[ hiatus ]

14 10 2007

Dear readers,

Apologies for the hiatus in postings; I have been travelling for work and have had little opportunity to update the blog while away.

I have just returned but will be going on hiatus for a while to attend to urgent personal matters. I don’t know when I will be back, but I will return when I can.

Thank you for your support and comments; I am proud to say that the vast majority of comments on this blog have been of a wonderfully high quality; I have greatly enjoyed the discourse and learned much from you.

In the meantime, the corruption, subversion of democracy and active suppression of civil rights in Malaysia by the BN government goes on every day, albeit in a slightly less violent manner than in Burma.

Haris Ibrahim‘s petition to the Agong calling for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the judicial scandal requires our support. Please view the full text of the petition HERE, and sign it by sending your name and IC no. to <savethejudiciary@gmail.com>. Your details will be treated with the strictest responsibility. Please help to publicise this petition: we must not allow this judicial scandal to be swept under the carpet.

Keep fighting the good fight; see things as they are, expose the wrong and don’t be afraid to speak the truth. Never submit to bullying. But let’s do it in style: do as Gandhi did; do as the Burmese monks did. Let’s do it peacefully. Satyagraha. The way of peace.

Please register yourself to vote (go to the Election Commission website to check your voter status), get others to register themselves too, and when the time comes, vote wisely. Vote for change. We can change things for the better. Believe it.

Malaysia needs you.

[ ghostline ] salutes you, Bangsa Malaysia.





SAVE BURMA; Day of Action 5th Oct

5 10 2007

Dear readers,In support of the Burmese people’s struggle for freedom in the face of a violent crackdown by the Burmese junta:

This blogger and fellow SG-based Malaysian blogger Satya will be staging a two-man satyagraha (peaceful demonstration) outside the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China on Tanglin Road, Singapore later this morning (Friday 5th Oct) from 11am -2pm.

gandhi_studio_1931.jpg

[ Mahatma Gandhi – pioneer of the satyagraha (‘Gandhigiri’) philosophy; photo from Wikipedia ]

Due to the great difficulty in obtaining official approval for public protests in Singapore (the SG government is equally as uptight about public protests as Malaysia is, they’re just less triggerhappy) and the extreme urgency over the ongoing violence in Burma, we have decided to circumvent the problem of the permit by staging a very small but (hopefully) high-impact two-man protest instead.

We have prepared a short memorandum to be submitted to the Chinese Ambassador and local media, if they show up. Download the memorandum here: save-burma.pdf

Why target the Chinese Embassy and not the Burmese?

Simple: the Burmese military junta is very similar to North Korea right now: isolated, paranoid, delusional and violent. International expressions of revulsion… are unlikely to have any effect on the Burmese government.

However, the Burmese military junta is still heavily dependent on China for political, military, economic and ideological support; Burma is virtually a client state of China (as is North Korea). Chinese support (in conjunction with petrodollars) is propping up the junta as part of a new ‘Great Game’ between China and India to assert strategic influence on Indochina. Despite attempts in recent years at hedging the country’s dependence on China, the Burmese government would probably collapse if the Chinese abruptly withdrew their support.

In other words, China has a great deal of leverage over Burma if it wishes to exercise it.

Obviously, China is highly reluctant to do so, but this is where international attention and pressure can be strategically brought to bear with the greatest effect. China is vulnerable to negative publicity right now because it MUST maintain a squeaky-clean public image for the upcoming 2008 Beijing Olympics. Therein lies our leverage.

By linking the violence in Burma to China’s own human rights record and the upcoming Beijing Olympics, we can gain some leverage over China. Bluntly speaking, I believe that we – the people of the world – can conceivably press the Chinese government to take meaningful action against the Burmese junta. I do not think they can afford to have the glamour of the Beijing Olympics ‘tainted’ by association with the blood of the Burmese protestors.

It is not desirable to politicise the Olympic Games; that statement notwithstanding, the Games have always been politicised to some degree, and I believe that this is the only way to force China to take real action.

ASEAN, as we have seen, is about as useful as having an extra toe growing out of your forehead. And, short of a military action, even the United Nations has very little influence over the Burmese junta.

Which leaves China.

Avaaz, the NGO that is organising the worldwide petition and newspaper ad campaign for the Burmese people, has also identified the same strategic issue, i.e.: to move Burma, we must press China.

Press hard. Burmese lives depend on it.

—————————————-

Just received the followup email from Avaaz, organiser of the worldwide petition to China and the UN Supreme Council to take action against Burma over the violent crackdown. The email is reproduced below, (red highlights added by me):

——————-

Dear friends,

Today, our petition to China and the UN Security Council to stop the brutal crackdown on peaceful Burmese protesters is being delivered to the world in a full page ad in the Financial Times worldwide — but the ad was rejected by other newspapers like the South China Morning Post and the Singapore Straits Times. Our message is an invitation to China to do the right thing in Burma, not an attack — yet even that seemed too much for media that fear Chinese reprisals.

We won’t let our voice be silenced like this. We’re taking our message to the streets, in an international day of action on Saturday — details are on our petition page, and below. And we’re redoubling our efforts to make our voice louder: our petition is approaching 600,000 signatures, closing fast on our 1 million goal.The petition link is below – send this email to all your friends and family and help us reach 1 million voices by Saturday!

http://www.avaaz.org/en/stand_with_burma/w.php

To organize an event for the global day of action, just follow the steps below. To attend an event, scroll down our petition page at the link above for a list of events around the world. Here’s some simple steps for organizers:

  • Choose a public place or landmark in your town, and organize friends to go there all wearing the same maroon red clothing as the Burmese monks. Tell local media about your plans, and email the details and contact information to dayofaction@avaaz.org — we will try to advertise your event on our petition page.
  • Ask people attending your event to share their feelings on this crisis and the need for action, and then tie a red ribbon or piece of cloth around fences or trees to leave a more lasting sign of your support for the Burmese.

The worldwide outcry to save Burma’s peaceful monks and protesters is one more sign of how the world is getting closer, feeling increasingly responsible to each other, and for each other as human beings. We’re bringing a voice of humanity to this desperate situation, and we must not be silenced.

With hope and determination,

Ricken, Paul, Graziela, Ben, Sarah, Iain, Galit, Pascal, Milena and the whole Avaaz Team.

PS – Here are some great links for local reporting on the current situation in Burma:

http://www.irrawaddy.org

http://www.mizzima.com

Avaaz.org is staffed by a global team of campaigners operating on 3 continents. We have administrative offices in London, New York, and Rio de Janeiro. Please direct mail to our NY office at 260 Fifth Avenue, 9th floor, New York, NY 10001 U.S.A.

 




FREE BURMA! International Bloggers’ Day in Support of the Burmese People

4 10 2007

free_burma_03.jpg

Free Burma website: www.free-burma.org

In solidarity with the courageous and peace-loving people of Burma.

Human rights NGO’s are organising a Vigil for Burma tomorrow night near KLCC. Details below, reproduced in entirety from Elizabeth Wong’s blog:

Vigil for Burma (Friday) October 5, 2007

Posted by elizabethwong in Current Affairs, Democracy, Event, Human Rights, International, Malaysia, Politics, Southeast Asia.

A Solidarity vigil will be held this Friday night, in support of Burma’s people, who are unable to exercise their fundamental rights in their country, and to express our opposition towards the Burma military junta’s bloody crackdown on protestors.

There are now reports filing in, that hundreds have been killed and some 6,000 people are being held at various detention facilities. Thousands of monks have been forcibly defrocked and are believed to be on their way to the military junta’s deadly labour camps.

 

The vigil is an initiative of civil society organisations, including Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM), Civil Rights Committee of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH-CRC), Youth For Change (Y4C) and Amnesty International (AI) Malaysia.

 

Date: Friday, 5 October 2007

Time: 8 p.m.

Venue: KLCC (entrance nearest to Menara Maxis, opposite Avenue K)

 

Please come to show your solidarity. Please bring candles, candle-holders, tang-lungs, pelitas and banners. Wear your red top too.

 

“Please use your liberty to promote ours”
– Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, detained Nobel Peace Laureate.

 

For further information, please contact SUARAM (MoonHui) at 03-77843525 or Amnesty International (K.Shan) at 03-79552680.

 





Bullying in The Civil Service

4 10 2007

I received word on this case a few days ago and was supposed to post on it when the violent crackdown in Burma began and displaced everything else.

The case concerns a young teacher who recently attended his annual review at the Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Pelajaran (SPP – Education Services Commission). The teacher involved (let’s call him ‘Teacher A‘, or ‘A‘) attended the interview, but instead of undergoing a proper interview, he was subjected to a vindictive, baseless, completely uncalled-for and humiliating dressing down by the senior officer who interviewed him.

According to A, the bully involved was Dato’ Haji Abdullah bin Haji Abdul Kadir, who according to the screen capture below holds the position of Pengarah Bahagian Pendidikan Guru (Director, Teachers’ Training Department). I’ve tried to search the SPP website to verify the identity of the officer above but like much public infrastructure in Malaysia, the website appears to be non-functional.

The arrogant and condescending behaviour of this ‘Datuk’ who abuses his position to bully subordinate officers deserves nothing but contempt, and he comes across as a crass, boorish, pompous and self-absorbed twit (an old himbo – ‘male bimbo’ – if you will).

Teacher A would very much like to fight his case but requires advice and support;

If you can assist, or know of someone who can, please contact me at ghostline2501@gmail.com or Scott Thong at his blog: http://scottthong.wordpress.com

and we will help put you in touch with ‘Teacher A‘.

Also, if you know of anyone who has had a similar experience of bullying at the hands of this particular officer or other senior officers, whether in the civil service or private sector: please ask them to carefully document the events and get in touch with us. There are people who can help.

Never submit to bullying.

—————————–

This is Teacher A’s account, reproduced from Scott Thong’s blog:

SPP Interview Expose – Interview With the Very Condescending Bigshot Rich Datuk (name of interviewee has been omitted to prevent retributive action)

I was at Jabatan Perdana Menteri yesterday, for an interview with the Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Pelajaran. It was an interview to confirm my placement into the government service as DG41.

The interview letters stated that we should wear “formal berlengan panjang.”

From http://www.spp.jpm.my/temuduga-faktor.php:

Perawakan Dan Penampilan Diri.

Calon-calon dikehendaki hadir temuduga dengan berpakaian kemas dan sopan. Calon-calon lelaki dikehendaki memakai baju kemeja berlengan panjang dan bertali leher, manakala calon-calon wanita memakai pakaian yang bersopan.

I wore my grey slacks, dark blue long-sleeve shirt, and a silver tie.

Upon arrival at Bilik Temuduga 10, we were told by our room’s interviewer that we need to wear a coat.

Nobody brought any coats from our room. We went out to search for a coat. Around 5 other guys in the entire interview had coats. So we borrowed their coats and passed them around.

When my turn came, I put on the coat and went in.

Right after I said “Selamat pagi Dato,” he asked me where I got the coat from. I said I borrowed it. He said how come I don’t even own a coat. I said the letter did not state that I have to wear a coat, or else I would’ve found one before I came. He scolded me and said I did not know how to interpret the letter.

He asked what kind of pants I was wearing. I said my grey slacks. He said how can that be formal. I said only have 2 pairs of slacks. One black, one grey. The black one, I wore to school on Monday, and now it is being washed. So, today I’m wearing my grey slacks.

He chased me out of the room.

He called me in again after a very long time. It wasn’t an interview. It was a dressing-down, humiliation session. He didn’t really ask me anything much. Here’s the gist of what he said:

“Bapa kamu tahu tak, you seluar hanya ada dua? Kalau dia tahu, dia malu tak, anak dia macam ini?”

I said, hidup saya susah. I explained my family background. And why I have banyak tanggungan.

“You are wrong!! Saya pun tak pernah tanggung orang macam itu. You must change the way you live.”

He looked at my shoes, and he said:

“Kasut kamu tak gilap”

I said, I cycle to school everyday. How to gilap?

“COME ON… YOU CAN DO BETTER THAN THAT!!”

Well, if I don’t have a car, and my school is nearby, and I can’t afford to arrive in an Alfa Romeo, what’s wrong with cycling to school?
“You pakai baju apa itu. Cina tak boleh pakai gelap.”

I said I’m a Christian, I don’t abide by such superstitions. I said by the way, my shirt is blue. Not black.

“Kamu bukan Cina kah? You must be proud to be Chinese… Malaysian Chinese…”

What does he know about being a Malaysian Chinese? We don’t get Datukships and awards like him. We can’t afford to be wearing designer clothes like him. We are not supported by the government’s silver spoon in our mouth from the day we were born. We have to struggle to take care of our families. What does he know?

He said, “Dalam PIPP, ada dinyatakan kita harus memartabatkan profesion keguruan. Apa yang kamu faham tentang itu?”

That is the Teras Kelima in the PIPP. I explained that according to the PIPP blueprint, we are supposed to upgrade the intake system of teachers and improve the working environment of teachers. I wasn’t taking rubbish. That was the textbook answer.

He said, “Tak payah, tak payah. Kalau untuk kamu saja, macam mana?”

I said, “Kena memperbaiki imej, kalau menurut dato.”

He said “Gaji satu bulan berapa? Pergilah beli seluar…”

He even stood up to show me his slacks. He said must buy a pair that costs seratus lebih. That would be a good one.

I cycle to school everyday. My shoes aren’t shined. I can’t afford a pair of slacks that cost over a hundred bucks. I don’t have a coat. I guess I’m not fit to be a teacher.

Well, if they can pay me 4 grand a month, certainly the profession guru’s martabat will be dipertingkatkan, isn’t it?

If what I wear matters so much more than how I teach, my workplace is not in a musty classroom. I should be on the catwalk runway.

datoHjAbdullah

Dato’ Haji Abdullah bin Haji Abdul Kadir

http://www.alumnisas.com.my/asas/asasgmbr/dato’HjAbdullah.jpg

– Teacher A (real name withheld)

———– END STATEMENT — —–

Are you angry yet?





Stand With The Burmese People

3 10 2007

Received from AVAAZ, the organisers of the international petition to the UN Security Council and especially China to stop the killing of civilians and monks in Burma:

 

  Dear friends,Our emergency petition to stop the crackdown on peaceful protesters in Burma is exploding, with nearly 500,000 signers from every nation of the world. But the situation in Burma remains desperate, with reports of hundreds of monks being massacred and tortured. Burma’s rulers have also killed and expelled international journalists, cutting off global media coverage of their cruelty.China is still the key – the country with the most power to halt the Burmese generals’ reign of terror. We’re delivering our message this week with a massive ad campaign in major newspapers, beginning with a full page ad in the Financial Times worldwide tomorrow, and in the South China Morning Post on Thursday. The strength of the ad comes from the number of petition signers listed – can we reach our goal of 1 million signatures this week? The link to sign the petition and view the ad is below, forward this email to all your friends and family!http://www.avaaz.org/en/stand_with_burma/u.php

China continues to provide key economic and military support to Burma’s dictatorship, but it has been openly critical of the crackdown. Now we need the government to match words with actions. Our ad paints a powerful moment of choice for China in its relationship with the world – will it be a responsible and respected member of the global community, or will it be associated with tyranny and oppression?

People power, on the streets of Burma, and around the world, can triumph over tyranny. Our strength is in our numbers, spread the word!

With hope and determination,

Ricken, Paul, Ben, Graziela, Pascal, Galit and the whole Avaaz team.

For the best local reporting on the situation in Burma, try these links:

http://www.irrawaddy.org

http://www.mizzima.com

_____________________________________

Avaaz.org is staffed by a global team of campaigners operating on 3 continents. We have administrative offices in London, New York, and Rio de Janeiro. Please direct mail to our NY office at 260 Fifth Avenue, 9th floor, New York, NY 10001 U.S.A.





[ ALERT ] Cyberthugs on the Loose, Again.

2 10 2007

[ UPDATE ] 071002 . 2240

Malaysia Today is online again.

[ ALERT ] 071002 . 2000

Suspicious activity in the Malaysian blogosphere last night is now confirmed to be Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS) ‘spam’ attacks on and attempted hacking of at least one and probably two civil society blogs.

  • Jeff Ooi’s ‘Screenshots‘ blog was down and has just come back online. Jeff has confirmed that there was an abnormal surge in activity last night and also an attempted hacking of his server.
  • Raja Petra Kamarudin’s Malaysia Today is still down at this time, and has been since last night; no word on MT yet but it looks overwhelmingly like a coordinated DDoS attack as well.
  • Malaysiakini was exceptionally slow last night at around the same time; no word from them on that but it may also be indicative of an abnormal spike in web traffic.

Screenshots is still not at full capacity and access is difficult at the moment; notice from Jeff below:

screenshots-ddos-attempt-071002.jpg

So far we have a confirmed web attack on Screenshots, a ‘highly probable’ on MT and a ‘possible’ attack on Malaysiakini.

The common thread linking Screenshots, Malaysia Today and Malaysiakini is that all three specialise in exposing scandals and wrongdoing, particularly those committed by those in the BN government and their cronies.

Too much of a coincidence.





SOLIDARITY: Burma (4); Free Burma Campaign 4th Oct

2 10 2007

[ UPDATED ] 071003 . 1730

3,200 bloggers are supporting the Free Burma campaign as of this time.

[ URGENT ] 071002 . 1800

Thursday 4th Oct 2007 has been designated Free Burma International Bloggers Day in support of the Burmese people who have courageously risen in peaceful protest against their violent and oppressive military government.

In addition to the ongoing demonstrations against the violent crackdown, international bloggers will be posting in unity and solidarity with the Burmese people against the violent and oppressive Burmese junta. Approximately 1,800 bloggers from all over the world have signed on to this initiative at the time of this post.

Please go to the Free Burma website for details: http://www.free-burma.org

Please help to publicise this campaign and rally support for the Burmese people. Their sacrifice must not be in vain.

(Just seen from Malik Imtiaz Sarwar’s blog ‘Disquiet‘)