Monday, January 28, 2013

From Whence Comes My Help?

In times of troubles and need, where do I seek my help from? Where does my solace come from?

I was once given a self made bookmark by a girl whom I was interested in. This was about 15 years ago. The bookmark had a verse in it. It was a silver bookmark with engravings of the verse in it. Of course, given a gift by someone I had feelings for probably made it the greatest gift in the world back then. 

I hadn't kept in touch with her ever since after high school and what she was doing now is something I wouldn't know. The bookmark may have been gone. But what remained is the verse in the bookmark and how it speaks to me everytime I read it or recited in church or anywhere for that matter. 

And I share this psalm with the lot of you and hope that it gives you the strength and assurance, as it has given me the same:- 

Psalm 121 (NKJV) 

God the Help of Those Who Seek Him

A Song of the Ascents 

I will lift up my eyes to the hills
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord, 
Who made heaven and earth

He will not allow your foot to be moved; 
He who keeps you will not slumber. 
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper; 
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day, 
Nor the moon by night.

The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; 
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and even forevermore. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Listen Listen Listen Listen Listen Listen Listen

I love my country, Malaysia.
Do you know why I love my country?
Cause more often than not, you get stupid twits (not tweet, mind you) who say things and think they can get away with it, without being held accountable.

Or so they think.

Thank God for the internet :). Everything we say or do in public,( or private even sometimes), becomes the scrutiny of the eye of the public. Once your act is recorded, BAM! There you go. Hit after hit after hit on youtube. BAM! You're famous. or Infamous for some.

So, if you think teaching a puppy to stand by torturing it or hitting babies who cry is a good idea, I've got news for you friend. You're gonna be so famous, you're E-mail inbox will explode. And that's just the inbox. :)

Capitalizing on the hottest and most tweeted topic in Malaysia, I'm proud to announce the latest catchphrase.

"Listen, listen, listen, listen, listen...."

Now...what is this you wonder?

This my dear reader is how forums are done in Malaysia. :) And if you are the speaker of such a forum, you moderate the forum. You moderate the rules and procedures of the forum. You are impartial to the issues debated because you are simply moderating the debate / forum. You are the balance between the opposites of the two spectrums.

Ahaaaa, that's what you think. Not in Malaysia. They speakers rule and reign and might I see, lean towards a very very biased view.

This is a snippet of a forum in University Utara Malaysia (UUM) on December 8 2012, addressing the issues on whether "graduates and politics are aligned?" which touched on some issues, such as Ambiga Sreenevasan (the Chair for Bersih 2.0) and other more vocal activists like Samad Said as agents of chaos and whether rallies are harmful.

I capitalize on the remarks made by the speaker of the forum, one Miss Sharifah Zohra Jabeen (cool sci-fi name), president of an NGO (non-governmental organization) named Suara Wanita 1Malaysia, aptly abbreviated (or initialled) as SW1M. How she seems to have commited error after error in her endeavour to make her points clear. Here are my views on the errors that she has committed:-

(1) She erred by saying "Listen" too many times to get the attention of one Miss Bavani who bravely put forth her questions when the floor was opened for questioning.

(2) Now, as the speaker, I would hardly think that she should address the questions of this brave young Miss Bavani.

(3) Let the panelist address the issues and the questions put forth. That's what they are invited for. To give their two cents worth on issues. Plus, they are the pros.

(4) Please stick to the issues in the forum even if, as the speaker, you decide to break your peace and show your allegiance. Do not wander off into the woods by talking about irrelevant issues which are disjointed. Animals do have rights yes, but that is a point of another forum.

(5) Before embarking on an explanation about illegal gatherings, it would be nice to do some research. At the very least, know that there is this Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 (which itself is pretty fallacious, hastly enacted to counter Bersih 3.0 at that point in time). Thus Section 27 of the Police Act 1967, to which I'm sure Miss Sharifah was relying, when referring to an illegal assembly consisting of 3 people gathering (even her definitions were wrong), was already deleted by an amending act in 2012 (Act A1421). At least have the decency to back up what you quote.

(6) Whilst she maintains that it is her human right, to berate poor Bavani, I suppose it is Bavani's human right not to be berated by Miss Sharifah as well. Whilst you proclaim to exercise your basic rights, you should not encroach the rights of others as well. Herein lies the checks and balances.
I may think i have the right to call someone's mother a whore (freedom of expression, Article 10 of the Federal Constitution), we need to counter-exercise the need of calling one's mother a whore and what benefits or harm it would bring to oneself or to the other person. Beneficial therefore? Hardly. 

(7) Please, as a speaker, do not be rude to the panelist. Kesian. They come from far places I'm sure and the last thing they would want a speaker to do is to ask them to sit down and shut up. And lastly:-

(8) Understand that forums may be heated at points, but duality of points of view is needed so a common ground can be achieved (if any). That's what forums are about. To lay down issues and to address them from different perspective and points of view. The speaker here unfortunately has failed terribly in that.

Anyway, for some of the misc reports, click on this link to have a read. This is reported by Yahoo.

Anyway, I was joking when I mentioned that this was how forums are done in Malaysia.
On the contrary rather. This is the first and its pretty embarassing. Funny but embarassing. At least for poor Miss Sharifah. Clearly she has no idea what she has gotten herself into.

The bigger picture however depicts even grimmer. This is a sign of things to come. The future who will take over the reins of the country. And what a gloomy portrait is portrayed on the canvass.

Places of tertiary education should be places, where people explore idelogies and expand their minds. No. Not in Malaysia. We are fed propaganda after propaganda (And I'm speaking through experience in a local varsity I attended once) on how we should think and what we should believe and follow.

Students are often not encouraged to participate in political rallies or be involved in any political activities and YET, it is the very powers that force-feed their political agendas into , these young people, making them think that this mainstream view is the correct view. If this is not forcing them into politics, I don't kno what is, looking at politically charged points of view.

At best, if they want to play it that way, open up the stage for students to free their minds and to gather all information on all political things. Let them decide who to vote for and on what merit that vote is counted for. A level playing field at best is a fair one. And we know BN don't play fair. Oh well....anyway. I leave it for the readers to decide. Readers who I'm sure are matured enought to come to their own rational conclusions.

If I quoted any Act or Statute mistakenly, please correct me. I very much welcome the corrections. We all learn together. :)

I leave you here with two videos, one made by the brilliant troller, Namewee and another a remix of the current hit, Listen To Me.

Have a listen :) LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN!!

Lastly kudos to the people who turned up for Saturday's rally, 12  January 2013. The numbers for the rally were nothing short of amazing. And it was a peaceful one without any tear gas or watrer cannon retaliation. Let the detractors say what they want about demonizing Bersih 3 and Bersih 2 because of this example. The detractors will always say what they want to say and they will always report these events in a less aahn accurate fawshion . But the people know better. And the people have once again shown that their numbers matter collectively as one voice.

I sat this one out for fear of lack of dissemination of information with regard to the assembly. I was proven wrong once again. OK. I was actually having a rather good time in Genting Highlands, breathing the cool air and well, drinking some much needed free coffee. But my heart goes out to the people who gathered  and once again fought the good fight.

Thank You!! Goodnight!

Friday, January 4, 2013

2012 - In retrospect

After a 4 month hiatus, I'm breaking the duck once more. 
It's been a rally, the past 6 months. More so, it had a lot to do with work. Being a litigator is not easy. I've thought I knew the costs of being one. And I'm reminded once more of how tiring it can be. Managing an average of 5-6 hours of sleep a day (I know, some people say that it's quite a lot and perhaps it is), sleepless nights aren't much fun especially waking up in the weee hours of the morning and just staring into deep space, counting sheep, hoping that you fall asleep once again without much fuss. 

But all that said and done and looking back at those times, it wasn't so bad afterall. We eventually survive. We will survive, since we live on hope even when hope seems to be nothing but a tiny flicker, yet, we latch on to it to get through the night. :) 
It was a roller-coaster year indeed, and also a year which sets out the foundations for my decision making and risk taking. Not yet, but I will get there very soon.

So, in retrospect, here are my bests and worsts of 2012


Seriously, this is a really tough decision to make..........nah. I'm just kidding. I should have perhaps chosen an Oscar contender, but alas, I'm bias and I follow my heart. I

It would be, yes you would have perhaps guessed it, The Dark Knight Rises. It's not as good as its predecessor, The Dark Knight, but it's an epic on its own. 

Don't get me wrong. I love many other movies as well. And Avengers would have been a close second. But comparatively, the intensity and drama didn't match the aforesaid Dark Knight who remains as brooding and conflicted as ever. 
Other notable movie mentions which are favourites of mine are The Amazing Spider-man, Judge Dredd and Moonrise Kingdom.

My favourite comedies, I've watched many comedies this year but Sacha Baron Cohen's The Dictator definitely takes the cake for it. I expected it to be another Borat-ish mockumentary but was quite delighted to find that there is a proper story set out The Dictator. So it has my vote for favourite comedy of the year, followed by Ted (seriously, who can resist a potty mouthed teddy bear?) and Will Ferrell's The Campaign (great stuff and a parody of the American election which is quite endearing). 


Now....we were suppose to go to Singapore to watch the Foo Fighters. Tickets were bought and plans were made. Alas Dave Grohl had a really bad throat infection and lost his voice. Monies were refunded, but it was a waste cause it would have been an awesome concert. 

To compensate the misfortune, I bought myself L'arc En Ciel tickets for their concert in Singapore. I was gearing up for that so much so that I started downloading the music which was kept in cassette form by me, which was eventually disposed off. So yes, it was downloads and new L'arc En Ciel album acquisitions. 
But alas.......national service came a-calling. And on 28 April 2012, on the day of the L'arc En Ciel concert, BERSIH 3.0 happened (which will be covered below). And I would miss L'arc En Ciel's first and perhaps only ever tour in South East Asia. Damn.........
Anyhow, no regrets going for Bersih 3.0. I would have decided to go for Bersih 3.0 anyway. 

But the Avenged Sevenfold  (A7X) concert more than compensated for the above bereavement and grief of missing out on two concerts thus far. The Avenged Sevenfold was really tight and each beat was played out precisely! 

I never was a fan of Avenged Sevenfold and was only there so that I get to see a concert in 2012. But like many other prudent people going concerts, we listened as much as we can to AX7 and slowly but surely, I developed a liking for them. And on that day of the concert it was a done deal. I was an official fan of A7X. Energetic, frenetic and I wished I could sing more of their songs at the concert, but I can't cause I'm not familiar with the lyrics. Anyway, here's a video for you if you are either curious or interested.

But the best album, that I've bought for myself, would definitely be this one:-

Tempered Mental's Pax Automata

I've been anticipating their follow up album after The View From Here. I loved their previous album and the EP (Honestly) way way earlier. But this one transcends my expectations. The songs were executed with perfect timing and pinpoint accuracy. The songs were edgy and tight. And progressive rock never sounded so good. Melina was as usual, slapping the bass and singing where no men (or women) can master. Except Les Claypool of course. Jack's guitar shredding puts him on top as one of the best (and technical) players this side of Malaysia. And Jimmy does what he does best, keep the timing tight and attack when needed. Purely technical but enjoyable and rocking stuff. I had the opportunity to watch them launch Pax Automata and what an experience it was. I've been to many Tempered Mental outings but this one was easily the best. Malaysia's best band in my humble opinion.

So that's my album of 2012. Yes Sir. Crap. Can't upload any videos from the launch though. :(


There were many events that had happened over the year. There were some weddings. There were some wakes and funerals. There were performances. And then there were demonstrations. 
The biggest event for me in 2012 would be the Bersih 3.0 rally. 5 years down after the first Bersih rally back in 10 November 2007, the people marched on for cleaner elections and a more transparent process. I have in my own words documented this in my post here.
In light of the upcoming general elections, pressure needed to be asserted to ensure that the terms of the Memorandum from Bersih 2.0 will be clearly adhered to. Dato' Ambiga, chair of the Bersih coalition had warned that the upcoming elections would be the dirtiest. From the events that happened since the political tsunami of 2008, one would not challenge that assertion. 
Things are changing still and the process will be even more evident. But once again, it was encouraging to see familiar faces once more (veterans of the Bersih rallies, and I'm one of them if I do say so meself :) nyahahah) and new faces who have joined in to voice their concerns of the decadence of the ruling coalition.
Speculation on the dates for the general elections were pushed further and we may see experience the general elections in the first (or second quarter) of 2013. We will be ready then. And hopefully we see more change happening. The good fight continues on....

The other notable event would be the KL Bar Charity Night. SYB performed once more. I should be blogging about this as a tribute to our cover band. But here's the nutshell of it. It was a great night. We played our hearts out. The crowd was supportive and enjoyed our music (hopefully) and we hope we will continue to play for more events in the future. 

 We played a few covers. 6 in all. The list goes like this:-
1. King of Wishful Thinking by Go West
2. Rolling in the Deep by Adele
3. Don't Stop Believing by Journey 
4. Zombie by Cranberries
5. That's What You Get by Paramore and 
6. I Dare You to Move by Switchfoot

But here's 3 of the videos. I will perhaps post the rest up in another posts. If anything we're just a cover band, so we're not perfect :D

The lovely Raja Nadia Sabrina was our guest singer for two of the songs. This one is Zombie

Paramore's That's What you Get

and then below, Swtichfoot's Dare You to Move

Hopefully I get all the videos of SYB and I can post up a full song list in my next post. Whether you like it or not! Muahahah!

By the way, we also performed at the KLCC Plenary Hall. Michael Bolton held a concert there 3 weeks later. Just saying. 

Also notable was my trip to South Korea. It was an experience, culturally and err socially. Its a fact, there are many good looking people in Korea, and how do they all look so good? :)'s your guess. But I enjoyed every bit of the trip; from the food I've tasted, from the wonderful places we visited and the people we meet along the way. Heck, given a chance I would go back there once more. Then again, there are many places I've yet to step foot on. Still the idea is an idea kept in view. 
We traveled cheaply and backpacked as much as we can. It made the whole trip even more worthwhile. 

Now here's the funny thing. Up this part, I can no longer posts any pictures. Probably I overused my quota of pictures for 2012. Hahaha. Oh well, just my luck. 

Oh yeah. And St Michael's had it's centenary dinner finally. It was a gathering of familiar faces. Ancient and young. Alumnis of La Salle who made their way from all over not only the country but from the globe as well. We gathered, we sang, we feast and we drank. And I'm reminded of why it is possibly the best school on Earth, ahahah (We Michaelians are a proud lot). And it has been an honour to have spend the best (and worst days) of my studying life in St Michael. 

To that I say, Quis Ut Deus (who is like God?)!

World Events 

Obama wins the presidential elections and will yet serve another term. Joy to the Democrats. Not so the Republicans. 

There were tragic events as well. Notably, two shocking and shooting events in the US. 
The first in Aurora Colorado where a lone gunman fired into a movie theatre whilst showing the Dark Knight Rises. The gunman was arrested. The identity of the person was later revealed to be James Eagen Holmes. His trial is still and on-going event. 

And then there was the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Reminiscent of the Columbine massacre in 1999, only this time, it's in an elementary school. The death toll and fatalities was about 20 odd children and 2 adults. The lone gunman, Adam Lanza committed suicide after the shooting before help arrived. 

Whilst I read about this and vicariously experience the tragedy, one can not help but ponder once again on what is it that drives some people to the edge. Over these episodes, questions arose, on whether gun enforcement should be stricter, or whether these gunmen are themselves victim of social ills? 

In India in December, 2012, notably the brutal sexual assault of an medical student on board a bus (her friend was assaulted as well) and thrown off a moving bus has sparked outrage in the heart of India. It was one of the most crushing and heartbreaking news of 2012, on how the student cling on for life after the assault only to die 13 days later in a Singaporean Hospital. We can only hope that this event, would have sparked not just an outrage but also spark reforms on what seems to be the chauvinistic attitude towards women. Not just in India, but around the world, to strip down the chauvinistic attitude that men in some archaic nations (including ours) have always harboured and to pound in them the humility and respect that they owe women around the world. 

Ok, I felt kinda depressed penning down the last bit. 

On a sunnier note.....


On the sporting front, Manchester United lost the title to their noisy neighbours, Manchester City. Was it shocking? Not really. The most shocking thing was of course how United lost the lead whilst ahead by quite a margin by losing game after game. But the title was tightly contested nevertheless and in the end, the title was won on goal difference. 
We were in South Korea in the district of Itaewon (not many EPL fans in Korea I reckon) drinking our beers and drowned our sorrows when QPR conveniently lost to City in the dying minutes. A draw would have sufficed but at the end of the day it was not to be. 
So the noisy neighbours take the 2011/2012 title and United are left reeling. Of course, now, with the acquisition of Robin Van Persie at the expense of Arsenal, things are looking bright once more. Lets hope it stays that way. 

And then our Dato' Lee Chong Wei put up a gallant fight but was unable to deny his arch-nemesis and friend, Lin Dan of China from taking home the gold medal at the Olympics. 
That was my highlight of the Olympics. :) Wished I could remember the other medalists, but not at the top of my head right now. 

And Spain prove itself to be a formidable force once more in football by trashing the Italians 4-0 in the finals. Not only are they the World Champions but they remain the unbeaten champs of European football. A feat not easy or unprecedented even, that a team would win 3 consecutive championships. Spain has come of age and are no longer playing second fiddle to the powerhouses of old, i.e. Germany and Italy. I supported the Netherlands in this one. But they couldn't kick themselves into second gear and bowed out horribly without any point. They came with great expectations but collapsed under the burden of that expectation. 

Below are the highlights of the final. Watch how Italy is made mincemeat by the Spaniards.


The ancient Mayans predicted that the world would end in 21.12.12. It didn't. We survived the 'apocalypse'. But having said that, we are in our last days anyway, so it's just a matter of time.
But anyway, with 2012 gone and I've resigned from my current job, changes will come, rest assured. New challenges will be ever present. And I will continue blogging as long as I can with the things that interest me. 

And I end 2012 with this:-

2012, an epic, I have not,

But a rhyme or two,
A ponder, a thought.

It brought the worst,
And the best of times,
In friendships and fellowships,
And brotherhoods that bind.

Events that ensue,
Of wakes and weddings,
Of life and death,
Of funerals and blessings.

The successes and joy,  
Together we shared,
And tragedies that ensued,
In solidarity to bear.

Of hopes and dreams,
That may have fall short,
Of lessons we learnt,
Let them not be forgot.

So we bring new hope,
In the days to come,
Of planned resolutions,
May they be done.

As I shut the doors,
For a year gone by,
And I usher in a new year,
With a smile and a sigh.

A memorable 2012,
Has it at all not been,
Happy New Years to all,
Happy 2013.

My grammar sucks. Bite me.