Archive for July, 2011

Prevaricating Bersih

Bersih’s Haris Learns From PKR’s Tian Chua: How to Weasel

Bersih sent invitations to both sides of the political divide but, says Haris Ibrahim, “it’s not our fault if BN chooses to stay away. We say again and again, Bersih is not pro-Pakatan Rakyat. Neither are we anti-Barisan Nasional. We are pro-reform.” – Free Malaysia Today, June 24, 2011.

There is a word in the English to describe the kind of statements such as the one from Haris Ibrahim, above: equivocation. The word means the statement isn’t false – that is, the claim of non-partisanship – but it is also calculated to evade the truth which is, Bersih is in league with opposition forces to bring down the Barisan government. That objective is, of course, politically legitimate, lawful, and well within the rights of citizenry. So, why?

Why is Haris, a Bersih member, at pains to weasel away with his prevarication that the coalition is independent and neutral, especially since he has campaigned in person for the DAP in Sarawak alongside Teresa Kok? Bersih’s Wong Chin Huat is another. One of Bersih’s strongest backers the Catholic Church and the DAP are in cahoots, sometimes openly but most of the times surreptitiously.

With glaring clumsiness and inanity on top disingenuousness, Petra Kamarudin, Haris’s political mate in MCLM, tried to separate the personal from the political interests so as to explain away the presence of PAS leaders in Bersih. Petra: “(S)ome politicians or political leaders may be in BERSIH, even in the committee proper. But they should be in BERSIH in their individual capacities and not as their party representatives.” That piece of waffling was typical of Anglophiles like Elizabeth Wong who once held that her sexual promiscuity, in a sarong on a bamboo mat, was a private affair having nothing to do with her public office conduct as a politician. Like Eli, thus, Petra meant, absurdly, a person is divisible. In his case, he would be separable as a gweilo when he is in England and a Melayu when he is in Malaysia; both fakes.

The question again: Why do Bersih people continually employ doublespeak, meaning deceit, to advance its agenda?

That question has more than one answer.

One, Bersih is itself a political creature borne out of a western ideology and initiated with American taxpayers’ money (through the US Congress-funded National Endowment for Democracy). With such beginnings, deceit becomes necessary; the more of it, the deeper Bersih wades into the muck of politics. This explains why Bersih, while making claims for more political transparency, is itself dodgy, without a complete and open accounting into its affairs. It can’t call a ‘rally’ – in actuality, a demonstration – without the contribution in demonstrators from Pakatan. At best a few hundred would show up. Petra Kamarudin labelling Bersih a Third Force was itself tacit admission into the latter’s political interest, which is basically an agglomeration of varied groups each with its own self-interests, Pakatan being on top of the pile. Those interests say the demand for ‘free and fair elections’ has to be for a purpose; for now that purpose serves Pakatan.

Two, like DAP employing Christianity and PAS Islam, Bersih gives moral cover to anti-Barisan politics which has been branded as “dirty’ and so to be cleaned away. Bersih’s insinuation therefore: we’re clean, they are dirty. This is the exact same morality with which Umno’s Hishammuddin Hussein once used to describe the presence of Teo Nie Ching in a mosque. He called it ‘dirty’, suggesting that a pork-eating non-Muslim, woman at that, would defile the sanctity of the mosque.

Haris Ibrahim chastising PKR’s Tian Chua for leading a charge against a phalanx of anti-riot FRU men (clip below) isn’t a clash of political values between Bersih and its political party backers. Rather, it reaffirms Bersih as a moral guardian of PKR’s ostensibly amoral political position, in western lingo, being liberal. This overlordship is necessary as a political method because Bersih, without enough people to show for the little influence they have, and to show it on the streets, finds morality to be a perfect substitute device in place of a mass following. This explains why Haris employs the term a ‘rakyat movement’ to describe Bersih which has next to no ‘rakyat’, that is, human muscle to speak of. Tian Chua could call out to men behind him to ‘charge!’ the police because those were his party men not Haris’s. If Haris instead of Chua had shouted “One, two, three: Charge!”, he’d find only Wong Chin Huat running right behind him.

Confirmed below: Bersih’s naughty boy Haris MacFirst worked with bad boy Chua.

Come on, it’s just yellow, for God’s sake. Don’t be afraid, claim your space. Do not allow the authorities to bully you,” says Haris, the FMT interview continued. (He’d forget what he had told the reporter only moments again: Bersih wasn’t anti-Barisan government.) Haris, adds FMT, expected more than 150,000, which would be more than twice the number in the first Bersih rally in 2007.

Haris’s MCLM couldn’t muster 500 heads if he gave away free yellow T-shirts, so Mat Sabu of PAS had to promised 100,000, PAS Selangor 30,000, and DAP 10,000(?). PKR? All the promises were for nothing. In the end, and to save everybody from embarrassment, Malaysiakini‘s Steven Gan reported 50,000 turned up, after which Haris, again forgetting the 150,000 he had himself said would show up, tried to made nonsense and irrelevance of the numbers, even his own, by saying this:

Never mind whether 6,000 people came out that day (as what the police says), or 20,000 people (as what the mainstream media says), or 50,000 people (as what some say), or 200,000 people (as what others say), or whatever. The numbers are not as important….

Whatever happened to 150,000? Poor Haris, the lawyer turned novice politician. But Bersih is the platform with which he quickly learned politics, and learned hard to prevaricate like the ‘bad boy Chua’ who, accused by Haris of instigating the police by charging them, tried this:

The video footage only showed a few people rushed out toward the open air…

Yes, of course, Tian Chua instigated them to ‘rush out’. He didn’t mean to ‘charge’ the police. Chua’s own party PKR went even further with its doublespeak: the man was ‘running away’ from the police.

This familiar sort of weasel words – the same kind one hears from Chan ‘Mommy’ Lilian, Uncle Lim Kit Siang, PKR’s Anwar ‘Liwat’ Ibrahim and the PAS mullahs – reveal why political morality, shared by all alike, is the same between Barisan and Pakatan. This means that when English Hat GE Lim et al shout ‘change!’ they meant changing only the government but never the ethical nor the philosophical foundations that in the first place had birthed the kind of government at present and onwards to Pakatan by extension.

Bersih’s equivocations, and Pakatan’s, are symptomatic of continuous deceits delivered in reciprocity to Umno’s. All are in the same moral camp.

Bersih is not, however, the contradiction of its namesake, Clean. Rather, it stands as a flagrant representation of a nefarious opposition coalition that’s full of religiosity but without virtue, of morality but without ethics, and of politics but no national programmes.

Consider this for example. One week after July 9, 2011, and still treating the Pakatan KL demonstration as news, Malaysiakini has this to report, citing the PAS man Mohamed Hanipa Maidin: “Even sex workers took leave to join Bersih 2.0.

In the same page, the DAP was in near apology for a PAS decision to shut down all Kedah “entertainment outlets” for the Ramadhan ‘holy’ month. DAP, says the Pakatan mouthpiece Malaysiakini, would “persuade” its political ally PAS to drop the prohibition.

The DAP doesn’t say “fight” the PAS decision, one of the most frequently employed words with which its English Hat plucks from Pakatan’s political vocabulary. Fighting would imply that the DAP stood resolutely against any kind of encroachment into the lives of ordinary Chinese and Indians. But, the DAP could no longer afford that. This DAP sale of Chinese and Indian interests to PAS in exchange for the crown’s seat in Putrajaya isn’t for the first time – both parties being representative outgrowths of religious tyranny. Rather it’s their combination of moral deceptions that have the effect of continually drawing people, naive ones especially, onto their side.

Here are the deceptions stemming from the PAS decision and Hanipa’s statement delivered by Malaysiakini simultaneously. Between prostitution and ‘entertainment’, PAS prefers the first. It was their backhanded way of deriding Barisan as dirtier than prostitution. (Note the Malaysiakini term ‘sex worker’ when connecting these women to Bersih. On other occasions against Barisan, Steven Gan uses the word ‘prostitute’. Regardless, how does Hanipa know about those women? He is a regular Chow Kit client?)

Between the contradiction of prostitution and its religious politics, PAS prefers the first to get to the second; between Islamic morality and Chinese secularism, DAP prefers the first over the second which it knows is not the font of ultimate power. The DAP has got all the Chinese (and Indian) votes it could possibly get to, so Chinese interests, which aren’t Christian anyway, must now be set aside for the Muslim vote.

Pakatan heaping deceptions on deceptions then stirring them into a pot of moral and political contradictions didn’t begin with Bersih and won’t culminate with it. This tells why Kit Siang will need more yellow shirts for weekend wear and why Hannah ‘Mother of Sham’ Yeoh will have to wash more yellow; and then there is this Joshie ‘trek’ talk of post-Bersih like he is going to climb Mt Zion, good Christian boy that he is.

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Mommy, They Took My iMac

Mommy 5X Chan Tweaks Her Tits (continued)

Tony! You Christian traitor! Wait till I complain to Jesus. He’ll strike you down with fire and brimstone. Judas!

Mommy: help! I don’t want to go jail. Let English Hat go to jail. Traitor…traitor! Me just thinking. Help!

Lilian: What’s going to happen to me now….? What about my Mac?

Mommy: Not to worry, Jesus is with you…. also Uncle Lim, English ‘冠英’ Hat, Stevie Anglo Gan…

Lilian: But what’s the point? They pray, they lit candles; I go to jail.

Mommy: Who says you’re going to jail?

Lilian: That Tony lor….

Mommy: He’s a Judas. He would sell Jesus for 30 silvers.

Lilian: I rather have the money. Besides, he was paid in ringgit. Malaysian First ringgit.

Mommy: So you know your party slogan… big deal. This is what you get for Malaysian First.

Lilian: Mommy, I’m really worried?

Mommy: About…?

Lilian: What do I do in jail?

Mommy: Sorry la, myself no experience. Ask English Hat or Uncle Lim. They can tell you.

Lilian: Inside there can I still tweet, ar?

Mommy: You stupid ar? You not got enough trouble?

Lilian: But it’s my right! Anyways (sic) I was just thinking with my twit. That Tony say I incite.

Mommy: Can’t you think without your stupid twits. And keep your thinking to yourself.

Lilian: My tits think. That also cannot ar?

Mommy: I mean your tweets, not your tits.

Lilian: You shouldn’t have sent me to that Island Girls School; they preach, not teach.

Mommy: Those Christian schools… see, you can’t even think without your tits. It’s all my fault.

[Knock, knock, bang, bang: the horror of Malaysian horrors knocks.]

Mommy: I think it’s the FRU. They’re coming for you. Quick, say your prayer.

Insp Ibrahim: Siapa Lilian Chan?

Mommy: Lilian Chan ta’ada. Anak saya Chan Li Lian.

Insp Ibrahim: Kita ada arahan. Mari, ikut balai.

Lilian: Tolong, Inspector. Tolong. Saya promise saya henti thinking. I was just praying!

Mommy: Go, my child. Go! Jesus be with you.

Lilian (incoherent now): Mommy help. Help! I don’t want to be with Jesus – not yet!

Mommy: Be strong, my child.

Lilian: What about my children…?

Mommy: Not to worry. English Hat is giving 1000 silvers to every child tomorrow.

Lilian: Contracts go to Melayu. Silvers to us? It’s ringgit, ma! Remember! Malaysian First Ringgit!

Lilian (her shouts fainting): Screw you, Judas Yew! Screw you! Screw all of you!

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A Chinese vs the Malay State & How the RCI Took Sides

RCI Failing its Most Elementary Test: Separating Rice from Chaff

This is the concluding post on Zhao Mingfu 赵明福 (beginning here then this and this).


The Royal Commission of Inquiry (or RCI), chairman James Foong, Terms of Reference No. 2:

The ‘circumstances’ are now established, according to the RCI, report dated Jun 22, 2011. If, says the RCI, Teoh Beng Hock was driven to suicide, who drove him to it?


Hisham’s Contradiction

In the late hours of July 15 running into July 16, as many as 30 MACC officers who had gathered on the 14th floor of Plaza Masalam had broken up into teams each taking turns behind closed doors to interrogate four men – DAP’s Teoh Beng Hock, Tan Boon Wah, Lee Wye Wing and a business associate, the Malay named Harun Abdullah. Throughout, Hishammuddin Hashim, labelled HH and ‘the arrogant leader’ by the RCI, sat alone in his room, he said, aloof from the proceedings. No, the RCI replies. He was actually directing operations, the interrogations, and reviewing interrogation notes as they came in. Of the four, Tan got the worse; he was literally pummeled, being confined to a 10ft x 10ft dimly-lit cell, made to stand for hours, then seated in a broken chair and repeatedly threatened, his daughter included. Yet it was Teoh who died. He was also the youngest. Then, according to RCI findings, something queer happened. Between 3:30am and perhaps as late as 7:00am but more likely 6:00am on July 16, Hisham picked on Teoh and joined in interrogating him. After which, Teoh leaped to his death while Hisham drove home, the dotting, human father that he seemed to be, in order to collect his children and drive them to school. – RCI Report, Page 60.

Anomalies like in the above narrative abound in the evidences presented to the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI), reporting on the death of Zhao Mingfu 赵明福, Teoh Beng Hock in Manglish, two years ago, in the morning of July 16, 2009. RCI’s conclusion – “driven to commit suicide” – was premised principally on emotional, criminal and psychological stress applied to a “weak will” that in turn produced death by suicide.

The notion of a weak-willed Zhao are words of Nazri Aziz, not the RCI. The psychiatrist Paul Mullen who testified to the RCI says Zhao had under stress shifted from  “low-risk” to “high-risk” suicide the moment he entered the MACC offices, a condition that was later exacerbated by the long hours of continuous, brutal interrogation. In other words, Mullen says, Zhao was easily intimidated which the RCI then extrapolated for its conclusion. This is the same conclusion that MACC had wanted all along and had worked towards it. Today, Nazri reaffirms the underpinning basis in MACC’s plan to get a suicide verdict: Zhao is a weakling, taking his own life to escape the wreckage of guilt, remorse and fear.

Plainly stated – and this is also found in RCI’s report – MACC officers drove Zhao to his death. Although these officers were instrumental, the RCI still did not and would not categorize his death as manslaughter, that is, involuntary murder. Question: why not? RCI’s report clearly inferred culpable homicide, only it’s without malice nor was it planned aforethought.

Without a RCI homicide classification, the police and the public prosecutors could still press murder charges against the MACC officers. Manslaughter is implied and suggested everywhere in the RCI report; for example, the MACC officers lied and fabricated evidences so as to escape responsibility for the death and to cover for each other. The same officers acted not as investigators but as, says the RCI, “inquisitors”. This is a descriptive term that packages brutality, ruthlessness and vindictiveness in order to extract a confession from, in historical terms, a supposed heretic of an established religious or political order. Once inquisitorial methods were applied to Zhao, three things made him out as a modern-day Malaysian heretic: he was Chinese; a DAP member in opposition to a dominant Malay government; and, he reports to a senior DAP legislator Ean Yong Hian Wah whom the MACC was after.

But RCI’s premise – a person caving in to stress is a weakling who turns easily into a high-risk suicide – is fallacious argument that goes like this:

  • If I’m weak, I will commit suicide
  • I’m strong.
  • Therefore, I will not commit suicide.

When is a character weak? What is the causal relationship between stress and the character of a person or, in RCI’s words, a “state of mind”? Where is the proof of such a causal relationship? By denying the antecedent – weakness – RCI’s argument presumes, falsely, that suicide is a consequence of a weak will although strong characters have committed suicide. Ernest Hemingway (Virginia Woolf before him) was, by all accounts, a strong-willed character. Yet, on Jul 2,1961, he killed himself with a shotgun under absolutely neither provocation nor stress. RCI’s principal problem with its conclusion – as well as many court trials that rely on empiricism – is to call upon psychiatry as evidence which, at its best, is just voodoo science.

The notion of a weak-willed person is central to RCI’s conclusions.

It connects, then latches Zhao’s death to the torture that preceded it. If Zhao wasn’t vulnerable to stress, the RCI therefore infers, there won’t be death because perfectly normal persons have survived worse forms of torture. By concluding suicide, RCI gave credence to MACC’s insistence that Zhao was less than ‘normal’ (however defined) and that he easily succumbed to stress – the death note found in Zhao’s bag being the evidence. This kind of supposition, first thrown up by MACC, now reaffirmed by the RCI and by Nazri Aziz, is western in its theoretical construction because Chinese culture doesn’t view death as abnormal, especially in trying circumstances. In a situation such as in Zhao’s case, it might be honourable even.

But, if Zhao was indifferent to stress then the RCI has no case to conclude that death was by suicide. This meant, conversely, that the more ruthless, the more brutal were the interrogations, the more compelling is RCI’s argument for suicide. This, in effect, is what the RCI had reported. The RCI does not or refuses to look at it the other way around, however – that is, the more forceful the interrogation, the greater is the will to live, to stand up to a bunch of state-sponsored thugs. Tan Boon Wah is such an example. He refuses to kowtow. When at last he was released, after about 18 hours or more, one of the MACC officers asked him to divulge nothing about his interrogation and to nobody. Tan sued them instead.

For the RCI to penetrate Zhao’s ‘state of mind’, it would have to look into that mind. And the most obvious channel into it would be the note found in Zhao’s bag. Yet, the RCI refuses to entertain that note on the spurious grounds that (a) it was submitted a year late, not to the RCI, but to the coroner’s court, and (b) authorship was indeterminate. The first argument was completely irrelevant towards examining a ‘state of mind’ whereas the second would be easily remedied during the RCI proceedings. Paradoxically, all the points raised in the note – MACC’s fabrication of testimonies, the illegality in their extraction of evidences, its brutality and callousness – are pretty much the same ones RCI had produced in its findings.

RCI’s most important contribution in uncovering the circumstances surrounding Zhao’s death is the series of events, one rolling on to the next. There were four distinct phases, involving 10 MACC men who made up a third of the 33 officers, all of whom were devoted to demolishing the DAP side of the Selangor state government on corruption charges. The names of the ten (P notations are arbitrary):

  • P1 Hishammuddin Hashim, MACC Selangor deputy director, the arrogant leader (now Negri Sembilan director)
  • P2 Hairul Ilham Hamzah, MACC Selangor head of investigations
  • P3 Mohd Anuar Ismail, the case officer
  • P4 Arman Alies, the bully
  • P5 Ashraf Mohd Yunus, the abuser (RCI Passage note #158:  “Of the 20 cases, 2005-2010, reported against Selangor MACC officers for assault, Ashraf was involved in 14.”)
  • P6 Nadzri Ibrahim, recorded Zhao’s statement
  • P7 Azhar Abang Mentaril, took Zhao from Ean Yong’s office to MACC
  • P8 Hafiz Izhar Idris, took Zhao from Ean Yong’s office to MACC
  • P9 Mohd Najeib Ahmad Walat, broke into the email account using Zhao’s laptop
  • P10 K. Sachianandran

The series of events (culled from the RCI Report, most pertinently pp 45-62):

Session One (4hours, 6:30pm-10:40pm, July 15):

  • MACC inquisitors: 6 or 7 people including P3 Anuar, P7 Azhar, P8 Hafiz, P9 Najeib, P10 Sachi
  • Opening ‘therapy’, to break down Zhao, background verification, personal details, extraction of email password, laptop downloads.

Session Two (2hours, 10:45pm-00:45am, July 16)

  • MACC inquisitors: P4 Arman, P5 Ashraf
  • A ruthless session, 4 downloaded documents plus 4 more seized before were stuffed down Zhao’s throat. All documents related to claims on Ean’s ADUN allocations in 2008, 2009. After the interrogation, Ashraf sat down alone to download internet porn then to watch; it was around 1:00am.

Session Three (2hours, 1:30am-3:30am, July 16)

  • MACC inquisitor: P6 Nadzri
  • Ostensibly to record Zhao’s statement but in fact of matter another interrogation session repeated again from scratch.

Session Four (2.5hours? 3:30am-6:00am? July 16)

  • MACC inquisitors: P2 Hishammuddin, P3 Anuar, P5 Ashraf
  • This is the session the RCI says “broke the camel’s back”. Yet, bizarrely, the RCI is completely silent into what transpired, how the ‘back’ broke and why Hishammuddin, who until then had stayed away from the interrogations, decided to intervene in person. Zhao was seen sprawled on a sofa outside P6 Nadzri’s room at about 6:00 am, according to MACC testimonies. Almost soon after the end of Session Four, he died, earliest at 7:15am. Since he was brought into the MACC after 6:00pm on Jul 15, he hadn’t eaten a meal, drunk a glass of water, but was interrogated and abused by 10 MACC officers taking turns for 12 hours, nearly non-stop.

MACC officers had from Day One of Zhao’s death conspired to stonewall into what happened after 3:30am, that is, after Zhao’s statement. The officers repeatedly and only said Zhao was released and permitted to remain in the MACC offices, then found at last sleeping on the sofa at 6:00am. Without MACC’s assistance to supply information, there was no way the RCI and James Foong et al would know what happened during Session Four, assuming there was one. This meant that the RCI guessed about Session Four when it says the continuous stress applied on Zhao made him jump off the 14th floor window. This, leaping backwards from fact to presumption, was made out of pure extrapolation. RCI:

That passage is highly speculative; a clear attempt to explain away a death by fitting precedent events into it. It presumes too much: (a) a propensity in Zhao to change states of mind, from stability to instability, from low-risk suicide to high-risk, and that (b) Zhao sees no other way out of his predicament.

How had the RCI come to those judgements? It doesn’t say. Paradoxically, the short note addressed to Ean Yong and found in Zhao’s bag but which the RCI had dismissed conveys the near exact, same point made in RCI’s report, Passage 233. It is that of a man feeling trapped, not necessarily in utter despair. This suggests the note, if by him, was written between 6:00am and 7:00am the only time he could be alone to himself while seated on a sofa outside Nadzri’s office. It might have been a suicide note, not though as a wish as one might wish for life or wealth but as death’s inferred and plausible outcome given this: 矛头一直指向你 mautau yizhi zhixiang ni, meaning, spears point straight at you. Words like these show a man in full mastery of his intellectual capability, even just before death.

Here are the contents of the note in its original hanzi, followed by its English version, and RCI’s translation (and note the RCI translated 再见 as ‘goodbye’):

他们 在没有复制我的电脑文件下取走了所有电脑。矛头一直指向你。
我说,mendapat lulusan YB。他们硬打成mengikut arahan YB.

Ouyang: They didn’t duplicate the computer files (but) seized all the computers (instead). Without end, the fingers point at you. Sorry. [writing scratched out] Feigning not to understand (although) I do, (but) in the end you are implicated. I said, ‘received approval from YB’. (Yet) they insist on putting down, ‘followed YB’s orders’. I can’t help you (anymore), forgive (me). Sorry, I’m so tired. See (you) again.

Because the RCI’s conclusion is extrapolation it would, therefore, omit two critical points that are fundamental to the circumstances leading to Zhao’s death:

  • The entire MACC operations against Ean Yong, along with other Selangor Pakatan legislators, was politically motivated. Investigation into Ean Yong was launched on a ‘belief’, without groundwork or substantiating evidence. It involved more than 30 officers, nearly all of whom broke the law or exceeded their authority in order to complete the task of getting at Ean Hong over a sum of RM2,400. Interrogation was selective; witnesses or suspects were regarded with antagonism, almost as if they were personal “enemies” (RCI’s word). District and land officers from the Ean Yong’s constituency were spared of harassment. Suppliers were not asked to verify against claims of monies from the Selangor government. All DAP related parties (pertinently Tan Boon Wah and Lee Wye Wing) who were called to give evidence were routinely abused.
  • MACC is a den of sadist thugs, and nearly all its Selangor officers were racist in their ideological and personal outlook. Zhao’s handphone was confiscated. The Malay Harun Abdullah who worked with Selangor DAP suppliers on dummy procurement companies could keep his. He was questioned only for an hour. He moved about the 14th floor freely, and finally released on the basis of a handphone recommendation from supposedly a MACC officer he knew in Kuala Lumpur. In contrast, Tan was called ‘Cina bodoh’, confined to a tiny dark room and intimidated repeatedly. Almost all MACC officers lied, fabricated evidence at the coroner’s inquiry and the RCI as well. P1 Hishammuddin tops this list of officers, not only against Ean Yong, but also to escape responsibility for Zhao’s death by hiding his hand in the entire operations. He passed the buck to P3 Anuar.

These omissions reveal deep, fundamental causes in Zhao’s death that are rooted in the institutional and constitutional structures and in the fabric of Malaysian polity and society. Hampered by its terms of reference, the RCI would not and could not dig deeper. Its reluctance or refusal to point out MACC for what it is – a tool of the state, of politics and of racial bigotry – meant it would have to gloss over the foundational deficiencies in MACC’s existence and in its purpose. Hence, RCI’s remedial suggestions are largely procedural rather than institutional without any overhaul. RCI:

Passage 356: The failings in the Selangor MACC which have been identified largely rest in the operational area, contributed by inadequate training.

And this:

Passage 367: Our findings and recommendations are directed at the individual officers involved and are not meant to be an excoriation of the MACC as a whole per se.

Then, in the same passage, it contradicts its individualist and minimalist approach:

The recommendations are intended to improve and rebuild the MACC….

Why bother to fix an organisation such as MACC if responsibility for Zhao’s death rested only with a few persons? Improving MACC would be as easy as sacking those officers and sending the others back to the classrooms. How does the RCI propose to “rebuild” an organisation purely on recommendations directed at some individuals only? After all, Zhao’s death hadn’t arose from mere incompetence or from overzealous interrogation. It was political and racial from the onset. Then, at every hierarchical level up and down the MACC, there were clear, persistent, systematic and illegal attempts to cover up Zhao’s death that the law agency caused, ruthlessly and willingly. For three months, almost daily, the RCI sat before a cruel and savage organisation. Yet, in the end, it offers this fawning and patronising conclusion:

We have every confidence that the MACC will rise to the challenge and will become a shining example of a law-enforcement agency…in the world.


In memory of Zhao Mingfu

The Road Home

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宋朝诗 Song Poem

Moon Meets West Attic
(poem by 李清照 Li Qingzhao, 1084-c.1151; read by 童丽Tong Li)

紅藕香殘 玉簟秋
輕解羅裳 獨上蘭舟
云中誰寄 錦書來
雁字回時 月滿西樓

Drifting sweet fragrance, lotus remnants are red;
woven mat colours of autumn jade.

Untied, linen floats light and soft;
alone, I climb the boat.

Piercing through clouds
comes a letter woven like embroidered strings.

As if the season’s sign, wild geese returns
where the full Moon meets West Attic.


China-Asia map from 1389, Ming cartographer unknown, but it is based on far earlier world maps, either since lost or still buried in some tombs. The publishing date of the map is especially important because, before then, the Tang Chinese (618-907AD) had other than the overland route followed the coast line to reach India.

The Malayan peninsula (left) is on the western coast as if hanging down from the China land mass, followed by the Arabian peninsula then, recognizably, India (extreme left). None of these facts are taught in sekolah kebangsaan history classes.

Map title 大明混一圖 reads, right to left, daming hunyitu, which is an extant of the earlier 聲教廣被圖 shengjiao guangbeitu. Because the Korean peninsula is depicted relatively much larger than its actual size, Koreans like the daming map and so reproduced a near exact copy in 1402 and renaming it kangnido.


Causes in the Breakdown of Inter-Ethnic Relations: Mahathir, Anglophiles & the Constitution


The Rectification of Names… because words mean duties and responsibilities.

If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success. When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties do not flourish… punishments will not be properly awarded … the people do not know how to move hand or foot. Therefore a junzi considers as necessary his words are appropriate, and what he speaks of he carries out appropriately. The junzi requires there may be nothing incorrect in his words.
…… Kongzi 孔子, in lunyu 論語, The Analects Bk 13 Ch 3, c.400 BC

Nets are for catching fish; after one gets the fish, one forgets the net. Traps are for catching rabbits; after one gets the rabbit, one forgets the trap. Words are for getting meaning; after one gets the meaning, one forgets the words. Where can I find people who have forgotten words, and have a word with them?
………………………………..Zhuangzi 莊子 in Zhuangzi Ch 26, c.300 BC

Whereof one cannot speak, thereof be silent.
Ludwig Wittgenstein in Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, English ed. 1922 AD


The Manla According to a Chinese

其處舊不稱國,傍海居之,山孤人少。受降於暹羅,每歲輸金四十兩,以 為納稅。田瘠少收。內一山泉流溪下,民以溪中淘沙取錫,煎銷成塊,曰斗塊,每塊重官秤一斤四兩。及織蕉心簟。惟以斗錫通市,餘無產物。氣候朝熱暮寒。男女 椎髻,身膚黑漆,間有白者,唐人種也。俗尚淳厚,以淘釣於溪,網漁於海。房屋如樓閣,即不鋪設,但有不條稀布,高低層次,連牀就榻,箕居而坐,飲食廚廁俱 在其上也。貨用清白磁器、五色燒珠、色絹、金銀之屬。永樂七年,皇上命正使太監鄭和等齎捧詔敕,賜以雙台銀印,冠帶袍服,建碑封域,為滿剌加國,其暹羅始 不敢擾。永樂十三年,酋長感慕聖,挈妻攜子貢獻方物,涉海朝謝,聖上賞勞歸國。
——————————- by 费信 Fei Xin, in his personal journal 星槎勝覽 xingcha shenglan, translated, Starry Views from a Reading Raft, c.1436. (Fei, because he also read and spoke Arabic, was supposedly a translator for Zheng He. Zheng died in 1433, three years before Starry Views was written but 20 years after the main work 瀛涯勝覽, dated 1416, by another of Zheng He’s translators Ma Huan who had compiled records of the Ming voyages.)

The passage above begins with a subtitle which does not use the present-day phonetic term for Malacca 马六甲 maliujia. Instead it reads manlajia 滿剌加, which is phonetically close to the existing term, different however in literal translation.

The meaning differences are unimportant but not the phonetic renderings, both of which arrive at the present Malay phoneme, written in the hanzi as 马来 malai.

The Ming term for Malacca as manla might not have been arbitrary: 滿 man has the radical particle 水氵which denotes water. Manla 滿剌 in literal translation is ‘completely split’, such as the narrow strip of the Malacca Straits that divides the peninsula and Sumatra. (Side note: hanzi, Chinese writing, is never arbitrary in contrast to the Roman language which is essentially the stringing together of alphabets. Most hanzi script characters stand alone, each as if with a history to itself from earlier pictorial or ideogram or linguistic forms.)

Notably in the subtitle, Fei describes Malacca as guo 國, nation, hence the first four characters read 滿剌加國 manlajia guo.

This is neither formal nor conclusive evidence of nationhood, as is understood today. But Fei’s form of address is an indication of the Ming’s attitude and policy position to respect other peoples not as targets for conquest or conversion but as sovereign independent. If Malacca was indeed nationhood, so has to be the other disembarkation ports in all seven of Zheng He’s trips. These included place names like Champa (a part of Thailand today), Palembang, Sumatra and Java.

Before, nationhood or guo 國 is neither sovereignty or statehood in their modern, United Nations sense meaning. For the Ming Chinese to recognise Malacca as a ‘nation’, they would have had to transpose their concept of Chinese guo onto it. Rather than considered a country within a marked physical territory, manlajia was, simply, an organised society. How organised?

One way to see manlajia’s relative sophistication is compare it with the Korean or Japanese guo, either of which has the depth and breadth of statehood. By the time of the Ming, the Korean nation had an emperor, ranked court officials, a bureaucracy, even post offices, official scribe to write edicts, painters to record events (a time without digital photography), a standing army, local police, systems of taxation, law and so on. Much of everything is unique to Korea at the time, including the written hanzi Koreans adopted from the Han Chinese but spoken differently.

On those criteria, manlajia might have been far less advanced, if at all organised in such great detail. It might have existed primarily as a collection of fishing villages, with some of the fishermen moonshining as travel agents and sometimes as pirates. Fei mentioned nothing of a ‘chief’ or the equivalent of an emperor. This absence of information is revealing because, coming from a society such as Ming China, he would have had to, if there was one.

How had the people of manlajia viewed themselves? And similar places? Were they independent?

Malacca was therefore a nation, guo, in the sense jinzhen 金真 romanized as jurchen, but more accurately 女真 nuzhen, is also a nation. Essentially, the latter is a collective term for roaming bands of sheep, goat and horse herdsmen without, naturally, a fixed territory north of the Great Wall. The jurzhen or nuzhen are the predecessor kin and tribes of the Manchus and Mongolians.

This is to suggest that Ming’s official position towards manlajia would be no different from its consideration for the jurchen, the latter roaming the northern grass plains, the other the south sea. Such a standing for a guo would tally with late Ming China’s prohibition of outright 海禁 haijin, literally ‘sea ban’ which subsequently recalled all the emperor’s ships from the South China Sea. (In practise though, haijin was designed to prevent trading with pirates and Japan. During the later Qing era, it was lifted.) Haijin is an official edit that’s vaguely related to the court policy of huangming zuxun 皇明祖训 that restricts direct, official contact with certain groups.

Ming China recognition of manlajia as nation is even more intriguing because many ethnic Chinese were at the time resident in Malacca and in the other, nearby Indonesian islands. In the passage, alongside the dark-skinned people to whom Fei bade farewell, he also described a group of fair-skinned people and Tang Chinese 唐人種 in this line:

氣候朝熱暮寒。男女椎髻,身膚黑漆,間有白者,唐人種也。[shuzheng translation: The heat gives way to the cool of dusk. (I see) men and women in knotted buns over their back, and dark skinned people, some fair as white, and also Chinese of the Tang people.]

Malaysian history persistently and erroneously tend to suggests that Chinese presence in the peninsula had begun with Zheng He and Zheng He only. This isn’t just lazy historiography, a la Khoo Kay Kim, or it may be politically and academically expedient. But it is also a lie, employing a simple device: pick a plausible date, announced the Europeans arrived in 1511 and that’s that. History begins from 1511 with the white man. It’s the same Eurocentric way of describing the US, Canada, and Australia. In this regard, Mahathir Mohamad is a practitioner of this Eurocentric history, all politically expedient – to him especially – but that’s what makes him a failure.

Here’s a fact, however: Many Chinese arrived in Malacca and other parts of southeast Asia long before Zheng He.

This explains why Ming voyages did not set off at a whim, one fine day, because the emperor saw he had nothing else to do – an idea that the west, along with their Khoo Kay Kim Anglophiles tend to suggest. Hence, West-written history look upon those Ming fleets very much like their own, like the trips of Columbus, going off on ‘exploration’, a misleading term when applied to China (Gavin Menzies’s ‘1421, The Year China Discovered the World’, leads in the misconception). The Ming Chinese, sponsored by the government, knew where they were going. How so?

Ming sailors had sailing charts, and a 24-point compass. They had maps (daming hunyitu above), even if inaccurate, but these suggest Zheng He’s voyages went down well-trodden sea lanes, thanks to precedents from earlier Chinese trips. The only question that’s left to be answered is, how far back?

The answer has a practical use because the more developed the stopover ports the better it will be to service the huge size of the arriving fleets, to restock fresh water and food, and for other material needs of 28,700 people, all at once. It especially explains why the Mings chose the places that they did.

One clear difference between the Ming and the earlier voyages is that the former undertook longer direct distance travel and to farther destinations with fewer stopovers. Before the Mings, and limited by ship technology, earlier travellers from the Tang and Song dynasties would have had hop from island to island on the way to India for Buddhism or to barter food, porcelain, silk and spices. By the time of the Song dynasty (960-1279), that is, 200 years before Zheng He, ocean going vessels had gone farther than the Indian Ocean into the Red Sea and into present day Egypt.

Imagine yourself a pendatang Melayu or Chinese but already settled in, your stilted house facing the Malacca Straits. One fine morning, Zheng He turns up in the emperor’s name, literally facing your front door with a fleet of 60 vessels, each one dwarfing your puny hut, ship masts still up, flags fluttering, and the largest with 1,000 on board looks as big as your little village. Next to your dreams of big profits selling fish, coconuts and teh tarik to a hungry and thirsty crew of 20,000, what else would you think of doing? Buy an advance ticket for a ride back to Java? Or to Kerala? Or climb up the nearest coconut tree for a better view?

Song dynasty (960-1279) sea-going junk, circa 1200, featuring watertight compartments. The image is from a 13th Century Chinese brush painting. Other impressions are found here 清明上河圖 and in two clips below. Little known to the west (or to Anglophiles), the Chinese ship industry thrived as early as 100 AD, Han dynasty, because of the need to move grain along the rivers, along the coast, as far south as Vietnam, and for troop transport and naval warfare. The 200 AD book 南州異物志 spoke of Han ships that ferried up to 700 people and cargo 260 tonnes.

This is speculation: once the Song era junks had reached Vietnam, it would be a matter of repeating the same island hopping endeavours to reach Kelantan or Borneo then Java and Singapore. The Ming voyages under Zheng He were not new to Chinese, therefore; they were simply made bigger, far, far bigger, faster, and done so in the name of the emperor.

Below, a depiction in Stephen’s Turnbull, photo-book ‘Fighting Ships of the Far East’. The flag insignias show Jin dynasty and Song use of paddle (as opposed to wind driven) boats at war. At inset, top left image, note its similarity to the irrigation contraption used by Chinese farmers. Chinese mastery of water engineering was a thousand years ahead of anything of its kind elsewhere in the world.

Actual events, circa 1000 AD, recorded in the Song painting 清明上河圖 and animated in 2010.

All this means the Ming Chinese like Zheng He sailed off on on the backs of centuries of ocean travel experience and knowledge, meeting Chinese on the way. On his first voyage, 1402-1407, for example, departing Nanjing, last stop Calicut in India, he met and fought pirates in the Malacca Straits for the first time, losing, it seems, several thousand men over several battles. Their pirate chief, the Chinese named Chen Zuyi, was captured in 1407 and he was, with Zheng He accompanying, returned to the Ming capital where he was, say Ming records, summarily executed (you don’t want to know how). The Moroccan Berber Ibn Battuta also arrived in Yuan-ruled China on a Chinese junk circa 1340. Stopping in Calicut he reported seeing 13 Chinese ships after which he proceeded onwards to Sumatra, Malacca, Quanzhou (Fujian) and reaching Beijing at last.

This is how Fei saw the people of manlajia:

俗尚淳厚,以淘釣於溪,網漁於海。[in translation: They are a coarse people yet simple and honest, at the river they fish, at sea they use nets.

Where the manla lives, Fei wrote:

房屋如樓閣,即不鋪設,但有不條稀布,高低層次,連牀就榻,箕居而坐,飲食廚廁俱 在其上也。[in translation: Their houses are like storied pavilions made as if not for dwelling, hanging without as much as a ribbon or linen, (but) structured not level high and low, with beds, chairs like winnow baskets, food and drinks served from a kitchen and a lavatory up a flight of stairs.]

Fei’s description of the people of 滿剌加國 manlajia guo also meant it’s one of the earliest rendering – significantly, before Parameswara – of a manla cultural identity, presumed Melayu in part but certainly not Malay – yet. Fei counted varied ethnic groups as residents of manlajia, suggesting the birth of a multiethnic nation within the then manla.

China as an etymology source of ethnic groups is not new.

Chinese remember their past by writing it down, only sometimes by painting it. To be able to record things and events never before witnessed, they have to be understood and spoken of. A name is given. Once given, the name gives rise to concepts, a beginning, leading to more ideas. The name, therefore, better be right.

For the purpose of that history, court and official accounts needed names to identify fringe groups coming into contact with Han Chinese society whom the emperor and his officials are duty bound to protect under the concept tianxia 天下 – all under heaven – also encapsulated in this Song era idiom by 范仲淹 Fan Zhongyan, 先天下之忧而忧,后天下之乐而乐, peace before pleasure.

The principle was particularly applicable in places facing the marauding bands north of the Great Wall who were constantly after your granary, silk, gunpowder and, always, the girls. The Anglicized word Manchu is derived from the phoneme manzu 滿族; so in similar etymological fashion emerged Uygurs, Mongols and so on, all non-existent in terms of conceptual identity prior to Sima Qian, a Han dynasty historian. But those names had the subsequent effect of conveying a collective meaning.

Chinese culture as the centre 中 (zhong), or constant, from which other, neighbourhood identities were first named, and thence to emerge, helps to explain why to it the term ‘unwobbling pivot’ was given. The term itself had been derived from one of the top four ranked books (四书) in classical literature, the 中庸 zhongyong (circa 400 BC), popularly translated Doctrine of the Mean, more pertinently the Common Constant. (Other books are the Great Learning, Analects and Mengzi)

Questions: Did the Chinese give Malay its name? And, therefore, gave the Malay a beginning identity known by the Mings as manla? What precisely was that identity before Malaysia or Malaya or before the Malacca sultanate? That is, what was the Malay? Who was he? Was he multi-ethnic, and how?

The Chinese have the answers; much already written down.

In Malaysia, though, these are questions preferred left alone because they are politically inconvenient to face. Yet if the Melayu, the true Malay, were to confront their past then it would do so much to relieve their existential angst. They could begin to dump their forgeries from India, Pakistan, and Arabia, and to re-lay the foundations for bridges in Sino-Melayu relationships.

But, today, there is a significant impediment to the problem. It is the Constitution, which has both exclusive and legal authority in defining Malay that persons like Mahathir, Chandra Muzaffar and the Syeds exploit to preserve the foreign hold over the native Melayu consciousness. Chinese culture, on the other hand, had always preferred, insisted in fact, that they leave other people alone. This insistence for ‘non-interference’, the word today, stems from again the 皇明祖训 huangming zuxun.

The Malay According to Law

A stab at the answer to Kadir Jasin‘s oblique question, am I not Malay?

The above Wiki schematic presentation of the Malay identity is lifted from Article 160 of the Federal Constitution where, like elsewhere in the entire document, only the Malay is defined. It is a narrow, political but not a historical nor an ethnic nor a Malaysian nationality definition although both Malay ‘ethnicity’ and citizenship criss-cross in common day usage.

It is political because Malay and Malaysian, though not entirely synonymous, are mutually inclusive, with the first (i.e. Part 1 in the schematic) preceding the second, that is, being Malaysian (Part 2). Another characteristic of its political definition is a ranked-order of priorities that promote an Arab religious identity (Islam, Jawi, tudung/turban) only, and nothing on the material and cultural interests of the Melayu (paddy, fishing, wayang kulit, court etiquette).

Anas Zubedy, part Arab and part, he says, ‘Malay’, personifies this Malay-citizenship inclusiveness lodged deep in an alien culture. Severely attacked and called names by an online army of Pakatan trollers for his criticism of the DAP and Lim Guan Eng, he invokes the penultimate defense, borrowed from Article 160: “the first five letters in Malaysia reads Malay…

Islam as the core of the Malay identity is rife with problems because religion needs to be self-professed, unlike ethnicity which is a matter of descent or culture, the latter is in turn a matter of education.

The remaining two legs of being Malay employ the fallacious logical form called ‘argument by definition‘ wherein the premise is made the conclusion. Hence, to say ‘Malay is a person who speaks Malay’ is tautological nonsense that equals to saying the bachelor is an unmarried man. This, in common parlance, begs the question: what is the Malay who speaks the Malay?

The answer from Anas, predictably enough, is to repeat the same constitutional circularity with, “I’m Malay by law”, as if ethnicity or culture can be mandated on paper or governed on the pain of imprisonment. But it is, in Malaysia, where Mahathir Mohamad leads in the myth-making by appending to the constitutional definition critical terms such as ‘heir’ and ‘definitive people’.

As ‘heir’, the Malay is Malaysian by default, exclusively owns the peninsular, the mountains and the rivers, sharing residency of that property with other immigrants. Immigrant Malay kin groups have near automatic residency rights. The principle of Malay heir has never been made public policy. But it translates into actual practice in countless individual cases involving spouses and the children of Chinese and Indians, related in turn to family law, immigration and nationality, especially in instances when there is a contest between a Muslim and a non-Muslim.

Being heir implies that Malaya (used interchangeably with Malaysia) was in its earlier forms a recognisable Malay state and exclusively Malay populated. The ‘definitive people’ idea is the extension principle of ‘heir’. To be ‘definitive’ is to plainly suggest that the Malay take precedence over even aboriginal natives in all matters, including constitutional power.

What gives them this power, that is, what makes the Malay ‘definitive’? To that question is a related one: what’s the point of defining the Malay, and only the Malay, in the Constitution?

The answers, from Mahathir, says the Malay is organised civilization with an ethnic culture indigenous to Malaysia within a pre-modern statehood although Islam is imported. This pre-modern statehood, to Mahathir, is largely colonial era. He never, never, ever explains the facets of this Malay civilization or culture or statehood, or when any of which first made its appearance, from where, and how. For him, to do so is to invite trouble.

Consequently, neither Mahathir nor the official history text states from who had the Malays, as heir, inherited the peninsula, and after which to give it the name Tanah Melayu. Both heir and inheritance suggest blood relationship, meaning descent and ethnicity. But there is a problem with Mahathir’s principle of ‘heir’: Malay in its constitutional definition is hardly a term of ethnic descent.

Because it isn’t, Mahathir must constantly but paradoxically revert (his most recent attempt is this) to the constitutional Malay definition.

This isn’t merely to appropriate the Malay identity on behalf of Muslims immigrants; rather, it also serves to give conceptual validity and especially legal force to a fundamental problem in the Malay existential identity. That is, a definition makes the identity an artificial construct contained in which are imported benchmarks and certain qualitative criteria, Islam being the most critical, language next. Less flatteringly, therefore, the Malay is Arab colonized.

The inverse of this colonization – meaning, the Malay assuming the Arab identity – suggests that the Malay is heir of a steaming tropical jungle from a desert people resident 8,000 km away. This is an upside down world. But it serves existential and political purposes: Malay cultural or civilization history could take up Islamic history as if his own, and that’s going backwards by 1,400 years, long before ‘Malays’ had a name for Malays, much less Malacca.

Malay assuming a foreign identity is not new. Filipinos, the Melayu ethnic kin, do it: their names are Spanish, their religion is Vatican, their language Roman, their institutions American. Only skin colour tells them apart from the west. But Malayness went farther than the Filipinos. On the foundations of an alien culture is the literal invention of a political class that is passed on as original ethnicity.

Anglophile identity, as claimed by the Filipino, Hannah Yeoh et al in Malaysia, is sourced from the gweilo and the bible. Han ethnic identity is sourced from its own history and especially its philosophical culture and ethics, all rooted in the certainty of space and time requiring no buttress from the constructions of religion or constitutional law. Persons such as Hannah Yeoh (Anglophile) or Ridhuan Tee (Muslim) can come and go; they attack and humiliate the Chinese identity, but Chinese-ness remains inviolable and firm.

In contrast, Malay identity has both law and religion on its side. Yet because the Malay is not, fundamentally, ethnic descent its existential angst never seem to go away so that being Malay has to be argued over repeatedly (by Mahathir, for example) then fought over and defended (Perkasa). The Malay suffers enormous identity contradictions which Mahathir had himself, and now through Perkasa, promoted and then, paradoxically, attempts to suppress by constantly reasserting Article 160.

The ramification that half of Malaysia is a political class whereas the other half comprises multiple ethnicities gives lie to the argument of ‘beyond race’ politics (in the guise of Malaysian First or ketuanan rakyat). In spite of this sloganeering Anwar Ibrahim’s Pakatan never seem capable of de-racialising politics because there was never one.

What makes PKR or PAS very gungho in politics is because they can, casting their nets farther and wider, draw power from an electorate pool unrestricted by Article 160, the Malay. PAS may be Muslim only, but this need not be Malay only. Umno, Malay only, is at the limits of its power by its own design – Article 160 – thereby making half the population outside its electoral reach. To reach that half, Barisan is necessary but Umno superimposing its contradictory nature onto the rest makes the coalition superfluous.

Umno cannot reinvent itself without reinventing the Malay or without a constitutional redefinition. Back then to manlajia, for therein is a critical problem that goes with the relationships between the Malay and other communities.

Among these communities, the Chinese and Indian have limited political power to give Umno. Fifty years have that power appropriated from them then transferred to Umno. This appropriation, year after year, began with the Constitution that recognizes the Chinese and Indians non-existent status, followed by constituency manipulation, the erosion of one-man, one vote, and the near complete eradication of the Chinese and Indian in every sphere of public life.

If Malays, Umno Malays in particular, feel threatened politically that’s only because the well-spring from which they once drew power has been emptied, the Malay well pumped dry by Umno, PAS and PKR combined. Should PAS and Umno merge, it is still the same Article 160 well. There is no other power source with which to sustain the future of Umno so the constant berating from Perkasa and Mahathir won’t change that fact.

In trying to explain a failing governance, Razaleigh Hamzah did not and would not see how Article 160 is an empty well. He refuses to see that power had been amassed to Malays, Umno by extension, which is well beyond its ability to hold it, and so Razaleigh confuses that to the centralization of power among individuals, an elite group.

Umno has to let go political power to the Chinese and Indians in order to sustain that which its already possesses, which is more than its fair share. That is, to keep that which it has, it must redistribute some of the much already in its possession.

Devolution of power to other communities is like digging a new water source, a new well; it is not more minister jobs or scholarships but actual, greater autonomy in how the Chinese and Indians want to organise their lives just as the Malays have done for their own (to which they are entitled, of course). Once the Chinese see this happens, they see nations, guo, respecting nations, after which national cohesion or unity comes naturally.

Ethnicities don’t clash, but Anwar Ibrahim’s Pakatan promotes the western ideology that it does. It’s only power which conflicts.

Ethnic identification is used to cohere internally, culturally, not to fight externally which is the western and Anglophile idea. However, to cohere, the name, Malay in this case, must be consistent to itself and to its ultimate meaning.

The constitutional Malay definition forces not just the Melayu but the Chinese as well to think in no other terms except politically rather than racially which would have been far less confrontational. This is because, inherent to Chinese culture, perhaps even Hindus and actual Melayus, the latter without Arabia, they are naive about racism. That’s an invention of the west and Arabs.

The Malay being a contradiction, his politics run around in circles going nowhere. Once Umno’s sees that its political resurgence rests on breaking this endless cycle of the Malay existential angst, it would become better than PAS by being free of constitutional restrictions. Its constituency would grow naturally as a result. For that growth to last, though, it must trust other communities to reassert their native identities and organise their own lives, just as the Melayus repeatedly do under constitutional, Malay umbrage.

Mings and other Chinese who arrived in the peninsula long before Malays came to be known as Malays are historical evidences into the honourable intentions of the Chinese. Fei Xin saw this in the people of manlajia: “They are a coarse people, yet simple and honest…

That’s the manlas, however. For the Melayu to know who he truly is, he has to know what he actually was, not something made up. Again, back to manlajia.


Is Mahathir Malay? No, he is a forgery.
Is Petra Malay? No, he is a dumb rock.
Is Ibrahim Ali Malay? No, he is made.
Is Ridhuan Tee Malay? No, he is musilin.
Is Kadir Jasin Malay? No, he is manla.

Is Sheridan Mahavera Malay? No, he is nothing.
Is Lisa Ng Malay…sian? No, she is gweilo copywriter.
Is Lim Guan Eng…Malay…sian? No, he is guanying 冠英, meaning, English hat.


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Malaysiakini Drops the Magical Number – 50,000

In Malaysiakini, Kuek Ser Kuang Keng wrote this:

Bersih 2.0 has hailed its rally as a victory for the movement and the people of Malaysia, claiming that up to 50,000 people had participated, supporting its cause for clean and fair elections.

The two relevant points: (a) Bersih is a success – why would Ambiga say otherwise? and, (b) turnout was 50,000.

The first is a matter of opinion, so Kuek Ser could get away with writing and attributing anything. But the second, 50,000? That is a matter of objective fact. So why should the reporter and his ‘independent’ newspaper take Bersih’s word for it? And where did they get that number? Did Kuek Ser verify? Does he know how to count? Did he count? How?

Reporters lie routinely. For crowd size, the lying is that much easier because who’s going to verify, so that the bigger the number the better it would be to serve the news.

There is however a number of ways to see if Kuek Ser lied. But, before that, go back to Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt.

How many at Tahrir Square?

The photo above is a Google satellite image. Below, is a close-up section. Looking at those aerial photos, they appear as if Egypt’s entire population was at Tahrir Square.

With their proclivity to either lie or exaggerate, reporters soon came up with conflicting numbers for Tahrir Square. Washington Post said tens of thousands, BBC said a 100,000, and Al-Jazeera, best of all, resorted to the magical phrase ‘up to’ 2 million, never mind the square has only a carrying capacity of 220,000. How many exactly were at the square?

Using spatial density count and Google satellite imagery, Wired magazine reported 76,091 at 1 person for every 5 sq ft of space. Or, if you want to, push the density to 1 person for every 2.5 sq ft (or 4 persons per sq metre), although this is unlikely because it would mean hours under the sun and rain crammed like sardines in a LRT carriage during rush hour. Still, at 2.5 sq ft, the crowd number would rise to 150,183 people, certainly not 200,000, or hundreds of thousands or 2 million.

Now for KL: How many on July 9, 2011

Malaysiakini used the two frames (above and below) taken in Puduraya-Menara Maybank for their news, after which it announced there were 10,000 in that area alone. Thereupon, Kuek Ser went on to proclaim there were 50,000 in total attendance in KL for Bersih, mostly congregated in five centres with Pudu having the largest crowd. Were there 10,000 at Pudu? Were there 40,000 in all the other centres of congregation?

You can actually verify the numbers quite readily. Take that frame above as a spatial unit in a grid. Every 5 sq ft takes in 1 head or, for easier computing, the equivalent of 4 persons to every sq metre space.

How many people would you say are in that single frame? It can’t be 1,000. But 200? 500? It measures roughly 12 persons by 30 columns, giving a density of 400, tops, in an area roughly of 1,600 sq metres (or 40m x 40m). This dimension is plausible because a three-lane dual carriageway road is about 40m across, counting in road shoulders and divider.

Take that single unit spatial density of 400. How far, that is, how many photo frames, would it line up along Pudu Road so as to produce 10,000 people? Answer: 25, giving a total distance of 1km. Now, look at the photo below. Did that crowd spread out with the same spatial density for a distance of 1km?

The answer is easier than you think: Where the crowd fronts the FRU line is the Plaza Rakyat LRT station. The next station backwards of the crowd, or going forward of the FRU line, is Masjid Jamek, half a km away. Puduraya is in between. If that crowd had stretch as far back as Puduraya, the distance is about 200 metres, to Maybank HQ 300 metres. Even to stretch it as far backwards as Masjid Jamek, the crowd without any break in the spatial density is no more than 5,000.

Kuek Ser didn’t merely end with the lie of 10,000 at Puduraya. He repeated it five times over by assuming each of the four remaining Bersih centres of congregation has about 10,000 on average even though the actual count in Puduraya is likely to be no more than half of the claimed number. Looking at the photos of the pockets of crowd in Petaling Street, Sogo and the rest, the total marchers in KL would tally up to a grand number of 10,000, maybe 12,000, stretch it 15,000 max.

Malaysiakini lying by grossly inflating the crowd size on behalf of Bersih is no more an issue of journalism ethics. Taking sides, to Steven Gan and other Malaysiakini editors, is itself ethical, especially since this is a fight between good and evil. The question left to be answered is, to serve what purpose?

This isn’t a terribly difficult question also. The first Bersih sponsored rally was said to be about 30,000 or 40,000. For any number that’s fewer than 2007’s, how is Ambiga to declare Bersih a ‘success’?

Then there is the issue of credibility. Berish’s NGO in themselves don’t have numbers for the reason these are not mass movement parties. Persons like Wong Chin Huat or Ambiga are useful as fronts so that, in the end, they must fall back on their sponsors, the politicians and political parties, to pull off a respectable rally. Recall that PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu promised at the party’s general assembly in June 100,000 for Bersih.

Begin with the PAS membership roll, then add the numbers from the PKR and DAP. In aggregate, Pakatan’s people (assuming their membership roll claims are true) ought to total 500,000 in long-standing, actual dues-paying members. Add sympathizers and those with membership fees still outstanding you might get 1 million.

Even to inflate to 50,000 marchers in KL, that figure is a pathetic 5pct of Pakatan’s nationwide members and sympathizers all counted in. Imagine then if Bersih’s people say 10,000 showed up….? That’s only 2pct of Pakatan’s overall membership. All this means that relatively few people give a toss for Anwar Ibrahim or Lim Kit Siang or Hadi Awang. Mat Sabu’s promise of 100,000 was never his to keep.

Yet, if you read Malaysiakini or Malaysia Today, they write as if the country has gone belly up under a tsunami of marchers.

Bersih, a success? Yes, of course, if you say so. Anyway, there’s always Malaysiakini and Kuek Ser to help you proclaim the truth. Wait now for other reporters (AFP, Reuters, AP) to repeat after the truth of the lie – 50,000. Success!

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Lilian’s mommy politics: One juicy, tweety tit-drip at a time

Anglicised Chan Lilian (above) but probably born Chan Li Lian. This is how she had described herself: “I am a blogger who is trained as a citizen journalist by Malaysiakini-ICFJ. I use the video journalism skills I learned to help the people around me. My interests are religious tolerance, human rights and the environment.” (emphasis added)

That actually means: “I was a poor, unemployed blogger until rescued to be a propaganda journalist by Steven Gan, my mentor and saviour. I use those skills to help DAP then screw the people beneath; Tony Screw-U. My interests are Christianity and Christianity only, rights of the obese and, of course, how to look environmentally slim.”

Ah Lian Jesus O Ah Lian! Didn’t mommy teach you never to tweak your tits?


Struck by a police complaint from Tony Yew for tweeting, “I think all Christians shud march for all the persecution they had done to us and our Lord”, Chan Lilian tried backpedaling. She said:

  • A tweet is equal to a ‘lamentation’;
  • Her word ‘they’ (who had been persecuting Christians – plus ‘our Lord’) ‘did not mean the government’; she didn’t say who;
  • To march means to be ‘brave and not cower’.

In spite of the poor quality of her Orwellian double-speak, Lilian trying to wriggle her way out of legal prosecution is obvious – and predictable. When the push comes to shove she knows how to cower.

If a part of her tweet isn’t the intended meanings, the rest would stay the same, however: (a) Christians are still Christians, she hadn’t turn around to mean Christians to be voodoo heathens, like Buddhists, and (b) Christians remain persecuted – only by don’t know who, according to her ‘lamentation’.

After all that, enters Helen Ang who in tone and language attempts to stay sober between Lilian and Tony, although a third of her article is devoted to the two. She didn’t want to pick on them, ostensibly. Her targets instead are the usual: Ridhuan Tee, Ibrahim Ali, et al, the proven bad boys of Malaysian law, politics and religion.

Because, much of what those men tell the world or do are so plainly dumb, and repetitively so, they are easy to pick on. That is, what Helen says about those men is essentially trite and banal stuff: Ibrahim and Ridhuan are actual instigators. True. The police act primarily against the opposition. Also true. So what’s new? Answer: Six socialist members of PSM held under Emergency laws whom she wants released from jail. Why? Compared to the like of Ibrahim or Ridhuan, who are still free in spite of what they say, the PSM Six couldn’t be instigators.

How had Helen reached that conclusion?

The answer is Lilian, who Helen posits as a moral benchmark for the comparison into who actually agitates most and agitates violently. That is, Helen picked on Lilian in order to pick on Ridhuan et al, then using the latter group to absolve the PSM Six as innocent of the charge of violent agitation. It’s a method of, she might say, picking her targets selectively and necessarily.

That method has fundamental problems.

One, Helen believes she’s capable and competent enough to compare and weigh the words of Lilian and Ridhuan against the actions of the PSM Six. She presumes she knows in advance the intensity of the effects with which Lilian’s tweet might bring on, but after Tony’s complaint to the police that would be academic. Simply put, Helen, without buying Lilian’s cowering package to rid herself of potential jail time, bought that nugget piece called ‘lamentation’. As ‘lamentation’, the tweet is something personal – hence, nothing incendiary to it.

Two, Helen equates criticisms (Ridhuan in particular), even if completely perverse, to call for actions. Lilian belongs squarely to the latter category and that’s why it triggered Tony’s police report. Here’s Lilian again:

I think all Christians shud march for all the persecution they had done to us and our Lord.

Compare that to the Wesak day message from Lilian’s party boss Lim Guan Eng, who also got a complaint to the police for this:

Although it was Christians who were currently being targeted, it would not be long before Buddhists and Hindus also receive the same threat.

Like Guan Eng, like Lilian, Helen through her article was setting up targets for a gallery duck shoot. The consequence, for her, is to miss seeing the bigger picture in the tweet. This bigger picture is revealed in the two quotations cited above, in that Lilian’s tweet stems from something farther back beyond herself and going far ahead beyond lamentation. That is, Lilian’s tweet is a mirror reflection into the deeply, personal, vengeful, Christian nature in DAP’s politics.

Imagine for a moment Lim Guan Eng in Putrajaya: how would Lilian’s tweet message read? Without power, it reads exactly like Guan Eng’s kind of religious instigation concerned solely for Christians, a concern like PAS is for Muslims. Inside of power, what use is it to the DAP or PAS for pagan, heathens, Daoists, Buddhists, and Hindus?

If Lilian gets away with invoking ‘persecution of Christians’, why should she bother to stop with making her grievance applicable only in Malaysia and only in the last 50-odd years (a point Anil Netto, DAP’s bubbling mouthpiece in Malaysiakini has also made)? Why not go farther back? Anybody who crosses her, crosses her Christianity and ‘our Lord’, is potentially in trouble – once the power is hers. That’s the implication. After Jews and heathens, who else does she want to step on, to annihilate, with her vengeful, marching boots?

All that is what makes the DAP so much like PAS fundamentalists and Talibans, whipping people on the streets, blowing up a nation’s inheritance, Buddhas. These are what make them potentially tyrannical and so loathsome. Lilian’s tweet tells why the DAP (along with PAS) are so un-Malaysian, so foreign – and dangerous – whose primary concern is with Christian glory and, for the purpose, it sets up targets, shoots at them, rather than suggest and promote specific-named national programmes to lift the lives and welfare of people up and down the country. No, programmes, they have none; so their agendas and tweets are devoted to setting up targets then duck shooting.

Both the inference and the intent from Lilian and Guan Eng are clear as crystal. Their ultimate intent is identical: to revolt. If the end result is a revolt, then whether their words describe incitement or agitation or instigation become inconsequential.

Helen’s ability to spin is no match for Lilian’s or Guan Eng’s. It’s just her naivety getting the better of her heart, showing again how the road to hell is often paved with good intentions. Whether Helen’s attempt was motivated by, say, justice or fairness has next to no import into a reader’s mind which her article sells, even if inadvertently: Lilian can be forgiven for her tweet since there are others who do worse.

This sort of windy Anglophile, Christian moral equivalency Helen harbours are lodged in the same Mahathir-style political methods found in the DAP, Umno, PAS and PKR bigots — all with the same bigotry, only different actors and different causes. Their common method: state your grievance, manufacture it if necessary, categorise your targets, selectively pick them out, one at a time, and then go after them.

If found out, however, try Orwellian double-speak. In the end, truth is no longer important. Is it any wonder Malaysian politics is so yellow, such a mess?

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Doctor Boo and His Miracle Race Cure

The doctor wants to know: “Can’t we visualise an alternative scenario where the race box is discarded?”

Answer: Of course, look at Jamaica. No race box, yes, yet many Jamaicans flee the country, as many as there are Malaysian Chinese: in the US 20,000 a year apply for and get the PR; in the UK, its diaspora number 800,000 out of the Jamaica population of 2.8 million. All this is from the work of Rastafarianism.

Dr Boo thinks he has a new miracle snake oil cure.

In his 1,415-word essay Boo Cheng Hau starts with a sob story about his hard-working but impoverished widowed mother who put him through an inexpensive medical school in Jamaica. It was a clever idea; who would have thought you could become a doctor in Jamaica?

The essay boils down to this: unlike Malaysia, Jamaica, a speck of an island barely half the size of the peninsular, has no state-sponsored racism or apartheid although it’s also a former British colony. Inference: it’s a lovely place. Midway through the essay, however, Boo sticks in 200 words for Hannah Yeoh’s Shay Adora Ram to illustrate his essay’s flip-side premise, Malaysia is a hopelessly racist society and Hannah, as ‘anti-racial’ in the birth registration of Shay, is next to a saint.

Boo would have been in Jamaica roughly 20 years after V S Naipaul, a Trinidad national, had left his country of birth to study in England on a scholarship. Their backgrounds are parallel; an ethnic Indian, Naipaul has poor, immigrants parents. In The Middle Passage (1962) Naipaul simultaneously examined Jamaica and Trinidad among five West Indies countries. The book’s back cover offers this summary:

“In Trinidad, African racialism found itself at odds with old colonial mimicry; forty years on, the racial issue will not be between black and white, but between black and Asian.

Guyana was Marxist, but with the same racial divisions; forty years on, the country will be so ruined that a newspaper will be regarded almost as a luxury item. In Surinam, a movement was afoot to replace the Dutch language with a pidgin English called talkie-talkie; forty years on, that racial sentiment will have led to military dictatorship and an exodus of the locals to Holland. Whereas Martinique, defying geography, saw itself as France.

And, in Jamaica, such rejectionism took the form of Rastafarianism – which, absurdly, turns out to have been the invention of Italian black propaganda during the Abyssinian War of the 1930s.”

Naipaul called these places ‘half-made’ societies and he was roundly condemned at home as a ‘racist’, a term Boo himself seems to have great affinity and likes invoking. For sure, racial tensions lurk beneath the surface, more in Trinidad than in Jamaica. But why? Answer: demographics. Jamaica is nearly 95 pct black so that, if it is not racial, it can afford not to. Black numbers permit dominant black political power. Compare it however to nearby Trinidad island, population 1.3 million. It is split roughly 40:40 in percentile between blacks and Indians, a terrible situation not unlike in Fiji, another racial flashpoint, and, of course, Malaya in 1957 between Malays and Chinese.

In Jamaica, Boo says, ordinary people are ‘less racial’ (whatever that is). Then he contradicts himself: on the streets he had been called a Chinaman on a few occasions.

Who in the streets of Skudai ever calls Boo a Chinaman? Or Si Hitam Manis? But that might happen if, however, Boo didn’t teach manners to his son. For the boy to ask for toilet directions by addressing an older Malay man ‘Hey Melayu’ instead of ‘Abang’, it would be the consequence of poor and ill upbringing on Boo’s part as father and not because of any inherent racism. What does a kid at age 10 know about racism anyway?

All this go to show that Boo’s rosy painting of Jamaica was intended to posit Malaysia as a cursed, racialised society to which Shay Adora Ram enters the picture. Boo:

In Jamaica, Hannah Yeoh’s predicament would not have arisen. All are Jamaicans or West Indians regardless of one’s parentage, ancestry, skin colour or religion …. In Malaysia… her determination in choosing for her child to be Anak Malaysia carried a significant anti-racial connotation. Why should Malaysians be still forcibly classified according to race?’

Anak Malaysia connotes anti-racial or hides race behind a political slogan? Does race go away after that? And, what exactly is Hannah’s predicament?

Hannah’s problem, if there was one, was not even a matter of choice to fill in the blank in the birth registration form for keturunan, which translates as descent. If there was a predicament it was Hannah’s own doing by her refusal to simply state a matter of objective fact that Shay is born to a Chinese mother or Indian father, two options for her since a mixed race answer is not permitted.

Another point that Boo obfuscates so well in his essay is this: how is ethnic descent forced? Unlike religion, descent can be neither adopted nor claimed. It is purely empirical: Chinese if Chinese, Indian if Indian, or both. Any of which couldn’t be forced – or volunteered. It has to be.

Since Boo is a doctor by training, then he is a man of science. So he should know what is it to be empirical. Why then is he pining after what is clearly Hannah’s manipulation of a birth registration? Hannah turned her child into a racial, and political, controversy – an obvious racial act since it is not possible to be non-racial without, first, thinking race.

On that score alone (without adding DAP’s Komtar definition of racism), Hannah is racist. So, too, Boo. Hannah is for making racial politics out of her baby, and Boo is for acting the party salesman peddling snake oil medicine for a fictitious racial cure – Boo brand.

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