Clash of Civilization?


It needs some courage to discuss openly without bias about sensitive issue like converting to another religion such as Islam in the Western world when the society at large is looking with skepticism and terrorize its follower for the suppositious reason known to many as Islamophobia. Like it or not, many have converted to Islam. Here is the story

The New Older Woman


I was driving with my wife and seen an elder women driver driving a school bus with loads of school children. I was relating to my wife our experience in South Thailand when she was driving a car and the nearby cars were honking on her. The other male drivers seemed to be demoralized on seeing a woman, liberated driver confidently driving on a large and lonely freeway in metaphorically ‘an occupied’ Islamic territory. In my own observation, women school bus drivers have increased in number. I believe they will become good and motherly drivers to school children.

The phenomena of women working outside the home has coincided with the 21st century generation’s dream of independence and liberation. Their lives have differed markedly from their mothers and the contrast between the experiences of the new and the old generations will result in elder boomer women with a wider range of lifestyle choices and a different set of problems.

Until recently, people likes to portray older women as self-efficacious helpmates to their aging spouses, quint grandmothers and pathetic widows. With the coming of menopause in their late forties or early fifties, the most important job, bearing children had ended. Openly, they will held sexless, no longer desirable to men.

With the rise in divorce and an increasing demand for skilled office worker, many middle-aged women have entered the work force, becoming wage earners. Women past the age of 60 have lived much of their lives in the shadow of men.

The women in the next generation have grown up assuming that women work outside the home. They take for granted the economic and social equality for which feminist fought in the much early decades. They know that many marriages will not survive till death do us part.

And finally, they will age with more role models of active elderly women than the present generation has had and they will prove to be a powerful force in society.

Know What You Don’t Know


Do you realize on your ignorance? I am testing some part of my ignorance. I have to think hard… Yes. Now I know. It’s on some part of the world map. But where…??

Central Asia.

The idea of finding out on my ignorance came when I was watching CNN on the story of Armenian renewing diplomatic ties with Turkey after many years, Turkey was accused of committing genocide during the First World War. That reminded me when the Japanese Government apologized for its war crime particularly on women slavery issues to China and South Korea.

Here is my ignorant on the world event. I’m just wondering whether we all share on the same blind spot.

Just tell me where on earth is Nagorno-Karabakh. Haa..let’s take some guide.

Nagorno-Karabakh

Nagorno-Karabakh

Nagorno-Karabakh falls within the lands occupied by people known to modern archaeologists as the Kura-Araxes culture, who lived between the two rivers Kura and Araxes. Nagorno is a Russian word meaning “highland”. Karabath is generally held to originate from Turkic and Persian, and literally means “black garden”.

In WW1, Ottoman Turkey troops entered Karabakh, meeting armed resistance by Armenians. After the defeat of Ottoman Empire in World War I, British troops occupied Karabakh. In April 1920, Karabath came under the control of Armenia. In 1921, Armenia and Georgia were taken over by Russia under Stalin. With the Soviet Union firmly in control of the region, the conflict over the region died down for several decades.

With the beginning of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the question of Nagorno-Karabakh re-emerged. Accusing the Azerbaijani government of conducting forced administration of the region, the majority Armenian population, with ideological and material support from the Armenian government, started a movement to have the autonomous government.

The struggle over Nagorno-Karabakh escalated after both Armenia and Azerbaijan attained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Armenian and Azerbajani military employed a large number of mercenaries from Ukraine and Russia. As many as one thousand Afghan mujahideen participated in the fighting on Azerbaijan’s side. There were also fighters from Chechnya fighting on the side of Azerbaijan.

By the end of 1993, the conflict had caused thousands of casualties and created hundreds of thousands of refugees on both sides. By May 1994, the Armenians were in control of 14% of the territory of Azerbaijan. At that stage, the Azerbaijani government for the first time during the conflict recognised Nagorno-Karabakh as a third party in the war, and started direct negotiations with the Karabakh authorities. As a result, an unofficial cease fire was reached on May 12, 1994 through Russian negotiation.

In August, 2008, the United States, France, and Russia are mediating efforts to negotiate a full settlement of the conflict, proposing a “a referendum to determine the final status of the area, return of some territories under Karabakh’s control, and security guarantees.

Comment:

To me, many countries are still haunted by past colonization history either by US, UK or Russian superpowers.  Malaysia is no exception.  Ignorance on the history is a “crime”.  Knowing what we don’t know  is the sign of wisdom.

Cheers.

Collective Ego


One of the obstacles encountered in any form of teamwork is ego. Let us take example of husband and wife, if both persons seek personal fulfillment at the expense of the family, they end up competing with each other. Competition in a relationship will eventually lead to failure because relationships are about teamwork.

Forming a successful study group is another example of how the dynamic of successful teamwork operates. In both examples, the collective ego must be greater than individual ego.  All interests have to be subdued, to achieve the goal and purpose of a team. Individual achievement is nothing if it doesn’t help the team achieve its goals. If the team loses, everyone loses.

Most teams (read: family, study group, company, organization etc) fail not because they lack talent but because they lack the character necessary to subjugate personal ambition to a common purpose. In football, no matter how well an individual performs, if the team loses, everyone loses. One can hire David Beckham, but if he was playing with Pacific Samoa team taking part in EPL competition, what result could one expect?

Teams are most successful when the collective ego is greater than individual ego. Each team member must remember this. Till then, cheoww..

Charismatic or Poor Thinking Skill?


A temporary teacher with a secondary school in Seremban was almost fooled into having sex with her colleague after he pretended to be an undercover special health officer researching “diseases affecting female teachers.” The teacher – known only as Hani – claimed that the married man in his 30s had even asked for his undercover identity to be kept from his wife, who is teaching in the same school, and from the school principal.

In a report in Kosmo!, Hani, 24, said the teacher had told her that his research comprised three phases, the first of which would require her to answer questions on the size of her breasts and waist. She would then be required to get intimate with the teacher in the second phase and finally, have sex with him under the third phase, which was also a “weight test”.

Hani alleged that she had signed an agreement as well as a confidentiality form to participate in the study after the teacher approached her in March. The “study” then moved onto the next phase, in which Hani said she was told to go to an empty classroom. “In the classroom, he hugged me from behind before performing other sexual acts on me,” she said, adding that she pushed the man away after suspecting something was amiss. “The next phase was even worse when he asked me to have sex with him,” she said, claiming that during this time, the teacher was stark naked and getting ready to film the sex romp.

“Frightened, I then fled from the classroom,” said Hani. Since that day, Hani alleged the teacher has been harrassing her through phone messages, asking her for money as “penalty” for not completing the study and claiming that she could be “sued” by the Education Ministry. The man even claimed that the Public Services Department could take action against her and her other family members serving in the Government.

“I lodged a police report on Aug 18 after I could no longer take his harassment. I have also filed a complaint with both the Health and Education Ministries and the department,” said Hani. She said she also believed that the teacher had “conned” other victims in the school but that they were reluctant to come forward. The teacher was subsequently remanded for seven days before being released and is said to be still teaching in the same school.

State education director Datuk Abdullah Muhamad confirmed the case was still under investigation and the matter would be brought up to the ministry.

Jempol Chief Police Officer Supt Mohd Sabri Muhamad@Awang also confirmed the incident.

Comment:

A cause for concern. This person must be very charismatic.  To con a teacher to keep his extramarital affairs confidential from his own wife who work in the same school? Worst still and almost unbelievable enough is to have those activities taped in the classroom??  I can’t believe that a sensible person could just simply and easily accept the reason without putting much thought or setting a minimal moral and ethical standard to justify the reason of the act. Otherwise, this case might just illustrated the fact that something serious is lacking in our society i.e. the habit to embrace a competent thinking skills.

We teach students to learn and memorize their lessons. But we fail to teach them on how to think, to weigh, to differentiate, to tease out, to disentangle, to rule out and to analyze chances. Failing to do so, in life, they might be cheated, missing chances and worst still, put them in jeopardy. In medical school, lecturers are making sure their students acquire thinking skills through clinical teachings and problem-based learning.

Otherwise, in general, can someone enlighten me on where are we heading, please?

From My Perspective: Some Interesting News From Around The World


Science: Venkatraman Ramakrishnan wins Nobel Prize for Chemistry

Tamil Nadu-born Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, a senior scientist at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology at Cambridge, has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2009 along with two others, the Nobel Committee announced today.

Read: http://www.dnaindia.com/scitech/report_venkatraman-ramakrishnan-wins-nobel-prize-for-chemistry_1295946

Economy: The dollar is dead, only awaits burial

It is only fitting on a day where the price of gold hit a new, nominal high that I should discuss the last days of the US dollar as a “reserve currency”. An ounce of gold is what it is: the world’s oldest and most widely-accepted money. It can never increase (or decrease) in value. Instead, it is the pseudo-money, the paper “fiat currencies” which are currently all plunging steadily downward in value — with no currency able to keep up with the collapse of the US dollar.

Read:  http://www.dnaindia.com/money/comment_the-dollar-is-dead-only-awaits-burial_1296066

Religion: Muslims face Islamophobia in the West

There is no doubt that the presence of Muslims in many European countries has changed the demographic and religious landscape of the West.

Read this at: http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/news-188892-muslims-face-islamophobia-in-europe-by-talip-kucukcan.html

Malaysiana: Bagan Pinang by election

Today, Bagan Pinang voters will decide whether to continue vote for BN or otherwise. As far as my reading is concerned, it is hard to find honest and non-bias news on Malaysian politics in the internet.

Try this site: http://www.silobreaker.com/1-malaysia-gives-bn-the-edge-in-bagan-pinang-claims-muhyiddin-5_2262643924281589761

Astronomy: Huge ‘ghost’ ring discovered around Saturn

Saturn’s ring system has just got a lot larger, with the discovery of a faint ring that stretches out millions of kilometres into space.

But this new ring, which follows the orbit of one of Saturn’s moons, Phoebe, is unlike any of the other rings that are closer to the planet: as well as being much thicker and wider, it is tilted from the plane of the other rings.

Read: http://www.nature.com/news/2009/091007/full/news.2009.979.html

History: First Lady Michelle Obama’s family tree traces road from slavery to White House: report

It’s a story stretching across five generations that traces a family’s path from slavery to the White House.

Pres. Obama’s  rise to the nation’s top political office marked a historic moment for African-Americans but now, newly discovered genealogical records connecting Michelle Obama’s  family tree directly to a former slave make the first couple’s journey even more symbolic.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2009/10/08/2009-10-08_roots_of_first_lady_michelle_obamas_.html#ixzz0TOXHAlWJ

Malaysia Anthem Furor Hits Wrong Note, Says Indonesian Expert


Solo. Oops! We did it again. Moral indignation over Malaysia’s alleged use of an Indonesian song for its national anthem appears — rather embarrassingly — to have been misplaced, according to a leading Indonesian musician and artist, Remy Sylado. 

The episode follows a recent outpouring of anger — including a heated protest outside the Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta on Tuesday — over Malaysia’s supposed theft of the Balinese pendet dance to promote itself in a television advertisement. 

The Singapore office of cable television station, Discovery Channel, however, quickly acknowledged that it was responsible for mistakenly featuring the dance in a promotion for its documentary program, “Enigmatic Malaysia.” 

Sylado, speaking in Jakarta on Wednesday, said the so-called Indonesian song “ Terang Bulan ” (“Moonlight”) was actually an adaptation of “La Rosalie,” which was composed in the 19th century by Pierre-Jean de Beranger of Francey. 

Citing a Dutch historical text on national anthems, Sylado said the song became popular in the former French colony of the Seychelles and arrived in the Malay archipelago at the turn of the 20th century, where it was eventually used as the basis for Malaysia’s anthem, “ Negaraku ” (“My Country”). 

“It is written clearly that ‘Negaraku,’ the Malaysian anthem, is adapted from Pierre-Jean de Beranger’s song. Not from ‘Terang Bulan,’ ” Sylado said. 

He said the adaptation of “La Rosalie” to “Negaraku” had a long evolution. In 1888, during British rule of the Federated Malay States, the lyrics were rewritten and localized to “God Save the Sultan” by Raja Mansur, the eldest son of Sultan Abdullah Muhammad Shah II Habibullah of Perak. 

The song was first performed formally during the sultan’s royal visit to England, where the song was presented as the Perak state anthem. 

Sylado said this version of history had long been recognized by the Malaysian authorities and was used in the nation’s history books. He said that before declaring independence in 1957, Malaysia’s first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, decided to use a revised version of Perak’s state anthem as the national anthem. 

“If the Indonesian government wants to sue Malaysia for copying ‘Terang Bulan,’ it would be a bad move,” Sylado said. “I’m concerned there will be a countersuit for using bahasa Indonesia , which is adapted from Malay and is indeed a part of Malaysia.” 

In the wake of growing anger toward Malaysia over the pendet furor and other cross-straits issues, such as abuse of Indonesian migrant workers and simmering territorial disputes, Ruktiningsih, an executive from Solo-based state recording company Lokananta, had recently claimed “Negaraku” was suspiciously similar to “Terang Bulan.” 

He claimed that “Terang Bulan” was written by the Bandung Ensemble and recorded by Lokananta in March 1956 — a year before Malaysia announced its anthem. 

Ruktiningsih said the song was one of 49 recorded by national radio station RRI on the orders of then-President Sukarno. The songs were later made into a recording by Lokananta.

By: Candra Malik (Jakarta Globe)

Comment:

Emotional-focused coping style shouldn’t be used exorbitantly in handling bilateral relations between two neighbouring nations. Both countries should use problem-focused coping strategy in order to sort out all obstacles which hinder progress and impede them from moving into the next phase of development.

People from both countries should restraint themselves from displaying their emotions and study motives or propaganda before taking unscrupulous action. Obviously, PDI-P is throwing stone to discredit SBY and using patriotic issues to garner support. This party is mobilizing uneducated public to maneuver political support for it’s own political agenda.

Indonesia is facing a hard time to handle humanitarian crisis due to 7.6 Richter scale earthquake in Padang. All humanitarian efforts should be mobilized there rather than elsewhere. Bye.