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Monday, May 25, 2009

Farish One-on-One

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One of the people that Walski can say, without an iota of hesitation, that he’s been privileged to meet, as a side-effect of his blogging, has been Dr. Farish A. Noor.

Among other things, Farish is the Senior Fellow at the Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technical University (NTU), Singapore where he is Director of Research for the Research Cluster on Transnational Religion in Southeast Asia (source: The Other Malaysia).

He is also one of the core members of the socio-politi-cultural research website, The Other Malaysia, through which, Walski has managed to gain much insight about Farish’s views on local and regional history, and the impact of that history on what we know today as Malaysia.

In an exclusive interview with Malaysiakini TV, Farish talks about the forces that have shaped our nation to what we know it to be today.

Warning: If you were born after 1980, some of what Farish has to say may shatter your view of Malaysia as you know it. Worse case, it may open your mind a bit.

From the scant 9-some minutes, one thing becomes painfully clear – we have regressed as a society, where communal (be it ethnic or religious) concerns have never been at a more heightened state.

Walski will be keeping a close eye out for the continuation of the interview. Offhand, he doesn’t actually know how many more parts there are.
(Walski’s own personal 2-bits, in the full post)

From an age perspective, Farish Noor is Walski’s contemporary, both born in the 60’s. In some ways, too, we both have at least one other thing in common – both Farish and Walski lived in East Malaysia for an appreciable period of time, during both their growing up years.

For Walski (as with Farish), it was Sabah, in the latter part of 1970’s. From what he can remember, Sabah in those days was a lot more cohesive as a society, where ethnicity and roots, while recognized and appreciated, never became the core of social existence and basis of interaction. If ever there was any resentment, it was against us “West Malaysians”. Even then, being a young teenager having his first taste of secondary school, he interacted freely with his friends, bar none – ethnic roots was never a concern.

Perhaps it’s the oblivious innocence of being at that age. But Walski somehow thinks that it’s more than that. It was perhaps the absence of continuously being reminded about ethnicity and religion, not in terms of mutual respect and understanding, but as the basis of exclusivity and segregation.

In 30-some years, Walski has noticed that the emphasis on ethnicity and, increasingly these days, religion, is progressively becoming institutionalized. We are made aware, nay, constantly reminded, about these two aspects of our society at every turn. It’s become almost second nature to ask what ethnicity someone is, if some ethnic stereotypical feature ambiguity exists.

All this has not happened out of a vacuum. It is something that has regressively developed over the last 3 decades.

The big question is, however, develop until what point?

There are two possible answers – explosion/implosion is one. But the more desirable outcome, however, is progression in the reverse direction.

In Walski’s mind, at least.

He always believes that there is a way, if there is a will. But collectively as one nation, do we have that will?

Incidentally, there is one word that Walski has purposely avoided in this post. The clue lies in the video you (hopefully) watched. He’s sure that you’ll figure it out, eventually.

There are (up to) two additional questions that Walski wishes to ask you: does the concept embodied in that missing word define you as a person?

If you answered “No”, then you’ve pretty much reached the end of this post.

But if you answered “Yes”, Walski would really like to know, WHY?

Click here for the full post......

Saturday, May 23, 2009

HENN: Police uncover seditious keyboard

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Police Mistake DAP HQ for Digital Mall 
myAsylum has discovered a new inanimate object considered seditious - keyboards - reporting straight from Hell, and soon-to-be Hell-on-Earth, Malaysia. Another episode in the continuing series from the Hell-on-Earth News Network (HENN)

PETALING JAYA - It started innocently enough. 11 police officers, bored out of their wits, went on a shopping spree, wanting to purchase DVD’s and other computer supplies. Due to their really crappy driving skills, however, what started as a trip to Petaling Jaya’s Digital Mall, ended in victory when the eleven officers, frustrated for not finding the mall, raided  the Democratic Action Party’s (DAP) Headquarters instead.

Picture of Leng Han and party leaders during the police raid ... on TwitpicVictory, because the police have uncovered the world’s first seditious QWERTY keyboard. Another world record for a country with a penchant for the world’s first this, that, and the other.

This latest heist by the police adds to the ever growing list of objects considered seditious in Malaysia, after butter cake and black t-shirts.

The Royal Malaysian Police, also known (in Bahasa Malaysia) as Polis Raja Di Malaysia, were reported to have been overjoyed at their unique find. More so because it was a chance raid, and in particular, because they didn’t have to go through the hassle of securing a warrant. Like would be the case in most other civilized countries.

“We’re kings in this country, you loser reporter,” an unidentified un-flying police officer of objectionable behavior allegedly said.

It is believed that in addition to PC supplies, the police officers in question were also looking for their uniforms. This has been surmised by HENN’s video analysts after viewing images of the arrest, captured earlier during the raid.
(the arrest video, and more, in the full post)

Through Twitter - that annoying Web 2.0 application, which makes censorship and suppression so 20th century - HENN was alerted to a 3-part video, now on the DAP’s YouTube channel, taken during the raid earlier today.

DAP HQ Raided (1 of 3)
DAP HQ Raided (2 of 3)
DAP HQ Raided (3 of 3)

It is so far unconfirmed whether or not the 11 officers were sober or not when they carried out the raid, as HENN has been made to understand that the DAP Headquarters looks nothing like the Digital Mall, despite both being in the Petaling Jaya area. And Petaling Jaya is a huge friggin’ place.

Also, speculation is rife that the police may fault the raid on a sabotaged sat-nav device which pointed them to the wrong building.

HENN will keep a close eye on this, and other related (and maybe some unrelated) seditious news. Meanwhile, our editorial staff has advised the public to not flaunt their QWERTY keyboards in public areas. 
(© 2008 - Hell-on-Earth News Network)

Click here for the full post......

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Offbeat Travelogue: Dawn of the Twittering Dead

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It’s been a long, long time since Walski did an Offbeat Travelogue post. But this one really had to be done. Best of all, Walski didn’t even have to go anywhere.

As you may have noticed, Walski is now on Twitter – poster child of instant Web 2.0 social messaging. The rule of thumb when it comes to Twitter is that whomever follows you, you follow back. Okay, there are exceptions when he won’t, but 9 times out of 10 Walski will.

Well guess who decided to add Walski? None other than the late Altantuya Shariibuu, the Mongolian lady who was brutally murdered in 2006, and goes by the handle @Altantuya. As if that weren’t freaky enough, here’s what he got in the mail a couple of days ago.

Image hosting by Photobucket

Unfortunately, she’s kinda beyond help. At least, not within Walski’s capability to assist. But he had to pop this question… 
(Twittering from the great beyond, and more, in the full post)

Well, so far no reply from the deceased. Probably too busy being dead, or worse Twittering from the great beyond.

You see, @Altantuya, when not making distress tweets to Walski (and who knows whom else) usually tweets about Malaysian political news and events. Until receiving the spooky tweet, Walski really didn’t realize just how pervasive the Internet had become…

And despite being dead, having 404 followers is impressive. Even Walski doesn’t have that many. Forty more followers, and a lot of ethnic Chinese Twitterers will be very impressed. One of the benefits, he supposes, of being a dead celebrity…

Okay, okay… we all know that there is someone still breathing behind this Twitter account. And truth be told, it struck Walski as being rather amusing, especially thinking about the extrapolated possibilities, in particular, this one: that even after we’ve kicked this mortal coil, Internet junkies won’t have to suffer ‘Net withdrawals.

It also makes Walski wonder if the broadband speeds in the afterlife are better than what we experience in Malaysia while still alive.

On a separate, but related note, since the use of Twitter has increased exponentially of late, there recently have been many articles published on the code of conduct and ethics vis-a-vis Twitter.

However, none of them touches on whether or not it’s ethical to impersonate a dead person… or parrot.

Click here for the full post......

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

HENN: Police action attributed to color disorder

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Black Makes Malaysian Police See Red 
myAsylum has uncovered the existence of a new class of color-related insanity, which is uniquely Malaysian - reporting straight from Hell, and soon-to-be Hell-on-Earth, Malaysia. Another episode in the continuing series from the Hell-on-Earth News Network (HENN)

An international police medical observer group today made a startling disclosure that perhaps explains why Malaysian police personnel have been overreacting to the color black lately.

A spokesperson for the Malaysian bureau of the Police Idiosyncrasy Gauge Group  of Yokohama (PIGGY), S. Nort, said that seeing the color black triggers a reaction similar as how the color red makes male bovines pissed off. PIGGY calls it the Red Bull Effect.

Speaking at a press conference early this morning, S. Nort pointed to last night’s incident in the Brickfields area of Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur as anecdotal example of this phenomenon.

“They see people wearing black shirts, and they simply go apeshit,” S. Nort said. “Compounding the effect is candlelight. Kinda like how strobe lights induce seizures in epileptics.”

S. Nort added, “It’s fortunate that x-ray vision is not part of standard police issue. Otherwise, the sight of black underwear would simply drive them up the wall. The lacy kind, in particular”.

So far, PIGGY’s research has shown that such phenomena has only been observed in far flung, 3rd world shit-holes, such as Zimbabwe, Myanmar (Burma) and North Korea.  
(black is the new black, yellow, or any other offensive color, and more, in the full post)

Asked what were factors that contributed to such a phenomenon, PIGGY’s S. Nort said that there were many possible factors.

“Fear and loathing are two of the most common causes observed. In some cases, low average intelligence of the populace can be a big factor.”

It is not immediately known, however, whether or not these factors played a role in how the police behaved last night.

“Our observation indicates that there is a possibility. What is clear, however, is that the police in this case, exhibited an extraordinary level of moronic jerk-ness.”

Asked what were other symptoms of the Red Bull Effect, S. Nort stated that there were a few others.

“Delusions of grandeur is one of them, where police personnel effected have it in their heads that they were above the law. Itching to arrest anyone in sight for no apparent reason is another symptom,” he snorted said.

“Another uniquely odd symptom is the fondness for using hailers to speak to people even as close as five feet away. The delusions of grandeur is strangely coupled with a voice-volume inferiority complex.”

S. Nort advised that for the time being, the general public should avoid contact with the police when dressed in black or using candles, since any exposure of the police to the color black and candles might trigger similar psycho-idiotic behavior. Especially when the sun goes down and the moon is full.

But PIGGY’s S. Nort emphasized that last night’s incident was very mild in comparison to what they’ve observed in the past.

“The worst instance we have know of was when an All Blacks supporters party in Zimbabwe was gunned down, all because of what they were wearing, and because they were about to blow out candles on a birthday butter cake.”

HENN will keep a close watch on developments related to this strange, yet totally obnoxious, phenomenon.
(© 2009 - Hell-on-Earth News Network)

Click here for the full post......

Monday, May 18, 2009

In Memoriam: Ian Kevin Curtis (1956 - 1980)

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Joy Division may not exactly be a household name in Malaysia. And for most music fans in this country, neither would the name Ian Curtis.

Image taken from The Heartbreakers Handbook, hosting by Photobucket This, too, is an unconventional obituary. For one thing, it is, shall we say, belated. By about 29 years.

For it was today, almost 30 years ago, that Ian Curtis took his life. Just before the group was to have gone on their first American tour.

There is one recent film that documents the life of Curtis, Anton Corbijn’s 2007 film Control, which, unfortunately, Walski hasn’t had the opportunity to watch. Yet. Yes, he owns a copy, but hasn’t really found the right time, nor mood, to watch it.

Maybe tonight. Or sometime this week.

Twenty-four, though, is too damned young an age to die, no matter under whatever circumstance. And it’s all the more tragic when it’s suicide.

Tragedy, though, sometimes has a silver lining. Curtis’ death propelled Joy Division into music legend. The album Closer, released after Ian Curtis’ death became the group’s highest chart achievement, together with the single Love Will Tear Us Apart, arguably Joy Division’s most well-known song.
(Curtis remembered, tribute idea, and more, in the full post)

Perhaps next year the KL indie music community can do something to commemorate Ian’s passing. It’ll be the 30th anniversary, and a more apt time to do a tribute show. Walski remembers that a 25th anniversary tribute was done 4 years back at Paul’s Place.

Image taken from The Monica Show, hosting by Photobucket Walski’s pretty sure that at least one person he knows would be interested. What say you, The Lord Panda? We’d have a whole year to prepare for it, and Walski’s sure that there will be folks willing to help out with putting this together. As long as we don’t do the event at Zouk KL, Walski’s pretty sure that the response would be good.

In any case, Ian Curtis suffered from epilepsy and depression, both factors possibly contributing to his suicide, coupled with the stress of rising to fame, and an affair he had with a journalist.

It’s impossible to imagine what popular music today would be like if Joy Division had not been around. While not exactly punk rock, their music combined the energy of punk with an esoteric atmosphere, and pre-goth gloom. At least from Walski’s point of view. They became the inspiration for many other music acts to come after.

From the ashes of Joy Division, rose the more successful New Order, consisting of the 3 surviving members – Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris – and later joined by Morris’ girlfriend (and later wife) Gillian Gilbert. This configuration would survive until 2001, when Gillian left the band for family reasons. She was replaced by Phil Cunningham, who’s been with New Order since.

But the big change to the line up (apart from the few periods of hiatus) occurred in 2007, when Peter Hook left the group. New Order, still intact today, now operates as a 3-piece.

All the original members were involved with Corbijn’s Control, contributing to the music used in the film. And in a way, paying tribute to their fallen friend, Ian Curtis.

If he were still alive, Curtis would have turned 53 come this July. But his tragic passing, sad as it was, did serve a greater purpose of elevating Joy Division, and Curtis himself, into the realm of rock legend.

And Walski, like many others, remembers him today, and thanks him for playing his part in shaping the world of music.

Wherever he may be, Walski hopes that his troubled soul is finally at rest.

Click here for the full post......

Friday, May 15, 2009

A real Black Celebration

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No, not the political kind, but rather the Depeche Mode kind. Which kinda gives you an idea of how diverse Walski’s world is.

Remember what Walski mentioned in this post a few weeks ago, that there was something else up with Depeche Mode?

Well, that something else is a listening party organized by Twilight Actiongirl (aka TAG, via Facebook), in conjunction with Warner Music Malaysia. And Walski’s involvement with this? He’ll appear as a Guest Panda in tonight’s one-off, one-time-only appearance of an expanded version of The Panda Head Curry? performance, in conjunction with the event. The following is from the TAG Facebook event page:

TWILIGHT ACTIONGIRL celebrates the arrival of Depeche Mode's "Sounds of the Universe," the legendary group's 12th album. As the only credible New Romantic survivors, Depeche Mode has constantly updated their dark and seductive sound, winning them successive generations of loyal fans. Oh you must know such boring trivia, right? Otherwise, DM would be a Genting Highlands nostalgia act. Back to the new album, then. We hear that it has been hailed by some daun ketum junkies as their best work to date, has an abrasive, retro analogue synth sound consistent with their recent material. In truth, it does rock. That leads us to TAG rolling out a night of black celebration with moody and darkly sexy DM classics on the decks and on stage. Strange highs and strange lows guaranteed. Don't ask us how much is a taxi ride back to Basildon, mind.

PANDA HEAD CURRY, playing a one-off DM-inspired set, will be taking their satirical and surreal original material on stage. Expect a live set with a sinister twist and maybe, a DM cover or two. Of course, TAG is due a motherlode of DM mayhem for the dancefloor. First to the left, back to the right, twist and turn until you got it right ...

(source: Facebook)

Details of where and when tonight in the full post.

It may come as a surprise to you, but the real person behind the facade that is Walski is actually multi-talented, if he doesn’t say so himself… Not quite Walski of Sound, but who knows… maybe that will be coming soon, too. 
(event details, and more, in the full post)

So, in any case, here’s the lowdown on tonight’s listening party.

When: Friday, May 15, 2009 starting at 10:00pm
Where: BarSonic, Zouk KL

Rumor has it that Warner Music has some Depeche Mode giveaways, but this is unconfirmed. Then again, rumors are just that – unconfirmed news.

The listening party is in conjunction with the release of DM’s 12th album, Sounds Of The Universe, which Walski had blogged about earlier.

Nevertheless, tonight should be fun… but being that this is The Panda Head Curry? we’re talking about, be prepared for some insanity. Bonus, if we don’t get kicked off stage after the second song…

Click here for the full post......

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A "Prima" on New Media

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This post is dedicated to the bozos who own/run/rule Media Prima, who in turn own/rule/run all 4 of our free-to-air commercial TV stations.

Welcome to the age of New Media, bozos – didn’t your momma tell you that suppression of information is so 20th century? 
(context of this dedication, in the full post)

Earlier today, Malaysiakini via an anonymous source, reported that all the free-to-air TV stations were instructed to not air any footage showing speaker V. Sivakumar being roughly dragged out of the Perak state assembly during the May 7 WWE Slamdown emergency sitting of the assembly. The directive is said to have come from senior management.

Media Prima, a Malaysian media conglomerate, is believed to be closely linked to UMNO, and also has control over several major newspapers in the country. And no, Malaysia doesn’t have anti-trust legislature on the books.

Many Malaysians still rely on fee-to-air broadcast and mainstream newspapers for their source of news.

But such “endearing” images, although newsworthy, may not make it to air because of the potential bad press to UMNO/BN. Such is the old-school thinking of our media moguls, which is today counter-productive and only goes to show how out of touch with the times these people really are.

So, the only “known” remedy? Suppression.

And we’re not talking yet about the video equivalent of Twitpic, Tweetube, that currently caters primarily for the Mac market – but that may change once Windows 7 is finally released late this year or early 2010. To misquote that well known Borg adage: Suppression is Futile.

Oh, well… that’s the way the old media cookie crumbles, Walski reckons.

Click here for the full post......

Breaking Orbit

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Today is May 13th, 2009. Unless, of course, you’re living in a different time zone that’s still yesterday. But that’s beyond Walski’s means to do anything about, so just pretend it’s already Wednesday.

Saros 124 series Solar Eclipse, image taken from NASA, hosting by Photobucket About 472 years ago today, Cardinal Richelieu of France created the table knife. It is not generally known why he did this, nor if this invention had anything contribution to the fact that he eventually became a central character in Alexandre Dumas Sr’s The Three Musketeers almost 2 centuries later. The popular phrase “The pen is mightier than the sword”, too, is related to Richelieu, albeit indirectly and nothing whatsoever to do with the table knife, which is, as we know know, mightier than the fork.

It is known however, that five years later, in December of 1642, Richelieu died. Of natural causes, and not by the misuse of the table knife, which would have been more ironic.

Exactly 247 years after the table knife was invented, the American Institute of Electrical Engineers was formed, on May 13 1884. The AIEE was one of the two organizations that later became the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (better known as IEEE) 79 years later. Since then, they have become the international standard bearers for anything electrical or electronic.

In 1930 on this exact day, too, the only known fatality to be caused by hail was recorded in Lubbock, Texas, and exactly 20 years later, the Diner’s Club issues its first credit cards, taking the shopping experience to a level of satisfaction never before known to mankind.

Which, quite coincidentally, had the exact opposite effect on bill-paying – because of credit limits and such, consumers rarely get the satisfaction of seeing a zero balance on their monthly statement.

By some twisted cosmic coincidence, exactly 15 years later in 1965, The Rolling Stones start recording what would be their most recognizable hit, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, a song, incidentally, about blatant commercialism. And probably un-cleared credit card bills, too, if you listen real close. Exactly a year later, The Stones release “Paint It Black”, a song that SIPM considers the anthem for the debacle we now know as May 7.

Which nicely brings us to 1969. Exactly 40 years ago, to an event that would change Walski’s life forever.

For it was on Tuesday, May 13th 1969, at a very tender age of 5, that Walski discovered the beauty, and mysterious allure, of titties.
(breaking orbit, moving ahead, and more, in the full post)

For reasons best known to himself, Walski will not elaborate. But he does thank his lucky stars for that fateful day…

Provided you’ve stayed on to read this far (and Walski thanks you for your indulgence), the preceding nonsense does arrive at a point, however. And the point is this: Loads of things throughout the several millennia of human history have happened on May 13. Good things, bad things, strange things, and yes, even stupid things, in all likelihood.

May 13: Declassified Documents on the Malaysian Riots of 1969, image hosting by Photobucket But the one event that arguably has single-handedly shaped Malaysia over the last 40 years, is the bloody race riots of May 13, 1969. That black blotch on our nation’s history that ultra nationalists will never let us forget.

It is a date that is conveniently exhumed time and time again, to act as a demonizing factor, any time civil society clamors for equality and justice for all Malaysians. Without fail, articles upon articles will be produced around and about this date, mostly to remind us that the post-May 13 status quo can never, and must never, be changed. Lest May 13, 1969 repeats itself.

Like a broken record.

But as Farish A. Noor points out, in his excruciatingly eloquent article “A million 13 Mays”, what happened was not at all widespread throughout the nation. And yet, that one event has shaped national policy, as if it were something that happened everywhere.

As a lighter aside, “excruciatingly” here is meant as a compliment – it always pains him to read Farish’s articles, wishing that Walski could write anywhere as well or as eloquently.

Farish does see May 13th as tragic, but in a different way: he sees that date as when Malaysia began transitioning away from her “golden years”.

Year in, year out, Malaysians are reminded of the tragic events of 13 May 1969, and made to repent for the sins of our forefathers and foremothers. Like a restless ghost, we cannot get past this date without a sense of foreboding and the fear that one day, the past will revisit the present in no uncertain terms.

To add to our fear, the country's leaders (though they tend to be those on one side of the political fence) are wont to resurrect May 1969 whenever it suits them most, and to frame the event in a decidedly jaundiced aspect. We are told time and again that to demand political freedom, the right to speak, the right to believe, the right to love, will lead us down the path that ends in the impasse of communal bloodshed and violence.

(source: The Nut Graph)

40 years later, the specter of May 13 never fails to be reconjured, particularly now that civil society is clamoring for more equality across the board, regardless of ethnic origins and piety.

And because of this periodically forced exhumation, we have failed to be a truly cohesive Bangsa Malaysia – one nation, with justice and equality for all citizens.

More perplexing is that there are even certain groups of people in Malaysia who have been indoctrinated over the years to believe that equality is a construct that should never allowed to manifest itself in this country. Take this letter to Utusan some days back, for example (translation by myAsylum):

SEJAK Pilihan Raya Umum Ke-12 (PRU 12), iklim politik negara boleh dikatakan dalam keadaan terumbang-ambing. Dasar keterbukaan dan ruang luas kepada komuniti hampir lima tahun lampau kini memberikan kesan negatif.

Atas nama liberalisasi, persamaan hak dituntut baik di bidang agama, politik, ekonomi mahupun perundangan. Malangnya konsep persamaan hak serta kebebasan itu dipengaruhi elemen universal dan tidak beracuankan budaya dan sejarah setempat.

Ever since the 12th General Elections, the nation's political climate can be said to be topsy-turvy. The environment of openness and leeway given to society over the past five years is now showing negative effects.

In the name of liberalization, equality is demanded be it in the areas of religion, politics, economy, and even law. Unfortunately, the concepts of equality and freedom are influenced by universal elements, and not molded by local culture and history.
(download a PDF of the original letter here, in Bahasa Malaysia)

This sort of diatribe always gets Walski wondering whether or not we Malaysians should really consider ourselves a species apart from the rest of the human race. And he also wonders how prevalent this idea is.

Fortunately, though, what Walski does know is that this twisted mindset is not universal. And, that there are those (apart from Walski) who do believe in the concept of one cohesive Bangsa Malaysia.

One such person is Walski’s blog-brother (being that we share the same blog parent), Anas Zubedy. Anas has chosen today to launch his book, “Have A Meaningful Malaysia”, a book “to unite all Malaysians”. If you’re still one of those who buys the print version of The Star, you may have seen his full-page ad about this today.

If you – like Walski – aren’t one of those people, you can still read about the why’s on Anas’ blog posting. The book contains 45 stories of 45 amazing people from throughout history, and in telling their stories, provides us with a guide towards (hopefully) playing our individual part in shaping our own nation, Malaysia.

A nation that is Many Colors, One Race – Bangsa Malaysia.

Walski is well aware that there are many of us living today who witnessed first-hand the atrocities that occurred on this day 40 years ago, particularly if you were living in Kuala Lumpur or Penang at the time. Such traumatic images are, as Walski can imagine, difficult to forget. The Nut Graph today published one person’s recollection of that day.

But perhaps it’s time to break away from the orbit of May 13, 1969 – a decaying orbit that never fails to get used by those who want to protect the status quo, for whatever reasons they may have. Forty years is a long time to be revolving around the same tired argument, that really is a stumbling block, preventing us from moving on to bigger and better things.

There probably are those who may like running around in circles, trapped in a decaying orbit that Walski thinks will eventually see us imploding, leaving historical skid marks as the testament of a nation that could, but failed.

By any stretch of the imagination, Walski is NOT one of those. He’s broken orbit a long, long time ago…

Click here for the full post......

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New Media Comic Relief

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Yesterday, The Nut Graph carried a report about how UMNO wants to use new media to woo the younger generation.

One of the best lines in the article (quoting UMNO’s new information chief) had to be this: “We will speak their language because they are now speaking in the new media terms like blogs and Facebook, but in doing so we will say the truth”.

Walski only has one question ask: I can has cheezburger?  
(making the Web 2.0 leap, and more, in the full post)

But kidding aside, new media practitioner Oon Yeoh makes a good point in his article, “Politicians Don’t Get Social Media” – they simply don’t get it. He cites several examples to prove his point, including Barack Obama, arguably the most tech-savvy living statesman on planet Earth.

In the case of Ahmad Maslan, for example, what he forgets is that social media is about interaction, and not one-way, shove-it-down-yer-throat propagandizing. Just because you own a spanner (and presumably know how to use it) doesn’t immediately qualify you to tune Formula-1 race cars.

Most importantly, it’s about content. Hopefully, Ahmad Maslan also knows that politicians have already taken to blogs, like sharks to blood. And these days, the rage seems to be Twitter, which Oon calls “the poster child for interactive, Web 2.0, social media”.

There are two politicians, who use Twitter, both of whom Walski happens to follow. One is from UMNO, and the other not. Let’s look at each of their last 3 tweets (newest first) – see if you can spot which one is the UMNO politician.

Politician #1
  • Perak in limbo with no Mentri Besar – PR lawyers to set aside Court of Appeal single-judge “stay” decision
  • From a constitutional crisis with 2 MBs, Perak plunges into the ridiculous situation where no one can occupy the MB's office in SUK
  • Perak Crisis - new development. No one can legitimately occupy the MB’s office until the Court of Appeal hearing or state general election.
Politician #2
  • 3.00pm – Announcement and Launch of Sime Darby special project
  • 10.30am – Appointments
  • 12/05/09 : 8.30am – Office matters

Any guess as to which the UMNO politician is?

Now, Walski doesn’t know about you, but he surely couldn’t care less what a given politician’s daily schedule is. What’s more interesting are his/her thoughts. Of course, more importantly, the politicians’ media/PR teams need to understand social media, since it’s them that does the real social media work.

For more comic relief, go check out the observation that the __earthinc made about the same politicians.

In any case, it’ll be interesting to see what UMNO comes up with, in terms of woo-ing the younger set. In all likelihood, more comedic material for Walski.

Walski’s post-mystery politician id footnote: Just in case you’re curious, you can find out who the two politicians Walski mentioned are: Politician #1 and Politician #2. Did you guess correctly?

Click here for the full post......

The loose ends get more entangled

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As this post goes live, most of you would already know that the BN Perak Government has obtained a stay of judicial decision. The stay doesn’t invalidate the decision, but only delays when the decision takes effect. But the stay will be valid until the appeal to yesterday’s decision is heard.

Image taken from Vibrant Technologies, hosting by Photobucket(click on image for source)

Which means that the illegitimate Chief Minister, Datuk Zambry Abd Kadir legitimately remains Chief Minister, albeit illegitimately, while the legitimate Chief Minister cannot resume office legitimately. Anything the legitimate CM does, as this point would be illegitimate.

Yes, Walski knows it sounds confusing. Fucked up, even. But that’s how the law plays out, which explains why some court cases drag on, and on, and on.

Which also means that as long as the delayed legitimacy is in place, which allows the illegitimate to legitimately remain illegitimate, we’ll still have to call Perak Darul Limbo for a while yet.
(tangling the entangled even further, in the full post)

But allow Walski to tangle up your already tangled mind for a while longer.

Because the ruling yesterday established that “at all material times” Nizar was and is the rightful Chief Minister of Perak, it means that BN can’t really do much with Darul Limbo, either. In effect, from having 2 of everything, Perak now doesn’t even have any Chief Minister or a State Executive Council. To quote @limkitsiang via Twitter:

From a constitutional crisis with 2 MBs, Perak plunges into the ridiculous situation where no one can occupy the MB's office in SUK

SUK, incidentally is the acronym for the Bahasa Malaysia phrase for State Secretariat (SetiaUsaha Kerajaan). But just like how the acronym looks, the situation certainly does suck.

It just gets better and better folks – legitimately exercising illegitimacy while sitting out a hiatus of rightful pronouncement of legitimacy.

Or something to that effect.

Click here for the full post......

Nizar Judicial Declaration: Some Loose Ends

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Rather than update the last posting, Walski thought that he’d do a brand new one. There are some loose-end kinda thoughts that he felt he should put keyboard-to-pixel before we move on to other things.

Image taken from The Star, hosting by Photobucket

Despite the rejoicing of civil society over the announcement yesterday, Walski thinks that there still are certain uncertainties surrounding Perak. It’s not all cut-and-dried. Yet.

The loose-end thoughts that Walski has aren’t independent ones, by the way. Which means that the same damn things are on the minds of other folks as well. Namely, two of Walski’s A-List bloggers, Aisehman and KTemoc. They beat Walski in putting their thoughts down, but that’s okay – it’s all good.

Aisehman opines that since today’s judicial declaration means that AT NO TIME was Nizar not the Chief Minister, it means that:

  • The sit-in under the Democracy Tree was a valid assembly sitting, and whatever resolutions that were passed
  • Sivakumar is, therefore, still the speaker of the assembly, and therefore during the next assembly sitting will still have the right to bar any state assemblyperson from attending
  • May 7th was a total waste of time, resources, and pepper spray (somebody else’s, of course)

KTemoc pretty much says the same thing, if not in so many words.

But the bottom line is, and this is where Walski is of the same opinion, Pakatan Rakyat, during the next sitting, will have a majority in the house.
(the coming moves, and more, in the full post)

And if he wanted to, Nizar could theoretically continue on as Chief Minister, despite his assurance that he would call for dissolution of the assembly. Then again, while theoretically possible, Walski personally doesn’t think he’d actually take that route. 

But let’s put all that aside for a moment.

BN’s response, so far, sans Zambry, has been to say that they will file an appeal today (via The Star), while PM Najib Abdul Razak, who’s also the president of UMNO, urged the people of Perak to remain calm while "the situation is resolved" (from the same article in The Star).

The Nut Graph elaborates (emphasis by myAsylum):

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak described the High Court decision on the Perak Menteri Besar issue today, which did not favour Umno and the Barisan Nasional (BN), as not the end of the road for the party.

Najib, who is also the Umno president, said this was because there was still room for the party to think of appropriate measures to tackle the problem.

"This is not the end of the road. There is still room to think of appropriate action. My colleagues in the supreme council (MT) and I will think deeply on what is the best for Umno and the BN that we love," he said at the 63rd Umno anniversary celebration at the Putra World Trade Centre, here tonight.

(source: The Nut Graph)

Umm... “end of the road for the party”… A tad melodramatic, don’t you think? Unless, of course, Najib’s GPS is telling him something the rest of the world doesn’t know. Hmm… kind of intriguing that he should choose such phraseology.

And as far as “the problem” goes, all Walski will say is that it’s nice that Najib has the UMNO Supreme Council to help figure out how to clean up the mess that he started to begin with. Executive privilege, Walski supposes.

Oh well…

So now, the big “who wants to be a Slumdog Millionaire” question remains: what will the Perak palace’s response to Nizar’s request for dissolving the assembly be this time around?

Walski reckons that we’ll know soon enough. Incidentally, the Sultan of Perak is not in the country at the moment, but the Prince Regent has the authority to act on the Sultan’s behalf. This, more than any other, is an opportunity for the palace to redeem itself from negative public opinion. Hopefully, the palace realizes this, too.

Rest assured, whatever happens, Walski will be scanning the Twitter-waves today…

Click here for the full post......

Monday, May 11, 2009

Nizar declared rightful MB of Perak

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Updated (a little) @ 1617 hrs

Got this via Twitter, from @__earth initially, soon followed by a whole host of people. As in not many seconds later. Welcome to Malaysia, Twitter!

The KL High Court has just ruled that Datuk Seri Ir. Haji Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin is still the rightful Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) of Perak. This has been confirmed by tweets from The Edge, The Nut Graph, and by DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang.

Update @ 1617: This has further been confirmed by The Nut Graph in their posting just before 4pm today.

Uncle Lim, via @limkitsiang also reported that the presiding judge has also rejected a stay of decision application made by Zambry’s counsel. Among the factors stated in the judgment include (some of the following have been cut and pasted from @limkitsiang tweets):

  • “perak constitution does not contemplate mb dismissal by sultan”
  • the Attorney General’s “deeming argument” is rejected, since it is the opinion of the judge that there is “no ambiguity in constitution”
  • “assembly never had no confidence motion, material”
  • “mb can only be dismissed by no confidence motion in assembly”

Walski will update this post later, once there is more to report. But for now, some important questions. 
(the questions Walski has, and more, in the full post)

First, is BN going to accept this decision?

If they do, then that would pave the way to solving the impasse. Nizar can call for the dissolution of the assembly, making a state-wide by-election necessary. A RESET, so to speak.

And secondly, if BN does not except the decision, what then? But then again, it would be considered contempt of court if the decision is not accepted, right?

More later peeps…

Click here for the full post......

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

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Okay, so it’s late in the day for Walski to be doing this. But more importantly, it’s still Sunday. Hope that it’s been a mother of a day for ya.

So, in Malaysia at least, Happy Mother’s Day!

It wouldn’t be myAsylum if Walski didn’t post something off-the-wall on days like this...
(more mothersome verbiage, in the full post)

Hat-tip to Walski’s old and dear friend Stacy Miller for the video (sorry – but she doesn’t have a blog or anything that Walski can link to).

Of course, everyone loves and cherishes their mother. In one way or another. No matter how overbearing and unreasonable they can be sometimes, we all love our mums.

Walski’s at an age when he knows that nobody’s perfect. But so far, he has not met one mother who’s done things for (and sometimes to) their children without having good intentions. Okay, there are those occasional nutcase exceptions, but by and large, it’s all for the good of the kids.

No matter how screwed up, in retrospect, the intentions are always good. And Walski reckons that it’s this that’s the most important take-away.

In any case, hope that all of you have had a meaningful day – or will have, if you’re in a different timezone from where Walski is.

Happy Mother’s Day, peeps!

p.s. For Malaysians, tomorrow is going to be another mother of a day, when we find out who the courts think the Chief Minister of Perak should be. And if by then we’re still not satisfied, the only way left to settle it is to put both Nizar and Zambry into a barricaded canvas ring, and let ‘em slug it out. WWE style.

Walski will be ringside selling hot dogs and pop corn…

Click here for the full post......

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Kaca's Eyes: Criminally Acronymical

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Kaca's Eyes 02, hosting by Photobucket(click on image for a larger version)

Dedicated to The Lord Panda who initially gave Walski the idea.
(historical disclaimer, and more, in the full post)

Historical Linguistics Disclaimer: Before any historians pounce on Walski’s ass, let it be known that he has no historical evidence that Genghis Khan spoke Cantonese, but under the circumstances, it seemed like a groovy idea. For the benefit of non-Cantonese speakers, “Tiew” translates to ‘fuck’. Walski doesn’t know whether Genghiz had that word in his vocabulary either.

Kaca debuted in an earlier post, about 3 weeks or so ago. The main characters are Kaca, and his elegantly sexy side-kick Dewilicious, with appearances (planned) by strange characters over time. Maybe a stoner character, at some point, as suggested by The Lord Panda.

The most difficult part about putting these together is coming up with the story lines that can fit into 4 panels. But Walski’s already got a few more ideas up his sleeve, so hopefully there won’t be such a long wait till the next installment.

Click here for the full post......

Vesak Time-Out

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Today is Vesak Day – a day to commemorate the birth, enlightenment, and passing of Gautamma Buddha. To all Buddhists, wherever you may be, Walski, on behalf of the ghouls and goblins of myAsylum, wishes you a meaningful Vesak Day.

Air Mata Buddha by Enggar, hosting by Photobucket

Vesak Day is generally a day of contemplation and observance. Because of that, there are several very good reasons why the image of Buddha in the artwork above is shedding a tear.

For almost the same reasons that we should spend some time today in contemplation and deep thought… 
(contemplation, time-out, and objectivity, in the full post)

The art piece above is called “Air Mata Buddha”, by Indonesian painter Enggar Yuwono, and is part of Walski’s catalog of artworks. It tells a story of Buddha crying, hearing the news that the hummingbird brings, telling of how man has destroyed his environment, evidenced by the cut-off lotus flowers in the background. It really is a magnificent piece, incidentally, much more impressive than the image above may lead one to believe.

Events of these past weeks, whose roots go back to much earlier in the year – February, to be exact – are equally as damaging and disastrous. Albeit on a political, and not environmental level.

And so, on this day of contemplation, Walski urges everyone involved, either directly or otherwise, to take some time and contemplate a little about the events that have transpired, and the lasting effect that they bear on our future. Precedence, once set, is not easily undone. Not impossible, of course, to undo, but difficult.

Sometimes, it’s important to step back and reassess. And today is probably an appropriate day to do it.

When things go awry, it’s always easier to blame the “other”, without the slightest inclination to be a little introspective, and to assess how one may have also had a hand in allowing the situation become what it is.

To Walski, the Perak crisis is one such situation. For perspective, do read Art Harun’s excellent piece from yesterday.

Lest I be accused of being partisan, allow me to state at the outset that I am not going to moralise the issue. Nor am I going to say who is right and who is wrong. For the purpose of this posting, I am just going to assume that the BN assemblymen together with the 3 independents assemblymen formed the majority at the Assembly. I am also going to accept the postulation that Zambry is the Menteri Besar of Perak. Consequestly, I am also going to assume that the Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen were the minority. And Nizar was not the Menteri Besar of Perak. I am also going to accept as a fact that the motions were file properly and in accordance with rules of procedures of the Assembly.

Now, the main question is whether Sivakumar's removal was valid or otherwise. The next question is whether Ganesan's appointment as the Speaker was valid or otherwise.

(source: ARTiculations)

Art has done something here that is superbly atypical – he has managed to remain objective, despite his outrage. And who doesn’t feel outraged by what has transpired of late?

One thing that Walski feels we Malaysians lack sometimes is objectivity. We often get our panties too knotted up emotionally. We find it difficult to step back and look at a situation from all angles. And mostly, we find it sometimes very difficult to detach ourselves when analyzing a particular situation.

Walski will also admit that he, too, is guilty of this sometimes. And as such, today, Vesak Day, will be for him a day to take a calm objective look at things.

That said, he hopes that today, we all take a little time out and contemplate.

The damage that man has done to his environment is what made Buddha sad in the art piece. The damage that we’ve done to ourselves, as a people and as a nation is equally as sad. It all likelihood, sad enough to make the ancient sage shed another tear.

Happy Vesak Day, Malaysia.

Walski's artistic non-religious affiliatory footnote: It may come as a big surprise to you, but the artist, Enggar Yuwono, is a Muslim. He views Buddha not as a religious icon, but as someone symbolizing knowledge and wisdom. That kind of objectivity is definitely something that many Malaysian Muslims lack – things are always seen way too literally. It has also occurred to Walski that in this post, both art and Art have been featured – this, believe it or not, is purely coincidental.

Click here for the full post......

Friday, May 08, 2009

Top 10 Threats to Malaysian national security

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Couldn’t help but notice this statement by our newly installed Minister of Insecure Internals (via The Star):

On the arrests made by police outside the state assembly, Hishammuddin said people had been warned beforehand against gathering at the venue.

He said if the police had failed to do so (take action), they would be answerable to the people and to him.

The people, he said, should not resort to doing things that threatened the country’s stability.

(source: The Star)

Which got Walski thinking… and thus, another Top Ten list was born! 
(Top 10 List, and more, in the full post)

So, here we go… in Letterman-fashion top down disorder. Drum roll, please…

10. Butter cake

9. Candles – especially the burning vigilant ones

8. Democracy – except for the mysterious “higher principles” of it

7. Black t-shirts

6. Three, or more, people gathered illegally to have breakfast

5. Dead Mongolian birthday girls (via Magick River)

4. Tyranny of the minority (via The Malaysian Insider) – only the majority may be tyrants

3. Lawyers with access to their clients (via Wong Chun Wai's NEW MALAYSIA)

2. Non-Utusan Journalists (i.e. those with intelligence)

And the Number 1 threat to Malaysian National Security:
(of the truly united variety – why else do you think Jakim wants poke their nose into it? [via The Nut Graph])

Click here for the full post......

Thursday, May 07, 2009

BN 1 - Civil Society 0

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Today, May 7th 2009, will be a day that Malaysians will hopefully not forget anytime soon. Because today, another nail was forcibly hammered into the coffin housing a dying thing called Malaysian Democracy.

The events of earlier today may have been the successful completion of the power grab for the state of Perak by Barisan Nasional, that began earlier this year, and engineered by none other than our Prime Minister, Najib Abdul Razak.

But today, Walski thinks, will also be the day BN may have once and for all sealed their fate come GE 13.

Because of images like this.  

How BN removed Sivakumar, image hosting by Photobucket(additional BN rough play pix, and more, in the full post)

And this.

How BN removed Sivakumar, hosting by Photobucket

And not forgetting this.

Malaysians, in remembering today, should never forget these images. This is BN’s idea of democracy. Or at least, a higher-principle interpretation of it, as Zambry stated not so long ago. Whatever the fuck that means.

BN may have won the day. But they may just have signed their death warrant. Because unlike the shackled mainstream media, new media has a very long memory.

And no matter how good a Chief Minister Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir turns out to be, the damage to his political career has already been done. Irreparably.

Let us also not forget the important role the police played in all this. Instead of being the impartial keepers of the peace, the police clearly took sides. And that, too, will stick in the minds of many.

Tian Chua's arrest
Arrests Galore

New media does not easily forget.

And you, Walski’s fellow Malaysians, shouldn’t ever, either.

Click here for the full post......

Arrested Development: 1BLACK Malaysia just got BLACKER - Tian Chua arrested

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Updated @ 1851 hrs: Update in the full post

An urgent short & quick post: The Malaysian Insider (via Twitter) has reported that Batu Member of Parliament Tian Chua was arrested around half an hour ago.

Where the arrest took place, and on what charges, are at the moment unknown.

Also, fellow blogger and friend Zorro has been arrested in Ipoh, as part of the mass arrests of just about anybody within spitting distance of the state assembly building (via Shanghai Fish, hat-tip: Patrick Teoh).

Walski will provide updates once more information is available.
(update on Tian Chua’s arrest, and more, in the full post )

Update @ 1851 hrs:
Walski is happy to report that Zorro has been released, based on information posted at Shanghai Fish.

7-5-2009 (5:30pm) Just spoke to Haris, who received an sms from Bernard who was just released. Guess all your prayers were heard by the "Good Man" above. Thank you.
(source: Shanghai Fish)

As for Tian Chua, the most recent update on Malaysiakini quotes PAS’ Salahuddin Ayub as stating that “all elected representatives” have been released (updated at 4:30pm today) from police custody. Walski doesn’t know, offhand, whether this includes Tian or not. If anyone know, Walski would appreciate a shout.

Meanwhile, MalaysiakiniTV captures some of the goings on during this black-blotch of a day (hat-tip: Pah Nur). Arrests galore...

Update @ 1751 hrs:
Some unconfirmed details about Tian Chua's arrest, via Malaysia Update:

PKR election strategy director and Batu parliamentarian Tian Chua is arrested outside the state secretariat building.

The police inform him that the area has been cordoned off. The opposition politician tells police that he is there to greet his Pakatan colleagues.

Although he is accompanied by PKR treasurer and Selayang MP William Leong and several other party leaders, the police only detain him. He is forcefully dragged to an unmarked police vehicle.
(source: Malaysia Update)

Today is definitely one big fucking black blot on Malaysia - another nail in the coffin of Malaysian democracy. It’s also a reminder that Malaysia is slowly sliding down the treacherously slippery slopes of police statehood, where due process is frequently trampled upon when it suits those in power, and coupled with the growing influence of the religious conservatives, it points to one possible eventuality.

Failed statehood. Pakistan – The Sequel.

Put that perspective in your mind when you ponder about this bit of totally unrelated news (originally from the Wall Street Journal, via The Malaysian Insider):

Volkswagen AG plans to open a new assembly plant in Indonesia with an initial investment of €35 million (RM164 million), a sign that the Southeast Asian nation's still-robust consumer spending is keeping it attractive to foreign companies.

The planned facility, an hour east of Jakarta, will begin assembling the Touran, a compact multi-purpose vehicle, and could eventually employ between 2,000 and 4,000 people, said a person with knowledge of the discussions. The Wolfsburg, Germany-based company plans to initially invest in assembly and paint operations, spending €35 million or more, and may later begin full manufacturing at the factory, its first facility in East Asia outside China, the person said.

So, why Indonesia and not Malaysia, which arguably has a more established automobile industry? Recall that in the recent Indonesian general elections, the Islamist parties were not favored. In Malaysia, on the other hand, we seem to be giving more and more leeway to Muslim conservative demands.

Couple that with the total breakdown of democratic principles today. Where exactly is Malaysia headed?

1Malaysia, 2Perak, 3KA-BOOOM ??

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May 7: 1BLACK Malaysia Day

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Updated @ 1519 hrs: see the full post

If you’re in Malaysia, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock someplace, you would know the significance of today, May 7, 2009. It’s the special sitting of the Perak State Assembly, and also 1BLACK Malaysia day, of which Walski is in full support of.

In what can only be described as sheer overreaction, the police in Ipon has gone all out to nab anyone even remotely associated with gathering near the state assembly building. Yesterday, they had obtained a court injunction prohibiting anyone from approaching within 500 meters of the building (source: Malaysiakini).

And today, they made sure that they used the injunction. Like it was going out of style. If they had their way, the police would probably have arrested the whole friggin’ city of Ipoh. So overboard did they go this morning, they arrested an entire restaurant.

9.15am: The police have moved in to arrest people gathered at the restaurant, including people having their breakfast. Many people have been arrested. Exact number of those arrested is uncertain.

The police first allowed those having their breakfast to do so but then soon changed their mind and started arresting them as well.

(source: Malaysiakini - subscription required)

Walski’s pretty sure that if they could, they would’ve taken the entire building into custody. What a bunch of nit wits… 
(more 1BLACK Malaysia, with  updates, in the full post)

As of 10:19 this morning, Malaysiakini reports that a countless number of politicians (opposition ones, of course), members, of the public, and even journalists, have been arrested.

Update @ 1301 hrs:
The situation in the Perak State Assembly turned chaotic this morning… no, make that totally fucked up. BN “installed” a new speaker, the existing speaker said the action was illegal, and a generally loud shouting match ensued… until recess. These fuckers are worse than bratty school kids, Walski tells ya.

First we had MB vs. MB. Now, on top of that, we have Speaker vs. Speaker… madness, sheer madness.

And then we have the arrests: so far, Wong Chin Huat has been arrested on sedition – or was it for going against the fashion police – Walski honestly doesn’t know. This morning also saw news of opposition politicians targeted by the police for arrest. Of course, the butter cake thingy yesterday, too.

Is this to be the hallmark of the Najibocracy era? More updates later, peeps…

Update @ 1519 hrs:
Speaker Sivakumar was forcibly removed from the assembly, “escorted” by unidentified ‘officials’ (suspected to be plainclothes police). If someone had been teleported to the scene, that person couldn’t be faulted to think that the teleport has mistakenly put him/her in Taiwan’s parliament. Pushing and shoving, and even pepper spray has been reported, according to Malaysiakini’s blow-by-blow.

There’s also this shocking photo of Sivakumar being dragged out of the assembly, via The Nut Graph (hat-tip: Geminianeyes, via Twitter):

Image taken from The Nut Graph, hosting by PhotobucketWhen all else fails, use your goons to remove the speaker
(click on image for The Nut Graph report)

Walski's starting to run out of words to describe the utter lunacy that this 1BLACK Malaysia day has become. The situation has simply become too fucking disgusting.

All this could’ve been easily averted. But, of course, Zambry must protect “higher principles” – what those principles are, exactly, no one really knows. The principle of hegemony, perhaps? Or are they Permanent Head Damaged Zambrocratic ideals and brute-force Najibocracy?

And BN really thinks that by carrying on like spoilt brats they can win the people’s support back? They must really be MORE fucked in the head than Walski thought…

Meanwhile senior DAP MP Uncle Lim estimates that the number of people arrested stands at 64, including opposition MPs and state assemblypersons.

Click here for the full post......