31 March 2011

The articles are captured from the original writer, MsMarina (with her permission). SambalBelacan is just compiling articles to make easier to find. Any comments received will remain un-respond because it's not mine.Reach her at her very own blog at http://rantingsbymm.blogspot.com/ Please.

Wednesday March 30, 2011
It’s not all about the politicians

People are supposed to get into politics to do something for us, the people who voted them in. It’s not at all about them and what they can get out of it.

I HAVE just returned from a holiday in the pristine Scottish countryside where my head and my lungs imbibed very clean air. Unfortunately, as soon as I got home and read a local newspaper, I felt polluted again.

How do we get away with printing these lurid stuff all over the front pages? Aren’t we concerned our children might read them?

I know we’ve been through this several times before, all of it more disgusting than the last, but I keep hoping that one day our newspapers might rise above the gutter. But what am I thinking? They never do!

What is worse for me this time is that there are three personalities trying to make themselves seem like paragons of morality. At the very least, the fact of revealing this horrible video taints them with the most muddied brush there is.

I make no judgments about the contents of the video or whoever is in it. But I do question the judgment of people, politicians or not, who feel they can get away with behaviour they’d happily pass laws against as long as it affects someone else.

I’m still waiting for a politician who will state, as part of his election campaign platform, that his party will get rid of all moral policing laws, for all communities.

If we put private behaviour where it belongs, behind closed doors, there will be no opportunity to try and blackmail anyone.

But then politics is all about hypocrisy, isn’t it? It’s not about making people’s lives better by passing laws and policies that actually benefit people.

Instead it has become all about proving that someone else is dirtier than you, and therefore, relatively speaking, you come out smelling slightly rosier. At least that’s what you hope.

The truth is, there isn’t much to differentiate between one and the other; all sides smell like excrement.

Is it any wonder that when I talk to young people, I find they are so turned off by politics? They have no role models in politics anymore because almost every single one is tainted in some way. Or if not tainted, so despicably boorish and hateful that they are just as unappealing.

I don’t recall fan pages being set up for people who make insulting remarks about women in Parliament, for example. Is there a single politician on the national stage that gives any young person hope at all?

I really wonder how some people want to be remembered in history. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be remembered for having elevated your own people, whether economically or intellectually, rather than for having dragged them straight into the gutter?

Wouldn’t it be better to get accolades for taking young people to a higher plane and exploiting their potential, than making them read pornography in the papers every day?

What is the point of constantly trying to censor the Internet, supposedly to protect our children, when they can read filth in every paper?

Have we forgotten that elsewhere in the world people are dying either from natural disasters or being shot at by their own rulers, and that there is an impending nuclear disaster hovering over us?

Who cares who’s sleeping with whom when we’re all going to be glowing from radioactive fallout.

Is it too much to hope for some civility to return to our political life, where people may disagree with one another but still respect each other, where private matters stay private because ultimately we all have to go before the one Judge in the end?

I may not personally like a public figure who betrays his wife with someone else, but when it comes to politics, it’s not about him, it’s about the rest of us (though of course I would doubt his ability to make women-friendly policies).

I think that’s what’s been forgotten. That people are supposed to get into politics to do something for us, the people who voted them in. That it’s not at all about them and what they can get out of it, but what we can get out of them.

Every five years or so, we march off to the polls to make an investment in our future, not theirs. Of course, if they do well for our future, theirs is assured, too. If not, then they should be booted out.

Right now, I wish all our politicians would realise that they are all found wanting in one way or another. I can’t really think of a single one I would be thrilled to sit next to at dinner and have a scintillating conversation with.

And if they bring up sex scandals, I swear I would just get up and leave. That’s all they deserve.

29 March 2011



The articles are captured from the original writer, MsMarina (with her permission). SambalBelacan is just compiling articles to make easier to find. Any comments received will remain un-respond because it's not mine.Reach her at her very own blog at http://rantingsbymm.blogspot.com/ Please. ==================================

Wednesday March 16, 2011

Salute to heroes – and heroines Musings


To the many men and women I have known over the years – some world-famous, some not – thanks for showing me the true value of life and how to cherish it.

I AM a week late for International Women’s Day, but since it is the 100th anniversary of this special day, I don’t think it matters.

I thought I would do a list of people who’ve done a lot for women over the years, who still are making an impact, and who really deserve to be recognised.

This is in no particular order and covers only those I’ve known personally. Some are world-famous, while others are not. But they all deserve mention.

1. My first dedication is actually to three women who are no longer here – Basariah, Lim and Suzana. All three were HIV-positive and died eventually of complications from AIDS-related diseases. But in their lifetimes, they taught many of us about the true value of life and how to cherish it.

2. Prof Mohammad Yunus of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh who, through his microcredit programmes, has raised the incomes of so many poor women and empowered many of them to take charge of their lives. Many Grameen women have stood for local council elections and won. I hope this inspiring man will overcome his recent troubles soon.

3. Kamal Ahmad, the founder of the Asian University of Women (AUW), also in Bangladesh. The AUW is dedicated to providing tertiary education to young women from all over Asia, especially if they would never have access to such education otherwise. AUW students now come from 12 countries, including Afghanistan and Palestine, and if the recent symposium I attended in Dhaka is any indication, these girls will definitely be leaders in their countries one day.

4. My local heroines Zainah Anwar, Ivy Josiah and Datuk Ambiga Sreenivasan who have done so much for women in Malaysia, trying to protect them from violence and unjust laws. They are my mentors.

5. Nafis Sadik and Thoraya Obaid, the two immediate past heads of UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund). Both Muslim, both formidable, both great role models to younger women everywhere.

6. Mona Eltahawy, my favourite current affairs commentator, especially on the Middle East goings-on. So smart, so sharp, so passionate. An antidote to all the dull ones we have at home.

7. My late grandpa Mohd Ali Taib, who wouldn’t let his daughter, my mum, get married until she finished her studies. She started her medical studies late and finished even later after having had to repeat two years. No supporter of early marriage, he.

8. My dad, who thought I was bad at Maths because I was too lazy to think, not because I was a girl. Actually it was because I was yet to meet a good Maths teacher, which I finally did in Form 1 and have had no trouble with numbers since.

9. The boys who did A-levels with me in Britain, for finally convincing me that you’re not smart just because you’re a boy.

10. My first bosses Ayesha and Jeanette, who convinced me that women do not necessarily block other women once they have positions of power. Thanks for the early encouragement!

11. My 3R co-producer Lina Tan for helping me make an idea come true 10 years ago. We never knew how big a gap our TV programme was going to fill.

12. My 3R “girls” – Azah, Yuen, Rafidah, Tini and Celina – who now have gone on to bigger and better things, including babies, but are still dedicated to raising the awareness of young Malaysian women of what they can truly be.

13. My late friend Dalilah, who bounced through her cancer experience so cheerily that it seemed impossible that it would catch her some day. To her and all other women with cancer, whether they survived or not, I place my heart on my hand to you.

14. The female Islamic scholars I have had the privilege to learn from, including Ziba Mir-Hosseini, Amina Wadud and more recently the amazing Musdah Mulia, who have been breaking new ground for justice and equality for Muslim women so fearlessly. There are few people more courageous than women demanding justice.

15. ... and that includes Mukhtar Mai, the Pakistani woman who fought back after being savagely raped and then founded a school because she knew that women’s empowerment depended on education.

16. The many young Malaysian women I know who are so sparklingly bright, energetic and enthusiastic that they give me hope in this country. Now, if only none of that energy is dampened by the unchanging attitudes in this country, they can actually make a difference.

17. The young women in Tahrir Square, Cairo, who changed the face of young Muslim women everywhere by challenging everyone’s idea of what Arab women are, and look like.

18. My mum, who achieved many firsts long before most women, but who continues to want to learn new things, including the Internet. I still have to learn how to be as gracious as she is, to smile at the many impertinences I have to put up with rather than rail at them and to just laugh at the self-serving antics of wannabes everywhere.

Note: No reproduction of this article is allowed without the author's consent.

04 March 2011

The articles are captured from the original writer, MsMarina (with her permission). SambalBelacan is just compiling articles to make easier to find. Any comments received will remain un-respond because it's not mine.Reach her at her very own blog at http://rantingsbymm.blogspot.com/ Please.

Wednesday March 2, 2011
Ignorance giving rise to discrimination

Much of the tension that we experience today is because of the mistrust we have for one another and also because those who have more cannot find it in their hearts to be fair to those who do not have as much.

IN THE women’s rights work that I do, the foundation of my colleagues’ and my belief regarding our rights is that there can be no justice without equality.

Where that applies to women, it’s called feminism, but it can equally apply to any oppressed group we know of.

Basically, we cannot be just to anyone if we don’t think of them as our equals.

If we don’t think some people are equal because of their sex, class, race, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, ability or age, then it would be very hard to be truly just to them.

We find it hard to compare them to ourselves, and, therefore, as deserving as ourselves of whatever rights and opportunities there are.

This is sometimes why we are in awe when people “cross barriers” to help someone outside their usual circles, like when Princess Diana visited people with HIV. It was just so unusual, that it proved the rule.

Hence, we are neglectful of people who are different from us, or worse, discriminatory. Often this comes from ignorance.

There are some of us who grow up simply unable to fathom lives different from ours. But it can also be willful and deliberate.

Much of the tension that we are experiencing today is because of the mistrust we have for one another, because those of us who have more cannot find it in our hearts to be fair and just to those who do not have as much.

Worse still, we find ways to justify why we have to behave that way.

We have come to a point in our nation’s life where we really have to think about where we are headed.

Are we going to perpetually think of ourselves as so exceptional and different from everyone else that we don’t have to meet normal human standards?

Do we have to be so defensive that we only see what we want and are blind to any other point of view?

Today, I read about some people who objected when a non-Muslim began his speech with the traditional Muslim greeting of peace.

Apparently, this was considered offensive because it was sensitive.

Honestly, this is the sort of thing that makes me want to give up on this country, that there are idiots who have the temerity to call themselves leaders at all.

As any child knows, assalamualaikum means “peace be with you”.

It is the most benign and civil of greetings, welcoming and warm.

If meant sincerely, it means that you have come in peace and wish to conduct yourself in a peaceful way.

In the Arab world, everybody uses this greeting. They certainly never, as Malaysians did at one time, differentiate between who they could say it to, and whom they couldn’t.

It is not a greeting patented by Muslims or owned by God.

So, intelligent right-thinking Mus­lims should be very welcoming when a non-Muslim uses it because it means they have come in peace. And you can hold them to that.

So why make war out of it? How come when President Barack Obama used the same greeting when he went to Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, nobody objected?

Why, if he went to Penang and did the same thing, no doubt there would be appreciative applause and pleased shuffling, too.

I don’t know what world we live in that we think we are so special that nobody can hold a candle to us.

We look in distaste when Arabs protest, but when we see that it’s peaceful, we say that they must be mature people, unlike we here who are so incapable of protesting peacefully that we need to be censured before we even step out of our homes.

Students and young people around the Arab region are liberating their countries from tyranny and oppression, and ours are deemed too untrustworthy to even talk about politics.

The image we seemingly want to present to the world is one of gross intolerance of anything that doesn’t fit into the small narrow hole we call Malaysian.

At the same time, we seem to be proud of our immaturity. Do we actually tell foreigners that our students are too immature to be trusted to discuss politics? And we’re proud of it?

How do we explain to puzzled foreigners, including Arabs who actually speak the language, that we think some of their words are exclusive to us only?

Right now, the coolest nationality to be is Egyptian. It means young, democratic, inclusive and free.

In Wisconsin, where people are protesting against a state government that is taking away their union rights, there are signs that say “Fight like an Egyptian”. Imagine that.

When will the rest of the world want to be Malaysian?