 2012.

Nothing is as sweet as the promise of democracy! That is the clarion call of the rally by Bersih supporters last evening. As oppose to the 1Malaysia-Janji diTepati (promises fulfilled) – BN propaganda theme of this year’s Merdeka.

That latter slogan at once invite brickbats and the stare of disapproval from the critical eye. We wonder…

After 55 years, despite all the progresses we have made, and the journey we have taken together as citizens (because we own myKads) – we are only free in our self-made prisons, but trapped in a make believe freedom that we have achieved a situation dubbed “Independence”.

But independence from who, from what? Are we really free?

Economic freedom bring us more debts, religious freedom lead to more clashes between different faiths (episodes of body/ash snatching by Muslim authorities come to mind), and political freedom – the freedom to vote, associate, join parties – divide us, breed disunity and hatred just because “you are not with me”.

Does freedom of speech free us (in this country?), indeed, some of us are not free after we exercise that very freedom! How about freedom from the ghosts of our pasts – communists or the colonizers? The government has to decide!

The colonizers in our shared histories are not the Europeans or the Japanese. They are the shadows of doubts, the hollows of fears and the elements of distrust which have occupied our minds despite shouts of Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka! on Aug 31, 1957.

These colonizers have erected bulwarks and invisible walls between our hearts. 55 years of insecurities made worst by government propaganda – of a racist and religious nature have rendered us a nation trapped in its own mirage. How can we ever claim to be free?

Because we do not take the time – chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow – we do not spend the time to know the other. The other then becomes our point of reference, for us to make comparisons, which then becomes excuses for us to consider ourselves different from the other.

Instead of recognizing the similarities among us, we seek the negatives in the other. We learnt that by focusing or highlighting the bad in others, we could claim and show off the positives and good in us. The other then becomes an excuse for us not to look critically at ourselves, that we too have a role to play in this game called ‘Unity’; to ask ourselves “are we doing all it takes to realize this spirit of Merdeka?”

Did our forefathers fight the battle for Independence, sacrificed and shed their blood and sweat for nothing? The saddest outcome of it all, the tragedy is when we use the other as a rallying point for only ‘some’ of us to unite. The politicians are in this – the culprits in that we allow them – to nurture mistrust, hate and suspicion – towards another. The politics of hate, of race and of religion becomes our ideology, our rules and law by which we comply more strictly and seriously than we do our Constitution (think Perkasa! and think of how we view them!).

These so-called ideologies, entrenched deeper by our stereotypes, perception and prejudice of the other continue to delude us that we are free – yes free in the prisons we have build around ourselves, prisons protected by the iron bars of racism, the rose-tinted glass of religion and the multi-laced curtains of different social classes.

As long as we feel safe within these unseeable walls we place around us, we would always be trapped although we are bestowed with the freedom of an Independence, the freedom of a nation in a modern globalized world.

It’s time to look for the windows behind the iron bars, the curtains or the rainbow tinted glass, to look for the door, to turn the knob and walk out free from the shackles that keep us from what we deserve, and for what has been fought for so hard by our ancestors  - true independence from our prejudices, stereotypes and hatred.

There is another world beyond the window.  A different ocean. A ship is waiting there. This ship is big enough for the 27 million souls breathing on our land, if we have the right plans, sound policies respect for diversity. Reach out for that ship. Have courage, set sail – there are only two things that can happen – either we end up at the shore of our shared destinies – in the event of a tsunami, or we continue to sail – fast and strong – free! along with the winds of change. The choice, as always, is ours.

Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!

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Freedom to say stupid things.

Freedom of speech is the freedom to say even stupid things. It is also the freedom to criticise, be criticised and to counter criticise. We have no right on the other’s freedom to speak. We can criticise that speech, however, and be prepared for the consequences of reaction or response. Whatever it is, I always maintain that one should have the freedom to speak whatever, just be prepared for the bouquet of roses or the brickbats.

I do detest, however, those who wish to limit or punish that freedom of expression, just because it sounds stupid and not according to what their ears, authorities, societies, nationalities, cultures, or religions, want to hear. You can argue that the speech is tasteless, racist, rude, I accept that. But once you start policing it, or even suggesting such things, I would condemn you.

UPDATE, 9.30pm
Now, let me say a thing about this obsession and emotional madness over the defeat of national hero Lee Chong Wei. He brought home a silver medal, not Gold, and this apparently broke many hearts. This also got a DAP assemblyman into trouble over his unflattering tweets about Lee. But the worst that can happen is that people can accuse you of being unpatriotic and anti-unity if you do not support Lee or say a bad word about him. As if he is God? Puhleez ya. I do not subscribe to such obsession and will not be persuaded to accept anyone’s hero if I do not have the mood to. Sorry.

Malaysians must be clear about this. A sportswoman/man (artist/writer/whatever) can be a national hero but she or he may not be everyone’s hero. We must respect that. And so, just because you are emotional over what is said/done/spoken about your national hero; many others may not feel the same. For God’s sake, DO NOT FORCE other people to accept any/your ‘hero’ just because she/he is Malaysian. Some people have ‘global’ mindsets. They may like an individual for her/his talent/skills/creativity/expertise no matter where/which country/society/ethnic group/religion/political allegiance/social status/sexual preference she/he comes from. And yes, if you accept that freedom of speech can make people happy, it can also make people sad and hurt people’s feelings. It’s a choice we all can make without being forced by others. That’s freedom and that is absolute.

Fake unity & patriotism

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For the benefit of those who are not on my Facebook, here’s a few posts of mine on the dashed hope of Malaysian badminton star Lee Chong Wei to secure a gold medal for the 2012 London Olympics. What really triggered the posts was the threat by a somebody who wanted to lodge a police report on YB M.Manoharan (DAP) for his “silly comments” on his own FB status regarding Chong Wei. The respond was numerous and is a good read. All for the love of sports? For the country? For unity? Manoharan’s side of the story can be read here: Manoharan gets brickbats over tweets on Chong Wei (107 comments so far!).

On my Facebook, it begin like this:

Yahooo ! No holiday & no baskin robbins, you greedy Malaysians. Hahah.

Oh, please. Unity is not in cheering for a badminton player and patriotism isn’t in showing support for your country. Urgh.

Some Malaysians ARE sick. Insecured. Mentally a mess. They can’t accept when in our reports (Malaysiakini) we say Chong Wei ‘failed’ to get the gold medal. Well, isn’t that the TRUTH? And some idiot wants to lodge a police report on YB Mano just for speaking his mind on the failed badminton Dato. Is that so wrong to use his own FB status to speak his mind? Must everyone follow the mentally crazy Malaysian psyche – collective madness – who needs a hero all the time to prop up their non-existent ego? In sports, the best man wins. and is called a hero. No apologies for that.

The REAL problem is Malaysians have no UNITY whatsoever, ain’t capable of getting one themselves; the politicians disUNITEs everyone and themselves so badly that they need sports to unite them? Hey, in sports we cheer the winners. We do not give excuses for failures. That is the only way to make winners out of failures. With the attitude we have, we’ll just have second class sportswomen and men. We deserve this.

ACCEPT the fact that people can be silly, stupid, moronic or whatever on their own FB status or twitter accounts. People can be romantic too like me and have no mood to post news updates since I already report and write them all days of my life. Don’t like it, don’t read. For YB Manoharan Malayalam, it is not like what he is saying is his policy statement or resolution or DAP’s referendum. It’s his feelings, the thing that the rest of us have. This is the good news: That they are people who really think differently from the rest. I detest more of those who speaks of this fake unity and misplaced heroism when it comes to sports. Who are they lying to if not themselves? Wake up! Some of us just like a good sporting game. And that is what sports are for. It is not a testament of a country’s unity or a test for its citizen’s patriotism. Also it’s not a political tool for BN or Pakatan Rakyat, get it?

Below are some of the comments I got on my posts:
Like ·  · Share
    • Susan Loone This is another idiot who thinks the world revolves around him and who thinks everyone must have the same mind.http://www.rockybru.com.my/2012/08/a-gold-medal-for-mano.html

      12 hours ago · Like · 2 ·
    • Bernard Cheah D truth, no matter how much it is sugar coated, is still d truth.Some ppl perhaps, can’t handle d truth.

      12 hours ago · Like · 1
    • Susan Loone If they can’t handle then go hit their own heads lah. But they want to lynch the messengers as well. urgh.
      12 hours ago · Like · 1
    • Johnny Ng In a spirit of good sportsmanship , the winner get to enjoy the thrill of victory , and the loser get the agony of defeat and move on…and we all should give both the winner and the loser the respect they deserves.
      12 hours ago · Unlike · 5
    • Yuki Choe Many Malaysians do not know how to accept the part of life of having failed and lose gracefully.
      12 hours ago via mobile · Like · 2
    • Chin-Huat Wong I dont appreciate Mano’s silly comments but police report for that? It is even sillier.
      12 hours ago via mobile · Unlike · 7
    • Ng Chee Yong I loathe people who drags politics into sports.So what if fans support their choice.Doesn’t mean we need to pledge blind allegiance just because one is Msian. And to me Rocky is yesterday ‘s news
      11 hours ago via mobile · Like · 1
    • Susan Loone That’s the word Ng Chee Yong - blind allegiance. We have lots of it.
      11 hours ago · Like · 2
    • Stanley Koh ‎”kiasu” mentality. Like in elections, winners and losers are the truthful event outcome and is the only fact and No face” being sensitive. But the Malaysian players tried their best anyway.No gold but the effort was there.
      10 hours ago · Unlike · 2
    • Yuki Choe Apologies for the incoming long rant, but I need to share this off my chest: I take nothing away from Lee Chong Wei’s achievements; however it ends when we go into hero worship mode to a person that only affects us emotionally and nothing more. Personally I consider the leaders that are fighting to prevent HIV/AIDS spread because it affects all of us, as true heroes. I would even mention my dear friends opposing oppression against LGBTs and women of all kinds, even those in the fight for animal rights and equality for all Malaysians even the orang aslis, as true heroes, because they relate back to our families and friends. They win life’s matches for humanity. Seriously people think. Whether Chong Wei won the gold, or not, it would not affect the vast majority of Malaysians. With all due respect to Datuk Lee, I would consider the people that come to my house with a large smelly truck to pick up my rubbish three times a week from my house, braving the sun and toxic contaminants while trying to survive on minimal wage, as bigger heroes than Datuk Lee would ever be. Some people are more fortunate and started with more privilege than others. Those who rise above it, are true heroes.
      10 hours ago · Edited · Unlike · 6
    • Susan Loone Wow, Yuki, you said it better than me ! :-)
      10 hours ago · Like · 2
    • Kah Seng UMNO needs a hero to save their immorality.
      6 hours ago · Like
    • Stanley Koh ‎>Kah Seng. I agree. The answer: The devil.
      5 hours ago · Like
    • Jude Manickam ‎”Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped” – Elbert Hubbard. But I guess these dungus won’t understand that either!
      5 hours ago · Like
    • Pejo Ung In this country, they do not tolerate differing views nor allow the people with freedom to express themselves. Anything that you do which is not to their liking, well be prepared to face their music.
      4 hours ago via mobile · Like · 1
    • Magima Raj Pragasam YB Mano should know that he is not only setting up himself to be whacked by BN and their spin doctors but also dragging along DAP and Pakatan Rakyat to be demonized as well. We don’t need this with the GE around the corner. After all, Lee Chong Wei made us all feel proud to be a Malaysian. I hope YB Mano appreciates that.
      4 hours ago · Like
    • Chin Lee · Friends with Richard Gui and 9 others

      In sports the winner doesn’t win all and the loser doesn’t loose all. Those who fight and loose will leave and come back to fight another day.

      4 minutes ago · Like
(ends)

Words are never enough.

You said “The month of Ramadan is to keep silent about hatred and anger and to say, to repeat and to whisper the words of love, tenderness and affection”.

But words alone are never enough to express love, tenderness and affections; actions and deeds must follow, too. They are the bridges to love. And love is the path to holiness, to the divine, to God.

For me, this Ramadan will always be marked as the year its spirit was not respected the way it should. The year the corrupt goes free and the one who exposes it, faces the wrath.

PKR’s Rafizi arrested, charged under Bafia

Still, this is Malaysia. And I remember, that the way is always littered with challenges for those who are destined to rise above those challenges.

As this nation – being in slumber for five decades – must surely be jolted from their sleep, dreams, fantasies or nightmare, to face its destiny. A destiny each of us must choose for our own, yet collectively, we would rejoice or suffer as the result of the personal and individual choice or choices we make.

Whatever happens, may the true spirit of Ramadan, of love, tenderness, and affections, prevails. 

(ends)

 

Make that change.

We’re always blaming the OTHER, either BN or Pakatan Rakyat, Najib or Anwar even Rosmah, our neighbour, the other ethnic group, the other media, the other woman or man, for our current situation. And yet it all boils down to WE DON’T WANT CHANGE or at least REAL CHANGE. I’m sorry guys, there can be no real change without ourselves wanting it or making the necessary changes. We can’t control the other, but we can very well control ourselves.

I guess change needs it’s twin soul, which is courage. Courage is rare. But it is always in all of us. Just waiting to wake up from slumber, to spread it’s wings, to fly to where the light is. Only you can wake up courage, for it is within you, within me.

Why are we afraid? After a lifetime, do we still need to ask “what if…this or that happens?”. Guys, we’ll never know until we try it. Tell yourselves, it is the price you and I have to pay collectively to see if the change brings a better tomorrow. I can assure you, this I know, that once we taste the power to effect change in our lives, our very own lives, there is no turning back.

Change is the only way; change is like love, when it comes, it’s sweeps you off your feet, it is an avalanche; like a volcanic storm; or a tsunami, it overwhelms, it swallows you, it’s intoxicating, punishing, yet nothing can stop it. When it comes, we’ll have to move along, we will be pulled away, dragged aside, no matter how we resist. We can follow, we can go our own way, or drown in the madness. Do we have a choice? Either way, we’ll have to change. Love demands it, and life enforces it.

(ends)

The sickness of ONE

After the shameful let down of BN’s “Janji di Tepati” for a Merdeka slogan, now we have “One Nation,One Country, One Soul” by Pakatan Rakyat. I have only this to say:

While I do appreciate their intentions to unite all of us…

Why must everything and everybody be “ONE”? Why can’t we celebrate diversity and all our differences but be united in love and fight for justice, and against corruption? These ‘Satu’ theme has made me sick. I don’t want to be one with everyone. I want to be myself, but with my oneness to live and love and work together with the other for what is good and right. Many paths, one God, remember?

Every time you say “Lets be One”, I feel alone. Your oneness will undermine my uniqueness. I want my individuality to be recognised, our diversity celebrated; our differences accepted and respected, not just tolerated. When the day comes, I will celebrate Merdeka.

(ends)

Must See: Scorpene Sting in Malaysia.

A video by MEDIA RAKYAT featuring Suaram director Cynthia Gabriel and PKR Selayang MP (also a lawyer) William Leong.

How poisonous is the “scorpene” sting?

“There’s always a pretty girl, a dead body, ministers involved and huge kickbacks,” says William Leong in the interview with Adrian Yeo, when describing the modus operandi of a French naval giant.

From Paris, to Karachi, Taipeh and Kuala Lumpur, this company, which sold two scorpene-class submarines to Malaysia in 2002, is being investigated and alleged to have paid huge amounts of commission (illegal in France) to top French and Malaysian officials.

The gruesome murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu by two bodyguards of then deputy prime minister Najib Razak (now prime minister!) is said to be related to the deal.

How closely related or linked, the case filed by Suaram against the company, will reveal all, when the case is heard in France.

The duo, whose faces have been covered all through the trial and would never be recognized by any of us if we were to see them without cover, is appealing their case in August.

Najib who was then Defense Minister when the deal was done has denied ever knowing Altantuya. He has even sworn on the Quran to convince people to believe him.

As always, as is the usual case, some do and some don’t, despite whatever he says. Poor man!

William Leong says when the case is heard in Paris, we will all know whether Najib really knows this woman or not.

I, too, have written extensively on the issue, and the latest news story in here in Malaysiakini.com.

Greatest Speech Ever Made.

Uploaded by thelackeysisters on Jul 15, 2011.

They said: (Song: Window by The Album Leaf) One of the most inspirational speeches in recorded history was given by a silent comedian by the name of Charlie Chaplin. If you like what you see please share the video any way you can and pass the message on.

Note: I was moved to tears to hear the speech. Classic, timeless, and inspiring. The video is good, too.