2013年07月31日

eat neighbours

Today, it is Warriors Day. The central commemorative ceremony to mark this annual event used to be held at the National Monument. But in the last few years, it has been held at Dataran Merdeka. Not exactly an inappropriate location for it although many still find the previous site much more memorable.

The feelings of the veterans witnessing the ceremony may be a little different now. While we realise that the occasion is to remember and honour the dead and all of those who had sacrificed for king and country, the thought that we are actually previewing our own eventual annual requiem also crosses the mind. An incredible yet sobering one, indeed.


(Veterans know all will end well - COMMEMORATION: Warriors Day is to remember and honour those who had sacrificed for king and country -)
by Lt Jen (Rtd) Datuk Seri Zaini Mohd Said, a former army field commander
...31 July 2013, New Starits Times
Read more: http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnist/veterans-know-all-will-end-well-1.329721#ixzz2abKLZaOb

Malaysia is today celebrating the heroes for the country's independence. Meanwhile, French Prime Minister could state with pride and honour his country's "raison d'etre" as follows.

The Star > One little known but interesting fact about France for many Malaysians is how there is a substantial number of Muslims in France. How has Islam managed to coexist with the other religions in France, and what are the challenges your country faces in this respect?

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault
First, let me express my best wishes for an excellent Ramadan to the Muslim community in Malaysia. I am particularly honoured to be welcomed to your country in what is a sacred month for all Muslims. I wish to thank the Malaysian government for this sign of particular favour, which testifies to the high quality of the relations between our two countries.

France has approximately five million Muslims, which is almost 8% of its population. That can only be an estimate because the collection of faith-based statistical data is banned in France.

France is a Republic that guarantees equality between all individuals irrespective of their origins, along with freedom of belief and religious worship, subject to respect for the secular nature of the State. France is open to all those wishing to live in the country, on condition that they abide by its laws.

Our system of integration is facing a number of difficulties. These will be resolved not by reneging on our values but by using all relevant policies in fields such as access to education, housing, employment and healthcare to ensure that integration can once again progress. This is a goal underpinning the action taken by my Government.


(France open to more dynamic ties - French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault arrives for an official two-day visit to Malaysia today – the first by a French premier in 31 years. In an email interview with The Star, Ayrault gives his assessment on the state of bilateral relations and how it can be further developed. Ayrault also addresses the palm oil issue, a hot topic in Malaysia -)
The Star, Sunday July 28, 2013
Read more : http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2013/07/28/France-open-to-more-dynamic-ties.aspx

Could Japanese Prime Minister talk about his country's principle based on the unanimous consensus by the people? Is Japan isolated? Read the following article which is so interesting:

If the economy doesn't revive, Japan has little hope of being able to compete with - not to say confront - a rapidly growing Chinese navy.

Abe must also restrain and not make statements denying responsibility for sex slaves, the Nanjing massacre or the invasion of Japan's neighbours during World War II. Such talk will offend Americans and other friends of Japan.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is promoting a new model of relations among major powers, such as that between China and the United States and the European Union.

So far, he does not seem to have made a similar offer to Japan which, after sll, is the world's third largest economy.

China has held summits with its key neighbours, including trhe United States, South korea and Russia.

It is depicting Japan as islolated becuase its ally, the United States, has held a strategic dialogue with China.


(Regional tensions still simmer after Japan vote)
by Frannk Ching to the Star of Sunday, July 28, 2013

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2013年07月28日

eat health

Today, Sunday, July 28, 2013 is World Hepatitis Day in honour of the birthday of Nobel Laureate Prof Baruch Samuel Blumberg, who discovered the hepatitis B virus.

Retired teacher Salmi spends up to RM400 (Japanese Yen13,200 and J.Yen40 for a daily newspaper) a month for her medication to keep her diabetes and hypertension under control.

Needless to say, the current hue and cry about the possible rising prices of medication should Malaysia sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) has not been good for her health.

“RM400 might be nothing to some people, but it is around one-third of my pension. I will not be able to manage if my medication bill goes higher,” says the now stressed 63-year-old.

Although the Government currently provides free treatment and medication at its hospitals, she says she still has to purchase her medication herself as they are not provided by the hospital and those that are, do not “agree” with her.

“I get side effects like nausea and gastric, so I have no choice but to buy another medicine that suits me,” she adds.

Salmi uses a combination of branded and generic medicines to keep costs down.

What worries her most, however, is the uncertainty.

“To be honest, I don’t really understand the issue. I’m scared to wake up one day and read that the prices of medicine have gone up. I’ll have problems then,” she says, adding that she hopes the Government can provide more information so that she can at least prepare herself...


(Impending pact not good for health - The most-at-risk communities from the TPPA urge the government to protect their welfare -)
...written by Hariati Azizan for The Star, Sun July 21, 2013
http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2013/07/21/Impending-pact-not-good-for-health.aspx

The above is a scene of concerns about the health issue in Malaysia. Meanwhile Abe and Malaysian Prime Minster Najib witnessed the signing ceremony on the MoU during his stay at Kuala Lumpur:

1MALAYSIA Development Bhd (1MDB) plans to introduce a powerful tool to fight cancer with the help of a big Japanese company.

1MDB yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Toshiba Corp to bring in the latter's carbon ion radiotherapy system here...

Currently, there are only six carbon ion radiotherapy centres in operations in the world - three in Japan and one each in China, Germany and Italy.

Five new centres are under construction - two each in Japan and China and one in Austria...


(1MDB signs deal with Toshiba - JAPAN TECHNOLOGY: Group eyeing carbon ion radiotherapy as a tool to fight cancer -)
...Read more: http://www.btimes.com.my/Current_News/BTIMES/articles/251MDB/Article/#ixzz2aIr8vdIw

The purpose of this powerful tool will be able to mean the boom-up of medical tourism in Malaysia as well like Thailand.

Medical tourism has been described as one of the fastest growing businesses in the world, and by 2012 it is predicted to be worth $100bn annually. India, Singapore and Thailand can offer high quality medical procedures with English-speaking doctors at a fraction of the cost incurred in the west. However, despite its benefits in generating income, one prominent Thai economist, Ammar Siamwala, has described the intention to create an international medical hub in Thailand as an "evil plan" that will adversely affect health treatment for the poor.

More than 1.6 million foreigners are treated in Thai hospitals annually, with an estimated 500,000 travelling specifically for medical treatment. These are phenomenal figures given the nascent state of the medical tourist industry only a few years ago.

The former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra initially proposed making Thailand an international leader in medical tourism in 2003 through aggressively marketing the country as a medical hub and curbing restrictions on foreign doctors practising there...


(Thai embrace of medical tourism divides professionals - Despite the benefits of generating income, critics say Thailand's plans to become an international leader in medical tourism could adversely affect health treatment for the poor-)
...Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/poverty-matters/2011/apr/26/thailand-medical-tourism-divides-professionals

Furthermore, foreign nuclear experts have blasted the operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, with one saying its lack of transparancy over toxic water leaks showed "you don't know what you're doing"!!

TEPCO’s quarterly meeting of its reform monitoring committee, which comprises four outside experts, was dominated Friday by discussion of the water leaks.

The head of the reform committee, Dale Klein, said he was disappointed and frustrated by TEPCO’s handling of the disclosure of the leaks.

These actions indicate that you do not know what you’re doing, and that you do not have a plan, and you’re not doing all you can to protect the environment and people,” Klein, former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said at the meeting.

On Thursday, the chief of Japan’s national federation of fisheries, Hiroshi Kishi, said TEPCO had betrayed the public by denying the leaks for more than two years and demanded the company take steps to stop the leaks immediately and step up monitoring of radioactivity in seawater near the plant...


(Japan utility says reluctance to worry public delayed disclosure of nuclear plant’s leaks)
By Associated Press, Published: July 26
...http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/japan-utility-says-reluctance-to-worry-public-delayed-disclosure-of-nuke-plants-leaks/2013/07/26/9364c412-f5d4-11e2-81fa-8e83b3864c36_story.html

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2013年07月27日

eat drone

Abe has amassed more than 374,000 followers on Facebook, some 151,000 on Twitter and nearly 2 million on Line. In the past week, he has posted photos of himself stumping for candidates and flocks of supporters waving Japanese flags.

The ruling party has set up an Internet campaign-strategy team, which has created a smartphone game in which users swing their phone to make a cartoon Abe jump and cartwheel. much like Super Mario, to climb the political ranks from novice lawmaker to prime minister.


(Net campaign sans savvy candidates - Political parties in Japan scramble to figure out how to use social media to woo voters)
...The Star, Thur., July 18, 2013

Abe wants to establish a United States Marines-style force and acquire surveillance drones. And Abe like a hero in a cartoon reached Singapore after Malaysia and on the same day he shook hands with US Vice-President Joe Biden who has been there as well on a two-day official visit to tackkle tensions over the disputed South China Sea (*).

On his meeting with Abe, Biden said both leaders shared the view that the US-Japan alliance plays a central role in regional peace and stability.

(Ease tension, urges Biden - US veep calls on Asian nations to reject threats in disputed seas)
...AFP report in the Star of Sat., July 27, 2013

A bat-winged drone touched down smoothly on the deck of a US aircraft carrier on Wed., July 10,2013, ,arking a historic milestone for robotic flight.

THhe US navy's X-47BEfloated down towards the carrier USS George H.W.Bush at reduced speed and then caught an arresting wire on its tail hook, bringing it to a stop in a textbook landing, as reporters and top brass watched.

Escorted by two F-18 fighter jets, the grey X-47B was perfectly aligned with carrier deck as it made its descent , readjusting its position autonatically with a GPS navigational sysytem installed in the aircraft and on the carrier below.

In contrast to older model drones such as the Predator and Reaper, the X-47B can fly more autonomy and does not require flight operators to exert constant step-by-step direction using a joystick.


(US drone makes historic landing)
...SFP report in The New Straits Times of Fri., July 12,2013

A latest industial capitalism or a global market economy system may have gone out of control? Even today also, somewhere else American pilotless aircraft drones are targeting one or accidentally (purposely or accidentally? - nobody knows) other innocent family members.

"The two men, probably Arab nationals, were passing through Mosaki village when the drone fired two missiles and hit them," said the official.

Their identities were not clear. Another security source said they were foreign militants of Turkmen origin.

It is difficult to check the impact of drone attacks on both militants and civilians because independent observers and journalists have almost no access to the areas where most of the strikes occur.

The government, while condemning drone attacks as a violation of its sovereignty, wants to appear decisive in its own efforts to combat militants on its soil and has vowed to map out a new security strategy to tackle the insurgency.

The photo shows protesters from the United Citizen Action demonstrate against US drone attacks in the Pakistani tribal areas.

(Two killed in US drone strike on Pakistani militants - Two suspected militants struck in North Waziristan region while seven others killed in Pakistani military operation)
...Reuters in Peshawar, guardian.co.uk, Sunday 14 July 2013 14.57 BST
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/14/us-drone-strike-pakistan


(*) China says virtually the entire South China Sea and its islands belong to it, a claim based on alleged historical precedents that are strongly contested by the Philippines, Vietnam and others.

While Beijing has mainly used civilian agencies to patrol its claims, the new coastguard gives it greater latitude to do so by centralising operations in a single body. The body is nominally under civilian control, but closely co-ordinates with the increasingly formidable Chinese navy, which recently added an aircraft carrier to its fleet.

Coastguard ships are mainly repurposed naval or commercial vessels and are equipped with light armaments such as machine guns and deck cannons, unlike in the past when most of China's patrol craft had no weaponry.

(China's coastguard confronts Japanese ships near disputed islands - China says its ships 'sternly declared' sovereignty over the islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China -)
...Associated Press in Beijing, guardian.co.uk, Friday 26 July 2013 08.55 BST
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/26/china-coastguard-confronts-japan-disputed-islands
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2013年07月26日

eat air

Haze--- Penang was shrouded in haze yesterday morning as the Air Poluution Index (API) readings in the state hit the highest in the past week.

Three weeks ago, a noxious haze engulfed Singapore and parts of Malaysia and Indonesia, breaking air pollution records. Malaysia closed schools, Singapore advised residents to stay indoors and distributed free face masks to the poor, and Indonesia evacuated some villages in the worst affected areas.

The World Resources Institute (WRI), WRI's analysis of the Nasa fire data showed that half of the fires were likely burning on land managed by companies, including some that supply the palm oil that ends up in a bewildering array of supermarket products from shampoo to cosmetics, and from ice cream to soap. In recent years, retail behemoths like Walmart, Tesco, and Marks & Spencer, and their suppliers – global consumer goods giants including Unilever and Nestlé – have made significant efforts to encourage palm oil producers to behave responsibly.


How the eyes in the sky are keeping a check on forest fires - Data and action on Indonesia's plantation fires and smog crisis shows how technology and citizen activism are winning the fight for environment

Dr Nigel Sizer, who leads the forests team at the World Resources Institute, an environment and development research institution. WRI's analysis of the Sumatra fires can be found at Indonesia-forest-fires

guardian.co.uk, Friday 19 July 2013 17.25 BST
...http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jul/19/indonesia-forest-fires-smog-crisis

After Abe, French PM will visit Malaysia.

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault is scheduled to have a two-day official visit to Malaysia beginning Sunday.

Wisma Putra in a statement today said the visit would be part of his three-nation regional tour which included the Republic of Caledonia and South Korea, aimed at enhancing existing areas of cooperation and broadening into new spheres of cooperation.


Read more: France PM Jean-Marc Ayrault to visit Malaysia - Latest - New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/latest/france-pm-jean-marc-ayrault-to-visit-malaysia-1

Meanwhile, the New Straits Times of today carried on the Open Letter to French PM as follows:

TO the Prime Minister of France Jean-Marc Ayrault, on behalf of the National Association of Smallholders Malaysia (NASH), which represents over 300,000 small oil palm farmers (*) across Malaysia and the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), the industry promotional body, we look forward to your visit to Malaysia this Monday (July 29).

We would like to draw your attention to the on-going campaign of misinformation by French companies and politicians against Malaysian-produced palm oil.

Palm oil is of vital importance to Malaysia's economic advancement and for our small farmers, their families and local communities.

French companies and some politicians have orchestrated a campaign of smearing and intimidation against Malaysian palm oil in France. This is of major concern to families, communities and industries in Malaysia.

Honourable Prime Minister, ahead of your visit here, we would like to urge you to please put an end to the actions of a few companies and individuals in France, which have a deleterious impact on the palm oil industry and its communities here.


Read more: OPEN LETTER TO FRENCH PM: Stop biased attacks on palm oil - Letters to the Editor - New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/open-letter-to-french-pm-stop-biased-attacks-on-palm-oil-1


(*) Some 14 companies had been identified and were being probed for open burning in Indonesia. This is the case in Indonesia. In Malaysia, there are 300,000 small oil palm farmers. Are they land owner? or landless farmer? or paid worker in the mill? Anyway, we can get the number of farmers. Furthermore, we can get another intersting data through the newspaper article of yesterday:

The total number of SMEs (small and medium enterprises) in Malaysia by the end of 2012 was estimated to be close to one million, accounting for 99.2% of the total number of business establishments. It contributes 32% of the coutry's GDP and employs 56% of the total workforce, The contribution to GDP is expected to increase 41% by 2020.

The implications of these figures underscore the potential of local SMEs to contribute to local communities. Taken as a whole, the SME community is a potent force to move CSR (corporate social responsibity) in the right direction and play a much larger role than multinational companies in developing local communities.

(SMEs can play bigger role in CSR programmes, written by Marceline Lemarie for the Star of yesterday)
Marceline Lemarie is the organising chaiperson of World Marketing Summit Malaysia 2013 (WMSM 2013)
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2013年07月25日

eat tax

Japan's public debt is already more than twice the size of its 500 trillion yen (US$5 trillion) economy, the largest among major industrialised nations after years of fiscal spending to try to jumpstart the stagnant economy, and a planned sales tax hike is considered a test of the appetite for fiscal reform.

The government will decide later this year on whether to go ahead with a scheduled increase in the sales tax rate to 8% next April from 5%, the first step in a panned adoubling of the levy by October 2015.

(Japan upgrades economic view on easing deflation)
...Reuter report in the Star of Wed., July 24,2013

In the meantime what's the meaning of 1 trillion yen (0.2% of the 500 trillion yen) and 5.81 trillion yen (1.2% of the 500 trillion yen) respectively?

The clean-up after the Fukushima nuclear disaster could cost five times more than estimated, fugures have revealed, as Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) said that steam had been seen again in a reactor building.

It is the third time steam has been observed in the battered structure over the last week.

The government-backed National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology said decontamination work in Fukushima prefecture will cost up to 5.81 trillion yen (RM 185 bil), far more than the 1 trillion yen (RM 31 bil) the government has so far allocated.

As the report was relased on Tuesday by the Institute, government officials scolded Tepco on Tuesday for a delay in admitting that radiation-polluted ground water was flowing into the sea.

(Fukushima clean-up costs rise as steam seen again)
...AFP report in the Star of Thu., July 25, 2013

As Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe leaves Tokyo today for a three-day trip to some of the region's biggest economies to tap an expanding middle class, figures show Japanese firms have already this year spend more on mergers and acquisitions than ever before.

The premier's three-day tour to Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines (*) is the latest of several trips he has made with business leaders since coming to power in December that aim to drum up new deals.

In Ma, Abe announced a development aid and loan package for Myanmar worth hundreds of million of dollars as it boosts trade ties with the once-isolated nation, which has ushered in a raft of reforms.

Japan agreed to cancel US$1.8 billion of Myanmar's debts during a visit by Abe. He was accompanied by a 40-strong delegation of bosses from some of Japan's top firms (**).

(Japan companies invest record amounts in South East Asia - Firms spend US$8.2 b on mergers and acquisitions in region so far this year)
...AFP report on The New Straits Times of Thu., July 25, 2013


(*) If all goes according to plan, approximately 47 years to he month, Barack Obama will be the first sitting US president to visit Malaysia since Lyndon Johnson arrived in October 1966.
(Empowering Malaysia-US ties, opportunity to transform into a dynamic, contemporary yet enduring partnership for the future)

...contributed by Elina Noor as Comment to the New Starits Times of Tue., July 16, 2013
Elina Noor is ISIS Malaysia assistant director, foreign policy and security studies.

(**) "Abe came to Malaysia in 2007 with a 240-member top-notch business delegation as he wanted to drive home the point that Japan and Malaysia can do much more together"
"It was Abe's grand father, Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi, who had come here soon after Merdeka to establish diplomatic relations with Malaysia." said a diplomatic official.
(The Star, Wed., July 24, 2013)
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2013年07月24日

eat residents

No city was hit as hard by the recession as Detroit, America's one-time industrial capital whose decades-long decline cut its populatoipn in half and left US$18bil in debt it can't afford to pay.

As its peak in 1950s, 1.8 million people lived in the bustling auto industry hub of Detroit. Today, barely 700,000 remain.

(Detroit's bankruptcy reveals dysfunction common in US)
...Bloomberg in the Star of Tue. July 23,2013

Rosalind Childs called police last year after her teenage son came home to find their home had been burgled. The thieves took off with a laptop computer, money and a designer handbag.

"I got home four hours later and he was sitting there with a butcher' knife in my house waiting for the poilice to come." Childs said of her son.

After two more calls, the 51-year-old Childs was told she would be better off making a report at the closest precinct.

Childs is doubtful banktuptcy will change anything.

"We already are getting poor city services. Last week, they didn't even pick up our trash." she said.

"I don't think bankruptcy is really going to make a difference. YOu can't put a band aid on a gunshot wound"

(It just gets bleaker for residents of Detroit - Rows of abandoned homes and deteriorating municipal services preceded the city's bankruptcy -)
AP in the New Straits Times of July, 21,2013

Are fast-paced, rich SIngaporeans reallly the least emotional and most unhappy people on earth? No way, declares a state controlled calbe TV station.

For months, a cable station 34.5% owned by the government, Starhub, has been bombarding viewers with "Happy Everywhere" propaganda films to depict thet despite rising stress, people are still smiling and dancing everywhere.

The merry-making propaganda obviously reflects the government's concern about correcting an image of unhappy Singaporeans demoralised by over-crowding and stress in recent years.

Singapore's suicide rate for 2012 jumped by a significant 30%.

The number of people ending their lives reached a 20-year high of 467, a rise of 30%, the highest proportion being youths aged 20-29 years old.

It may lead Sigapore - the world's second most densely-populated country - to joi the ranks of South Korea and Japan for having a high number of suicides.

Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who is still alive, has long advocated that building GDP must take precedence avove all else.

With prosperity you can do many things; without it, trouble, he often said.

As time and unhappiness grow, Lee's successors may eventually have to start moving away from a relentless materialistic pursuit to give higher priority to people's welfare - especially if suicide rates remain high.

(Worrying trend of rising suicides contributed by Seah Chiang Nee, in Insight Down South of the Star of Sat., July 20, 2013).

George Town of Penang Island was the first town in the country to achive city status when Quenn Elizabeth II conferred it the status in 1957.

However, when the George Town City Council merged with the Penang Rural Council in the 1970s, it lost the city status. And now it is in the final stage of applying for city status for George Town.


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2013年07月22日

eat land

After the election, Abenomics will promote "From agriculture to agribusiness". Farmers may means from now on salaried workers in some plantation or in some agribusiness company.

Chinese-Malaysian agribusiness group is seeking to kick-start a US$2 billion rice plantation and integrated processing project by November in an attempt to tap into Indonesia's growing market.

Liaoning Wufeng Agricultural, a Chinese plantation company, was to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Malaysian Amarak Group and local company Tri Indah Mandiri yeaterday (July 21, 2013).

Wufeng is the major financier of the plan to grow and processs rice and soyabean in Subang, West Java, wih Amarak contributing up to 20% of the initial investment in Indonesia, which reports say may eventually reach US$5 billion.

Tri Indah is readying a large 50,000ha trial plantation in West Java, working with local farmers.

Thre company will produce rice vinegar and rice bean oil. After extracting oil, the husks will be burnt to generate power for rice mills and the resulting ash - which is rich with silica - will be available to use the tyre manufacturing.

"In our facilities, nothing is wasted. We are a pioneer of such technplogy in China and we want to bring that value-added technology to Indonesia." said Ma Dian Cheng, Wufeng's chief executive in an interview on Friday.

(Business Times, Mon., July 22,2013)

Where is the agriculture of which the farming practice encourage and nurture the human spirits? In a marginalised and peripheric small space after taking off one of the big themes for the demodratisation of the country, Japan.

5 years ago, several others and I helped sponsor a young dynamic lady, Sabina Arokiam, to attend a Permaculture and Eco-Village Design Course in the US. She had received a scholorship from the US Emabassy under the International Visitor Leadership Programme.

Upon her return, she started a permaculture farm at Batu Arang (about 40Km from Kuala Lumpur). She also started projects for marginalised communities, and shared her knowledge and experience through talks and courses.

Permaculture (short for Permanent Culture/Agriculture) is about creating sustainable human habitats by following nature's patterns...

(The spirituality of farming, written by Dr Amir Farid Ishak and contributed in the Star of Sun., July 21, 2013. He is a medical specialist who practises holistic, aesthetic and anti-ageing medecine.

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2013年07月21日

eat thorium

£50bn question: do we want faster trains or limitless clean energy?

For the same money, you can either shave 35 minutes off the journey between London and Birmingham, or develop fusion

Fusion power has the potential to revolutionise the entire world's energy production. It could dramatically reduce the world's carbon emissions (a fusion reactor emits no carbon dioxide), provide energy independence to any nation with access to a coastline (since there is millions of years' worth of fusion fuel in the world's oceans), and do all this with no danger of meltdown or long-lived radioactive waste.
Alternatively, we could use our £50bn to shave 35 minutes off the journey time between London and Birmingham.




...http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2013/jul/02/hs2-fusion-power?INTCMP=SRCH#start-of-comments

It is clear many countries are investing in developing thorium as a visible nuclear fuel.

A recent report has suggested that China has recently approved more than 1000 PhD students on thorium studies.

Malaysia does have decent deposits of thorium. Apart from the tailing from tin mining, studies show there are other deposits. Another potential source is the residue coming from the Lynas rare earths processing plant in Kuantan. This is the reason why many feel it is unwise to allow such residue to be expoorted out.

In France, a similar rare earths processing comapny, Rhodia, has kept all its thorium-rich residue for future use as fuel.

In Malaysia, unfortunately, we have squandered on the opportunity to capitalise on the thorium contained in the residue of the Asian Rare Earths Comapny, which operated a while back in Perak. They have all been cementised for disposal.

The recently estabalished National Committee on Thorium may provide a plan on how to use the country's thorium deposits.




The Star dated Fri., July 19,2013 reported, however, staem has been spotted in a reactor building at the cripped Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan and that its operator stressed there is no sign yet of increased radiation.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people were forced from their homes by the threat of radiation in the planet's worst nuclear accident for a generation.

Today, Mr Yahho is thinking or sleeping in the Penang Library to breathe new life and to read deeply, because we are now fast readers, fast and big eater...

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2013年07月20日

eat constitution

With the economy perking up under his "Abenomics" policies, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his ruling bloc are seen rolling to a convincing victory in Sunday's upper house election.
He says his top prioroties are regaining political stability and reviving the long-stagnant economy, the chief concern for voters.

That may include (1) laying the groundwork for revising Japan's pacifist constitution,
(2) promoting traditional family values,
(3) and making changes to the education system to instill more patritism in students.
(4) Te the extent that nationalism translates into a stronger military by saying he wants to revise Japan's landmark 1995 apology for its wartime aggression,
(5) and questioning the extent to which Korean, Chinese and other Asian women were coerced to provide sex for Japanese soldiers.

...AP carried on The Star of Sat., July 20, 2013

Mr Yahho is today thinking about the political stability based on the comments by Farish A. Noor, senior fellow at the S. Rajarathan School of International Studies, Singapore:

Up to the 1990s it was assumed that Thailand would never be able to come up with a working democratic model because it was one of the countries that had the highest rates of coup d'Etas in the world. In time, a new normality set in, and despite the instability of some Thai administrations, the country did gain the title of being one of the Asian tigers of the 1980s and 90s.

Indonesia, likewise, underwent a prolonged period of instability from 1998 to 2004, where the country was blighted by inter-religious conflict and the constant thtret of domestic terrorism. Yest like Thailand, it, too, managed to adapt to the new realities of post-Suharto society and established its own set of social norms.

For Egypt, like Turkey and many other Arab-Muslim North African states, will have to go through a process where it defines itself anew and seeks a new equilibrium that it is comfortable with. There might be some quaters in the Western world that might be happier to see a liberal, secular and democratic Egypt arise out of the ruins of post-Mubarak Egypt today.

(Egypt will find a new norm, New Staraits Times, Mon., July 15, 2013)

To see a liberal, secular and democratic Japan, how many Japanese will visit to the place to vote tomorrow? If the majority does not vote and even though only 30% of the voters support "Abenomics", will Japan be transformed to the country to be able to fight with military power together with Japan-United States alliance against its neighbour countries over Japan's long-running maritime territorial disputes and their wide-spread distrust through an increasingly assertive voice?

Will Japan's military force invade again other country?

They drove John Skinner outside the wire, lashing out with fists and boots, and up the slop to where Murozumi, sword in hand, was waiting beside an open slit-trench. Murozumi positioned himself to the left, legs astride.

Hinata Genzo forced the captive to his knees and Nagata tied a piece of black cloth around his eyes. Gripping it with both hands, Murozumi raised his sword high above his head, passing only momentarily before bringing it down, in one tremendous swipe, to decapitate Sandakan's last prisoner of war.

Five hours later the higher-pitched voice of Emperor Hirohito announced, on national domestic radio, that Japan had surrendered to the Allies...

(Lynette Ramsay Silver, Sandakan, ibid, p.237)

Anxiously awaiting the newspaper report about the election to be done tomorrow here in Penang! Because as Farish A. Noor told us, the future of the country should be decided by the people themselves, not technocrates sitting in the capitals of other countries...

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2013年07月19日

eat hills

According to "Konsumer" May-June 2013 issue published by Consumers' Association of Penang, Malaysian consumers knew the fact about Hill Destruction in Penang:

It is with a heavy heart that I (Dr Lim Mah Hui, councilor of Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinag, MPPP) am addressing the council on the topic, 2 days ago, a section of a so-called retaining wall in Bukit Gambier collapsed. We are fortunate that it did not claim any lives. But this disaster was just waiting to happen. It is not a question of IF, but just WHEN, the disaster will happen.

Penang island has 2 very important assets that make it an attractive place- the hills and the heritage. It is fortunate that Penang heritage has been inernationally recognised now and certain areas are under protection.

As for the hills, they are under grave threat even though they are supposed to be under conservation and protection. Sustainable development is one of the objectives in the 2007 Penang State Structure Plan...But because there are too many exceptions, developpers have exploited the loopholes and are having a field day.

I am told this landowner and developper has bulldozed the hills WITHOUT any planning approval. This must be confirmed. This is not a case of a few workers cutting down some trees in the middle of the night. It is sending in heavy equipment felling trees and cutting huge swath of land, removing all the topsoil in bright daylight under our nose.

It is equivalent to a rape of our hills...


Tha Star dated July 11,2013 reported that Sahabat Alam Malauysia (SAM) and the Consumers' Association of Penang (CAP) welcomed the Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) receiving of the green light from the deputy public prosecutor's office to take action against those who illegally cleared land in Bulity Rlau, with CAP's following press conference:

We support the call for an independent committee to study the lapses on the part of the authorities to prevent illegal activities on the hils and make recommendation to improve enforcement.

We need to protect our hills from development, preserve the character of Penang Island and keep development away from lands with environmentally sensitive features.


The Star shows us 2 shocking pictures where the illegal clearing in Buki Relau was visible for kilometers, adding: So why didn't the authorities realise what was going on?

Marina Emmanuel, writer for the New Starits Times as Monday View on July 15, 2013, told us as follows:

Last week in Penang, the company, which owns a piece of land on Bulit Relau and which cleared its hilltop without a permit, was fined RM30,000 by the Sessions Court...

The fact that RM30,000 had been imposed as fine has not escaped the attention of many people, who wonder how the fine compares against a proposed development on the said land, which may be carrying a gross development value of hundreds of millions of ringgit.

As this is not the first time that companies have gotten away very lightly for doing harm to the environment or historic structures, the question being asked is: How serious are the local authorities in making developers pay for their acts of destruction in Penang?

Many valuable and historic landmarks in Penang have been lost... Twenty years and several other unauthorised demolitions later -with relatively small fines paid- nothing appears to have changed.


Marina Emmanuel, she has been the office mate with Mr Yahho twenty years ago...

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2013年07月18日

eat money

Malaysia must be willing to walk away if the terms of the PTTA are not suitable for the country, said CIMB Group Holdings Bhd group chief executive Datuk Seri Nazir Razak.

"TPPA is premature and we don't know the details. It is still being negotiated. Just because we are hosting the roiund of negotiations in Kota Kinabalu, it does not mean we are more inclined to agree to things. The devils is in the details." he added.

...The Sun, Thu, July 18, 2013

Recent media reports on huge pangolin seizures underline a massive upswing in pangolin poaching.

While much attention has been paid to the large mammel species thers is little attention paid to this shy and unobtrusive nocturnal scaly anteater, due to lack of public awareness.

They have become a prized target for wildlife traffickers in the Asian region especially to fuel the huge demands from China, where laws against the creatures illegal import and use are not enforced.

Pangolins are hunted aggressively for their scales, flesh, skin, blood, and body parts.

...Letter to the Star by S.M. Mohd Idris, president, Sahabat Alam Malaysia, SAM (The Star, Thu, July 18, 2013)

What we can do is help out, in whatever way we can. Recycle,, stop wasting food, water and ,uch more!

Do not throw any garbage on the road, start taking action and make things right! Help spread the world in an effort to make people realise their mistake, so they can start to help to reduce pollution.

I alone cannot do it, let's all work together and reach out to save Mother Earth.

Only after the last tree has been cut down,
Only after the last river has been poisoned,
Only after the last fish has been caught,
Only then you find you cannot eat money!

...by Chow Shenn Kuan, aged 17, Peruk
(New Straits Times, Thu, July 18, 2011)

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2013年07月17日

discord over secret talks

"A partnership of the unequal, of the strong to take advantage of the weak" wrote former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

"If we cannot see the text, how are we to accept assurances that health and the environment, for example, will be safeguarded when similar provisions in US Free Trade Agreements with other countries have cause deterioration of health and environmental standards?"
"How are we to accept assurances that fate of milions is in safe handswhendiscussions are off limis to the public,civil society and even MPs?" asked Consumers' Association of Penang president S.M.Idris.

"It ia a threatto our countries. It will restrict our options for development in health and education, in biological and cultural diversity, design of public policies and the transformation of our economies" wrote in Peru's Caretas weekly Rodrigo Contreras, Chile's former chief negotiator who wuit in February, dropped a bombshell by openly denouncing the pact.

Jane Kelsey, University of Aukland's professor of law descibed Contreras as "insider".
"Contreras has at in the negotiation room for several yearsand tried to get the US and others to back offtheir most damaging demands. He believes the current direction of the TPPA poses a threat to his country's economic abd social development.

The New York-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, which fights for digital freedom, depicted the pact as a "secretive, multi-national trade agreement that threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property (IP) laws across the globe and rewrite international rules on enforcement"

It said leaked texts of the agreement showed that IP chapter would have negative effects on freedom of speech, right to privacy and hinder abilities to innovate.
...
So, what should we do?

Perhaps we should adopt the stand of our northern neighbour.

The Thai government feels that it should not join until public feedback and the merits and negatives are clear.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said any decision to join would have to be approved by Parliament and the Cabinet.

...Along the watchtower by M. Veera Pandiyan in the STAR, Wed, 17 July 2013

Though nothing has come of the World Trade Organisation's Doha development round of global trade negotiations since they were launched almost a dozen years ago, another round of talks is in the works. This time the negotiations will not be held on a global, multilateral basis. Rather, two huge regional agreements – one transpacific, and the other transatlantic – are to be negotiated. Are the coming talks likely to be more successful?

The Doha round was torpedoed by the US refusal to eliminate agricultural subsidies – a sine qua non for any true development round, given that 70% of those in the developing world depend on agriculture directly or indirectly. The US position was truly breathtaking, given that the WTO had already judged that America's cotton subsidies – paid to fewer than 25,000 rich farmers – were illegal. Washington's response was to bribe Brazil, which had brought the complaint, not to pursue the matter further, leaving in the lurch millions of poor cotton farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and India, who suffer from depressed prices because of America's largesse to its wealthy farmers.

Given this recent history, it now seems clear that the negotiations to create a free trade area between the US and Europe, and another between the US and much of the Pacific (except for China), are not about establishing a true free trade system. Instead, the goal is a managed trade regime – managed, that is, to serve the special interests that have long dominated trade policy in the west...

If negotiators created a genuine free trade regime that put the public interest first, with the views of ordinary citizens given at least as much weight as those of corporate lobbyists, I might be optimistic that what would emerge would strengthen the economy and improve social well-being. The reality, however, is that we have a managed trade regime that puts corporate interests first, and a process of negotiations that is undemocratic and non-transparent.

The likelihood that what emerges from the coming talks will serve ordinary Americans' interests is low. The outlook for ordinary citizens in other countries is even bleaker.

...So-called free trade talks should be in the public, not corporate interest, Joseph Stiglitz guardian.co.uk, Friday 5 July 2013 13.39 BST
...http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/economics-blog/2013/jul/05/free-trade-talks-public-corporate-interest

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2013年07月16日

TPP not ready

The 18th round of negotiations for the TPP, which opened in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, yesterday, attracted one of the highest number of participants since the talks were launched three years ago.

More than 650 officials from the 12 members countries registered for the talks, which will end next Thursday, according to the MITI.

Japan, the largest addition to the talks, has the largest delegation, apart from host country Malaysia, with more than 100 officials.

...New Straits Times, Tue, July 16, 2013

The PTT that has gained much attention recently will not be signed anytime soon, as there are various details left to be acrutinised.

MITI policy and strategy division director Isham Ishakdoused the speculation that tge TPP would be signed during the 18th round of negotiations.

Isham also said that the TPP would not be signed in October as many had been speculating.

MITI secretary-general Gatuk Dr Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria clarified that several pertinent issues that were of concern to many, such as the bumiputra status, intellectual property rightsand state-owned enterprises under the TPP, were still at negotiation stage. She emphasised that the PTT was by concensus, and that no chapter could be concluded as long as there was one party that did not agree to it...

...New Straits Times, Tue, July 16, 2013


More assurance is needed before Malaysians are convinced that the TPP is a good thing for the country.

The billion-dollar question is whether the US agenda will be driven by corporate giants? Why this odd grouping of 11 or12 countries? Why only us, Sinagapore, Vietnum and Brunei? Where are the rest of ASEAN members, especially Indonesia and Thailand??

Some opponents have cited potential legal suits, which have penalised some South American countries following infrigement on the North Amercan Free Trade Trade Agreement, amounting to billions paid out by government to these corporations. How does this pact override other agreements, of which we are a member of, for example, ASEAN, Pacific Rim and WTO?

Will a free-for-all form of trade benefit the big boy and players more than the small fries? Is there an opt-out clause, for surely all pacts can be broken abd should never be permanent? ? ?

...Letter by Dr. K.H.S., Kuala Lumpur, to New Straits Times, Tue, July 16, 2013


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2013年07月14日

TPPA

Mr Yahho came to the Library to send the following wisdom to the people in Japan even though today is beautiful Sunday. The article has been written by Tan Dr Mahathir Mohamad, 4th Prime Minister of Malaysia and carried om the newspaper, New Starits Times of Friday, July 12, 2013 as COMMENT:

The secretary-general of the International Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI) avers that trade negotiations must be done in secret, I suppose by the officers concerned. There should apparently be no public debate, even within the government...

Now, we are negotiating the American-conceived TPP, Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreemnt. This is another attempt by America to let their huge corpoorations penetrate the markets of the small countries, in particular, government proicurement.

When the GATT (General Agreemnt on Tarrifs and Trade) failed, they invented WTO (World Trade Organization) for the same purpose. That also failed. They then invented Apec (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation). Still, they could not achive their objective. They introduced bilateral free trade agreemnts.

Then, they ptomoted a globalised world, a world without borders in which their money can go anywhere, destroy econpmies snd then pull out. In case we have forgotten, they did this in 1997/98.

Still, they cannot get at government procurement. And now they invented TPP, apartnership of unequals, of the strong to take advantage of the weak...

I know MITI is set to agree to the TPP. It will not entertain any counter arguments. It wants to do this secretly. We don't punish people who make agreements detrimental to the interest of this country. SO what is ther to lose?

This is my country as much as it is the country of the officials and politicians. If people secretly do harm to my country I have a right to complain. We talk a lot about transparency. Let us see transparency regarding the TPP negotiations. The October ultimatum should be ignored. And let China be included.

...http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnist/tpp-will-be-another-bad-pact-1.317645


Mr Yahho recommends his friends to read the comment for this matter because the 18th round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations is set to start in Kota Kinabalu, Saba, Malaysia on Monday, tomorrow.

Furthermore Mr Yahho recommends to read 6 undermentioned articles at least:

* Global Trends by Martin Khor: TPPA affecting health policies? in Star (Mon, July 1st.2013)
* MTEM: 'Meaningful consultation' wanted over TPPA (The Star, Fri, July 12, 2013)
* Majlis Tindakan Ekonomi Melayu (MTEM): MITI did not address TPP concerns (New Staits Times, Fri, July 12, 2013
* TPP: What's in it for Malaysians? (New Starits Times, Sat, July 13, 2013)
* Protect consumer rights in TPP by Datuk Paul Selva Raj, secretary-general of the Federation of Malaysian Cosumers Associations (New Straits Times, Sat, July 13,2013)
* Explaining the TPP (The Star, Sat, July 13, 2013)

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2013年07月12日

Suffolk House

Mr Yahho visited yesterday the Suffolk House in Penang.
Concerning the Suffolk House, please refer the following URL:
http://www.suffolkhouse.com.my/
The reason why he visited after his working in the library is that he has heard that Francis Light has lived and he found the following very interesting article in the Star, updated Friday April 26, 2013 under the title of "The light of his life Francis Light’s contributions are fondly remembered but not those of his wife";

AS A schoolboy taking the bus home, I would pass by the Methodist Boys School (MBS) in Jalan Air Itam almost every day.

I never knew about the existence of Suffolk House, where Captain Francis Light was said to have lived, nor understood its significance.

There was no mention of the mansion in my history textbooks. Furthermore, despite its grandeur, it is off the main road, unlike the grand mansions along Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah or Northam Road. It didn’t help that I had no friends studying at MBS.

But over the past decade, the loud calls to restore Suffolk House and efforts by non-governmental organisations to educate Malaysians about its historical significance got my attention to find out more.

I finally stepped into Suffolk House a few months ago during one of my regular trips home. An upscale restaurant is now operating at the historic mansion.

The architecture of the 200-year-old building is simply stunning. The ambience and charm of the restaurant was worth the hefty bill that I paid for a dinner for eight.

I had an important guest from Kuala Lumpur with me and there were plenty of reasons to show what Penang has to offer besides street food.

After the last course, I closed my eyes and let my imagination run wild, and a few glasses of wine earlier definitely helped.

It was easy. After all, Light used to hold social gatherings – dances and events − at his residence, so did the subsequent governors of Penang and the Straits Settlements in the 1800s.

But there are now reports that say Light actually lived in a smaller house at the estate. The present mansion was only built much later.

Suffolk House was so named because Light was born in Dallinghoo, Suffolk in East Anglia. The house actually stands on the estate that was originally owned by Light, and where many Europeans stayed on because of their love for Penang.

But that night my mind wasn’t fixed on Light. Until now, each time I think of Suffolk House, questions would cross my mind about his Thai-Eurasian wife, Martina Rozells.

Little has been written about her and yet she probably played a huge role in the life of Penang’s founder.

Light had met Rozells in Phuket, Thailand, because it was his base for over a decade after he failed to convince the British of the importance of opening up Penang, which was an afterthought, in 1786.

Reading up about her life, I could not help but feel a strong sense of sympathy for her. Given her mixed ethnic background, she was probably a beauty but I am not sure she was given a fair deal by the British snobs.

Rozells has been referred to as Light’s wife but it was not clear whether she was his lawful wife or he simply regarded her as his wife. She had five children − three girls, Sarah, Mary and Ann, and two sons, William and Francis Lanoon, − with him.

When Light passed away in 1794 after suffering from malaria, his business partners, James Scott and William Fairlie, were the executors of his will.

According to some history books, the two transferred Light’s property, including Suffolk Estate, to their own names and left Rozells in the lurch. In short, they cheated her.

She had to seek justice from the courts. But in the Victorian age, the fact that she was part Portuguese, part Thai and part French, was of no help. There have been suggestions by some writers that she was linked to Kedah royalty then, but this has never been substantiated.

She was a Roman Catholic while Light was an Anglican. In old Penang, the Anglicans reigned supreme. In their eyes, the marriage was not possible nor accepted, if indeed, there was a proper marriage.

In the book, Malaya’s First British Pioneer: The Life of Francis Light, H.P Clodd wrote that Light “co-habited” with Rozells at least 22 years before his death in 1794 − as pointed out by historian Ooi Kee Beng.

Interestingly enough, Light did leave Rozells a bungalow on the site next to the St Xavier’s Institution field.

In the book, Streets of George Town, a portion of Light’s will about this bungalow was reproduced:

“I give and bequeath unto the said Martina Rozells my bungalow in George Town with one set of mahogany tables, two card cables, two couches, two bedstead large and two small with bedding…. a dressing table and 18 chairs, two silver candle sticks, one silver teapot, two sugar dishes, twelve table spoons, twelve tea spoons, one soup spoon and all the utensils not under the stewards charge to be disposed of as she thinks proper without any limitation. I also give Martina Rozells four of my best cows and one bull….”

Ooi pointed out from Clodd’s book, “with little known about her, a shroud of mystery had grown around her over time”.

We do know that she bore him two sons and three daughters, the most famous of the children being William, who was the founder of Adelaide.

The book also mentioned, “Only two years after his death, Light’s estates were fast running into jungle to the certain loss of his heirs and the Company (British East India Company). His son-in-law, a General Welsh who married Sarah Light, would lament in 1818 that his wife’s siblings had lived to see every inch of ground and even his [Light’s] houses alienated from them. Rozells reportedly lived for several years on the land and in the bungalow bequeathed her by her common-law husband, and may have later married one John Timmer.”

Rozells was said to have held the wedding ceremony at the chapel in Fort Cornwallis in 1799. It was also said that after the service, the chapel was sealed off until now. No explanations have been found.

We can conclude that Rozells did not live an easy life in Penang. She failed to get her justice in the British-run court.

To keep her mouth shut, the British East India Company reportedly paid her a pension but kept the jewel in the crown.

In the eyes of British officials, Light did not marry Rozells but among the Eurasians and Thai community, she was regarded as his official wife.

It is sad that detailed and reliable information about her is almost non-existent even though she was the closest person to Light.

More information has surfaced over the past months − thanks to the work of Australian historian Marcus Langdon, who wrote that Suffolk House was built by (acting governor of Prince of Wales’ Island) William Edward Phillips.

Phillips was also the owner of Strawberry Hill on Penang Hill and not David Brown − Light’s partner.

Langdon had also written that Phillips was the one who took over the pepper estate belonging to Light, on which stands Suffolk House, believed to have been built by Phillips, who was acting governor of Penang in 1817.

In short – Light stayed at the Suffolk Estate but not at Suffolk House.

Still, as I sipped my glass of wine at the restaurant on that rainy night, I could feel the presence of these iconic British figures who played a major role in making Penang what it is today.

Blame it on my imagination, the wet weather or simply the wine, but I could feel the many voices telling me to return to Suffolk House. I will, soon.

...http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Community/2013/04/06/The-light-of-his-life-Francis-Lights-contributions-are-fondly-remembered-but-not-those-of-his-wife.aspx

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2013年07月11日

Friendly Relationship Through Pictures

Mr Yahho sent today the following message from Library of Penang to pals of Friends of Mountains, FOM:

Thank you for your message. Very good news with smiling big face for your July plan for mountain walking done on Sun, 7th of July.

Today the exhibition under the title of "Friendly Relationship Through Pictures" has been held since yesterday afternoon here in the Library. This exhibition is organized by a NGO in Japan, May Asaka Center with cooperation of Chronos International, MRC Japan and Malaysian Airline and supported by Malaysian Embassy, Malysia Tourism and Japan-Malaysia Association. As I am 75th visitor around at 10.00am, there are so many Penangites who are coming to see the paintings only for one day! The exhibition is the paintings by primary school children from Malaysia and Japan. To my surprise. Japanese children's pictures are related to Nature without human face while in Malaysia they are drawing the scene of working place with family member or vilage peoples like making tools by hand, cooking, fishing and farming.

Upon reaching Japan in Aug, shall we have a town meeting in so-called "The Wonderful Chalet(Cottage) Yahho" with food and drink together to talk and communicate each other.

Keep up our good spirit for team work.
I have worried about the heat shock hit Japan. Take care and love to you.

PS Meanwhile please refer to the following URL to know about more the exhibition of Friendly Relationship Through Pictures:
http://www.mayasaka.net/

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2013年07月10日

Ramadhan

On the 10th of July 2013, Muslims all over the world welcomed the holy month of Ramadhan.

During Ramadhan, Muslims abstain from food and drinks and indulging excessive or ill-natured conduct, from dawn to dusk. It is one of the 5 pillars of Islam, an obligation for Muslims. Ramadhan is a month of spiritual reflection, where one learns the value of patience and perseverance. The end of Ramadhan is marked on the 1st of Syawal, where Hari Raya Aidil Fitri is celebrated.

In Malaysia, especially Penang, Ramadhan is greeted with a feast of delicious food and drinks. All over the state, you can find Night Markets (Pasar Malam) or Ramadhan Bazaars (Pasar Ramadhan) with an abundance of delicious food and drinks for the breaking of fast (buka puasa). Although Ramadhan is observed by Muslims, one can find a multiracial and multi-religious crowd at Ramadhan Bazaars, equally excited to break fast with their Muslim brothers and sisters. Some of the Ramadhan Bazaars specialty are Ayam Percik (Roasted Chicken) , Roti Jala, traditional deserts and Ice Kacang (shaved ice with sweet syrup and nuts).

On top of that, most mosques and surau give away free Bubur Lambok (mixed porridge) for people, Muslims and Non-Muslims alike. Ramadhan also attracts a bountiful of international tourist, particularly from the Middle East to the island. This is simply because the Ramadhan experience here is very unique. Although Ramadhan is observed by Muslims, non-Muslims can also participate, especially during breaking of fast. This has become part and parcel of the local culture and truly reflects the spirit of “Muhibbah” in Malaysia and the blessed month of Ramadhan in whole.

...http://www.visitpenang.gov.my/portal3/penang-tourism-news/1691-welcoming-ramadhan-2013.html

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2013年07月06日

Captain Francis Light

As the founder of Penang, Captain Francis Light marks the start of an important milestone that transformed this tiny island into a place with growing prosperity. It was the magnificent journey of one man that makes Penang well known not only for its beauty & heritage but also economic powerhouse.

Born in an Ancient Town Woodbridge at County Suffolk England, the actual birth date of "Light" was unknown but his Baptism date was recorded at 15 Dec 1740. He stays with his mother Mary Light & father William Negus when he was young. His grandfather, Colonel F. Light is respected & reputable man and was once a drinking companion of King George.

He was educated in Seckford's Grammer School, Woodbridge under Reverend Thomas Ray and entered Navy soon after finished his education. On 1759, Light board HMS Captain as midshipman and subsequently transferred to HMS Dragon and HMS Arrogant in 1761. His tenure in Navy ended on 1763.

He later sailed to Madras, India to take control of trade for the British. There, he secure command of a "Country Ship" (owned in India and engaged in trade in Eastern waters) belonging to Madras firm of merchants, Jourdain, Sullivan & Desouza.

Captain Light was later posted to Kedah to overlook the trade at the region. In 1786, Francis Light take possession of Penang after he promise Kedah that he will supply forces to defend them from their enemies.

Light married Martina Rozells, by whom he had 3 daughters and 2 sons. He met his Eurasian wife during his trade mission in Phuket. His eldest son, William Light, became the first Surveyor General of Southern Australia and founder of the city of Adelaide.

Francis Light died from malaria attack on 21 October 1794 and was cremated at Penang's Protestant Cemetery.

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2013年07月05日

Malay Litterature

Today Mr Yahho wants to introduce you a poem "The Myth of Rha-hu and the Moon Princess" written by Lim Swee Tin in Malay in 1980:

It seemed
most mighty
was that Rha-hu
red were his eyes
with fangs venomous
while the Moon Princess
was powerless
to resist

The later
appeared the Saviour God
noble with super powers
fighting Rha-hu
the accursed
and the Moon Princess
lit up again
the whole universe


In the meantime, the poet announced his concern over the Malay language as follows:

According to Dr Lim, Malay is the ideal language to promote unity under the concept of Bangsa Malaysia. No other language can perform this function.
In addition, the Malay language is also well-suited to serve as the language
of knowledge.

However, Dr Lim expressed his disappointment over the Malay language losing its place as a language of knowledge.
He observed that there isn’t much academic writing in Malay today.
"How could this happen? Does the country lack academicians? Or is it because our academicians are no longer confident of the Malay language? Or, are we in an era where many of our academicians come from an English language background?
"Knowledge can be relayed through any language, and while we are encouraging people to master the Malay language, suddenly we see that academic writing in the national language is diminishing," he said.

...http://my.news.yahoo.com/dr-lim-swee-tins-perspective-malay-language-013000867.html

His poem was introduced in the wonderful book under the title of "Rainbows of Malay Litterature and Beyond" edited by Lalita Sinha (USM, University of Sains Malaysia, 2011). She is:

The daughter of migrant Bengali parents, Lalita Sinha was born in Pahang, Malaysia. She studied world literatures at Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, and continued graduate studies in Comparative Literature at the same institution. Dr. Sinha served with Universiti Sains Malaysia for more than three decades. She retired as Senior Lecturer in Comparative Literature and Comparative Religion in 2006, and has since been increasingly involved in publishing at home and abroad. One of her books, The Other Salina: A. Samad Said’s Masterpiece in Translation (2006) has been highly commended by Malaysian National Laureates and the academic book publishers council of Malaysia. Her essays have been published in various journals, among others, Sacred Web: Journal of Tradition & Modernity, Tenggara: Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, and Malaysian Branch of the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. Currently, she is involved in graduate training workshops, literary translation as well as lectures and publications on literature and mysticism.

posted by fom_club at 12:15| Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | 日記 | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2013年07月04日

Sandakan

Last Sunday Mr Yahho joined the guided walk organised by PHT (Penang Heritage Trust) in the Protestant Cemetry in Penang.

He was extremely sad to find out the Japanese bombed the area during the Second World War.

During the Japanese invasion of Penang part of this cemetry was destroyed.

The PHT was involved in saving the historical site, as the local Newspaper "The Star" has been telling us as under:

Restoration of the cemetery where many of Penang’s European pioneers are buried was undertaken by PHT in 1993, using its own funds, funding from the French plantation company Socfin, MPPP and the state.

Only 70% of the cemetery was restored when funds ran out in 1994.

The 1789 cemetery holds the re-mains of people of various nationalities including English, German, Scottish, French, Dutch, American and Portuguese.

There are more than 400 graves in the cemetery but only 380 headstone markings are legible.

The cemetery is the resting place of, among others, Captain Francis Light, settlement chaplain and Penang Free School founder Reverend Robert Sparke Hutchings, former Calcutta Supreme Court Chief Justice Sir William O. Russel and Thomas Leonowens, the husband of Anna Leonowens who was famously portrayed in the musical ‘The King and I’.

Many of the graves bear marble plaques shipped from Calcutta.

Bible verses were inscribed on many headstones while other inscriptions told how the people died.

...http://archives.thestar.com.my/services/printerfriendly.asp?file=/2012/12/22/north/12494129.asp&sec=north

Mr Yahho found also the sad facts while reading the book "Sandakan":

The story of Sandakan and the death marches is one of the most tragic of World War Two. It is also one of the most heroic. Despite appalling conditions, the prisoners never gave up. Their heroism, their determination and their indomitable spirit are testimony to the strength of the human spirit and an inspiration to all. Of the 2434 prisoners incarcerated at Sandakan, 1787 were Australian. The remaining 641 were British. The six Australians who escaped were the sole survivors.

The track cut for the death marches soon became completely overgrown and for sixty years defied all efforts to locate it. However, in August 2005, Australian investigative writer and historian, Lynette Silver, author of the internationally acclaimed book Sandakan – A Conspiracy of Silence, and Tham Yau Kong, a multi tourism award winner, who has almost twenty-years‘ experience in the industry, combined their considerable talents to identify the path taken by the prisoners of war. After sixty years, you too can now walk in the footsteps of the Death March heroes.

...http://sandakan-deathmarch.com/


(note)
08 Dec 1941: Japanese air attacks destroy 100 US sircraft at Clark Field. General Douiglas MacThur, commanding the 130,000 strong US and Filipino force in the PHillippines, had intended that US aircraft would strike the invading Japanese fgorce as his troops are noit capabkle of stopping any landing.

A Japanese force of 100,000 troops (the 5th and 18th Division) under General Tomoyuki Yamashita, begins landing on the northeast coatof Malaya and in Thailand after initial air attacks.

On the last day of Jan 1942, only 7 weeks of the initial landings hundreds of kilometers to the north, Japanese domination of Malaya was com0plete.

08 Feb 1942: Battle for Singapore Islands begins.
15 Feb 1942: Allied force surrendered
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2013年07月03日

George Town Festival 2013

Ciao from Penang,
Mr Yahho could join 2 events on Sun 30/06/13 in the following events:
1) Francis Light Cemetery Tour guided by Mr Clement Liang, Hon. Secretary of Penang Heritage Trust
2) Musical Performance by Union High School at Penang Botanic Garden (Mr Haswani Hassan, music teacher)

Hacchan has been busy as speaker for the Consumer Training Course-Regional Training Programme- organized by Consumers Association of Penang vis a vis Staff from Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka.

Mr Yahho is sleeping while reading books as follows:
1) Lynette Ramsay Silver "Sandakan, A conspiracy of Silence, - Didication for 6 who came home and the 2428 who did not-", 2000(3rd revised edition), Sally Milner Publishing, Autralia
2) Davis K Shipler, winner of the Pulitzer Prize "The Working Poor, invisible in America" 2008(12th prinitng), New York

Bye for now. Love to you!

posted by fom_club at 11:27| Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | 日記 | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする