An Englishman in Kuala Lumpur --- "Only Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the Midday sun"

Friday, October 06, 2006

Look out point and haze

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I went to a place called look out point on the edge of KL at Ampang last night for company dinner. In all to celebrate the end of a project that was so long overdue. I had never heard of this place and it seems to be a bit of a secret. The view is incredible if it wasn’t for the haze which has hit KL. I’m feeling it the day afterwards with a sore throat. I hope it doesn’t last long because i'm flying off to the UK soon. You can eat at the look out point and there is even an aviary and all manner of facilities on the other side of the hill. Getting there is a pain because of the traffic. Food was not bad and we had a few babes to join us. The parking gets difficult after 7pm or even on weekend so I’m told. If you want to find it yourself, just google Ampang look out point.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Zheng He

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Last week I went to a presentation at the museum negara. Presented by photographer Michael Yamashita to promote his film for national geographic and forthcoming exhibition at the museum. Any discussion about this guy often begins with who was he as he is until recently an unknown in western circles. It has been pointed out to me that he has been taught in the local history books, since he visited Malacca several times. There are many mysteries about this person including who was he, what was he doing and why did the Chinese subsequently hide / destroy all their knowledge of him and burn the fleet. For those of us in the west he will be part of a wave of revisionist history. The perceived idea that only the west or Europe was capable of true exploration. That “they found it first there is an argument put forward that he was a modern thinker way ahead of his time. And that he did not journey to conquer, colonise or convert as many other explore had done. But to explore the with the idea of religious and racial tolerance. It does sound a bit like something out of star trek, but that is the claim and if it is true then it not be out of place in today’s violent world where so much perpetuated in the name of race and religion. If you can, go to the exhibition at the museum negara which starts soon and watch the national geographic presentation on the 11th December. Photo courtesy of National Geographic

Music of the Moment : Craig Armstrong – Ruthless gravity

Monday, October 31, 2005

Deepavali and Aidil Filtri

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Well.. happy Deepavali and Aidil Filtri to you all. It’s been about two months since I last wrote in the blog.
A lot has happened in that time and I will eventually write the stories from this. In that time I have moved house, area, job and we have acquired another guest(cat).But for now we have the two festivals coinciding with each other. Deepavali being the Hindu festival of lights and Aidil Filtri being the end of Ramadan. I will be celebrating with my Malaysian family and I will write up on these. You can always googlise these for my information and I will introduce the Malaysian aspect. So for now enjoy

Music of the Moment : John Lennon – Across the universe

Monday, August 01, 2005

Normal service will be shortly resumed

To anyone who is wondering why I am so quiet, I apologise. I'm currently in the process of moving to a new home. Its proving to be a nightmare chasing the developers to get off their sorry ass. Anyway a big blog will be winging its way here after I finish.

Friday, July 15, 2005

British Terrorists

As everyone who hasn’t been hiding in a cave for the last seven days is aware London was bombed four times. Three on the underground and one on a bus. I waited a few days to let the dust settle before making any comment and hopefully have the facts.

Fifty people plus killed and countless more injured in an attack claimed in credit by Al-Qaeda. Apparently the intention was to create a symbolic cross on the map with the four bombs being on each point on a cross (note a Christian cross!?). I guess a crescent would have required too many bombs and it’s not exactly a join the dots exercise.

The media is claiming that people are surprised that the bombers were British. Well I was more surprised that the investigation got a quick result on the identities. It makes up for the intelligence flaws of 45 minute WMDs and the fact that this was achieved without the need for an ID card society which by the way wouldn’t have made the slightest bit of difference to this event.

I’m not surprised that the bombers were British Muslims. We knew that to be involved in Al-Qaeda you had to be a Muslim. Bit of a farce to ask to join them if you were say Christian.
“I say, Can I join you – Al-Qaeda?, by the way I’m a Christian but I so believe in what you are doing”
“errr”, scratches head, “ok, but you must grow a beard and blame western governments for all that is wrong with the world”

See? It doesn’t work.

If you search the BBC news website you will find a article by Brian Walden a long standing political commentator who has rightly pointed out these terrorists are not stupid, but cunning. Okay so maybe they are cunning idiots, but they are cunning and the sooner we accept that the sooner we can solve this problem. Who else could we imagine made such a cock up with poor intelligence on how this event would play out rather than what they wish. Okay there is the exception , the current prime minister and his best friend George (sounds like an episode of Rainbow?).

So what went wrong?.

Well they chose a bus that went on a diversion route that would have made that wonky symbolic cross look like something drawn in kindergarten. They blew it up in front of building full of doctors and near a square that has memorial to the victims of Hiroshima and one to Gandhi. Who in this tragic event do think is more likely to be remembered ? Certainly not the bombers.
Also that the bombers chose to bomb a transport system that is used to regular breakdown, so much so that travellers had at first the tube had broken down yet again!

They chose to bomb a city that has been bombed on/off for the last 65 years. Most people shrugged it off as one of the irritating things that Londoners have to put up. I don’t have great belief in this we are not afraid campaign that is meant to show defiance to the terrorist. I would have preferred a “sod you, I got to go to work to pay my crippling mortgage and student loans” campaign.

I know some sections of society thought that it unpatriotic and just damm right mean of some Brits who basically said we knew this was coming and it was a consequence of the Iraq war. Well guess what ? I’ll say it.

We had this coming when the government decided to invade(and say invade not liberate) another country without the support of most of the world, whom we so foolishly armed along with Americans as a means of picking a fight with another country on our behalf and because we wanted the oil – plain and simple

We were warned that this would happen not just by Al-Qaeda, but by our security forces. Remember the “not if, but when ” quote?

I feel sorrow for those who died and were injured. Their deaths made even more meaningless by our inappropriate actions on the world stage. It is scary what has happened, but this is only a taste of what and has gone on in Iraq and other countries around the world. Did the news of corporate manslaughter against Railtrack and Balfour Beatty for the Hatfield disaster being thrown out of court go unnoticed by most of us? Now that was a preventable death and yet the UK is condemned to repeat that mistake all in the name of profits. That is what Iraq has been all about from the day oil was found. Maybe it should remind us that when we play these games the consequences have a habit of coming back to bite us long after the initial action

So what about these young men who committed these acts. What is it that drives them to do this?
Is it because they are Muslims? No otherwise we would have the appalling stereotypical view that all Muslim are like this. Unfortunately some sections of our society have already taken this view such as those who have attack non Muslim Asians and Sikhs just because they can’t tell the difference or those who bombed a mosque in Auckland, New Zealand. Great move idiots just several thousand miles away from ground zero.
Is it because they are British ? No again we know that all Brits are no like this. There has been a comparison between these terrorists and the IRA and all they have in common is blind ignorance, British nationality, and a fairly young age.

This question and other comments is being addressed by another blogger
Go here to read up these views
“Time to Change”

I think the problem may lie with the fact that these are angry young men, immature, easily impressionable, and deluded by their exclusion in society just like many young people (deliberately and indirectly). The term young adults say a lot about what we expect from them, but not we can offer them. The years between being a child and fully paid up member of adult society can be long. We give them responsibilities and our expectation, but not always the means or the support to make this transition. They have to take, but they cannot give and their views are disregarded. They have high political apathy (but then who doesn’t) as they will feel that they are not part of society.

In another time and place these men would have been a different nationality, different religion, but they would still be excluded and dispossessed. Such a section of society is a breeding ground for recruitment for such extremists.

Unfortunately the very people that we don’t want to associate with these young men are the ones who appear to listen to them and offer them a role in life. They go into an environment of peer pressure and support that blinds them to rationality. We all rebel against authority and our families (parents) in our teenage years. Its part of growing up, and most of us grow out of it.

Rationality is very hard to demonstrate to these young men when we are hypocritical in our actions. We all eventually come to a realization and understanding that what we say or preach and what we do can contains an immense gulf. We only have to look at recent history when we invade countries such as Iraq for the wrong reasons or when Islamic/ Muslim countries commit acts that are contrary to any belief system. This is what the twisted mind of the terrorists use to recruit these young men to their clause, which by the way is in their mind a just cause no matter how foolish the rest of us think it is.

The situation is made worse by the poor integration we have of the muslim/Asian community these men have come from. There is conflict for some between their parent’s generation, ancestral home, religion, language and culture. If you are born in the UK and brought up there as compared to your parents then there is already big difference. We use the term British Asian or British Muslim to define a new cultural identity that is straddled between many old and new different systems. Anyone remember the race riots of North East England, where there was a supposed idea that the Asian communities were getting more than the lion share of funding to regenerate the areas they live in. The records showed that they were actually getting less than anyone else and yet were the very people who had the greatest dire need of regeneration.
Unfortunately and I have to say this, the UK is a racist society, whether its institutionalized or aimed at certain sections of society. But then again the UK seems to be going through an incredible discrimination phase ranging from gender, race, religion, sexuality, disability and age. Note of the last two , for age its not illegal yet, for disability it is, but its useless given the poor legislation and enforcement.

Muslims in the UK do need now to be more visible and outspoken. In short it is time to get political. However I’m not happy with the current round of Muslims who claim to be a leader for the community , un-elected and unaccountable labour party tokens. Promising no more than a politician that we know we couldn’t trust. There needs to be an educating of everyone in UK to get rid of some the outdated ideas. One of the strangest is female circumcision, which I know is a culture issues not a religious one. But it is perceived by society as a Muslim “thing” reinforced by the knowledge that Muslims practice male circumcision!
We all know about the honour killings, the forced marriages, all are cultural issues.

So what do we do about all of this.
For now we pick up the pieces and carry on, we are rattled and there is no point pretending we are not. In the long term we need to start addressing the issues that affect all of us about how we are sharing this country to make sure no one is excluded from participation.

Music of the Moment : Chemical Brothers – Setting Sun

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Hitchhiker, Thanks and so long for the Fish

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Went to see Hitchhiker last night, kind of regretted though. As this film stands on its own , it’s not too bad. A bit pythonesque. But I was bored, almost falling asleep . I think that if you have not read Adams work or watch the original TV series then you will like this as many people found it very funny. I was thrown out by all the missing details and the fact that the movie seemed to jump around, missing bits that I know should be in it. I know that Douglas Adams did not finish the screen play for the movie, but I hope that it was perhaps at the most 50% complete because the movie looks it. Hitchhiker didn’t seem to have enough detail to explain what’s going on. The original had to explain quite a lot since so much of the story is about the background of everything and this is needed to support some action or statement that you see and hear. I had heard that some fans didn’t like this because it was not faithful to the original and I had thought initially that they were just being too fussy. After seeing this I have to retract that idea. Hitchhikers reminds me of all those lord of the rings movies, TV series, cartoons that always never seem to be complete or thorough to the books.

A chapter in my life is closing and a new one opening. We have just received the vacant possession for our new house, so we can now plan a changing rooms blitz on our new abode, Lewellyen wig and psychedelic fashion optional. On top of this Mrs Klite is starting her job soon and so am I! I’m working for a multi media company who has satellite TV as their main bread winner. As soon as possible I will be whipped off to India to do some learning and technology transfer. So it’s going to be a hectic few months ahead, and I have to do the move when I come back. Our cats will be pleased since they will be able to roam outdoors to their hearts content without the fear of getting lost as they likely to do in our apartment block.

Went to dinner tonight to meets some new friends and a matsalleh who had married a local like I had done. Being the only matsallehs at this dinner made an interesting conversation that was very British centric. Everything from Marmite, egg and chips to deep fried mars bars. The rest of the table around us could only stare in wonder at the rapid words being exchanged confirming the view of eccentricity that others have of the British.

Music of the Moment : Vangelis – Rachael’s Song (Blade runner)

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Batman Begins

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Went to see Batman Begins Friday night. Wanted to see Mr. and Mrs. Smith at KLCC but even trying to get tickets first thing on Friday morning proved difficult because it was booked so far ahead. I guess Pitt and Jolie are so popular that the film is over subscribed. I have heard that the film isn’t that great, but Hollywood have obviously got a winning combination one for the women and one for the men, and not forgetting the “are they or aren’t they” scandal that is surrounding them. So we gave up trying to see it here and tried at the summit. Again oversubscribed so we opted for our second choice “Batman Begins”, and by god was I glad we did. It stars a good range of actors from Michael (Your only supposed to blow the bleeding doors off) Caine, Morgan Freeman to Liam Neelson. Those of you who are big fans of the comics will obviously compare the film and maybe note that this isn’t true to the comics. But it compares more favourably than all the other batman movies we have had. This is a better reflection of the dark knight that is Batman from the murder of his parents to his relinquishment of his desire to kill those who commit wrong. Batman is played by Christian Bale who I’m told played the kid in “Empire of the sun” . But I know him better as Patrick Bateman from “American Psycho”. The action is good with the special effects especially the scenes involving the effects of psychedelic drugs on the various people in the film. If you get the chance watch it in a THX cinema. The aural special effects add to the atmosphere of the film. I was more than pleased with what had been a second choice of film to watch that night.

Music of the Moment : Collective Soul – Shine

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