Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Cheap Parliament Dramatics!!

With great amusement, I read the antics of two YBs from Parit Sulong and Sri Gading, on the topics of Crosses at "mission" schools. Both these guys definitely need to be nominated for an award - the other nominees for which would probably be Nazri, Zam, Sami Vellu, Sothi, Badrudin, Bung Mokhtar and last but not least, Uncle Lim himself.

Both the "promonent" MPs apparently come from Batu Pahat - which makes me wonder if the had planned it in advance over a teh tarik ......

It is inconceivable to me that these two could actually believe that the crosses in the "Mission" schools are actually detrimental to the education standards in our schools
(Just today, I had a client complain that she finds it difficult to pay for the necessary tuitions - all becos, the teachers seem to be busy attending "Kursus", instead of teaching!)

Anyway, Parit Sulong was later quoted in The Sun to have said, "I was merely voicing the concerns of the public at large". Robin Hood ..... sorry ..... Syed Hood also "said he does not have any problems with mission schools and backed this up by saying that his eldest daughter used to study in the Batu Pahat Convent Primary School. (Why didn't he say so in the first place? Why then were the stories about "church songs", and holidays brought up, I wonder...) Maybe he probably had a "wayar putus", and wasn't able to articulate his thoughts in his mother tongue - that argument, I can accept!

Maybe they wanted to draw the ultra-orthodox, religious Kampung folks' attention by drawing on these issues. But then again, maybe it was a tactic to appear to be more "Islamic" than PAS, in keeping with the spirit of never ending competition of "out-Islamizing" each other. An "achievement" in this competition would definitely be the ultimate "wet-dream" for the politician, if there can ever be one ..... it opens many doors to rise in the echelons of power.

I suppose they too wish to be in the limelight even if it is for the most idiotic reasons - that seems to be the current trend of events .... maybe it is a new competition among BN MPs - I wouldn't know. It has to be the reason- there is no other rational reason. After all we need to distract the voters by hook or crook .... or else they may realize that "the emperor wears no clothes"!

To help them along, we need the DAP MPs screaming their guts and spewing bile at the BN MPs, so as to add to the dramatics. Meanwhile, PAS, despite being the most powerful political party in the opposition, sits as though totally clueless on issues affecting the nation. (It must be noted that they however have only 6 parliamentary seats, to DAPs 12).

It is not uncommon for one MP or other to start a shouting match with his "opponent" and ultimately end the "discussion"/ "debate" with something inconsequential. Shouting in parliament seems to have become an indispensable method of "civil behaviour", for one to get his points across or create a chaotic verbal pandemonium.

Addressing their peers in parliament as "racist", "monyet", "berok", "bodoh", "rambut putih", "one-eye-jack", "pondan", telling "others' to "keluar Malaysia", calling for a fight and sexist remarks are all fair game. Rude and provocative questioning of BN MPs/ ministers by the opposition bench(mainly Uncle Lim) seems to be acceptable and even maybe, "warranted". In fact, sometime I can't help believing that there's a cynical smile on Uncle Lim's face as he stokes the fire!

I really wonder if there are "envelopes passed" behind the scenes to facilitate these clownings in the "most august" House, in order to distract the observers, the media and the rakyat.

Anyway, in my opinion, many MPs probably need to attend "kursus" as penalty for "misbehaviour" to rectify their conduct in parliament, and to give any meaning to the title - YB. One thing is for sure - they all definitely need a kursus to articulate their thoughts in fluent and polite Malay.

And we definitely need an award - at least online,(maybe Bart Simpson's Krusty the clown Award?) for the most "resourceful Clown" in Parliament - Maybe Kickdefella or Mob's Crib can design it, and RPK can conduct a poll for the winner monthly, quarterly or annually. We could add on other awards for the most "brilliant ideas", most "engaging debate", best/bravest fighter/ Kicker and what not.......

Not Child's Play: A Teddy-Bear Intifada

From the December 3, 2007 National Review Online

December 4, 2007
by Paul Marshall

Editor's note: There is rioting in Sudanese streets calling for the death of a woman over a teddy bear named Mohammed. What can we in the West possibly do with this — nationally, individually? How do we help? What must we learn from it? National Review Online asked a group of experts and commentators.

Paul Marshall
British teacher Gillian Gibbons's sentence for blasphemy, and the subsequent demonstrations calling for her death, is one of a series of such incidents that, by their very absurdity, have shone media attention on the perils of accusations of blasphemy, apostasy, and insulting Islam. We need this attention to lead the West to become aware of and address the far wider and more serious political repercussions of such accusations in the Muslim world and beyond.

Examples could be taken from Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and elsewhere, but Sudan provides enough of its own. In 2005, Mohammed Taha, who edited the al-Wifaq newspaper in Sudan's capital, reprinted an article that debated the background of Mohammed. He was charged with blasphemy, though the charges were later dropped. However, in 2006 his body was found in a Khartoum street. He had been beheaded.

In the early 1990s, Gaspar Biro, the courageous United Nations Special Rapporteur on Sudan, produced a series of reports documenting the National Islamic Front government's massacres, slavery, draconian penal code, and other depredations. In 1994, the NIF (an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood) called his work "a vicious attack on the religion of Islam." In 1995, Sudanese officials said "we don't want to speculate about his fate if he is to continue offending the feelings of Muslims worldwide." These accusations of blasphemy were deemed dire enough that the U.N. General Assembly described it as "an unacceptable threat against his person."

Perhaps the most striking instance was Mahmoud Mohamed Taha. He was one of the country's leading Islamic scholars, and a co-founder of the Republican Brotherhood, which pushed, on Islamic grounds, for an open and democratic society. A major opponent of the regime, in January 1985 he was tried and executed on charges that amounted to apostasy because of his views on Islamic teaching.

As these examples show, a major function of blasphemy laws is silencing those who want to debate and discuss the meaning of Islam, particularly those who favor open and democratic societies.

How do we respond? Well, first, with diplomatic pressure to have Ms. Gibbons released, which appears to be progressing. But it is vital not to treat blasphemy accusations and convictions as merely idiosyncratic vagaries of Muslim regimes that simply require a humanitarian response on behalf of the unfortunates involved. Blasphemy charges are the front line of the war of ideas within Islam. If there is to be debate within Islam, we need to work to remove such laws.

A good place to start is for the U.S. to seriously campaign against the ongoing, partly successful, multi-year effort by the Organization of the Islamic Conference to have the United Nations condemn "blasphemy" in the international sphere (an effort couched in the language of combating 'Islamophobia'). A good occasion for this campaign is the preparatory meetings for the 2009 U.N. conference on "Racism," which, under the leadership of Iran, Libya, and Pakistan, is set to condemn all "insults to Islam," whether those purportedly by Ms. Gibbons, or those of political targets such as Gaspar Biro or the Tahas.

— Paul Marshall is senior fellow at Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom and is writing a book on blasphemy. The new edition of his World survey of Religious Freedom will be published by Rowman and Littlefield in January.