Category Archives: Rants

Five Five

Today has been so full of hilarious randomness that I feel compelled to blog in the style that I used to, before I started flooding it with pictures.

Woke up late, rushed to the office, and had breakfast there. The cafeteria lady and her coffee machine makes a powerful latte. (I work in Menara Maxis now, and there is nothing more that I wish than for it to have a paternoster lift.) So I went to the comfortable toilet an hour later because y’know, coffee has a laxative effect. The gents has 3 cubicles and I took the middle one, since the first was occupied. I overheard a female voice talking on the phone. I then realized it was just an effeminate male voice. I then heard another voice, also from the same cubicle. Couldn’t make out what they were saying but they seemed to be joking with each other. I didn’t make any effort to be quiet as I entered the toilet, so they should’ve heard me.

Perhaps it wasn’t the noontime tryst I assumed, but a wardrobe malfunction that needed attention. Still, I’d think that if I was having a sexy time in a public-like place, that I’d pause and try to be as quiet as possible – no sexy time going on in here, no sirree…

This following disclaimer segment wouldn’t exist if I blogged about this 15 years ago when everyone was less politically correct:
1) I am indifferent to whether a toilet is hygienic enough or gross for an exchange of bodily fluids
2) I don’t have moral objections to homosexual activity
3) I’d think that those having a sexy time would be more grossed out by unsexy sounds and smells of a toilet, than somebody trying to unload and hearing somebody else blow their load
4) The office toilet is admittedly pretty clean by male toilet standards
5) I am indifferent to gendered toilets – if the argument for gendered toilets is to avoid possible perving from the opposite sex, what if a homosexual pervs on members of the same sex because he/she is allowed entry? Is a bisexual disallowed from both gendered toilets? Is an asexual allowed in both? Besides, we have ungendered toilets at home. If the argument for gendered toilets is space e.g. urinals, and I was a pre-operation transsexual female (meaning I was assigned male at birth), would I pick the gents if I needed to pee because I wouldn’t need to queue for a cubicle? (But then, gender expression is separate from sexual preference.)
6) I am often hesitant to commit these thoughts to text because people read this and think I will keep this opinion forever. (A common activist trap, which is why activists all get angry at each other, because either context collapse happens due to our affinity to call out instead of call in, and we consider an activist a hypocrite for changing their stance.) I’ll revise my thoughts sometimes when informed better.

As I told this story, I was asked if I heard any “piak piak” sound. That’s a term used in Malaysia, usually of penetration. I wonder what the non-penetrative version of this for female-only trysts is, and how it is spelled.

I wanted to ask this on Facebook, but my timeline is quite focused on particular topics, that it seems out of character. Perhaps I’m overthinking this, with my fingers to my chin, like a Philosoraptor.

I then remembered that there is an Albertosaurus! I thought that would be cool as a Facebook profile picture, where I’d call it my spirit animal, but the Albertosaurus walks on fours like the diplodocus, doesn’t it? I looked it up and found out that the Albertosaurus in fact walks on just its hind legs and is quite like the Tyrannosaurus Rex in appearance. So I could legitimately make such a meme, once I’ve drawn it, preferably in the art style of Pusheen, with a monocle.

So, back to the randomness of today. I got a phone call from an unknown number, and the guy spoke to me in Cantonese, and he said his boss spoke to me, from some network company. I asked what this was about, and he said it was about their company’s order of chairs. Apparently, I sell chairs now.

I for one would love a good work chair, for my home PC – one that has easy adjustments and decent headrest such that I could choose to lean back and sleep in it, for the times I want a short nap and avoid oversleeping if I take a nap in a proper bed.

BERSIH 4, Day 1, 29th August 2015

29th August 2015: BERSIH 4, Day 1, 29th August 2015. I’m at home recovering from a sore throat that turned into a flu, so I don’t think you can expect a Day 2 post from me. All pictures here are mirrored in a Facebook photo album, with the full-resolution version available to download, so you can try spotting yourself, or counting people!


During BERSIH 3 the bus heading to KL stopped at Titiwangsa LRT station and would not go into town. I figured the same would happen, so I went to Titiwangsa LRT. Instead of taking the LRT to Bandaraya LRT, which would be nearest in case Masjid Jamek was closed, I took the monorail instead to KL Sentral. This was because I was afraid of any crazy car accidents like what happened at BERSIH 3, and to avoid the red-shirt Anti-BERSIH protestors. Plus, coming from KL Sentral, there were a lot of overhead bridges and flyovers that would allow me a good crowd shot. The monorail stations were not crowded, with anywhere between 15-39 people getting on each stop. It was not even full when it reached KL Sentral!


I passed the old Pudu Jail site and its adjacent land, the former staff quarters. They’ve built a ramp there. I can imagine a whole bunch of people who should’ve been in prison.


On the road with balloons.


I reached the crowd once I passed Prescott Hotel. This was at 3:06PM. I was in fact late, as I’d seen pictures that show the rally was thicker earlier.


Parents brought their kids.


HINDRAF was there.


I brought my Sony Alpha 7S with Sony LA-EA4 adapter, Minolta 24-105mm F3.5-4.5(D) and Minolta 70-210mm F4.0 beercan, for this.


On a flyover.


Arul of Parti Sosialis Malaysia on the mike, and New Sin Yew of the BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee on the far left.


I saw a lot of Indians, but then I walked from Brickfields. People also report seeing more Malays coming from SOGO and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. Did the point of origin and timing factor into whether you see a lot of Chinese or not?


Not sure who this guy is, though.


Haha, the 4.0 in the bottom-left corner, since anything with BERSIH 4 would be considered illegal.


Technical win!


Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, former co-chairperson of BERSIH 2.0, appears.


Some posters on the floor.


The first musician I saw. There would be so many more, later!


Texas Chicken in Geo Hotel was packed full of rallygoers. This time, more businesses were open, and rewarded handsomely.


Cool cheques.


A man digs into a packet of nasi lemak that was being given out for free…


…by this guy.


One lone Black Maria spotted in front of Pasar Seni, with police sitting inside. Nobody was arrested so far, thankfully.


This uncle has been making sugar cane from as long as I remember.


Some more interesting T-shirt designs.


From the pedestrian bridge in front of Kotaraya, I could not get the same shot, as my timing was off. Other pictures show the road being full. This time however they stuck to the sidewalks.


Yellow umbrella.


For those who walked too far.


The air-conditioned Starbucks at Jalan Tun Tan Siew Sin provided respite from the hot sun.


This restaurant was open, too.


More Indians with placards! Why do people say the rally was full of Chinese?


Hew Kuan Yau, known as the Superman of DAP, sits down but is flooded by people wanting to take pictures with him.


Ice-cream, so good.


Signs of the times.


All sorts of entrepreneurship.


A familiar skinhead!


I didn’t spot any rallygoers in wheelchairs although I saw pictures that showed them. This guy walked on anyway.


Despite all the vuvuzelas honking away, this dude slept soundly.


A bus in support.


She’s got her camping gear ready!


More placards.


Flower power!


Glad to see our Photoshop levels are getting good.


A volunteer helping to keep the city clean. Again, to be terribly Peninsular Malaysian – look, there are Malays!


Mama BERSIH came through the crowd.


Another group of activists.


Buskers in front of OCBC.


Damn stack of horns.


There is a Mandarin pun to this poster, but I do not speak Mandarin.


The best placard I saw. This is a screenshot from a video I recorded.


Bumped into Chak and his duck!


This led to seeing Davina who was in his group, and a Zef photobombing!


More buskers!


She looked familiar. I then realized it was Rachel Ng who followed me on Instagram!


Pikachu chooses BERSIH.


I wanted to avoid getting arrested and having my pictures deleted, so I did not dress in yellow. I did however wear an old white T-shirt on my head as a bandanna, to protect from the heat, and also to wrap around my nose in case of tear gas.


Briskness.


The Stop LYNAS group was here, too.


There you go, the five demands. The fourth is enhancing parliamentary democracy – so how can the government say the march is against parliamentary democracy?


More placards.


Where do they all get their different variations of T-shirts?


More ice, this food truck needs!


Parents brought their kids. Not advisable, but I’m glad nothing untoward happened during the rally when I was there, save for the poisoned packet drinks that were free and not having anyone attending to the stash.


Perhaps, for ease of getting to town, people would come in regular non-yellow and buy a yellow item at the rally.


Nice.


I didn’t even know Tang Chun Cheuh was there until I spotted him later in the pictures!


Placards by the GRUPA group of artists.


I’ve never noticed this angle of the Old City Hall (now Panggung Bandaraya) before!


Haris Ibrahim giving a speech. You can also spot Tian Chua, Nik Nazmi (I think), Khalid Samad, and Chegubard (I think.)


I’ve seen this at H&M!


Tree for scale.


Again, it seems we got soul and artists.


This guy was playing a speech from his phone.


A photographer, authorized to be behind the barriers leading to Dataran Merdeka, using two Olympus Micro Four-Thirds mirrorless cameras. Robin Wong, is this your friend?


I love the T-shirt he’s wearing underneath – Straight Outta Klang!


Umbrella rally.


Here’s your token Malay-Chinese-Indian shot. I didn’t arrange them.


Another token Malay-Chinese-Indian shot.


Suzanne Lee!


Let’s not forget the Punjabs. This guy would not get up until Najib resigned!


There’s a good deal of variance in the placards, unlike the government-friendly protests that have very homogenous placards.


Artists gotta have hats, yo.


More buskers!


This was all nearer to Dataran Merdeka and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. So can we drop the whole BERSIH 4-full-of-Chinese thing already?


Somebody didn’t get the memo.


Yes.


Cute placards!


Hishamuddin Rais.


Flower power!


Love her apron!


Spotted Lim Lip Eng, MP for Segambut.


She’s keeping it clean.


Yellow speed bumps.


Lim Guan Eng, Chief Minister of Penang spotted.


Gerakan Harapan Baru applied to call itself Parti Progresif Islam to the Registrar Of Societies but was rejected. Sad. I like the name and what it means.


RapidKL was fully operational everywhere. Well done!


From the LRT coming from Bandaraya to Masjid Jamek.


The view from Masjid Jamek STAR LRT. Spot who the crowd is focusing on!


Former Opposition Leader, Lim Kit Siang! This guy writes a tornado of words in every essay.


The Masjid Jamek interchange station. I went down to the PUTRA LRT and was surprised to see that after the trains left, the station was empty! That’s a rare sight even during weekdays.


More from the other side.


Through glass, this time. I took the LRT to KLCC and relaxed for a while, until I read the news of Tun Dr. Mahathir showing up!


And so, I went back there at 8:07PM.


G. Manivannan Gowindasamy, MP for Kapar.


Cool beard!


Many people posed with this placard.


Wow, a drum set!


Adam Adli spotted.


The old and young.


More old and young.

I have a few theories as to why it appears that at first, there were a lot of Chinese people compared to previous rallies. The point of origin, and the timing of the rally, are factors – I came from KL Sentral which had a lot of Chinese and a decent amount of Indians, but it was reported that there were more Malays coming from SOGO and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. I would often observe a higher population of Malays in SOGO usually, while KL Sentral and Nu Sentral are more urban middle-class and Chinese. It might just be their favorite place to start a long day. Timing-wise, it being 34 hours, there was no rush to get there, and you could come anytime you wanted. Perhaps some came earlier for the sunny selfies. Since there was no end point to meet at Dataran Merdeka, the crowd from SOGO went to Dataran and went on past to Brickfields, while I went from Brickfields to Dataran, then SOGO! There was a lot more constant movement in the crowd this time. Perhaps, also, the Malays would save their energy and come on Sunday evening, which would be Merdeka Eve, so they could continue partying on? As it is, among my middle-class Chinese friends, we mostly go to some privately-owned venue for Merdeka Eve celebrations. Would Sunday morning lack Chinese and Indians who are going to church?

More reading:
Konsert BERSIH 8T: Inside
Konsert BERSIH 8T: Outside
Democratic Promise
Bersih 3.0
Vote For Cleanliness!

Pavilion Monday


16th June 2014: I was down in Pavilion for the KL Fashion Week 2014. Spot the minister!


No seriously, I was there to check out TDH Project (it was Monday.)

Got there a bit early, and had myself a pork burger. Also ordered peppermint tea.

They got back to me, saying peppermint tea was out, so I ordered lime juice instead.

They got back to me, saying lime juice was out, so I ordered orange juice instead.


The show started about 10pm.


Clinton Liew on keys! Amazingly talented musician.


Dean Sim, who has one heck of a killer guitar tone and licks with feel.


I don’t know this bassist.


I don’t know this vocalist, either.


I know this drummer though, Jared Cheow.

Before the show, a waiter asked if I’d like another drink, to which I said no.

I was asked again, later. During the show, I was also asked if I’d like a beer, that I’d need to buy a drink to stay for the show.

Whether this business practice helps with staying afloat, I don’t know, because I felt like leaving and not returning to Tom Dick Harry’s Pavilion, out of principle. Understandably, the restaurant may do this as rental is high – but does rental need to be that high, even if you take into account location? Everything is inflated. We’re in a property bubble. You can earn more than 80% of Malaysian households and yet not afford property (because they either only sell low-cost or high-end.)

Barbotshop Adventure


On the 3rd of June 2014, I went down to Lorong Raja Bot, Kampung Baru, to get a haircut for the amazing price of RM7.

I first found out about this barber shop from DJ Bunga’s Instagram. What a deal! (It used to be RM6 in 2013.)

A Malay barber attended to me, and gave me a haircut. We chatted for a bit, with me explaining how I came to know of this place – by Instagram. He didn’t know Instagram. I then asked how the guitars came about. He had 6 more at home, and he just started learning guitar. Curious tourists would walk past, and he’d invite those he’d deem to look like they knew how to play, to jam.

In a very Malaysian way, I indirectly complimented him, by saying how his whammy bar was on the Superstrat guitar, so I knew he was a serious guitar player. He was puzzled, so I pointed it out. Oh, tremolo! He didn’t know what a Superstrat was either, so I pointed out the sunburst Squier Stratocaster behind it, explaining that the Superstrat was like that but with a more aggressive design, humbuckers instead of single-coil pickups in some places, and a double-locking floating bridge system.


An Indian barber did a job of a quick, clean shave. I then found out it was in fact RM10 for a haircut and shave. No biggie. Some far more expensive hair salons don’t even do the shave, but pass you a shaver to do it yourself!


After I paid, he invited me to play some guitar. Outside, there were 15 watt and 30 watt amplifiers waiting!


His friend, Adikz (on the left), showed me a rhythm lick, that I followed while he soloed. He could shred! It was some Dewa song – but I was not familiar with Dewa. We then proceeded to Search – Isi Atau Kulit. I knew the song, but I had never learned it before.

This picture was taken by Tang Chun Cheuh, who agreed to come along on my little adventure.


This is what you see as you look out of the barber shop.

We were reminded to observe quietness during the call to Azan. And so, whatever he wanted to show me was without amplification. He also offered to teach more – I’d just have to buy him a drink, or something like that – I did not hear him clearly on some occasions.

The Malay barber chap then left on a motorbike, while asking what I was listening to currently. Megadeth and Cacophony, for the Marty Friedman stuff, I answered. So I did a little Lucretia, but the Spirit-branded SG I was holding had high action (I didn’t notice it when playing rhythm earlier) so it was a bit of a slippery-string unamplified solo.

At some point we were hungry, and Tang and I had planned to check out Coliseum Cafe on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, just nearby. We made our plans to leave, but Adikz asked if we’d like to chat more over drinks. Out of courtesy, I asked him to lead the way to good food.


He wrote his number, and a proposed setlist for a band of which Tang was the bassist, and me presumably, rhythm guitarist. The setlist I’d have to learn? Metallica – Nothing Else Matters and Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit.

He also asked for my number. I have to admit I was feeling a bit uncomfortable with that, but I gave him my actual number. So this might be what it’s like for a female. I don’t know. I didn’t have any real intention of being in a band with him or continuing to jam. I intended to just get a haircut and maybe play some random guitar and resume my boring daily life.

He also asked if, when I was walking, if any kids were looking at me with mata merah (red eyes… or did he mean jealousy?) He implied that they were gangsters, and me being Chinese would stick out like a sore thumb, so if they caused trouble for me, I would just call him and he’d settle things.

Two Malay ladies, one blind, came by selling tissue. Adikz asked if I had any coins. Tang gave them a money note. They thanked us, offered tissue, which we declined. “Jaga baik-baik ye“, Adikz said to them. I’d normally not have given street beggars money, but this was an interesting scenario.

Adikz then mumbled something about BR1M (the Malaysian government handout for people earning less than a certain amount monthly) and asked if we could do him a favor. He was from Johor, and he was stuck here due to something that went wrong. (I didn’t catch what exactly.) So he asked for our generosity to help him get back – somewhere in the region of 70 Ringgit. We explained that we didn’t have much cash on hand anyway, though we paid for his food and drinks. He said he knew if he asked Malay people, they wouldn’t be able to help him, but maybe Chinese people could. (Appeal to Chinese chauvinism?)

He then walked us to the main road. As we tried to hail a bus, he asked how about his fate. We both gave him some money (a bus ticket to Johor was 35 Ringgit, he said.) His plan was to tumpang (borrow somebody’s place to sleep at) but I didn’t catch whether he said he’d sleep on the streets or have a friend’s place to sleep at. He thanked us for the money, and I told him it was no issue, to consider it his guitar lesson fee.

I remember now, a young Chinese man who’d brandish his identity card with his address stating Johor, saying he needed money to get home as he’d been scammed. This was outside the Pasar Seni LRT station back when I was in college, probably 2001 or so. I saw him again one week later at the same place.

Who knows really if what he says is true? Would we have been in risk if he did actually know gangsters, and we didn’t want to give him some money?


We caught the free bus that goes from Bukit Bintang to KL Sentral. Inside, we could see the benevolent benefactor, for which we could all be thankful for, who studied Economics and will thus ensure that all Malaysian citizens will have a fair chance to get a job and be able to live comfortably, and that you won’t be ahead in life only because your parents are.

Perhaps with less income disparity, Adikz would not have to assume we had money and make the situation slightly uncomfortable by asking for money. (Apparently I looked calm so Tang didn’t feel uncomfortable.)

Perhaps someday I would have no fear walking into a predominantly Malay area, and that an appeal to Chinese chauvinism would not happen, because we’d all be truly 1Malaysia, as espoused by our poster boy. Then maybe I wouldn’t be racist as I was in this blog entry – notice I mentioned the races of the people in this story even though it was of no relevance?

Edited: Here is Tang’s account with more pictures!

How I Became A Polling Agent/Counting Agent

It’s been said that Captain Zaharie, captain of the missing MAS flight MH370, was a PKR Polling Agent in GE13.

Some people have therefore concluded that he is also a PKR member. Whether he is or not, I don’t know.

Well, I WAS a Polling Agent for Hee Loy Sian, PKR candidate for the Parliament Seat P105, PJ Selatan. I am NOT a PKR member. I am NOT a member of any political party. So how did I become a polling agent?

I saw an ad in MalaysiaKini, for training to be a Polling Agent/Counting Agent/Barung Agent (Observer). I signed up and learnt how the election process worked on the election day itself. I wanted to see for myself if there was any cheating, and stop it, regardless of who was doing it. The trainers were from Tindak Malaysia. We were free to be polling agents for ANY party we wanted to.

Although some may assume Tindak Malaysia to be associated with the opposition, I know very well that the group is disappointed with the opposition parties, as well. As much as it is obvious that I am not a fence sitter, I do want a fair election.

I read one heck of a thick election law compilation book to prepare myself.

Nearing GE13, I called Mak Khuin Weng, an independent candidate for Bukit Gasing, a Selangor state seat, N34. He was one heck of a by-the-book law-abiding guy. I have the utmost respect for him, since I strongly agree with his values. I asked if he needed polling agents. He said it would be better if I contacted the established parties to avoid being put in a polling center with too many agents (while other rooms may have less agents!)

I can’t remember if he gave me MCA’s number. It was common knowledge that volunteer agents for Barisan Nasional parties would get RM50 for volunteering. I honestly didn’t care who I was a polling agent for – I just wanted to be one, to see for myself.

I was busy at work and didn’t get around to calling MCA. I later got an SMS about a ceramah happening in PJ Hockey Stadium. I figured I might as well go there and ask if they were looking for polling agents!

I went there, asked the DAP counter, and they said they had enough agents already. The PKR office outside was closed, but an old uncle sitting outside said that there was polling agent training at 9am at PKR’s office in Sentosa, Section 17. I headed out right away, not caring at all for Rajiv’s speech. (Rajiv was the N34 candidate for DAP.) So, the next day, I went there, got a refresher course, and signed up to be a polling agent for PKR.

On 5th May 2013, I did my duty as a polling agent in the morning shift, and a counting agent in the evening. I got a “contractor meal” – fried rice – under the PKR tent, for my efforts.

I won’t elaborate more on the day itself – the reason being that I’ve spent too much time explaining to people the paper flow and the trays, but they really don’t understand it unless they were polling agents/counting agents themselves. And, due to the day’s events, I even changed my mind who to vote for!

Introducing Glaring Notebook: Pressed For Words

7 years, 8 months and 18 days after, I finally change my blog skin again, this time not at all even to a new blog skin but to a new blog system!

I coded my previous blog engine from scratch, and used the ideas as a base to build the Xfresh.com blogs – having cool widget-insertion features like <BlogFriends /> and <BlogCalendar /> for your skins, and Xanga-style following, and Livejournal-inspired history navigation. Or at least that’s how I remember it. Many famous Malaysian bloggers started on URLs like http://expectation.xfresh.com/ – wouldn’t you like to know who?

Xfresh.com is now defunct, but the true stories are beyond my earshot.

Anyway, what brought about this change, to WordPress? Well, my blog was no longer accessible, with a HTTP 500 (and previously I’d find the hosting company to be not very helpful – but then I understand well why a HTTP 500’s detailed error isn’t shown publicly.) So I downloaded the MDB (Microsoft Access file) and used MDB Viewer Plus to export the tables to CSV files.

My blog entries and titles had commas, so you could tell there would be a problem splitting the text. Fortunately, as I am a Grammar Nazi, I tend to type spaces after commas, so I could replace the “, ” with intermediate text e.g. “@@@@@” and then split the CSV file, then replacing it back.

The decision for WordPress was simple – the most plugins and the most ubiquitous blog system. I needed to get the fuss out and had no time for the kind of Content Management Systems where you’d have to build parts yourself. I had no time to code myself. Heck, my blog was down for a week and nobody cared to ask.

So then there were a few ways to get the CSV in – an outdated plugin, or convert the CSV to RSS, and then import. However, I found the most native would be WordPress’ own Import and Export functions. It would export a WXR (WordPress eXtended RSS) file with an XML extension, including blog entries, comments, authors, categories and the like.

I then made a simple Android app (I tend to write utilities in my mostly-used language, whichever is convenient) to read the blog entry and blog comment CSVs and write them out as a WXR file. I should’ve validated the XML earlier and saved many hours trying to figure out what was wrong when it would not import my custom WXR file!

And so, you’ll see my blog posts and comments mostly carried over, intact, with redirects for /default.asp?id=### going to /?p=###. The older blog entries reference /oldlinks.asp but heck with that, and there are some mislinks, but I’ll see what I can sort out when I have the time. I pulled an all-nighter and only finished importing at 2pm so I won’t be working on this for a while.

I also ported the old subpages (Guestbook, Jokes, Modified Lyrics, Plugin Player Models, Quotes) as posts with those categories. Thus my main navigation has been downsized to categories. I can’t seem to hack the dates though, so Plugin Player Models and Quotes are within the first page of entries for now.

Maybe someday I’ll put something in an About Me on a widget on the right. A *gasp* Facebook widget or Twitter feed or Instagram feed?

I also hacked the Twenty Twelve theme that came default with WordPress. Blog entry fonts are 125% scaled and there is a familiar tint in the background. Oh, and the theme promises mobile layouts, and you get RSS as WordPress gives you. ShaolinTiger, this is for you, more than 6 years after the Nikon D3 debuted (I think I said I’d implement RSS when Nikon comes out with a full-frame digital SLR.)

I still do this, though, because it is my preferred way of archiving and being all historian, especially with the music scene. If you want your pictures immediately, we could always come to a agreeable stipend – otherwise for those on a budget of zero, you can wait.

Princemark

There, proof that I can talk about Tanda Putera – by the simple logic that I have seen it.

What I liked:
– back then, Prime Ministers and their deputies had hot wives! Sure they may have looked forever young, but they make the second half of the movie much more pleasant
– we see how Ida Nerina can still act despite her fractured spine (making her wheelchair-bound)
– cinematography is generally good, with evenly-lit scenes
– bokeh, of the good kind
– scenes were shot on location – e.g. the Prime Minister’s Office (now Tun Hussein Onn Memorial), The Residency (where Tunku Abdul Rahman lived), the National Mausoleum (with that scene of Razak fretting that Ismail should be buried there). I don’t recognize Razak’s house, though…
– archived scenes of demolished places were used e.g. the original Subang International Airport
– Hussein Onn and Dr. Mahathir look accurate
– the period cars were brilliant on screen
– Malays aren’t depicted as innocent either, during the 13th May 1969 riots
– college kids are still freehair (not wearing headscarves) as it would be accurate for that time
– the movie was made with Tawfik, Dr. Ismail’s son consulting (interestingly, there was a play, which I missed out on)

What I didn’t like:
– Razif Hashim had a deep voice, moustache and glasses, like a Ashton Kutcher-ized version of Najib Razak. However, he played his brother, Johari Razak instead, and some other guy who didn’t have quite the same quality of moustache or Najib’s deep voice, played Najib instead.
– no Indians! Is Kara supposed to be one, since Kavitha Sidhu, who plays her, is Punjab?
– were lecturers allowed to have dyed hair back then? Or would there be a social stigma?
– the Shiok Trading signboard that burnt had an ugly modern font
– some very bad actors spoil it when there is generally good acting
– the CGI is quite awkward and bad (especially the scene where Razak challenges Johari to a race in a lake)
– the green color cast spills over in some green-screen scenes
– Razak and Ismail kept smiling smugly to themselves, as if they didn’t have a life-threatening condition each
– it is not at all explained that Neno (Tun Dr. Ismail’s wife) is in the hospital because “Ismail asked that his wife terminate her pregnancy“. Wait a minute, isn’t abortion legal in Malaysia only if it is a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or threat of injury to her physical or mental health? Perhaps the law was different then.
– no Malay or Indian communists! They forgot Wahi Annuar, Abdullah C.D. (chairman of the Malayan Communist Party), Shamsiah Fakeh, R.G. Balan, and S.A. Ganapathy.
– the women among the FELDA settlers were all headscarf-wearing ladies (I do not know if they were, but given that back then, it was the rarity, I cast doubts on this scene)
– the movie gets a lot of incidences and locations correct (I believe), but it also adds in fiction. The director also calls it fiction. Why not just make it as accurate as possible, then put the disclaimer there? You’re going to get people confused.

Suara Rakyat 505 or SOS?


25th May 2013: Suara Rakyat 505 (Suara Rakyat Suara Keramat), at Padang Timur, next to Taman Jaya.


I took the Kelana Jaya LRT line (PUTRA line, for those of you who are old-school) to Taman Jaya, and disembarked there. I spotted a Rocket Man, a Malay chap. I’d later see Chinese PAS-serbys.


Caught lightning!


Sales of masks were brisk.


Oh, and vuvuzelas. Somebody didn’t get the memo that these were banned for this gathering.


Food, glorious food! This was a market of sorts of all sorts of Malaysian street food. It felt a lot more like a bazaar as you entered.


I reached during Muslim prayer break so the field was not so filled – most were in Amcorp Mall, across the road, having dinner and prayers.


Source of power.


English, Malay and Chinese text.


These guys were just raking it in.


If you haven’t figured it out, the theme for this gathering was black.


My eyes are blind, but I can see…


Collecting funds.


Big, colorful umbrellas!


Oh, how they make counting so hard! (Picture can be clicked for a full-resolution view.)


Even more for you counters and insomniacs. (Picture can be clicked for a full-resolution view.)


Near the stage. (Picture can be clicked for a full-resolution view.)


A wider shot. (Picture can be clicked for a full-resolution view.)


As much of the crowd as I can fit from as far away as I can get. (Picture can be clicked for a full-resolution view.)


Iced Milo! I had it.


A close-up of the Malaysian Spring installation.


Not sure who these guys are but I heard one of them is from Raja Lawak.


Arul of Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), who gives a very socialist speech. You can’t say there wasn’t variety in the speeches!


Abby Abadi, famous for being a member of girl-group Elite, one-season co-host of Roda Impian and one of the lead characters in Gerak Khas – now a member of Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS).


All this, under the light of the nearby Tenaga Nasional building. The gathering is also known as Blackout 505, because of some incidents of power outages during the counting of votes. Tenaga Nasional, the electricity provider for Peninsular Malaysia, has denied that there were any blackouts. If this is true, then somebody may have tampered with the ELCB (Earth Leakage Circuit Breaker) by flipping the switch, in each school where the lights went out. There were also police reports regarding blackouts – here’s one and two.


Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan, co-chairperson of BERSIH 2.0 gave a speech… but all attention was drawn to Anwar Ibrahim, Opposition Leader, as he walked to his seat on the stage.


Now that that was settled, she continued.


This was the closest I could get from where I was, behind the sound engineer’s tent, without blocking people. All telephoto shots are with the Sony Alpha NEX-5 and Opteka/Samyang 85mm F1.4. The wide shots used the Sony E 16mm F2.8 pancake lens.


N. Surendran, PKR vice-president and founder of Lawyers for Liberty, on stage with Gan Pei Nei, state assemblywoman for Rawang.


Tian Chua, PKR vice-president and Haris Ibrahim (on the right) of Asalkan Bukan UMNO (ABU).


Ito of Blues Gang sings their hit single, Apo Nak Dikato. He came up earlier to sing another song penned for the current political climate.


These young dudes knew the song, too!


Nurul Izzah Anwar, Member of Parliament for Lembah Pantai.


Mat Sabu, deputy president of PAS. He always has the most entertaining speeches.


Everyone was asked to turn on their phones or lighters, as the spotlights went out. It was an amazing spectacle to see! I only wished I was way up on the hill, from where I was earlier, to take this same picture.


The night ended with Opposition Leader Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim‘s speech.

I will blog about my experience as a Polling Agent/Counting Agent during the 13th General Elections of Malaysia soon – I just need more time to cross-reference the laws.

More reading:
Election Cam-pain
Election Math
KL Wants One Too!
Konsert BERSIH 8T: Inside
Konsert BERSIH 8T: Outside
Democratic Promise
Bersih 3.0
Vote For Cleanliness!

Election Math

Ignoring who you are voting for, what kind of situation would you like?

A) BN wins by a supermajority
B) BN wins by a simple majority
C) BN wins by a jaguh kampung majority
D) PR wins by a jaguh kampung majority
E) PR wins by a simple majority
F) PR wins by a supermajority

Supermajority = more than 2/3rds of Parliament
Simple majority = more than 50% of Parliament but less than 2/3rds of Parliament
Jaguh kampung majority = more than 50% of Parliament but less than 2/3rds of Parliament and the total votes are less than 50%

The Jaguh kampung majority happened in 1969, when the Alliance (UMNO, MCA, MIC) + SUPP won 65.67% of the seats with 49.3% of the total votes. The Opposition (PAS, Gerakan, PPP, DAP, etc.) had 50.7% of total votes but only 34.33% of seats.

If you have more than 2/3rds of Parliament, you can change the Constitution.

Now I would personally like either C) or E) to happen. 2008 results were B) and you could say that the sentiment has swayed towards PR, but there are new dubious voters and the EC has doubled the number of classrooms to vote in (meaning that you need twice as many Polling Agents and Counting Agents to make sure no cheating happens.)

As much as I am tempted to vote BN to ensure that F) does not happen, I know BN has already implemented measures to make sure that B) or C) happens.

In a fair election, the percentage of parliament seats should be equal to the total vote percentage. Every voter should have equal voting power. (In Singapore, 60.14% voted for PAP but they got 93.1% seats, not fair either!)

So how does this happen? Some seats are smaller than others, like in 2008 where Putrajaya had 6

KL Wants One Too!


On the 12th of January 2013, I went down to Merdeka Stadium for the Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat, also known by its Twitter hashtag, #KL112.


But first, I rewind to when I woke up late, as I wasn’t as excited for this rally because it would unashamedly have opposition parties involved, not just the more neutral movements. I only realized later that this was a combination of every big movement there was!


I got on the monorail at 3 something – the rally was to start at 2pm, and the processions, before that. I missed all that, which is quite the sight to see, especially from above!

I should point out that I suspect this guy with a Heckler & Koch polo shirt is someone in the police or army. Many videos with paid protesters feature antagonists with weapon branded caps or shirts. Nevertheless, I am glad nothing happened the whole day.


The Merdeka Stadium carpark.


I brought 3 zooms that day – the Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 EX DG, the Minolta 24-50mm F4.0, and the Minolta 70-210mm F4.0 “beercan”.


Rally-goers from the Islamist party, PAS.


Orange shirts represented the Himpunan Oren Selamatkan FELDA protestors. People were not too careful not to step on the face of Isa Samad, former Minister of Federal Territories and former Chief Minister of Negeri Sembilan, then found guilty of money politics. He then became chairman of FELDA, which is who they are protesting against, among other things.


Air horns.


If the mass media won’t print news about the rally, people will record it. Media is perceived to be biased anyway, so why not come down and record it for yourself, to show your children, if and when these events are forgotten?


The variety of placards was a lot more than any other rally – then again, every other rally was just one or two groups maximum.


Their glasses drew me to take their picture.


I finally found out what the R was – it was for Royalti, to demand that the states that produce oil, get their 20% share as it is stated in the law. Their long name? Gabungan Profesional Menuntut Royalti, Pendaratan Minyak dan Gas.


The Chief Minister of Kelantan, Dato’ Bentara Setia Haji Nik Abdul Aziz bin Nik Mat, must’ve transferred his license plate over from an old car. DAT 55!


Another official car behind.


This guy has style.


Nurul Izzah’s roving promotion vehicle.


S. Arutchelvan, Secretary General of Parti Sosialis Malaysia.


People were all over the walls, railings, roofs and any surface they could find, like cats.


Inside.


The tunnel leading to the main area.


This taxi driver sure wasn’t a fan of the Teksi Rakyat 1Malaysia plan that the government conceived, that gave them 4 new tyres and encouraged them to be ambassadors to the government.

Ironically, just the night before, I was in a taxi with one such young man, who had a TR1Ma bumper sticker on his front windshield. He was born in 1988 and seemed to be a bit more in tune with the younger generation as far as talking to somebody who wasn’t siding with the government was concerned. It started with him revealing that he was with JASA, in the Prime Minister’s Department. As such, he was allowed access to certain high-rise buildings to photograph rallies, but his camera was also confiscated during the BERSIH 3.0 rally.

Even after we reached my neighborhood to drop me off, we continued talking for 2.5 hours! He then explained that JASA had pro-government and pro-opposition photographers, and they were not afraid to speak their mind. He admitted it was hard for the government to come up with policies to appease everyone. He did, however, eventually show his UMNO-bred roots – he cited an example of how it used to be that when building a road, a Malay contractor would get it to build this, a Chinese contractor would do that part, and the Indian contractor would build the road. He says this is better than the liberalised market where a foreign company can simply enter and take all the money out of the country.

He then told a story of his uncle (if I remember correctly) that if he entered the jungle, found a snake, a Communist and an Indian, he would kill the Indian first!

He also complained that the Chinese would be too calculative, whereas he gave me a 70 sen discount on the taxi fare. I then threw back one at him, how Malay traders often don’t carry enough spare change, to the point that I don’t want to eat there when I only have a RM50 note. He apologized for this, and said they were trying to train Malay traders to have much more “duit float” (spare change). He also recounted a story of a Chinese sugar cane-selling lady who sold her drinks at 80 sen. He asked, “how do you keep in business when you don’t charge so much?” She said, “as long as you’re not losing money, you’re doing alright.” He contrasted this to the Malay mentality, that they must have profit, or else they quit and change business. This also explained why you’d see a restaurant with excellent currypuffs or the best nasi lemak ever, disappear without a trace, despite seemingly good business! The consistency is what brings me back to a place, and I am disappointed when a stall decides to disappear whenever they like. Chinese stalls certainly don’t do that often, plus they would be ashamed of themselves if they didn’t have change.

He then defended the Election Commission’s reason for not dividing the constituencies properly – if they did, there would be a lot more Chinese-majority seats. “If you are Malay, you would make sure your fellow Malays are well-protected and can survive.” So what, I asked him? I told him I was all for meritocracy, but he was still a product of UMNO.

I definitely cannot say I am not racist at all, but this guy put it in perspective. You know which side you stand on when you find someone far more racist than you.

In retrospect, I might’ve had the honor of meeting one of their better cybertroopers. He was previously selling mobile topups, and he now does freelance photography and drives a taxi. I respect that he used the meter, but I hope he realizes that we aren’t in the best economic situation if we have to take on two or more jobs to survive!


So yeah, the massive crowd! Click the picture for the full-resolution version.


The toilets, and again, people on the roof like cats.


I don’t know what it says.


It’s a picture like this that makes me love my Sony Alpha 99 – I pulled out a beautiful amount of dynamic range from this photo! I was trying to go for a Konica or Fujifilm Superia look.


First time I saw Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim on a shirt.


Another view. Click the picture for the full-resolution version.


Stairway going in to the field.


Banners of all sorts. The amount of colored fists shows you what a mish-mash this gathering was!


Close-up of the colors:
– Yellow for BERSIH 2.0, itself a coalition of many NGOs for free and fair elections, different from BERSIH (1) that had political parties, BERSIH 2.0’s committee is non-partisan.
– Green for Himpunan Hijau, who are against the Lynas LAMP rare-earth refinery in Gebeng, Kuantan.
– Red for Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA, who are against the Internal Security Act, which allows the Home Minister to arrest anybody without trial. The ISA has since been repealed, but there are still prisoners under the ISA!
– Purple for women’s rights (there seemed to be no group name that I can find…)
– Black for Asalkan Bukan UMNO, a movement against UMNO, the primary party of the current government coalition, the Barisan Nasional.
– Orange for ANAK that organized Himpunan Oren Selamatkan FELDA, a movement against political interference with FELDA, sale of palm oil to an Israeli company, that FELDA land be returned to the settlers, and against FELDA Global Ventures Holdings’ listing.
– Red for Royalti, demanding the proper 20% royalty from oil harvested from the state.
– Green for PAS, the Islamist political party.
– Light blue for PKR, a centrist political party. KeADILan was formed by Anwar Ibrahim’s wife, Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. The party was born out of Anwar Ibrahim’s politically-motivated sacking and imprisonment, to reform the government. It then merged with Parti Rakyat Malaysia to form the current Parti Keadilan Rakyat.
– White for DAP, a social democratic party.

Regretfully, I did not spot Abby Abadi, formerly of Malaysian girl group ELITE, nor the purple group. I almost forgot this band, until I looked up their videos on Youtube and remembered thinking they were fine ladies with a pinch of girl power, with 90’s New Jack Swing hooks that stuck in your head without getting annoying. I wonder how PAS takes Abby Abadi ever since she joined the party.

All sorts of other groups also came, like the Kumpulan Kartunis Independen, and carpet trader Deepak Jaikishan. I tried to find a full list, but there was no official one, so you could say many of these groups invited themselves. Democracy at its finest!

The people who consider rallies a nuisance should be thankful that this was a very general rally – anybody with a grouse could join, all on the same day! If we took the 10 fists in the above poster, and they all rallied by that day, there would be only 2 days without rallies. Let them release steam and vent their grouses – it is only healthy.


A certain shade of green.


Down on the field. Click the picture for the full-resolution version.


Another field shot. Click the picture for the full-resolution version.


Dato’ Seri Haji Abdul Hadi bin Awang, president of PAS, gives a speech.

I missed a whole lot of speakers, like:
– Anthony Loke (DAP Rasah MP)
– Safwan Anang (Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia chief)
– anti-Teaching and Learning of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI) representatives
– anti-Pengerang Rapid project group
– Save Jalan Sultan group
– Suhaizan Kaiat (PAS Johor representative)
– Tijah (Peninsular Orang Asli)
– Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh (Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA)
– Ambiga Sreenevasan (BERSIH 2.0 co-chairperson)
– Wong Tack (Himpunan Hijau’s chairperson)
– Lim Guan Eng (Chief Minister of Penang)
– Mazlan Aliman (ANAK chairperson)
– Ito (rock group Blues Gang singer)
– A. Samad Said (national laureate and the other BERSIH 2.0 co-chairperson)
– Mat Sabu (PAS deputy president)


I got to nearly in front of the stage, and this is what the crowd looked like. Click the picture for the full-resolution version.


Another view of the crowd. Click the picture for the full-resolution version.


Many Guy Fawkes masks were seen around.


Not sure who the Chinese guy in the middle is, but he looks familiar.


Thunderous applause from the crowd.


This guy in particular takes it higher!


Anwar Ibrahim took the stage.


He dissed the ruling government by saying he wanted a government that was peka (responsive and conscious) not pekak (deaf). The whole array of who’s who in the opposition was there – Saifuddin Nasution, Dr. Wan Azizah, Azmin Ali, Karpal Singh, Mahfuz Omar, Lim Kit Siang, Nurul Izzah…


The often targeted and beleaguered Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, Chief Minister of Selangor, was also there.


Dato’ Chua Jui Meng, with the Kotor T-shirt, formerly of MCA, formerly a Dato’ Seri (because Sultan Ibrahim Ismail revoked this title that his father, Sultan Iskandar, gave), now PKR’s Johor chief.


Berak Pun Kena Cukai (defecating is also taxed), says this placard in the distance, with Raja Petra Kamarudin’s face on it.


Anwar Ibrahim calls for a proper Merdeka. This time you can also see, from the right in yellow, Tian Chua, Nurul Izzah and Fuziah Salleh.


If we all took our cameras out as proof and to be a witness, we can defeat the biased media.


The crowd responds to Anwar’s 7 calls of Merdeka.


There is something about the faces of Niz Aziz, Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang and Karpal Singh that lead me to want to draw caricatures of them.


One more with more fists.


Oh and Lim Guan Eng, too, looks caricature-able.


BERSIH 2.0 steering committee member Hishamudin Rais is seen in the crowd.


Tan Sri Abdul Kadir bin Sheikh Fadzir (formerly from UMNO, who formed his own party, IKATAN) is seen without his trademark bowtie! I’ve seen a picture of him at the PERKASA launch but I can’t find the blog link now. I wonder how things have changed for him!


Nik Aziz gave a speech, despite sounding a bit frail. He is, after all, 82 this year.

PAS secretary-general Mustapha Ali is seen peeking out from behind Anwar Ibrahim.

Mat Sabu is on the right. Interestingly, Mat Sabu stood against Anwar Ibrahim in Permatang Pauh in 1986. There’s much more, in a very detailed chronological article about Anwar: http://chedinsphere.blogspot.com/2011/05/anwar-ibrahim-mantan-tpm-malaysia.html


He led a prayer.


They ended with the crowd singing the national anthem of Malaysia, Negaraku.


We left, to see happy street vendors, having done brisk business. Pau habis! (To translate, the buns were finished, or as a pun, a total wipeout.)


This was hanging on a fence.


The rally-goers waved goodbye to the police. Some even shook hands. It was a general sense of camaderie… and all the cops I saw had name tags.

Hopefully, the tear gas we tasted in BERSIH 3.0 was the last batch that the Federal Reserve Unit ordered. Nevertheless, the experience of handing out salt and helping fallen people, while running from tear gas and water cannons, escaping into many back alleys, was a memorable experience (thankfully, I did not have to experience and remember being arrested or beaten up.)


National Stadium, the other stadium that doesn’t get so much attention because it is under renovation.


The MRT station that was being built next door, caused a little landslide. This is just one of the reasons why people are protesting against the MRT going under Jalan Sultan, that there would be risk to very old buildings.

If you have decided you want to do more for Malaysia, be a Polling/Counting Agent!

Sign up for the training here. It is open to all citizens of Malaysia – you don’t need to be a member of any political party or the Election Commission, to participate in making sure the elections are free and fair! I’ve gone for the course myself, and learned so much about the electoral system.

More reading:
Konsert BERSIH 8T: Inside
Konsert BERSIH 8T: Outside
Democratic Promise
Bersih 3.0
Vote For Cleanliness!