Monday, November 30, 2009

Among Descendents Of The Champa Kingdom

Taken from Hantu Laut's TravelPod

Flag of Cambodia ,
Thursday, November 26, 2009

I have always wanted to meet the Cham people to see how they live.Being a small minority, I was told, they are the most disenfranchised and marginalised group.They suffered genocide under the Khmer Rogue with almost half the population wiped out under the government ethnic cleansing policy.Islam was banned and some were even forced to eat pork by the Khmer Rogue.

The Cham people speak their own language but a significant number can speak the Malay language and looked as much Malay as any Malay from Peninsula Malaysia.They are the remnants of people from the Kingdom of Champa that once ruled a major part of Vietnam before the Vietnamese defeated them and the Chams and their king migrated to what is Cambodia today and some to Trengganu in Malaysia and the island of Hainan in China .The Cham king and his followers converted to Islam in the early 1600.

I was lucky that a friend who lives in Phnom Penh managed to arrange me to meet a Cham family just two days before Hari Raya Haji.They live within the city limit in a place named Beng Kork, a small enclave of Cham people Haji Yunus and family members
Haji Yunus and family members

Haji Mohammad Yunus who is head of the family is also the Imam of a mosque in the area.He is an affable man,soft spoken and speaks Malay with a Kelantanese accent.His daughter Mukmina, whom I find easier to understand, did Islamic study in Malaysia and is now an ustaza.She teaches young Muslim children how to recite the Koran and say the daily prayers.They live at subsistence level but seemed to be happy and comfortable with their lives.

Haji Yunus's son Fatih is married to a West Malaysian girl and lives in Malaysia and come to visit his parents here whenever the opportunity arises.All of them can read and speak Bahasa Melayu fluently and adopted the Malay customs and culture no difference from the Malays in Malaysia.

Malaysia appears to be the leading influence of Cham Muslims in Cambodia and is the educational centre for Cham children studying overseas, particularly in Islamic study.It gives them the same pride and joy of young Malaysians who studied overseas in UK,US or Australia.
Read more..

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pakatan's Little Commie

Hantu Laut

I left communist Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City for Phnom Penh yesterday.Like China, you really don't see much of communism left in this country other than in name.

However, I was shocked when I read this piece of news coming out of my country.

Can you imagine what they would do if they take over the Federal government?

Even former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed who was always critical of the press before never behaved like this little commie who is a 'NOBODY.'

Good save this country.

New Saigon,Old Charms

Taken from HantuLaut's TravelPod.

New Saigon,Old Charms

Monday, November 23, 2009

This is the best time of the year to visit the Indo-China region.This is the time of the year when the climate changed from hot and humid to cooler weather, possibly a spin-off from winter in the Himalayas.The cool breeze takes heat off the land making it much more pleasant to walk around without suffering the intense heat of the hot and humid season that covers greater part of the year.

Cambodia ,Laos and Vietnam shared common borders with each other.With better roads now, overland journey from one country to the other is less arduous than ten or twenty years ago when overland travels were not only difficult and time-consuming but were also very risky particularly when going through less-traveled routes.

I took a bus from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City.The journey took about 6 hours with about 4 hours spent on Cambodian soil and the rest through Vietnam densely populated areas before reaching Ho Chi Minh City.Although, there are some similarities between the two countries, the contrasts and differences are more obvious.

For those who are not well-versed with the history of the region, it would be hard to understand how the difference in ethnicity, color and culture could be so diverse and endemic to a region that were so closed in history for thousand of years.The image, color and culture changed conspicuously as one crosses the border from Cambodia into Vietnam.

The Khmers looked very much like the Malays,Indonesians or Filipinos and are of darker complexion.The Vietnamese are more Chinese looking and in contrast with the Cambodians are fairer.In Vietnam, some of the phonation of the Vietnamese words even sound Chinese.

Ho Chi Minh City, is a city of motor-bikes, there mush be million of them here.After a few hours walking the street I realised they also form part of the city public transportation system, unofficially though.You can either hire a bike and ride it yourself, if you have the courage to meander through the maze of motor bikes in highly congested roads and the possibility of being run over by another motor bike or worse still, by a car or truck.For a first timer, it could be very unnerving.The easier way is to hitch a ride from one of them for a fee.There are always a few of them hanging around any side streets looking for business.They are cheap, fast and seemed dangerous, if you are not used to itSaigon Notre-Dame Basilica
Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica
.There are three million of them in the city.

Taxis? It can drain your pockets very quickly.This must be one of the cities of the world where the taxi fare is ridiculously expensive.Never pay your fare in US currency, the mistake I made when I first got here.

Coming from Cambodia where the US Dollar is common denomination anywhere you go and you don't have to worry too much about exchange rate, I assumed neighboring Vietnam would be the same.Based on this assumption I didn't change currency at the border.

The taxi driver will take advantage of the exchange rate if you pay in US currency.The one I took converted US1.00 at 15,000 Dong.When I got to my hotel I checked the hotel rate was around 17,500.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Two Wrongs Don't Make A Right Mr Wong

Hantu Laut

You are one dishonest Sabahan who forgot that two wrongs don't make a right.Trying to justify your questionable integrity.

If you have done nothing wrong why are you bothered by any investigation to ensure that the certificate you obtained was through legal means. Isn't that Pakatan and DAP's policy to weed out dishonest member from the party.

Read his indefensible and ridiculous explanation here.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

DAP Sabah Assemblyman Native Status Questioned.

Hantu Laut

As the saying goes "Familiarity breeds contempt." The better you know a person the more you know of his/her bad sides.

An uproar happened in the Sabah Legislative Assembly over how DAP Sri Tanjong Assemblyman Jimmy Wong obtained his Sijil Anak Negeri (SAN) or Native Certificate.

As he is not a native he should not have been issued with such certificate.

Native Certificates issued during the Berjaya's era have always been a controversy.Many non-natives are suspected to have obtained the certificates through fraudulent means.Paying off ketua kampongs and native chiefs.This SAN gives the holder benefits that usually are not accorded to non-natives like buying of NT (Native Title) lands, investing in ASB and other privileges exclusively for bumiputras.

Sekong Assemblyman Samsudin Yahya who raised the issue said Jimmy Wong may have obtained the certificate through dubious means. The story here.

The Scourge Of Many Muslim Nations

$30m bribe claim sours West’s hope that Karzai can show he is fit to lead

Afghanistan was ranked the second-most-corrupt country in the world according to the Corruption Perceptions Index of 180 countries. Only Somalia, which barely has a functioning government, was judged worse.Read more...

Many muslims nations suffer the same fate.

Corruption, a serious impediment to progress.

Below is what his shameless brother says:

Yes, I am powerful because I am the President’s brother. This is a country ruled by kings. The king’s brothers, cousins and sons are all powerful. This is Afghanistan. It will change but it will not change overnight.”

The Americans will suffer the same fate as the Russians.The Afghans are strong-willed people, they will not give up until every American,their allies,their guns,their tanks and their warplanes are driven out of Afghanistan.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Grand Mufti Of Malaysia?

Hantu Laut

Finally, they got him.My favourite mufti.The man, I think should be made the 'Grand Mufti' of Malaysia and put all the state muftis under him.Not a bad idea to have uniformity of the sharia.

The man was charged in the Selangor Sharia Court for teaching without a permit and could be fined RM3,000. or imprisoned two years.He pleaded not guilty.

Are all the other muftis felt threatened by this man true interpretations of Islam or was it just the political agenda of the Pakatan government in Selangor to make his entrance into politics more difficult.

JAIS, is under the administration and control of the Selangor state government and what happened to Dr Asri was definitely politics rather than religion.They can't simply blamed one person, the man they accused of collaborating with UMNO (typical Pakatan lamed-excuses when they can't give plausible explanation) for the action to humiliate Asri. It's a collective responsibility. Khalid Ibrahim should carry greater part of the shame for the sham and hypocrisy.

If the Pakatan's man from PAS who control JAIS is that powerful than Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim should resign his position and hand over his post to this man.The appointment of Anwar Ibrahim as economic adviser is already a big slap on his face.It can only mean that Anwar has no confidence in him being able to run the state smoothly and defend it from the onslaught of UMNO's move to retake the state.There are some who speculated that Anwar is paving the way for his blue-eyed boy Azmin Ali to take over the MB post.

If I am not wrong Islam in every state is under the jurisdiction of the Sultans or Head of States in the case of Sabah, Sarawak,Penang and Malacca. What I am not sure is, does the Sultan have the power to intervene if he sees something unfair or not in accordance with the teachings of Islam?

Should the Mufti of a state be made so powerful as to remain unchallenged.

Should the Federal government consider centralising the sharia court?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Twitter Twits That Nik Aziz Should Consider Legal Action Against Rocky Bru

Hantu Laut

The twitter twits that Nik Aziz should consider legal action against Rocky Bru.

You see those who support Pakatan can twist and turn corruption like the Rubik's cube.If it's BN/UMNO it's corruption, if it's involved Pakatan, it's not.

'Sedekah" must come from your heart and without strings attached, without motive for gains and without feeling of guilt that you must compensate the giver for giving what is not his own.

Any money or payment in kinds that changed hand, no matter how small, even if it is RM10, in return for a favour is considered as corruption.

If Nik Aziz and the state government has no business dealings with the man than the offer of the trip to do the Haj is not wrong for Nik Aziz to accept. To me, that's not corruption, that falls under 'sedekah.' However, does Nik Aziz looked like he needs sedekah.He may live modestly but he certainly is not a poor man.

But! There's always a but in everything we do, but why make such offer to him and not offer to some poor and unfortunate people who can't, in their lifetime, afford to go to the Haj.With the RM65,000 VVIP price tag, I am sure the donor can send more of the poor people to Haj and he will get lots of 'pahala'.

Although, Nik Aziz has not done anything wrong and was honest enough to disclose the offer publicly, it is the way Pakatan supporters view the whole thing as something not wrong is appalling.

If it has been any BN or UMNO politician, all hell would break loose and they would be screaming for his blood

freelunch2020 I dunno I think Nik Aziz shld ask his lawyers if there is room to take legal action against Rocky....

freelunch2020 Aiyoh. Just reading the details of ze Nik Aziz + Haj + timber on Rocky's blog. RM20mil? Why they always have all these peanuts...

Will Malaysia Ever Be Color-blind?

In Malaysia, a promise to continue a race-based affirmative action policy will only entrench racism


The Guardian

After South Africa and Rwanda's harrowing experiences, it might be expected that no country would want its citizens governed racially lest it be torn asunder. But Malaysia considers itself an exception. Its leaders just gave race-based policies a renewed stamp of approval.

Last month, prime minister Najib Razak vowed to continue an unpopular affirmative action policy that favours the nation's Malays (who make up for slightly more than half of its population) over the Chinese and Indian minorities, who account for about 26% and 8% respectively.

The New Economic Policy (NEP), as this racialised national programme is known, was introduced nearly four decades back to raise the Malays' share of the nation's wealth from a meagre 1.5% to a more equitable 30% and create a Malay middle class. To this end, the government imposed racial quotas in such spheres as education and business.

The quotas resulted in civil service scholarships being granted to Malays over more deserving minority candidates, and the same could be said of government jobs. Meanwhile, businesses must meet a minimum level of 30% ownership for Malays and other indigenous people.

While Malaysia's Chinese and Indian minorities were at first agreeable, the prolonged implementation of NEP-type policies has today left them feeling like second-class citizens. Many, especially the affluent Chinese, left Malaysia to seek opportunities elsewhere. The largely working-class Indians were not as fortunate.

Ironically, a sizable segment of the Malay population – from the middle and working classes – also began complaining about these policies on the grounds that they benefited only a select group of well-connected Malays.

Such discontent has led to Malaysians registering their protest during last year's general election by voting overwhelmingly for the opposition instead of the ruling coalition that comprises a hotchpotch of race-based parties headed by Najib's United Malays National Organisation (Umno). Although the latter still won the polls, it took a severe hammering – losing its two-thirds parliamentary majority and the control of five states.

Little wonder that Umno which fashions itself as a party championing Malay rights since its inception in 1946 has now decided to tone down its racial policies through a slew of reforms this year. Among others, it launched the "1Malaysia" concept to unite the nation's racially-fractured citizens. Najib also announced that a merit-based scholarship open to all races will be introduced next year.

While many analysts are quick to proclaim that Umno is now a transformed political entity, evidence that it has moved past racialism is sparse. For one thing, the tenets of "1Malaysia" are still nebulous at this juncture.

Yet the most telling sign could be gleaned from the rhetoric of its up-and-coming politician Khairy Jamaluddin who wants the party to discardits ideology of "Malay dominance" for "Malay leadership". Herein lies the crux of the problem. The pith of the "Malay leadership" ideal is no different from "Malay dominance" – Malays are to reign supreme over other races. In its basest form, "Malay leadership" resonates of the "Hutu Power" ideology in Rwanda and the white supremacist slant of South Africa's apartheid where one race dominates over others.

Instead of eradicating Malaysia's decades-long racialism, its ruling elites look set to entrench it further into the system by making it subtle. However, driving racialism underground has its social costs. To understand this, Malaysia needs to look no further than neighbouring Singapore where racialism is understatedly exercised in the way the city-state maps educational performances and social ills by race.

Doing so has put its minority Malays, largely from the lower income groups, in an unfavourable light. Official statistics show that this group which makes up about 14% of Singapore's largely Chinese population are overly represented in terms of social problems such as teenage pregnancies and divorces. This has the entrenched stereotypes that the Malays are a problematic lot – oversexed and irresponsible.

So much so that some have hinted of racism. One journalist, for instance, likens being a Malay Singaporean to feeling "like the least favourite child in the family". The Singapore example suggests that subtle racialism gives rise to a population trapped in a worldview that hails race as their primary identity marker.

But Malaysia is probably in a worse quagmire. Two years back its capital, Kuala Lumpur, was the scene of a racial protest by lower-class Indians that saw the police clamping down on demonstrators.

If Umno leaders are serious about reforms, then they must seriously consider eradicating racialism in all its manifestations. An alternative proposal mooted by Malaysia's opposition calls for a needs-based affirmative action policy which dishes out aid by income group to replace the government's pro-Malay stance.

Still, the real litmus test of Umno's commitment to inclusivity is a controversial one: disband race-based parties altogether. This would mean outlawing Umno and their partners, supplanting in their place a political entity that is colour-blind. Perhaps only then could Malaysia truly claim itself to be one.

The Guardian

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Most Serious And Dangerous Accusation Against The BN Government So Far

Hantu Laut

When Hishamuddin Onn said the rise in crime was due to demonisation of the police force, like most of those who were quick to jump the gun, my immediate reaction was the same, either he has gone bonkers or was making lame excuses to cover his weaknesses.

It's been a week since he uttered that statement in Parliament that got the oppositions up in arms gunning him down mercilessly for what they considered outrageously stupid and unacceptable statement about the state of our police force.

DAP's Lim Kit Siang lashed out at him for the police failure to provide security to the public.Whacking the police is Lim's favourite past time.

I did not blog about my disagreement with Hisham's statement.I am glad I didn't.I can now see his statement in a new light.

After reading numerous news report and articles in certain blogs it dawns on me that what he said could be true to certain extent.

Read this and this and this and this and this and many more said over the years demonising the police.

When the police shot dead armed Indian criminals after being shot at first some opposition politicians were quick to turn it into a racial issue.Read it here. It is OK to shoot Malay or Chinese criminals dead but not Indians.

It is wrong to shoot Indian criminals even if they are armed to the teeth.It is OK to shoot a dog in the streets but the police must not shoot Indian criminal even if he starts shooting at the police first.

The Indians may want to ask themselves how come being the smallest minority group in this country yet they produced the biggest number of criminals?

Yes! I already know the answer, they are marginalised, discriminated and living in a state of apartheid, so it is OK to make a living out of crime.

What about the Indian professionals, the doctors, lawyers,engineers,accountants are they also marginalised,discriminated and not allowed to practise in their professions because there is apartheid in Malaysia as claimed by some Indians.

Are there segregation of the races in this country that made the Indians feel marginalised, discriminated and unwanted.Every time an Indian criminal is shot dead or died in police custody it becomes a throny racial issue and blown out of proportion by the oppositions to gain political mileage.

Does it matter whether he is Indian, Malay or Chinese if he is a criminal, he is a criminal. Those who live by the gun, die by the gun.

It certainly not fair to say the police only shoot Indian criminals and will not shoot Malay or Chinese criminals even if they are armed. The reason for the high rate of Indians being shot dead by police is because there are more hardcore and dangerous Indian criminals than Malay or Chinese.

If one were to look back at the history of crimes in this country, going back to the pre Botak Chin era, who were the criminals then, weren't they mostly Chinese?

Those days, the Chinese community accepted that one Chinese criminal shot dead by the police was one less trouble for them.Those who got robbed, extorted and kidnapped were mostly Chinese so they were quite happy with the police trying to wipe out the menace.

It makes absolutely no sense, on one hand they want less crime and on the other hand when police shot criminals dead they turned it into racial issues.I don't understand the logic of it all.

Come on! You morons.Make up you mind, what do you want?

I do agree the police may not be up to mark in their fights against crime but isn't what you have been doing all this while adds to the problem, it kills their enthusiasms.

New York, used to be the murder capital of the US and one of the most violent cities in the world.Today, thanks to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani for his zero-tolerance crime policy and the cooperation of New Yorkers, New York's crime rate has declined drastically.

So! Help your police instead of insulting them every opportunity you get that demoralise them.

I like this guy's creative writing here.Good for the soul.

This is the most dangerous accusation against the government so far.This can be interpreted as ethnic cleansing for those who doesn't know Malaysia well.I suggest the next time the police go in search of hardcore criminals take this man along.Maybe, they can use him as human shield.

The police should seriously look into the case of the lady who gave weed killer to her children and herself over the death of her brother, a criminal shot dead by police, to rule out any foul play.

It's hard to believe that a normal person would take the life of her four children and herself for the death of her criminal brother.

Read part of what he says:

IPOH, Nov 15 – A DAP politician has accused the Barisan Nasional (BN) government of waging a war of revenge against the Indian community by ordering the police to kill suspected criminals.

Only fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Killing The Competitions: Death Of The Far Eastern Economic Review.

Hantu Laut

Many would have thought that the Review died a long time ago.No, it didn't.Dow Jones makes sure it dies a slow excruciating death.The announcement of its demise came in September 2009. The final death blow and the end of its long history will come in December 2009.

I used to subscribe to this magazine for many years.It used to be a highly respected publications in this region, popular with businessmen,economists,government policy makers and those who have keen interests in the business,economy and politics of the Asian regions.It was once the most authoritative magazine in Asia and one that have rattled a few governments of the region.

A few of its issues were banned in Singapore and the publisher sued by former Singapore Premier Mr Lee Kuan Yew.It has also been at loggerhead with former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad.Like Singapore, Malaysia had its fair share of banning certain issues of the Review.I used to remember,with is laughable now, getting my copy of the magazine with either a paragraph or whole page blackened.

The magazine started in 1946 by an Austrian Jewish immigrant and has changed hands a number of times, from its original owner to a consortium of investors, to Rupert Murdoch and finally sold to Dow Jones.

The problems started under Dow Jones, publisher of the Asian Wall Street Journal, which do not enjoy the same popularity as the Review.

Former Chief Editor of the Review Philip Bowring lay the blame on Dow Jones for the decline of the magazine.In 2004, Dow Jones converted the magazine from weekly to monthly issue.In September this year Dow Jones announced the closure of the magazine by December 2009.

It is sad to see a magazine which have enjoyed such popularity among the elites of Asia to finally hit the dust, facing the same fate as Asiaweek which was closed down by Time magazine after having bought it. Both Time Asia and the Asian Wall Street Journal do not enjoy the same kind of popularity as the demised magazines.

Message from the Editor of the Review.

The editor spoke for his masters.

November 2009

From the Editor

Five years after the REVIEW was relaunched as a monthly journal, and 63 years after its founding, we have regretfully decided to close the magazine. Subscribers have already received notices in the mail. Thankfully we still have one more issue left in which to pen a proper valedictory.

In the meantime, however, a few thoughts on the dislocations faced by us and everybody else in the information business. The Economist newspaper's "Banyan" column tackled the review's closure by focusing on the difficulties faced by Asia's regional publications. The market has fragmented as individual economies have developed to the point that advertisers need to target their campaigns more precisely, and local publications have sprung up to allow them to do so. Readers too are less catholic in their interests than they were just a decade or two ago.

Those challenges were widely discussed when the weekly review folded. The business model was put under further pressure by competition from global publications that could use content from other editions and thereby enjoy a lower cost base. Since then, however, it has become increasingly clear that the newsweekly format has passed its sell-by date in most developed markets. It is a hallmark of this gloomy age for journalism that no publisher can afford to take heart from the closure of a competitor; in most cases it does not bring an uptick in revenue but rather is a harbinger of more pain to come.

Nevertheless, there are good reasons to be skeptical that the media business is in its death throes, globally or in Asia. The appetite for information continues to grow, but publishers have made several mistakes that meant they failed to capture this demand. By giving away their content without charge on the Internet, media companies have done double damage. First, they have conditioned consumers to see content as a free good, and second, valuable time has been lost in the development of efficient payment mechanisms.

While e-readers will not be a silver bullet, the development of such new platforms for reading will surely play a big part in the renaissance of publishing. This development comes too late for the review, but it is a natural fit for the niche publication, removing the problems of availability, distribution and production costs.

Eric Halpern founded the review in Hong Kong after he was forced by World War II to abandon a Shanghai-based magazine. Perhaps the review may rise once more in a new incarnation, following Halpern's spirit of optimism that "a period of prosperity will certainly follow."


The biggest insult to the Review and its readers was Dow Jones refusal to sell the title.It has received many offers.

Both Time which is owned by Time Warner and Dow Jones are prepared to buy these Asian-based magazines and killed them to improve circulation of their American-based publications.

It's called killing the competitions.A fair game in corporate America.