Posts Tagged ‘Culture’

The Case of The Crystal Crown Hotel Halal Signboard

January 10th, 2013
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This a good example of  how things will turn out in future. When clashes like this occur, the “non-halal” group will have to give way, due to economic reasons. The owner won’t want to lose licensing and risk losing revenue from those customers. On the other hand, the non-halal industry will see lesser customer base due to smaller population and armtwisting measures such as this. In may not be viable in the long run to operate such businesses. So, only pockets of such non-halal eateries will exist, that too in areas with significant non-muslim population.

I thought if the goods are properly packed and sealed, it should not be an issue. Maybe the non-halal items are carried in plastic bags and with some liquid dripping on the floors will contaminate the halal products. Whatever the reason, the non-halal operator will suffer.

I wonder if in future will have separate lifts for people, you know, in case a non-halal food consumer burps or brings such food with him. Separate lifts (or worse asked to use stairs!), taxis, buses, office areas? As it is, school students are not allowed to bring non-halal food to school and canteen also can’t sell them.

So, in the future, you may have to travel some distance to get that bowl of bak kut teh or wan tan mee (for example, look at areas like Shah Alam, Bangi, or Putrajaya). Extra cost and time for you. I wonder if this can be some form of racial segregation since eateries of different races will be separated.

Its easy to say that implementing some laws or rules won’t affect others, but in reality, you will be affected.  Be it halal or syariah or hudud or even use of certain “words”, you can’t run away from being involved because the ones interpreting and executing those laws are humans, not God.

 

PETALING JAYA: The controversial signboards beside three elevators at the Crystal Crown hotel here were put up to comply with the requirements stipulated by the Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) regarding the transportation of non-halal food.

Crystal Crown’s chief operating officer Khoo Hui Keam said: “Our ‘halal’ licence expired last June and Jakim had new requirements which stated that we [Crystal Crown] could not renew it because we had a Chinese eatery within the hotel which served pork.”

She added that the hotel management tried speaking to the Chinese eatery to stop serving food which contained pork.

“The owner of the restaurant turned back at us and said: ‘If you guys want us to stop serving pork, it is as good enough as asking us to leave’,” she told FMT.

However, Khoo said that the management was reluctant to vacate the Chinese eatery as they had been long-serving customers of the hotel and were good “pay masters” for rental.

The Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) got involved as well, according to Khoo, and they offered to appeal for the hotel to get its certification renewed if they separated the passage through which “halal” and “non-halal” food were transported.

Crystal Crown’s management decided to go ahead with the JAIS’ recommendation and the signboards at levels B1, B2, and B3 were erected to notify food suppliers that only “halal” food could be transported using those elevators.

FMT understands that food suppliers to the Chinese restaurant have to use the staircase to transport their “non-halal” goods.

Asked if there was any monitoring of the goods that go in the lifts, Khoo said: “There are security personnel at all three floors and the lifts have video surveillance as well.”

New sign soon

Referring to the signboards, Khoo added that both Jais and Jakim visited the hotel premises last week and were not pleased.

“They said that it [signboards] were ‘too high’ and wanted them lowered to eye-level. They also complained that the signboards are not striking enough,” she said.

Due to their complaints, Khoo said a new sign was to be put up soon with a brighter colour so suppliers were well aware that only “halal” goods could pass through the lifts.

FMT discovered that 20% to 30% of the hotel’s patrons were from government bodies and if Crystal Crown was to lose its halal certification, it would lose all the customers from this target group.

Quizzed whether other hotels were practising the same, Khoo said many do not because their licence was still valid and not up for renewal.

“Once their licence has lapsed, then they will have to comply with Jakim and Jais’ requirements if they are to keep their certificate,” she added.

source: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/01/10/hotel-explains-halal-signboards/

Tamil schools not allowed to take holiday for Ponggal???

January 9th, 2013
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Another ridiculous move by the MOE if the news below is true. Previously, Tamil schools can take special holiday for Ponggal which falls in mid January.  And surely no one in the right mind will put a day before Thaipusam as replacement class! What in the world are these guys having for food? Is this only in Kedah or nationwide directive?

THE Indian community is unhappy over the Education Ministry’s decision not to allow Tamil schools to take a day off as a special holiday for the Ponggal festival which falls on Jan 14, reported Tamil Nesan.

It quoted Sungai Petani MIC division deputy chairman T.H. Subra as saying that education officers did not understand the significance of the festival.

He was also unhappy that Jan 26 had been marked as a school day to replace additional holidays given for the Chinese New Year celebration.

“This is unsuitable as most Hindu children will be busy preparing for Thaipusam, which falls on Jan 27,” he said, adding that until last year, Tamil schools were given the flexibility to take three days off a year for religious festivals.

He urged education officers to be fair to all communities.

source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2013/1/9/nation/12549401&sec=nation

Christmas Deco vs Deepavali Deco

December 14th, 2012
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 Its wonderful to see grand Christmas decorations at our various shopping malls. It attracts people from all walks of life to take photos and enjoy the decorations. What more with school holidays and year end sales to attract more crowd. One can easily spend a whole day in shopping malls without noticing the time flying.

Unfortunately, the same doesn’t happen during Deepavali. If the management of these malls have the similar thinking as for Christmas, then surely they can do similar wonders that attract crowds from various background. Usually, some measily “kolam” is done, and that’s about it. Come on, a very famous and important religious festival only represented by “kolam”?

Not forgetting, we also have plenty of tourists from India (about 700k in 2011), not including Indian diaspora countries. You can put some effort to attract them to your mall as well.

Yeah, these are business entities and they have their own business objectives, i.e. bottom lines to worry about.  But if there’s not Christmas deco, you think November/December sales will drop? No tourists will visit malls? So, what’s the logic for such elaborate decoration, and comparatively zilch for Deepavali?

Read the article below on Christmas decorations. Do you think only Christians appreciate them or that only Christians will shop during this time? No right?  Probably if you allocate about quarter of the budget from Christmas deco for Deepavali deco, can do quite a lot. You can even initiate collaboration with various IPTs for their students to help with decorations and displaying some creative stuff.

Or are you waiting for government to provide some incentives? Maybe there should some enforced ruling to ensure shopping malls also participate in nation building?

It all boils down to mentality. Yeah, you can say “its just some deco stuff, we have other more critical things to focus on la for the community”. Well, marginalisation starts in such small matters, is my opinion.

 

<b>Taking flight:</b> Santa’s sleigh is placed in front of Suria KLCC Lake Symphony fountain.

Taking flight: Santa’s sleigh is placed in front of Suria KLCC Lake Symphony fountain.

THE time of the year has arrived for shopping centres to go all out to usher Christmas and New Year.

Quick trips to the malls will surely get you get in the mood for Santa Claus, shiny baubles, reindeers and gifts.

Aside from giant Christmas trees decorated with colourful trinkets , most malls go the extra mile by creating eye-popping themed surroundings.

Step into “Santa’s North Park” at Berjaya Times Square where shoppers are greeted with large toy soldiers, which lined up the gantry to a 40ft Christmas tree.

The main tree is flanked by clusters of smaller trees decorated with ornaments, pine cones, berries and figs.

Shoppers can also explore the Lower Ground concourse area, done up to reflect Santa’s lush sanctuary and its magical creatures.

Meanwhile, shoppers can “watch” Santa and his elves at work in Suria KLCC.

Its decor shows Santa checking a long list of wishes with a help of a machine with exposed cogs and mechanical works.

<b>Super trumpeteers:</b> Large angels set to usher Christmas at Starhill Gallery.
Super trumpeteers: Large angels set to usher Christmas at Starhill Gallery.

There is also an impressive sleigh with reindeers in front of the KLCC Lake Symphony fountain while Frosty the Snowman stand guard at the Ampang Entrance and Rudolph the Reindeer is at the Park Entrance.

Mid Valley Megamall’s “All I Want for Christmas” theme saw its Centre Court transformed into a country-like atmosphere where a log cabin furnished with wreaths, a fire pit and surrounded by Christmas trees.

Patrons can also take pictures by a wooden barn complete with a watermill, hand-carved bird houses and a 40ft Christmas tree.

Over at Bangsar Village, shoppers have a glimpse into the past as mock Victorian shopfronts are constructed at the concourse area to commemorate Charles Dickens’ 200th birthday.

Meanwhile, Bangsar Village II has an unusual Christmas tree, which is made of a combination of life-sized Victorian streetlamps and 7,000 pieces of used newspaper rolled into cones to form five gigantic wreaths with giant baubles suspended from its roof.

<b>Sparkly:</b> The Gardens Mall puts up a white Christmas decoration with themed "Crystal Paradise".
Sparkly: The Gardens Mall puts up a white Christmas decoration with themed “Crystal Paradise”.

Inspired by medieval castles, Sungei Wang Plaza’s “The Big Band Christmas” is set to thrill shoppers with a castle where toy soldiers stand guard on balconies.

At the bottom of the stage is a fountain decorated with red poinsettia flowers while gold ribbons and Christmas trees embellished with ornaments and lights are also placed at the stage with a blizzard spray on each door to create a Christmas dream castle for shoppers.

At The Gardens Mall, shoppers can expect a white Christmas where trees made of glass are placed along the Ground Floor with sparkly chandeliers and ornaments hanging above them.

Lastly, angels take centrestage at Starhill Gallery where 29 three-metre tall angels are displayed inside the mall and at its entrance.

The decor is complemented by 1,000 decorative stars and 5,000 box fairy lights, which will be up until Jan 3, 2013.

It is indeed a season of love and joy as shoppers will find themselves immerse in the delightful mood of Christmas at the malls.

source: http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2012/12/14/central/12442227&sec=central

Nostalgia Klang

December 10th, 2012
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The video below were taken by a group of Taylor University students for their project.  I had assisted them in a way, providing some limited insight into Jalan Tengku Kelana (or Little India area). The video brought back memories and I can recall some of the people they had interviewed.

 

Ad screening at cinemas delays movie

December 10th, 2012
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 I’m sure regular moviegoers have faced this issue countless times. We are bombarded with various ads (either commercial, public service or government based) while waiting for movies to start. At times it can go own for about 10 – 15 minutes. So movie starts late and ends late. Similar with the writer’s experience below, I usually watch movies at GSC. Does TGV or other operators run many ads before screening?

 

Movies have always been my favourite pastime, be it on television or in theatres. The last two movies I watched were ‘The Expendables 2? and ‘Taken 2?. I caught Expendables 2 in Kota Kinabalu and Taken 2 in Mid Valley, both theatres operated by Golden Screen Cinemas.

While the watching the movie itself was fun, the part where they delayed the screening by 15 minutes is a no no for me! Both movies started the screening well beyond the stated time, as the were loads of advertisement going on.

Right from Samsung’s new projector phone to the small KFC chicks and our Colonel struggling to open the theatre door to let the chicks enter. It was further joined by housing developers advertisement.

Now, this is not a free screening theatre as all of cinema-oers are paying for it. I don’ mind if the advertisements run before the screening time but to continue playing it beyond the stated time, is a rip off!

Is there any regulation that addresses this problem or only this specific cinema operator is doing it? As far as I know, other cinema operators don’t behave like this. I hope someone can look into this.

source: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2012/10/16/irked-by-ads-cutting-into-movie-time/