Friday, June 27, 2008

God's Painting - No Quota, Free For All To See

To enjoy His paintings, we must learn to ' look up' for them ...

Redang - a gift for those who wakes up early ...

Cambodia - on the way to Angkor Wat

Perhentian - if we choose to look for beauty in the mud...

Rompin - if we look for beauty in unexpected places ...

Patterns that changes with every tide ...

Patterns that changes with the wind ...

Bario morning - Only for those who are early, patient and know when to be silent ...

Kota Kinabalu - What can i say?

Beauty from Kahlil Gibran's work, The Prophet

And a poet said, "Speak to us of Beauty."
Where shall you seek beauty, and how shall you find her unless she herself be your way and your guide?
And how shall you speak of her except she be the weaver of your speech?
The aggrieved and the injured say, "Beauty is kind and gentle.
Like a young mother half-shy of her own glory she walks among us."
And the passionate say, "Nay, beauty is a thing of might and dread.
Like the tempest she shakes the earth beneath us and the sky above us."
The tired and the weary say, "beauty is of soft whisperings. She speaks in our spirit.
Her voice yields to our silences like a faint light that quivers in fear of the shadow."
But the restless say, "We have heard her shouting among the mountains,
And with her cries came the sound of hoofs, and the beating of wings and the roaring of lions."
At night the watchmen of the city say, "Beauty shall rise with the dawn from the east."
And at noontide the toilers and the wayfarers say, "we have seen her leaning over the earth from the windows of the sunset."
In winter say the snow-bound, "She shall come with the spring leaping upon the hills."
And in the summer heat the reapers say, "We have seen her dancing with the autumn leaves, and we saw a drift of snow in her hair."
All these things have you said of beauty.
Yet in truth you spoke not of her but of needs unsatisfied,
And beauty is not a need but an ecstasy.
It is not a mouth thirsting nor an empty hand stretched forth,
But rather a heart enflamed and a soul enchanted.
It is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear,
But rather an image you see though you close your eyes and a song you hear though you shut your ears.
It is not the sap within the furrowed bark, nor a wing attached to a claw,
But rather a garden forever in bloom and a flock of angels for ever in flight.
People of Orphalese, beauty is life when life unveils her holy face.
But you are life and you are the veil.
Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
But you are eternity and you are the mirror.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Conspiracy Theory

The China earthquake was man made? A new weapon of mass destruction?

Click here

The terrorists were not responsible for the 9/11 tragedy as they found no photo evidence of a plane wreckage at the Pentagon attack?

Click here

What do you think?

Note there are two votes, the first two for the China earthquake, the second two for the 9/11. Last day to vote is June 30th 2008.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

How to cure our racist disease?

In a recent interview, I was asked what steps we can take to promote ethnic harmony in our country. How can we cure ourselves from our racist tendencies? I suggested that if we want to ensure success we must tackle this problem at the various levels.

They are in order of importance, the individual, the family (home), pre-school, school, college & tertiary, the workplace and finally other organizations like interest groups, political parties and the government.

The first two are the most important starting points although the majority tends to focus on the final two. I say do what we can do first. In that way, slowly but surely things will get better.

So here are my suggestions for you to consider. As my idea is easily doable, please have a go at it. At the least it will make you feel good about yourself. Why? Because you know you are doing the right thing. You will be sending your children to a peaceful future as oppose to a possible bloodshed.

I call this simple method, “Ten good things you can tell your children about …” They are part of my experiences during my early socialization growing up in Penang. They are not exhaustive. Feel free to add value to the list.

Practice them over and over again. Drum them in and see the effects in a year or two.

Here we go in alphabetical order

Ten good things you can tell your children about the

1)They work hard and set high standards therefore they are rich.
2)They are good in business, therefore they are rich
3)Even when they are rich, they lead a simple life and many donate their money freely
4)They are good at saving money and know how to delay gratification.
5)They are a discipline lot. They eat dinner early; finish their schoolwork and study before watching the TV.
6)Chinese parents really care and are serious about education – they are willing to sell their property and move to a smaller home so that their children can be educated in a good college overseas
7)They share with us the joys of Gong Xi Fa Chai and gave us angpows
8)They respect their elders
9)When the rest of us were still poor it was the rich Chinese who pay taxes. With that money the government builds schools, hospitals, roads, etc benefiting everyone regardless of race.
10)And, they make the best Ais-kacang, Len Chi Kang and
Penang Laksa!

Ten good things you can tell your children about the Eurasians

1)They are fun to be with, they sing, they dance and throw the best barbeques and parties
2)They make friends easily
3)They give freely, they like to share
4)They make good neighbors
5)They are always concern about others so they make real good teachers, nurses and social workers; always helping, helping, helping!
6)They speak English well, you can learn from them
7)They somehow always are able to see the positive side of life
8)Though marginalized they do not demand much like the rest of us
9)They share the joy of Christmas with you
10)They make the best nasi lemak ever!!!

Ten good things you can tell your children about the Indians

1)They make great company; never boring, always fun
2)They know how to laugh at themselves.
3)They are passionate people, especially the Punjabis.
4)They gave us the best danceable music
5)They do not complain much even when some of us are insensitive and serve beef during our functions
6)They truly respect and care for their parents and elders. There are always some old folks living with them.
7)They are hardy, strong, resilient and tough. They reach Mount Everest for us Malaysian
8)They share the joy of Deepavali with us
9)Without them we would have not being able to produce rubber and be the number one rubber producer for so many years
10)The introduce one of the most important food to us – the curry!

Ten good things you can tell your children about the Malays

1)They are gentle and peramah, the nicest people around
2)They make loyal, long time friends.
3)They will share with you everything that they have; their food, their wealth, their power and their land.
4)They are good neighbors, caring and sharing. Gotong royong is their middle name.
5)They are artistic, cultured and sensitive
6)They are willing to compromise. Their leaders lead not just their own race but also all Malaysians
7)They know how to relax
8)They are easily won over – give them half a chance to make peace, they will grab it. Always giving in.
9)They share with you the joys of Hari Raya Puasa
10)They make the best sambal belacan & sambal ikan kering & sambal petai in the world!

Ten good things you can tell your children about the Bidayuh

1)They respect the women and the elderly.
2)They like to ‘nyera’ which is a Bidayuh version of pot luck a lot with friends and family
3)Bidayuhs have really strong family ties
4)They are very caring about their neighbours; if the neighbors are drunk, they’ll let them sleep over at their houses!
5)They are willing to ‘gotong-royong’ when needed
6)They have very energetic kids and they are fun to play with
7)Their grandparents will spend time to tell epic stories on Bidayuh legends to their grandchildren
8)They are proud to dance the Bidayuh dance during Gawai Dayak

9)They play very good music
10) They make delicious 'pangkang' which is lemang in Malay.

Ten good things you can tell your children about the Kadazans

1) They have humble beginnings and strive hard to be better. Though they are rich, they still lead a simple life
2) Family and children are most important.
3) They respect the elders and will live with the old folks for as long as possible.
4) Parents are serious about their children’s education. They will go all out to ensure that their children are educated so that the children can have a better life.
5) They hold on to various ancestral traditions regardless of how modern the environment is – especially the ‘Kadazan-Dusun’ language.
6) They are good neighbours and are always concerned about the well being of others.
7) They always see the positive side of life.
8) They share with you the joys of the Harvest Festival especially the crowning of the ‘Harvest Festival Queen’.
9) They enjoy performing the ‘Sumazau’ dance during weddings and festivals.
10) They make the best tapai what we know as rice wine, bambangan or pickle, hinava or marinated raw fish and panasakan or steamed fish.

If you found many of the good things I suggested about the other ethnic groups similar to your own, don’t be alarmed. We are more similar then we think. We are One.

Anyway, I am going back to Penang this weekend to tell all these great things to my ten year old nephew, Erza.

Anas Zubedy
Kuala Lumpur.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ice Cream (a short story) by mahani zubedy

Mahani has started a blog on conscious parenting. This article is from her blog

The trick is to let them have it whenever they ask. Just straight away bee line for the nearest store, stop the car, give them the money if they hadn’t taken it from your hand bag already, and sit and wait for them to return, unwrapping and licking. Don’t say: “Wait till we get to the store near the house.” Don’t say: “Oh, we’ve passed the store already,” and if you have passed the store, turn around. Don’t tell them: “You guys have had too much ice cream,” or, “You don’t need ice cream everyday,” and never, never think that they cannot have ice cream because that is how life is: that you can’t have everything you want every time you want it, because you can.

When I was a kid growing up in Malaysia I didn’t get what I wanted. We were poor, my father didn’t care, and my mother believed that life is not for getting things you want. Poor people don’t get what they want because things cost money. But nobody told this to my even poorer cousins, and it didn’t stop them from happiness and going to school with sixty cents tuck shop money, or riding bicycles that were used but the ‘in’ models. The one P.Ramlee rode in the opening scene of Ali Baba. First you see his head, shoulders and a flowing cape, sand dunes in the back ground, and you thought he was on a camel. When you see the rest of him you realize it is better than a camel, it is the bicycle you would never own.

My mother taught me that some things in life you plain don’t get: bicycles, princess dolls with curly, cascading hair, dresses with three layers of petticoats already sewed on, a husband who’s always by your side, and heaven on earth. “Bukan senang,” she would say, it is not easy. You must suffer. You must bite on yourself and everyone around you, especially the ones you love most. Bite and keep biting. Bite on your little brother’s arm and see the red “O” formed by minuscule droplets of blood spurting. Bite on the inside of your own lips and suck your salty, intoxicating blood. Bite your nails and pull them back till they bleed.

Have a cigarette. At first butts your father handed to you to throw away because he was too lazy to get off the couch. Then a full stick you bought with the five cents you stole from your mother. Gold Leaf. Matterhorn.
Ice-cream? No ice-cream.

When I was thirteen I had a dollar and something cents. Enough to buy a brick size bar of Walls ice cream. I had dreamed of a day when no one was home, had saved that dollar and something cents—to know what it would be like to eat one whole bar of ice cream without sharing—all by myself. I bought. I ate. I got a cold that lasted a week.

On Eid Fithri, the culmination of the holy month of Ramadan when Muslims visit friends and relatives and eat as if making up for the month they fasted, Mother bought us a durian popsicle each. During the lull between my eldest uncle and family who arrive right after prayers for breakfast, and the rest of the relatives who show up a little past lunch; we sit sucking durian ice-cream. Mother, me, Adek, Rosli and Hussein, all of us except Father who was out, not at the mosque, that ended hours ago, but at the house of wife number two, otherwise known as perempuan jalang, whore-slut.

Creamy, yellow, thick and yummy durian ice-cream. One year I decided on chocolate. At the last minute I threw the durian back in the box of rising cold and picked the chocolate; same size, same brand, same price; but it wasn’t durian, and it was the last year we ate ice-cream on Eid Fithri.

Why can’t they have ice-cream? Let me say that my children can eat all the ice-cream they want and it will not dent our bank account. So, why say no? Why deprive them of cool sucks and creamy licks that soothe parch throats and lift the anticlimax of the end of school. What better way to celebrate that time of day? What else is there to do in the car for the forty-five minute drive which should only have taken twelve but for the traffic. How else to face the traffic on a hot afternoon?

Play God. That’s it, because I want to play God. That’s why they can’t have ice cream. God says: “Today no ice-cream, so there!” And today, even if you beg God, she will not relent. God is not happy today, God screams: “No! How many times must I tell you N.O! What is it with you lot? Everyday after school you must have ice cream.”
“So mean,” my daughter hissed.

Yes I brought my baggage. Don’t we all? I got married and had kids so I could right my wrong childhood. Hah! Guess what? I am repeating the cycle, with a twist. My mother had no idea what she did to her children, not a clue. Me, I know. I know precisely the mental agony I inflict on my children (and myself). Hahaha! I know. But you think by knowing I can prevent it? I can’t. You could say looking at the bright side, I’ve evolved a step from my mother, but where does it put my children? Does it help them? Will they be better adjusted? Will they make better citizens of this planet? Will they come to more than me?

“I’ll get durian for you Mom,” my daughter said as she pushed the car door opened, note in hand, followed by her brother and sister. I watched their backs as they trooped into the store near our house.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Traveler

This blogpost is now featured in the book, The Quran and I :)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Why I support the petrol price increase!

For the past two years during my classes, talks and seminars, I have on numerous occasions stressed that it is wrong for the government to have a blanket subsidy for petrol and diesel.

My logic is very simple. I do not agree with any blanket subsidy per se. The rich should not be subsidized for anything, period.

Let me put it in simple terms. For example, anyone who can enjoy luxuries like

RM 40.00 per hour foot or body massage,
RM 6+ coffee at Starbucks,
Eat at fancy restaurants,
Air-conditioning in the home,
Branded clothes,
Fancy hair cut or do,
Expensive hand phones and PDAs,
Smoking cigarettes and enjoying ‘happy hours’ at a waterhole,
Owns a car that is other than a small engine locally made or cheap second hand ones, etc

does not deserve a fuel subsidy. Anyone who thinks otherwise is naïve, irresponsible or plain selfish. Why should we be subsidized to indulge?

Subsidies should only be for the real needy: lower income groups, small business operators and start up companies. Accordingly 27% of Malaysians earn less than RM1000.00 per month. These people should be given direct subsidy not just to help them bear the additional fuel cost but also the probable increase in cost of living affecting from the new price of fuel.

It was a mistake that the subsidy was allowed in the first place. It is still wrong for the government to continue the current practice of subsidizing RM 0.30 per litre. The non-gradual manner of lifting the subsidy is also not very smart. But smart or not smart, the blanket subsidy is still wrong.

Ironically, while many Malaysians who are economically comfortable and passionate about the call to stop rich bumiputra students and businesses from getting government sponsorships and handouts; fail to see the subsidy for fuel that they themselves enjoy is pointing back at them. This is the classic example of the inability to be ‘honest on both sides’. We must not agree with any form of blanket subsidy, handouts and aid!

"Let each man direct himself first to what is proper, then let him teach others; thus a wise man will not suffer" The Buddha – Dhammapada 158

To be true, the next time we go and fill up petrol, feel guilty that we are still taking 30 sens per litre away from the real neediest!!!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Many Colors, One Race


How far have we progressed as a nation, as Bangsa Malaysia? Are we moving towards stronger unity? Do we understand and trust each other better today, or are we getting suspicious of each other’s intentions?

Are we moving forward?

What does a Malaysian look like and what is his psyche? How does he behave? Does he see himself as a Malaysian, or is he first a Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan, Eurasian, or Iban? Or is he foremost a child of the universe, a human being bonded to others as God’s children, superseding artificial boundaries of ethnicity, geography, history and nationalities?

A true Malaysian is universal in outlook and guided by shared values. At his or her core, a Bangsa Malaysia believes that we Malaysians are one. We absorb the best of each other’s culture making other cultures our very own. He or she is always expanding and growing, becoming better and better, stronger and stronger, and gaining from every interaction with the surroundings.

When a Bangsa Malaysia makes a decision he or she considers the needs of all. No matter if he or she is a Malay, Indian, Iban, Kadazan, Eurasian or Chinese. A true Malaysian makes the right decision through a sense of balance, justice and fairness. He or she not only leads other Malaysians but also humanity as a whole as he or she identifies with others, and others identify with him or her.

How can we be a Bangsa Malaysia?

First let us quote from our spiritual traditions.

The Hindu Scripture, The Bhagavad Gita says “I look upon all creatures equally; none are less dear to me and none more dear” and our Sikh brothers tells us that “In the hereafter there are no castes”. Move towards the east our great teacher Confucius taught us that, “All within the four seas are brothers.” Take a trip back to India and the Buddha reminds us to “See yourself in others, for your brothers and sisters are like you.” And as we move towards the west we will be greeted by the Bible in the book of Psalms to “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity”.

The Quran, claiming to be the final revelation and was sent to confirm all the previous God-sent prophets and scriptures, summarizes this concept with a call to mankind, “O Mankind! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that you may know one another. The noblest of you in the sight of God is the best in conduct.”

So, how to be a Bangsa Malaysia?

The answer is unity. Unity must replace race as our consciousness and belief system. We must become more aware, understand and accept that multiplicity is God’s creation. We must see unity in diversity and learn to love all because when we dislike the other, we dislike part of His design.

We must learn to pay attention to the deeper reasons behind His creation. There are many languages, the goal is to communicate. We have many hearts, but one spirit. There are many lamps, but only one light.

We must be convinced that sticks in a bundle are unbreakable and that steel is stronger than iron, meaning….. “Bersatu Teguh, Bercerai BODOH”

Malaysia boleh?

Can we use the term Allah to represent God’s name in the Bible? A Quranic Perspective


I find it strange that in the discussions and debates about whether it is acceptable to use the term ‘Allah’ to refer to God in the Bible, neither the Christians who are for the using of the term and the Malaysian Muslims who are against it, considered checking the Quran’s position with regards to the issue.

While it is understandable that the Christians may miss this, for the Muslim not to do so is improper. Instead of basing on the Quran, a few of our Muslim brethrens are busy trying to show that historically the Bible does not use the term Allah. Muslims must be careful not to fall into the category of people mentioned in the Quran in this verse.

“And the Messenger cried out: O my Lord! Surely my people have treated this Quran as a forsaken thing. (
Quran 25: 30).

Muslims and Non-Muslims who want to discuss matters of religion with Muslims must note that for a believing Muslim no evidence is greater than the Quran,

“Say: "What thing is most Weighty in evidence?" Say: "(Allah) is witness between me and you; This Qur'an hath been revealed to me by inspiration, that I may warn you and all whom it reaches. …..." (Quran 6:19).

For a Muslim, the Quran is the ultimate guide,

"And we sent down the Book to thee for the express purpose, that thou should make clear to them those things in which they differ, that it should be a guide and a mercy to those who believe." (Quran 16:64)


"Those who listen to the Word and follow the best meaning in it, those are the ones whom Allah has guided, and those are the ones endowed with understanding." (Quran 39:18).

A Muslim who claims to follow Prophet Muhammad must stick to the Quran,

“So believe in Allah and His Apostle the unlettered Prophet, who believeth in Allah and His Words: Follow him that (so) ye may be guided.” (HQ 7:158).

And those who do not judge by using the Quran,

“If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) unbelievers. (Quran 5: 44)

The above Quranic statements should be sufficed to show that basing the discussion on the Quran is the logical approach. If a Muslim or Non-Muslim were to proof that the Quran suggest that the term Allah can or cannot be used, all Muslims must follow the decree. Period!

So here we go, but first one must understand the Quranic world view about religion and Allah.

History of religion - Islam

The Quran suggest that all religions came from Allah as He has sent messengers (Jesus included) everywhere in the course of history; a few are named in the Quran while the rest are not.

Here are clear examples. I will further elaborate this when dealing with the subject on the monopoly of Allah and the Heavens.

Of some apostles We have already told thee the story; of others We have not;- and to Moses Allah spoke direct;- (Quran 4 : 164)

We did aforetime send apostles before thee: of them there are some whose story We have related to thee, and some whose story We have not related to thee. It was not (possible) for any apostle to bring a sign except by the leave of Allah … (Quran 40:78) also refer Quran 21:25, 17:77, 43:6

Any Muslim, who does not accept even one of the messengers named or unnamed, ceased being a believer

Those who deny Allah and His apostles, and (those who) wish to separate Allah from His apostles, saying: "We believe in some but reject others": And (those who) wish to take a course midway They are in truth (equally) unbelievers; and we have prepared for unbelievers a humiliating punishment, To those who believe in Allah and His apostles and make no distinction between any of the apostles, we shall soon give their (due) rewards: for Allah is Oft- forgiving, Most Merciful - (Quran 4 : 150-153) also refer Quran 2:136, 3:84

In fact from the Quranic viewpoint, Prophet Muhammad is not the founder of Islam as the Prophet himself was decreed to say that his role model is Prophet Abraham.

So We have taught thee the inspired (Message), "Follow the ways of Abraham the True in Faith, and he joined not gods with Allah." (Quran 16:123) Also refer Quran 16:20, 2:135, 3:95, 4:125, and 6:61.

As far as the Quran is concerned history started with Allah. It started with His creation and it was Allah who name Muslims, Muslims; well before the Prophet’s time.

And strive in His cause as ye ought to strive, (with sincerity and under discipline). He has chosen you, and has imposed no difficulties on you in religion; it is the cult of your father Abraham. It is He Who has named you Muslims, both before and in this (Revelation); that the Messenger may be a witness for you, and ye be witnesses for mankind! So establish regular Prayer, give regular Charity, and hold fast to Allah. He is your Protector - the Best to protect and the Best to help! (Quran 22:78)

The Quran’s version of the history of mankind started with Adam the first civilized homosapien (one who is endowed with the power of conceptual thoughts and language Quran 2:31). As such Islam’s history is world history not the history of the Arabs.

When thy Lord drew forth from the Children of Adam - from their loins - their descendants, and made them testify concerning themselves, (saying): "Am I not your Lord (who cherishes and sustains you)?"- They said: "Yea! We do testify!" (This), lest ye should say on the Day of Judgment: "Of this we were never mindful": (Quran 7:70) Also refer Quran 7:31, !7:70, 2:33, 2:37, 7:27.

O ye Children of Adam! Whenever there come to you apostles from amongst you, rehearsing My signs unto you, - those who are righteous and mend (their lives),- on them shall be no fear nor shall they grieve. (Quran 7:35)

In that sense almost all of the history books on Islam that usually record Islam with the coming of Muhammad run contrary to the Quran. At best they are relating the history of the Arab people and how they impacted the world and built an empire base on their new faith, Islam. (Here is where the historian Albert Habib Hourani got it right by calling his book “A History of the Arab Peoples”).

It is this myopic view and basic assumption of Islam’s history that over the years has steered Muslims to deviate from having a universal approach towards Islam and hence grew to be more and more exclusive rather than inclusive of all the other communities. Slowly but surely, Muslims became more and more monopolistic towards Allah. The Quran on the other hand decreed,

And, verily, this community of yours is one single community, since I am the Sustainer of you all: remain, then, conscious of Me! (Quran 23:52)

Places of Worships

Since all the messengers were Allah sent; the Quran equates all calls in every places of worship must only be for Him. Note that the Quran did not limit it to only the mosque. You will find that the Quran says,

"And the places of worship are for Allah (alone): So invoke not any one along with Allah. (Quran 72:18)

And that all places of worships whether they are mosques, monasteries or churches honor Him,
(They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right,- (for no cause) except that they say, "our Lord is Allah.. Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. Allah will certainly aid those who aid his (cause);- for verily Allah is full of Strength, Exalted in Might, (able to enforce His Will).( Quran 22:40)


And who is more unjust than he who forbids that in places for the worship of Allah, Allah’s name should be celebrated?-whose zeal is (in fact) to ruin them? …. (Quran 2:114)

And the only deity worth praising is Allah alone,

All praise is due to Allah alone the Sustainer of all the Worlds’. (Quran 1:2)

Is there a Monopoly to Allah, Religion and Paradise?

Contrary to popular understanding, Prophet Mohamad did not seek to destroy the other ways of life/religions like Christianity, Judaism, etc but constantly calling on the Jews and Christians to agree that we are praying to the same God, Allah.

Ironically the Quran’s main argument against the Jews and Christians during the time of the Prophet is their monopolistic claim to Allah and paradise.

Verily Allah is my lord and your lord: Him therefore serve ye: this is a Way that is straight. (Quran 19:36)

Say: Will ye dispute with us about Allah, seeing that He is our lord and your lord; that we are responsible for our doings and ye for yours; and that We are sincere (in our faith) in Him? (Quran 2:139)

And they say: "None shall enter paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian." Those are their (vain) desires. Say: "Produce your proof if ye are truthful." (Quran 2:111)

The Quran suggest the Unity of religions and the Quran was sent to confirm all the previous scriptures.

Those who believe, and those who follow the Jewish, and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. (Quran 2:62) Also refer Quran 5:69

And who believe in the Revelation sent to thee, and sent before thy time, and (in their hearts) have the assurance of the Hereafter. (Quran 2:4)

It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus). (Quran 3:3) also refer Quran 5:48

It is part of Allah’s plans to provide mankind with multiple platforms to achieve the ultimate goal that is in reaching Him. How to reach Him, of rites and ceremonies, it is open.

To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that hath come to thee. To each among you have we prescribed a law and an open way? If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah. it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute (Quran 5:48)

To every People have We appointed rites and ceremonies which they must follow: let them not then dispute with thee on the matter, but do thou invite (them) to thy Lord: for thou art assuredly on the Right Way. (Quran 22:67)

The objective of the Quran is to make faith and deed and not religious affiliation to any particular community as the criteria for salvation. This criterion is not just for those who were born since the coming of Prophet Muhammad but also inclusive of those from the very beginning of the history of man (and till the end of the world).

The Quran specifically identified righteousness as the best platform.

O ye Children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover your shame, as well as to be an adornment to you. But the raiment of righteousness, - that is the best. Such are among the Signs of Allah, that they may receive admonition! (Quran 7:26)

And what and how is righteousness in the Quran?

It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces towards East or West; but it is righteousness-

1. to believe in Allah
2. and the Last Day,
3. and the Angels,
4. and the Revelation,
5. and the Messengers;
6. to spend of your substance, out of love for Him,
a. for your kin,
b. for orphans,
c. for the needy,
d. for the wayfarer,
e. for those who ask,
f. and for the ransom of slaves;
7. to be steadfast in prayer,
8. and practice regular charity;
9. to fulfill the contracts which ye have made;
10. and to be firm and patient,
a. in pain (or suffering)
b. and adversity,
c. and throughout all periods of panic.

Such are the people of truth, the Allah-fearing” (Quran 2:177)

The Quran and the Christians

The Quran does not reject nor accept Christianity wholesale. The Quran disagree with Christianity’s interpretation of history mainly about who Jesus was. For the Quran, Jesus was a prophet and he is not the son of Allah and as such the Quran disagree to the concept of Trinity (Quran 4:171).

For the Quran, Jesus did not die on the cross nor was he Resurrected. The Quran suggest that Jesus survived the crucifixion and later died just as all the other prophets before him (Quran 5:75, 4:157). Jesus is similar to Prophet Muhammad and all the previous Messengers (Quran 3:144) who came, did their job and died.

The Quran is also opposed to any religion be they Jews, Christians or any other Traditions who suggest that followers other than theirs are doomed; that is, if Christianity seek to monopolize Allah and Salvation (refer earlier Quranic quotes)

As for Christians, again there is no wholesale acceptance or rejection. There are bad Christians who are unjust and selfish (Quran 5:51-52) and good ones who fight for what is right.

Not all of them are alike: Of the People of the Book are portions that stand (For the right): They rehearse the Signs of Allah all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration (Quran 3:113)

And among the good Christians are those similar to good Muslims, men of understanding, who care about the hereafter and are not arrogant.

Strongest among men in enmity to the believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans; and nearest among them in love to the believers wilt thou find those who say, "We are Christians": because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant. (Quran 5:82)

The Conclusion

It is clear that it is not just permissible to use the term Allah to refer to God in the Bible, it is exactly what the Quran wants us to do. Is it not an irony?

I would like to thank my Christian brothers and sisters in their effort to make Allah the universal name of God and wanting the name to be the preferred reference to God in the Bible. But, you must not stop there.

You must also strive hard to ensure that not just the Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia Bibles use the term Allah but all the other translations in the world regardless if they are in Japanese, English, Russian or Hindi uses the same term. Malaysian Christians can lead the world of Christianity to make Allah the universal name for God with the solid support of their Muslim brothers and sisters. Anything that can bring us closer together must be supported. A shared universal name to call our God Allah seems most appropriate beginning.

Failing to do so will create mistrust because the correct term for God in Malay is Tuhan. The Muslims will question your consistency and sincerity. Because the real issue here is Trust. Not the technicality of the term Allah, Tuhan, Elohim, Elah etc. This is where we need to focus.

There are three levels of trust missing.

Firstly we do not trust each other. The Muslims perceive the inconsistency of Christians wanting to use the term Allah in the Malay bible and not the other translations as a plot to convert Malay Muslims to Christianity. And, the Christians perceive the Muslims rejection to the usage of the term as another strategy to block the spread of the Christian faith to Muslims in Malaysia. This feeling is deep in the Christians’ psyche as they find it as unfair the lopsided law on conversion in Malaysia (Check what the Quran say about this at 83:1-3 and 5:8).

Secondly, we do not trust ourselves. The Muslims lack confidence of fellow Muslims and feel that by just using the term Allah, their faith towards Islam can be shaken. The Christians lack confidence that being Christ like is enough to attract others to the faith.

Yet the deepest rot is the lack of trust in Allah or God or Tuhan or any other names you want to call upon Him! Both Muslims and Christians fail to trust that Allah will be with those who are true and love those who trust Him. If we do so, we have nothing to fear and nothing to grieve. Failing to trust Him, we become weak, insecure and misguided.

“There are many Lamps, only one Light”

Anas Zubedy
June 2008

My sister's story on Circumcision : )


Mahani Zubedy

I slashed the widest trunk in the clump and sawed at the green fiber. Liquid like viscous water spurted and oozed. The knife was no good. Why was I picking the broadest trunk? Father said to get about a foot long, he didn’t say anything about girth. I hacked at a narrower one, sawed and sliced more than halfway through and disembodied it. Sour, dank, fluid soiled my fingers and trickled down my arms like watery glue. How a trunk with juices so foul bore fruit so sweet, I didn’t know. I couldn’t wait to rid my hands of the rancid stickiness.

My father sucked his teeth and undid the folds at the waist of his checkered cotton sarong. Opening the right side then the left, and closing each side again, folding and tucking the part of the garment over his navel. At home he wore a sarong and singlet. When he opened and closed his sarong, it reminded me of a beetle, flown to die at our front door, the way it opened and closed its wings for the last times. Father should have worn the silk sarong, this was a special occasion. But perhaps he saved those for weddings, playing father was not a comfortable role for him, so why wear the best? His rubber slippers slapped against his heels as he paced from the front door to see if the Nudim had arrived, to the back door to check if I had done right. His feet turned out more than usual as he thrust one hip after the other.

I hated his waddle walk because I had the same walk. He and his side of the family gave it to me. It is the soiled-girls-walk. In school they said after a penis has entered a girl, the pelvic joints loosened and you walked with your feet thrust out to the sides, to accommodate the newly created tear between your legs. If you walked like that, some boy had had you.

My father’s sister who prayed five times a day and was a virgin at fifty-two because she refused to marryoh men asked for her hand alright, but she chose to dedicate her evenings to reading the Quranshe walked that open-wide walk. I didn’t tell the girls at school about her. I kept it to myself like it was an assurance that I was a virgin, when of course I was. I was not allowed five feet near a boy. Once my cousin greeted me at a bus stop in town and when I got home from that very bus stop, my father slapped me on the face for talking to a boy. Someone had reported it to him while I was in transit. No questions asked. I did not get to say it was his own brother’s son. In all I probably uttered three words to my cousin.

In the kitchen with the cement floor just scrubbed and shiny-damp in patches, my mother, scowling, re-stirred and re-tasted the chicken curry she had bravely cooked for twenty. “Ten years old, ten years old, big buffalo still not yet, other people’s son has it done by six, our son ten, and still not yet. How did it get to be like this?” Implying my father had allowed it. “When they big like this they can get ill, they’ll take long to get better. If he doesn’t get better who is going to take care of him?”

Suddenly she pulled my hand face up, tapped the wooden ladle in the middle of my palm, leaving half a teaspoon of curry burning my skin and asked, “Enough salt, or not?”
“Enough,” I said, burning my tongue.
“She’s the only one can taste salt from sour,” my mother mumbled and continued on about my brother Li.
“Now we are doing it what else you want?” my father yelled. He turned to me and snapped,“rinse the trunk.”
What would the Nudim do with the banana trunk? My father said we were to ready a banana trunk, a brand new man’s sarong, no brand was stated but we bought the best, Elephant Brand, and RM$2.25 offering money.

When the Nudim arrived on a banana leaf-green Vespa, his sarong deflated in our driveway after billowing like a sail as he rode up Evergreen Road. He wore a white skull-cap which looked like it was part of his head and that if you took the skull-cap off, you would remove the top half of his skull showing his brain, soft and simmering.

Catch the blade if the Nudim missed? Was that what the banana trunk was for?
Once in the house, the Nudim was swift. He and my father decided it was to be done in the living room. He said a prayer, placed his palm on Li’s forehead and offered some chants for my brother so it would not hurt. But Li had his own way of avoiding pain. He was going to pass out. I was called. My mother being a woman was not allowed in, and besides she’d pass out first, so would my father, the neighbors were Chinese infidels and the relatives had not arrived. There were no Muslims in our neighborhood which was why my father had chosen to live there in the first place. He didn’t want to be near nosy Melayus. I was a girl of thirteen, still a child, but strong enough to prop my brother.

I stood and held Li’s right arm. The Nudim stood facing Li and pulled Li’s foreskin towards him. My jaw dropped, my eyes bulged, I kept my head down and stared at my brother’s penis as if there lay the very clue of when he would fall. It was the most remarkable thing I had ever seen. My brothers’ penis was not new to me, he was shameless, he’d swim buck naked, he’d pull down his shorts to fart in my sister’s face, but I had never seen the foreskin stretched so, and the slipping and receding was most fantastic. Where did it stop, how far would it go, I wondered.
But not the Nudim, he knew how much he needed and before Li knew it, the Nudim snipped it, separated the loop of skin, and dabbed oil of white root on the cut. My brother was supported to his bed with his sarong held out so no cloth touched the new wound. When he laid down, the part of the sarong over his loins was pinned to a line tied to a hook in the ceiling.

For a week, twice a day I cleaned him. I made a good nurse, gentle and thorough. My mum’s one attempt was tentative, “is this right? is this the correct way?” her neck craned left to right, right to left like a crazed rooster as she inspected her work. My brother squatted on a low stool with his legs wide opened, as vulnerable as no one else on earth, but shouting cusses at my mother just the same. My father plain didn’t know what to do, so the task fell on me--BIG sister. I wanted to say as I cleaned, “Ah, when you grow up, don’t act big ah? I’m the one who cleaned your dick.” Or, “don’t forget who cleaned your kote’ when you were circumcised?” It made me laugh to pretend I needed to torment my siblings so, for I didn’t, I was big sister to all three, especially to Li.

The first time I heard Li said khi ho lang kan, which was Hokkien for “go let some person f--- (you),” I broke a fresh red chilli pepper in two and rubbed them on his lips till his lips burned for a week. Whenever he got into a fight Li drying tears and snort on his sleeves would scream: “I tell my sister then you know!” He would come for me and I’d square it out for him. Hand to hand combat. Nothing felt better than punching a boy in the face except maybe seeing his lips bleed, never mind if I too was bleeding and my heart banged against the cage of my chest, like it would burst out of my ribs. Nothing beat the moment I threw my arm and hit flesh and teeth.
But the boys got bigger and so did my breast. And they knew where to aim.

Blood running down my lips was better than the shameful pain in my breast. I ended my boxing days. Li stopped getting into fights and became an animal expert.

He kept a long-tailed macaque that bared its teeth at the females in the house and would feign a hurt knee when my father came home from work. The monkey held one knee and jerked it with pouting lips just as soon as my father rode up on his Lambretta. It was a pathetic creature, and the jerking reminded me of when the animal played with his own penis, I was terrified he might repeat this in front of my father.

One day Li opened his mouth and lowered a half-dead snake he’d found, into that little cave of his being like something you see in a circus. Ina, Hussein, and I watched horrified but not wanting to spoil the show in front of Maknya’s clan. About a dozen of them of all ages came out to see and we knew the whole Chinese village would hear of it. They were sufficiently impressed. They asked us to help harvest fruits in their orchard and we were paid in fruits which never seeemed as sweet as when we stole them.

I stroked with cotton at the drying yellow scab like a golden crown on my brother’s penis. I made sure of reaching underneath the folds so my brother’s penis won’t be infected. His penis didn’t look like it belonged to him. The tip looked like the tongue of an idiot child, the wound that I cleaned were its lips which I peeled back with cotton dipped in brown iodine that turned warm yellow as I swabbed. I made sure this ring is stripped each time so the medicine reached the wound and the cut would close clean and good. My brother was ten, a big buffalo, he must not become ill from this.

The banana trunk? Turned out during my father’s time boys sat astride
one during the ceremony. “Where got people use them these days,” my mother said.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

dr chandra's article on ethnic relations - May 08

CLOSING THE ETHNIC GAP by Chandra Muzaffar

The reaction of a significant segment of the Malay community to Karpal's Singh's remarks about the power and authority of the Sultan of Perak and his earlier comments about the role of the Regent of Kelantan is indicative of the strength of the community's attachment to the monarchy. It is an attachment that is intertwined with the community's perspective on the history and identity of the land. For the Malays, the notion of 'Tanah Melayu' is intimately linked to the Sultanates which represent a genealogy of historical continuity that helps to define the Malay position in Malaysian society today.

Very few non-Malays appreciate Malay sentiments about the land and its identity. Not many of them understand the depth of Malay attachment to the monarchy. This is partly because they have never really accepted the fact that the contemporary Malaysian state is to some extent at least conterminous with the Malay polities of the past.

It explains why in spite of a general acceptance of Malay as the national language , Chinese and Indian Malaysians in the sixties adopted a lukewarm attitude towards its implementation in the school system. There was no enthusiastic endorsement of the legitimacy of Malay as the nation's lingua franca. When Malay was vigorously enforced from the early seventies in the public sector there was a great deal of resentment within the non-Malay population. This is why even today, the millions and millions of non-Malays who are fluent in Malay use it only for functional purposes and have not developed an emotional bond with the language. Their attitude is due in part to the failure of the Malay elite itself to accord the language its pride of place in the life of the nation.

If there was little empathy for Malay, there is perhaps even less understanding among non-Malays and non-Muslims of how critical the other more powerful symbol of Malay identity--- Islam--- is to the community's self-image and self esteem. Because of the intimate nexus between Islam and Malayness, there is often a tendency to associate the religion with the identity of the land. What is important is how this identity expresses itself, which is a challenge that the Malay-Muslim community itself will have to resolve. A knee jerk reaction within a segment of the non-Muslim community to any and every manifestation of Islamic identity will only undermine the quest for a more inclusive and universal approach to the religion.

Just as certain dominant non-Malay, non-Muslim attitudes towards the Malay attempt to preserve its identity have not been helpful, there are also certain sentiments within the Malay community which are inimical to ethnic relations. At the recent Malay Consensus Congress in Johor Bahru for instance attended by some 2100 delegates from 200 NGOs, there was a marked lack of understanding of how the present generation of non-Malays feels about social justice and fair play, or the lack thereof. There was little appreciation of the fact that the Malaysian Constitution which protects the position of Islam, the Malay language, the Sultans and the Malay community in general also promises equality to all Malaysian citizens, regardless of their ethnic origin or religious affiliation.

It is equally sad that in articulating the special position of the Malays which rests to some extent upon its indigenous status, the Congress made no attempt to champion the needs and aspirations of the non-Malay, non-Muslim indigenous communities of Sabah and Sarawak and of the Peninsula. In a situation where these communities ---specifically the Kadazans of Sabah and the Dayaks of Sarawak--- have become pivotal to the very survival of the UMNO led government in Kuala Lumpur, one would have thought that their interests would have also figured in the deliberations of the Congress. After all, their position as indigenous communities is also safeguarded in the Constitution.

How does one narrow this gap in sentiments and attitudes between a segment of the Malay community and a section of the non-Malay community? This is a crucial pre-condition for reducing ethnic polarization and forging national unity. To start with, Malaysians in all walks of life, especially those within the influential stratum, should adopt a more holistic perspective on the Constitution. In other words, they should understand that the Constitution is not just about rights and equality but also about the historical basis of the nation. More important, we should connect with the underlying spirit of the Constitution which is both dynamic and evolutionary. It is this spirit which the Rukunegara captures through its five principles and five goals enunciated in August 1970. They are in fact the guiding principles and goals of the nation as it evolves from a Malay polity to a genuinely non-ethnic motherland for all its citizens. In this regard, it is a pity that the five goals of the Rukunegara --- a just, united, democratic, liberal and progressive society --- have been largely ignored since the early eighties in both our education system and in the public media. The Rukunegara has been further reinforced by Wawasan 2020 proclaimed in February 1991 which again underscores an all-embracing multi-ethnic future for all Malaysians.

While emphasizing the Constitution, Rukunegara and Wawasan 2020 through social education may help to narrow the gap in sentiments and attitudes between the communities, there is perhaps also a need to broaden one's understanding of citizenship. In multi-ethnic societies in particular, the responsibilities that accompany citizenship should be given as much weight as the rights that are inherent in the concept. What this means in our context is that the non-Malay citizen has a responsibility to understand and empathise with the history and identity of the land and the characteristics associated with it such as its language, religion and the monarchical system. By the same token, as non-Malays demonstrate a commitment to the responsibilities of citizenship, Malays should also appreciate the significance of equality as the indispensable attribute of citizenship that all are entitled to. Of course, there are also shared responsibilities of citizenship from protecting the environment to combating corruption to reducing relative deprivation that all Malaysians should fulfil.

A deeper awareness of the responsibilities of citizenship is linked to yet another dimension of inter-ethnic relations that is seldom highlighted in multi-ethnic societies. It is something we have alluded to in this article: the importance of empathy between the communities. Empathy at the tangible level demands that Chinese business people take concrete steps to encourage Malays, Indians, Kadazans and Dayaks to participate in small and medium enterprises while Malay bureaucrats undertake to induct more non-Malays including Kadazans and Dayaks into the higher echelons of the civil service. When inter-ethnic empathy is expressed in this manner, it is quite possible that over time the psychological gap between the communities will close.

Underlying empathy is of course the principle of justice which is indisputably a vital prerequisite for forging better ties between communities in any multi-ethnic society. Invariably, justice in most multi-ethnic societies is viewed through one's own ethnic prism. The time has come to develop a transcendent perspective on justice --- a perspective that goes beyond one's own community. When non-Malays see the Malay position on the historical identity of the land and its symbols and institutions as just, and when Malays regard the non-Malay aspiration for equality as just, we would have reached a new level in our understanding of justice.

For true justice is not only universal; it has to be rooted in concrete reality.

Dr. Chandra Muzaffar is President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST) and Professor of Global Studies at Universiti Sains Malaysia.

8 May 2008

[JUST] International Movement For A Just World 2007

My thoughts on anwar ibrahim has not changed ...

Recently, a student of mind asked what i think about Anwar Ibrahim. These 2 letters/article i wrote some time ago is still representative of my position about him. It was written in 98/99


Many find it difficult to make sense of the current political crisis affecting the nation. The local dailies have a tendency to paint an incomplete picture while the foreign press gravitates toward exaggeration. Both of cause is doing a disservice to you and I.

Furthermore, pro-Anwar supporters seem to see no wrong in him. Vice-versa with pro-Mahathir supporters. In reality, both Mahathir and Anwar are not absolute angels with one hundred percent goodness nor are they absolute Satan only bent on doing wrong. They are both human beings, like you and I.

It is with these in mind that I set to write the following ' Question/Answer Approach' in explaining the crisis. I do not claim to be unbiased, as I too am limited to my own world-view of what is right and wrong. I want to state it up-front so as you are reading, you will notice my partiality and adjust your thoughts appropriately.

I disagree with quick-fixed solutions.

Thus, I am not for 'street demonstrations' and Indonesian styled revolution. I prefer a slow but sure approach for political, social and cultural change. To explain simply, while I agree with the goals for bringing continuos reformation, I do not agree with the platform used. I may not like Suharto's policies, but I also disagree with the manner the revolution took place. You see, the problem with such a revolution, neither side will ever be ready. Can we accept a revolution that causes young children being raped and a whole community being made to suffer? Regardless if there are rich or arrogant, a death of an innocent child equals to the death of humanity. Period.

I have relatives in Indonesia. Our neighbours in Medan are surviving with only one meal per day! Since the food distribution structures were broken (before the revolution, they were mainly maintained by ethnic Chinese), now you may have Rupiah but you cannot find milk, rice nor sugar.

In short, Indonesians have 'rights' but no 'rice'.

Now that does not mean that I see no right in Anwar. He has done many good
deeds. To name but a few,

1) Burning desire to eradicate poverty and provide cheaper homes for poorer
2) Openness to cultural dialogues and shared values within the world's
varied spiritual traditions.
3) Willingness to listen to opposing ideas, etc.

Let us now go to the various topics at hand. Many of which are questions and
comments either e-mailed to me or was spoken via the telephone.

Does Mahathir has the right to sack Anwar?

Yes! As the Prime Minister he has sole rights to choose and fire whoever he wants in his cabinet at his whim and fancy. As the President of UMNO and leader of the coalition, it is an accepted rule. As anyone who signs up to become an UMNO member he/she also give their word to live by the rules that govern the organization. Until and when the rules have change, one must stick to it. In fact, in these rules lay the strength of the coalition and UMNO. Such rules provide a centralized power and stability to the organizations' survival.

In summary, if you want to be an UMNO member, government Member of Parliament or Minister, you must follow the rules laid out by the party you subscribe to. If you find the rules unfair, you must first win the majority's heart and change the rule from within. Until then, the rules apply.

Why do you think Mahathir sacked Anwar?

According to the Prime Minister, Anwar was sacked because he is a Sodomite. Whether this is true or false, I choose to remain neutral as I am not a mind reader nor am I God. Furthermore, I think there are some between us who may not mind if he is a Sodomite as long as he does not lie about it and at the same time is a capable leader. However, if you choose to lead in an organization like UMNO and a country like Malaysia, I would suggest you stick to heterosexuality.

Perhaps, the first reason for the sacking….

The events since the financial and economic crisis started since late last year seems to suggest that Anwar did not play a good role as a second man. Many a time he has contradicted his boss, Dr. Mahathir. In fact, viewed from my own level of patience, Dr Mahathir was rather a patient man. I would have sacked Anwar earlier. Let me explain. If I am the number one man, I will
encourage my number two and the rest of the management team to express their ideas. I would also encourage massive debates and arguments within closed doors. But, once a decision has been made, we walk out with that decision as our own. In short, unless my second man and the management team managed to convince me otherwise, I stick to my ideas and I will expect them to do the same. That is a basic organizational rule, " The Principle of Authority". In
an organized group, the supreme authority must rest somewhere.

Yet, that does not mean that one must be a geek in an organization. On the contrary one must be daring. But, as suggested by my former Managing Director who was managing an organization that is more than a century old, " BE DARING, BUT DON'T BE STUPID!".

Perhaps the second reason …

After the UMNO general assembly this year, there were a few of us who suggested that Anwar's days were numbered. In politics, such miscalculation by Anwar and his gang will prove fatal. Both Zahidi and him will have to go. The swift action taken by Dr. Mahathir just days after the assembly in appointing Tun Daim as Special Functions Minister, was a clear sign.

Conspiracy and counter-conspiracy were perhaps played on both sides. Anwar recently had openly announced that he had instructed the UMNO youth leader to attack Mahathir during the assembly. In his bid to topple Mahathir, he pays the price for failing (however, we will later discuss whether the price he is made to pay is fair). He could have waited, but he chose not to.
Mahathir of cause must make his move. It is only natural. That is politics.

Perhaps, the final reason …

Earlier this year, Mahathir will announce an interest rate cut and Anwar will counter him the very next day. It was clear that Anwar was leaning towards IMF styled measures while Mahathir was opposed to it. At that time, the business community, you and I were confused about which direction the economy is heading two. Perhaps, the Chinese dailies were right. Using an old Chinese analogy, they described Anwar's sacking as " In a three-horsed carriage, If one horse is running in a different direction, It is better to cut it loose".

I see the timing of which Anwar's sacking took place just a few days after the resignation of key Bank Negara officials and one day after the imposition of capital control as too much of a coincidence. Mahathir may have decided that Anwar must go during the assembly, but the timing was probably decided because of the currency control measures. In fact, to succeed with the new measures, the Prime Minister must have complete support from the administration. A disobedient second man will do his plans harm. In fact, he would have to chop anyone who is not in sync with the program if he want to realize his goal by insulating the economy. The capital control is as much a political gamble by Mahathir as Anwar's during the UMNO assembly.
Unfortunately for Dr. Mahathir, he miscalculated Anwar's support and willingness to mount an opposition. Now, with political instability, the measures are undermined. In reality, the 'rakyat' will suffer.' Dua gajah berlaga, semut mati di tengah-tengah'

Does Anwar has the right to question Mahathir's move to sack him?


Does Anwar has the right to know why Mahathir sack him?

Yes. Anwar has a right to know why he was asked to go, yet, he cannot argue against it. He can try to explain, win back Mahathir's trust etc, etc but failing which, he should have resigned or accept UMNO's and Barisan's rules. That is the name of the game.

Does the 'rakyat' have the right to know why the Deputy Prime Minister was

Yes! While the rule within Barisan and UMNO applies to members of the organization, the 'rakyat' have the right to know why their number two man has been sacked. It would have been better and I would have been happier if the Prime Minister was to call for a special press conference or explain his actions in detail. He must first explain to the general public his rights as a Prime Minister, Barisan and UMNO's supreme leader as explained earlier in
this article. He should also express his misgivings towards his deputy while at the same time excuse himself for not being able to relate certain information that may obstruct justice as some may infringe on forthcoming legal cases. He should also plea with humility to his 'rakyat' to have
patience with his decisions, as he has to act in accordance to his best knowledge. Now, that is statesman like. I expect no less from a Prime Minister.

What about the manner of which the sodomy chargers were thrown against Anwar?

Badly. It seems that Anwar is now guilty until proven innocent. That is unfair. The affidavits served on Nallakaruppan with regards to Anwar should not have been made public, as Anwar was not a party to the application before the judge. Furthermore, Anwar has been put to trial by the media. Both local and foreign media are playing to the entire issue in one way or
the other.

What can Anwar do?

Sue! Sue the Prime Minister for defamation, sue whomever who claim that he is a sodomite. He did not have to wait for the powers that be to take him to court. He can make the first move. (By the way, according to legal proceedings he has six years to do so).

Why did he not do so? Why "reformation" instead?

Your guess is as good as mine. According to the Prime Minister, Anwar was fishing to be caught under ISA so that he can avoid going to open court. Be that as it may, let us wait and see.

Does Anwar has a right to form a reformation movement?

Yes. So do you and I. Why the big fuss? Of cause, your and my idea of a reform movement may differ from Anwar's. Mine would concentrate more inwardly to members of the reform movement rather than asking for the other parties to change. Remember that when Gandhi suggested tolerance, he was willing to take even fatal blows from the opposite party. He was inward looking than outward. Moreover, he suggested the judge preceding his case to give him the maximum sentence for his defiance of tyranny (if the judge truly believes in the empire's law).

So are you saying that the ISA is right?

No! I disagree with the ISA. But, that is the law of the country and until such a day that the law is abolished, I will respect it. That does not mean I like the law or it meant that I think the law is fair. So, if I do decide to take to the streets, at the same time I must accept the fact that I could
be taken away. That is the price one must pay for not following the law that we are so aware of. Similarly, those students who are expelled or punished for breaking the University and University Colleges Act, there must not complain. If you cannot do the time, don't do the crime. It would be real stupid to break a law knowingly and later claim the law is unfair. As stated
earlier, 'be daring but don't be stupid'.

So what can we do with the ISA and similar laws?

If we really have strong convictions that we do not want to and cannot live with such laws we can choose to vote against the government in elections. On the other hand, of cause we also must consider the current government in totality. If viewed in totality that the current government is good enough even though we dislike certain aspects of the administration of the country,
then we must find a more gradual approach towards abolishing them. Perhaps through genuine persuasion, providing alternatives and working gradually from within the government. It is less exciting (you cannot shout and scream on the streets for instance), slower but surer.

Going to the street and demanding the Prime Minister's resignation is not the answer. It is not even legal for a democracy for the silent majority has yet to vote. The laws were there since independence and will still be there even if Mahathir passed away this morning. Will Anwar abolish them? Any answer is academic for the time being. Suffice to say that he did not show
any clear signs of such reformation in his sixteen years in office. In fact, if we remember correctly, he was a party to 'Operation Lallang' back in 1987 when a host of opposition and NGO leaders were taken in. Recently, even when his good friend Nallakaruppan were taken in, we do not see any signs of his 'reformation'.

You seem to doubt Anwar's sincerity?


Anwar is a great guy. I sincerely like his quest for interacial-religious understanding and his support for poverty eradication policies as well as his advocate for art and culture. But, his sincerity took a dip after he was sacked. For the second time he change colors a little too fast. When he was head for ABIM he was fiery and critical towards UMNO. A week later he joined
that very same organization. In a short time later, he fought to lead the youth wing of UMNO.

Similarly, within a week after his dismissal he attacked the very organization and leader he was fully giving support to just a month ago (reference to his declaration in Penang in support of a no contest for Mahathir in the next UMNO election.) He even signed in defense of Guan Eng.

He is also willing to use all the secrets he holds as a comrade in arms (then) with the current government as blackmail. He criticizes the very projects he was a party to just a few months ago, etc,etc,etc. I found all these a little too much.

But what about Mahathir?

Like I said earlier, both men are neither perfect nor one hundred percent flawed. They both have contributed for the good of the nation as well as the bad. My main concern is that the 'rakyat's' perceptions of the public instruments have been diluted over the years. Now, the people of Malaysia have doubts each time that the police said something. They also doubt the
court of law. Their perceptions may be true or incorrect yet, perceptions are perceptions. That is something the government must look into. I believe events that took place within our judicial system since the early eighties have contributed to this and Mahathir is very much a party to it. I hope, a visionary as he is will be able to visualize a future that is better than today in terms of public perceptions to law enforcers and judiciary. Ironically, ten years ago I wrote about Mahathir's problem with his then deputy Musa Hitam which directly escalated this negative perception.

So where do we go from here?

I suggest we choose 'rice' over 'rights' for the time being. We have lived with ISA and Mahathir for umpteen years or more, so why not another few years till our economy picks up. The capital control measures are sensitive enough and we need not add problems like a political crisis. These measure needs our wholehearted support and have a chance to work in the short run. Anwar and his men must give way especially since his IMF styled measure screwed badly. The old man has been proven right both in his attack towards the speculators as well as his misgivings
towards IMF. Yet, Anwar's case must go on. He should be allowed to clear his name and sue all the relevant parties that defamed his name if he was found innocent. All under the ISA
should also be released as soon as possible. It will only reflect well on the Home Minister as well as calm the situation.

Anas Zubedy
September 1998