Monday, November 8, 2010

The Great Mess Called 'Little India'

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Arshad Khan
November 8, 2010

HARAKAHDAILY EXCLUSIVE Is the newly opened and much publicised Little India in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, just another great waste of taxpayers' money? Overwhelmed by news reports about this latest attraction, Harakahdaily's environment photo-journalist ARSHAD KHAN decided to go there. He returns to tell us what little was being offered to visitors there.

Is the newly opened and much publicised Little India in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, a just another great waste of taxpayers' money? A political bait, even?

Has anyone been held responsible for accountability for the money - a whopping RM26 million? Surely, that could not have been spent here and on the phase II that is the multi-storey car park! Already, I have seen leaks, literally.

Why should portraits of the mayor and politicians be displayed? This is taxpayers’ money and should be spent for the collective benefit of the people.

SINGH'S LITTLE FRIENDS ... Manmohan Singh not only has to share space with Najib, but also with local warlords

How much was contributed by sponsors? The amounts could not only be for the advertisements of their services and outlets. Would there be a statement of expenditure and contributions from sponsors?

Would this be another ‘small’ dot or leakage in some budget that would fall under ‘incidental or unforeseen expenditure?’ Of course the lifting of subsidiaries and other levies against the people could easily cover this and many more at the expense of taxpayers’ tightening belts!

Hunger pangs can be forgotten with a few glasses of plain boiled or filtered water, if that too, has not gone up in cost; water from residential taps is not recommended.

A walk through the spaces shown in these photographs would hardly take half an hour unless you crawl or get attracted by lasses, sales gimmicks and the products on offer.

There is nothing attractive to crave for after all the farce about 'Little India'.

A LITTLE LARGE ... Perhaps keeping true to the trend in the real India, a giant statue of MIC politician and cabinet minister M Saravanan

Obviously, the area was hurriedly put up, with shoddy cement works and repainting of the surrounding building with just a coat of paint that is already peeling off.

Was it just to convince the Prime Minister of India that Malaysia is very grateful to the Indian community and supportive of their ways and culture.

The Penang 'Indian street' is far better and more original. In Kuala Lumpur, there is already a street mostly of Indian merchants and disappearing ‘Chetiars’ near the Telecommunication Museum, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and around Masjid India.

This new ‘Little India’ should have been better in its original form but improvements should have been made on the traffic jams, cleanliness and upkeep of the buildings.

Poverty was so glaring as judged from the stall operators, the surrounding housing, drainage, garbage collection and disposal. The priorities are all wrong. The people were not consulted, according to some visitors and stall operators. Well, the consolation is that at least the authorities did make a visit once in their term in office!

INDIAN OR TYPICAL MALAYSIAN STALLS? ... Ordinary stalls and ordinary goods, welcome to Kuala Lumpur's latest 'unique' attraction

The heat of the day was unbearable as green foliage is very lacking. Malaysian authorities do not believe in a green environment, rather a concrete jungle. Trees, after all, do not derive income. There were trees from the colonial era but these have been chopped down to make way for expansion, development and progress, the Malaysian way.

Some Malaysian personalities would like to see all traces of colonial era completely removed. The Pudu jail, the shop-houses in Kuala Lumpur, the Causeway to Singapore (already planned for the chopping block) and most railway stations in the country are some examples. At this rate, Malaysia should consider severing ties with the British as they were once our colonial masters.

The trouble is, people do not know why a country is colonised; once understood, there would be greater understanding about it. For instance, Who is to blame for the colonisation?

The Little India is but an old lady in a new make up and dress. Of course the new make up includes some new accessories, juggling and with a hidden message.

THE 'BUSY' FACADE ... Empty lots, behind some stalls selling fruits which lined the front (below)

Here it is not so much for the visit of the Indian PM but to bait votes for the forthcoming general election.

First, it was party division for ease of control, then Batu Caves getting a facelift (but which does not seem to make any difference).

Little India is further proof of public fund wastage but delivered as "the government cares". All these should be left to the public to develop collectively like many heritage buildings.

The donations towards Batu Caves during Thaipusam pile up to tonnes each year; where have these gone during the last few decades? Have they been ‘preserved’ in the caves’ vents so that Batu Caves one day would become a haven for treasure hunters like some tales in movies about buried treasures? Perhaps.


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Sound Vision
The smiling school nurse held up the package of multicolored pills and asked if we knew how to use them. One of the girls sitting in the front of the class gave a clear one to two minute explanation of this. What became evident was that these were not pain killers for headaches.

They were birth control pills.

I was fifteen. This was the sex education component of my grade ten Moral and Religious Education class.

While there was plenty of “education” given about the topic to the class of teenage boys and girls (during one class, there was even a demonstration on a wooden model of how a male condom should be used), there was nothing particularly “moral” about it.

Fact: Sex is part of the school curriculum

Whether parents accept it or not, this information is part and parcel of their child's public school experience. It is also the experience virtually all of the 99 percent of Muslim kids in North America who attend public schools.

Across the U.S. discussion of sexuality usually falls under the course “Family Life Education”. The sexual component tends to be discussed more openly in high school.

“Sex education is only one component of it,” notes Sharifa Alkhateeb, who sat on the Fairfax County Public Schools' Family Life Education committee in Virginia between 1990 and 1992. She is also president of the Muslim Education Council, which educates administrators and educators about Islam and Muslims.

“An underlying concept in Family Life Education is that the child is an individual first and foremost and that they should be pleasing themselves and establish their own personal identity,” Alkhateeb explains.

While this in itself is not always negative, when this type of thinking is extended to sex, it means pleasing yourself first, with little emphasis on right and wrong.

Most public school sex education works on the premise that kids are going to have sex anyway, so why bother teaching them right and wrong about it. Instead, give them the tools to have “safe” sex. This of course includes the now notorious distribution of condoms in schools, as well as teaching kids about various birth control methods, like the pills.

This way they will be “protected” from AIDS and pregnancy. There is little to no talk of the emotional and psychological scars left by sex outside of marriage, let alone the right and wrong of it. There is no discussion about the other health risks associated with sex outside of marriage that condoms do not protect against.

“Condoms do not provide protection from many of the sexually transmitted diseases,” explains Marilyn Morris, president and founder of Aim for Success. The organization promotes abstinence from sex through speeches and presentations to students in grades six to 12. The group is one of the largest providers of abstinence education in the U.S.

“For example, the human papilloma virus, commonly called [HPV], is the most common sexually transmitted disease in America and it's killing thousands of young women each year and yet the condom provides little to no protection from this incurable sexually transmitted disease,” Morris notes.

She says the message of Aim for Success is that “sexual abstinence before marriage is all about freedom. If you are not having sex then you are free to go on with your dreams and goals but you're also free from sexually transmitted diseases, you're free from pregnancy, you're free from the emotional scars of lifelong painful memories.”

But the abstinence option is merely presented as an option amongst many for young people to choose from in public school sex education when deciding the course of their sexual activity. In fact, it is probably the least discussed one.

Sex education is reinforced by the school and surrounding culture

Aspects of the public school sex education are reinforced by the school and surrounding culture.

For example, Alkhateeb points out school teachers and administrators may try to involve Muslim children in dances and dating because, “they cannot conceive of a way of living where that is not a major part of life.” She adds that this is usually done with good intentions, with teachers and counselors, for example, thinking they are helping the child.

However, Alkhateeb says the danger is that this can sometimes go so far as teaching the kids to be alienated from their parents, who are perceived as immigrants who don't understand American culture and the need to fit in with peers and have a good time.

Movies, television, even some cartoons glorify sexual relationships outside of marriage. There is clearly pressure from friends and peers at school in some cases to date and have sex outside of marriage.

Teaching Homosexuality in public school sex education

While sex education does focus on issues like biological changes in adolescents and birth control, for instance, one component that has become more common as well is the teaching of homosexuality as a “lifestyle alternative” that is just as legitimate as the heterosexual married family unit.

While this may come as a shock to many Muslim parents, the fact of the matter is that for at least some children in public schools, who may even be the friends of Muslim children, this is a reality.

“The friend will say ‘I have two mommies or two daddies' if that's the reality of that child,“ says Khadija Haffajee, a retired school teacher from the Ottawa-Carleton region of Canada. She has spent about 30 years working in the public school system.

This is also the case for unlawful heterosexual relationships.

“It's not just homosexual relationships, it's adulterous relationships,” explains Haffajee, “kids will say ‘my mother's boyfriend or my father's girlfriend.”

Opting out of public school sex education

“With what I see of the curriculum nowadays I would advise parents not to expose their children to it,” says Shahina Siddiqui, a Winnipeg, Canada-based social worker.

She says the graphic language used to teach about sex, physical demonstrations of applying a condom, the diagrams used, the fact that male and female students are paired off in classes together and that overall message is ‘hey all this is normal, if you're not doing it [sex], something is wrong', is enough for any Muslim parent to get their child out of the class.

But that leads to the next question.

Sex Education: Whose responsibility is it anyway?

“For me, it's a parental responsibility,” says Haffajee.

She stresses the need for Muslim parents to be educated themselves about sex education before going to their children's schools to protest or discuss its contents.

“We in North America, need to address the issue from a parental point of view,” she says. “We need to provide parents with information before we hit the school system because this has been a taboo subject [amongst Muslims] and we have to get rid of it [the taboo]. We need to have Islamic education, forums where Muslim parents get together.”

Muslims' fear of the “S” word

“Muslims shy away from using the word s-e-x on their tongue,” Ahmad Sakr (right), author of The Adolescent Life, tells Sound Vision. The book talks about, among other things, youth in Islam, modesty, social behavior, abortion, the prom and dancing and drinking.

This is not the case with younger Muslims though.

“The youngsters who were raised here do not feel awkward in using the word sex, to write about it or to talk about it, rightly or wrongly. To the parents, even wrongly, they say [it's a] taboo.”

One of Sakr's books, Matrimonial Education in Islam, was almost not published because it was originally entitled Sex Education in Islam. It was published after the title was changed.

”Parents are too shy to speak on this subject to their children. They tell them take the book of Dr. Sakr entitled Matrimonial education and you'll learn more,” he says.

Sex Education: Not just mom's job

Haffajee stresses that if parents decide to give their kids sex education themselves, it is not a responsibility that should fall solely on mothers' shoulders.

“I think the fathers need to know, not only mothers, and we should have people speak to them about the Islamic perspective on sex education, how the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) used to openly address these issues.”

“If early Muslims, starting with the Prophet himself were much more open in discussing what we now consider private subjects, then they must have had the right idea and we have the wrong one and the questions and answers you find in the Hadith prove it,” notes Alkhateeb

While cultural taboos and embarrassment may make many parents reluctant to discuss sex with their children, they should remember that the kind of sex education their children receive in public school is reinforced by the surrounding culture.

This wave of pressure has to be countered by Islamic sex education at home or within the community.

For those who are really uncomfortable talking to their kids about the topic, Sakr suggests that they “request someone neutral from the community, professionally well groomed, ethically and morally committed to be invited to speak on this subject.”

This kind of a session, he suggests, could start off with a presentation to an audience of both sexes, but a question and answer section afterwards that is separate: one for boys, one for girls, so they feel more comfortable.

The Possible Dangers of Non-Involvement

Marilyn Morris started Aim For Success in 1993 based on her own experience of receiving no sex education as a teenager in the 1960s. This partly led her to getting pregnant at the age of 17.

“I was a good girl, I came from a good home, I was in church every Sunday and I got pregnant my senior year in high school,” she recounts. She and her boyfriend married before the birth of her baby, and they are still married today, 30 years later. Her husband, Chuck Morris is also involved with Aim For Success.

“We're convinced that if somebody had talked to us we would have listened,” she says.”But back then nobody was talking about sex. Nobody talked about it at home, nobody talked about it at school and church.”

The only place it was talked about, she notes, was amongst kids.

“The only message I heard back then from my friend was that sex is no big deal, everyone's doing it and nobody gets hurt.”

“I learned the hard way sex is a big deal and there's a huge price to pay.”

Tarik TERSENTAP Pekara Biasa

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I wish to announce my withdrawal as a candidate from the contest of Deputy President of Parti Keadilan Rakyat and my resignation from all posts held in the party.

Cicit Bujang Senang

Lemang ketupat dah siap semua, baru nampak kereta menjalar masuk halaman.

Durian gugur berdebab berdebub, baru nampak muka di kampung.

Orang lain bersakit-sakit dulu, baru bersenang-senang kemudian.

Orang lain kena telanjang-telanjang dulu, baru dapat menang-menang kemudian.

Jangan ikut resmi, nak senang-senang Dulu, Kini pun nak yang senang-senang dan Selama-lamanya tau nak senang tak reti nak susah.

Kalau nak senang semua, isi balik borang UMNO.

I was offered to join this party under the belief that I could promote enlightened and progressive politics; nurture and develop principled political values and culture that I consider indispensable to the development of democracy and good governance in this country. I was mistaken.

Over the course of the party elections, events have shown that the leadership actively condones malpractices and electoral fraud to achieve its designed objectives. I am certain that any political party with such hypocritical and false values will not be able to offer meaningful reforms to the people of this country.

Last Night's TWO

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Scored two at last

"Twos in the morning, twos in the evening" - Mrs Ji Sung, Park

Balotelli's? Yeah, BALOTELLI'S??

Puaka Peninggalan MADEY

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Gerakan Mansuh PPSMI Kembali Tahun Depan

Oleh Mat Zahari Ali

KUALA LUMPUR: Gerakan Mansuh Pengajian dan Pembelajaran Sains dan Matematik dalam Bahasa Inggeris (PPSMI) akan memulakan usaha mendesak kerajaan mengotakan janji untuk melaksanakan pemansuhan secara berperingkat-peringkat, mulai tahun depan.

Ini ialah puaka peninggalan Madey yg paling hebat. Numero uno.

Kalah puaka PROTONG. Puaka Bakun. Puaka Perwaja. Ini kecik anak punya puaka kalau dibandingkan dgn puaka PPSMI.

Puaka PPSMI ini telah 'menyelowkan' pelajar luar bandar. Menyusah kan mak bapak. Puaka ini banyak 'mengantoikan' pelajar luar bandar.

Orang German kecek German, orang Perancis kecek Perancis, orang Jepun kecek Jepun..thee he he

Orang Melayu disuruh Madey supaya pandai cakap Bahasa Penjajah Inggeris..thee hehe

Jawab laa Madey.. "chek cakap Tamil ka kat dalam rumah chek.....?"

Sewaktu dengannya.

Pun sewaktu dengannya

Lagi laa sama waktu!!

Timbalan presidennya, Profesor Shahril Md Zain berkata pihaknya amat kesal dengan tindakan berdiam diri kerajaan, khususnya Kementerian Pelajaran, yang masih membisu dalam memberikan reaksi berhubung isu terbabit.

Can You Hear the Drums?

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Can you hear the drums Fernando..

I remember long ago another starry night like Chelsea!


FIBERgrass: We need 22 players.

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Newcastle record a stunning win at ten-man Arsenal, their first at the Gunners since December 2001. Lukasz Fabianski will make the headlines again for all the wrong reasons, unfortunately, as it was his goalkeeping mistake just before the break that allowed Andy Carroll to head home what proved to be the winner. Make no mistake about this, Newcastle deserved their victory for their sheer will-to-win, their work-rate and determination – it was a triumph for team-work and organisation over individual brilliance.

FIBERgrass: We could be playing with 15 men but still got beaten by 1 man; Andy Carroll..

Arsenal threatened only sporadically, twice hitting the woodwork, once from a deflected Fabregas free-kick in the first half and through Theo Walcott in the second. Tim Krul made one outstanding save to deny Nasri at his near post. But that is successive defeats for Arsene Wenger's side following that midweek reverse in the Champions League and the home side also had Laurent Koscielny sent off in stoppage time for a professional foul. It's Wolves and Everton away followed by Tottenham at home for the Gunners – the Frenchman has some work to do to lift his side, though he will be heartened by the return of van Persie today.

We Are What We Eat

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Slim-melim ramping 'berdenting'!

Mongolian 'BOMB'shell. ..

Bekas First Lady Clinton. Second Lady 'si penyanyi' Monica Lewinsky.

Anak badak.

To Eat or Not to Eat

by Sreedhar Subramaniam MALAYSIAN INSIDER

November 07, 2010 — Amazing! There are over 12 million instances for a Google search for the words “diet plans”. Oh no! Another piece speaking about how overweight we all are! Actually, I am overweight too. I have a favourite statement that tells you something about my glorious past.

About “40 pounds” ago, I used to run for the school cross country team. When I returned from my studies overseas and started my working life, my first 1,500-metre race saw me beat the second finisher by 200 metres.

Too Many DATUKS Will Spoil A Contract

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"Ambo tok berapo segar lo ni."

Melaka has created a new datukship that is lower in class to the existing one.

Called Darjah Pangkuan Seri Melaka (DPSM), it is given to people in government positions that are lower than those of the people receiving the Darjah Mulia Seri Melaka (DMSM). So if your boss is a director-general, he’ll get the DMSM but you are entitled only to the lesser DPSM. 

It seems Malaysia has so many datuks now that the joke going round has been modified. It used to be that if you were to throw a stone in Bukit Bintang, you would hit a datuk; now if you were to throw one in Oxford Street, which happens to be in faraway London, you would hit a datuk too.

Case study:

Everyone around a wedding dinner table is a datuk. Imagine the dinner conversation:

“Datuk, please have the last piece.” said Datuk 1

“Thank you, Datuk, you go ahead. I’ve had enough.” replied Datuk 2

“So have I, Datuk. Perhaps the datuk beside you would like to have it?” asked Datuk 3

“Datuk Apanama, would you like to have it?” said Datuk 2 to Datuk Apanama

“No, Datuk, I’m superstitious, I don’t want to end up an old maid.” said Datuk Apanama

“Oh, of course, Datuk, I’m sorry. I keep thinking of datuks as men.” Datuk 2 apologized

“I beg your pardon, Datuk! Can’t you tell from my looks that I’m a woman?” a clearly embarassed Datuk Apanama retorted!

A well-built young man in a suit and bowtie saunters by. One of the Datuks calls to him, “Hey, waiter.!!!”

The young man glares back and replies, “Excuse me, I’m not a waiter. I’m a datuk!”

“Really?” said a Datuk, surprised. “You’re so young, you don’t even look 30.”

“So what? I’m 28. And I’m a sportsman. I can play football, badminton, squash, konda-kondi..etc

“Why are they giving out datukships to people so young?”

“Hey, at least I got mine for serving the country. How did you get yours? Beli ka? Pakai orang dalam ka”

“Are you insulting me, you young ciku?”