Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Poetry in Motion

I have added a new weblog http://poetry-asrulzamani.blogspot.com/ that carries the various poems I have written in the past and is currently writing.

New poems are written and edited continuously until the final form is completed. The processes and the changes can be seen from time to time.

Completed poems will be marked as "Written by Asrul Zamani".

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Bernama 25.02.07 : No such thing as a moderate Muslim - Dr M

He (Tun Mahathir) said that if the negative perception of Islam continued, it would adversely affect efforts to spread the religion as "no one would be interested to join a religion whose followers are seen as losers".

"People will only be attracted when there is a successful track record...as such only when Muslims become successful in all spheres or better than others in them can we successfully carry out effective missionary activities," he said.

Excerpts taken from The Malay Ideals (2002)

During the middle ages, people flocked towards Islam because the Muslims were 'the culturally superior', the most advanced of all societies in the world. They held the highest seats in the most distinguished universities. The best universities were in the Muslim states. Europeans and people all across the known world wanted to come to Baghdad and Cordova to seek knowledge. They were impressed with the Islamic Culture and its peoples. Of the Christians of Cordova for example, many * and most of them enlightened * were content to follow the Muslims' examples faithfully. They took "delight in the poems and romances of the Arabs". "The young Christians who were most conspicuous for their talents had no knowledge of any literature or language save Arabic; they read and study with avidity of Arabic books; they amassed whole libraries of them at a vast cost." The Christians of Cordova, as a whole adapted themselves readily to Islamic Civilisation. Under Arab rule, Jewish culture also blossomed and rose to prominence. The non-Muslims' obsession with Muslim Culture and Civilisation meant they regarded the Muslim Civilisation highly and many Christians and Jews converted to Islam as a result. Islam became the preferred faith by virtue of its civilisational achievements. The masses craved to be Muslims because Muslim society were the most civil of societies. The Church in Europe then was still burning academics at the stake imputing that they were practicing knowledge bestowed by the Devil.

Nevertheless, a few centuries later, Muslim dominance of the world had to come to and end. Europe and the West resurfaced from the abyss by utilising Muslim knowledge and by breaking loose from the crippling shackles of the Church and truncating its power. Industrialisation eventually took place and the West built rich and powerful nation states. In the process, the West conquered most Muslim lands and kept their people under subjugation. By the 20th century the Americans were in a clear lead and kept a tight reign on world economics. This was ironically assisted by the rise of Nazism in Europe which led to an influx of intellectuals from the continent. By the middle and end of the century, they became the most powerful force on earth. Thus the American century and civilisation was born. By this time, the Muslims have been in a pit of backwardness. Their once all-domineering influence is no longer extant. In fact, they became one of the most backward peoples on earth by this stage.

The world is still currently under the American fold of civilisation. From Latin America to the Far East, there is no other civilisation that has managed to be most impressive than the American civilisation - in almost every aspect of life. This is exceedingly true with the impressionable young. It is the psychology of humanity that they look up to the successful and the powerful as their idols. It is a veritable truth that prevails throughout the ages. And the last century happened to belong to America more than any other, and still is. What is undertaken by the so called "civilised" society is emulated and copied reverently by other nations and thought to be infallible * even though it could be a completely blunder.

The same situation holds true if there had been a Muslim Civilisation. Only when an Islamic Civilisation has become a fascination to the world, would people flock towards Islam once again because by then Islam would have been perceived to be the religion of the intellectuals and the achievers as witnessed in Cordova, Spain during the reigns of the Umayyads. Muslims therefore have to rise above the quagmire of poverty, ignorance and malaise. Had they failed in this worthy cause, they would have failed in their mission to palpably Islamise Malaysians in order to facilitate adhesions between communities.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Malay Mail 21.02.07 : Hounded by 20 bikers on the NPE

The problem of wayward and not so bright Malays having suicide tendencies bordering on the schizoid and paranoid personality, pepperred with self aggrandization and mania bent on criminal tendencies. This is definitely a personality never classified before. Perhaps we should class it as Rempit Personality.

Perhaps they are just attention seeking Malays who have no aim in life, whose main motive is to enjoy and have fun while they still can. Even doing stupid stunts that may land them in hospital or 6 feet under does not deter them.

How distasteful, how ignorant they can be. How wasteful.

I have seen some at the tender age of 17, paralysed completely from the waist down. Smiling in a hospital bed. Oblivious as to what will entail in his life of being a disabled.

They have no regard for themselves and they certainly have no regards for others. There is something inherently wrong with these Mat Rempits. It is perhaps a psychological disability or perhaps, an intellectual disability.

The inability to gauge the danger that they pose on themselves, the contempt and disrespect for other's rights.

These individuals are far....far away from Islam. If you ask me, I am inclined to deduce that they are no more non Muslim than those who deny the existence of a God.
To me, they are no longer Muslims. They may be Malays, but they certainly are not Muslims.

Malays should do away with these kinds of "Muslims". We do not need them. And they certainly do not need us.

If you wish to stop their activities, confiscate their motorbikes for an indefinite term, impose corporal punishment on those caught, and halt the sale of liquor in easily obtainable outlets such as 24hr convenience shops.

These steps will greatly reduce their activities.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Star: 20.02.07 Terengganu State turns to ‘Mat Skoding’

Don't they have anything better to do than spy on couples?

The money would be better spent on educating young couples to become good parents and how to raise their children to become understanding Muslims.

Is it still unclear to us that Muslims are not suppossed to spy on other individuals.

Punishment for lewd acts are for those who flaunt it publicly...who has no sense of public shame!

NST : 20.02.07 Mat Rempit to jump at North Pole

How much money is needed to send them off free falling in the north pole?

Can't they free fall from their bikes instead?

Surely this will be far cheaper, perhaps even free of charge! (minus hospital bills of course)!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Women : Empower Thyselves

A crime such as rape is commited by men upon women...in the vast majority of cases.

If someone is prone to attack, the only way to avert it is to take action to protect oneself.

If you are an individual who is being attacked, what would you do? You empower yourself to take action to protect yourself.

A woman is the victim of rape...so women must take action to protect themselves. They have to empower themselves. They can blame men for raping them, but in the end, what matters is that they should take immediate action to protect themselves because no one else can or will. Their own personal safety is directly in their own hands. So, take whatever precautions needed.

It is pointless to ask men to wear the chastity belt...because first and foremost...the will not do it. If they are to rape women, why would they wear the belt in the first place. And no one will monitor if men wear these belts or not. Whichever way it goes, it must be a voluntary practice.

There is no point in men blaming women and women blaming men for the causes of rape. At least not when a woman's personal safety is concerned.

Therefore in such circumstance, women must seek ways to protect themselves. Perhaps chastity belt is out of date...perhaps it would be better to allow them to carry a stun gun, pepper spray and other devices to thwart attempted rape. They must also look into the reasons why they could be a target of potential rape (and avoid it)...such as walking home late at night in a secluded area...being too close to male collegues (most rapes are commited by persons the women know of)....being intoxicated and taken opportunity of by men....wearing too scantily clad clothes which attract undesired attention (even at home eg rape committed by family members)....and many more. These are immediate actions that can be taken.

To change the attitudes of men will take a longer time. Meanwhile, women must act to protect their own dignity while waiting for men to change...if there is any.

Friday, February 16, 2007

NST:16.02.07 : Finance Ministry moves to curb Ali Baba partnerships

The Finance Ministry has made it compulsory for Bumiputeras awarded government contracts to sign an official declaration (akuan rasmi) not to sell the contracts to others.

This is a brilliantly naive idea which is certain to fail right from the word go.

Think about it!

This is just laughable.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Utusan Malaysia 15.02.2007: Hentikan ali baba – PM -- Ketirisan kontrak akan gagalkan usaha majukan kontraktor bumiputera

This is easy to accomplish.

Stop the awarding of contracts to UMNO linked contractors. Most are not true businessmen. They know nothing about being a contractor. All they do is become a middlemen to secure contracts. No wonder leakages occur.

But we are skeptical that this will take place because of political patronage and the culture of awarding to individuals well connected to UMNO in order to secure continued personal political support.

In other words, this scenario is likely to continue in the foreseeable future.

We do not think the leadership has the courage or the determination to change this practice.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

If Worse Comes to Worse - A Mahathir & AAB Showdown

Mahathir has been trying very hard to oust Abdullah Ahmad Badawi from the presidency of UMNO because of the obvious reasons we all know of.

However, UMNO and BN machinery is too strong and the award of contracts and other underhand tactics being the norm to secure votes, it looks like the nationwide tour by Mahathir may not be producing desired results when it matters.

The culture of UMNO makes it difficult for the non-incumbent. The incumbent holds all the power to persuade and dissuade.

If worse comes to worse, there is only one way do unseat the president. However, this requires great sacrifice from Mahathir. All of this could take place in the coming general election.

Mahathir would have to challenge AAB to a showdown - a contest in the same constituency in a neutral ground. Mahathir would of course have to leave UMNO.

We are not sure if AAB would be brave enough to accept the challenge. My guess is that he would decline it flatly, citing some other reasons other than fear of losing to Mahathir.

If Mahathir wins, then he could teoretically rejoin UMNO. AAB may still be the president of UMNO, however, he would not be able to continue as PM. He will undoubtedly remove himself from the top post because of the obvious.

If AAB wins, then Mahathir loses everything within UMNO just like Dato Onn Jaafar.

Too great a sacrifice? You be the judge.

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Doers and the Do Nothing

There are three types of people in this world..perhaps four.

First...the doer...they dont talk much...the get things done.

Second...the talker and the doer...they talk...and they get things done.

Third...the talker...they talk...but they do nothing.

The fourth...they dont talk...they dont do anything.

The current administration is the talker but the do nothing. Tun Mahathir was the talker and the doer.That is why we get things done during Mahathir's time. Now, we get nothing done. All we seem to do is form another government body, which churns out even more talk (guidelines) and do nothing of substance.

To be an effective leader...regardless of whether you say or not say...you MUST be a doer.

It is easy to talk, it is hard to do things. The current administration is doing the easy job of talking. But nothing gets done. The administration has been blaming bureucracy for the past 3 years...until today. What has been done? Nothing. Now we have another body to study and provide yet another guideline within 6 months to reduce bureucracy.

When Mahathir says something...he makes sure that the idea gets executed. It is no easy task but he gets the job done.

The majority of people are the non-doers. There are only a handful of doers. Doers are those that get the job done. This is what matters.

Paper Money

Taken from The Malay Ideals on the chapter of "Wealth and Poverty"

Ideally, all currencies in the world must have an intrinsic value. Gold for example was once the internationally acceptable, age-old currency. However it was done away with and forgotten because it was thought to be inflexible in determining money supply since its supply was limited. The function of gold as the world's standard currency was then replaced by the currency of the world's strongest economy - the US dollar - which carries no real value except the figure that is printed on it. We are of the opinion that linking currencies to a valuable and sought after commodity will allow the currencies to maintain its value, remain relatively stable and less subject to sheer speculation. Better still if this standard itself is directly used as a currency because this averts the arbitrary determination of a value of a currency based on a nominal measurement of the standard which does not reflect its true value.

It is evident that many of the financial crises that hit the world, such as the devaluation of a currency, inflation, hyperinflation, deflation and the loss of confidence on a particular nation's currency is a direct result of the use of paper money which carries no intrinsic value. Paper money is accepted only on the basis of faith and trust. In the past, paper money is a promissory note that payment is to be made at some time to come or upon demand. Since currencies are no longer linked to a gold standard, payment in gold is no longer necessary. Paper money itself is then considered to be the payment. The value of a currency and the supply of "wealth" can then be manipulated easily by speculators, the banking institutions and governments. As such, the wealthy can lose the value of their riches in a single day. A nation's debt may double or triple within just a few days if it is unfortunate. There is no stability in the value of a currency and there is no stability in the value of riches. Stability is determined only by the people's sole faith in paper money, by pegging or floating their currencies against what is thought to be the most stable currency in the world  the US dollar  which is maintained still by faith alone. A currency that is an acceptable standard with an intrinsic value will address this issue and prevent a nation's financial meltdown or collapse.

NST : 9.02.2007 Don't curb students' enthusiasm

Yes, indeed, we have become a nation steep in the pursuit of "acedemic excellence".

These kids no nothing outside school work. What a shame!

The situation is made worse in Malaysian university due to stifling laws to control the minds of the students which inhibit their intellectual development.

This is done to ensure they tow the government line of thinking.

This is bad news to students and their future.

It is no wonder why we Malaysians as well as Malaysian graduates are so poor when it comes to creativity.

When you put too many restrictions, the result is a stifling of creativity. The mind was not exposed. A mind left unexposed does not generate anything new.

Malaysia's trade breaks 1 Trillion Ringgit mark

What is the big deal of achieving 1 trillion RM in trade? Even if it is USD 1 trillion it does not say much about the Malaysian economy.

We must bear in mind that this figure takes both imports and exports. If we take the exports minus the imports, what do we get? A mere 100 million RM plus. Nothing spectacular. Absolute figures say nothing much. Why don't we compare growth from previous years. This would be more indicative of the rate of growth. Furthermore with the inflated prices of products and commodities due to increased oil prices and therefore inflation, these figures carry even less meaning economic wise.

We also know that with rising population, consumption increases. It goes without saying that the increase is natural for any country. For a developing country like Malaysia, this is nothing to celebrate about.

I ve seen lately that the media has been trying to give a picture that the economy is doing well under AAB. It takes the figures of 1997-1998 (right after the economic meltdown) and compare it directly with 2006-2007.

Any fool will see the obvious.

If they want to make a direct comparison between Tun Mahathir and the current administration's economic handling, they should take the average figures of 22 years of Tun Mahathir compared to the best after his departure time. Or, just take the figures right before Tun Mahathir stepped down. That is more justified.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Take the Bull by the Horns

We can talk, we can mutter, we can complain, we can say anything we wish, but in the end, if we say something and it does not get done, whose fault is it?

Either we cannot make people do what wish done, or that we are not convincing enough to persuade people to listen to us or that they have no respect for us and never wish to follow our directives. The other reason may be that our directives are too vague that people do not know how to act or to start implementing solutions.

Whatever the reason, as a leader, we have to be able to direct and our directive must be adhered to.

As a leader, you would have to take the bull by the horns. If none below you are doing their job well enough, you as a leader must be above them. You will have to know what to do to get the job done. You must be able to see details, because if those below you know nothing, at least you know what to do. If you don't, this is what happens, you tell them to do something but you yourself do not know what to do. If you do not know what to do, then you can just talk into thin air.

For example, one may say "reduce bureucracy". But does one know what it takes to reduce bureucracy? You as a leader should at least know what is involved and strictly speaking, you should be able to see what needs to be done ....in detail. You would have to get down to the nitty-gritty essentials. You have to get your hands dirty.

In order to foresee what is involved in details require great intellect. Without which, all you can do is just speak, but you could have never taken the bull by the horns.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Strong Leader in Malaysia or Perhaps Somewhat Dictatorial?

In Malaysia, if you are wishy washy, you will be washed off shore.

To be an effective PM in Malaysia, you would have to have a steely determination.

At times, you would also have to be somewhat dictatorial...especially in a country which is composed of a multhi ethnic group with each group trying to exert its own influence.

If you are weak, you as a prime minister, will be bullied into submission by the various groups. You would have to have a strong mind and a stronger determination going doggedly after correct policies.

Utusan Malaysia 7.02.2007: "Hukum juga ‘si bapa’ -- Cadangan KPN bagi membendung perbuatan buang bayi"

Oleh Ruhaidini Abd. Kadir

KUALA LUMPUR 6 Feb. – ‘Bapa’ kepada bayi yang dibuang perlu dikenakan hukuman setimpal sama seperti wanita yang melakukan kesalahan itu sebagai usaha membendung perbuatan kejam tersebut.

Ketua Polis Negara (KPN), Tan Sri Musa Hassan ketika mencadangkan perkara itu menegaskan, untuk itu Kanun Keseksaan yang memperuntukkan hukuman penjara maksimum 20 tahun terhadap wanita yang didapati bersalah membuang bayi yang diguna pakai sekarang perlu dilihat dan dikaji semula.

“Ketika ini Kanun Keseksaan mempunyai peruntukan hukuman penjara maksimum 20 tahun terhadap wanita yang didapati membuang bayi.

“Namun, undang-undang ini tidak memperuntukkan hukuman terhadap lelaki yang bertanggungjawab menghamilkan wanita yang dituduh membuang bayi itu.

“(Undang-undang) Inilah yang perlu dilihat semula agar ia memberi keadilan kepada pihak yang teraniaya,” katanya kepada Utusan Malaysia di sini hari ini.

Beliau berkata demikian sebagai mengulas berita muka depan Utusan Malaysia bertajuk Angkara Siapa? yang turut menyiarkan gambar mayat seorang bayi dalam keadaan terdampar di atas rumput di Flat Lobak, Seremban, Negeri Sembilan.

Bayi berkenaan yang ditemui dengan kepala dan hidung masih berlumuran darah serta tali pusat yang masih terlekat dipercayai meninggal dunia dalam tempoh 24 jam di satu lokasi lain.

Ketua Polis Negara memberitahu, hubungan sebagai anak dan bapa dapat disahkan menerusi pelbagai kaedah termasuk ujian DNA untuk mengheret si bapa ke muka pengadilan.

Mengenai sikap wanita yang sanggup mengambil tindakan di luar dugaan seperti membunuh dan membuang bayi, Musa berkata, semua pihak sepatutnya memberi sokongan moral dan emosi kepada ibu terbabit sebagai usaha melindungi bayi yang dikandung itu.

“Kita tidak boleh menghina mereka dan membiarkan perkara seumpama ini terus berlaku.

“Sebaliknya, semua pihak perlu menangani masalah ini agar punca perlakuan tidak berperi kemanusiaan yang didorong oleh perasaan buntu si ibu dapat ditangani,” katanya.

Tegas Musa, setiap individu termasuk ibu bapa perlu peka dan memainkan peranan mereka khususnya dalam memastikan anak-anak tidak terjebak dengan masalah sosial.

“Gejala buang bayi ini adalah isu nasional yang perlu ditangani oleh semua pihak dan perkara paling pokok ialah didikan ibu bapa terhadap anak-anak,” katanya.

Sementara itu, dalam perkembangan berkaitan, siasatan polis menunjukkan kebanyakan kes membuang bayi membabitkan wanita muda dan remaja yang mengalami trauma akibat ditinggalkan pasangan sebaik disahkan mengandung.

Wanita terbabit berasa tertekan kerana terpaksa melahirkan anak tanpa bantuan dan pada masa sama berdepan dengan tindakan undang-undang sedangkan pasangan mereka bebas begitu saja.

Below is an extract taken from chapter 9 of The Malay Ideals (2002):

Now, punishment as a form of deterrent is crucial in preventing immoral behaviour. The fear of a severe punishment would have a positive impact on the youngsters' attitude. Although, it is not solving the problem at its root cause, the mere use of punishment will act to reduce deviant behaviour. It is a form of prevention. Punishment should be applied to those caught in divergent and immoral activities. Punishment should however not be implemented on its own. It should be accompanied with education. Not only should youths be punished for misdemeanour, the wisdom that parents and guardians be cautioned and monitored should also be considered * if they are found to be partly responsible for their children's or the minors' acts. This is in line with the view that parents are to post bond to guarantee that their unruly children will be on good behaviour. One should not cease there but proceed further in punishing those in positions of responsibility, where minors have been placed under their care, who through wilful neglect have directly or indirectly, contributed towards the cause of misbehaviour of those under their care. Put in another way, they are liable for the misdemeanour of those placed under their scrutiny - parents included.

As mentioned previously, unwanted newborn babies are frequently left for either dead or alive. These acts are usually committed by their unwed mothers straight after delivery. It seems that the individuals involved do not value the life of another human being whatsoever. They commit such acts because they know they could get away with it and even if they were caught, the sentence would not be severe enough. It is not that adoption homes are not present, but shame has prevented them from approaching these homes. Therefore, to prevent these acts, the punishment for disposing off the newborn should be amended to make it very severe to act as a deterrent. If an infant was found dead, by law the perpetrators should not be charged with manslaughter, but murder, because the mere act of leaving these babies at the hands of nature and chance, fail to take into account that the child has no ability to survive on its own. A person leaving a child for dead should be tried for attempted murder. The male partners should be identified through DNA analysis and should be given similar sentence for indirect involvement * even though they have no part in the abandonment or killing of the infant. Their unwillingness to assume responsibility have forced the women to act irrationally. The punishment will thus impose responsibility upon both male and female individuals so that they will have to think twice before committing immoral acts. If the abandonment and killing of newborn babes incur severe retributions, then couples would have to make proper considerations before contemplation on illicit sexual relationships. The punishment should be lightened or waived on the females only in the case whereby the sexual impropriety committed is a forced or a non-consented one.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Star : Dr M nominated for Nobel Prize (4.02.2007)

This says it all.

A befitting tribute to a great man who has been rather unorthodox in his approach to handling various crises and a great humanitarian (as the usual case with those with medical training).

We have yet to see if Tun wins the coveted prize. As a citizen of Malaysia, and being under his premiership for two decades plus, there is no other Malaysian fitting for this nomination.

He may not win the prize, but the nomination itself is invaluable.

When many Malaysians fail to see his great contributions to his country and to others, it is foreigners who spot his true worth.

Too much of politics is not good for the health of a nation.

Too much of vested interest, too much self interest always affects judgment. In the end if you only have your personal self as consideration, you will ultimately lose wisdom.

If any of you are in politics for self interest, then the sooner you move out of politics, the better it is for you and for the rakyat.