Monday, March 29, 2010

SODOMY TRIALS ARE MOSTLY ABOUT ACTS OF DEFIANCE AND A SHOW OF STRENGTH

– JUST LIKE OTHER SERIOUS CRIMINAL CASES, ESPECIALLY MURDER AND THE DRUG-RELATED ONES.
By Mansor Puteh



SO FROM PAST EXPERIENCEDS, WE CAN SEE HOW THE BEST METHOD OF DEFENCE FOR SERIOUS COURT CASES BY THOSE WHO CAN AFFORD IT, IS TO DELAY JUDGMENT AND PUNISHMENT MOSTLY, AND TO USE THE GLARE OF PUBLICITY TO GET CHEAP POLITICAL MILEAGE BY CASTING ASPERSIONS ON EVERYTHING. NOTHING IS SPARED.

IN THE END THEY WILL BEND AND SEEK PITY AFTER JUDGMENT IS GIVEN WITHOUT SHOWING ANY SIGN OF REMORSE FOR THE CRIME THAT HAD BEEN COMMITTED.

ONE NEEDS MINIMAL DEFENCE IF ONE KNOWS ONE IS NOT GUILTY. BUT ONE CAN DO WITH EVERYTHING IF ONE KNOWS THAT ONE IS NOT SO.

Like what” A convincing alibi.

If there is no alibi, then there is a strong likelihood that sodomy might have happened, even though medically that cannot be proven. But homosexual relationship cannot be discounted so easily.

Finding a technical flaw in the defense is the best way. But it is not foolproof even though there are many of them to find fault with.

So in the end, the judiciary and public get sodomized.

Is there no shame at all for being charged for such a crime?

Those who have been charged for sodomy know that the cases against them are difficult to challenge. Someone had been sodomized and he and his then partner should know it.

Only a person with skin so thick in his face who can go about as though it is a small matter he is dealing with.

While the others with lesser crimes go to court with their faces hidden in their own shirts or handkerchiefs and their heads bowed to avoid from being shot by the press photographers.

How could anyone not know he had not been sodomized by anyone?

It will be impossible for the person who had been sodomized not to remember who had sodomized him.

Any why must some members of the public want to pass judgment on who is right or who is wrong, when the case is being heard?

Those who charge that the case is a trumped up one, what evidence do they have that the court does not to support such an outrageous claim?

Let the case be heard and let the judges made their decision.

Sodomy cases are no different than the other cases that had been heard and tried in court. They involve the same elements. Victims have been determined and the scenarios have been created.

What the accused can give as evidence can therefore be countered by the accused. And in the end, there can be a decision on who has been telling the truth and who has been trying to deflect attention on the minor legal and technical issues to gain grounds for an acquittal.

Even if there is an acquittal, and the accused be allowed to go free, but there is still his conscience that will continue to hound him.

Were there others whom he had also sodomized in the past who are not willing to give evidence to prove that the sodomist is not a serial one?

A sodomist normally has many past experiences. He is lucky that the others whom he had sodomized have chosen not to expose his misdeeds so the sodomist is allowed to do what he likes to do until the next one suddenly has a change of heart.

This is when the problem happens. And this is also when court cases become necessary.

There are a lot of activities happening before such acts happen, and when it finally happened, it leaves a plot so thick and real that it will be difficult for even the smartest authors or screenwriters to conjure up, without sounding artificial or contrived.

The only thing that the person who has been charged for sodomy to do is to delay the trial and bring up inconsequential issues to distract the media and public which can also give him and his lawyers some time to think of their next move.

Rebutting allegations by the person whom the alleged sodomist had sodomized would be very difficult to do.

The best method is to find a technicality and charge that the charge against the alleged sodomized to be inherently flawed.

There needs to be details, of being at the same time and place together and there are detailed descriptions of what the person wore, said and done. These are all very difficult to counter.

In the end, it’s the courts and public who will be made fools of while the alleged sodomists try to see what ‘other benefits’ he could get from them.

Sodomy trials are not new in Malaysia; some men have been convicted and sentenced. There was no ‘fanfare’, no controversy and appeals. Those who had been charged, tried and sentenced to jail did not have the benefit of having a ‘name’ to distract the public and the media.

Where was the media in the west when those men where tried and sentenced? Why were they not crying foul and publicize the cases?

Their trials went on smoothly and they admitted to having committed their crime.

And unfortunately for many, there won’t be any ‘media foreplay’ that they can roll in and take advantage of to publicize their political views, as they languish in prison, if this is the just justice that they had been craving for to prove their innocence they were expecting to get.

It all boils down to this: If a lesser person had been charged for sodomy, his trial would have gone almost unnoticed. Not an inch of news would have been published in the papers or a minute of it reported on national news on television.

And why was a person who had been charged for the same offence before can be allowed bail for being charged for the same offence the second time?

This is quite baffling.

If an ordinary rapist who had been discharged for the first charge had charged for a repeat offence, surely, the courts would have allowed him bail.

However, in most those who had been charged for such offences do not normally get bail.

In most cases of sodomy, the trial would go on smoothly without them being turned into a circus, and definitely no mattress would be produced as evidence during the course of the trial which could not be dragged on and on for months and even years. Everything would be over in a matter of weeks if not days.

The person who was charged for committing sodomy or ‘committing crimes against the laws of nature’ would have got natural justice and be sent to prison to continue his incarceration from the public for years until he is forgotten, and until his basic animal instincts had been forgotten.

And the said person had to languish in prison without being able to create any sort of out-of-court drama whatsoever.

Some men had actually been charged for sodomy and duly sentenced. They took it gentlemanly without a fuss since they knew right from the start what they were doing was a crime, for which they did not have to argue with anyone with, unless if they are in another country where it is not such.

The strange part is that these lesser men who had been charged would have gone to the courts with their faces covered, while those who know they are guilty as charged would often go there with their heads held high.

The reasons are obvious, since they are people of substance and some history; so there is no point for them to hide their faces. Their photos are everywhere. And the media have many of them to use including video footages especially.

I know of a story of a man who had been charged for sodomy, who had once been invited to attend a dance performance staged by The Eighties Drama Center which later became known simply as The Drama Center.

The performance was at the then Experimental Theater of Universiti Malaya, and this man was invited as the guest-of-honor, since he knew the producers and directors from the group from their boarding school days, and also because he is now a better known and recognized person in Malaysian politics.

However, a few minutes into the show, this man, who was then not married yet and was still young left the hall. The reason was because he said he did not like to look at the sight of men performing in the play who were wearing leotards, with their crutches protruding.

Was he against seeing such a sight because he was not able to see more of it?

Unfortunately, charges of sodomy have not been heard to have been instituted in the west, especially with consenting male adults because it is not a crime there.

However, if similar acts were to have been committed in Malaysia, they have to go by the laws of the country. It is the law which no one had actually objected to and taken the mater for debate in parliament so that such laws could be considered for repeal.

And where were the lawyers of high profile cases who are said to be concerned about how justice might be tempered with because they claim their clients had been charged wrongly, so they demand their cases be heard?

But why are they only concerned in high profile cases? Because the stakes are high.

Yet, more surprisingly is how there is no one or group which has even tried to circumvent the process by trying to repeal such laws so that sodomy is not a crime anymore between two consenting adults in Malaysia, so the onus of those who charge for having been sodomized must prove that what had happened to them was not by consent.

THE VOICES AND STATUS OF THE MAJORITY MELAYU NOT PROPERLY REPRESENTED AND MAINTAINED AND ARE DISTORTED.

… WHEN THE MEDIA AND ADVERTISING INDUSTRY ARE DOMINATED BY THE MINORITY GROUPS IN THE COUNTRY…
By Mansor Puteh



THE PROBLEM WITH MALAYSIA IS THAT THE MEDIA AND ADVERTISING INDUSTRY ARE DOMINATED BY THE NON-MELAYU, ESPECIALLY THE CHINESE.

THE INDIAN MEDIA PEOPLE AND THEIR COLUMNISTS ARE NOTHING BUT PARASITES OF THE CHINESE-OWNED OR CONTROLLED MEDIA FOR WITHOUT WHICH THEY ARE VOICELESS, SINCE THEY DO NOT DEPEND TOO MUCH ON THE TAMIL PAPERS.

AND MOST OF THEM DO NOT SEEM TO BE PARTICULARL WITH THE NATIONAL ASPIRATIONS OR ARE SEEN TO PROMOTE THE CONSTITUTION BUT WHICH CONSTANTLY TRY TO CHALLENGE IT.

The Chinese-controlled and dominated English-language papers have also been known to ‘encourage’ and develop the creation of some Melayu groups and other individuals to represent a ‘Melayu face’ in discourses on religion which they themselves are not able to do without their status being questioned.

Worse, when they are seen to be over-promoting foreign countries especially Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, India and America everyday.

Shockingly, none seems to be bothered that this is the main reason why many Malaysians, who are less enamored of things Malaysian anymore and how the industries in the country are all being fractured, so that Malaysia becomes the extensions of the film, television and music industries of other countries, especially those which are mentioned earlier.

This has been going on for years, without anyone making it an issue. Where are those people in the parliament and the ministry of home affairs or KDN?

Why are the politicians and the Melayu leaders not aware of this?

They are not interested. They don’t care. Because they are too busy doing other things to worry about such things. But most importantly, many of them are that stupid and who belong in another era.

Even the many so-called Melayu think tanks and other well-meaning groups are stupid.

I have attended some of their seminars and conferences but all they do is for entertainment. The papers and proposals they had were too general and vague and full of empty slogans.

Many of them are not well-educated, and who are old and useless to the cause of the religion and race.

But this does not mean there is no one else in the country who is as blind to this.

So the stories, feelings and images of the Melayu who form the vast majority in the country are not adequately represented or created.

And in some of the papers, the Melayu and their concerns or feelings are totally not described or reported or explained at all as the editors and publishers continue to hide them from their readers, hence the communities and foreign countries they think they are serving.

Even the schools of journalism in the country do not seem to realize this, as they continue to teach their students to be good journalists, sub-editors and later on, editors, who will continue in the tradition of serving their own communities and the countries where their ancestors had come from.

In this context Malaysiakini, too, has become a mouthpiece of the minority groups, especially the Chinese. Just look at their columnists and those who have their letters posted in this online portal.

It’s pretty much the same as in Malaysia-Today. Its webmaster knows pretty well that they cannot get the viewers from amongst the Melayu, so they have to play to the gallery and thrill or excite the non-Melayu.

It’s also the same with the English language newspapers and magazines whose writers and columnists are non-Melayu and the letters they also publish are mostly written by the non-Melayu.

So the end result is that the voices and aspirations and demands of the Melayu are pushed aside.

In fact, if one looks at an English language tabloid owned by the Chinese, one can see so few Melayu or stories on the Melayu published on any day.

If they publish stories on the Melayu and their personalities, they are mostly stories which are negative to them.

I can almost feel the pain they feel when they are forced to publish stories on the Melayu especially those related to the film industry and the arts; worse, during the religious festive seasons when they do not have a choice but to write some stories on them.

In fact, the other online portals which publish stories and articles in English are also non-
Melayu-dominated.

So there is an overwhelming outpouring of grievances and gripes of the Chinese and Indians in them, while the feelings of the Melayu are often neglected.

So no wonder when the advertising industry gathers in their annual bash, they try to pretend that they are not in Malaysia but elsewhere. This should reflect their thinking.

Yet, at the same time, they are supposed to understand the local market and buyers so that they can sell whatever products and services to them.

They had not done that successfully in the past so much so that the government had to impose many laws and regulations to force them to comply with the demands of the local population.

On their own device, they would rather have it differently.

These are critical industries and activities which are everyday ones. What the industry players do can be effective, especially if they have their own biases, prejudices and also chauvinism which they have successfully camouflaged so that it is not seen to the naked eye, but which is there for everybody to see.

And on the other hand, if the media and advertising industry are being dominated by the Melayu since Merdeka, I doubt if most of the discontents that some Malaysians experience today will happen.

So to solve the main problems faced by Malaysia, the Melayu must go into the media and advertising industry in full force.

This can be done very easily as they had managed to wrest control of some of the industries which were once dominated by the others, and this can be done without the use of slogans but in a quiet way.

And no wonder the national agenda is being sidelined so that the voices of the majority are dampened.

So we are hearing gripes and condemnations from one side.

One can tell that the controversies and issues are all being brought forth and debated or discussed by the non-Melayu, who have their own ideas of everything from the history of the country to politics and the government, when in the past these were not real issues at all.

Now they are. And thanks to the internet and the ‘openness’ that the government has offered to the ‘rakyat’.

It is happening in other countries, too, including in America where the voices and aspirations of the majority are not being heard or given ample space to be discussed and only a small group of people with similar racial backgrounds are being given the top priority with the others having no choice but to behave like lackeys.

Just imagine what will happen in Singapura if the newspapers and magazines are being controlled by the Melayu? Worse, if the Melayu control its economy, too.

And imagine no more how the advertising industry has already created a false situation which gives a wrong picture of the situation in the country; that the Chinese-controlled papers seem to get more advertisements than those Melayu ones.

This is despite the fact that the purchasing power of the country is in the hands of the majority population who are Melayu.

But the advertising executives or the media buyers don’t care. They had caused a certain English language tabloid to be far ahead over the other English language papers which are seen to be Melayu-dominated.

So there is bias. So there are also prejudices. But worse, there is discrimination and chauvinism.

These are the three major factors which are affecting the running of the country – or at least this is what many perceive if they believe in what the postings in the internet say.

The truth is not so.

Chauvinism is being promoted in subtle ways, that it is easy for many not to be able to see it.

But it not so difficult for those Melayu who have discerning eyes to see and expose.

That the whole country is being turned outside down because of the interaction of the media and advertising industry, which are all trying to force the chance of attitude.

They have failed. They can only create some confusion. But the end results will be worse for them, as the change in demography of the country becomes more prominent as the population of the non-Melayu continues to shrink further in relation to the fast expanding population of the Melayu in the country.

So sooner or later, there can be some balance when the Melayu or Bumiputera population in the country becomes too overwhelming for small communities to override its interests.

The splitting of the Melayu community into a few political entities and affiliations can only be effective for now. But it won’t be too discernible in the future where parties for the non-Melayu can become totally irrelevant with some of them morphing into social and cultural clubs.

This can be seen in Singapura where the Melayu are grouping not in politics but in their everyday social and cultural activities since there is no way that they can exert themselves in politics.

This is after all a numbers game.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

LIM GUAN ENG – THE LAST NON-MELAYU CHIEF MINISTER OF PULAU PINANG? – PART II.

… MCA AND GERAKAN BETTER ACCEPT THIS NEW SCENARIO THAT PULAU PINANG TODAY IS NOT LIKE IT WAS BEFORE.
By Mansor Puteh



IN FACT, KUALA LUMPUR TODAY IS ALSO NOT LIKE IT WAS BEFORE, A CHINESE-DOMINATED CITY. IT IS A MELAYU-DOMINATED CITY NOW AS MUCH AS FOR MOST OF THE COUNTRY, NEVER MIND SHAHALAM, PUTRAJAYA, MELAWATI AND OF COURSE, THE NORTHERN STATES.

FOREIGN TOURISTS HAVE ALSO BEEN KNOWN TO REMARK THAT KUALA LUMPUR IS ‘A MELAYU CITY.’

THIS CAN BE MORE SO WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OF KAMPUNG BARU AS A NEW TOWN CENTER OF THE MELAYU SO THE CITY WILL NOW HAVE A NEW SHIFT IN FOCUS.

The non-Melayu political parties in Malaysia can be reduced in stature and become no more than social and cultural clubs where their leaders meet to play mahjong or do taichi everyday.

And there’s no way for the MCA and Gerakan to demand one of its members in the state assembly to take up the post from Guan Eng. It is not tenable in the current circumstances and changed political scenario unless if they want to continue to sit on the wrong side in the state assembly like they do now.

It is also unfortunate that he is not from any of the Barisan component parties, such as the Gerakan or MCA, but DAP.

The presence of these non-Melayu parties are at the tender mercies of the Melayu. If there is a single Melayu and Muslim party, there is no need for politicking in the country since most of the parliament and state constituencies are Melayu-dominated anyway.

In any case, the future of Pulau Pinang may force that the status quo in the state changes with the change in the demographic and population profile where the Melayu are in the majority.

Statistics show that the population of the Melayu are in fact the majority in the state.

This makes Guan Eng’s tenure as chief minister of the state not tenable, even now. It will be worse in the next general election.

Therefore, the Pakatan government in Pulau Pinang is a minority rule, meaning that the chief minister is not representing the majority race.

And the MCA and Gerakan which had insisted that the post of the chief minister of the state be given to a Chinese member of their party must adapt to the change in population size which is perhaps the most important factor in their simplistic computation of things political, racial and religious.

That it will be Umno or any Melayu from Pakatan who should be appointed the next chief minister of Pulau Pinang.

In fact, the fall of Pulau Pinang to Pakatan in the 8 March, 2008 general elections can be attributed to the bickering the Chinese politicians in the Barisan fold who had insisted that someone from their parties be appointed the post of chief minister of the state.

And this is despite the fact that Barisan has more Melayu in the state executive assembly.

This didn’t matter to the MCA and Gerakan.

And no wonder, they lost many state seats in the state because the Melayu who had always voted for Umno and Barisan in the past elections had decided to teach the MCA and Gerakan leaders not to be too communal.

This is Pulau Pinang. This is not Penang or British Penang. This is a Melayu state of Pulau Pinang, so a Melayu must be its chief minister.

So Guan Eng must be lucky to have been given the post by his party.

It is not a wise decision.

So no wonder he is feeling like his head is being hit by ‘pinang’ fruits falling from the skies everyday now.

The reason being he is an outsider. He has not been able to assimilate well with the local people and understand their sensibilities.

But he is lucky to be the current chief minister of the state. His worse accolade is for being the last Chinese chief minister of Pulau Pinang, although he prefers to call it Penang like he likes to live under the British administration of Penang.

So in many ways, he is more than five decades too late for the state.

I am from Melaka but a long-time resident of Selangor. I first bumped into Lim Guan Eng when he and a friend of mine, Chandra Muzaffar were campaigning for PKR in the previous general elections at an apartment building in Cheras.

The next time I bumped into him was outside of a local convenience store in Jalan Bendahara in Melaka. He had gone out of the store as I was getting out of my car. He seemed startled seeing me, especially when I was wearing dark glasses. He probably thought someone from Bukit Aman had come to accost him. There was such a fear that I could detect on his face. I pitied him for constantly being in such a state then.

His now pretends he is still very much in demand by the people in Pulau Pinang, with all sorts of scandals that are happening there which involve him or his party.

But the truth is, he will go down in the history of Pulau Pinang as not only a one-term chief minister, but also the last non-Melayu one in the state.

In fact, there is no Indian majority area in the whole country today, so the presence of the Indians and Chinese in Malaysian politics even today is because of bickering and the breaking up of the Melayu votes by Barisan and Pakatan.

In other words, if there is Melayu unity and if there is a single political party for the Melayu and Muslims in the country, the other non-Melayu political parties’ status will be changed to that of the social and cultural clubs where their leaders meet at their headquarters to play mahjong or do taichi everyday.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

LIM GUAN ENG – THE LAST NON-MELAYU CHIEF MINISTER OF PULAU PINANG? – PART I.

…THE INCREASED POPULATION SIZE OF THE MELAYU IN THE STATE WILL FORCE A MELAYU TO BE ITS CHIEF MINISTER.
By Mansor Puteh



LIM GUAN ENG CREATED HISTORY BY BEING THE FIRST NON-BARISAN MEMBER TO BE THE CHIEF MINISTER OF PULAU PINANG.

BUT WHAT HE AND HIS SUPPORTERS DID NOT REALIZE IS THAT HE HAD ALSO CREATED HISTORY OF A DIFFERENT SORT FOR BEING THE LAST NON-MELAYU CHIEF MINISTER OF THE STATE.

AS OF THIS YEAR, 2010, THE POPULATION OF THE MELAYU IN PULAU PINANG HAS SUPERCEDED THAT OF THE CHINESE WITH 670,000 PERSONS THAT OUTNUMBER THAT OF THE CHINESE WITH 658,600.

Unfortunately, the distractions the relevant people are having have failed to make them feel alarmed over this fact and what it means to their own political presence in this state.

And it won’t be long before every state in the federation, district, street and ‘pasar malam’ and shopping centers have more Melayu presence so much so that it will also make the vernacular Mandarin and Tamil schools totally irrelevant and alien even by the Chinese and Tamils themselves, as they have already started to be so now, by the insistence of their community leaders demanding to be given financial assistance, hence losing their independence.

Even now it seems strange for someone from Melaka to be appointed by the DAP to be their chief minister of the state.

Isn’t this morally wrong? At the least they could have done was to get someone from the state to hold the post.

Only in Malaysia this can be done. And only in Malaysia where non-locals are allowed to run in general elections to represent constituencies they did not know of or do not live at.

So why can’t Guan Eng continue to live in Melaka?

After the next general election the appointment of a non-Melayu as the chief minister of Pulau Pinang will become an anathema as it is for someone from Melaka to hold the post.

It is in light of the reduced political influence of the MCA and Gerakan as well as the DAP there.

The DAP’s Lim Guan Eng will have the dubious distinction of being the last non-Melayu to hold the post of chief minister of Pulau Pinang which had in the past been held by other Chinese in the MCA and Gerakan.

Population statistics in Malaysia decide who gets to scream and who is forced to keep quiet in politics and who can demand and insist and who can only watch and see what they are able to get.

The last general elections have shown the minority has become too noisy and too loud and too unrealistic in their demands. The majority has been keeping their eyes and ears wide open.

So what is happening in the island is the MCA’s, Gerakan’s and DAP’s last hurrah…

This is despite the fact that Umno had more members in the state assembly than the MCA and Gerakan ones when Barisan had the majority in the assembly then, but the MCA insisted a Chinese be given the post, or else they could wreck havoc to Barisan in the state.

So it meant that the MCA and Gerakan did not practice meritocracy but racial politics.

This they did when the Melayu voters in the state turned their backs against them in the last general elections and voted Pakatan although many may not have liked the DAP.

It’s case of ‘burning the mosquito net to spite the mosquitoes’.

And now the Melayu in the state are without a mosquito net but with many mosquitoes biting them all over…

So one can even charge the MCA and Gerakan for having given the opposition a upper-hand by not being realistic and demanding their members be chief minister of the state despite the Melayu who are now in the majority there.

They had miscalculated their action, and their folly had also led Pakatan to wrest the state from Barisan which saw them choosing Guan Eng as the new chief minister.

So he just became chief minister just because the Melayu voters wanted to spite MCA, Gerakan and Barisan for still retaining many of their veteran politicians to run in the elections.

MCA and Gerakan must accept the fact that their members can never become the next chief minister of Pulau Pinang. The post must be given to an Umno leader, or else the Melayu voters will give the state to Pakatan again.

The logic for their insistence is that they thought Pulau Pinang is a Chinese-majority state. It is not anymore as of this year, 2010.

Guan Eng’s act to move out of the official residence of the chief minister of the state on orders of his feng-shui experts, to a rented private residence is not helping him at all.

Even feng-shui masters cannot be sure that they are able to win court cases in Hong Kong.

Some of them had had failed marriages despite all the feng-shui elements and influences that they had used to ensure their continued marital bliss. Some were even robbed.

And as for Guan Eng and the DAP, the political controversies they had experienced in Pulau Pinang probably showed they didn’t have to move out of the official residence after all, since it also means that they are deemed to move out of the state, too.

I’m not playing with words; I’m just engaging in some simple feng-shui logic which is like I’m saying ‘If you move your house, you also want to move out of the state’, which is now what’s happening to Guan Eng, DAP and Pakatan.

And to add to that, it is also like he’s saying that he doesn’t like the official residence, meaning the state, but wants to live in another house – his imaginary state, and paying rent. So how out of place can he and his party be in the state?

It’s all boils down to numbers. Politics is a game of numbers. If you have the numbers, you have the say. Those who do not have them will find their voice to be weak.

But they try to compensate by shouting and squealing and making last attempts at demanding the outrageous while they still can while the Melayu have not started to count their lot to know they do have the numbers to be able to be insistent on having their way.

So when the numbers change, politics also changes. This is the law, the written as well as unwritten. There are no two ways about it especially since the minority groups in Malaysia have been using their numbers to exert their existence and demanded to be counted.

Now they and everybody also has to do some counting – or, recounting to be realistic to the changed situations in the country.

They have been doing this until their voice cracked and they start to talk nonsense.

So no wonder some of them have to use the bullhorn and gather in public so they could be counted.

Still, their voice and numbers are small and weak. Worse, they are fractured and a little startled by the new environment they are in and the growth and expansion of the Melayu Left and Right who have now started to claim their rights and who did not want their race to be left in the national economic, social and cultural as well as political development of the country.

They are confusing the others who think they are with them, when they are not. They are definitely not about to jump the Melayu ship to climb onto another junk, so to speak, which is heading nowhere.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

IN TUNKU ABDUL RAHMAN’S FOOTSTEPS IN ENGLAND. – PART II.

…RETURNING TO ENGLAND IN SEVENTEEN YEARS.




NOTE: This is the second and final part of the essay which I had failed to post earlier when I was in England because I had forgotten to save it to the blog.)

I MADE MY FIRST TRIP TO CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY IN JULY, 2009 TO SHOOT A DOCUMENTARY ON TUNKU CALLED ‘THE RESIDENCY YEARS’ AND WHAT I DISCOVERED WAS SOMETHING THAT WAS BEYOND MY WIDEST IMAGINATION.

AS IT TURNED OUT THAT IT HAS BEEN SELECTED FOR THE COMPETITION IN THE ELEVENTH INTERNATIONAL SHORT AND INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL DHAKA 2010. UNFORTUNATELY, I AM NOT ABLE TO ATTEND IT BECAUSE IT IS HAPPENING FROM 4 TO 12 MARCH WHEN I AM IN ENGLAND.

I attended the festival in 1992 when I showed some short films made by Malaysian filmmakers and got to visit Dhaka and Bangladesh for the first time. It is an interesting country. But unfortunately, I did not get to visit much of it to know more of the people and see the other areas in the countryside, and learning more of its history.

I may be a Muslim, but I did not look like one to them, with my Oriental features and long hair.

So I got a lot of stares from some Japanese women who were at the airport with their Bangladeshi husbands, waiting for their flights back to Japan, who were wondering what a lone ‘Japanese man’ was doing there because they find it strange to see Japanese men alone outside of Japan.

A bus full of Japanese tourists looked outside of their bus to look at me as I was standing on the sidewalk in Edgeware Road in the middle of winter, and they did not believe what they were seeing, a ‘Japanese man’ standing there in the snow all by himself and looking confident. They probably thought surely, he can speak a bit of English to get by in England.

And true enough when I was waiting for my flight back to Malaysia at Heathrow Airport, a manager of a Japanese car manufacturer who was also waiting for his flight on another plane, came to sit at my table and he was surprised because I spoke in English and not Japanese. He then realized I am not Japanese like him after he took a look at my business card.

I regret for not being able to return to the city and country this time so I thought I could also shoot some footage for a documentary on Bangladeshis who had worked for a long period of time in Malaysia. And I know some of them who were working in factories in Balakong and Ampang many of whom have now returned to their country.

I will try and visit the country later this year.

* * * * * * *

Cambridge University and the St. Catharine’s College stood as we walked along as though time had stood still. I was all the time thinking how from 1922 to 1926 Tunku was here; he walked on the campus path and dined in the Dining Hall where some of the staff was just wrapping.

And when I saw a toilet nearby I immediately entered it thinking also how Tunku had gone there many times to relief himself, especially in the harsh and cold winter ways.

Yes, I consider myself to be quite fortunate to be able to make a brief visit to Cambridge and some other parts of England, where I managed to locate the three buildings where the first prime minister of Malaysia, and our ‘Father of Independence’, Tunku Abdul Rahman had lodged at when he was studying in Little Stukeley in a rural district called Combs about an hour’s drive from the City of Cambridge, and at Cambridge, and London – a trip that had taken me back in time for nine decades when Tunku first came here in 1916.

My father, Puteh bin Sulong was barely ten years then. Their paths would soon meet in November, 1963 when their children got married, in a ceremony which can be considered to be lavish by the standards then as it is now, one which took place at my father’s house in Melaka and the other time at the Residency. It was barely two years after Malaysia was formed, with the expulsion of Singapura.

Tunku, as he was affectionately called, means ‘Prince’, was a member of the Sultanate of Kedah in Malaysia which forms one of the nine Sultanates and four other states in the Federation of Malaysia had gone to England to study.

He was barely 16 years old when he first took the ship from Malaya to England and landed himself in a small village outside of Cambridge called Little Stukeley in Combs.

He was unlike his other brothers and sisters who liked to mix around with the kids from the village, and he would loiter out of the palace to mix with them, until he became known by his family as the ‘Village Kid’. He was also called the ‘Dark Kid’ because he was darker than any of his brothers and sisters.

Here, Tunku was given tutorials by a Catholic Priest and lived in a building close to a church called The Old Rectory. He stayed there for a few years until he was old and qualified enough to study at St. Catharine’s College of Cambridge University.

He was to later become a district officer in Malaysia before being pulled into politics and running for elections, thus allowing him to become the country’s first chief minister and later prime minister when the country gained its independence on 31 August, 1957.

He was proud to say how he had managed to achieve independence or ‘Merdeka’ for the country ‘without spilling a single drop of blood’ which endeared him to the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth and his consort Prince Philip who became their dear friend.

Queen Elizabeth paid Tunku a visit to his modest home in Kuala Lumpur when she visited Malaysia to open the Commonwealth Games that was held in Kuala Lumpur in 1989, barely few months before Tunku died in December 1990 for which the Times of London how he was ‘Born a prince, died a Sultan’, as the headline for their report on his death.

I first got to know Tunku through his nephew who is also his first adopted son, Syed Abdullah Barakhbah, when he visited my parents’ house in Melaka (Malacca) on his wedding with my elder sister, Rokiah binti Puteh.

In my later years, I became interested in writing and photography, a hobby which later took me to study for my Master of Fine Arts in Film Directing at Columbia University in New York City.

And my brief trip to England, focusing on Cambridge was to locate the three buildings in Little Stukeley, Cambridge and London where Tunku had lodged at. It is for the documentary called, ‘The Residency Years’ I am working for the Malaysian government ministry and film agency.

Its main attraction however, is the interview I recorded with Tunku in 1988 or so, when he was very much alive, which I am using in the documentary for the first time. He spoke of many things, but what attracted me the most was on how he had gone to Cambridge to study.

Of course, Tunku had lodged at few other places on short-term basis, including the room near the old Malaysia Hall in Brynston Square where I was surprised to be told by a Malaysian friend who was renting the room, that it was also the room where Tunku had rented at when he returned to London to study in the 1940s, where his good friend, Abdul Razak and some others, would come to visit and squat with him. Abdul Razak would later become deputy prime minister when Tunku was prime minister.

Surprisingly, no Malaysian paper wanted to publish the interview, so I kept it for future use, until now – or 21 years later and 90 years since Tunku first went to England to study. I learnt that his alma mater, Cambridge University is celebrating their 800th anniversary this year, so I could see large and colorful banners hanging everywhere on campus when we got there.

I feared that some of them might have succumbed to ants and crumbled, leaving nothing at all, other than the addresses.

Fortunately, my fears were totally unfounded. This is England where they take great pride in looking after their old buildings, treating them like they had just been built.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

‘BRAIN DRAIN’ HAPPENS BOTH WAYS – WE LOSE SOME, WE GAIN SOME. – PART II.

…HOW TO EDUCATE MALAYSIAN STUDENTS AND NOT TO LOSE THEM TO FOREIGN COUNTRIES?
By Mansor Puteh



NOW CAN ONE SAY THAT TO MAKE MALAYSIAN UNIVERSITY GRADUATES MORE COMPETITIVE SO THAT THEY CAN ENTER THE INTERNATIONAL JOB MARKET IS GOOD? IT IS NOT. IT DOES NOT MAKE ANY SENSE AT ALL.

WHY MUST THE COUNTRY SPEND SO MUCH TO EDUCATE ITS CITIZENS ONLY TO ALLOW THEM TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY LATER AND SERVE FOREIGN COUNTRIES?

And I don’t think those who choose to stay back are not the ones who cannot make it abroad. They were not meant to do that, but to stay back to serve their own country and not of the others.

At the same time, there is no stopping anyone who chooses to leave the country to work elsewhere, especially in more developed countries in the west.

Few would want to go to countries which are less developed for obvious reasons that they only want to work and live in countries where they can benefit the most and their lives are easy and comfortable.

Some are even willing to forsake their identity and live in foreign countries and almost lost in the crowd of local people where they cannot take part in the activities of the society they live in.

Whereas, when they were in Malaysia, they were vocal and expressive; in their newly adopted countries, they tend to be quiet and not utter a word of displeasure, even when they are only holding to jobs which are considered to be too low for the academic qualification and experience.

Yet, they do not complain and are totally immersed with life there that they do not consider having another.

This explains why of the many hundreds of thousands of Malaysians who had left the country to work abroad and later take up citizenship of those countries, there is hardly any of them who can be considered to have excelled.

Those who excel are those who operate restaurants and hotels. There is no one who has excelled in their own professions.

Worse, they are not even able to insist on having their way with the schooling of their children all of whom have to enroll in the local schools and not in the vernacular ones that some of them thought were important to them when they were in the country.

So it is also not fun to read about the one Malaysian student who had excelled in Singapura coming up tops in the 'O' Levels proves many things.

One thing’s for sure is that this proves that the students of Singapore are not that smart to allow a Malaysian to study in the country to come up tops that they can’t even get one of their own kind to get such a result.

So it could be because we are not smart, but because they are not so.

And this should be seen as a plus for them, but a minus; because despite the first class facilities they have in their schools and perfect syllabus, their students still do not make it right to the top, whose place is taken by a Malaysian who had to wake up earlier than their students and who have to commute everyday and cross the Causeway across the Straits of Tebrau to study in Singapura.

But what about the Melayu Singapura students who had come to Malaysia to study at the universities and who now have degrees which they could otherwise not get in Singapura?

How many of the Melayu in the republic who have to leave the country to get education in Malaysia so we can do a survey on it to find out how they fare there?

This is despite the fact that he only scored 10 A-s, whereas there are many Malaysians who had managed to score more than a dozen A-s, so much so that it is not news anymore.

So those who want to think that there is 'brain drain' should look at the whole issue in a wider perspective.

Then the fact that the student is from Malaysia should be a plus point to the country and not a negative one in, that Malaysia has provided him with the right environment where he could excel in his studies.

If he were a Singapore citizen and had lived all his life in the country, then one cannot say if he was able to score tops because he will be influenced by the environment of that country which may not be conducive to him getting good grades.

It is also ironic how there are many Singaporeans with good university qualification who do not find it interesting to work in the republic. They prefer to go elsewhere to find better employment opportunities.

I am sure there are many more Singapurans who are just waiting for the right time and opportunity to leave the country to work abroad, even if they end up working in the many Chinese restaurants in England, America and Australia.

But alas, most of them can only fantasize living and working abroad. And alas again, none of those amongst the better qualified amongst them has been known to excel working in those countries.

At the same time, there are also Malays who had chosen to work abroad and teach at some of the prestigious universities in England.

One can now say cynically that it is good for the government to improve the quality of education in the country since that can bring about 'brain drain' where Malaysians with first class degrees are taken in by other countries to serve them.

What Malaysian universities and the education system should be doing is to create the necessary manpower to supply the needs of all the industries for the development of the country and its economy.

And they should be done in such a way that find some of our best qualified persons opting to work abroad thus defeating the real purpose of educating Malaysians.


‘BRAIN DRAIN’ HAPPENS BOTH WAYS – WE LOSE SOME, WE GAIN SOME. – PART I.

…HOW MANY SCHOLARS FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES WHO ARE WORKING HERE?
By Mansor Puteh



YES, THIS IS WHAT MANY MALAYSIANS HAVE FAILED TO ASK THEMSELVES.

THERE IS EVEN AN ASSOCIATION OF EXPATRAITES LIVING IN THE COUNTRY WHO PUBLISH THEIR OWN MAGAZINE.

BUT SADLY, THIS ASSOCIATION IS DOMINATED BY THE ENGLISH-SPEAKING OR EUROPEANS; WEREAS THERE ARE MANY NON-ENGLISH PERSONS WHO ARE WORKING IN THE COUNTRY WHO ARE NOT MEMBERS OF THE ASSOCIATION.

IF THEY ARE, THEN THIS ASSOCIATION WILL BECOME ONE WHICH IS NOT ENGLISH OR EUROPEAN-DOMINATED BY AN ASIAN ONE.

In fact, do they also not want to consider all the factory workers from Bangladesh, Nepal, Vietnam and Myanmar as ‘expatriates’ too, so they are qualified to be members of this association?

Maybe an expatriate is someone who is qualified while a foreign labor is someone who is not. But who gets to define the term anyway?

There’s talk about it lately. Some people are complaining why are there some Malaysians who had opted to work abroad, thus benefiting the foreign countries.

But the truth is that there is definitely no brain drain of politicians from Malaysia to other countries.

Because I don’t think there are countries which want to buy over politicians from Malaysia, especially those who claim to be smart and want to hang around forever.

And there’s definitely no brain drain of opposition politicians who seem to have strong support from America and also Australia. But so far none of these countries are interested to buy them over.

There can also not be any editor of newspapers in Malaysia who can be bought over by newspapers in other countries, including those in Hong Kong, India and America even because many Malaysian newspapers are fond of promoting these countries.

There is just a bit of brain drain from Malaysia to other countries, but they are mostly cooks and laborers in Chinese and Melayu restaurants in England, Australia, New Zealand and some other countries where they do not have people who can cook Chinese and Melayu food that well.

So far there is no brain drain of our politicians, opposition leaders and other NGO personalities; university vice-chancellors, professors, high ranking police offers and other military personnel.

The type of brain drain that happen only involves those who will find ways to get out of the country, because they had already created in them some contempt of it, especially if they have a professional degree or not much tertiary education and who marvel at the thought of being able to live abroad where they can earn more doing the same thing and not be bothered by local politics and other nonsensical social, cultural, linguistic and religious issues.

They accept the language of the majority there – English, or even French and other languages where they have to learn from scratch – because they know they cannot use their own mother tongue.

So they have to adapt and be fully assimilated in these countries and become poodles, without any fangs to show to anyone. No political party to be members of.

This is what all Malaysian ‘brain-drainers’ have become. Yet, not surprisingly, they are happy and contented at not being able to excel in whatever they wanted to do.

But I doubt if there are many Malaysians who is that qualified who can find employment abroad. And none or not many Malaysian Chinese who have been known to want to flee to China, Taiwan or even Hong Kong to work there.

The most that they will do is to go to Singapura which is not too far away from Malaysia. They are scared to take up permanent residency in China or citizenship.

Some Chinese and Indian-Malaysian criminals have been known to flee to China and India to hide. But they are not expatriates. And this sort of ‘brain drain’ is definitely welcome by any Malaysian but not by the law here or there.

If there is brain drain of Malaysians abroad, chances are they won’t go very far working in the foreign countries; they will be just another worker. None has been known to excel. They still long for Malaysia, but not so much with their off-springs who won’t have a clue about it until much later in their lives.

And what they are not talking is just how many foreigners who are qualified and who are working here in Malaysia.

Brain drain works both ways – we lose some, and we gain some. This should even out the equation and hence, debate on this issue is frivolous.

The real problem is why send Malaysian students abroad to study when upon their return they are not given preferential treatment and they are often told not to rest on their laurels.

Many who are in new industries are forced to create everything – to form their own companies and bid for tenders and jobs together with those who are already in the business for a long time and who had created an uneven playing field.

It’s well and good to provide Malaysian students with the best education available so all of the can score good grades and enter university and become useful to the society.

But it’s bad planning if many of them leave the country to work elsewhere, thus denying the country its much needed manpower to develop its economy.

It is even worse when those who are qualified are sidelined or even sabotaged by the government and their agencies who open their doors to those whom they know and who are not well-educated.

Just how qualified are the CEOs of the government-linked companies or GLCs? Can they survive on their own? Why must they be retained for so long? They should be allowed to leave their posts and see if they stand on their own?

Did the government know what MARA and JPA or the other scholarship and study loan agencies are doing and who they had sent abroad to prestigious universities to study?

Unfortunately even MARA and JPA are not able to trust those whom they had educated so that they can be offered important and interesting posts. They just do not know how to do it, to attract the attention of the government and Melayu leaders.

One of the ways is for MARA to establish an association of MARA scholars so that those who had benefited from them can be grouped together to form an interesting think tank.

If MARA had done this since they first started to offer scholarships and study loans to the Melayu and some Bumiputera students to pursue their tertiary education abroad, surely by now they can easily have a few hundred thousand members, all of whom are well-trained and educated in all fields.

But this has not happened.

I have written to them and also to the relevant minister, but they didn’t seem to care.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

IN TUNKU ABDUL RAHMAN’S FOOTSTEPS IN ENGLAND. – PART I.

…LOCATING THE THREE BUILDINGS IN ENGLAND WHERE THE FIRST PRIME MINISTER OF MALAYSIA HAD LODGED AT IN ENGLAND IN 1919, THE 1920s AND 1940s.
By Mansor Puteh



(NOTE: This essay is posted in two parts with the second part being posted in four days’ time if I can find internet access when I am Nottingham, England. I am returning to the country again from 4 to 16 March, to visit Nottingham, Cambridge University and the City, London and hopefully Oxford, Liverpool some other places.)

I FIRST ARRIVED ON AIRASIA X AT STANSTED AIRPORT OUTSIDE OF LONDON ON 16 JULY, 2009, WITH MY NEPHEW, SHAHREZA WHO SERVED AS MY ASSISTANT WHO DROVE OUR RENTED CAR SO I CAN GET TO THINK AND SHOOT STILL PHOTOS AND VIDEO AS WE TRAVEL AROUND THE COUNTRY TO GO FROM ONE PLACE TO THE OTHER.

I THOUGHT IT WAS NICE TO FLY INTO STANSTED INSTEAD OF HEATHROW WHICH IS FURTHER SOUTH, SO WE GOT TO MISS THE TRAFFIC CONGESTION ON THE ROADS AS WELL AS PASSENGER CONGESTION AT THE AIRPORT.

We visited a Malaysian friend, Ajar Mohammed, living with her English husband, Colin Hewitt who took us to their cosy home in Hitchin for a snack and rest. I had not seen ajar in 21 years. She had had worked for a long time at the British Council in London before retiring few years ago.

My first stop was Cambridge where we visited Grange Road where Tunku had lodged at a house Number 11. We drove there after we had unpacked our bags at the lodge where we were staying at in Cambridge, so when we finally got to the road, it was almost dusk, but bright enough for us to be able to shoot video and still photos of the building.

The road was straight and long; and it was close to the university and St. Catharine’s College where he had studied at. So this is how they spell the name of the college instead of Catherine’s. The plaque at the college confirms this although some tourist brochures and information I got elsewhere said so.

I got to meet one of the tenants of the house called Anna, which she said has now been split into three owners, but the room on the third floor at the back now belongs to another person. The woman who came out of the house to greet us is Anna. She owns one part of the house.

However, we were not fortunate because the owner of the part where Tunku’s room was at called Tom, was not around as he was away from the city. I did not get to meet him until I left the city to go to Nottingham and on to London.

But I was delighted to be able to visit the house in Grange Road where Tunku had lodged at when he was studying at St. Catharine’s College and also visited the college and university.

And near the house where he had stayed at, there is a football field and club. So now I could guess how Tunku had become interested in the sport and making it in the university team.

I had read a bit about Tunku’s life from the many books and essays that had been written on him and also in my only interview with him and remembered how he became emotional when he talked about how he was not allowed to stay at St. Catharine’s College even for a term because he was passed over, because of the color of his skin, coming from Malaya then and not looking like the other local students.

The British Advisor of Malaya, William Peel was summoned by the Sultan of Kedah to come to Cambridge to explain to the dean of the college that Tunku was a prince in Malaya which shocked him. ‘Why didn’t you say he is a prince?’ asked the dean, who immediately offered Tunku a room.

Tunku declined because he thought it was already too late for him to stay on campus as he was already getting used to living off-campus and that he was about to finish his studies there.

Ajar came to visit us at Cambridge and together with my nephew, Shahreza, we drove to Little Stukeley. After some confusion on the direction we finally managed to locate The Old Rectory and met its current owner, Carmilla Payne.

She seemed to be quite surprised to see us knocking on her door and with my camcorder switched on, but was delighted when Ajar related to her how the first prime minister of Malaysia had once lived in her house, 90 years ago.

She then allowed us access to her property to shoot the building from outside, although she did not allow us to shoot the room on the fourth floor where Tunku had rented 90 years ago, because her husband had not returned home from work.

I was delighted to be able to stand outside of the building just admiring it, and thinking how 90 years earlier Tunku was there, with his friends and tutor. He was just 16 years when he first arrived to study there.

I discovered another thing which interested me. It was a horse racing track near Little Stukeley. Could it be the reason why Tunku became interested in horse-racing, even when he was in his adult and also prime minister he showed a tremendous interest in this sport and keeping horses, although I am sure he did not bet on them?

So I have managed two of the three houses where Tunku had lodged at in England, leaving with one more which is in London.

But before I could go there, I had to do some chores in Nottingham University and the City, where Shahreza and I stayed for three days. It was for me to look for the locations of a feature film called ‘Malaysian Snow’ which I hope to be able to do later this year. It is also going to be the first Malaysian feature film to be set in England, and on the experiences of a small group of Malaysian students. It is also my master’s thesis for my university in New York City.

The building in London where Tunku had stayed is in Barkston Gardens, a place I had not been to before. Ajar, Shahreza and I went there from Stevenage where Ajar had put the two of us, in her other house which was vacant.

The area in Barkston Gardens did not look old with the buildings being kept clean and tidy. There is a small garden in front of the four-storey buildings which stretch along the roads around it. And the building Number 9 stands somewhere in the middle.

I shot some video footage and still photos of the building, just as one of its owners was seen to be parking her vehicle outside of it. She was probably wondering what we were doing there outside of her flat, and we also did not approach her to explain why we had come there to shoot video and still photos of her house. Maybe someday, she will know why.

I am now almost done with the editing of The Residency Years documentary, with the shot in the police helicopter to be done on 27 August, which I want to put at the front of it.

The title of this documentary is based on the name of the official residence of the first prime minister of Malaysia, The Residency. Actually, it was the official residence of the British Resident of Malaya before it was taken over by the new Malayan government after its independence on 31 August, 1957.

My brother-in-law, Syed Abdullah and sister, Rokiah returned to the Residency on the first day of the filming of the documentary, and Rokiah noticed a safe which is in Tunku’s study. She remarked how it had not been opened before because they did not have the key or combination.

So I highlighted the matter to an editor of a local Malaysian English daily who put out the story on the front-page of his paper, The Malay Mail, which attracted considerable public attention and that of the government which found someone to open the safe few days later. And they found some 44 personal items belonging to Tunku which he had kept since 1970.

I didn’t realize the production of the documentary had managed to unveil the secrecy surrounding the mysterious safe, and perhaps on the life of Tunku, especially when he was a student at Cambridge in England, too.