Posts Tagged ‘discrimination’

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

more non-malays have applied or have joined civil service?

September 4th, 2012
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I read few media sources and ended up confused.  Nearly all reports said the number of applications increased (nearly tripled) to 5.6% out of 1.2 million applications between the period of June and August (3 months)  as compared to just 2% as of May. refer (Bernama, Malaysian Insider, Malaysiakini). The excerpt below is from TMI:

The government’s efforts to get more non-Malays to join the civil service seem to be bearing fruit.

Job applications from non-Malays rose to 5.6 per cent between June and August this year compared to only two per cent as of May out of the 1.2 million applications received through the Public Service Commission (PSC), said PSC chairman Tan Sri Mahmood Adam (picture).

He attributed the increase to the large-scale campaigns carried out in the Chinese and Tamil print media as well as the dialogues held throughout the country.

 

But according to the Star, its not application but “joining” the civil service:

There has been an increase in the number of non-Malays joining the country’s civil service workforce in the last three months.

“There has been a marked increased from 2% to 5.6% of the total number of non-Malays joining the civil service throughout the country since June,” disclosed Public Service Commission (PSC) chairman Tan Sri Mahmood Adam during the press conference after launching Pusat Temu Duga SPA Malaysia office here Tuesday.

Mahmood said this marked increase in the numbers of non-Malays joining the civil service workforce were an indication that PSC’s strategy on perception and direct public engagement are showing positive results.

Looks like The Star made an error here.

Regardless of the number of applicants, to have a more balanced population we have to look at the number of people hired and also the vacancies available. According to PSC chairman, for next two years, the vacancies will be low since retirement age has been extended till 60.  Estimated 7000 vacancies will be available for each of the coming two years.  Now, even if all the 14,000 posts are given to non-Malays, it will barely increase the percentage by 1%! Now, how (and when) are we going to increase the non-Malay percentage to, say about 35%?  Sure, you can take in temporary or contract staff as stop-gap measure, but its not a long term solution (like increasing front counter staff from 1000 to 3000). Create new posts? Not feasible as it means more civil servants => more salary and pension payments. So how?

It will be interesting to hear the reply to MP Hulu Selangor P.Kamalanathan’s oral question number 9 (refer here).

Its not easy to undo few decades of discrimination.

DBKL disallow decoration at MHS event

September 3rd, 2012
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This is quite surprising. I remember reading interview with new mayor where he talked about karma and all (sounded like a well-read and understanding guy), and then this news appears on FMT. Decoration like kolam is quite common even in shopping centers!  Banana trees are usually put at the entrance – can see it at Hindu weddings especially at temples. Wonder what’s the reason for DBKL’s actions. Is it because of cleanliness factors or there are considered religious symbols?  Or perhaps MHS wasn’t aware of such rules?

Senator S Ramakrishnan of the DAP today demanded an explanation from Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak over Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) decision to disallow cultural decorations to be put up in their hall for an event by Malaysia Hindu Sangam.

“Najib must investigate why an event officiated by his representative was marred by DBKL’s stupid act which hurts the feeling of delegates,” said Ramakrishnan in a press statement today.

“It is totally unbecoming of DBKL since they are under the Federal Territories and Urban Well Being Ministry that has a Hindu deputy minister,” said Ramakrishnan.

He was commenting on DBKL’s decision to disallow MHS from decorating the venue – a DBKL hall – with kolam, a colourful rice based decoration, and banana trees in conjunction with a conference which was held yesterday.

MHS had organised a conference to launch temple worship guidelines yesterday at the DBKL training institute hall in Cheras.

The conference was attended by about 800 delegates from all over the country with PM’s representative honouring the event.

The hall was rented for RM4,600 and an additional RM300 paid for DBKL staff manning the hall for the event.

The conference was supposed to be officiated by Najib but was subsequently delegated to Human Resources Minister Dr S Subramaniam.

Ramakrishnan also lashed out at DBKL for their lack of sensitivity.

“Why is DBKL afraid to allow such simple cultural decorations?

“DBKL is a public body that serves all Malaysians, so why did it abstain MHS from putting up biodegradable and easily disposal cultural decorations?

“If it is a rule not to allow any decorations by any user of the hall then that should have been made known at the time of hall booking and not one day before the event?

“This act of DBKL shows how they look down on cultural practices of Indian Malaysians,” said Ramakrishnan.

source: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2012/09/02/dbkl-lacking-cultural-sensitivities/

Madam Nagamah, her children and their religion status

August 24th, 2012
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Some facts gleaned from newspapers (the facts may change as more details are revealed):

  • Madam M Nagamah passed away on 14 August 2012 at Sg Bakap Hospital. She was 64 years at the time of passing. She was from Byram Estate, Nibong Tebal.
  • Eldest son of the deceased is M Kamasantheran, aged 46 [ meaning he was born when she was 18 years old].
  • Her body was taken back to home by the family for funeral preparation.
  • JAIPP officers came for the body, saying she was a convert. No documents were provided.
  • Family refused to give in. And the officers left [how ridiculous does this sound? You’d think that a such a serious matter would involve some documentation or proof]
  • Family proceeded with funeral (cremation) at Batu Berapit Crematorium.
  • JAIPP officers went to crematorium and took the ashes of the deceased. Family got to know about it from the crematorium staff.
  • According to Penang state Islamic Religious Affairs Committee chairman Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim, the deceased had converted to Islam in November 2006 [Meaning she was aged about 58 at that time].  He said that  initial investigations as reported to him by JAIPP and the state Mufti Department showed that the 64-year-old had converted at the South Seberang Perai (SPS) Islamic Religious Department with registration number 11/06. The conversion was overseen by Ustaz Anuar Ismail.
  • Her name was registered as Nagamah @ Mariah Abdullah when she converted after marrying one Ibrahim Noyan and had nine children who were registered as Muslims by the National Registration Department.
  • Since both family and JAIPP had made police report, the EXCO said will leave it to police investigation.
  •  The family insists that the deceased has been a practising Hindu all this while and there’s not mention about her converting.
  • Family wants ashes back to conduct funeral rites on 14th day.

sources:

http://www.thesundaily.my/news/469470

http://www.thesundaily.my/news/470546

http://www.freemalaysiakini2.com/?p=43085

http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/206890

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2012/08/20/no-dignity-in-life-or-in-death/

http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/206819

http://www.mmail.com.my/story/nagamah-muslim-says-department-27661

If one does a search, can find documents back in 2007 related to the husband Ibrahim Noyan. Below are the facts from 2007:

  • 10 siblings (5 men and 5 women) were seeking to change their religion from Islam to Hindu. These 10 people were born to Ibrahim Noyan and M.Nagamah.  The 10 of them grew up as Hindus and even got married to Hindus.
  • On Feb 16 2007, the 10, all of them with Muslim names and listed as Muslims on their MyKad, submitted individual sworn declarations at the magistrate’s court in Jawi, South Seberang Prai, claiming that they had been practising Hinduism since birth and prayed at Hindu temples.
  • In their declaration, they said that they wanted to change the status of their religion from Islam to Hindu.
  • They also said they were married to Hindus – although none of them had their marriages registered – and took part in Hindu celebrations, including Thaipusam. Their children were also given Hindu names.
  • Their plight was highlighted at Bukit Mertajam MP Chong Eng’s service centre on that day.[ So she should be aware of this case by now as back then she “hoped that the authorities can settle this issue“].
  • Their father, Ibrahim Noyah, 67, said he first married a Muslim woman known only as Sabariah but she died in 1958. He then married M. Nagamah but did not require her to convert. “Nagamah was my neighbour and I fell in love with her when she took care of me after my wife passed away,” he said.
  • Ibrahim Noyan is visually impaired since 3 years old and Nagamah took care of him after his first wife died.
  • Ibrahim and Nagamah, 60, have 10 children and 30 grandchildren. Three of the grandchildren do not have birth certificates, while some have only one parent’s name in their birth certificates.
  • V. Rathiga, 27, an athlete married to Ibrahim’s son, Kamis, 27, said she left out Kamis’ name in the birth certificates of their daughters – three-year-old Prami and one-year-old Sakti – as Kamis wanted them to be recognised as Hindus. [that’s one solution! if the law hinders, then find a workaround.]
  • While the 10 children wanted to be Hindus, the parents didn’t (meaning Ibrahim and Nagamah). According to Ibrahim he was still a Muslim and that his wife M. Nagamah had converted to Islam in 2005 and assumed the name Mariah Abdullah.
  • “I know my children and my grandchildren are facing problems with their identity cards and I don’t mind if they want to change their names from what it is now in their birth certificates,” said Mariah.
  • Ibrahim had said he started following Hindu culture and customs after his marriage to Nagamah although all their children were given Malay names while being raised as Hindus and had never stepped into a mosque.
  • The Penang Islamic Religious Council has recognised the elderly couple as Muslims.
  • However, the council also accepted the fact that the couple’s children are Hindus. “As far as we are concerned, the matter is resolved as the man had returned to the Islamic faith and his wife has embraced Islam,” said religious council chairman Shabudin Yahaya. “The council has built a house for them in Kebun Baru and are living separately from their children.”
  • Shabudin said the couple were considered Muslim as they had married according to Islamic rites.
  • He said Ibrahim Noyah, 67, had returned to the Islamic faith and his wife, M. Nagamah, 60, embraced Islam in August 2004 and her Muslim name was Mariah Abdullah.
  • Their Muslim marriage was solemnised at the religious department on Aug 11, 2004 and had been issued with the relevant documents.
  • The couple’s eldest son, Jamal Ibrahim, 42, said he hoped the authorities would help resolve their problem.

sources:

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/2/24/nation/16965034&sec=nation

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/2/27/nation/16983857&sec=nation

NST article: Islamic department urged to check family background (25/2/2007)

NST article: Council: Children are Hindus (25/2/2007)

NST article: In a spot over religious status (25/2/2007)

 

So far I can’t find any article reporting the outcome of their application to change religious status.

Interestingly, the conversion date ranges from 2005 to 2006.  Anyway the religious department says the marriage according to Muslim rites were done in 2004,  meaning she converted after marriage.

Back then, these kind of marriages existed and registering them legally wasn’t a big focus, I guess.

Ok back to the issue at hand. The religious department had shown no respect for law and order. No empathy, no sympathy. No sense of respect. No sensitivity. If conversion happened, then should bring the documents and do it properly. They simply came and took the ashes away.

So, did the deceased marry another person? If not, then M Kamasantheran (or is he Johan Ibrahim?), the eldest son should also be a Muslim and his father should be Ibrahim Noyan. Its quite impractical that they don’t know the existence of the other 9 siblings nor of their father/step-father. It feels like the deceased lead a double life with the children not knowing what happened to her.

Maybe she converted but didn’t inform her children about it and continued to live as an Hindu.

There’s no mention about the husband.  Maybe he had passed away and she returned to her Hindu family?

In the above case, if the whole family is following Hindu religion (including the deceased), then might as well leave it to the family to perform the last rites accordingly.

If the families provides proof of the deceased being a practising Hindu (especially after 2006), does it make the conversion void?

I think to safeguard ourselves, a MyDaftar-like campaign should be conducted by government to provide opportunity for non-Muslims to reaffirm their religious status via a official document or statutory declaration.  We don’t want to be victims after passing away and cause misery for the family.

And what happened to the suggestion that future converts-t0-be must inform their families/next-of-kin? All quiet?

The silence from MHS is also deafening.

On a political note, since this happened in Penang, can expect brickbats for the PR government. But I wonder what can be done legislation wise to avoid this issue in the first place. Can the enactment be amended? Would need approval from MAIPP or King?

Section 114A of the Evidence Act 2012

August 14th, 2012
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The controversial section 114a of the Evidences Act (2012)

Presumption of fact in publication

114A. (1) A person whose name, photograph or pseudonym appears on any publication depicting himself as the owner, host, administrator, editor or sub-editor, or who in any manner facilitates to publish or re-publish the publication is presumed to have published or re-published the contents of the publication unless the contrary is proved.

(2) A person who is registered with a network service provider as a subscriber of a network service on which any publication originates from is presumed to be the person who published or re-published the publication unless the contrary is proved.

(3) Any person who has in his custody or control any computer on which any publication originates from is presumed to have published or re-published the content of the publication unless the contrary is proved.

(4) For the purpose of this section—

(a) “network service” and “network service provider” have the meaning assigned to them in section 6 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 [Act 588]; and
(b) “publication” means a statement or a representation, whether in written, printed, pictorial, film, graphical, acoustic or other form displayed on the screen of a computer.”

source: http://www.parlimen.gov.my/files/billindex/pdf/2012/DR162012E.pdf

[click for larger view]

In the cartoon above, I think only the second scenario is acceptable. As administrator, you have authority to remove the comment and can do so. But for the other cases, the amended Act will brand the ignorant/unprepared/trusting as criminals.

I can understand the problems faced by authorities in solving cases involving online postings/comments.  And this is not only limited to those “seditious” crimes, but can cover scams, online theft, and other cybercrimes. Its not easy to prove you are the one who did it. Yes, we can trace via IP addresses, mobile phones, cameras, email headers etc. But, the ICT technology evolves fast. Those intent on doing criminal stuff can find ways to circumvent or “hack” their way and hide their tracks.  Its impossible for every person to protect themselves fully.

If this Act comes into play, you can’t claim ignorance easily. You’ll need to protect your internet access, mobile phones, laptops, tablets, PCs from unauthorised use. Not easy. You need to be vigilant and don’t simply borrow your things to others. Don’t share passwords or access codes. Don’t set your accounts to “always logged in” or “remember my password”. There’s so many “don’ts” that you may as well close your internet account and throw away your tablets/laptops!

Perhaps we can find that restaurants and other business may stop providing free Wifi as anything you do may implicate them. Anyone in the chain of providing network service can be charged. Imagine, robbers used your house area to enter another house and rob the owners. Are you an accomplice because robbers made use of facilities provided by you? This may well be the problems faced by kopitiams, for example.

Yes,  these kind of stringent laws can help reduce the fraud and lies, but at what expense?

Do you expect the citizen to be IT savvy? Do you expect him to be ace investigator who can prove he did not do it? By shifting the burden of proof to the accused, the accused is now a policeman who is to find prove of his innocence? Perhaps he need to enrol in ICT Security courses in order to be vigilant.

Do you notice the word “presumed” in the amendments? So, one is presumed guilty instead of presumed innocent. If you retweet or share a FB status that’s deemed a criminal posting, yes, you are part of the criminals. If you forward emails, same too.

DNAs and fingerprints can be used to nail criminals. Are user accounts, IP addresses, MAC addresses, email address etc.  now considered as  DNAs and fingerprints? Are these tamper-proof?

In our overzealousness to solve crimes, hopefully we don’t punish the innocent.

An article in the Star today:

Things looked vastly different Tuesday on several popular websites that had pledged their support to the campaign against the controversial Evidence Act amendment (no. 2).

Black pop-ups on their main pages greeted website visitors, explaining to them about the recently gazetted Section 1114(a) of the Act which presumes guilt on the part of Internet users.

Bloggers such as The Star columnists Marina Mahathir and Niki Cheong also took part in the Internet Blackout Day, posting up the pop-ups and banners which plainly said “Stop 114A”.

News portals Malaysiakini and Free Malaysia Today as well as the Bar Council website also put up the pop-ups on their websites, together with online journal Loyar Burok.

Scores of local Internet users changed their profile pictures on their Twitter and Facebook accounts to a black “Stop 114A” button.

The Internet Blackout Day is coordinated by the Center of Independent Journalism as part of the “Stop 114A” campaign.

It called for Internet users to show their displeasure by blackening out their websites and profile pictures in protest of the amendment, which would automatically presume guilt on Internet users for offensive postings made using their identities or devices.

However, some Internet users opted for a harder approach and going offline completely.

source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/8/14/nation/20120814122218&sec=nation