Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Amazing Spider-Man / The Dark Knight Rises

Ok. I'm sure by now, many of you would have watched the trailers for these two movies.
For a fanboy like me, I'm super excited!
And with my two most favourite super heroes ever in the same year? What more can I ask?

Of course, I do feel sad that Spider man had to be rebooted. After all, Tobey's Spiderman was pretty good. Emo and stuff, very much like the comic version of late. And not so funny.
Let's hope Andrew Garfield does a better job injecting humour. Somehow, the costume seems lacking and I kinda preferred the previous one. But, hey, its a reboot. It may be better or not. But either way, I'm hoping its gonna kick some ass! And ironically, the movie is suppose to be taken from the Ultimate Spider Man comic concept, but named Amazing Spider Man, which is what the original comic was named after (Amazing Fantasy #15 would however present Spidey's first appearance though)
With a stellar cast of Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Irfans, Martin Sheen and Sally Field, it should work out well. And, No...there isn't any Mary Jane Watson in the fold, not yet. Cause the love interest is Gwen Stacy, Peter's first love who will die at the hands of the Green Goblin eventually.
So, watch out for this one in 2012. Let's hope its a sizzler!

And then the other movie, which I'm sure many are anticipating. After a massive run with the Dark Knight, the Dark Knight returns in what seems to be sadly, the final movie in this Batman franchise. Seriously, Dark Knight blew away the expectations of making a comic book movie. It combined the fantasy elements of super hero comic book stories and blended it with thrilling noir / crime elements. No longer gothic but dark in its story telling. I still look for loopholes in the Dark Knight for all its complexity in it's story telling, but yet, was unable to do so. Christopher Nolan truly created a masterpiece. Initially I thought the trailer looked like a fan made trailer, you know, the fake ones where idiots compile scenes and montage from the previous films and make a 'trailer' or it leads to Rick Astley's "Never gonna give you up" MTV....yes that sucks. But this one is the real deal, cause you get to see ol' Bats being weary from his fight with Bane!
And yes in the comics, Bane broke Batman's back! Thats really dark indeed.
Well, anyway, I'm still not sure how Anne Hathaway is gonna fit into the dark mould with her squeaky clean image, but I'm sure she will rise to the occasion as Selina Kyle / Catwoman.

Its been 3 years since The Dark Knight and on 2012, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES!

And also, out for the Avengers! Though I think I would hold these two movies in anticipation more! :)

Hohoho... and check this out!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

9 July 2011 - The Voice of the People - And a Beautiful Rally

Press conference by Datuk Ambiga the morning before Bersih 2.0

After a week of sleepless nights, for the fear and excitement which was to come the day finally came and I'm glad to be a part of it once more and lived to tell the tale.
Perhaps if I didn't put my thoughts in writing tonight, I will not be able to get sleep :)
I have been sleeping on an average of 4 1/2 to 5 hours a day, something which I'm not supposed to be doing nor proud of. But since we live in exciting times, I just can't help but to wake up and not be able to sleep again.

Today, 9 July 2011, once again history was made. Once again, we have shown the government that we are capable of calling their bluff on their fear threats.
KL city, as of Friday evening was at a locked down. We made mental and spiritual preparations (prayer service and also yum char / discussion sessions on tactics and routes) as we hear news of the government warning us not to participate in these 'haram' rallies. Undoubtedly we were fearful, but at that point in time, perhaps we have crossed the line of being fearful. Rather we felt that we could no longer tolerate the hypocritical stance made by the government. We have always been fed blatant lies and even up to the point of our beloved PM seemingly granting a truce for Bersih 2.0 to be held in a stadium after meetings with the Agong, only to find out that he has retracted his stance. So much for being our esteemed leader when we can't even trust his word anymore. Was it there to begin with?
We planned carefully of what to bring and how our bags could fit anything yellow. We heard that there will be roadblocks (and yes, true enough streets with 5 lanes were forced to become 1) and that there will be bag checks in the LRT. Nevertheless we decided to leave earlier and God-willing to have breakfast in the heart of KL (Petaling Street Area). We planned to move from KL Sentral as we heard that Pasar Seni was already locked down by the Police.

I couldn't sleep much. The anticipation and excitement was there. And for once, I felt the fear of arrest, which in these times proved so much more real than the other rallies that I went to including the First Bersih. We know that the PM will do everything to hinder Bersih 2.0.
Come morning, I met up with Kah Weng and Wil Liam. We were on the way when we got the call from Colin stating that Pasar Seni is opened and that we could move in there immediately. We duely did that. And then we caught up with Yuk Meng in Bangsar LRT station. Surprised to see him there cause we thought he would leave with Sze Hoo. But nevertheless, we were on this together and it was good we caught up with him.

We were able to catch up with the group at Lai Foong Coffee Shop. It's been a while since I've eaten the beef noodles there. They say that its real good. After all these years, I still think it's mediocore. Hahah. Sorry. Not doing a food posting here. But, as said, we met with the larger group consisting of Colin, Simon, Desmond, Huey, Jude, KayX, Ashley, Eddy, SzeHoo and Mee Chuen. And then Alvin came not long after. Colin had another group following him, the peeps from FES. We were introduced to each other. In the coffee shop we saw the usual suspects for the rallies, familiar faces but people who would go out to fight for justice and have a hunger for a better Malaysia.

I called my colleagues, who were starting their journey from Sentral and told them to try to meet us up here safely. They said they would. The streets around Petaling Street were however eerily quiet.

Close to 12.30 pm, we watched a large group coming from Dayabumi, but blocked by the police barricade. However, we also saw more and more people rallying and gathering at Petaling Street and from our sources, we heard that the march to Stadium Merdeka had already begun. Awesome.

We went to Petaling Street and waited. The crowd grew. And then suddenly we heard cheers aloud. The group which had a stand off with the police at the Bar Council had now journeyed it's way to meet up with the Petaling Street group. And then with perhaps close to 5000 people by now, we marched to the Stadium shouting chants of "Hidup Bersih!" and "Hidup Rakyat" which translates to "Life to the People". And this is the point where we changed to our Yellow apparel or wear anything significantly Yellow in support of the wave. It was massive! Seeing people gather for a cause is such a beautiful thing.

Upon finding that the roads to the Stadium were barricaded, we walked back towards Kota Raya with the crowd. News, was that the crowd was meeting at Menara Maybank. We walked nevertheless. I caught up with my colleague at some point and I was quite surprised to see my boss, Mr Siva in the walk. At the moment, I felt deeply encouraged knowing that the people in my firm supported this cause with all their hearts and was more than willing to come to the city on 9 July 2011 in support of people power. Oh yeah, we picked up Eugene at this juncture as well. We were glad to have found him here!

Anyway, when we reached Menara Maybank, the group had easily swelled to about 30,000 people, so some say. Of course the mainstream media will spin its lies stating only 3000 instead.
Not everyone wore yellow but the fact of being there already speaks magnanimous volumes for fighting for their cause!

Here are a few pics of us, enjoying the Rally and were in party mood. :) The guilty parties.

The atmosphere was electrifying to say the least. The crowd this time round was definitely bigger than Bersih 1.

That's Colin by the way. Our group's organizer and leader. Some say he is Taliban. I refuse to believe those dodgy comments. :) nyahahaha

And here you can see happy smiling faces.
Was there any malice or violent intent? Surely not :)
But no, the police would never stand down. And soon they deployed teargas and watercannons onto the peaceful protestors. We were made to understand that the chemicals laced in the water cannons were by far worst than ever and more potent. But in the spirit of true Malaysians, those who were in trouble, from the effects of the teargas were quickly offered aid by those around them. When one falls, there will be at least 10 to pick him/her up. :) Incredible spirit by the people.

And so, the large entourage now at Menara Maybank had no choice but to rally at Puduraya station. And here once again, the people have proved that they were discipline enough and marched for peace and solidarity.

And one point the rallyers were sitting on the road, peacefully and tried to negotiate with the men in blue. However, teargas was once again fired and there is evidence that the people were even manhandled and beaten by the police and even so, they refused to retaliate. Truly their spirit, determination and discipline is greatly admired.
Below is a video of proof that they were manhandled, beaten and arrested from Malaysiakini and Al-Jazeerah

And this is where we felt the full effects of the teargas. It had been a cat and mouse game. Each time they fired, the people backed, but return with more conviction than ever. And once again the police were relentless in firing the teargas canisters. We were tearing and some us felt like we needed to vomit to lessen the effects of it. It was bad but we survived it. Later did we only found out that the gas was quite lethal and there was a fatal casualty in connection with the suffocation effects that the teargas brings.

Eventually we managed to get to safer and higher ground and we rallied to a friend's office to rest and recharge. By this time, some of us have split up. Simon, Jude and Huey would eventually follow the large crowd to KLCC for another showdown. And this is the place where a supporter died from the suffocation effects of the tear gas. His name was Baharuddin Ahmad, and his death will not be in vain. :)

After resting at our friend's office near Bursa Malaysia, we eventually decided that we have done our part and now plan to go back to where we came from. However at that point in time, LRT's were still closed and we hear of arrests now made in KLCC, perhaps the final showdown.
Previously there was another showdown at Merdeka Stadium where we were told that the police, initially agreed to give safe passage to the protestors but eventually launched an attack on the protestors after giving false leeway. And this group was forced to move to Pasar Seni, where they were once again surrounded by tear gas.
In the end, we received news that Datuk A Samad Said, our national laureate, had successfully handed the memorandum at the Istana Negara. During this time, we perhaps knew that the group in Pudu was the decoy group perhaps leading much of the police away from the other group. Bravo! Mission accomplished thought casualties were in place.

To sum it all up, it was an awesome Saturday, this 9 July 2011 was.
I'm truly encouraged by the turn out though it could have been more people if not for the police and the FRU. But I do believe the numbers have surpassed the first Bersih and this time, although i see the familiar faces, new friends and comrades join in the fight against injustice and this is truly encouraging.

Few points to be taken from the rally:-

1. The People rallied not just for cleaner elections, but to make a stand against the fear put unto them.

2. The People are tired of the government's double standards of treatment

3. The People are more aware than ever of half baked truths spun by the mainstream media

4. The Police do not act fair (The police aimed their tear-gas guns directly at the civilians, they have no sense of fair rules of engagement even when the protestors sat down to show that they are there in peace and the attacks on the protestors in Tung Shin Hospital are just distasteful and disrespectful - the videos shown below are proof of that)

5. The government shows it's fear towards the people and it's beautiful idea of democracy (suggesting perhaps that they have much to hide)

6. Once again, the protestors showed great discipline and brotherly love towards one another and even against the FRU's and the police without retaliating amidst the violent treatment towards them. An eye for an eye? Unlikely. But as a friend of mine , Wil Liam was saying, the treatment meted out by the police is as such - "you don't kill a mosquito with a gun" - More pics and videos on this below.

7. Two weeks of Bersih propaganda has united Malaysians more than 2 years of 1Malaysia ever did and this was quoted by Sze Hoo, another fellow marcher.

8. We are and can always be a united nation when we recognize that we can no longer be merely tolerant with each other but truely embrace the difference and the diversity that each of us has to offer. And in this diversity, Unity is achieved when we fight for a common and higher purpose.

And I also want to take this time to send my sincere condelences to the family of Mr Baharuddin Ahmad, who had died due to breathing difficulties from the effects of the tear gas. It truly saddens me and his death was an unnecessary one if we had a truly competent government. Though I do not know him, I do hope that his passing would not be in vain and people, please do not let his efforts be in vain as well. Please be reminded and honour him, when you cast your vote in the coming elections. Cast it well.

And further pictures that speak more than words itself. Beautiful pictures from Al-Jazeerah

This is a picture of someone known as "auntie Anne" - her courage and resilience is truly inspiring.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Come 9th July 2011 - Yellow Fever

To be honest, I haven't been sleeping well. Perhaps, i may have been thinking of someone. Or perhaps it's the stress. I haven't even been concentrating much on my work, and thankfully, the week did not need me for any affidavit replies, submission preparations, documentation, preparation for hearings or trials. And because of that my Twitter, Facebook and Malaysian Insider has been constantly refreshed.

The real reason, folks is the build up for BERSIH 2.0
This Saturday 9th July 2011.
We have seen government threats, arrests taking place, LRT commuter service providers being given directives on not to operate or to operate sparringly and not to stop at the usual hotspots in KL especially Merdeka, court orders ordering some 91 Malaysians to stay away from KL. Whatever their reasons for the granting of the order we know are not water tight. But we also know that the magistrate is more often than not cornered into making such orders.
We were also informed at the last 2 hours, that a permit has been given by the Dang Wangi police for the rally to be held in Stadium Merdeka. Of course, things are always too good to be true and we find out minutes later, that what the Police meant was to collect the letter denying them permission. A crude and ironic joke perhaps. Hardly surprising though. I would be even more surprise if the permit was given.

In any event, the Agong has urged that the Bersih Committee talk it out with the Executive branch to come to an understanding or resolve and Bersih has accepted the PM's offer to hold it in a stadium. I posted this in my last post.
Of course the next day we find out that our PM has passed the buck to the police on whether it is still illegal or not, while playing good cop and trying to tai-chi the issues to someone else and the police..well playing their usual roles, bad cop.
So there, once again, it's back to square one. And mind you the King has already spoken and ascented and yet, the government refuses and plays the denial game once more. But one thing is clear and Bersih itself has succeeded in proving, is that the Government is fearful. It fears it's people. It fears the power it's people possess. And hopefully, tomorrow, the people of Malaysia can truly show the government that they are there in the first place, because of the people.

I have spoken to my parents. They know the risks are there. I'm sure they are afraid as am I.
Things may get messy. Actually the likelihood is so high that it will get messy, though i hope not. But in any event, if it does, please know that it will not be from Bersih as i have absolute faith that the people will march peacefully despite the disruptions from the powers that be. That will be the truth. :)
So then, I have people telling me before, that I can't even look after myself, why bother with what's happening? To reply that, I will say that since I can't look after myself, at least I can try doing it for my country. :) You can call it Kepoh if you want to, I'm sure many will say that about me. But perhaps as a concerned citizen, I could no longer stand sitting in the coffeeshops complaining about how bad the government of the day is, and when the opportunity to be heard comes, i just sit there and do nothing. :) I can't do that anymore. And perhaps as a Christian, I cannot stand to see this injustice being metted out. I was also told by Christian people that this are not our fight. If this is not our fight, as Malaysians and Christians (and whatever religion you beleive in), then when is this fight ever going to come? There will never be a perfect fight if you are looking for one. But opportunity knocks and you have a chance to answer it. But of course as a friend of mine also say, don't do it because you think it's hype. Do it because you believe in the fight. Do it because you believe that the voice of the people should be heard. And do it because you truly believe that your small part can bring a change.

So, I will be going out this Saturday, with fear and also hope and I hope i will be encouraged with the turn out and what's to be :)
And I hope that I can attend the Urgent Arrest Team and further contribute as a lawyer where for once, lawyers are not condemned to the evil deeds that they do :)
And of course,I'm hoping to watch Transformers 3 on Sunday and hopefully give a good review on it but i doubt so (whether the review is good i mean). ahahaha :)

So come tomorrow, we walk for justice, for our rights under our Constitution, we walk because of our freedom from fear, we walk because we can no longer just sit when injustice takes its place blatantly and we walk once again because of solidarity as Malaysians.
See you guys there. Stay safe :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

It's still going to be a yellow Saturday

As the momentum for 9th July 2011 builds up, more and more arrests were made. In fact the 6 PSM members were re-arrested under the Emergency Ordinance. Detention without trial. It's hard to imagine such draconian laws exists. Existing side by side with another needless horror. The ISA.

However, in an unprecedented move, we witness yet another twist to the tale.
The King has spoken on Sunday, 3rd July 2011, that Bersih 2.0 hold talks with the government for an 'amicable settlement'.
The term is 'amicable' is loosely used for we know, that higher powers are at play here , for the benefit of one party mostly. And I don't mean divine hands at work. I mean the powers that be, seeking for royal intervention.

To be honest, I was quite peeved when I first read the news on the Malaysian Insider. The King has stated that the Malaysia should not be emulating other countries in these regards. Indirectly, we are told that the protests, walk, march whatever you may call it, is not a good idea. So, if the walk continues on, it would be a direct affront to the King and it would further give the requisite ammo for Ibrahim Ali and Umno Youth (or even UMNO) for that matter to demonize Bersih 2.0 and it's marchers would be held for treason.
On the other hand, calling off the march would mean that Bersih has lost. Civil liberties for peaceful assemblies is lost. The chance to show that people are no longer afraid and would rather stand up against a corrupt government is lost. And for that, I was quite peeved.

Today, Bersih 2.0's chair, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, after talks with the Government, accepted their "offer" to have it in the stadium. To be fair, we knew that this decision would be made. Between a rock and a hard place, but yet decision must be made. And we all knew that this is the only outcome. But mind you, Datuk Ambiga still has my utmost respect for going against the tides after being subjected to much criticism including having her pictures burned by Mat Cemerlangs, and even a proposed revocation of her citizenship by Ali Rustam (his reasons making no sense at all). She will be remembered and honoured for her contributions to the Malaysian Bar as chairman (the Walk of Justice) and for her contributions for Malaysian society (Bersih 2.0). And therefore let none of these decisions made ever take that away from her.

Finally Bersih 2.0 was to be held in the stadium. The venue at this point, possibly Stadium Shah Alam.
Upset I was, over all this. The fact that civil liberties has perhaps suffered a miserable death at the statements of the monarch. Does this mean that there will never be peaceful assemblies in the future, for a common cause? I don't know. But I thought it meant so.
Nevertheless, we still made it for the Urgent Arrest training at the KLBar to learn more on handling these situations in case things get rowdy on Saturday (the possibilities are still there).

However, in spite of everything, this may even be a blessing in disguise. Now with Bersih recognized by the Monarch, it would mean that people could gather together for a common cause, although not on the streets like I hoped for it (from my experience in Bersih 2007 it was indeed a beautiful sight of solidarity). No arrests should be made by the cops unless they want to further taint their already frail and fragile image of trust amongst public. And perhaps the biggest test for the PM, to know release those who were unreasonable and WRONGFULLY detained under the guise of national threat in the form of Bersih 2.0. The spotlight is now on him to play his cards right.

Anyway, not wanting to digress, these were the articles I read, which brings hope and a smile. :)
- Raja Petra's well written article, may have just convinced me, that there are silver linings to dark clouds.

And this one :-

Therefore, we hope to see Yellow support still on Saturday. And as for me, I will be with the rally and if I'm not hauled in the Black Maria, I will be there for the urgent arrests as well :) Let's hope all goes well :) And that the people continue to show their voices in support and solidarity in yellow.

Anyway, for comic relief on the attempts to 'communize', 'demonize', 'nonsensilize' Bersih read the link here and of course Hishamuddin's statements and views on the ok's of communism but not Bersih. Clearly funny and double standard stuff :)

This has absolutely nothing to do with Bersih. But my sis gave me a link and I thought it was pretty funny but awesome. So please enjoy Enter Sandman - jazz style. :)