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Showing posts from 2010

Books of 2010

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Here's a famous quote from Charles Jones;
"You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read."
I don't mean to brag but for the sake of keeping an online record for myself or whoever that might be interested - like I have always been doing for many years - here's my list of books read in 2010. My personal favourites are in bold. In total, I read an average of 2.25 books a month.

The list below does not take into account tonnes of other reading materials i.e. academic journals, textbooks and magazines.

1. What Your Teacher Didn't Tell You - Farish Noor
2. Malaya's First Year at the United Nations - Tawfik and Ooi
3. Malaysia: The Road to Independence - Tunku Abdul Rahman
4. Raden Saleh: Anak Belanda, Mooi Indie & Nasionalisme - Harsja Bachtiar, Peter Carey & Onghokham (Indonesian)
5. A Short History of the Revivalist Movement in Islam - Sayyid Abul A'la Mawdudi
6. Pengembaraan ke Kedah, Perl…

Malaysian Website Rankings for October 2010

According to Adoimagazine.com, Facebook has beaten Google to become the number 1 most popular website in Malaysia! And it is slightly comforting to know that Berita Harian and Utusan Malaysia are ranked higher than Kosmo and Harian Metro on the Internet.

For those not in the know, Malay tabloid, Metro, is currently the number 1 most popular Malay daily - which to my view is such a disgrace if the trend were to represent the level of intelligence and thinking of the Malay society at large, if you get what I mean.

Below are the top 20 websites, taken from AdoiMagazine.com.

1. Facebook 16. Wordpress.com
2. Google Sites 17. Kosmo.com.my
3. Yahoo Sites 18. Maybank2u.com.my
4. Mudah.my 19. Cari.com.my
5. Youtube.com 20. Hmetro.com.my
6. Blogspot.com 21. Lelong.com.my
7. MSN Sites 22. Fooyoh.com
8. Thestar.com.my 23. Themalaysianinsider.com
9. Lowyat.net 24. Mobile88
10. Malaysiakini.com 25. Biz.thestar.com.my
11. Mylaunchpad.com.my 26. Air…

Israel to Freeze Illegal Settlements? You Got to be Kidding!

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So the New York Times reported that Israeli Prime Minister has agreed to push for settlement freeze in the Palestinian territories. Whoa, did I hear that right? Read on..
WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has agreed to push his cabinet to freeze most construction on settlements in the West Bank for 90 days to break an impasse in peace negotiations with the Palestinians, an official briefed on talks between the United States and Israel said Saturday evening.
Ah, so Prime Minister Netanyahu only agreed to freeze MOST of their illegal settlements in West Bank. How many settlements are there in the pipeline? Only god knows. Secondly, there is no mention at all about the existing illegal Jewish settlements which has been in existence for decades in West Bank.

And in order for America to get the Israeli regime to stop encroaching more Palestinian lands, in return "..the Obama administration has offered Israel a package of security incentives and fighter jets worth …

1Malaysia.com.my

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PM Najib's tea party, Sri Perdana (13 March 2010)

Ah, no wonder I have been getting strange web traffic these few days. I just found out that my blog appeared on Prime Minister Najib's website, 1Malaysia.com.my! Ha ha..

Here's the link
http://www.1malaysia.com.my/1malaysia-events/past-events/tea-with-online-friends

Chinese premier calls for reform

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'People's wishes and needs for democracy and freedom are irresistible,' Wen Jiabao says. (full report)

Unbelievable! China for democracy?? The Chinese premier's statement has got to be one of the most, if not the most, revolutionary statements in the history of communism since the fall of the Soviet communist regime.

Would we be witnessing Wen Jiabao to follow in the footsteps of former Soviet Russia's Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroika & glasnost policy of openness, transparency and economic reform (which subsequently resulted in the collapse of the Soviet regime)?

This is certainly good news for the people in East Turkestan (Chinese Turkestan), Tibet and maybe Taiwan too. Though I do not foresee the secession of the conflicting provinces from the state of China, at the very least there will be a greater political autonomy ala Aceh in Indonesia in post-tsunami 2005 and better respect for human rights.

Politicians of the world must realise and seriously take into…

"Hail" the English Defence League!

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Ten people were charged with public order and other offences today over clashes with police after the English Defence League and Unite Against Fascism held protests in Leicester yesterday.

Supporters had arrived by the coachload since the early morning and were allowed to gather in four police-monitored pubs ahead of the protests in Hotel Street. Many wore EDL-branded hooded tops and some chanted "EDL, EDL''. Others carried banners bearing slogans such as "Sharia laws will destroy Britain and all our British values". [read more]
It's amazing to see that there is actually an anti-sharia movement in the United Kingdom even when the Muslims form only 3% of the population. So the fear of sharia being implemented in the UK is just mathematically absurd.

I think any sane citizen can easily comprehend that, but no, not the peoples of the English Defence League and its supporters.

It appears that far-right extremists spreading anti-Islam ideology is fast creeping acros…

PM Najib and the extremists

At a time where it appears as though Najib is caught between a rock and a hard place to openly state his views on Perkasa, he has instead shown that there is more to the issue than just being forced by some parties to choose between 'endorsing' or 'opposing' the vocal Malay rights group.

In a somewhat carefully delivered response, Najib made clear that extremists would not be tolerated, but fell short of naming any particular NGO or individual. To quote off TheMalaysianInsider;
“No, we do not want to be in conflict with any NGO,” he firmly said.

Najib went further to play down Perkasa’s significance as a pressure group, pointing out that as far as Umno was concerned, Perkasa was just like any other NGO.

“It is just like any other NGO. We have so many NGOs. There are times we can agree, and there are times we cannot agree,” he said.
No doubt it's a political statement. But I think Najib has learnt something from Obama, or it could well just be a coincidence.

Remember Obam…

"It is academic to keep talking about Islamic State" - Dr. Dzulkifli

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"So it is academic to keep talking about it. I don't know why other PAS leaders keep on talking about, it (sic) to find themselves getting bashed by others," he said. (Malaysiakini, Sept 16)

I think that is by far the most strongest critic of the Islamic state agenda coming from a PAS national leader. And if I understand it well, Kuala Selangor MP and PAS Central Committee member Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad has basically trashed off his party's ultimate political agenda - or Utopia according to him - of establishing an Islamic state. Reading his statement made at a seminar at UCSI University is like imagining listening to some UMNO politician challenging the special position of Malays/Article 153 Federal Constitution or some DAP chap criticising its age-old political mantra of "Malaysian Malaysia".

Dr Dzulkifli added that, "..it (Islamic state) may be our life-long aspiration. But by looking at our demographics, it is only academic to us... We cannot simply push…

Quran-Burning and Freedom of Speech

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“Shock the world into focus …get people to start asking hard questions …remind the world we still have freedom of speech … expose the truth … [and] force the world into action.”

Showing no sign of backing down under growing pressure, the Florida church planning to burn copies of the Quran on the anniversary of 9/11 offered “five more reasons” for doing so on Tuesday. It also took a swipe at critics, including “U.S. generals,” over freedom of speech.

An issue that has been simmering for two months sparked a fresh media frenzy following General David Petraeus’ warning Monday that the planned Quran-burning by the Gainesville-based Dove World Outreach Center could endanger American troops in Afghanistan and be used to incite violence around the world.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday evening commented to a mostly Muslim audience on Dove World pastor Terry Jones’ “plans to burn the Holy Quran on September 11.” [Read more]
So there you have it.. When freedom of speech is being abus…

Dr. Chandra Muzaffar on the 'Allah' controversy

This, in my view, is one of the best responses on the 'Allah' issue. Taken from TheStar's Saturday Business section on Dr Chandra Muzaffar.

The crux of the matter is to understand the underlying concerns of both Muslims and Christians, which sadly is very much lacking in our society today. Resolving the problem isn't just about taking sides. It is not just a matter of whether or not you agree with the term Allah. The problems and solutions are far more complicated and delicate than that. Read on..

How best can Malaysia resolve the “Allah” controversy and find a win-win solution? Suzannah Ayub, Raub

It is important for both sides to be honest and truthful about the underlying issues that surround the controversy. Christians and other non-Muslims in Malaysia should acknowledge the simple truth that for the last 1,400 years, the term “Allah” has been shaped by Islamic theology. This is why in any dictionary or encyclopedia, Allah is defined as “the Islamic concept of God” o…

Reflections on Merdeka

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Some quotable quotes from our Bapa Kemerdekaan, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj. Lest we forget.

I would like to remind you that the first Malay ruler who made an agreement with the British Government was my own grandfather. He ceded Penang to the British under a lease and they are still paying for the lease today. Now God has decreed that his grandson shall take back not only Penang but the whole of Malaya. - Padang Merdeka, Malacca, 20th Feb 1956
On Malayan youth;
"..To the youth of this country I have a message. You have a wonderful future ahead of you. Unlike us, you have a country free from any domination. You grow up with your heads held high as masters in your own country... The future of this country rests on you: Whether our star rises or falls, it will be due to you solely.
Therefore be ready to serve her, to build her up and to give your life in her defence. You and I must be determine to make Malaya a place which we shall all be proud to call our home.." - Kuala Lump…

Terima Kasih 'Departemen Pendidikan Nasional'

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What has this Indonesian textbook got anything to do with me?? Read on..


Ilmu Pengetahuan Sosial - Kurnia Nandar Wati, Ratih Hurriyati (Departemen Pendidikan Nasional, 2009)


Ilmu Pengetahuan Sosial, page 28 (original source: fotopages)

Today I found out that one of my favourite pictures was being used in an Indonesia textbook (above). So, I'd like to thank the Pusat Perbukuan Departemen Pendidikan Nasional or the (Indonesian) National Education Department for crediting my photo and adding my name in the textbook.

However, to my surprise I later observed that the entire pictures in the textbook were sourced from the Internet (!) - including blog sites such as Blogger and Wordpress; Wikipedia and Flickr. And I thought to myself, what a cheap way of sourcing images for publication! I mean, it's understandable if it was meant for desktop publication, or publication for private purposes, but sourcing images off the Internet for a school textbook? Now, that is something new. I have no …

Israel must clarify Palestine's status - Hussein Ibish

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Anti-Zionist Jews campaign for a Free Palestine (credit: ectomorfo)

While world attention has been heavily focused on efforts to break the siege of Gaza, Palestinians in the West Bank are pursuing a series of new, nonviolent, strategies challenging the Israeli occupation. What they are primarily seeking, and what the Israeli government is desperately trying to avoid, is clarity about the status of the occupied territories.

Palestinians are insisting that Israel cannot continue to treat the territories occupied in 1967 in a selective manner, regarding settlers and settlements as unambiguously "Israeli" but the Palestinian population as fundamentally alien and outside Israel. The new Palestinian strategies are pressing the uncomfortable but unavoidable question: are these territories part of Israel, or not?

Throughout its policies in the occupied territories, Israel picks and chooses according to its convenience, maintaining an untenable ambiguity regarding the legal and politica…

Nick Clegg's Messsage of Hope

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I must say I am very much impressed with the statesman-like Deputy Prime Minister of the UK and leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg. It's not about trying to be different from some others who supports either Labour or the Tories, by endorsing the third force, the Lib Dems, but perhaps I was one of the few who were caught up by the much-hyped "Cleggmania" during the UK election campaign.

Also read his inspirational first opening speech as Deputy Prime Minister on constitutional reform and "New Politics". New Politics: Nick Clegg's speech on constitutional reform

Below are some excerpts from the Lib Dems mailing list.
Dear Shahnon,

It's just over a week since I accepted the position of Deputy Prime Minister - and already we have achieved real change.

Changes that the Liberal Democrats have spent months campaigning for, are about to happen.

There will be no ID cards, no third runway at Heathrow, no more fingerprinting in schools without parents’ consent,…

Canon Laser LBP2900 Driver Windows 7 x64!

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Canon Laser LBP2900 driver for Windows 7 (x64) is now available! Finally! I have been waiting for this damn bloody driver for almost 5 months now.

Thanks Canon!

http://support-my.canon-asia.com/contents/MY/EN/0100278201.html

Muslims in Norway

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Last Wednesday I was fortunate to have the opportunity to listen to Nora Eggen, a Norwegian Muslim presently a guest researcher at IAIS, who gave an informative talk on the Muslim community in Norway. Below is an excerpts from my article in Klik4Malaysia.

...Historically, Eggen revealed that the interaction between the Norwegian and the Muslim world started as early as in the 13th century, when an envoy from a Muslim sultanate in the Middle East was sent to Norway. She also relates another occasion when the King of Sweden, King Karl XII was given refuge in Istanbul by Sultan Ahmed III (Sultan of the Ottoman Empire), after losing a battle against the Russians.

As a result of Karl XII's long stay in Ottoman land, he has brought along new beverages such as coffee into the Scandinavian lands. Also, several Ottoman-Turkish words were introduced into the Norwegian language through Karl XII's encounter with the Ottomans.

However, it was not until the late second half of the 20th centur…

Hulu Selangor – An Expected and Surprising Win for BN

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My take on the Hulu Selangor by-election result.

Hulu Selangor - An Expected and Surprising Win for Barisan Nasional

Of Hulu Selangor By-Election and Hulu Bernam

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Talking about the upcoming Hulu Selangor by-election, I can't help but reminiscing my childhood days where my dad would always bring the whole family 'balik kampung' to Hulu Bernam on weekends to pay a visit to my late grandmother and other family members. Hulu Bernam is only about 50 minutes drive from Subang Jaya or about one and a half hour via the old trunk road.

[Don't get confuse between the small Hulu Bernam kampung and the Hulu Bernam state seat, under the Hulu Selangor parliamentary seat, which encompasses other nearby kampungs such as Kampung Gedangsa, Felda Soeharto and few others.]

Anyways, the most exciting part was of course visiting my family's durian orchard and bathing at the Bernam River, even though I can't stand the smell of durian and didn't know how to swim back then.

I used to joke with my friends how I could swim from "Selangor to Perak" when I was younger. Ha ha. For those not in the know, the Bernam River (picture) is the ri…

Off to Batam

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I'll be leaving for Batam tomorrow for a three days visit. So hopefully it's going to be a worthwhile trip though I don't expect Batam to be as colourful and vibrant as Jogjakarta or Bali. In case you don't where the heck Batam Island is; it is situated to the south of Singapore about 20km away.

History has it that Hang Nadim, the boy of great wisdom of the classic "Singapura Dilanggar Todak" fame had once set foot on the island of Batam, hence the reason why the international airport in Batam (Hang Nadim International Airport) is named after him.


Off.

An Evening with the Prime Minister

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1Malaysia hi-tea with PM Najib's Facebook friends at the his official residence, Seri Perdana


1Malaysia kuih-muih

On the 9 of March, unexpectedly I received an email (below) from the Prime Minister inviting me to his tea party at the prime minister's official residence, Seri Perdana, Putrajaya! Of course, I wouldn't expect the PM himself to email me. Email aside, Najib confessed during the hi-tea that most of the time he would personally update his Facebook and Twitter himself, and only on certain occasions he would get his staff to do the postings on his behalf.

Najib should perhaps give some advice to his Information Minister, Rais Yatim about Facebook or Twitter. Rais's recent statement on Facebook shows how ignorant and out of touch he is with the Internet and the "social media culture". And this is the man who is supposed to be in charge of the Internet and broadband. Should Najib plans to have a cabinet reshuffle, I would urge him to place Rais somewhere …

Four in five believe internet access is a fundamental right

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Four in five people around the world believe that web access is a fundamental human right, according to a new survey.

The poll, which collated the answers from more than 27,000 people across 26 countries and was conducted on behalf of the BBC World Service, found that 87 per cent of interne t users felt that web access should be a basic right. More than 70 per cent of non-users felt they should have access to the net.

In Japan, Mexico and Russia, nearly 75 per cent of respondents said they could not cope without their internet connection. Ninety per cent of those polled in Turkey believed web access was a fundamental human right, making it the strongest supporter of the widely held sentiment.

"The right to communicate cannot be ignored," Dr Hamadoun Toure, secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), told BBC News.

"The internet is the most powerful potential source of enlightenment ever created."
He said that governments must "regard the i…

Shahnon.com is back, again!

Yes, Shahnon.com is back with a new hosting and lots of new plans ahead! So, hopefully all's gonna be well, insyaAllah.

IRA strikes again!

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Bobby Sands was an Irish volunteer for the Provisional Irish Republican Army and member of the United Kingdom Parliament who died on hunger strike while in HM Prison Maze (Wikipedia)

Read all the Western media headlines below.
Not a single Western media outlet has mentioned the religion of the perpetrators. But imagine if similar event were to happen in the Middle East. For sure the media would mention the religion of the perpetrators and label them with names such as "Muslim terrorist" or "Islamic terrorist". It is never my intention to see the media headlines mentioning the religion of the people behind the latest bombing in Northern Ireland, but only to show how blatantly bias the Western media is, in their reporting.
Insurgency Rises in Northern Ireland - Wall Street Journal
A bomb that was just a blast from the past - Independent
Clinton condemns 'cowardly' N.Ireland car bombing
British PM condemns N. Ireland bombing - CNN
Northern Ireland car bomb blamed on…

Of UK General Elections, Opinion Polls and Malaysia

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Nick Clegg, Gordon Brown and David Cameron (The Telegraph)

The latest poll conducted by ICM for The Guardian puts the Conservatives down three per cent on 37 per cent, with Labour climbing one per cent to 30 per cent. The Lib Dems are down one at 20 per cent. Read more

For years, I have always been interested with opinion polls and my interest grew a bit when I took Research Methodology for my MA course. It always baffled me when I come to think that Malaysia does not have its own established independent polling company. I have always asked myself why there was not a single credible opinion poll to gauge popular public opinion especially in the run-up periods before elections?

But of course that was all until our very own independent opinion research, Merdeka Centre came into the picture. It's good that we have Merdeka Centre, but I do hope we have a couple more independent polling companies. I believe by having more opinion polls - not just during elections though - is a positive s…

Whither Political Integrity? - Shahnon Salleh

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It is often said that a lie told often enough becomes the truth. Being a former student of communication, I have also learnt another important element of propaganda that, "if you can't convince them, confuse them". And in the context of modern political communication, perhaps the more proper and widely used terms are "damage control" and "spin".

Now let's bring that into the context of political reality. Let's not even talk about our democratic integrity yet, but about the quality of our elected representatives. Where do our politicians stand in terms of integrity and credibility? Look around us; surely we can recall the many shameful incidents in the past few years. The Perak frogs' fiasco, the resignation of former Penang Deputy Chief Minister I, Fairus Khairuddin, and more recently the resignation of Bayan Baru MP, Datuk Zahrain Hashim, just to name a few.

If the performance of a salesperson is judged by his or her number of sales, likew…

Understanding New Public Diplomacy - Joseph Nye

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Below is an excellent article by renowned International Relations scholar, Joseph Nye (left), which I reproduce in full from his column in the New Straits Times. I first came across Joseph Nye, albeit through a textbook; 'World Politics (Kegley Jr)', when I was studying 'International Politics' as part of my MA degree program.

One of his famous political quotes which to some extent has influenced my pragmatic approach and thinking on politics and political philosophy is this;

"When I was working in Washington and helping formulate American foreign policies, I found myself borrowing from all three types of thinking; realism, liberalism, and constructivism. I found them all helpful, though in different ways and in different circumstances." - Joseph Nye (World Politics, Kegler).

It should be noted, however, that what I intend to share here is his views and thoughts, and not so much about the man himself. Joseph Nye was the former Assistant Secretary of Defence dur…

Demand 'Coldplay' in Kuala Lumpur!

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I am now officially 'demanding' one of my favourite bands, Coldplay, via Eventful.com, to come and perform live in Kuala Lumpur!

Whether it was by sheer luck or an act of fate, way back in 2008 I demanded for Mxpx to come to KL - via Eventful - and 18 months later, they finally came!

Now, let's see how long should I wait this time around, for Coldplay. :p





View all Kuala Lumpur events on Eventful



Explosions in the Sky live in Kuala Lumpur at The Ruums. (February 2008)


Mxpx at Number One Cafe, KL (December 2009)

Back! Yes, I am Back!

So, what is up?? Good news and bad news!

Good news first. Finally I am back, blogging! Yay!!! Sorry, am a little bit excited. Can't help it. If I were to describe my blogging life, it must have been like a roller coaster ride. One of the reasons why this blog was down for such a long time was partly because of the bloody Malware that has infected my server! I've wasted so many hours trying to figure out the error. And thanks to Taqiyuddin from MYCERT who has patiently helped me out going through the long list of Apache logs and detected the errors. I wonder who was the culprit attempting to attack my harmless and humble blog?

I have since temporarily shut down the domain. And shahnons.blogspot.com will be my temporary blogging space. Though not for long, I hope.

Now for the bad news. I just got an email from Blogger which reads "Important: Changes to Blogger FTP Service". Curious enough, I clicked on it and there goes the bad news. (damnit!)

Blogger is shutting down it…