Posts Tagged ‘Malacca’

Kolams and football clubs

October 19th, 2011
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Seems similar to kavadi during Thaipusam bearing logos and insignias of football clubs. Kolams usually consist of geometrical designs (southern India ones) and also more colorful ones (Rangolis from Northern India). The design is can be intricate or simple with either white or variety of colors used. The more colorful designs will have motives like peacock, elephant, oil lamps, flowers, swans, conch, and so on.

However, the attempt to create kolams with football team crests doesn’t really fit into the cultural aspect of the kolam.  I won’t mind anyone creating them, but won’t consider them for the purpose of contests,  or house decoration for festivals/functions.


Instead of creative and captivating kolam designs promoting the cultural heritage of Indians, youths here are creating designs of popular English Premier League football teams.

The state MIC is worried about this disturbing development and wants the practice of putting the crest of teams like Liverpool and Manchester United on kolam designs stopped.

Expressing disappointment over this trend, which has surfaced among younger football fans, state MIC chairman Datuk R. Perumal said: “Kolamis an ancient art dating back some 5,000 years and should not be sullied by images that have nothing to do with Indian culture.”

Perumal said many kolam designs depicting the two football clubs were drawn during competitions organised in conjunction with Deepavali. He noted that kolam was not just a decoration.

“It used to be created using coarse rice flour to invite birds and other small animals to come into one’s home and life.

“The kolam depicts the harmonious co-existence between men and animals.

“It is a sign that all are welcome into one’s home and also brings prosperity,” he said.

Using the kolam method to create the crests of soccer clubs deviated from its original design and purpose.

“It used to be a matter of pride to be able to draw large, complicated patterns but we are not going to commend those who draw crests of soccer clubs as they are just copying the designs from pictures,” he added.

Separately, Perumal said the state government had distributed RM200 cash aid to some 500 Hindus in the state on Saturday.

They also received household items so that they could enjoy the celebration.


BN wins big in Merlimau and Kerdau

March 7th, 2011
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As expected, BN wins handsomely in the stronghold areas of Merlimau (Malacca) and Kerdau (Pahang).

In Merlimau, PAS candidate Yuhaizat Abdullah got 2,319 votes, while BN’s Roslan got 5,962 voters. Voter turnout was 79 per cent of the 10,679 voters and majority was 3,643 votes. This is an improvement from the previous majority, 2.615 votes.

In Kerdau,  BN candidate Syed Ibrahim Syed Ahmad defeated PAS’s Hassanuddin Salim by 4,960 votes to 2,336. This is an increased majority of 2,724 compared to 1,615-vote majority in 2008. Its even better than the 2004 GE results (2,565).  Voter turnout was 83 per cent of the 8,999 voters.

I’m not aware of the Indian votes (298 in Kerdau and 1,567 in Merlimau), but can be rest assured that most of the votes would have gone to BN. More so after PAS in Kelantan decided to ban lottery tickets. That surely chased away any “pity” votes the non-Muslim may have thought of giving. In the end, it was a walk in park for BN.

As an indication, the Chinese votes in Kerdau polling district, the only area with a substantial Chinese presence, saw BN  getting 428  votes while PAS got 216. In previous election, BN won the district with a thin majority of 37.

Oh yeah, as usual, there were calls of vote-buying, election goodies etc., but I think in these areas it would not have made much difference.

As mentioned by BN leaders, this is a big hit for PAS, but of course, the by-elections were done in BN strongholds, so the results are expected. Anyway, this is the 5th straight loss for PR coalition, after Galas, Tenang and Batu Sapi. I wonder how the results would be in a urban area.

How would these wins shape the coming months? Would there be a general election soon?



Ragunathan’s plight and temple issues in Merlimau

February 28th, 2011
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We can trust some of our media to dig up interesting stories, especially when it involves elections. So far, it seems to be rosy for Merlimau folks. Everyday, I hear some Merlimau makkal interview recording on Minnal FM saying how the town has progressed. Merlimau has a polytechnic (I suppose the makkal there benefit by the economic activities generated by the polytechnic ecosystem or maybe their kids are studying there), no problem with basic amenities, and generally, its like heaven on earth. Oh ya, in terms of Indian community, there are 1567 folks are registered as voters and MIC has identified 1242 of them. MIC hopes do deliver at least 75% of the Indian votes. That’s the scenario which is obviously in favor of the ruling coalition.  The voter breakdown is as follows: 10,679 voters consisting of 64.1% Malay, 20.8% Chinese and 14.7% Indian. In GE2008, voter turnout was 7977 (76.2%) with BN winning by a majority of 2154 votes.

OK, back to problems. Similar as with Tenang, some of makkal folks live in estates and rural areas, thus there’s the standard problem of getting basic amenities for the last 30/40/50 years. Our first case is about the (now popular) Ragunathan, a dairy farmer. His problem: lack of water supply for about a short period of two decades, and also lack of access road. He seems to doing well with oil palm getting good prices. The land is their own but the location is sandwiched between private property and government reserve. Of course, within days of his problem being highlighted, the calvary arrives. Hopefully his problem will be solved. If not have to wait till next election. BTW, I learnt one thing: branding is important. Choose a good logo.


After more than two decades living without water, the by-election has finally brought welcome news for Merlimau voter C Ragunathan.

Soon after Malaysiakini reported his predicament last week, the dairy farmer received visits from politicians and representatives of government agencies suddenly keen to solve his problems.

“After the report, representatives of the state water agency came and inspected our premises and enquired about how we source for water.


“Even the health department came to ask if we put chlorine in the well we use for drinking water…But they didn’t promise to provide running water,” he said when met yesterday.

NONERagunathan (left) and his household of more than 10 live in Kampung Paya Yoki, 6km from Merlimau town smack in between a Sime Darby oil palm estate and government reserve land which is now a small forest.

Sime Darby had rejected the land as it was swampy and the government had then sold it to 20 families most of whom have now chosen to move out citing lack of amenities and access road.

Ragunathan’s family source water from a 9 meter deep pond and a well within the estate perimeter, the only access road goes through a gate locked up by Sime Darby daily from 7pm and 7am .

But about a week ago, Malacca MIC deputy chairperson S Mahadevan had told them that the government may build an access road which cuts through the government’s reserve land, bypassing the estate.

“He said that we should first clear the reserve land and we have. It cost us about RM4,000 as there was dense overgrowth…this will not be compensated. We’ve also shown him the plan of where the road can be, but it’s their job to do the land survey,” Ragunathan said.

New electricity poles, street lamps

Tenaga Nasional Berhad also dropped by several days after the report to build two more electrical poles and provide seven street lamps.

merlimauFive years ago Ragunathan had paid TNB for erecting a couple of electrical poles as the energy company said it would not be able to provide it otherwise as the power grid is about 2km away.

“It was done the proper way. I applied and paid them the fee for the electric poles. The total cost, including wiring work and generator, came up to about RM30,000.

This has been confirmed by Negri Sembilan and Malacca Electric Commission director Md Rasdi Abdullah, who sighted Ragunathan’s application to TNB in his investigation, fearing any wrongdoing on TNB Malacca’s part following the news reports.

NONE“The new poles and street lamps is really good news for us and we’re thankful to TNB. But we still have the road issue, which we hope that the relevant parties can help solve as soon as possible,” Ragunathan said.

The father of three added that the lack of an access road that does not cut through the estate also eats into his income.

“I also plant some oil palm, and when we want to bring our crops out the estate patrol officer would think that we are stealing their crop, so he insists that he escorts us out from our land to make sure the fruits are ours.

“But there are times when he is busy and we have to wait a few days and by then our fruits have reduced in weight. The price of oil palm fruits is about RM800 a tonne, and each kilogramme less is a loss for us,” he said.

Dacing means stability

All the same, Ragunathan remains a staunch MIC supporter, just as his late father was.

NONE“When I was younger there was a party using the symbol of a sampan. My father told me that when the sampan goes in the water it’s unstable.

“But the dacing (the weighscale, symbolising BN) is stable, showing that it is fair and does not prefer one race over the other, so this is the party we must support. I have supported BN ever since but I hope that BN will pay attention to our woes.

“I don’t know whether or not (the government) is thinking about our problems. We pay our asssesment fees too, and to pay the fee we must have revenue and this is not easy without amenities,” he said.




Now, if the first case was quite straightforward, the second is a tad more complicated AND sensitive. It involves religion. The politicians are treading carefully, but still I don’t think it will affect the vote bank, since the problem can be more dragged for few more years. Can have a couple of dozens of discussions, interspersed  by land surveys and field visits. If properly managed, this problem can be prolonged for 5 years or more.

Basically, its about a two-in-one temple’s (Hindu and Taoist) expansion plan which is being opposed. My comments are in red below, within the article.


Attracting both Hindus and Taoists, the Sri Mathurai Veeran Raja Karaimariamman Tuah Peh Kong temple in the Malay-majority Kampung Simpang Kerayong, Jasin, would have well been a 1Malaysia success story. 

NONEFounded about 40 years ago, the temple sits on private land on the border of the Merlimau and Rim constituencies. [private lamd? whose land is it? Did the landowner give permission for the place of worship? Got approval from local council? Is there proof of its existence for 40 years?]

A plan to put up a proper building to accommodate the large number of devotees who come to observe religious festivals has, however, been put on hold.

This is due to objections from the local Umno division and the village security and safety committee (JKKK), that claim to represent almost all of the Malay community. [Can this claim be justified? Any proof? JKKK reps are not voted, but appointed due to political connections. So how can they be representative of anything?]

NONE“We first met with the penghulu (village head) who said it is not his role and that we should meet with the YB (assemblyperson),” said temple official and priest K Ganesan (right).

“The YB (Rim assemblyperson Mohd Yazed Khamis) said he supports our plans, but we have to get the approval of the JKKK andpenghulu, so we’ve been going around in circles”. [Hmm…wild goose chase. Good strategy. I suppose now things are clear.” ]

A letter dated Dec 14, 2010, from Mohd Yazed, displayed on the temple wall, states that the assemblyperson has no objections to the expansion “granted that there are also no objections from JKKK Simpang Kerayong, Simpang Kerayong Umno and local residents”. [can a political party’s objection be used as an excuse?]

Ganesan claimed that five families object to the expansion as they are “worried that a bigger temple will disturb the peace”. [five families or majority residents object?]

NONE“They worry that the sound of bells and the smell of incense will reach their houses,” he said.  [Well, sounds logical, sound and smell does travel through air. Are they using loudspeakers? And how often is these bell sounds and incense smell? More than 5 times a day? At odd hours?]

Temple committee member N Visvanathan claimed that despite the JKKK and Umno’s claim, only about five families have objected to the expansion, and those families live about 1.6km away. [1.6km away? Wow..I wonder how bell sound and incense smell can reach even beyond few hundred meters.]

“I live just behind the temple and I don’t hear or smell anything. The lorries (from the surrounding oil palm plantation) are more of a disturbance,” he said. [That’s a good comparison. Lorry is more disturbing than temple sound and smell.]

Chief minister’s backing

According to Visvanathan, BN component parties MIC and MCA are on their side. Representatives of the parties have visited them many times, and have even given cash donations to the temple, which has proudly raised several BN flags and an MIC flag. [should be thankful for the cash donation, and don’t worry about solution yet. Will take time. Discuss few more years.]

NONEBut no one has managed to broker a deal with the Umno branch to allow the expansion which Fauzi Muhammad (left), who runs a sundry shop across the road from the temple, believes is supported by “85 percent” of the multi-ethnic residents there. 

“The bell that they worry about is not a constant. It is rung at specific times so it’s not a nuisance. This is a matter of religion, so they must follow their own rules too… even in Islam we have the azan, which may disturb some people, but we must be mature and respect each others’ customs,” he said. [So, the bell is rung according to prayer times – for Hindus, its usually in the morning, at noon, then in late evening. However, I’ve seen some Taoist temples praying into late night. Maybe this is problem – two different religion occupying same location, thus more activities therehmm..mature and respect each others’ customs. That usually is a one-way street in most cases, people like Fauzi are the exception. But this values do exist in Pendidikan Moral subject.]

NONEThis is an argument that is not getting through to those villagers who object to expansion. Even Malacca Chief Minister and state Umno head Mohd Ali Rustam has been unable to convince them, although the state government has approved the expansion in principle. [OK, so approval for extension exists “in principle”]

“I have met with the JKKK, some approve (the expansion), some don’t. I am in a difficult position. If I approve the temple, then Umno members people will say the chief minister supports Chinese and Indians and won’t vote for BN. But if I don’t, then DAP will attack me. [ of a politician and the decisions they must make..tough life. Tips: why not stop thinking like a politician and more like a sane human being? That may help]

“So I hope we can have more discussions and try to get to a solution,” Mohd Ali said at an event near the temple on Saturday. [the road well travelled – have lots of discussions. Hopefully can solve the problem by next election. Don’t get me wrong, discussion are good, but if its dragging for ages, then need to analyse if its being conducted properly by the right people.]

“Umno and JKKK were angry with me when I converted the land to temple land but I said the temple has been there for 40 years so what’s the problem? We have waited for 40 years, I am sure we can wait a little longer.” [Why the anger? Was the land eyed for some other use? Maybe can consider land swap now?]

NONETemple head Ng Hong Wah (right) said he welcomes the chief minister’s hands-on approach on the issue and is happy that Mohd Ali has visited the temple and is willing to host a dialogue between the parties involved. 

And although campaigning is in progress for the by-election, Ng and his committee members are unwilling to turn to the opposition to air their plight, as they do not want it to be politicised. 

Ng’s concern is just to get the plan off the ground, as the temple committee has spent more than RM100,000 on preparations, including purchasing the land, installing the piping and covering the swamp land. [opps, land has been purchased, so its their own land.]

‘Bell disturbs sleep’

According to Umno Simpang Kerayong division head Hasnol Abu Wahab, the state government and its agencies had, at a meeting with the division and the JKKK, agreed in principle to relocate the temple. [relocate? seems like chicken and duck talking? How can you decide when the party concerned is not around? Is this how things are supposed to be done? Make unilateral decisions?

“You know how these people are, they tie a red and yellow cloth somewhere and it becomes their deity. I don’t think the temple has been there for 40 years… we have located a piece of land less than 1km from the (current site and), which is near another temple and is more appropriate,” he said when contacted. [hmmm…shows how much this guy (and perhaps his cohorts) understand about other people’s religion. Silap haribulan, he can be arrested for sedition – belittling other people’s religion. AND this guy is division Head! He needs counseling from MCCBHST pronto! BTW, can he provide proof of the age of the temple?  Appropriate for who? ]

NONEState exco member R Perumal, who is heavily involved in the negotiations, however, denied that the state has any intention to relocate the temple. [no relocation? confirm chicken and duck talking. No wonder need lots of discussion!]

This will not sit well with the JKKK. Kamaruzzaman Salleh, a member, lamented that the exco did not even consult the villagers before approving the expansion plan. [So, its the Exco’s fault? What’s the local council doing?]

He said that just about all the Malay residents are against the temple because it is too close to their homes and only about 500m from the mosque. [About all the residents? need to conduct a survey to verify. Since earlier the distance was given as 1.6km and now this guy saying 500m, need to hire qualified land surveyor and engineers to verify the distance. Signs that we are bad in judging distance?]

“We are not objecting to the existence of the temple and we respect their right to pray, but the location is unsuitable,” he said. [Obviously its the location problem. The issue is how to verify the unsuitableness of the location.]

There is also an issue of access, as there is only one road leading to the houses behind the temple. The villagers have complained about congestion whenever there are festivals, as the temple is popular with devotees outside Jasin as well. [ahh..another problem added – access road. Of course not everyday there’s a festival. How’s the frequency? Once a week? Once a month? Once every 3 months? Is it bad as weekly Friday afternoon traffic jams? How about asking to build another road or widen the existing road?]

He said that residents, in a complaint letter to the JKKK, had said that the temple bell disturbs their children’s sleep. [must be a big bell with loudspeakers to boot.]

NONEThis, however, has left the temple officials baffled. They only use a hand bell and said they always wait for the azan to finish before ringing the bell. [Aiks! hand bell? At most I can hear my neighbor about 6 houses away praying using hand bell – that’s 50 metres only. Not sure what kind of bell can be heard 500 meters or 1.6km away.]

“When we pray, we ask for the safety of the whole kampung too,” said Ganesan. [Hmm… i think the kampung will be safe even if don’t ask for it.]

About 50 non-Malay families live in Simpang Kerayong, some of whom will vote in the Merlimau by-election on Sunday, in the Jasin Lalang and Chinchin polling districts. [hmm..not many votes here. Solution : have more discussions.]

PAS garnered about half of the votes in both polling districts in the 2008 general election.


Don’t get me wrong, but this kind of issues are fuel for people to protest. You may have just handed more ammo to HRP.

Now, looking at the second case above, what can the solution be (other than prolonging the decisions)? Get independent consultants to conduct study to verify distance, conduct survey among residents within a certain radius (don’t let outsiders interfere), study possibility of widening the road, study the decibel levels of the temple bell, measure distance travelled  by incense smell, survey how many kids are affected by sound/smell, study the prayer patterns of the Hindu and Tao devotees, study the frequency of festivals/major prayers, study possibility of relocation and the impact to residents, visitors, and devotees. See, not so difficult right? Heck, I should be a con-sultant! 🙂


40 years to relocate SJKT Merlimau

February 14th, 2011
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You be the own judge. Looks like the windfall for Merlimau folks has been hastened after death of the assemblyman. Need not wait till next GE or 11th Malaysian Plan. BTW, I think the councilor was unprepared for the interview. Reflects poorly on him. Should have postponed the interview.

The related article is below (including some of the translation of the interviews above):

After more than two decades of promises, SRJK (T) Merlimau, now squatting in the compound of a secondary school, may finally get its own premises. 

srjk t merlimau 2But even Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s presence at the groundbreaking ceremony tomorrow may not be enough to convince residents.

Approached byMalaysiakini during a visit to the constituency last week, voter Ramachandran, 60, said that the same promise has been made for the past four general elections. 

“They are now measuring the place, but we don’t know what will happen after the by-election,” said Ramachandran, who has lived in Merlimau almost all his life. 

The promise is also pretty familiar to Durairaj, 48, who had attended the school with his siblings some three decades ago. 

promised land 1 w tnb“I was a student there, as were my sister and brother. Now my children go there. We have heard this promise many times. 

“The first plot of land had a temple on it. They demolished the temple and said that they will build the Tamil school there, but now there’s another building on the land,” he said when approached. 

Other locals asked about the Tamil school during Malaysiakini‘s visit to the constituency corroborate the father-of-two’s story. 

Locals point out ‘promised lands’

Pointing to a Tenaga Nasional Berhad building, Padmanathan, 47, said the land referred to by Durairaj was “promised” for the Tamil school some “20 to 25 years ago”.

promised land 2 w preschoolApproached in front of the Merlimau BN operations room, the self-proclaimed loyal MIC man said it never came through because “no one took the initiative”. 

The second said ‘promised land’ is located in Taman Muhibbah about five minutes’ drive from the TNB building. 

Resident Saundriama, when asked, said that she has lived opposite the land for 19 years and heard the promise made about 10 years ago.

“About 10 years ago some government officers came to this land and measured it and told us that they will be moving the Tamil school here,” she said.

bn flag and signThe land is mostly vacant except for a small pre-school. 

In 2008, said another Merlimau voter who prefers to be known only as Krishnan, BN had also promised a plot of land which is part of Sime Darby’s Merlimau oil palm estate, near the water treatment centre. 

Taking the Malaysiakini team to the plot of land, he said: “It was all said verbally. No black and white. (The government) said it will be here… We don’t know what happened, until now it’s still like this.”

Exco man: Claims are nonsense

When met, Malacca executive councillor R Perumal said that the claims were “nonsense” and that a piece of land where Muhyiddin will perform the ground-breaking ceremony is the only one planned for the school. 

He said the school, which now has 175 students, has been sharing premises with the secondary school for 40 years.

According to Perumal, who was met when he was inspecting the land with Public Works Department engineers, the government started looking at moving the school a decade ago as enrollment was rising. 

r supramaniam pibg srjk t merlimauHe said that the federal government has allocated RM6.1 million under the 10th Malaysia Plan for the school, including for acquiring the five acres of land from Sime Darby. The land was acquired in 2004. 

The school’s parent-teacher association representative, R Supramaniam (left), also said that that the previous PTA leaders were not too serious about it.

However, the new committee has been persistent about it and was told in January that the project will commence in the next six months. 

Project a ‘coincidence’

Perumal admitted that the project is now hastened following the death of Merlimau assemblyperson Mohamad Hidhir Abu Hassan.

final promised land 1“It is just a coincidence. These things don’t happen overnight. You need time to acquire the land, etc. Don’t make an issue of it,” he said, adding that construction is expected to be completed in one year.

According to Durairaj, this is the first time he has seen the government test the soil and bring in heavy machinery to land promised for the school. 

“I don’t know if it is real or it is a big ‘drama’ (but) I really hope that they will build the school this time,” he said.

Malacca at Night

February 20th, 2009
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Finally I managed to get on the Eye on Malaysia! I was put off going to KL when the ferris wheel was at Lake Titiwangsa due to traffic jam and the long queue (and the high fee). At Malacca, the a trip on the wheel for 15 minutes (about 5 rounds) costs RM10 for MyKad holders and RM20 for others. The historical parts of Malacca town is being redeveloped and upgraded. Area around Jonker Street, the Stadhuys, and along Malacca River are different now compared to 5 years ago. More light at fact a lot of lights! By the way, Eye on Malaysia closes at 11pm weekdays and midnight on weekends.

At the entrance to Eye on Malaysia, there were three domes with projected images on its ceilings. We also visited it (free entrance). It was some sort of ceiling projection concept but the garrish color and sound can give you a headache after a while.

There was a paper lantern exhibition near the Big Ship, where many replicas of famous artifacts and animals were crafted in paper. Quite a nice place to hang out a night but I think the exhibition will end soon.

I also had the time to squeeze a trip on the river cruise along Malacca River. You can buy the tickets near the Big Ship area. Ticket costs RM10 per person and its a 45 minute ride along Malacca River. Try to take the trip during sunset or at night to fully appreciate the lights. Last trip is at 9.30pm I think.

Oh ya.. the compulsory cendol and chicken rice ball also on the list.

Photos at Picasa: