Tact is for people who aren't witty enough to use sarcasm. By the way, I'll try to be nicer if you try to be smarter. With that said, welcome to my lair.
"You must not blame me if I do talk to the clouds."
Henry David Thoreau
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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Anak dara Macik Anne: Sheer idiocy or a really bad corporate strategy?

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Pic sourced from the internet.

To date, the explanation on Auntie Anne's halal status given by one of its executives on Facebook has garnered more than 8,000 shares. Safe to say, her post is now viral.

Sadly, this was a stupid move.

Actually, stupid doesn't even begin to cover it. It was idiotic and moronic. I say this because, the exec had posted the 'explanation' on her personal Facebook post, signing it off as 'Anak Dara Macik Anne', probably alluding to the recently famous Nasi Lemak Anak Dara, also courtesy of social media.

Allow me to detail why I think her explanation was stupid. First of all, she works for a company which, as logic would assume, must have a proper headquarters, complete with their own Public Relations or Corporate Communications department. They should because, the company that owns the Auntie Anne's franchise in Malaysia, Chrisna Jenio Sdn Bhd, is a registered private limited company and has been in operations since 1996. They also have 45 outlets across the country.

With that said, why didn't they issue an official statement? While many have been applauding the exec for providing an explanation, these people fail to see that what she did was actually rather juvenile.

However, the main reason why I feel her Facebook post was stupid was because she had opted to include the 'pretzel dog' bit in it.

If Auntie Anne's had bothered to issue a statement, any public relations officer with half a mind would not include 'sordid' details.

There is no reason to inform the public on why the application was rejected and get into specifics, especially when the bigger issue here is why has it taken 20 years for the pretzel chain to apply for a halal certification? What I would like to know is when did they first submit their application to Jakim?

This is why with regards to the whole 'dog' fiasco that blew up the past few days, I place the blame solely on the idiotic Facebook post by the exec.

I stress that there was no need for her to mention the 'pretzel dog' bit because according to Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom today, he said Jakim never banned the name. Instead, he said that there were compromises that could be made.

"If (an establishment) wants to protect a name, compromises can be made in the sense as well. But for Auntie Anne's, it wasn't a rejection, it was just a proposal. At the end of the day, they can't be denied a certificate just because of the name," Jamil Khir said, as reported by a news report on Free Malaysia Today (FMT).

If the pretzel dog matter had never been mentioned, the internet would not have exploded over the past few days about food names.

It went from pretzel dogs to hot dogs to root beers, to turkey ham to beef bacon, even to the extent of UK's Daily Mail carrying a story, headlined, "Hot Dogs will be banned in Malaysia unless restaurants agree to change their name because they sound too 'dirty' to be halal.'

Of course this was clearly a spin of an epic proportion, and I can't blame the exec for Daily Mail's spin, I stand by the fact that this wouldn't have happened if only Auntie Anne's had the good sense of issuing an official statement.

And it's not just Daily Mail, our 'dog' issue has also been carried by the BBC, RT (Russian network), Fox News, CBS News, New York Daily News, and I don't know how many others. So I guess a 'congratulations' is in order for 'anak dara Macik Anne'.

This brings me to the question of whether the exec went rogue (on the explanation) or was it a corporate strategy by Chrisna Jenio Sdn Bhd?

Either way, both moves were stupid.

While maybe the exec enjoyed her 15 seconds of fame thanks to her Facebook post, and also, while many may disagree with me, I stand by what I say, that her move was idiotic and does not reflect the proper conduct of an employee, or a company (if this was a move sanctioned by the company). - FH

Stop telling me I'm confused!

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(Pic credit Instagram @oskarandmeyerdachshunds)

My parents made sure I received proper education while I was growing up. Before I was 7, they sent me to kindergarten for a good 3 years. At home, the education did not stop. I was encouraged to read and by 6, I was reading the newspaper. There is also a picture of me at about 5 or 6, falling asleep with a copy of a political book by SH Alattas. Not sure what I understood from the book at the time, but my point is that I was not deprived of education. I was also exposed to good music at a young age. At 7, I entered the public education system and stayed there until I finished Form 5 with a Grade 1 in SPM.

My education continued after that and until today, I am still learning. My story is not unique. Many people in this country pretty much go through the same process. What we take away from all that education will of course differ from one person to the next. What I am trying to say is that we are not a nation deprived of education.

Which is why it makes me angry when people keep telling me, or in the case of the point I would like to make in this comment piece, Muslims in general, that we are easily confused.

Remember the Jolly Shandy incident some years back? Some 'concerned' Muslims were worried that the packaging of Jolly Shandy which to them looked like any normal soda drink, would confuse the Muslim population in this country.

Never mind the fact that for any Malaysian with a clear head, Jolly Shandy has always been and will forever be an alcoholic beverage which is placed next to other alcoholic drinks at the store. Also, the fact that the word alcohol is clearly printed on the can.

Just because a few people found it to be confusing, they saw it fit to 'warn' other Muslims on social media to be wary about the drink.

Today, something similar has cropped up again. Fomca said words like 'dog' and 'beer' should not be part of the menu as it would confuse Muslim customers. It is likely that Fomca was referring to the much-loved hot dog and root beer that has been part of our lives for as long as I can remember.

While we may have joked about hot dogs and root beers with our friends, I believe most of us are aware that we weren't actually eating cute puppies wrapped in bread or that we would be pulled over by policemen for drunk driving after drinking bottles of root beer.

For those who frequent Auntie Anne's, the famous pretzel kiosk, I highly doubt there were those who got confused over their pretzel dogs.

But somehow, we have always been told that we are easily confused.

"So and so should be banned because it might confuse Muslims."

How many times have we heard this line in news reports and how many times is it actually about truly confusing things?

I feel it is an insult because Islam is a religion that emphasises education. We are supposed to keep on learning for as long as we are living beings. Education is something that does not end once we leave school. With that said, why do people keep telling us we might be confused when logic dictates that at some point, we should be able to think for ourselves?

If one or two people are confused, is it right to simply generalise?

I was never confused with the Jolly Shandy drink and I sure am not confused by hot dogs, root beers, beef bacons and turkey hams.

I am also not confused whenever I go to a Malay stall selling kuih and I see dishes like badak berendam or cucur badak. Have you ever asked the makcik selling the kuih if her husband battled an actual badak to get its meat for her to make badak berendam?
A friend asked yesterday, what about bishop's nose? Good question I would say. How many bishops sacrificed their noses for us to be able to eat dishes with bishop's nose in it? This 'confused' Muslim can safely say that the answer to that question is zero.

Also, no buffaloes (with or without wings) were harmed in the making of buffalo wings.

In the case of this whole 'dog' fiasco, I believe societal norms should come into play. Some phrases are not literal. The phrase 'hot dog' may be confusing in a society that has never heard of sausages and hot dogs. The phrase 'buffalo wings' too may be confusing in a society where winged buffaloes are in existence and they have never ever had chicken wings.

This is Malaysia. Hot dogs are sausages. Beef bacon comes from cow. Turkey ham are from turkeys. And root beers will not make you drunk. So my advice to those who think they are doing the society a favour by warning it about this and that, think first before you issue your warning.

And stop telling us we are easily confused. While you may go through life drooling and wondering about how things work the way Homer Simpson would, most of us are not like you. Most of us are actually smart, intelligent people.

With that said, I will continue to enjoy my hot dogs and root beers. And I will not purchase a can of Jolly Shandy just because I got confused. I may use the confusion as an excuse if ever my parents catch me drinking Jolly Shandy, but that one would be on me. Hic. - FH

Saturday, September 24, 2016

D'Cuatro Calientes and the Asam Pedas family

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**This article first appeared on Free Malaysia Today on Sept 18. Click here to access it on FMT's website.
**The following is the longer version of the same article.

Photo credit Azrol Ali

Looking at Malaysia from the view point of what is being shared on social media, more often than not a person would come to the conclusion that Malaysia is a very racist and intolerant country. From non-Muslims getting berated for eating in public in Ramadhan, to drivers getting into racially-tinged arguments on the road to politicians spewing venomous remarks at one another, to various accounts of alleged racism happening across the country, it makes one wonder if there is hope for us.

However, if we could just turn our gazes away from our smartphones and take a look around us, we can see that Malaysia is indeed where our hearts are and is a country we should be proud of.

There are many places here where race melts away and people just sit together, happily enjoying each other's company. It is everywhere, be it a kopitiam or a mamak shop. For me, I found it in a little corner of Petaling Jaya, where a band from the Philippines, indirectly, is helping Malaysians realise the true meaning of 1Malaysia.

Calling themselves D'Cuatro Calientes, the band, made up of family members, consists of Danny and Connie Olivera, the parents, and their son Billy and his wife Lissa.

Performing outside the Asam Pedas restaurant in The Curve at Mutiara Damansara, the band, in their own way, is bringing together Malaysians of various races under one umbrella, all in the name of song and dance.

Connie told me that the band started out many years ago, initially with herself and Danny, and their brothers. However, after a while, the brothers moved away, and Connie was faced with the tough decision to let her sons be part of the group.

"When my boys were schooling, I did not want to involve them. I wanted them to be in school. Preferably no music," she said, adding that as time went by, her sons began to develop their own interest and talent in music.

While initially, the band was also made up of Danny and Connie's eldest and second son, life and tragedy soon carved a different direction for D'Cuatro Calientes.

With their second son having gotten married and settling down in Singapore and the tragic passing of their eldest son seven years ago, Billy, the youngest soon joined his parents, with Lissa coming on board later on.

It is true that music is a universal language, as upon observation, it does not matter what song was being played, be it in Spanish or Tagalog, Malay or English, Cantonese or Mandarin, as long as the beat is right, what Gloria Estefan said rings true, "the rhythm is going to get you".

D' Cuatro Calientes performs at the street section of The Curve and their performance is engaging enough that sometimes people who walk by would move to the beat. There are also couples who would slow dance, in the middle of the open area in front of the band, under the night sky.

It is also the love of song and dance that gave birth to the Asam Pedas family.

For normal shoppers, looking at some of the dancers who would perform usually on weekends, they would either assume this was a dance group hired to accompany the band.

However, they are just patrons of The Curve who would often hang out to hear the band perform and loved to do a little dancing.

The 'family' has grown over the years and its pioneers, retirees Alan Lee and his wife Susan Yeoh are now proud 'parents' of quite a few young kids who also share the same love for song and dance.

"They call me mummy," Yeoh said.

Alan Lee and Susan Yeoh. Photo credit Azrol Ali.

"This family was started by my husband and I. Slowly the group increased. More and more people came here to dance. They found that the ambience is good, music is good. It's a very healthy place, open air and I think it would be good for the youngsters to come and get together," Yeoh, 70, told me when met recently.

Her husband Lee, who is 71, said they have been dancing there for more than five years now.

"My wife and I started dancing and one of the young boys asked if he can join and then the group slowly started to grow. I used to look on YouTube (for dance steps), I learned it and I teach them. These people learn very fast," Lee said.

He then pointed over to a Michael Jackson impersonator who had earlier danced to the song Billie Jean performed by the band, to the cheers of passing shoppers.

"I encouraged MJ there to come up and dance. He was just sitting there (back then), very shy. I gave him 'semangat' to come and dance. Now he is part of the family," Lee said, smiling proudly.

MJ is 43-year-old Faizal Habib Ahmad who often hangs out to dance together with his three children.

"I come here often to hear the live band. At first I was shy. And one day, they played the song Uptown Funk. They pulled me in (to dance)," he said, adding that it was from that point on that he became acquainted with the other members of the Asam Pedas family.

"I have enjoyed dancing since I was a kid. I just do it for fun," he said, affirming that he was not a professional dancer, and that he works in a hospital.

Another member of the group, is Irwan Kurniawan Abdullah who is a freelance dancer and a choreographer.

Iwan is an orphan and had picked up dancing when he was 14.

"I've been coming to The Curve since I was 19. I saw an elderly Chinese couple dancing, I just watched them. Up until then I was just doing street dancing. When I saw them (dancing), I wanted to learn more," he said.

That was how he joined the 'family' and has been an attraction himself as he is very light on his feet and performs very well, much to the delight of shoppers walking by.

"I have gotten some (dance) jobs from voluntarily performing here," he said.

For 67-year-old August Ang, he said that the fellowship the 'family' has draws him to hang out there, especially with the involvement of younger people of different races, and that it was an outlet for them to exercise and have fun.

On all the races coming together, Ang, who frequents The Curve with his wife, Alice, said it was beautiful.

"It's back to the old days before government politics and all that. This is what I experienced in my kampung in Tengkera, Malacca. It didn't matter who you are, we don't see races. We are all just friends. We are all Malaysians," Ang said, expressing his hope for a united Malaysia.

"We see it in badminton, everybody is with him (Datuk Lee Chong Wei). We forget we are of different races."

Switching to impeccable Malay, Ang added, "Mak kita dulu ajar kan? Dari kecil dulu, semua sama." (Our mothers taught us from small, that we are all the same).

Yeoh shared the same sentiments, saying that the Asam Pedas family is really 'muhibbah'.

"We are 1Malaysia here. We don't think of religion, we don't think of races, we are one happy family. We celebrate birthdays. If it's Hari Raya, we celebrate Hari Raya. If it's Chinese New Year, we celebrate Chinese New Year (and so on). That's what 1Malaysia is all about right?" she added.

For Connie, she was happy observing the harmony and respect in Malaysia.

"Harmony and respect is very important in your country. You can get along with each other, that is very important. The love is always there. If there is no respect and harmony, there is nothing," she said.

Connie also expressed her pride in the band being able to perform a famous Philippines song Miss Na Miss Kita, in Malay.

The translation was provided by a local lyricist, Azmi Abdul Rahman, who also frequents The Curve and enjoys listening to D'Cuatro Calientes as well as watching the Asam Pedas family dance.

As for Azmi, his ability to sing along to some of the Chinese songs, has proven to be an ice-breaker for him and some of those who came to listen to D'Cuatro Calientes.

Some of the Chinese patrons would look at Azmi in awe when he sang along to Alan Tam's Pang Yau in near perfect Cantonese.

Meanwhile, for Lee, he was happy that the family's togetherness and friendship gave the young ones who join something useful to do with their time, as well as keeping them out of trouble.

"I am very happy," Lee said, and it was apparent in the joy from his voice and the smile on his face.

"Here, the word 'bangsa' does not exist. We are one family. Sekeluarga," he said.

Speaking about Malaysia, Lee added, "We should start to think of each other as a family. We should start to think of helping one another, of giving. Those who have give a little more, those who don't, give a little bit less. But there is always somebody who needs something. It could be in the form of words of encouragement, doesn't have to be money.

"You gotta show a little kindness," he sang to the tune of Glen Campbell's Try A Little Kindness.

And there is indeed no better song to wrap this article up than the rhinestone cowboy's words of advice for us to just 'try a little kindness, and to not walk around the down and out, lend a helping hand instead of doubt, and the kindness that you show every day will help someone along their way.'

There is more to life than what is being posted or shared on social media. Take a stroll in real life once in a while, and you will chance upon something as simple as a Malay boy and a Chinese uncle enjoying line dancing to the tune of Achy Breaky Heart.

It may be simple, but it will surely put a smile on your face and reaffirm your faith in humanity and how racism deserves no place anywhere in this world. - FH

D'Cuatro Calientes. Photo credit Azrol Ali.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Start thanking Anwar, Malaysians, he is your saviour

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Here's my thank you note, Datuk Seri
It is my opinion that the politicians in Selangor have lost sight on the true meaning of the word 'rakyat'.

If anything it has become an excuse to justify each orchestrated political move, no matter how ludicrous it may sound to a person who still subscribes to logic and common sense.

While I believe the 'rakyat' was never in Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's mind when his family formed Parti Keadilan Rakyat back in 1998, I'm sure many would argue with me, saying that it was the best thing that could happen to the Malaysian political landscape.

I can accept those arguments and respectfully agree to disagree, but I cannot fathom the veils still covering the eyes of the people supporting Anwar after he announced the Kajang Move.

How is it that the Kajang Move can be justified as 'for the rakyat'?

Especially since everything related to Pakatan Rakyat in Selangor just began going downhill from that point on.

Where is the rakyat supposed to fit in this mess, apart from being used as an excuse in the press statements issued by PR lawmakers in support of Anwar and his political maneuvring?

It pains me that staunch supporters of Anwar still see him as the answer to our political woes.

For the record, I can understand if a person refuses to support Barisan Nasional (BN), but it borders on the illogical to expect PR to be the better alternative.

If it wasn't clear to some that the rakyat is the farthest thing on Anwar's mind before this, it should already be the minute he choose to announce his wife's candidacy for Selangor's next Menteri Besar on the very same night Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak addressed the nation with regards to the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH17 tragedy.

Najib had a live telecast at midnight on July 22 and some half an hour later, Anwar who had concluded a meeting at the PKR headquarters in Tropicana decided to hold a press conference to announce that Wan Azizah is the preferred choice to replace current MB Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.

At a time when Malaysia is reeling from two massive aviation disasters, Anwar felt it was in the best interest of the rakyat to announce that he wants his wife to take over as Selangor MB?

Is Abdul Khalid really that terrible of a Menteri Besar that Anwar couldn't wait?

Perhaps let the dust of the MH17 tragedy somewhat settle first? Or wait until the Selangor state assembly reconvenes later in the year? Or wait until the next General Election, since Abdul Khalid had already made it clear before this that this was going to be his last term as MB?

But then again, when Anwar wants something, Anwar goes out and gets it. Oh but wait, despite countless dates given, he is still nowhere near the office on Level 5 of the Perdana Putra complex in Putrajaya, which we all know is his ultimate goal.

What is the next best thing? Appointing his wife as MB to Malaysia's richest state it seems.

The point I'm trying to make is that PR in Selangor should just leave the rakyat out of this mess and carry on as they please because they will do whatever they want anyway.

PAS tried to back Abdul Khalid but somehow, somewhere along the way, they caved in to the coalition's backing of Anwar's proposal.

While they clearly showed resistance to Wan Azizah being appointed MB, yesterday they 'unanimously' agreed.

Pakatan Rakyat gets what Pakatan Rakyat wants.

Again I ask, where does the rakyat fit in all these? The rakyat will have to go to the polls should a statewide election be called if Abdul Khalid decides to dissolve the state assembly and not make it easy for Anwar to place his wife in the state's top administrative post.

The rakyat which these politicians 'care' so much for will have to hit the polls once again despite having done just that slightly more than a year ago. And for what? I don't think I have to mention it again.

While it may be clear as day to me, it is still a blur to many. Particularly with one DAP lawmaker who blogs under the pseudonym SakmongkolAK47 saying today that the nation should be thankful to Anwar for providing the rakyat an alternative to BN.

"Malaysians owe him an eternal debt of gratitude for forging a common platform," DAP lawmaker Datuk Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz said in his blog today.

I know it is only Monday but I can safely say Encik Sakmongkol is already the winner of the moron of the week award.

So it is with dripping sarcasm that I urge my fellow Malaysians to start sending thank you notes to Anwar.

He is your saviour, isn't he?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Here's looking at you kid...

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If anything, I had always felt that I was born in the wrong decade. The 80s was not entirely a right fit for me, particularly because I always felt more at home with the music, movies, fashion and pace of the 40s and 50s. And to a certain extent the early 60s.

Bogey and Bacall were a point of reference of sorts, apart from Sinatra, the Rat Pack and Brando.

It was a great sense of the old and classy that made me feel more at home than the hurried and gaudy feel of the 80s and later the 90s.

I felt more at ease watching Ingrid's fashion sense and felt more connected to Bogey's flirtatious gaze than anything that 80s Hollywood spewed.

While there were still certain things from the 80s and 90s that I could relate to, for the most part, I just felt more at home with Rick's Cafe and the sounds of the crooners.

Even in my relationship I guess eventually my love for the 40s and 50s somehow guided me into the arms of my old school lover.

Someone older and equally as connected to the days gone by compared to the fast-paced world of today.

Like the Bertie Higgins song, I found the hero to my leading lady.

We have our own late, late show and in each other's arms, we sail away to Key Largo.

Hearing that Lauren Bacall had passed on moved me to pen some words down.

I feel sad that one by one of the old greats have left us.

What Hollywood is producing today does not even come close to what these legends gave us.

So here's looking at you kid and missing all the things you did. 

All of you will continue to live on in the hearts and minds of those who still linger on in the good old days despite it already being 2014.

Like Higgins said, "We can find it once again, I know, Just like they did in Key Largo."

Keep playing it Sam, play it over and over again. Cause I love you still and baby, this can't be the end.

To Lauren, say hi to Bogey for me.... have fun in 'Key Largo'.....

Saturday, June 21, 2014

An open letter to 'retis sakai'

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This is an open letter to 'retis sakai'.

Please note that the term 'retis' is used to refer to celebrities, public figures in the entertainment industry who have yet to exhibit an ounce of common sense ever since they rose to 'stardom'.

However, there are times when simply referring to these people as 'retis' do not suffice.

In this letter, the people I am talking about warrant the use of another word to support 'retis', hence 'retis sakai'.

You get my drift.

If you are a celebrity/public figure in the entertainment industry who are well-behaved, exhibit clarity of thought and generally don't behave like a donkey's rear end, do not take offense with this open letter.

Clearly you are not a 'retis' but an artiste.

So do not feel the need to come up with statements like 'tak suka bila orang guna perkataan retis' etc.

If you do, you would have succesfully demoted yourself from artiste to 'retis'.

If you're an artiste, do us all a favour and stay that way because you would probably have realised by now that your kind is a dying breed.

Think, before you tweet.

Moving on to the open letter, it would appear that such a letter has become necessary as I believe we are under attack.

With the barrage of Zombie-related movies, many believe that a Zombie apocalypse may be looming, with some having prepared bunkers and emergency packs, ready to ward off any attempts to eat their brains out.

However, what we have failed to realise is that while the world is getting us all fixated on Zombies and vampires and werewolves, the truth is that another species is actually building up their army right under our noses.

While this letter may be pointless as most of these species do not understand proper English, although they can fool you into thinking that they do as they constantly attempt to update their life progress using the English language.

The sad truth however is that you're ruin my life! Do you see that? You are ruin my life once again! Fix it. Now!

Sorry I veered off the path I'm supposed to be on, but I'm back on track now.

What was I saying?

Aah yes, the open letter. You are ruin my life you moron!

Sorry, sorry, I do that sometimes, it's what some may call a split personality. Kinda like putting on a sexy outfit, strutting your stuff in a Malaysian-type public, and then go all wide-eyed and blur when people criticise your choice of clothing.

That kind of split personality.

Not the kind that requires you to see a shrink and be on actual medication. 

Because the medical kind deserves respect, understanding and delicacy.

The kind I was telling you requires a knock on the head. With a mallet.

Anyway, getting back on track, I decided to type out this letter because these species, of which from this point on shall be referred to as 'retis sakai', may have escaped my blogging radar for quite some time, but I've always been watching.

I rant and bitch about them on my Facebook and Twitter but I think the time has come for me to 'upgrade' them to my blog.

Note that my blog has been dormant for quite some time now. 

They should feel honoured that I decided to 'break my silence' by writing about them, actually, writing to them.

Dear 'retis sakai',

I am in the media line. At the heart of it, I am a journalist and will always be a journalist.

Which means, I get upset when 'retis sakai' hit out at journalists for doing what they have to do.

While some journalists may be assholes, that is the case for any profession, there will always be assholes (much like the entertainment industry), more often than not, in my opinion, the fault lies with the 'retis sakai' and not the journalists.

This particular point will be further elaborated upon later in this letter.

Before I get into it, I shall establish first that you are a public figure (for reasons I don't think I will ever understand) which qualifies you to be called 'retis sakai'.

Therefore, whatever points I raise is based on the fact that you are a public figure, meaning you are somewhat known to the public.

Maybe not everyone, but I'm guessing as long as you have more than 5,000 Twitter followers and get invited to celebrity-type events and ocassionally (or way too much) appear on television in some God-awful drama or telemovie, or you are a permanent statue in David Teo or Yusof Haslam's flicks, then you qualify as a known person.

Or if you are a singer, sorry, if you claim to be a singer, then probably you would have appeared in some self-uploaded YouTube video, or some Program Raya and most definitely Melodi.

Anyway, you get my drift. If you're unknown, this letter would not see the light of day.

So, here goes...

As 'retis sakai' you would definitely be familiar with these terms; Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Keek (thank God that died but Instagram included video uploads so boo).

The number one rule of being 'retis sakai' post-2005 is the need to have all three accounts.

Still okay, because artistes are on social networks too. So are welders, engineers, doctors, journalists, etc.

However, you, 'retis sakai', must be 'ahead' of the rest. You strive to get more followers because to you, the more followers you have, the more accomplished you feel, perhaps. Particularly since you know that you have no placing in the hearts of urban liberals who more often than not, don't even know who you are if you walked up to them and slapped them in their faces.

There are a few names I have in mind, but some time back when I wrote an article condemning Wardina Safiyyah, she wrote an e-mail to the publication where my article appeared, and complained that I should not have 'petik' her name.

After that incident, I felt like I should not 'petik' names and instead just go with 'retis sakai'.


Hanis Zalikha, Nabila Huda, Wardina Safiyyah, Nora Danish, Zarina Anjoulie, Sharifah Sakinah, Emma Maembong, Wardina Safiyyah, Abby Abadi, Wardina Safiyyah and Wardina Safiyyah.

There I said it. Although the one name mentioned four times has actually made her exit from two out of three mentioned social networks, it does not mean her previous cock-ups will easily be forgotten.

Getting back to my point, while you have this power at your fingertips, where thousands of people follow you (either to laugh at you or to worship you, it doesn't matter as long as the numbers keep going up), you feel the need to share your entire life with them.

Remember artistes from those days? They had no social networks. Which was why for the most part, people notice their talent first. Other than that, it is up to the media to make or break them.

But today, with social networks, 'retis sakai' have made it possible to break themselves.

So, my dear 'retis sakai', when you share stuff on social networks, what is your objective? You want people to see what you're up to? Being human, and one that resides in Malaysia, and for the most part I can safely say that a majority of 'retis sakai' are Malays, can't you gauge how people would react?

Predominantly your followers are Malays residing in Malaysia.

Two things you clearly are yourself.

So why do things that is akin to 'digging your own grave'?

To this, many will say 'instagram aku, aku punya sukalah' or 'aku tak nak jadi hipokrit' or 'this is my life, take it or leave it' or 'i am just being true to myself' or 'kita nak hidup tak boleh ambil pusing sangat apa orang nak cakap' or 'mulut orang memang kita tak boleh tutup' and the list goes on and on.

By the way, is there a secret handbook you guys get before becoming a 'retis sakai'? I'm starting to believe there is, because your behaviour and actions and statements appear to come from a template.

Anyway, you are known. Your social network accounts are for public view. While I am sure you thrive on the endless 'cantiknya akak/abang' and 'lawanya' and 'saya nak jadi macam akak/abang' and 'akak/abang ni idola saya' etc, you must also remember that you can't control what people say.

After all, it is you who said 'mulut orang tak boleh nak tutup' kan?

So based on that, if you loathe criticism, why publicize your life?

What I can't stand the most is how you go all holy and innocent and start to generalize all those who criticize you as 'haters'.

No, wait, actually what I can't stand even more than that is the barrage of quote pics that you morons upload after a social network scandal takes place.

"Haters will be haters, you only say bad things about me because you're jealous of me, I am on top of the world, Allah is great, I love my life, I won't let haters take me down, People love to act holier-than-thou so just ignore them."

And of course, the list of quotes goes on and on and on.

And all this because?

You uploaded a picture of yourself wearing skimpy clothes.

Or you uploaded a picture of yourself vacationing with your boyfriend with captions like "kisses all over your face".

Halo samdol, you 'retis', ada followers, orang kenal, some more you open yourself wide by uploading these pictures yourself, what were you expecting?

If people don't comment at all, no compliments, no caci maki, then you would probably be crying in the shower because you're not famous and nobody cares about you anymore.

So what do you want now 'retis sakai'?

If Instagram had a feature to turn off comments, would you use it? Find a mirror, look into it and ask yourself that question. Would you be able to live without the compliments? Or better yet, would you be able to live without the hate comments because then you won't be able to go all holy and innocent when you respond to the hate comments.

You say you want to be close to your fans and share your lives with them, even worse, some say they use Instagram as a journal for their kids to look at someday.

Oh boy.

Ever heard of a photo album?! I think you can still get it at Aeon. 

No wait, ever heard of an external hard disk?!

Never mind.

Back to the issue at hand.

It's actually fine to use Instagram to share your lives with your fans, but not the way you morons are doing it.

What is even more terrible actually is that you hit out at journalists when they follow-up on the issues that you created on your social network accounts.

What do you say?

"Tolong lah leave us alone. Biar kami sort out masalah kami. Jangan tanya lagi. Cukup-cukuplah media memanipulasikan apa yang berlaku."

Hatok hang.

For the most part, you create the mess and then you jump when people hound you to find out what's going on.

Here's a tip, if you want to be left alone, if you don't want people prying into your life, if you don't want people to know what you're up to, fucking don't upload a photo every half an hour.

And to the 'retis sakai' yang suka main upload gambar seksi, gambar dengan boyfriend, gambar clubbing, gambar holiday, terima sahaja lah bila kena hentam.

Why melompat? You started it, right? And what gives you the right to play the holy card when you so conveniently brand those who criticise you as holier-than-thou people?

I also find that some of you resort to dismissing criticism not just by using the term 'haters' but also 'trolls'.

"Oh baru create account nak troll. Patutlah."

Err.... how about responding to actual criticism? Those who make sense? Tak berani kan? Why only choose to respond to 'trolls' or those who use foul language?

Meanwhile, you don't realise that while you're off doing stupid, moronic things, there are so many of your fans who strongly defend you.

Do you know that you're spreading stupidity?

As though we don't have enough stupids in the world as it is, when you do crappy stuff on the internet, and people hit out at you, your hardcore fans start defending you as if their lives depended upon it.

That is allowing stupidity to grow and breed.

Oh the horror.

While you may have worked hard to save up for your lousy vacation, why not let reporters do their jobs? Send some normal photos to them and give them an interview and they'd be happy to put it in the papers or their websites.

That way, you won't run the risk of hitting out at reporters for doing their jobs when shit hits the fan because you want to handle your own life updates on social networks.

The mere fact that you are 'retis sakai' shows that you have no sense of how things work. So leave it to the pro.

You may be stupid, I know that, but even stupid people sometimes have the common sense to leave certain things to professionals.

So now that you have effectively earned your spot as 'retis sakai', perhaps you could start reflecting and maybe, just maybe one day, you will find yourself among artistes.

Just maybe.

Oh what am I saying.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Stop the blame game

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IN the aftermath of the arab spring, Malaysians got up and said, 'Hey we have to fight too.' 

And so they did. 

However, the problem with us is that we want to fight but lack the capacity to be intellectual about the arguments we put forth and the battles we choose to pick. 

For the most part, we have always been surface dwellers, and we continue to be so, without bothering to exercise common sense and logic. 

In saying surface-dwellers, it simply means that, generally, we focus more on the surface, without looking into what's underneath.

In even simpler terms, we are not that far different from the boy who cried wolf.

We fight for racial equality and denounce those who we think are racists. 

But how do we do it? 

We become judgmental and brand the racists. 

We insist on being liberal and tolerant but we do that by putting down those who hold on to a certain set of beliefs. 

We say we want more freedom, we want justice, equality, and insist on being liberals.

However, we immediately put down others who do not share our liberal ideals. 

We bash the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Perkasa for being extremely pro-Malays, but we ourselves become extremely pro-liberals, and we trample on those who don't share our views. 

We scream for democracy.

Yet we misinterpret the word. 

Democracy has never meant everyone getting their way. 

That's just plain insanity. 

In our fight to free ourselves from the alleged grasp of bad governance, we insult the freedom fighters before us. 

What we as Malaysians fail to understand, in my opinion, is that the government, whichever party gets to run it, is a mere reflection of us as a whole.

Of late, most of us have been screaming to the government asking them to listen to us, but we refuse to first listen to ourselves.

The government, whoever runs it, was once part of the masses. 

They too were once nobodies.

In fact, we were all born as nobodies.

We are so eager to blame the government for everything that is wrong within our society that we forget, that government we hate came from within us.

If we as a society refuse to change, it doesn't matter who sits in the chair at Level 5 of the Prime Minister's office in Putrajaya.

If we as a society insist on staying the way we are and simply resort to the blame game, it won't matter which party wins the next general election because we will still be a nation that continues to bark at the tree.

Sometimes I wonder why we fail to see that there is an inter-connectedness to everything around us?

We take for granted simple day-to-day things yet we loudly voice out the need to weed out the alleged corruption in our current government.

It all starts with the man (or woman) in the mirror.

Look around us; are we offering bribes to our kids just to get them to either shut up or do well in school?

Why can't we see that everything begins (and ends) with us?

Look at how we treat the foreign workers in our country.

We may not all engage in physical abuse, but we commit grave injustice when we so freely refer to them as though they are lesser human beings when we comment on the issue.

We so carelessly dismiss them as though we are the supreme race, devoid of flaws and mistakes.

And yet, we can easily point fingers and accuse others of being racist.

What is the difference between us and those we blame?

In our fight to be a more tolerant and just nation, we do it by becoming intolerant and unjust ourselves.

We dismiss things we don't understand, and we offhandedly pass remarks about the beliefs of others without bothering to understand the essence of the issue.

For 2014, I just pray that we are granted more common sense and logic.

At the rate we are going, it is not the current government that will run us down, but rather our own stupidity, arrogance and selfishness.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Perverts In a Circus....

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Once in a while, we may chance upon a workplace that leaves a lasting impression on our souls.

A place that is more than just an office we drive to every morning.

A place that is more than just a desk, a chair and a computer that we use to complete what is needed of our jobs.

A place that is more than just four walls of salary giving space.

A place that when we leave, we leave a part of us there.

A place that gave us memories to last a lifetime.

A place where the memories are not work-related, but life experiences that make us who we are.

A place we make friends for life. And not just weekdays 9 to 5 ones.

I chanced upon such a place recently. I spent a whole year there. Just a year some may say. Not even enough to create anything worthwhile. Au contraire folks. Au contraire.

Work-wise, it was a stepping stone of sorts, albeit there were ups and downs.

But more importantly, it was the non-related work stuff that stuck to me with memories that will live on long after i stepped out for good.

Career-wise, i'm in a better place now. A place I never thought I would be at, but opportunity came knocking, I grabbed it and I couldn't be happier.

But speaking of the past one year, it has been one interesting and crazy journey.

I made friends who I believe will stay on in my heart forever.

Beautiful people with beautiful hearts.

The first time I set foot into that place, I felt a sense of foreboding.

Is this really where I wanted to be? Will these people accept my eccentricities?

The first couple of weeks I kept mostly to myself, joining in a little joke here and there, trying to blend in.

After a few weeks, somehow, everything just fell into place. Suddenly we were bonding and I felt at home.

Lunches, tea breaks were spent with them, laughing, exchanging life stories.

And then something unexpected happened. Perhaps it was 'rezeki kerja tempat baru' or perhaps it was just already written to happen that way.

My long-time boyfriend of 5 years proposed and an engagement date was set.

And then the wedding preparations began. Of course, these beautiful people were there for most of the psychotic rantings, temper tantrums, card designing, clothes picking, souvenir selections, bla bla bla.

In fact, one of them even hooked me up with her tailor.

And they were all in favour of the mafia wedding theme, especially this one dude who sat next to me.

The wedding came, and most of them were there, decked out like mafias, happily snapping away photos to record the memorable day.

These people were like family to me.

From one guy who loves P.Ramlee to another one who continuously blasts rock kapak songs on his computer, to one who became my IT run-to guy, to a woman who was ever-willing to hear me rant whatever the rants are about, to a guy I run to whenever I hit a snag with my writing, to one who is always ready for a karaoke-night out, to one who insists on calling me Puan the minute I tied the knot, to one who was always ready with pervert jokes, to one dude who constantly insists he is able to discuss Victoria's Secret's lingerie line, and to a HR manager who was more like a big sister than anything else.

More than that, they were just beautiful people I can't picture my life without.

How do I repay their kindness in offering me their friendships?

I honestly don't even know where to begin but I thought a blog post, after a long hiatus, will be a good start.

I love you guys. Now and forever. We've been called a circus, but we know that this was one cool circus!

Long live budak-budak senget!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

An apology...

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Some time ago, I used my blogspace to vent against a certain individual whom I felt had wronged me. Perhaps it was my hotheadedness that drove me to make harsh remarks against said individual, perhaps it was just plain and simple anger. But whatever it was, it has been brought to my attention that I should not have used a media platform to lash out in a harsh manner to this particular someone, especially since this someone is a dear friend to the man I now call my husband. Therefore I would hereby like to offer my apology to her and hope that all can be forgiven.

posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, July 30, 2012

It is not nice to cheat your fans....

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Good sense would dictate that if you’re a public figure, and you have a Twitter account, and you have tonnes of followers, you should tweet responsibly. I’ve spoken about this issue countless of times, however today, I would like to do something a little different. When I say tweet responsibly, that generally means having a good twitter etiquette because if you’re famous, that means you are being idolized by many (although in some cases, I honestly don’t know why they are idolized. But anyway.) When so many look up to you, remember that it is only appropriate that you be honest in your tweets. Assuming you came up with a brilliant quote, and you share it on twitter, and this quote is originally yours (which means if I copy paste it into Google search, it won’t appear anywhere else on the net) then it’s okay to do so without putting the open-close inverted commas. See example below.
This is an original quote - it does not require open-close inverted commas.

See now I came up with that line. It belongs to my head. And even if you google it, you won’t find it anywhere else. So that means it’s mine.

What I want to say here is that I find it appalling that some people would simply write down quotes on their Twitter account, without any open-close inverted commas to denote a quote-unquote situation, and of course there’s no credit as to the origin of the quote. Basically, konon2 quote tu hasil dari otak sendiri lah tu. And fans yang beribu ni pun RT lah. “I like your words.” “Your words are an inspiration.” “I like following your Twitter because you say good things.” Bla Bla Bla.

Saya sertakan beberapa contoh quotes that was taken and used without crediting its original source. Attached is also the origin of said quote.

Life is a Succession of Lessons which must be Lived to be Understood.
(belongs to Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.
(Proverb. The first person who uttered this line is not known, but this quote has been around for a long time, and did not come to be just recently.)

Never chase anyone. A person who appreciates You will walk with You.
(A search on Google attributes this quote to someone called Wiz Khalifa. And this line is plastered all across the internet, you can find it almost everywhere.)

Being Cool is, Not trying to be Cool.
(Again there is no trace as to the first person who uttered this quote but it is found everywhere on the internet that a person today just cannot expect to coin this phrase as their own.)

You Never really Understand a person until You consider things from his or hers point of view. 
(This is from the book To Kill A Mockingbird. The original line had no ‘or hers’. That part was added by whoever cedok this quote without bothering to credit Harper Lee.)

In order to succeed, Your desire for Success should be Greater than Your fear of failure.
(Bill Cosby)

I think you pretty much get the point I’m trying to make here. If you still can’t see it, here’s a breakdown to make it easier:

1.       Are you a public figure? If Yes, go to no. 2.
2.       Do you have a Twitter account? If Yes, go to no. 3.
3.       Do you have thousands of followers? If Yes, go to no. 4
4.       Do you have people who hang on to every twit you spew out? If Yes, go to no. 5
5.       Are you not able to come up with original tweets? If Yes, go to no. 6.
6.       Do you like to Google for quotes to copy paste on your Twitter account? If Yes, go to no. 7.
7.       If you answered yes to all of the above, might I suggest the next time you cedok something from the  internet, please use the format given below:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Kempen Mari Berfikir Sebelum Mulakan Sesuatu Perjuangan

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Kehadapan Ektremis Bahasa Melayu,

Dewasa ini kelihatan ramai yang riuh memperjuangkan kemartabatan Bahasa Melayu. Bukan setakat rakyat biasa, malahan ahli fikir, ahli falsafah, dan juga akademia turut turun padang melaungkan kemarahan mereka, kerana menurut puak-puak ini, Bahasa Melayu semakin tidak dipedulikan. Apabila kita bertutur di dalam Bahasa Inggeris, dikatanya kita ini mengagung-agungkan bahasa dari barat. Pada pendapat saya, secara tidak langsung Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka menyumbang terhadap kemunduran Bahasa Melayu. Mungkin puak pelampau Bahasa ini perlu mengarahkan kemarahan mereka terhadap DBP dan bukan pada kami yang terlebih rajin semasa di sekolah dan memberi perhatian di dalam kelas Bahasa Inggeris dan memilih untuk menggunakan Bahasa Inggeris lebih dari menggunakan Bahasa Melayu. Pada pandangan saya, memperjuangkan keagungan Bahasa Melayu tiada salahnya, tetapi jangan terlalu melampau sehingga menolak kemajuan bahasa lain. Mengapa saya katakan DBP menyumbang dengan cara tidak langsung terhadap kemunduran Bahasa Melayu? Sebabnya diberikan dibawah:

Technology – Teknologi  
Information – Informasi
Release – Rilis
Bearish – Bearis
Review – Rebiu
Linguistic – Linguistik
Plastic – Plastik
Antique – Antik
Discrimination – Diskriminasi
Denomination – Denominasi
Monarchy – Monarki
Anarchy – Anarki
Anthropology – Antropologi
Social – Sosial
Punitive – Punitif
Discipline – Disiplin

I think you get the idea. This list could go on forever.

Jadi seharusnya anda minta DBP terangkan apa sebabnya kebanyakan perkataan Bahasa Melayu hanya diolah sedikit dari perkataan Bahasa Inggeris? Mengapa tidak dicari perkataan lain? Sebagai contoh, Information juga membawa maksud Maklumat. Jadi kenapa kita tidak memperluaskan penggunaan Maklumat? Mengapa radio/tv/suratkhabar masih menggunakan Informasi? Release juga bermaksud Mengeluarkan. Kenapa dijadikan Rilis? Banyak lagi contoh-contoh seumpama ini. Sekiranya begini evolusi Bahasa Melayu pada abad ini, mungkin 20-30 tahun akan datang, semua perkataan Bahasa Melayu yang digunapakai hanya dipindah dari Bahasa Inggeris dengan menggantikan –TION kepada –SI, -SH kepada –S, dan sebagainya. Kalau begitu, buat apa kita perkasakan Bahasa Melayu jika kosakatanya penuh dengan perkataan-perkataan Bahasa Inggeris yang sekadar dipindah dan ditukar serba sedikit? Baik terus belajar Bahasa Inggeris sahaja, bukan begitu logiknya?

Mengkelaskan perkataan-perkataan ini di dalam kategori Perkataan Pinjaman Inggeris tidak menjadikannya satu alasan yang munasabah ya, tuan-tuan dan puan-puan.

Apakah yang dilakukan oleh mereka di DBP? Jika setakat menukar perkataan-perkataan sebegini rupa, mungkin DBP tidak memerlukan bangunan sebesar itu. Mungkin saya tidak arif dengan tugas-tugas lain di DBP. Tetapi jika perkara nyata seperti ini tidak dipedulikan, apa guna saya ambil tahu apa yang berlaku di dalam bangunan DBP itu? Sesungguhnya setiap hari kita berhadapan dengan perkataan-perkataan Bahasa Melayu yang diubahsuai sedikit dari Bahasa Inggeris. Oleh sebab itu, saya tidak nampak dimana perlunya untuk berjuang memartabatkan Bahasa Melayu. Terutama lagi bahasa itu merupakan alat perhubungan. Selagi apa yang dipertuturkan difahami oleh pendengar, apa perlu dimartabatkan sesuatu bahasa itu? Sekiranya bahasa itu benar-benar istimewa dan mempunyai keunikan tersendiri, ya saya akur ia perlu diperkasakan supaya tidak hilang ditelan zaman. Tetapi jika bahasa itu sekadar pindahmilik dari bahasa lain, buang masa saja perjuangan yang nyata tidak berfaedah itu. Dari membuang masa memperjuangkan perkara yang tidak perlu diperjuangkan, lebih baik masuk kelas Bahasa Inggeris. Setidak-tidaknya dapat juga bertutur di merata tempat seluruh dunia. Kalau setakat gagah perkasa dalam satu bahasa sahaja, maka gagah perkasa lah di kampung halaman sendiri. 

Kepada penyokong tegar Bahasa Melayu, sila elakkan dari menghantar pandangan anda yang menggunakan alasan bahawa perkataan Bahasa Inggeris juga meminjam banyak dari bahasa-bahasa lain. Itu saya tahu. Apa yang ingin saya sampaikan di sini ialah, jika anda berpuas hati dengan kerja-kerja yang dijalankan oleh DBP selama ini yakni teknologi informasi diskriminasi dan segala apa yang basi lagi, maka hentikan perjuangan memartabatkan Bahasa Melayu dan mengutuk orang yang bertutur di dalam Bahasa Inggeris. Terima dengan rela hati dan duduk diam-diam. Jika anda ingin juga berjuang, maka nasihat saya, betulkan dahulu adaptasi berleluasa yang dijalankan oleh DBP ini. Selepas anda dapatkan perkataan-perkataan asli untuk perkataan-perkataan –SI dan yang sewaktu dengannya yang saya maksudkan, barulah berjuang untuk memartabatkan bahasa yang sangat anda cintai itu.

Bahasa Hanya Alat Komunikasi.

Embrace that and you’ll have one less nonsense to demo about.

In the spirit of the signage above, you only live once, don't spend it demonstrating over nonsense.