September 25, 2008

on nothing in particular

Posted in Happenings, Malaysia, My Home, Random Ramblings, Social Responsibility According to Me at 10:12 am by meldee

Don’t forget.

Canon EOS Kiss, The Annexe @ Central Market ladies’ loo (heh), Kuala Lumpur.

***

If they gave out awards for the worst bloggers ever I wouldn’t be surprised if I were up for a nomination. As long as they didn’t notify me via my blog, for obvious reasons 🙂

Apologies for not replying comments etc, I’ve become remarkably bad with this sort of stuff in general so please don’t take it personally! I’m not even sure why I still keep a blog anymore (sort of like a token pet chicken, that you can’t bear to, um, slaughter for dinner, nor give it away or set it free because you’ve sort of gotten used to it).

I expect to be blogging a bit more when I’m actually on my 2-month sabbatical from All Things Academic–what a luxurious (or hellish, knowing how easily I get bored!) break that will be!

My final thesis deadline is the 14th of November–that’d be my third and final edition (good gods I hope so). A few more rewrites are needed–my third and fourth chapters need to be majorly beefed up in terms of theory and I’m supposed to have a full, rough-ish version by 24th October.

I really never expected this year to be so draining, though I imagine if I hadn’t been such a busybody everywhere else and stuck my fingers in so many pies I wouldn’t be feeling so frazzled! I recall blogging about this, or at least writing about this in my diary (I think this latter possibility is more likely as I don’t think I caught on to the whole blogging phenomenon until I went to college) when I was in Form Five or something when I was trying to teach myself Physics, slog three hours daily over Add Maths prep questions and memorise endless facts for History for SPM, on top of being Interact Club President, President of the English Society (I think? Good grief everything feels so long ago!), go for volleyball training for MSSD, etc…and I think there was the Taylor’s College Debate thing I did as well, on top of like a million other things!

Given all that I suppose I, of all people, shouldn’t be surprised that I feel like a goldfish with its fins tied together. Perhaps it’s no wonder then that everybody else but me seems to have confidence that I will pull through and come up swimmingly!

I’d normally believe it but I really do find myself dreading things that I normally looked forward to…such as holidays, because holidays mean my productivity levels plummet because I’m, er, actually on holiday, or that the uni’s locked up (as it will be these Raya holidays–I cannot imagine anyone else coming in, and the security guards are always very grumpy about having to buzz me in because my swipe card doesn’t work on public holidays!) and since I’ve reformatted Isadella (It’s a Dell, lah) I’ve been stuck with a FOSS version of Microsoft Word which makes me lose all my formatting…gaah.

Anyhoo, moving on.

I had the privilege of doing some rapporteuring for an advocacy workshop on migrant workers in Malaysia and one of the issues that were inevitably brought up was the status of refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia. Now, I’ve always known that these issues have been out there, heck I’ve even done work with refugee children before.

But I don’t think I really quite grasped the seriousness of the issue–we’re talking about real human beings here who should have the right to safety and shelter and healthcare and education, but they have almost nothing–Malaysia doesn’t even recognise the status of refugees, some of which have been in this country for over 15 years!

I was completely appalled and had to almost hold my jaw off the floor as I heard anecdotes (off the record, of course) about cases of abuse and violence. There were even some pretty heated arguments and debates about what refugees should get and supposedly what they want, which I overheard parts off.

Which made me sort of go a little quibbly inside because from looking around the room I know most of the people there were not refugees, and probably didn’t really have to give a damn, but they did. They don’t have to get so involved, but they do. Which made me again think of this Amnesty International saying, that ‘the only thing necessary for the persistence of evil is for enough good people to do nothing‘.

And it just made me want to try to save the world all over again, you know?

A poem shared with me by a friend not five minutes ago, that made me think of refugees, because my friend reads my mind.

If Porcelain, Then Only the Kind
by Stanislaw Baranczak

If porcelain, then only the kind
you won’t miss under the shoe of a mover or the
tread of a tank;
if a chair, then one not too comfortable, lest
there be regret in getting up and leaving;
if clothing, then just so much as can fit in a suitcase,
if books, then those which can be carried in the
memory,
if plans, then those which can be overlooked
when the time comes for the next move
to another street, continent, historical period
or world:

who told you that you were permitted to settle in?
who told you that this or that would last forever?
did no one ever tell you that you will never
in the world
feel at home in the world.

Translated by Frank Kujawinski.

***

Selamat Hari Raya to all.

I wish things in the country would bloody settle down already so issues of actual importance can be worked on–I’m sick of all this faffing around. Roar.

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July 15, 2008

on power

Posted in Malaysia, My Home, Social Responsibility According to Me, Uni at 3:22 pm by meldee

You. Listen to me.

Canon EOS Kiss, World Press Freedom Day at Central Market, Kuala Lumpur.

***

So there have been a whole lot of stupid stuff going on in the media lately. Stuff that’s contributed to my rage (see previous post), which died down for a brief moment (short attention span–what did I tell you) but is now back in full-force.

I read the most ludicrous, badly-written article by a Melati Mohd Ariff who alleges herself a journalist for the national news agency.

The link is available here, and basically slams homosexuality to the ground, likening it to a ‘cancer’ that is ‘spreading its tentacles’. Now, everyone is entitled to their views, but seriously folks. What adults do in the bedroom with consent (and I cannot emphasise this enough) is nobody’s business but their own.

There are heaps of enraged responses already floating around, one of my favourites is the letter to the editor written by Michelle Gunaselan, available here.

It irks me to no end that pseudo-journalists put out stuff like this, with no right of reply to members of the LGBT community; neither were any sexuality rights NGOs asked for their opinion. Using such value-laden terms and coming from a ‘National News Agency’ like this is akin to propaganda–but then again hey, what’s new?

Seriously. The policymakers of this country seem obsessed with sex and nothing but(t?). There are so many other pressing issues out there–abused children. Poverty. The dismal state of education (Bahasa Melayu or Bahasa Malaysia? Maths and Science in English or Malay?). Families abandoned by fathers who then go on to marry other women and start up new families, repeat cycle.

It pisses me off so badly, especially because during times like these I think of my kids and wonder when their voices will be heard. One of the girls, D, is sitting for her UPSR examination soon and she cannot even read in English, what more hope to write essays?

Get your priorities right.

***

On a more humourous/ominous note, being a sessional has its benefits.

I now have access to the timetables of all the students. I can even filter according to name, subjects taken and days.

Totally awesome possum.

July 1, 2008

bitchin’

Posted in Happenings, Malaysia, My Home, Social Responsibility According to Me at 2:41 pm by meldee

I wrote this letter to The Editor of The Star (as you would) yesterday, but it didn’t come out—am not disappointed or pissed, because knowing me, I won’t shut up about these things 😛

(And with the recent spandanglings involving Anwar? Mad.)

Anyway I thought I’d share it here, and leave it up to you to make up your own minds.

Mind you, I’m not asking anyone to take sides—just be careful and know that this could happen to you. In a way I’m glad it happened to me, because I am aware of these things—I’d hate for it to be someone who’d not say anything.

And..ahem…I’m sure it’s pretty clear which club I’m talking about.

***

Dear Editor,

I am writing about a recent incident that had me disturbed and disappointed when I paid a visit to a new club in Sunway. Being that is part of an international chain of clubs, it is understandable that they have certain standardised rules and protocol, among one of them allowing a one-time entry after the cover charge has been paid.

While I understand that this measure is put in place for crowd control, this incident I experienced I felt, was bordering on the unreasonable.

At one stage, I wanted to leave early for home. As I had driven there with a friend and she did not want to leave yet, I requested that she and another friend walk me to my car that was parked some distance away. I did this because I am conscious that there have been too many instances where people are accosted, raped or kidnapped while alone at night.

The bouncer at the exit, however, was adamant that once my friends had exited the club they would be required to pay for re-entry, even though we explained to him that my car was a good distance away and that I was alone.

While I realise that I made some mistakes on my part, namely having parked so far away in the first place, I feel it does not justify the attitude the club bouncer had to deny me the relative security of having my friends escort me back safely.

If he could not make an exception for my friends to re-enter, he should have at least offered to escort me to my car personally, or ask one of his colleagues.He was also rude about the whole incident, which I feel is unacceptable.

I would like to say that this has nothing to do with chivalry, it is more common sense and concern for another human being.

This is a brand-new club that has not even been officially opened yet—while they pride themselves on being the only smoke-free club in Malaysia I think they should also take pride in something as simple as extending concern over the safety and comfort of their customers. If they truly wish to provide a good overall experience, they should remember little things like this count, too.

In my opinion, club bouncers need to take every measure to ensure that the safety and well-being of its patrons are well and truly taken care of, not merely just inside the clubs. Club management, too, needs to ensure that their parking lots are well-lit and have one or two security personnel patrolling the area.

I have every right to go out once in a while to socialise with friends and should not have to live in perpetual fear of my safety. I try to be as proactive as possible but sometimes, like in this instance, I was not careful enough.

I would like to remind other young women to adopt the following precautions in light of my own errors: if you can avoid it, do not drive out alone at night. Always park in brightly lit-areas and don’t stall in your car after you get in—always lock your doors and be on the alert for shady-looking characters. If you have to commute alone, make sure you constantly update friends or family of your whereabouts and what time you are expected to be home. And lastly—never drink and drive.

June 15, 2008

on doing it for the kids

Posted in Kids, Malaysia, My Home, Social Responsibility According to Me at 9:28 pm by meldee

Hello?

Taken with an Olympus FE-190 digital camera in Sibaju, Kalimantan, 2007.

***

I’ve been working with children at a shelter for abused children for almost a year now. It’s something I look forward to and do with a few close friends, all who are wonderful and patient people. We do activities with the kids, and try to mix it up so that they (and ourselves) don’t get bored—we’ve done dances, yoga, art, kungfu/kickboxing/taekwondo…it’s usually a whole heap of fun 🙂

Yesterday was particularly trying, though. Most of the others in the group couldn’t make it, so it was just myself and another volunteer. To keep it simple, we decided to play games with the kids—the Memory Game (where you study 20 items for 1 minute, then cover them and try to remember as many as possible) in pairs (so the younger kids wouldn’t feel so lost) and Blind Man’s Bluff.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I promised a ‘prize’ to the pair that remembered the most number of things in the prescribed time period. There were two pairs that came in at a tie, so I gave out four sweets. As is the case with children, most of them also came up to me later asking if they could have one too, to which I said ‘No’ as some of them didn’t give in their papers, or score as highly as the others.

What I didn’t anticipate, however, was that a ruckus would break out among the children over the simple reward of sweets. Among the younger ones, fine, I know it’s inevitable for some sort of tantrum to happen, but it was when the older girls (they are about 12) started throwing tantrums I was utterly shocked.

Fights even erupted among some of the boys because one of them started taunting the others with his ‘sweet victory’; needless to say they were none too pleased with that. What made it even more difficult was that there were four new children, and as the other volunteer said, the kids are probably still trying to establish a new ‘pecking order’ among them, hence the fisticuffs and tears.

I tried explaining it to them as slowly and gently as I could that things don’t always happen your way. You need to put in effort and try your best to succeed at most things, and if your friend receives an award and you don’t, you should try to be happy for them, not be jealous, and tell yourself that it could be your turn the next time around.

The younger kids had trouble understanding this, and one of the new boys was mumbling fiercely about how I should just go away and that he didn’t care about what I was saying. One of the ones who we’ve known from the beginning, K, started crying continuously, which kind of set off a new episode of tears from the rest.

One of the older girls tearfully said that she thinks she understands what I’m saying, because when she gets an ‘A’ in class for her tests, her classmates get jealous and refuse to talk to her. And it made my heart bleed, because yeah, while we say that kids will be kids and they’re too young to understand ‘grown-up’ things like this, I don’t believe in that. I reckon that it’s never too early to inundate children with the idea that a merit system exists, and not to expect things because they are their divine right. Rewards should be earned, even if it’s just the sense of satisfaction they have in their achievements.

One of the girls, S, rather sullenly asked me why I was being ‘like this’, and that she didn’t like me anymore because earlier when I came in, she’d said ‘hi’ to me and I didn’t respond. This distressed me a whole lot, and I took her aside to explain that this week we were seriously understaffed and that I had so many children clamouring for my attention at the same time, and that I didn’t mean to ignore her and it certainly didn’t mean that I didn’t care for or love her. This made her eyes glisten with tears, because I gently told her that I couldn’t give all my time to only her, and that she had to learn to share.

She gave me a hug and said that yeah, she understood, but actually she was upset because I didn’t give her a sweet. (Sigh)

Another thing I noticed while I was checking their Memory Game list was that even among the older children (aged 10-12), they had such incredible difficulty with spelling. Even the oldest of the group struggled with spelling ‘cermin mata’ (spectacles/glasses/sunnies) and ‘rantai’ (necklace)! Which made me wonder how the girl that got ‘A’s in her tests did so, unless it was for maths.

This is another clear indication that the education system has failed. These children are urban children, who live and study in government schools in the Klang Valley. They know songs like ‘Smack That’ (to our horror, heh) and keep up with the latest movies, and yet, they can’t spell or read even Dr. Seuss’ ‘Cat In The Hat’.

Of course, there are so many arguments about why this could be. It could be because, simply, the children are ‘bad’ students; it could also mean that they’re (and I hate to say this, because I really don’t believe it) ‘stupid’. It could be an indication that their teachers are lackadaisical, or that their parents didn’t do a good job. And I wouldn’t dispute the last point, because these children are from abusive homes…but at the same time, don’t their teachers notice, or care that a 12 year-old girl struggles with reading words like ‘goldfish’?

Maybe one could even argue that teachers are not paid enough to care. And that some teachers are idiots to begin with (which I agree on this under certain circumstances), which then leads one to question why such people are teaching in the first place. Which just makes us go round in circles again.

And if this is already the case for children living in the suburbs and urban areas, what are things like for children out in the villages or outskirts?

Sigh.

It’s so easy to say that yeah, things are as such; but honestly, to witness it firsthand, for it to be true for children that I love and care about, it makes me want to cry. And yes, it does make me want to try and save the world but I know there’s only so much I can do.

Just a thought, for all the aspiring teachers and educators out there (and let this serve as a reminder to me, too). Teaching is an extraordinary profession, because it requires a great deal of patience, compassion, and passion for learning and the desire to impart this knowledge upon those who don’t know. The minute you feel any of these elements waning, leave the vocation for a while and recover the part of yourself you’ve lost. Because I won’t deny that it’s an extremely exhausting and draining area. But you owe it to your students, who look up to you and admire you more than any other adult (yes, maybe even their own parents!) to give them the best that you can.

I know, though, that this is impossible. There will always be those who teach for the mere sake of it, and not for the love of children or knowledge, but for money and power. There will always be teachers who are arrogant, who have lost their sense of wonder and who see the children as pests and not as people. And this makes my heart bleed, because it’s such a vicious cycle.

I promise (to myself, and the Divine) that I will try to give as much as I can, be it love, time, knowledge or just a smile, to all the lives I am blessed enough to touch and perhaps impact. I want to be a better person, not just for myself, but for the kids.

One of the girls at the shelter, M, asked me what I worked as. I love M, especially, because she’s got these adorable chubby cheeks and the sweetest smile. She’s such a perfectionist too, and so energetic. Perfection is her ultimate goal.

I told her I was working at M.University, and her eyes widened. “Akak, will you be my teacher when I go to university?” she asked. “Of course,” I said, “But you have to finish primary school, then secondary school, and do really well; then only you can come to university.”

She looked up at me with her trusting brown eyes and smiled that smile that always melts my heart. “Ok, can. Ya, I will come to university, but only if Akak is my teacher.”

In my heart, I whispered to her that I think I already was.

May 12, 2008

over the hum of the drum

Posted in Random Ramblings, Social Responsibility According to Me at 9:50 am by meldee

It’s been one of those weeks where time zooms right by you, and before you know it, it’s Monday morning again. You’re dragging your ass out of bed and guzzling coffee, then stuck in traffic listening to the same old crap on the radio, and before you know it you’re in the office (first one on the floor for a week in a row, woots *cocks evebrow sardonically sif to say “This is the drama that is my life”*) Facebooking and trying to find any means to not do work.

I must say, these two years since I’ve gotten back from Australia have been possibly the most trying, ever. I’m not a patient person, and I like getting things done like, five minutes ago. Which is why it kills me when I know something big is coming but I have to be patient and count the days, and in the process bloody behave myself and do what I am supposed to.

Which of course, is the bane of my existence: my Honours thesis. Progress on it is blood-vomitingly slow; I’ve only begun my fieldwork interviews and am still close to tears trying to wrap my head around the theoretical framework—I even have a bloody diagram, believe it or not, revolving around Foucault’s notion of the subject and discourse, before lifting ideas from Baudrillard, Butler, Spivak, Bourdieu and de Certeau.

I don’t think I’ve talked about my thesis so far, or at least what I’m doing—since I’ve presented it already I might as well share my genius *cough* with the rest of the world. It is a qualitative analysis of the use of Facebook by (as a sample which can hopefully be extrapolated to other forms of activism) Malaysian cyberfeminist activists as a vehicle for offline practice mobilisation, titled “The New Face(book) of Malaysian Cyberfeminist Activism: A prelimiary study”.

Trust me, it sounds a lot cooler than it actually is. My lovely (Sagittarian) supervisor, or rather, one of my supervisors (one’s a Cancer, another Sagittarian! Oh la la!) has been (oddly?) quite firm in me aspiring for something doable rather than grandiose, because as she constantly tells me, “It’s an Honours project, Mel! Not a PhD!” (I love how Sagittarians use nicknames for others and themselves so easily). My Cancer supervisor, on the other hand, clicks his claws and peers at be from behind his spectacles and wants me to draw out timelines and budgets. Lovely, but typical.

So there, that is my year-long project. Throw in a smattering of activism, and hair-raising attempts at tutoring (which I love, though it is incredibly frustrating—I blame the Malaysian educational system that makes our students so complacent with all the spoon-feeding. There is little or no initiative, and they expect a quick fix for a problem that requires consistent and thorough work done in their own time—I am only a tutor, not a miracle worker! I can’t bloody help if nobody does their readings *sigh*), coupled with the madness of my homelife, a long-distance relationship and you have a crazed woman.

Though I suppose I can hardly complain; life has been comfortable for me and I have too many blessings than I know how to give thanks for. And I suppose ‘complain’ is a term too harsh, because I’m not—I’m just ranting, because I realise the fault is fundamentally mine, for being impatient and brash and…superior (told to me by a dear friend, whose intentions I am uncertain of—regardless, it stung, because I’ve never thought of myself in that light).

I suppose then this time not getting what I want when I want it (boo) is supposed to be a lesson in cultivating patience. And humility. Among other things. I’m just moaning over it because it’s like having to eat one’s veggies at the dinner table—you may not necessarily like it, but you know you have to because it’s good for you.

***

I have discovered a few facet of my personality when I am drunk—friends know me as the ‘clean-up drunk’ or ‘the happy drunk’ or ‘downright stupid’, but drinks last Saturday brought out the impassioned politics spouter. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I got so hot under the collar talking about the Malaysian judiciary, Pakatan Rakyat and how racialised politics came about in this country (citing Farish Noor’s The Lost Tribes of Malaysia talk in tipsy spurts) over frozen Margaritas.

It also hit me over dinner that I am having a full meal that I can afford to pay for with friends whose company I enjoy. I am sound physically and to an extent, emotionally and mentally, and I have options. It made me sad, thinking about what’s going on in Myanmar now—Myanmar, Tibet, Africa, the outskirts of KL even. And I think while it is selfish, I had to stop thinking about it because it brings out the feelings of helplessness and anger—something I tell myself often, “What can I do? I’m just one person.”

Melody Melody quite contrary, how does your garden grow? With silver bells and cockle shells, and pretty maids all in a row.

At times I think I am the biggest dork this side of the planet. Then I think of ministers in Malaysian parliament and I stop feeling so bad.

Nobody can deny that there will always be things bigger than oneself, and more work cut out than any one person can take on. But I believe if everybody does what they can within their capacities, something can and will get done, right? I guess I just need to mobilise myself in my moments of humdrumity and remind myself that I am a cog in a wheel.

And I just need to remember, in the immortal words of Dory, to “just keep swimming, just keep swimming swimming swimming…”

February 1, 2008

sign for safety/ hunting for equal footing

Posted in Friends, Happenings, Sad Stuff, Social Responsibility According to Me at 11:16 am by meldee

There’s been a lot going on lately, which while I suppose hardly counts as a valid excuse for not updating my blog regularly, is a truism. I am often drained after work, and can hardly muster the energy to go out with friends, let alone blog.

First of all, as some of you may have read, a friend of mine tragically lost his girlfriend, and many others lost a good friend who was respected and admired, in a bus crash that shouldn’t have happened.

Read more, and sign the petition to up the safety ante of especially those who take long-haul bus trips at Bus Crash No More, a blog/information centre started by friends and sympathisers of those who perished in the crash.

My heartfelt condolences go out to friends and families of the victims, and all those who have ever lost someone they knew in a road accident due to someone else’s negligence.

****

On another note, while undoubtedly not as somber, some of you may know that I am now working on a temporary basis at a women’s NGO in PJ. While I’ll admit it’s not as stuffy and stoic as I thought it would be, it’s also extremely draining due to the constant rejection I’ve been getting while making requests for sponsorship for our fund-raiser.

All I can say is, if you believe that Malaysia still has a long way to go in terms of men and women competing and being respected as equals; if you believe in the elimination of violence against women; if you believe that obscure laws that discriminate against women need to be changed; if you believe that women and families in crisis need to be helped and have someone to turn to; if you believe that education is the best long-term solution out of these issues…

Please support AWAM’s endeavours to raise funds to sustain their many services to the community. For the past 20 years, they have been behind the scenes, quietly and sometimes, not-so quietly bringing about the changes that we need and so easily take for granted.

The fund-raiser to be held is also in conjunction with International Women’s Day on March 8th, aptly themed ‘Financing for Equality’.

Find more details at the AWAM website, or alternatively, check out the Facebook Events page.

Many thanks.

xoxo

January 19, 2008

empowered

Posted in Reads, Social Responsibility According to Me at 11:52 am by meldee

Thank you everyone who saw my letter to the editor in The Star yesterday (my third letter in two weeks, woots! A friend joked they should just give me my own column already, heh) and expressed your support.

It wasn’t easy deciding to share this with…uhh..pretty much the entire country and I know I will have to face the consequences. There will be unhappy parties from the uni (I anticipate more hate blog-entries about me, but la dee dah so what it just proves I’ve touched a raw nerve) and perhaps some who’ve read it will think, “So? Doesn’t she have any sense of humour?”.

I refer to my letter “Sexual Harassment is Not OK“. Yes, I’ll probably be questioned by relatives on my experience during Chinese New Year, etc, but you know what? I don’t care. I’m proud that I have the guts to speak out and I will reiterate this fact here: I AM NOT A VICTIM.

Yes, I was sexually harassed. But instead of keeping quiet about it, I empowered myself and spoke out. I shared my experience. I told people who’d previously thought there wasn’t anything wrong with it that there IS, that it’s a violation of their rights.

And now, it heartens me even more to find that I’ve accomplished what I hoped to do: inspire other young women out there to speak out.

There were two more letters in today’s paper: “It’s Not Funny to Degrade Women” and “Angry and Distraught Over Sexual Harassment“.

I am so proud and inspired by these two other women who spoke out against sexual harassment. I hope that this will only be the beginning. I know it’s a long, hard road to travel especially if one feels alone, but real change takes a long time.

I’m glad I took the first step. If anyone is going to call me a bitch about this, yo, ma, I don’t give a shit. Cos as cheesy as it sounds, the corny acronym for BITCH could totally apply to me: Babe In Total Control of Herself.

In yo’ face, child.

(pardon the drama -.- I’ve been watching too many episodes of America’s Next Top Model from previous cycles)

December 7, 2007

tiptoe-ing on

Posted in Happenings, Malaysia, My Home, Random Ramblings, Social Responsibility According to Me at 3:35 pm by meldee

Just FYI. Got an email from a dear friend 🙂

Since I don’t want to do the mass-emailing thing, here it is.

***

WE WILL MARCH ON SUNDAY!

The Bar Council has called off the December 9 Human Rights Walk. I
think it was a mistake to have done so, but I have no interest in
debating here the rights and wrongs of that decision. I write solely
to declare that Iawyers who are determined to defend the freedom to
peacefully assemble will nevertheless march on Sunday Dec 9 at 7.30am
from Sogo to Central Market in commemoration of Human Rights Day.

We will march for the following reasons :

a) because it is our inalienable right to do so;

b) because Article 10 of the Federal Constitution gives us the right;

c) because they’ve got some cheek telling us we’ve got to petition
the constabulary before exercising our fundamental rights.A right
which can only be exercised with the consent of the District Police
Chief is a shrivelled up and pitiful kind of right. It is a shadow of
the shadow of a right;

d) because we’re not inclined to be part of a culture of obedience to
the high-handed directives of a tainted and unjust state apparatus;

e) because we’re even less inclined to be menaced by a State which is
so pathetically terrified of its citizens peacefully assembling.

Let us be clear about this: Any march/walk that is carried out under
the authority and indulgence of the local police chief is not an
assembly of free citizens. It is then nothing more than a chain-gang
of miserable citizens marching under a cloud of fear.

The Bar Council as an institution has decided to cancel the march;
but there is no reason why lawyers in their individual capacities and
civil society groups should not carry on with the Sunday march. In
view of the increasingly strident attacks by the authorities on the
right to peacefully assemble, we have formed ” Lawyers for Freedom of
Assembly” to defend and protect that right. Caving in to the threats
and hard tactics of the authorities will seriously set back the
ongoing struggle for a just and free Malaysia.

All lawyers and civil society groups are welcome to join the ”
Lawyers for Freedom of Assembly” for our march on Sunday. Support this
move to preserve the basic rights of all Malaysians.

Written by: N Surendran

For Inquiries:
N Surendran
0123207066

Latheefa Koya
012 3842 972

***

I wanna march! Or tiptoe, rather, though my Inner Wuss demands that I run at the first sight of trouble (takkanlah so boh chai see right, with the two previous gatherings eliciting tear gas, etc—Imma gonna run if they bring them cannons out!)

But then again I’m not too sure if I can wake up that early. Meeeeeeh.

***

So I’ve been giving the old muscles a good workout lately. Needless to say, I am currently at my most chipper (and by extension, annoying) and energetic, albeit sore. I also attribute the good cheer to the fact that many of my friends are back from Australia (and Sush, from the UK tomorrow!) or are coming back soon, along with The Best Christmas Present Ever, which is the arrival of my other fishy (we’re both Piscean, heh) half next next Saturday!

This is so funny (and lame, but I don’t care), I actually made him a Welcome sign which I am going to brazenly hold up at the Arrival gates! It’s hot pink too, and dotted with cut-out hearts, the most juvenile thing ever but oh, who cares, really, I’m finally going to get to physically huggle and snuggle and cuddle him after 11 months apart!

I’m going to go make an itinerary of plans now 😀

See you this Sunday in KL, I hopes!

November 29, 2007

celebrating rights/ idiots in cinemas

Posted in Happenings, Malaysia, My Home, Ranty Pants, Social Responsibility According to Me at 4:34 pm by meldee

I know I know, a record of two posts in one day 🙂

If I’m in a good mood as of tonight, I may even blog ranting/bragging about my results. Hopefully it will be the latter, not the former! Anyway, just heard that the girl who was kidnapped was found this morning, not too sure if this is really the case, but just thought I’d update.

There’s another peace gathering coming up! In celebration of International Human Rights day on December 10, the Bar Council’s Human Rights Committee is hosting the Festival of Rights on Sunday, December 9.

Heaps of NGOs and movements will be involved, among them The People’s Parliament, AWAM and…er, well, other NGOs lah. I know the Yellow Wave will be present, but the feminist movement will be wearing purple 🙂 The march starts at 7.30am from SOGO and will end at Central Market/Pasar Seni where there will be a host of events and activities.

For more details, click the link above! Or go here, the blog for Human Rights Day in KL.

I’m terribly excited and I don’t care, I’m going this time! And don’t rain on my parade (or shoot tear gas cannisters, or spray at me with chemical-laced water, ahem) because this is part of our (Malaysians, all of us!) right to peacefully assemble.

It would be great to see some new faces there la. SOGO’s so accessible via public transport, you can take the KTM to Bank Negara and walk from there. As my friend was commenting to me, the NGO scene in Malaysiais waaaaaay too small, everyone knows everyone else. As I am very new still, I only know a few people here and there, but am so looking forward to knowing more 🙂

Whee! Imma gonna be part of the Purple Parade!

***

Ok firstly I know this is damn old news lah. BUT SOME PEOPLE CAN BE SUCH IDIOTS IN THE CINEMAS.

Last night I went to watch Beowulf with my brother in Pyramid (my dad very kindly offered me his ticket while he went to his office to do his reports). It was pretty good as far as plots go, a bit overdetermined but the CGI was pretty dang fantastic. What surprised me though, was no censorship of bare CGI bottoms (Beowulf has a thing for being buff—literally, but then again this was in olden times before sex and sexuality became so overrated) and Angelina Jolie’s CGI tits.

Perhaps that explained the presence of so many young men in the audience, I could almost feel the stiffening (ahem, pun intended) of the crowd as they realised that, ohmyGod, she is naked (!). There were the obligatory nudges and jostling among the people in front of me, giggles, and whispers. There was even a group of young men up front who were whispering really loudly throughout the movie. I felt like throwing the bucket of popcorn seeds at them. Needless to say I was plenty relieved when they left before the end.

Like, get over it la, half the population has tits. And everybody has an ass and bares it a few times a day. What’s the big deal?

Another gripe was the fact that even though there were the usual public service messages reminding people to put their phones in silent, this blatant message still managed to slip through the think numb skulls of at least five people in the audience. One even had the audacity to answer his phone!

The movie was also rated PG-13 for violent scenes. Yes, I know it’s freaking animated, but still! I found some of it pretty gory too, especially with the ripping-bodies-in-two and impaling. This guy brought his four-or-five year old daughter into the cinema, sitting next to my brother, and she was whimpering and whining throughout the movie.

Listen, punk, if you don’t care that your daughter is scared or can stand the scenes of violence, at least give some consideration to the other people in the cinema with you who may not find her so cute while she talks throughout the movie, ok? I love kids at the best of times, but you have to remember that there’s a time and place for everyone/everything.

I was remarking to my brother too, during the advent of adverts in the beginning when a PSA came on reminding pedestrians to stop when the lights are red and walk when it’s green, that my God, we need people to tell us something as basic as this? We should be ashamed.

Then when the phones went off, people chatted and the poor little girl whined, I see why we need reminders for the most basic things.

HONESTLY. Gaah.

public service message

Posted in Malaysia, My Home, Social Responsibility According to Me at 1:57 pm by meldee

As a favour to my friends at Youth4Change (Y4C), Imma put this up 🙂

***

Pusat Janadaya (EMPOWER), Youth for Change (Y4C), Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Youth Section, Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM) and National Young Lawyers Committee (NYLCjointly organise the Preliminary National Youth Consultation Conference with the theme “An United Force for Change : Opportunities and Challenges For Youth”.

The following are the details of the Preliminary NYCC:

Date: 2 December, 2007 (Sunday)

Time: 8.30am-5.00pm

Medium : Bahasa Malaysia

Venue: Bar Council Auditorium

No. 13, 15 & 17 Leboh Pasar Besar, Kuala Lumpur

Youth leaders and representatives from various organizations are invited to attend the Conference to share their thoughts on how the youth groups can work together, how it could work better and be more inclusive before, during and byond the coming General Election.  The youth voices and perspectives have always been ignored by the political parties and authorities whereby they are lack of comprehensive and wholesome focus of policies, programmes and activities on youth issues.

 

Please log on to www.nyccmy.org for more details. 

 

Kindly send in the registration form before 30th Nov (Fri) to info@nyccmy.org.

Thanks.  

Warm regards, 

Chian Yi

Empower

 

***  

 

Whoever can go should totally try to. I won’t be going, however, as I have an Aikido Workshop from 9am-12.30pm and have already pledged my allegiance to it. Have a good weekend, all, and be careful—recent forwarded e-mails and text messages about the kidnapping of a young woman in Glenmarie.

 

I pray for her safe return.

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