Sunday, March 31, 2013


By Mansor Puteh

Just what’s wrong with ‘Corner Shop’ the novel by colored-British-Pakistani and English university-trained author, Roopa Farooki? Hell of a lot.

I have just read her novel which is set in England and also France, the two countries where she and her small family shuttle to live in. Unfortunately, she, like the few other colored-British with Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani and also Sri Lankan backgrounds all try to sound and behave like the British if not English.

How could anyone not want to notice it?

They do not tell the real stories about how those people had come to England or the Britain to live a better live. There is too much value judgment, and self-criticism, other than the inherent hatred of the color of their own skin, races and even religions.

This is what I hate the most. But this may be what the publishers comprising of the English themselves may like, so that they do not have to be blamed for encouraging the colored authors to come up with works with promote the better sides of their own cultural, social and religious backgrounds, which should add better colors to the overall literary world in England.

The worse novel I have seen coming from a colored-British is ‘Brick Lane’ by Monica Ali, which has also been turned into a feature film, or a television movie, the book of which I have read and the film I have also watched. Both get my thumbs down.

Monica Ali comes from Bangladesh. But the novel is not set in the real Bangladesh, but the Bangladesh of her mind.

In fact, this is what’s really wrong with the colored-British authors, who are from these countries in South Asia, and the fact that most of them are women.

They do not seem to have much fascination with their own countries; they let fly their imagination to come up with preposterous stories to write on, with realism flying out of their windows.

There are many other more important things and issues that they could write on, but they did not bother to do that; instead, they like to dwell on sex, sex, and liquor and unIslamic behaviors of the immigrants to Britain, like them, who are all divorced from British way of life and that of their own.

It is the sort of novel the English or British and westerners could get on their own. But for Roopa it would be just the way for her to get a publisher for her novel, who would otherwise not be enamored with works which deal with true stories of colored-British in England, who face rejection, prejudice and also not being able to fit nicely into mainstream British society and life, even though this may be the sad truth. 

Brick Lane, which I have visited is nowhere near the place that is seen in ‘Brick Lane’ the novel and film or in Monica Ali’s convoluted mind.

Here is also where ‘Corner Shop’ fails and it fails miserably. The author, Roopa like her counterparts, Monica and Roma Tearne who wrote ‘Brixton Beach’ sound alike. Their novels could have been written by one person using different names.

The issues they deal with are also the same, as do their description of human characters and behaviors.

Some of them are Muslims and who are from Muslim countries, but they do not seem to realize that Muslims generally do not dwell on these characteristics, that concentrate on how humans, especially the woman look like, and how much this that they have and do not have.

This characterization of human forms and features are those which were first introduced by the Pagans and later on, their counterparts in modern-day America, who like to make passes.

Many of these have been found in novels and books written by Muslim writers who are mostly women. How shameful!

I read ‘Corner Shop’ feeling ashamed that such a novel could have been produced by someone from Pakistan or someone who have Pakistani background, who many would presume to still be Muslims.

There is no Muslim virtue in this book; they are many non-Muslim or unIslamic virtues that one can see.

No wonder, this and the other novels could never be translated into Urdu, Arabic or Farsi for the readers in countries that use these languages.

And all these novels and the others do not have the right historical, cultural, sociological, political or religious perspectives that can be used to form the better themes and stories for the characters to move about.

Even the way the characters in ‘Corner Shop’ talk sound like they are American cowboys; they do not sound like Bangladeshis, Pakistanis or colored-British at all.

They were not created by the characters themselves but by the author herself, which is tragic which only means to suggest that the characters were not formed properly and they were still the figment of the imagination of the author, so all the characters sound like they are the same person who all seems to have similar patterns in their thinking and which also exhibit their likes and dislikes.

How could someone from Dhaka in Bangladesh just fly off to Paris to confront his son who is studying in the city and the two of them are engaged in verbal abuse?

This is not even the English or the Americans themselves.

But it makes good drama, seeing characters with impossible backgrounds and in implausible circumstances engaged in such a highly verbalized scene. They can only be created by the infertile minds of the author herself.

Any Bangladeshi, or for that matter, Pakistani, Indian or Sri Lankan who has made it to Paris or any other city in Europe or America is seen to be a successful person by his own parents and family members.

And whatever spat they had had earlier is erased, as they expect the guy to be better off compared to them, and who could help provide them with a better future too, especially if they succeed in life later.

There are many Bangladeshi and Pakistani immigrant workers working in the factories in Malaysia that I know of; none of them forget their families in their countries. They provide them with financial support sending most of what they earn as factory workers, and wasting most of what they have on cigarettes.

I am sure the situation is also true with the Bangladeshis and Pakistanis and also Indians who have managed to find whatever employment in any factory in England, so that they have become major breadwinners for their families in their countries; they are not a burden to them anymore.

So why bother to dispute with them on anything?

Roopa found a cheap and easy way out to create additional mess in her ‘Corner Shop’, but I am sure it is not convincing. It is just her infertile creative minds which had made her do that.

So her novel and the others sound similar, with the different female colored-British authors looking like they had studied writing at the same university under the same professor; they who have not felt any pang of guilt for being able to come up with such novels which I dare say are garbage. British literature can do without these and them.   

In the end all the characters appear like cartoons with so thin a description of them.

In fact, even the first Arab to win the Nobel Prize for literature, Naguib Mahfuz too follows in the same trek, when he dwells mostly on unIslamic and non-Muslim characteristics and behaviors of his characters.

I have read one of his novels where he describes the decadent lifestyles of some Egyptians who if their names are changed to English or western ones, can still fit better.

So what’s wrong with these authors? Plenty. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013


By Mansor Puteh

The Tamils in Sri Lanka are no different than their brethren in other countries where the early British colonists had taken them to slave for them in rubber estates, who do not want to fully assimilate with the majority locals. But they who harbor intentions of leaving the country where their ancestors had come to seek a better livelihood that India could not, otherwise, they would not preferred to remain in India.

The Africans who were forced or kidnapped or ‘stolen’ by the White folks in Africa and sent to America especially assimilated with the White majority; they blamed the Whites for practicing apartheid and racial segregation for not allowing them to assimilate.

Yet, in Sri Lanka, the Tamils not only do not want to assimilate, they also want to claim independence from the majority Chingala.

They launched military attacks forming the Tamil Tigers or Tamil Eelam, until their leader, Prabakaran was killed. His sixteen-year-old son, too, was later killed, so the Prabakaran dynasty or leadership could be terminated.

However, the African-Americans today did not want to blame the Whites for stealing their ancestors and selling them to the White landowners in America, citing that they had given them, the Blacks hope.

The Africans in America can be said to be fully assimilated with the Whites in the country and they have also adopted the White way of life speaking in English and eating their food. Africa is the least in their minds.

So few, if ever, African-Americans had opted to return to their native America.

But the Tamils in Sri Lanka still clamor to be independent from Chigala rule. And the Tamil minorities in few other countries, too, do not wish to assimilate; they build their own schools and force the governments to issue land and offer financial assistance.

But, those Tamils and also Chinese who have managed to leave the country to go to England, America or other White countries in America and Europe do not cause the majority population any disturbance; they fully and readily accept their lot living as minorities in these countries.

They do not speak in Tamil or Chinese, but in English, French, German or whatever language the majority there uses everyday, with many of them also using local names as their own.

It is with this perspective, I read Roma Tearne’s novel, ‘Brixton Beach’, and felt some trepidation and pity for her Alice who may very well be her. So the novel moves on the highly superficial and pitiful level with limited historical, psychological, sociological perspectives. 

But it is not Roma’s or Alice’s problem that she was placed in such a sticky situation, but those that were created by the early generation of Tamils in Sri Lanka who thought wrongly how they too could be empowered if they persisted, going beyond political means to take up arms, and in the end, they felt the full brunt of the power of the majority Chingala.

Brixton Beach’ is a novel written by a self-imposed exile from Sri Lanka in England called Roma Tearne. Despite having a Chingala or Singalese father and Tamil mother, yet, she feels more like the former, closer to her mother than father, and being treated or mistreated by the former too. So herein lies her predicament and dilemma of being rejected by the general society in Sri Lanka.

Her political posturing had nothing to do with her, but with those who were earlier, who had tried to champion a cause which could be described as a lost one, which ended with the destruction of the Tamil Tigers or Tamil Eelam group headed by Prabakaran.

But for those in the small group of Chingalas who had fled from Sri Lanka to emigrate to England and other countries in the west, their plight did not end with the death of Prabakaran, the more they dwell on their personal discomforts and issues without fully trying to assimilate fully in the new society they willingly embrace.

This novel dwells on issues which may be Sri Lankan in nature, but they also apply to the plight of the minorities in other countries, and they are mostly the Chinese and also Tamils, especially those in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar and other countries, including America and the west.

At the same time this novel can pass for one which can be described as pathetic. It can also reflect the changing times in Sri Lanka and also the other countries where British forces had once dominated.

To add to the spice of life of the main characters in this novel, there are issues concerning the persecution of the Tamils by the Sri Lankans and the military which they control.

Being a minority, the Tamils did not have much of a choice; they could assimilate or reject such proposition.

Surely, there were other minorities in Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, who had assimilated well so that their communities are not persecuted, such as the Melayu community and the others.

Fortunately for these communities, they are small and sometimes fractured, so that they could not create leaders amongst themselves to push for greater alienation or self-rule, as what the Tamils in Sri Lanka had tried to do with the establishment of the Tamil Eelam or Tamil Tigers, whose leader Prabakaran was finally killed few years ago, with his sixteen-year-old son, the unofficial successor to the movement, who was shot by the Sri Lankan forces a few weeks ago.

‘Brixton Beach’ may also be about the minorities in the other countries, such as Malaysia, which also has a sizeable group of Tamils, Chinese and other minorities, who were mostly brought into the country during British colonial rule.

Therefore is there is anyone to blame, they are not the majority natives but the British colonists who had caused much consternation, destruction and personal anguish which now allows for the publication of some books and production of some films to be shared.

Monday, March 25, 2013


By Mansor Puteh

Greg Mortenson may not agree with me a bit. But this is how I see what he is doing in Afghanistan. And I may not be drinking ‘three cups of tea’ with him on this.

In more ways, Greg is more Muslim and Islamic than all the Arab and Muslim leaders, who only like to show they are so but not do what they are supposed to do as prescribed in the Holy Koran; with some of them have oil in their hands and some blood – from their own kind mostly. 

He has made full use of the many three cups of tea that he had had with the tribal elders and other individuals, but not the Arab and Muslim leaders who seem to have drunk it and got drunk in the process so much so that they are incapable of forming any rational thinking and action.

Some may have been drown in oil and also gold and diamonds to join in the company of the infamous character known by many Arabs and Muslims as Karun whose name and misdeeds are mentioned in the Holy Koran.

So every time Greg’s opens a school anywhere in Afghanistan, by piling up stones, what he does is in fact, dropping them down on the heads of the Arab and Muslim leaders who only know how to throw stones at each other.

I have just finished reading Greg Mortenson’s ‘Stones to Schools’ and found it inspiring.

So in more ways than one, Greg has been collecting stones to pile them one by one over until he is able to construct a school, the stones that the Arab and Muslim leaders had caused to become loose.

How on earth could someone from so far away in Montana find his way to Afghanistan, a Muslim country which not many Muslims would dare even to mention, let alone go to for fun?

I have not been to this country before. The closest I have been to is Iran, and for some strange reasons I bumped into an Afghan refugee working as a waiter in a restaurant who approached me and who thought I was his countryman. I am not; I am Malaysian.

There is however, one issue I want and can dispute or take issue with Greg, which is the one concerning the virtues of having a proper education which he overgeneralize and also agreed by some other characters in the book that were mentioned, how those who are educated would invariably be drawn away from fanaticism.

Is that so?

It that is so, why then the better educated American generals and politicians and other lobbyists in Washington, D.C., are too happy to cause hardship to befall onto people in Afghanistan, Iraq and some other countries, which are not necessary Arab or Muslim ones, but also Catholic ones such as Cuba and the others in South America?

Aren’t the Americans who had benefited from the high quality education that is available in the country, to know how to better behave themselves and not over-react to impulses that were created by the Zionist zealots and other self-serving individuals in the Israeli Knesset and political or military organizations?

American leaders have tended to become more vulnerable to such pressures.

And as I write, American president Barack Obama is in Palestine, after making a brief stop at Tel Aviv, Israel, where he made some general repetitive statement about how both countries – Israel and Palestine ought to return to the peace table.

This is old story. And it is happening as more and more Palestinian land is seized by the Zionist forces.

Coming back to ‘Stones to School’ one cannot imagine the difficulties Greg had to overcome simply to be able to live in Afghanistan which had been destroyed beyond comprehension.

And what more for him and his Dirty Dozen in the country and the Central Asia Institute (CAI) in Bozeman, Montana to be able to hold the fort to pursue a common goal of seeing more and more female Afghans going to school to get a decent education.

It is a responsibility of the state which they had neglected.

And for that matter it is also the responsibility of all Arabs and Muslims all over the world to ensure that Afghans get not only a semblance of education but a good one.

Unfortunately, the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC – Oh, I see…?) does not seem to care.

Each time there is a OIC summit, the fifty-seven Arab and Muslim leaders talk about things that do not matter to the Muslim Ummah; while their wives to on a shopping spree buying luxurious personal items that they could not get in the stores in their own countries.

Yet, most of them are wives of leaders of some of the poorest countries in the Muslim World; yet, their only interest is to get better clothes, shoes and handbags.

Their personal welfare and appearance is more important and pressing for them to look after and not that of their own people many of whom are walking barefooted and who do not get enough of food to survive.

Greg’s appearance in Afghanistan therefore can be seen as a huge blow not only to the, Oh, I see…OIC, but also to the more wealthy Arab financiers and political leaders, who live in palaces employing many from the Philippines.

And it is also ironic how the Pakistan government could confer the Sitara e-Pakistan award which is the highest civilian award that the country can offer to anyone, on Greg. This to me shows the depravity of their own mentality.

Whereas what Greg has been doing over the last many years is a huge blow to this particular country and also to Afghanistan, and all the other Arab and Muslim countries, yet, none of the political and financial leaders seem to know of it. They are just happy to offer Greg the award and feel satisfied that they had done justice to him.

They might as well give him tons of stones to build new schools as opposed to the star award that he can only hang around his neck which he could not use to build any school with.

They did not even have the decency to ask themselves about what they as a government could do for their own people, whose financial and human resources could be put to better use to help them.

And I did not think it was Greg’s intention to get the sort of attention from Pakistan; he would rather get some financial aid and in kind to allow him to build more schools in other remote areas to benefit more students, both male and female.

Final note: It is worthy to mention David Patraeus who was joint chiefs of the American army, and the then president of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, both of whom had to leave office in shame. Yet, just yesterday, Pervez said he would be returning to Pakistan in his bid to run for re-election as president, six years after he was forced to flee from his country to live in exile in Dubai and Saudi Arabia.

Afghans and many Arabs suffered and are still suffering because of the flawed foreign policies of America which seem to favor the artificially-created Zionist state of Israel, for without which there would be peace in the Middle East with the Arabs and other Muslims enjoying better relations with Americans. So no new stones would have to be used to build schools in Afghanistan.

This is the issue which ‘Stones to Schools’ did not discuss. 

Friday, March 22, 2013


By Mansor Puteh

Normally, watching the Academy Awards show live is fun, especially if you are in the film industry or a film buff.

One can see which film and which filmmaker involved in the nominated films win which Oscar, without having to wait for the news to be reported by the local media the next day.

No doubt it is the most watched live show in the world attracting eight hundred million viewers from more than 120 countries.

So being one of the viewers who get the chance to watch it through satellite television is interesting as much as it is fun.

It is also fun for me, but up to a certain point, when it can become quite an anxious moment.

The part or segment in the show which I now dread to watch through is the ‘In Memoriam’ section.

The last Eighty-eight Annual Academy Awards ‘In Memoriam’ had one of my professors who had passed away, which I only knew while watching the show.

Andrew Sarris, died in June, 2012 at the age of eighty-one years. He taught History of Motion Pictures in my first semester studying at the Film Division, School of the Arts of Columbia University in the City of New York.

My first professor who died and who was mentioned in the same ‘In Memoriam’ section of the 1984 Academy Awards show was Samson Raphelson.

He was eighty-one years when he taught The Screenplay course which I took. He started his career in screenwriting during the Silent Era for some of the most prominent directors, while his wife was a danger with a popular group at that time.

In 2005, another of my professor, Frank Daniels died, and was also mentioned in the same segment of the awards show.

Frank or Frantisek was from Czechoslovakia and had established himself as a screenwriter in his native Poland.

He later went to head the School of Cinema Studies at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles before going to Sundance Film Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah.

One thing I liked about him was when he, as co-chairman, declared that the final examinations were canceled.

All the students were shocked, and relieved.

Frank later said that the students were all smart; otherwise, they would not have been admitted into the university, and because of that the examinations were irrelevant.

I liked to play truant for his Screenwriting course, but despite that he never failed me for the assignments he gave to the students.

There were few others who appeared in the same segment which I might have missed, since I did not watch the show live and whose names were not mention in subsequent reports in the media here.

But they were all important film personalities in their own right, and who went on to teach at Columbia where I was fortunate enough to be the only Malaysian student to be admitted to study film at.

I remember receiving the offer of admission to work on my Masters of Fine Art in Film Directing at the university, when I was in the final semester working on my Diploma in Mass Communications at the School of Mass Communications or Institut Teknologi Mara (ITM), which Columbia had not known yet then.

I don’t think there was any student from ITM, now UiTM or Universiti Teknologi Mara in Shahalam, who had managed to gain admission into any of the Ivy League university while still studying and had not graduated yet.

And I also did not think it was right or good for ITM or Mara Institute of Technology to be renamed Mara University of Technology.

In Malaysia an institute of technology is always seen to be inferior compared to a university.

But don’t they know about the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or MIT which still retained this name without ever wanting to change to a university? If those at ITM knew a bit more about MIT, then surely they would not have agreed to the change of name of the institute of technology which could be a university too without it ever been called one, so ITM is still ITM without it being changed to UiTM.

However, there were also other segments in the Academy Awards which thrilled me, such as when someone I knew personally had won an Oscar nomination.

And each time I returned to the school I would see notices posted on the bulletin boards announcing how students of the school had won Student Academy Awards which also gave the Oscars.

In fact, even when I was studying, one of my professors won an Emmy for best editing for a documentary.

I watched him live on television in my boarding room on campus, and the next day when he returned to the school to teach, he did not brag about his winning the Emmy, and the other students, too did not go out of their way to congratulate him on his win.

This is what I liked the most studying film at such a school where the professors and students did not look back; they only care to look forward.

The other thing I also liked a lot is when all the professors, associate professors, adjunct professors and doctorate holders, did not care to call themselves by their posts; they refer themselves by their own names, mostly their first names.

And those who had received honorary doctorates from the university or the others also did not paste their titles before their names.

I can say that I had benefited tremendously from my experience studying at the school, where the professors are called ‘instructors’ and they frown being called ‘professors’ or ‘doctors’.

Yet, some of their ‘instructors’ do not have masters’ degrees or doctorates. Andrew Sarris only had a Bachelor’s degree from Columbia as did the many other ‘instructors’.

And Columbia University is often in the top dozen most important universities in the world. It is a university which started at the King’s College with eighteen students in 1754, but which went on to join the Ivy League together with the other seven universities – Harvard, Princeton, Cornell, Yale, Brown, Dartmouth and UPenn.

And the faculties are mere departments, with each of them having a chairman and the school, a dean, all of whom did not have airs of importance about them.

The Film Division then had two chairmen, Frank Daniels and Milos Forman. It is the Milos Forman who won Oscars for best director for ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ and ‘Amadeus’. Milos is now semi-retired and eighty-one years old.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


By Mansor Puteh

Prem Rawat does not know it. It is his native India that needs him more than the rest of the world. If he cannot turn India to become the most peaceful country in the world, then he should not think he can do it to the other countries in the world.

I do not want to mince my word or be insincere when I say Prem Rawat is annoying and irritating, the more he exerts to say the same things again and again. He says, ‘Peace is the absence of war!’ I find this statement to be ludicrous. Nothing can be inaccurate than this.

My personal advice to Prem Rawat is for him not to think too highly of himself and the words that he can spout out from his mouth. I find his speeches to be utterly boring. I have not heard anyone who can be as boring as Prem Rawat.

He prefers to travel the whole world to promote peace, yet, he would not mind leaving his native India to experience confusion and in a state of economic backwardness. What are Prem Rawat’s priorities? Shouldn’t he first serve Mother India?

There is something wrong with his voice which sounds strange and odd for me to listen to. He does not have an American or British accent, no doubt, but his own peculiar one.  

He appears in a promotion clip pleading to whoever that cares to listen to him by admitting that his preaching does not involve any religious considerations; for his only aim is to promote world peace.

And he says it so casually like what he says does not mean anything other than for him to spout words. His face and forbearance do not show he is suffering from seeing how the world is not in peace, and that is why he wants the rest of the world not to suffer as he does.

Well, George Bush and George W Bush too said pretty much the same things that they aimed to promote world peace, and they meant it, by bombing Arab and Muslim countries to show their true dedication to their cause.

The United Nations (UN) too was established to promote world peace.

But like the Bushes, the UN, too, had failed miserably to achieve what they had set out to do. They and the UN have left the world in pieces.

Yet, Prem Rawat thinks he can achieve wonders, by using mere repetitive words – which unfortunately are the same words that he repeats again and again and yet again, by beating around the bush.

He uses simple English and highly simplified logic and some common sense to get by before a non-critical crowd who looks confused. They look like groups of professionals who are also educated, but who still needs to be pacified with soothing words to get by their daily tribulations. 

Does Prem think his soothing and repetitive and simple words can affect change in the world, that those repetitive words are more effective than the words found in all the sacred texts and other Holy Books that he goes far ahead of all the world’s major religions and other beliefs?

He does not want to admit it but he seems to be trying to show to everybody that he is a prophet. More than that he seems to also think that he can do what the Popes in the Vatican could not do, to promote peace in the world.

Even the Roman Catholic Popes and other Christian pastors have failed to promote peace amongst the believers of these faiths.

In fact, even the Muslim ulama have all failed to do that amongst the fellow Muslims in the Arab and Muslim World.

Prem Rawat thinks he can do a better job of promoting world peace than these folks have been trying to do.

In fact, he also seems to think that he can do a much better job of promoting world peace, that the UN cannot do, since its inception long ago, which has seen how the world has been inflamed by wars and political and military disputes causing many countries to be destroyed; and they are Arab and Muslim ones.

And he has been traveling all over the world to do that, not because he likes to travel, as he continues to say, but because he feels that he is being heart by many.

Yet, despite having been all over the world the last forty years to promote world peace, and to tell his listeners that they can achieve peace within each of them, yet, the world is not any better today than it was forty years ago.

That was in 1973 when he started on his trek to promote world peace. It was few years after the October War or Yom Kippur War in the Middle East.

And the world became worse since then.

In fact, the world is worse off today than it was forty years ago when Prem Rawat started to go all over the world to preach peace.

The question is: Where on earth did he preach peace? And who are the people who he had spoken about peace?

It is quite obvious that he has been speaking at the wrong places and to the wrong crowds, people who have no real authority on their own societies and countries, but only on their own selves.

They are the ones who may have experienced personal peace, but they are not influential enough to promote peace in their own societies.

Maybe he is also not fully aware of his real target audience; and they are not the ordinary folks who do not seem to have anything better to do other than to listen to him say things which are quite obvious, which reflect badly on the listeners for not having the common sense to even know all of what Prem could say, and again and again.

How did the audiences feel enamored with what he is saying the last forty years, and what else can he say today that he had not say in the last forty years?

Maybe he has not said that much, so no wonder the world today is worse off than it was forty years ago.

The truth is that Prem Rawat is not talking to the right people and in the right countries.

He should make an attempt to talk peace to the Zionist elders and their supporters, and in the Zionist state of Israel and also their lackeys, the American politicians, militarists and think tankers and other pro-Zionist lobbyists in Washington DC, who all have not care too much for world peace.

In fact, if we were to look at it, the world turned upside down when the Zionist state of Israel was created with the full support of America and the United Nations.

The impact of such a creation of a state sitting in the Middle East, cannot be described. It has also caused Africa to be stuck in the wilderness and in the Dark Ages, with the Arab World and Muslim World in flames.

Therefore, it is Prem Rawat’s grave mistake that he has not dabbled in religion as well as politics, since the world problems which has destroyed world peace can be said to be the result of political and military intervention.

So how can Prem Rawat preach world peace if he does not talk about politics and religion?

The religion he relies on is definitely the religion he was born into, which is Hinduism, for which he has been accorded the honorific title of Maharaji.

He did not say he had studied the Holy Koran and the other religious books to gain extra knowledge and wisdom to come up with the exhortations that he spout to his audiences all over the world.

The only difference between Prem Rawat and the other mystics is that he does not walk about wearing saffron or yellow robes, and pretending to be serving the world, when in truth he may be serving himself alone and no others.

He prefers to wear suits and speaks in English in an accent which is so peculiar that with his strange voice, I find to be irritating as well as annoying.

His facial gestures, especially when he freezes all the muscles on his face and blares a fixed smile makes him look like a clown, especially with almost no eyebrows on his forehead. He does not know that.

And all of his listeners have been swayed into thinking that just because they are able to sit through his lectures, that they can attain personal peace.

But alas, they are being had. They may be in tune with the world, but it is a world that is destroyed by the Zionists and nuclear threat coming from America, that they all do not seem to know of or care about. All that they care is to attain the peace that can be got from within themselves, as what Prem Rawat likes to repeat again and again to his audiences.

Yet, the world is not experiencing peace, because Prem Rawat does not care so much for the world; he only cares if there are people coming to listen to him for a while and who will leave the auditorium feeling elated after hearing his repetitive speeches and exhortations.

Can Prem Rawat tell me which country that he has visited in the world is in peace with itself?

And if there is one, which country is that?

There are so many countries in the world which are not at peace with themselves. And what is Prem Rawat going to do with these countries and their people?

Why is he only visiting the countries which are generally economically better off with those who come to his lectures comprising of people who are also economically endowed.

Has Prem Rawat ever visited the poorest countries in the world, which are mostly in Africa, South America, and Asia and in the other regions?

Has he been to the Zionist state of Israel and preach peace to the Zionist supporters and leaders? 

I hope Prem can find in himself how he may be conning everybody the last forty years by saying that they do not have peace in their lives when they do. But they think they do not have it so they flock to come and hear him speak and pay whatever amount they are asking which allowed Prem to lead a glorious jetset life. 

Maybe Prem is suffering from jet-lag from having to travel around the world saying pretty much the same things. He does not say things which are race, religion and place specific to tailor to the needs of the different groups of people he is speaking to. 

No wonder he needs to travel so no one can say he is saying the same like he has the last forty years. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013


By Mansor Puteh

The Chinese Lunar new year ended yesterday, 25 February after fifteen days of festivities, with open houses organized by some political entities on both sides of the divide, and the illegal firing of banned firecrackers and fireworks which had tended to worked up some people including the Chinese who do not favor such a boisterous and noisy activity, which they said they could do without.

These celebrations are no doubt, a cultural festival, and not a religious one, which imposes on the Chinese on who they are, although there are some Chinese who take it as such, by visiting the temples by offering their prayers and perhaps some alms hoping that the new year would turn out to be good, after they had chased the devils who might have caused them to suffer some miseries through the last year.  

But what many others including the Chinese do not know or realize is that they are also for them to know and remember from where their ancestors had come from.

It’s the same with the Hindu celebrations called Deepavali or the Festival of Lights and Thaipusam, which are celebrated with fervor by them each year.

Whereas, the Melayu always have their ‘kampung’ or villages to return to during Hari Raya Puasa and Hari Raya Haji celebrations or at anytime they want to.

Some however, have not got any, having lost them when their old ‘kampung’ was redeveloped into new townships and residential areas, or their parents and grandparents had passed on and with them living elsewhere near the places of employment.

However, new ‘kampung’ emerge when they start to form new family units where their members would congregate during Hari Raya Puasa or Hari Raya Haji and other family gatherings.

The Melayu always find ways and means to meet and gather.

But not for the Chinese who do not have such places that they could go to, unless if they count the many so-called ‘new villages’ that their ancestors had been holed in, as their ‘kampung’.

And they also did not want to be reminded of where their ancestors had come from. They are India and China.

And the more they think about their ancestors, the more they are affected by such thoughts about how they are still descendants of immigrants from the two countries to Tanah Melayu.

So no Chinese especially, in the right mind would want to return to such places as they are not pleasant places for them to return to.

So no wonder, during the Chinese lunar new year celebrations, many of them flock to the tourist destinations for a holiday with their immediate family members, with the many others not knowing where to go or what else that they can do, after having spent the evening the day earlier for the family dinner with ‘yee sang’ as the main dish.

There are some of them who enjoy firing crackers and fireworks, to annoy everybody and indirectly tell everybody how lonely they are not having anywhere to go to, with no ‘kampung’ of their own.

That their real ‘kampung’ is in South China where most of their ancestors had come from.

This is how many Melayu would want to translate the actions of the Chinese who fire crackers and fireworks during their lunar New Year celebrations.

As for the Indians, they also face similar issues, of not having a proper ‘kampung’ to return to, other than the rubber estates that their grandparents or great-grandparents had been sent to live in.

These are really not pleasant places for them to flock to during Deepavali, especially when such estates have been closed down and the houses their ancestors had lived in had all been demolished.

In the end, many of the Chinese and Indians in Malaysia do not have pleasant memories of their childhood or that of their parents and grandparents, and they now exist in limbo of not knowing who they are and what they are.

The Chinese Lunar New Year and Hindu Deepavali therefore can be very disconcerting to many of them, especially to those who have still not found it expedient to accept reality that they are not in China or India, although many still want to harbor the thoughts that they are still very much there.

Few others want to think so; so they fantasize a lot about how they are still back in China and India.

Fortunately, for them, they have few political parties which are Chinese and Indian-based that they can relate to, which they thought they could hope to get a better life, even though it may be fleeting and slowly losing their relevance in the New Malaysia.

Yet, there are sizeable groups of Chinese and Indians who have accept facts and reality; they know where they are and who they are, so they do not want to make unusual demands.

They are those who have accepted the fact that China and India do not provide them, but Malaysia and the Melayu do.

The younger generation of Chinese and Indians are unlike the older generation; they are accepting reality and facts better.

They speak better Melayu unlike their parents who still could not form a sentence in the language properly and whose Melayu vocabulary is limited to at the most one hundred simple words.

So no wonder they find themselves lost in the sea of Melayu who are slowly encroaching their turf, so wherever they go, they are confronted with the new reality, that they cannot live on their own anymore like they could before, especially when they were in the ‘new villages’.

Now they move a lot more with better transportation and not just that, television has brought them out of their limited confines so that even if they do not go out of the old ‘new villages’ the New Malaysian reality could still come to them especially with the so many nationalist songs which are constantly aired on television that they cannot escape from seeing and hearing. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


By Mansor Puteh

I have traveled by plane quite a bit over the years, having visited thirty-five countries so far, with more to come… And being scammed while traveling may not necessarily be the norm, but such experiences can happen.

But one can still be scammed even without ever leaving the country; the small traders who are mostly the Chinese know all ways to do that on the unsuspecting customers, and the Melayu are mostly the victims.

Not a day passes by without anyone not being scammed.

I normally brush aside those minor scams as the hazards of international travel.

But the scams I had experienced which I thought were unusual now that I can see them this way, and on hindsight need to be jotted down and shared.

Below is the list of six scams I had experienced while taking a trip to Amman, Jordan some years ago with some of them connected with each other.

Scam Number One:

I wanted to go to Amman, Jordan to then go by land to Ramallah in Palestine where I was invited to show some of my films and television dramas at the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center.

It was the first time the center was inviting someone from Malaysia to do this and I took it as a recognition. It was just before the Second Intifada so it was okay to get the permission from Wisma Putra to allow me to go there.

This scam involves the purchase of a return ticket on an airline which said they had run out of economy seats, so they literally forced me to buy a business class return ticket from Kuala Lumpur to Amman, which I did, since I had to take the flight to go to Ramallah as the screening program had been arranged.

However, it turned out that the economy cabin was not totally jam-packed, as I found out after I sat in the business class cabin, which had three other passengers, who are Japanese.

The airline just wanted to get more passengers sitting in the business class cabin so that the food they have booked for the flight could be better utilized.

I was literally forced to eat some of it despite my reluctance since ‘dinner’ was served at two o’clock in the morning, when I or the other passengers would have normally gone to sleep.

The female flight attendant, who forced me to eat, got me to have some of the food she served on china.

But I ended up getting stomach upset afterwards since my stomach was not used to having food at such an ungodly hour.

Scam Number Two:

Scam number two happened when my luggage was broken into. It is a large tote bag I had been using on all my trips till this one, yet, the zip was cut. But nothing was lost.

The airline offered compensation and I bought a leather bag in Karachi where I had to be on a one-day transit before catching the connecting flight to Amman.

I then gave the old bag to a hotel staff who was happy since he could still use it except for the zip which was faulty.

I used the cheap-looking tote bag because I thought it would not attract much attention. But my mistake was that since I was flying business class, the luggage tags and stickers say the luggage might have got something valuable inside of it.

Scam Number Three:

A porter at the Karachi Airport immediately carried my luggage to the waiting airport bus which was taking me and the other passengers on transit, and charged money.

We gave him a five-Malaysian ringgit note, since I did not have small notes in American dollars that I carried, or he would not be happy. And all he did to get the money was to carry my light bag for ten feet from the airport building to the airport bus.

I am surprised the airport authorities did not stop these illegal porters from cheating international passengers when it should be very easy for them to do so which is not to allow them anywhere near the airport building to crowd around passengers just arriving at the airport.

Maybe the airport management officers also get a cut from the deal.  

Scam Number Four:

The function at the cultural center happened before I arrived as I was stuck with immigration, and only arrived in Ramallah on the last day of the event.

Another scam happened at the airport outside of Amman, Jordan. I had to stand in a long queue with the other economy class passengers.

When I went to the front to enquire the airline staff immediately removed the ‘business class’ card on the desk, so I had to join the other passengers who were all flying economy.

Scam Number Five:

This scam happened after I had handed my main luggage to the airport staff, who became incensed that I had complained to him about not being treated as a business class passenger.

He then pulled the tags on my luggage that would take it to Kuala Lumpur. Instead it put a Lahore tags to it.

I didn’t know the implication of this until I landed at Kuala Lumpur.

I could not get my luggage and lodged a complain. A week later the airline staff later called to say they had located my luggage in Lahore and they would be sending it to Kuala Lumpur.

The airline staff delivered my luggage twelve days after I arrived at Kuala Lumpur, and I was relieved because I had my ten rolls of film in the luggage, which I had exposed in Pakistan, Jordan and Palestine, including my first visit to Baitulmukaddis or Jerusalem.

Scam Number Six:

Flying business class with so few passengers in the cabin turned out to be a nasty experience.

Immediately after the plane took off from the airport in Amman, many of the passengers in the economy section rushed to grab whatever seats they could get in the business class cabin.

In the end the airline treated all the business class passengers much like the economy ones.

So it does not make any sense flying business class on this airline which does not treat the passengers accordingly.

The airline staff also did not make any attempt to get the economy class passengers to return to their seats. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013


By Mansor Puteh

…The singers exhibit traces and influences of the musical traditions popular in America – soprano, jazz, rhythm and blues, rock and heavy metal, etc, which many non-Americans cannot beat or compete, and whoever can scream the highest note and hold it the longest is considered to have a wonderful voice.

American Idol is an offshoot from the Pop Idol program first appeared on British Television. It was supposed to have spread like wildfire throughout the world with Malaysia having its own version called Malaysian Idol.

Few other countries in the region too had their own versions. But somehow the program in Malaysia and other countries ceased.

In America the program is now in its twelfth edition.

But the sad reality is that the talents which America can expose or create are mostly of the same types.

The other countries which used to have such a talent show, simply disappeared because the organizers could not bring out new talents that they could in their first attempt when everything was new and the gimmick fresh.

It also created copycat talent shows such as ‘X Factor’, ‘America’s got talent’, and so on…

The following issues of Whatever Idol brought out talents which sounded the same. So in time the program died a miserably death, leaving with American Idol.

Having watched some of the talents on the twelfth edition of American Idol I come to the realization that this talent show is not much of a big deal.

The irony is that the winners of the past programs have also practically disappeared; they could only last for a while before their careers simply disappear.

American Idol only brings out the worst talents amongst those who like to fantasize about being the new American superstar, overnight.

It is really about how rude young Americans are and can be and who do not care for the social, cultural and also moral norms of the society which they collective can claim to lower the more they exhibit their talent, atrocities and absurdities and behaving like they are not human beings but aliens from outer space.

And the scores of thousands of Americans who watch the show live, must all be fantasizing how they would be happy to display their limited talent and be with it, and if they have to cry and say outrageous things, they would, and be proud of it.

The main thing is that they want and can do this in full view of the public and not be ashamed of it.

And they also have their close relatives and friends to support them regardless of whether they are talented or otherwise, as long as they know someone who is brave enough to get on the stage and perform before the four-member jury of popular performers of America.

Nothing else matters. The world for them is just the small stage in the auditorium or stadium where the American Idol is recorded, which has become the new cathedral of personal salvation for many young Americans.

Bringing in Nicki Minaj as a member of the jury does go a long way to help prove this notion that Maria Carey or Steven Tyler could not have done on their own.

Unfortunately, the past winners of American Idol have all failed to sustain the attention they could get from having appeared in the show and to go on winning the best performer award.

Even the last year’s American Idol has virtually been forgotten and neglected.

The real American musical superstars are still the types that rise slowly in the charts and into the ears and hearts of the listeners in America with some overflow in other countries, including in Malaysia, where the television stations and newspapers like to over-promote them like they are American’s lackeys who have no brains to surrender their media to the Americans, and all for free…

No singer or entertainer or performer in countries outside of America can spring a surprise by exhibiting singing talents like the Americans youth who grew up on all the musical genres that stretch from jazz to heavy metal, with the soprano stuck in between, so that their musical talents allow them to stretch their voices to such a high pitch which the judges of the American Idol and crowd prefer.

The longer the singers stretch their high-pitched voices or noises the better it seems. This seems to create the connection that the judges want to get from the singers.

The talents in other countries did not grow up with such a musical tradition or experience cannot ever come close to their counterparts in America, however much they try to achieve. They end up being copycats.

So we have copycat heavy metal bands, and other groups performing a host of styles, all culled from pop videos and music programs that they could see on satellite television and the CDs that they can buy in the stores.

Malaysian Idol and Whatever Idol, therefore, wanted to create such a scenario whereby those who think they are talented simply had to copy, instead of being original, since there is nothing original that they can ever create or think of.

Gangnam-style is a one-off sensation. Its singer called Psy could not pass the second round in American Idol or even South Korean Idol, if there was one because he could not pass the judgment of a few persons sitting behind a desk who won’t be impressed with his style or musical talent; he can only become a sensation before an unassuming crowd of unknowns in cyberspace.  

Psy, which means ‘human faces’ in Hokkien could not reinvent himself. He can try to collaborate with another international (read American) performer so the duo or trio, but his popularity chart will slow a slide in his career.

In fact, he has yet to perform a full concert. So far he has only appeared briefly on the stage all over the world, singing the only song he has on his sleeve, and doing not much else.

Will he suffer the same fate as the singer of ‘Lambada’ from Brazil who became an international sensation some years ago with the song that had an unusual beat?

May be, and may be…