Sunday, June 5, 2011

On The Beat: A journo’s jottings

In the face of brickbats from politicians and pundits, through holidays and hectic days, a newspaperman wrote his piece every week for 14 years, staying steadfastly on the middle path. Read about Wong Chun Wai's passion and mission following the launch of his book, On The Beat, recently. Click here for The Star's interview with me.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Never overstay, a lesson from Cairo

The Star was in Egypt to capture that moment in history. Pixman AZHAR MAHFOF, who is in Cairo with AMY CHEW, took this picture of jubilation in the streets.

IT’S a disease that affects many ageing politicians. They refuse to let go and cling on to their powers, believing that they are indispensable, possibly even invincible, and that chaos would result if anyone else were to take over their jobs.

But a defiant Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has finally given up despite his stubborn stand barely 24 hours earlier, when he told the people that he would not allow himself to be forced out of office.

He repeatedly said over state TV that he would “not leave this soil until I am buried underneath it”, and reminded his listeners that “I never sought false power or popularity. I am certain that the majority of people are aware of who Hosni Mubarak is”.

More of this Comment, click here.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hoping for the new in 2011

IT’S the start of a new year. It brings hope, changes and renewal. Yet many things would remain very much the same as it always has in decades, especially in politics.

The same language, same promises and lies are still being voiced by our leaders, regardless of their political affiliation. How we wish they could be more creative this year.

Ironically, many of the politicians calling for change in politics have in fact been in the game for the last 20 years or more. But some have cleverly changed their agendas to suit the current demand for transparency and such.

And they have found a whole new base of supporters among those whose parents were busy changing their nappies while these same politicians were making a mess of the country.

Then there are those who are still in government, after all these years, some clinging on to their positions believing that no one else can be as good. Some are still as arrogant as ever, still refusing to learn their lessons.

So what can we expect from our politicians, celebrities and other publicity seekers for this year? I guess it will be more of the same, whether they are platitudes, promises or excuses.

Here’s a list of the more banal statements and remarks:

Continue reading here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Be proud of our plural society

IT was simply refreshing. At a time when some politicians seem to take pride in posturing their racial and religious identities, it was heartening to read about Raja Zarith Sofea Sultan Idris Shah declaring that her ancestral roots were from Sumatra and the Peranakan Chinese.

The consort of the Sultan of Johor (pic) went on to say that the use of the term pendatang to describe non-bumiputras was “hurtful and ignorant”.

It was shameful, she added, for apparently educated and mature individuals to use such terms or suggest that fellow Malaysians go back to where they came from.

Raja Zarith, who was speaking at the Voices of Peace, Conscience and Reason (PCORE) forum in Kuala Lumpur last week, stressed on the importance of recognising the diversity of Malaysian society, brought about by centuries of inter-racial and inter-faith marriages and communication.

Read more here.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Act fast against the racists

EVERYONE is taught that when a wrong is done, the person who did it apologises, regrets his error and promises it will never happen again. The person is often punished to show that society does not accept such behaviour.

In Malaysia, we are still waiting to see what action will be taken against the principal who made racist remarks during a school assembly.

Investigations have been carried out, according to news reports, but we are now being told that bureaucratic requirements are delaying further action.

Rest of the article, click here.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Why bother with bigots?

IT’S a lesson for media organisations all over the world: Does a pastor of a tiny church who threatens to burn copies of the Quran deserve the kind of coverage that has now provoked so much anger?

The unheard of pastor, who is said to make a living selling furniture online, has achieved international notoriety because he was given the soapbox by the media.

Click here for the rest of my column.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tear down the wall of silence against racism

THE message has been made loud and clear – there will be zero tolerance for racism. No rational and reasonable Malaysia would argue against this in the wake of racist remarks made by bigoted Malaysians.

We are used to bankrupt politicians uttering hurtful words about other communities in the belief that they can win votes by projecting themselves as racist supremacists and, by extension, as protectors of their race.

But this sickening action seems to have grown, with more racial champions being given bigger space in the media, which would only encourage them further.

For the rest of my comment, click here.