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Showing posts from 2017

Of Maps, Jerusalem and Donald Trump

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Apart from books and coffee, I'm also quite a fan of maps. I grew up with a world map up on my bedroom wall. So it came naturally that I enjoyed and aced Geografi in school. But this map is a special one. It is not just a map, but a reminder.
A reminder of the longest illegal occupation and subjugation of an entire group of people in modern history. A reminder of 'Al Nakba' or the depopulation (read: ethnic cleansing) of Palestinians from their towns and villages in 1948, followed by the occupation of East Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza in 1967, until today.
Donald Trump's latest decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel would only make things worse for peace and stability. I mean things are already bad for the Palestinians. How long should the Palestinians be expected to live under the Israeli Military Occupation? Can we have a timeframe, at least? Or alternatively, can the Palestinians be given Israeli citizenship?

Unfortunately, Israel is only interes…

Revisiting 'Brave New World Revisited' by Aldous Huxley

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Sometimes, reading a nonfiction sci-fi is more entertaining than reading a fiction sci-fi (I know. I know sci-fi means science fiction). This book is one good example. 

There are many reviews and revisits about his dystopian-themed novel, Brave New World (1932), that you can find on the internet, but this "review" is different. It is a revisit by the same author - published about 2 decades after the novel.

At a time when the global population was about 2 billion (only) in 1930s, Huxley had already worried and warned about the dangers of overpopulation - as evidenced in the first chapter of the book. 

Long before the word "propaganda" became fashionable and being associated with the Nazis and their infamous Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels, Huxley had warned us all about the use and abuse of propaganda in both democracies and dictatorships.

He also wrote that "for what is now merely science fiction will have become everyday political fact"

I can't hel…

Edward Bernays, Vietnam War and Nasi Goreng USA

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Have you ever thought about the history of "nasi goreng USA" or American Fried Rice (fried rice + bacon and eggs) ? No, not udang, sotong and ayam.
1) There would be no nasi goreng USA had there been no Pattani/Kelantanese tom yam restaurants spread across major towns and cities in Malaysia. Like other popular menus e.g. nasi goreng Pattaya/Pattani/Paprik etc, as their name suggests, originated from Thailand.
2) There would be no nasi goreng USA had there been no Vietnam War; where it was first introduced to the American soldiers based in Thailand.
3) And there would be no nasi goreng USA had there been no Edward Bernays, Father of PR, one of America's best known propagandist in the early 20th century AND the man responsible for leading a PR campaign in introducing "bacon and eggs" as a "hearty American breakfast" about 100 years ago.

UK Elections, Unpredictabilities and Jeremy Corbyn.

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Democratic elections today are full of surprises and unpredictabilities. Remember how most major polls predicted a 99% win for Hillary Clinton last November? And yet she lost to the Donald? In the 2015 UK elections, many pollsters predicted a hung parliament, but boy, they were wrong. Instead David Cameron's Conservative Party won a majority.
This year too the pollsters have predicted a safe majority win for Theresa May and the Tories. Some even reported the possibility of Labour's worst defeat since WWII! It was only on voting day, through Exit Poll results that the pollsters and the media finally realised about the extent of the shift in the ground - possible hung parliament; which many attributed it to the "surprising" high turnout among the young voters, who are more inclined to vote Labour.
2 years ago when Jeremy Corbyn was elected as the Leader of the Labour Party, nobody gave him a chance. He did not even have the support from his fellow Labour MPs. The Blair…

TN50, Sustainability and Future Civilisation

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So I have been following quite a bit about the ongoing #TN50 townhall sessions across Malaysia. But apart from the bottom up method of "crowdsourcing" ideas from the youth about their wants and needs for 2050, e.g. improving education, healthcare, national unity, economy etc etc, I think there is one thing that is somewhat missing. Granted, there have been many great ideas presented at some of the townhall sessions, but what we also need is a serious discussion about the state of THE future.
How liveable and sustainable will our planet earth be by 2050? Would our resources be enough for everyone? Even now we are using more of our natural resources than we have. Like living on a credit card because you don't have enough cash. 
More and more species are dying, natural resources depleting, forests being destroyed. How would our future generation cope with the impending crisis of our civilisation?
Experts have reported that we are facing a mass extinction of species in futur…

Expect more fake & misleading news ahead of next election - The Mole

KUALA LUMPUR – April 17, 2017: Malaysians are warned to expect more inaccurate and misleading news in the months ahead of the next general election. Media experts from Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) issued this caution following a recent misreporting by news portal MalaysiaKini. The article, which was posted last week, was said to have contradicted a reply by Deputy Minister Datuk Razali Ibrahim in parliament on March 23. MalaysiaKini has since deleted the article and apologised to Razali. However, the original report by the portal continues to circulate in cyberspace. Netizens who appear supportive of the government think that the damage has been done, with the article prompting opposition leaders and supporters to attack Razali. UiTM’s Shahnon Mohamed Salleh said the public should expect more misleading news as part of a campaign tactic for the election. He said the MalaysiaKini report could have been political trickery and part of a propaganda strategy by the opposition. “Judging o…

Media expert disagrees pro-establishment overwhelmed in cyberspace - The Mole

KUALA LUMPUR – Jan 23, 2017: A media expert has expressed disagreement with the research finding quoted by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi that indicated the current percentage of cybertroopers in support of the government as being very low. Social media researcher Shahnon Mohamed Salleh of the Centre of Media and Information Warfare Studies, UiTM told The Mole that the 6.6 percent cited by the research as the portion of cybertroopers who support the government could not be accurate. He said his academic team’s studies suggested that the percentage should instead at least be at 16 to 20 per cent. “Based on our studies between 2015 and 2016, the number of pro-establishment cybertroopers is higher than what was announced yesterday. It’s not that bad. Generally, it’s hard for us to accept such a low percentage. “It’s not that we want to contest the findings. But, if possible, we would like to verify the process of the research quoted by our deputy prime minister to en…