Allah, apa ni!!!

Common sense prevailed and Weekly Herald is back in publication. Wonder how long this will last... only after the general election?

2 of the biggest denominations in Malaysia seek recourse through Courts to seek justice to the right to worship in Malaysia. Bahasa Malaysia/ Melayu which is the language used predominantly in East Malaysia and various parts of West Malaysia. 50 years after gaining independence through peaceful negotiation & 'give and take', the government decided that some of the words are exclusive only to Muslims and will be a 'threat to national security' if uttered by non Muslims.

Fresh from angering 6.7% of the Indian diaspora in Malaysia, it seeks to do the same to the 10% Christians especially during Lent in celebration of Christmas. Wonder if these affected East Malaysians would have this controversy today if they did not join Malaysia in 1963( hypothetically of course)? Seemed that some quarters are bent in 'changing history' to claim ownership of proprietary that is otherwise communal. The word Allah is of Arabic origin as is now claimed as Malay owned. The recent tension with Indonesia on Rasa Sayange follows the same path. The "Malay Master" disease blurs the sight & distort reality that these elements even when confronted with historical facts, figures & experts. The high and mighty behaviour, emotional decision making & the inability to apologize from mistakes are symptoms of this disease.
East Malaysia's SIB sue Government for banning the usage of "Allah" among natives who are Christians.
Malaysia Catholic Church sue government for not deciding on the HERALD publication's permit. Government banned the use of Allah among Catholics as well.
I think the Malays are not as dumb as the government thinks & they know how to differenciate & not 'be confused'. I solute both denominations for their gutsy quest for justice & for the de facto "Minister Of Christianity" Bernard Dompok ( rather Harry Potterish eh?) to disagree with the government.
Berani kerana Benar! Berani Untuk Allah Maha Kuasa.

Another case of a small Napoleon in the ministry? This story is not carried by any of the official newspaper.

Or are Christians getting a black mark for speaking loudly on injustices. Citing my namesake,

Malaysians, while celebrating Christmas, must respect Islam as the country’s official religion. - Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Chief Minister of Penang

May I know what is the Chief Minister insinuating in his Christmas message to Christians? Does he feel that he have appease certain segments of the ruling coalition after recent fight over his Gerakan Youth vice-chief S. Paranjothy ? Two wrongs does not make a right Mr Minister. Say la Merry Xmas or something but this is over the top.

To quote the infamous Citizen Nades from the Sun ..
While the Chief Secretary and Secretaries General of the various ministries are walking the extra mile to live up to the government’s and the people’s expectations of a first-class civil service, Little Napoleons are trying to become Big Emperors. Has anyone got the determination and the will to exterminate them before they spam and infect the system?

PETALING JAYA (Dec 23, 2007): The use of the word “Allah” to refer to God among Christians has been widely practised for generations in many countries and it is not meant to offend or confuse the Muslims, Christian leaders said on Sunday.
Father Lawrence Andrew, the editor of local Catholic weekly The Herald, told theSun that its Bahasa Malaysia segment catered to the many Bahasa Malaysia-speaking Catholics in the country.
“The newspaper is only circulated among Catholics and not sold at newsstands and neither is the paper issued to Muslims,” he stressed.
He said The Herald was informed by the Internal Security Ministry in a letter dated Dec 10 to stop its Bahasa Malaysia segment.
He added that the letter said this would be so when the publication permit is granted.The annual permit expires on Dec 31 and the publication has yet to receive the renewed permit.
Lawrence said the term “Allah” used by Christians or in Christian literature was not intended to offend Muslims or create confusion.
We follow the Bible, he said. “The Malay-language Bible uses ‘Allah’ for God and Tuhan for Lord.”
He said since the early 19th century, Catholics in Malaya had prayer books in the Malay language and “Allah” was used to refer to God.
The Maltese Catholics also use the term “Allah” to refer to God and so do Christians in Indonesia, Pakistan and the Middle East.
There are more than 850,000 Catholics in Malaysia, and The Herald has a circulation of 12,000 and a readership of 50,000.
Other than the English segment, it also has sections in Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil to cater to the multi-racial and multi-lingual make-up of the Malaysian Catholic population.
Hence it is common for some Catholic religious celebrations to be conducted in Bahasa Malaysia during the Sunday worship, and even on special national occasions such as Merdeka Day.
Lawrence said the ministry had no right to interfere in the internal management of the church, in accordance with the Federal Constitution.
Quoting Article 11 (3) A, he said the constitution allowed every religious group to manage its own affairs.
He said the ministry’s decision to abolish The Herald’s Bahasa Malaysia segment was unconstitutional and had no legal standing.
The weekly is still in talks with the authorities to renew its permit, and would appeal if the government refuses to issue the permit.
The general-secretary of the Council of Churches Malaysia Rev Herman Shastri told theSun each religious community was endowed with the right to translate its respective holy scriptures.
“Christians living in Muslim-majority countries are using the term ‘Allah’ in reference to God during their liturgical celebrations. Even if the authorities disallow the use of certain words, the churches will continue to use them because it has to do with our sacred scriptures,” he said.

Read Farish Noors take on this issue. ( Click here for the whole writeup ) He is a learned man who is a linguist plus other knowledge.

Yet in Malaysia at the moment yet another non-issue has been brewed to a scandal for no reason: The Malaysian Catholic Herald, a publication by and for Catholics in the country, has been told that it can no longer publish its Malaysian language edition if it continues to use the word "Allah" to mean God. Worse still, the country's Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharum recently stated that "Only Muslims can use the word Allah" ostensibly on the grounds that "Allah" is a Muslim word. The mind boggles at the confounding logic of such a non-argument, which speaks volumes about the individual's own ignorance of Muslim culture, history and the fundamental tenets of Islam itself.

For a start, the word 'Allah' predates the revelation to the Prophet Muhammad and goes way back to the pre-Islamic era. Christians had been using the word long before there were any Muslims, in fact. Furthermore the word is Arabic, and is thus common to all the peoples, cultures and societies where Arabic - in all its dialects - is spoken, and is understood by millions of Arabic speakers to mean God, and little else. One could also add that as "Allah" is an Arabic word it therefore has more to do with the development and evolution of Arabic language and culture, and less to do with Islam. It is hard to understand how any religion can have a language to call its own, for languages emerge from a societal context and not a belief system. If one were to abide by the skewered logic of the Minister concerned, then presumably the language of Christianity (if it had one) would be Aramaic, or perhaps Latin.

The Singing Christmas Tree

The guys at the Pavilion came out with quite a distict idea. And since they use a lap microphone, the singing was captured and turned out very well. Well done folks.

Who is Legend?

Will Smith has captured my heart again with his potrayal as the single survivor of the human race in "I am Legend". The human issues that he bring is real & so are the emotions. This is a 'thinking' movie category, the sort that I don't mind watching & reflecting long after. Resident Evil is about action and pretty Milla Javovich strutting around without a scratch. Here, the law of nature is more real that the law of Hollywood. But what I loved about the show is the title - it is not about Will Smith as a hero, but how he decides that determines it.

The show also explore about God .. does it exist that predetermines the life and plan of the actors in it? And the answer is Yes! Theologically sound ( vis a vis The Golden Compass who believes that man is the destiny), graphically distint, a solid storyline, gripping adventure & plain good acting.

And in Malaysia, there are people who are fighting for justice & equality currently & I am a firm supporter. THe movie starts with an experiment to cure cancer that goes wrong.As a country that achieves independence for 44 years, we also started well but the mismanagement has taken its toll. Would any Will Smiths stand up, raise your hand and start making right decisions? We have to work as if our life is for eternity, the right decisions as our life will end tomorrow.

In search of food

Could not sleep the last 2 nights. It is a combination of the ruckus down my apartment at early mornings and also knowing that I missed something out. Yes, the important food aspect. For the record, I DID NOT eat anything gross in Sydney in the effect that i could not find anything there that fits. It is also harder to find the Aussie staple - fish and chips in Sydney than in Melbourne. Is this the sign of a cosmopolitizing city?

Max Brenner chocolates for lunch. One chocolate free and chocolate pankage with vanilla icecream, wonderful sweet strawberries & pisang. I have higher hopes.
Berries yogurt on the go. Was going down the escalator to walk to another area. I had 2 yogurt food that day as it ain't cheap. N there aint nobody to cafe with me. Mix of strawberries, raspberries, wildberries . Nice but looked bloody.
Hot emperor's puff at Chinatown consist of dough and egg custard. Pipping hot and goes in pretty well. Was doing the goldfish while walking.
Finally found my fish and chips at one of the 2 fish shops in Bondi Beach. Loaded it up with vinegar but a tat bland. THe portion is humongous even to fit the phone camera.
The china bloke with an Australian sheila. I was hoping this is not their first date... u know. Strewth !!
She was much more happy after digging in. Phew, i guess this chap still stand a chance. But when they stand to leave the shop, I notice that she was standing 1 and a half head taller than him. Well, love can be vertically blind... u know..
Oh yes, we had a wonderful Italian dinner for 3 nights in a row. Should try out this place called Critini's in Paramatta. The best Italian i had over here. One more at the Rock called the Italian Village which has a nice ambience and the last one called Sicilian , Parammata which I regret. Anyway, just to note that there is a HOOTERS in the small town of Parammatta. Just for the record, interested to try at least once but did not go. ahem ... You can check their records. I think this is a joint for truckers.
My first night at an Aussie neighbourhood of Henne. At AUS72 per night that includes outside bathroom and some cereals for breakfast, I wish that another person is around to share the heat. Look at the lonely bed beside mine. The neighbourhood is very quiet and so is the house. Any noise can be heard miles away so i have to watch TV very softly. Owner is an Australian married to a Guandong lady. At the Rydges Paramatta carpark while waiting for taxi. Taxi is a scarcity in this town so we can have more time to do other things while waiting.
Upon arrival at KLIA, was shocked to come back to reality of Malaysian efficiency. The baggage line was broke and just started moving again. Millions of people were waiting and obviously some decided to get married while waiting. So, waiting for taxi in Parammatta ain't too bad. Do need to remind our Tourism Ministry to inform tourists to change out of their wedding suits before coming over. But knowing our tourism minister, he would probably ask for more money to do this simple thing....
Here is my letter to the Malaysian press which surely will not print it. ( cause the newspaper belong to the same political party that this chap belongs too. )
Refering to the report by your newspaper on Sunday that Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai requested and obtained an additional RM170 million in budget for 2008 in addition to RM850 million allocated, bringing the 2008 budget of the single deparment beyond the RM1 billion mark. We have spent close to RM1 billion this year to obtain a projected 'revenue" of RM44 million. ( and even the figure is an estimation. I would trust that the ministry have done its accounting well but just could not understand the logic of extending "Visit Malaysia Year 2007" into 31 August 2008. Does it mean that we will continue our VMY2007 banner and advertisements well into 2008? We might be the first country in the world to have this unique campaign!

The ministry can at least do a review of its strategy & be creative to target the tourist ringgit. It can remarket it as "50th Year Celebration", " 50 years of existance" or continue on with the "malaysia trully asia" branding with a twist. Singapore have come out with a new campaign to target weekend family tourists and Hong Kong have redefine itself to capture more tourists during winter. Both countries obviously have done their homework in defining target areas and then their strategies and plans. So it is more alarming that the minister were only able to justify the request by using the latest demonstrations as the reason. There are many things that one can do effectively without spending money by being creative. We are asked to be creative to stretch our ringgit during this time and certainly leaders need to lead by example.

Green Lobster Steamed Chinese style

Defrost and cleaned.
Takes some skill to take the head off.
Wish you can see this but the flesh was just sweet and soooo.. tasty.
My first lobster dish and my parents' first lobster dish too. Got this 600 grammes Green Lobster from Kota Kinabalu at RM65 , which is quite reasonably priced. Wanted to do something different for parents since they were around in Port Dickson while I was working in East Coast. Here is a simply recipe.
600 gm lobster cleaned and added some salt.
Added some whole black pepper and a ward of vodka.
Steamed for 15 minutes on big fire, chinese style.
Simple recipe yet it was sooo good..

Visit Sydney in ONE Day

Circular Quay at night..
The Acryl ( can't remember correctly ) pass. Look at the huge rock. I guess that is why they call this place "The rock" ( which is beyond the tunnel)
Bondi Beach happiness - to admire the sunset and soaking those painful legs in the cool water. Look at the waves...
Best shot of the sunset so far..
I tot Kings Cross is part of Monopoly
Till I found out that it is part of Playboy's network and perhaps some gangster network too. I look too tourist for the bouncers to hassle. They only ask " Hey Kid.." . Guess i looked underage at best.
The ride from Paramatta to Harbour. Trying the "show your teeth 'smile.
First View of Bondi!!
It was just awesome. hey, where are the bikini clad girls? But it was darn cold at this time and still could not figure out that this is summertime. brrrrr...
City Centre where the view of Sydney tower is apparent.
The road towards Darling... harbour
Check out the ships at the Maritime Museum.
A group of Asians were singing and dancing. I think this is part of the college initiation cause another group of Asians were laughing aloud behind me.
The QV shopping centre with the elegent classic architecture. Check out the 2 chockie shops.
This lady posed for a very long time to his husband/ father / somebody. ahem... dun want to know.

So, here is the cheat strategy if you have only one day to visit Sydney & want to be cheap.. i mean affordable.(spend the same amount of money for food.. it is good here). Here was my strategy

Take an overnight flight and arrive into Sydney in the morning.


Head towards Circular Quay. Get a AUS16 dollar day pass to use all the ferries, bus and trains.
Go to Sydney Zoo by taking the ferry ( did not manage this as the time did not fit )

Check out the Rock, Opera house, Bridge & the shops in between.
-> Check out the pedestrian way on the bridge to save more money.


Take a train towards Central. Here you can walk towards Darling harbour ( optional Sydney aquarium and Australia critters )
Check out Queen Victoria shopping centre, St Andrews Church

Then walk towards Chinatown. Here, go to Paddy Market where the stuff are the cheapest. Get all your holiday gift here. Remember to hit this place before 5 pm. After 5, walk around the chinatown street as the shops close later than local shops.

Heads towards Bondi Junction via Central. Take a bus to Bondi beach or Coogee Beach and look at the sun set.
Have dinner here in one of the ocean fronted shops

Check out Kings Cross for the other side of Australia.
Take train up north or sourth or east before 1200 pm. That will help you cover as much distance as possible in that day.
Regular readers will note that this is the first time that I have no photos of food or extreme food. I guess the only extreme food this time is in building a taste bud for cheese and crackers. Vegemite? No problem!!

Icons of Sydney: The many ways to skin a cat.

One of the must see of Sydney as I arrived there is definately the Sydney Opera house / Harbour bridge area. ( This blog will be a testimonty of my arrival here) I did not realised how special this place is until I see it with my own eyes as the train approaches Circular Quay train station. It was just wonderful, and being there in person is really special. The cold wind with the glaring sun helps me to appreciate my time at this area. From here on, i was captivated by this Emerald City. Glad to be here on the 75th year of the bridge!

I am sure this chaps appreciate the bridge , and the view ...
A monster of a bridge and a mister of the opera. The tale of 2 cities. I understand Mark Twain came here.

A man name Uwe ( german , of course ) whom i got to chat with during the boat trip. Suggested to him on what to do when his wife come over for new year. As if i am a local... One of the few body shots of me. This one is taken by a chap from China who reciprocrated my gesture. He was trying hard to avoid taking the picture of a couple who were snoring there. :)

Some excellent guy came to the bridge so they put in an excellent plaque.

Not many tourist will come here but i managed to find the way up to it. You can actually cycle accross the bridge. Reckon better than paying AUS150 ( RM 450) for the 1 hour bridge walk.

It looked more magnificent at night..

Self reflection of the restaurant at the opera house. Cun belekun ..
Looked like a whale is going to eat me... yikes!
Wonder how the architect got this figured out. The beams are huge concretes interlocked with each other.
Looked like a hat from here. Check out the Japs who needed to take a class photo. I met them at the airport, prob middle high students. How lucky. In my time, school trips are to Muar Tanjung area.
Oh, the botanical garden.
One of the better photos la .. ya?
Seemed that this is taken about water level. have not figured how I did this yet.
Hustle and bustle of the pier.
Loved the architecture. Here, the crawlies have given this place a robust look.

Happy to be able to get these 2 icons at a location that no many people have used.

The aborigines techno group performing.
Ahso .. group'o photo'o. Very japanese'o. Too bad'o block'o the opera house'o.

About Me

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Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia
I am mysterious ... and leave la some comments if my writting make sense. Proud Of Malaysia and disillusioned by the direction.