Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Unsung Heroes of Merdeka

Another year, another Merdeka albeit a quiter one this year. For many, 31st August means countdown concerts, expensive fireworks & a massive morning parade to celebrate Malaysia's independence.

The problem is, they get the date wrong every year! Malaysia was established on the 16th of September 1963, that's the date of our 'real' independence!

31st August 1957 was just the independence of Malaya, Sabah & Sarawak only gained their independence on the formation of Malaysia 6 years later.

You can understand why their so pissed now when the government insisted on holding the celebration on the wrong date.

The formation of Malaysia was a merger of Malaya + Singapore + Sabah + Sarawak. They are suppose to have the equal status as the whole of Malaya (Peninsula Malaysia) but look at them now...downgraded to becoming 2 of the 13 states making up the country.

The celebration of Merdeka are heavily politicised and littered with inaccuracies...

We were made to believe that one party, Umno was responsible for the nation's independence & for that we must be forever grateful. By negotiating with the British, they secured independence without shedding a drop of blood.

Without shedding a drop of blood?

What about the communists who fought against the Japanese then the British? We might not subscribe to their ideology, but their fight against colonialism must be recognised.

What about the struggle of the other Malay party, PKMM? They were the exact polar opposite to Umno - very anti-British & left leaning, described in our history books as 'radicals'. In fact they were the 1st party to adopt the battle cries of 'Merdeka!'.

Their members were caught & jailed by the British who saw them as a threat, preferring to chat with their pro-British counterparts - Umno.

And the contribution by the coalition of AMCJA-PUTERA? The name certainly sounds familiar.

The contributions of all the different factions using different means to fight against the British were simplified, reduced to a few sentences in the textbooks. So, we only learn that our independence was presented to us on a silver platter.

How's time we recognised the unsung heroes of Merdeka.

If you have the time, this documentary, 10 Tahun Sebelum Merdeka should be an interesting watch ;)

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Monday, August 25, 2008

Argentina Olympic Champions...Again!

The Olympics have ended & it has been great. And the best thing (after Lee Chong Wei's silver medal) is that Argentina have successfully defended their gold medal!

Argentina won 1-0 against Nigeria in a match with all the hallmarks of a final - slow, tense & low scoring. Both sides were cautious & it took one magical pass from Messi (who else?) to release Di Maria for the winning goal.

Of course, I can't do a post of their triumph without mentioning their 3-0 demolition of Brazil in the semis hehe The Argentinians were defeated by Brazil by the same scoreline for 3 times in a row, so this is sweet revenge! Okay, this may be the Olympics, whereby most of the players are below 23 but this is no mickey mouse tournament.

The Brazilians wanted the gold medal badly. Just look at the disappointment on Ronaldinho's face after their loss. But fortunately, stylish possession football wins this time! This time, Brazil failed to bullied their way to victory using brute strength & systematic fouling.

I am surprised Dunga still get to keep his job. How can a Brazilian team played so defensively, so without flair? Joga Bonito is long gone, it's in the Argentinian side now.

And back to the gold medal, it's the second after Athens. On top of that, Argentina also won the World Youth Championship in 2005 & 2007. It's amazing the amount of talent they are churning out!

Messi has been such a vital player in Barcelona & the national senior side, we often forget he is only 21!
Not to mentioned the likes of Aguero, Gago, Mascherano, Di Maria etc etc. Guys like Banega & Lavezzi can't even get a place in the starting line up at the Olympics. The future definitely looks bright.

Now, the only thing left to be done is the World Cup 2010 in South Africa. Vamos Vamos Argentina!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Month of the Hungry Ghost

It is currently the 7th month of the lunar calender, or the Hungry Ghost Month according to the more superstitious Chinese. A month whereby the gates of Hell are supposedly opened & spirits wander the world of the living.

During the entire month, you are supposed to go back home early, burn offerings to the deceased on roadsides & staged opera performances for 'them'. The timid ones will be scared shitless during this month as ghost stories and tales of personal encounters are passed around.

Those real encounters are all mostly urban legends with the locations & other details changed liberally to suit the storyteller.

Guess you heard the one about the midnight bus that you are not supposed to board because it was not meant for humans before (even spirits need to rely on public transports these days)

What about discovering the very scary fact that your school was an execution ground during zaman Jepun? Try sneaking into school grounds at night & you might just catch the Japanese soldiers marching around or heard the screams of their victims. (Hmm..but I thought my school didn't even exist during that time)

Then, there is the nasi lemak seller that sells his rice through the outside window. The only problem being the occupant is living on the 4th floor, so the seller must be floating on thin air! (or has a very long ladder)

Also, the story about a guy waking up only to discover a little boy sitting on the top of the cupboard watching him sleep. And the story of a hotel occupant discovering a corpse hidden underneath the bed. And the toilet stall haunted by someone who committed suicide in it etc etc...

I am pretty skeptical about these supposedly 'real' encounters but there is nothing like a good ghost story to liven up the atmosphere. So, I will gladly do my duty & passed the stories around hehe

Happy Hungry Ghost Festival everyone!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Beijing 08.08.08

This past few weeks has been quite hectic, coupled with no internet access in my residential college makes me unable to blog. But today is an exception, I am back home to watch the Olympics opening ceremony on the supposedly auspicious date of 08.08.08

The Beijing Olympics is already so over hyped even before it started & the opening ceremony shrouded in secrecy. I was excited but without astro, I had to rely on RTM 1 for the telecast. The self proclaimed 'Your Olympic Channel'

Being the official rights holder to broadcast the Games, any channel will grab the opportunity to provide intensive coverage. Well, any channel except RTM 1 that is. Because when I tune in at 8pm (the time the opening ceremony was suppose to begin) they were still busy spreading government propaganda, oops...I mean reporting the news.

The biggest show on earth is starting, anybody who wants to watch the news can tune in to other channel. Why do this? I had to wait for the end of the news before I manage to watch the telecast. That means a good 30 minutes gone.

Well, the actual ceremony is a bit disappointing for me really. It was supposed to be a showcase of 5000 years of Chinese culture, very grand yet lacking the 'wow' factor. I dunno, maybe it's due to my overtly high expectations or the fact that the Chinese culture is all too familiar to me. Or because I miss the first 30 minutes of it. Dammit!

When the competing countries started marching in, it was exciting at first. It's good to see Malaysia as the 10th nation coming out. After that, it's a fight to stay awake. But I made it all thanks to the RTM commentators for providing comic relief.

Like when New Zealand came out, one of them mistaken it for Swaziland. I also appreciate them providing me with useful facts, like Senegal is from Africa.

The marching in thing dragged on for almost 2 hours. 204 countries are participating & I can safely say I only knew about half of it. Erm...maybe less.

It's a relief when it ended & we can finally proceed to the most anticipated moment, the lighting of the Olympic flame. The guy running while hoisted in mid air is quite awesome. Once lit, fireworks exploded over Beijing.

But RTM decided to end the telecast before the fireworks show is over! Thanks guys are really my Olympic channel.

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