Archive for April, 2009

29
Apr
09

sweet-chat-007

YOU ARE indeed the best community that has ever been brought forth for [the good of] mankind: you enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid the doing of what is wrong, and you believe in God.

Now if the followers of earlier revelation had attained to [this kind of] faith, it would have been for their own good; [but only few] among them are believers, while most of them are iniquitous; [but] these can never inflict more than a passing hurt on you; and if they fight against you, they will turn their backs upon you [in flight], and will not be succoured.

AL – IMRAN  (110 – 111) 

 

EKUITI BARU

Pembukaan luas pintu ekuiti pelaburan saham awam serta beberapa sektor ekonomi dan kewangan kepada semua golongan rakyat  membuktikan langkah pertama kerajaan Dato’ Seri Najib membina dasar dan program yang lebih adil dan saksama.

Usaha pantas Perdana Menteri untuk menjadikan SATU  MALAYSIA  realiti hidup rakyat Malaysia dan bukan hanya slogan yang bijak menunjukkan betapa serius BN dan UMNO menganggap kanser yang melanda badan mereka, iaitu kemerosotan teruk sokongan politik yang dimiliki selama 50 tahun. 

Kanser politik perkauman, yang jika tidak dirawat dengan cepat akan membawa maut!

Walaupun kerajaan campuran parti-parti  BN mati-mati mengatakan mereka mewakili intihati masyarakat majmuk Malaysia, janji-janji mereka dicabar dan dikritik kerana berlaku pencemaran dan penyalahgunaan kuasa. Mereka dituduh terlalu memihak dan membenarkan golongan tertentu bermaharajalela!

BN pada amnya dan UMNO khususnya  disepak tendang dan ditampar tempeleng oleh PR dan parti-parti komponen BB (barisan bayangan).

Bayang-bayang politik yang bukan omong-omong mimpi pagi tetapi bakal menjadi mimpi ngeri di siang hari!

Memang ramai yang bertepuk sorak menerima baik langkah kerajaan yang ingin dilihat sebagai benar-benar mendukung prinsip tulin demokrasi – government of the people, by the people, for the people. Dalam slogan ini termaktub konsep-konsep seiring seperti egalitarianism, justice, freedom of speech dan human rights.

Dasar kerajaan seperti affirmative action  yang cuba memperseimbangan ketidaksamaan manusia dalam masyarakat sering dilaungkan-laungkan dan diimplementasi dalam beberapa corak termasuk  Malay/Bumiputera rights.

Selama 50 tahun orang Melayu selesa dengan usaha kerajaan melindung kedudukan istimewa mereka dengan layanan serba rupa dasar dan program. Sehingga mereka fikir semua ini ialah hak mutlak mereka kerana merekalah golongan rakyat yang dianugerah taraf ketuanan!

Sekarang semua ini akan berubah! Orang Cina, India serta kumpulan etnik lain berderet-deret menuntut layanan yang sama dan saksama. Mereka kata mereka terpinggir selama ini! Mereka kata mereka ada hak menuntut kepentingan sebagai rakyat Malaysia yang tulin!  

Memang ramai juga yang susah hati! Risau melihat orang Cina merebut peluang dengan begitu pantas. Dalam sekelip mata 999 juta saham awam beralih ke dalam genggaman orang Cina. Ini membuktikan kapasiti kewangan mereka yang kukuh. Mereka ada simpanan wang untuk melabur!

Orang India dan Melayu bergerak perlahan! Tidak  begitu mampu kerana tidak banyak menyimpan wang! Macam mana nak simpan dengan hidup kais pagi makan pagi! Atau berlagak bergaya!

Kita tidak harus bimbang dan khuatir! Kita harus bangun menangani cabaran baru dalam MALAYSIA BARU! 

Kalau benar-benar jujur dan ikhlas dan mempunyai maruah bangsa, orang Melayu harus menunjukkan integriti mereka dengan berkerja keras dan berusaha gigih untuk bersaing!

Jika benar Orang Cina berintegriti mereka harus berkongsi peluang dan ilmu dengan orang Melayu dan India supaya ketiga-tiga golongan utama bangun serentak membina SATU MALAYSIA! Dengan semangat murah hati sumber sumber negara dapat dikongsi dengan golongan minoriti yang lain.

Inilah semangat sebenarnya SATU MALAYSIA!

Saya akan terus bermimpi bahawa semua ini akan tercapai!

27
Apr
09

indoeuropean20language20family20tree

 

And now that We replace one message by another – since God is fully aware of what He bestows from on high, step by step – and they [who deny the truth] are wont to say, “Thou but inventest it!”. Nay, but most of them do not understand it!

Say: “Holy inspiration has brought it down from thy Sustainer by stages, setting forth the truth, so that it might give firmness unto those who have attained to faith, and provide guidance and a glad tiding unto all who have surrendered themselves to God.”

AN – NAHL (101 – 102)

 

KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

Key Performance Indicators or KPI for short, is an assessment tool used to measure the efficiency and effectiveness of corporate governance, the government and public service, the rule of law and human rights and other relevant sectors of society. It measures the performance of the organisation by way of the personnel who run it.

In government, good governance will include the effective and efficient allocation and management of the country’s resources by the relevant ministries and their departments. The hierarchy of personnel is headed by the cabinet minister and the civil servants right down the line. Key to the proper running of government structures and systems is the legal and judicial system and the integrity of their members.

The Prime Minister and his ministers, the Attorney General and members of the judiciary, the Chief Secretary and his team of secretary generals and department heads as well as the other members of the governing hierarchy are key personnel whose KPI should be regularly assessed. Members of the country’s Bar Council who advocate civil and social justice are not exempt from the KPI.

Evaluations can be made against an international benchmark for universal standards in human rights, transparency, accountability and integrity but national benchmarks which factor in the country’s economic environment, socio-cultural values, norms and practices provide more relevant and realistic frameworks for a good government. The national ideals and visions set by the leadership provide important starting points.

In the light of the Prime Minister’s freshly announced vision of  One Malaysia with its two-pronged focus on people and performance, an important measurement in the KPI must surely be the effectiveness of ministry policies in promoting national unity, and the efficiency of the minister in implementing them. Short-term and long-term targets and results must be clearly stated and evaluated.

To enhance the disbursement of national resources by way of programmes/ projects for the rakyat, there must be effective management of information by the ministry team. In this nothing is more important than the minister’s own articulation of his policies and their day- to- day implementation.

Ministers must therefore be assessed on their effective handling of the media, both old and new; print, TV and online. The use of clear and explicit language will minimise ambiguities and misinterpretations which lead to confusion among the public and mistranslations by the vernacular media.

The Malaysian habit of using colloquial language may appear friendly and accessible but it is hardly appropriate in the formal context of determining the KPI for the nation’s highest officers.

24
Apr
09

img_0355

BEHOLD, God bids you to deliver all that you have been entrusted with unto those who are entitled thereto, and whenever you judge between people, to judge with justice. Verily, most excellent is what God exhorts you to do: verily, God is all-hearing, all-seeing!

AN – NISA (58)

 

WHITE LIE

While still on the subject of movies, I joined home movie fans and watched five borrowed DVDs in five days last week. I must admit that watching award-winning films on the TV screen falls far short of the pleasure of taking in every move, every expression, every word on the big cinema screen with its astounding sound effects! Besides, my concentration was not total as I chugged along on the treadmill!

DOUBT gripped me as the other four movies did not firstly because of of its theme and story line, and secondly because of Meryl Streep’s superb portrayal of the convent Mother Superior in her relentless pursuit of  truth, justice, integrity and morality.  

There were many banal issues addressed, the main one being the sexual abuse of a choir boy by a priest, the inexperience of a gullible young nun who was too quick in her faith and belief, the immorality of male community leaders, the winning charisma and rhetoric of leaders, approaches to the education of the young etc.

 BUT the all-pervading theme was one woman’s (Sister Aloysius)  instincts and beliefs and faith and convictions that she was indeed right in bringing down a priest who had abused his position and privilege. A tale of high corruption and immorality! A conspiracy of principles!

A few moments and quotations in the film stand out!

The opening scene where the priest  Father Flynn tells his congregation that sometimes society needs a huge tragedy like JFK’s assassination to unite people in sorrow and grief! God forbid this for One Malaysia!

When the older nun admits she had told a lie to bring about the priest’s confession and admission of wrongdoing!

The last scene where the old nun is asked how she knew and believed that her instincts were indeed right and her single answer is “experience”!

Indeed there are many lessons to be learnt from DOUBT which we ordinary humans have many of. Our instincts may not be as sharp, our faith and beliefs not as strong, our convictions not as convincing but we do have them!

The key to fighting for a cause and upholding our convictions is of course COURAGE. Without the courage to speak up many things remain unheard and unheeded!

                                                       ……………………………..

Set in a Bronx Catholic school in 1964, Philip Seymour Hoffman plays a priest accused of abusing a pupil by the school’s Mother Superior, played by Meryl Streep. Adapted by John Patrick Shanley from his own play

 

 

Doubt Pictures

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Philip Seymour Hoffman in Doubt (Picture 2)

Philip Seymour Hoffman as Father Brendan Flynn with Amy Adams as Sister James

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  • Meryl Streep in Doubt (Picture 1)
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman in Doubt (Picture 2)
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman in Doubt (Picture 3)
  • Meryl Streep in Doubt (Picture 4)
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21
Apr
09

avagardnersm

dirk-bogarde01

 …although there is no beast that walks on earth and no bird that flies on its two wings which is not [God’s] creatures like yourselves: no single thing have We neglected in Our decree.

And once again: Unto their Sustainer shall they [all] be gathered.

AL – AN’AM (38)

 

MOVIES AND FILMS

Sofiya, my oldest cucu has suggested I write about movies!

I think this is a jolly good idea knowing how much I loved  to tengok wayang when I was her age (12) and how much I still do half a century on!

Then we had single cinemas, the Cathay, Capitol, Rex and Plaza being the popular ones in Seremban. The first class seats were only $1 -$1.20 and the cheap ones right in front were 60 cents.

But I was lucky because my Dad was given a free pass for 2 cinemas, so I didn’t have to save and scrimp to enjoy my favourite leisure activity. So off my best friend Lee Ha  and I would troop ever so often to watch the magnificent epics like Ben Hur and The Ten Commandments, the period American ones like Gone With The Wind and Raintree County, the war Hemingway classics like For Whom The Bell Tolls or the soppy Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue love stories. The English Shakespearean tragedies like Hamlet and Victorian classics like Jane Eyre were unforgettable.

There were great lessons to be learnt  from each one of them, however badly produced. And the actors and actresses were beautiful and brilliant. My favourites were of course Sandra Dee, Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner, Gregory Peck and Dirk Bogarde.

I still go to the movies now in modern cineplexes strategically located in the shopping complexes, my favourite being the KLCC. My movie span has extended to kids movies, the animes as well as the ones starring perky animals and humans.

Recently, I was thrilled to bits watching Beverly Hills Chihuahua with five of my ten cucu. It’s a wonderful movie, brilliantly edited and dubbed – full of speed and action as the doggy friends and acquaintances of the posh and lost heroine  Chloe go looking for her. 

There’s a poignant lesson to be learnt about friendship, loyalty and the importance of our  roots and heritage. The movie finale with the whole dog community united and in unison is something that One Malaysia can learn from. 

Beverly Hills Chihuahua

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Beverly Hills Chihuahua

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Raja Gosnell
Produced by David Hoberman
Todd Lieberman
John Jacobs
Ricardo Del Rio
Written by Analisa LaBianco
Jeffrey Bushell (screenplay)
Jeffrey Bushell (story)
Starring Piper Perabo
Manolo Cardona
and Jamie Lee Curtis
with the voices of:
Andy Garcia
George Lopez
Edward James Olmos
Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo
Cheech Marin
Loretta Devine
and
Drew Barrymore
as the voice of “Chloe”
Music by Heitor Pereira
Cinematography Phil Meheux
Editing by Sabrina Plisco
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures
Release date(s) Mexico:
October 1, 2008
United States, Canada:
October 3, 2008
Running time 91 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $20 Million
Gross revenue $117.9 million (worldwide)

Beverly Hills Chihuahua is a 2008 comedy film by Walt Disney Pictures directed by Raja Gosnell and released October 3. A trailer of the upcoming Disney film Bolt was seen at the beginning. The plot centers around a Chihuahua who gets dognapped in Mexico and has to escape from an evil Doberman, El Diablo, with help from a lonely German Shepherd, Delgado, and a hyperactive male Chihuahua, Papí, who has a desperate crush on her.

Contents

[hide]

 

Plot

Vivian Ashe (Jamie Lee Curtis) leaves her pet chihuahua Chloe (voice of Drew Barrymore) with her irresponsible niece Rachel (Piper Perabo) to watch the dog. However, when Rachel decides to go to Mexico with her friends, Chloe gets lost and bonds with Delgado (voice of Andy Garcia), a lonely German Shepard who used to be a police dog, and goes on the run from a ruthless Doberman called El Diablo (voice of Edward James Olmos). Meanwhile, Papi (voice of George Lopez), a hyperactive chihuahua who falls in love with Chloe, attempts to find his love in Mexico while El Diablo attempts to capture Chloe and get her colar to his owner, a dog fight ringleader.

 

Cast

 

Humans

 

Voices

 

Visual effects

Cinesite in London, using their specially developed pipeline for creating digital muzzle replacements, animated the many talking dogs. The in-house visual effects supervisor is Matt Johnson, and the animation supervisor was Alexander Williams.

 

Music

The music to Beverly Hills Chihuahua was written by composer Heitor Pereira, who recorded the score with the Hollywood Studio Symphony at the Eastwood Scoring Stage at Warner Bros..[1]

 

Home release

Beverly Hills Chihuahua was released on March 3, 2009 on Disney DVD and Blu-ray.

 

Reception

 

Critical reception

Beverly Hills Chihuahua received mixed reviews from critics. As of October 17, 2008, review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 41% of critics gave positive reviews based on 71 reviews. [2] Among Rotten Tomatoes’ Cream of the Crop, it was reported that 50% of critics gave positive reviews based on 16 reviews. [3] Metacritic reported that the film had an average score of 41 out of 100 based on 22 reviews, placing it under the “Mixed or Average” category. [4].

Mark Olsen of the Los Angeles Times wrote in his review that “One could try to overlook the film’s view of Mexico as an either-or land of resort poshness and street-level poverty, chiefly populated by criminals and hustlers of all stripes, except that view forms the entire film, driving the narrative impulse by which the spoiled puppy makes her journey.” Olsen also wrote “Think of it as the Paris Hilton Complex, that idea of young people as little princesses and princes who get what they want, and what they want is easy pickings and a life without engagement.” [5] Walter Addiego of the San Francisco Chronicle gave a positive review saying the film combines the themes of dignity and empowerment – “We are tiny, but we are mighty”, says the leader of a vast Chihuahua pack – with a story of a spoiled rich canine who learns not to be so high and mighty, the film hits all the typical Disney notes. There’s even a politically correct message at the end advising would-be dog adopters to make sure they know what they’re getting into. [6]

 

Box office

Despite mixed reviews from critics, Beverly Hills Chihuahua was a commercial success. The film grossed $29,300,465 on its opening weekend from 3,215 theaters, averaging about $9,114 per theater, and ranking #1 at the box office for that weekend.[7] On its second weekend, the film arrived #1 again with $17,502,077.[8] As of January 11, 2009, Beverly Hills Chihuahua has grossed $94 million in domestic and $23.8 million in other territories leading up to a total of $117.9 million worldwide.

 

References

 

External links

 

Preceded by
Eagle Eye
Box office number-one films of 2008 (USA)
October 5, 2008 – October 12, 2008
Succeeded by
Max Payne
18
Apr
09

image76

 

O CHILDREN of Adam! Indeed, We have bestowed upon you from on high [the knowledge of making] garments to cover your nakedness, and as a thing of beauty: but the garment of God-consciousness is the best of all. Herein lies a message from God, so that man might take it to heart.

 

O children of Adam! Do not allow Satan to seduce you in the same way as he caused your ancestors to be driven out of the garden: he deprived them of their garment [of God-consciousness] in order to make them aware of their nakedness. Verily, he and his tribe are lying in wait for you where you cannot perceive them! 

 

Al A’RAF (26 – 27)

 

 

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

 

 The decision to remove “Arts” from the name of the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture (MICC) is seen by some as a move to sideline the arts and their proponents.

 

In the NST editorial (April 16) Minister Dato’ Seri Rais Yatim is urged to embrace the creativity of the practitioners of literature, music, dance, theatre, film and art i.e. the key components of the arts and include them in his think tanks.

 

While the works of some of these artistes are indeed commendable and have enriched the modern cultural life of the nation, one has to adopt a more holistic, inclusive approach to culture as encompassing both the traditional and the modern. “Culture” is indeed the higher-order word and motherboard from which springs the arts in all its myriad forms.  

 

Much of the modern arts veers towards marrying old elements of heritage with the new; a fusion of locally bred elements with global influences. They have not developed in a vacuum but have been continuously influenced by the intellectual and socio-cultural environment of the peoples they represent.

 

Malaysia is a country rich in the traditions of Malay, Chinese, Indian and other ethnic cultures which were developed from their much purer forms in the past. To negate the cultural influences of the past is to deny one’s heritage. To forget that the arts is a living part of this heritage is to adopt a shortsighted interpretation of culture.

 

Besides, a Ministry with 3 all-encompassing components is much easier to manage that one with a mouthful of names. It is now up to Dato’Seri Rais Yatim to effectively determine the scope and functions of each of these component for the Ministry to implement the nitty gritty of systems, policies and procedures. 

 

      

16
Apr
09

map

O CHILDREN of Adam! Beautify yourselves for every act of worship, and eat and drink [freely], but do not waste: verily, He does not love the wasteful!

Say: Who is there to forbid the beauty which God has brought forth for His creatures, and the good things from among the means of sustenance?”

Say: “They are [lawful] in the life of this world unto all who have attained to faith – to be theirs alone on Resurrection Day.”

Thus clearly do We spell out these messages unto people of [innate] knowledge! 

AL-A’RAF  (31 – 32)

POMP AND CEREMONY

It was painful, to say the least, to watch the Minangkabau chiefs crawling forward and backward up and down the narrow steps of the royal dais to kiss thrice the extended hand of the Tunku Ampuan Besar Negeri Sembilan at the special ceremony to mark Duli Yang Maha Mulia’s appointment and installation.

It must have been physically painful, too, for the protagonists especially the older and heavy-bodied among them to reenact the age-old Minangkabau adat of paying homage and pledging obedience to the official consort of their new Ruler, one of  the four royal chieftains chosen to represent them.

As I watched the pomp and ceremony shown live on national TV, I couldn’t help asking myself whether the rituals couldn’t have been simplified to represent the dignity of office – of  both the chiefs and their Ruler/ Ruler’s consort! Wouldn’t it have been more regal for the istana ritual to be less awkward and physically demanding?

What if one or more of the chiefs had stumbled down the steps?

Perhaps my Negeri Sembilan Bugis heritage has nurtured and inspired me to be more egalitarian in my approach to communal living!

Perhaps a democratic family upbringing in which no one is regarded more superior except in his or her educational achievements has made me less inclined towards outdated and unnecessary Malay rites and rituals! 

Which brings me to something less controversial – i.e. the pomp and ceremony of  public events and functions associated with government leaders!

I applaud the new Prime Minister’s call for less show and more sincerity when leaders go down to the ground to be with the people – something I wrote about in the 23 April 2001 NST article OF TITLES AND TRIMMINGS.

Yes,Dato’ Seri Najib! Reduce the wastage of red carpets and corsages and bunga manggar and bunga telur and door gifts… and whatever else the organisers think will make the occasion more “meaningful”!

And while you are trimming the social rites and rituals Sir – what about cutting short the miles and miles of salutation to the titled VIPs attending the function. Acknowledge the guest of honour and the patron and move on to the Tuan Tuan dan Puan Puan please Sir!  

I look forward to a Malaysia that is egalitarian and democratic within good reason, where not only colour and creed are indistinguishable but where social class and the ceremonies associated with it are diminished!

We must start with you and your Cabinet Sir!

15
Apr
09

affiche_poesie

[And] shall I tell you upon whom it is that those evil spirits descend? They descend upon all self-deceivers who readily lend ear [to every falsehood], and most of whom lie to others as well.

And as for the poets – [they, too, are prone to deceive themselves: and so, only] those who are lost in grievous error would follow them. Art thou not aware that they roam confusedly through all the valleys [of words and thoughts], and that they [so often] say what they do not do [or feel]? 

ASH-SHU’ARA (221 – 226)

 

CITIZEN JOURNALISM

 

 

Citizen journalism is certainly on the rise if one counts the number of letters to the press and blog postings in cyberspace. Unlike the newspapers which edit input from the public, blogs are personal and allow the writers freedom of expression – the much touted ideal of human rights!

 

In the main, blogs represent different genres of writing from journals and personal jottings to political analyses and legal argumentations. As with books, blogs vary in  standard and substance. A lot depends on the linguistic skills of the writers and the particular thrust of the postings.

 

Political blogs get the most traffic even when they are badly written. Many of these bloggers choose to be critical and hard-hitting and therefore invite like provocative and controversial comments, chief among which are those based on slander, rumour and personal attacks. Not many offer rational analyses probably because more thought and effort is required.

 

Surfing blogosphere, one is shocked by the amount of frustration and anger at the perceived injustices and abuses of government and government related agencies. It is as though the BN government has done no right as the mudslinging is perpetuated by all and sundry, even those that have benefitted most from the national policies! Racial chauvinism is widespread and racism is on the rise as commenters mutually vent their rancour in the most destructive ways!

 

I shudder to think of what Malaysians have become! Is this what the toil and sweat of 50 years of nation building has created? Is this the first-class citizenry and thinkers that our education system has produced? Is this what freedom of speech is all about? The level of blog discussion is a microcosm of the level of thinking ordinary Malaysians are capable of!  And it is definitely not excellent!

 

As a recent blogger, I think carefully about the issues I wish to raise and how to articulate them in the most informed and constructive manner! Unfortunately, I don’t attract much traffic or many comments!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 




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