Panel to complete video clip probe ‘within weeks’

PUTRAJAYA: A three-member independent panel has been formed to investigate the controversial video clip of a lawyer allegedly brokering judicial appointments with a senior judge.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said yesterday the decision to establish the panel was made after discussions with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in view of the widespread perception that the standing of the judiciary was at stake.

“The decision was made as the allegations and speculations arising from the video clip cast doubt on the integrity and credibility of the judicial system. ( Story link )

Meanwhile, a Bar Council-sponsored march will take place today at 11 a.m. The purpose is to submit a memorandum to the Cabinet (specifically to the Prime Minister), calling for the setting up of a Royal Commission to investigate issues jeopardising the Judiciary. Now that an independent panel has been set up to investigate this case, I am not sure if the memorandum still stands, but I am very sure that the march will still take place.

The march will begin from the Palace of Justice till the Prime Minister’s office, both in Putrajaya.

The Great and Mighty Spirit of the Malaysian Bar

Yesterday the Bar Council organised a march from the Palace of Justice to the Prime Minister’s office in Putrajaya. You probably wouldn’t read much about it anywhere else but blogs and alternative news sources. Even if you did read it in mainstream media, your impression may have been that the lawyers ‘eat too full nothing to do’ and are ‘pawns of the opposition parties’ (who we know are incarnations of Dr. Evil.. -_-” ).

I wish to highlight an article written by the Bar secretary Lim Chee Wee, published on the Malaysian Bar Council website. I hope they do not sue me for not gaining prior permission to publish it in full on Monsterblog, but at this point in writing, the MBC site is down inaccessible. So, all for the greater good, eh? ;)

The Great and Mighty Spirit of the Malaysian Bar
by Lim Chee Wee

Yesterday was a momentous and magical day! I was inspired by the determination, courage, perseverence and strength of the Members of the Malaysian Bar who were undeterred by the roadblocks, the heavy presence of intimidating police and the rain. I would like to share with Members some of the highlights of yesterday which they may not be aware of.

From the day the Bar Council decided to organise the Walk for Justice, we were in constant contact with the press secretary of the Deputy Prime Minister who chaired yesterday’s Cabinet meeting and we informed him that the walk would be peaceful and that we intended to submit the 2 memorandums on the Royal Commission and the Judicial Appointment Commission. We were told that the DPM is sympathetic to our concern, did not object to the walk and would organise a representative to accept the memorandums on behalf of the Prime Minister.

Yesterday morning around 200 Members took the 7 buses from Dataran to go to the Palace of Justice. The journey was smooth until the road leading into Precinct 1 where we were stopped by a group of policemen who, through the Special Branch Officers who were at Dataran, knew that these were the 7 buses carrying lawyers and not sightseeing tourists. Our attempts to persuade them and phone calls to the press secretary, to allow the buses to continue in its journey did not bear fruit. We were told by George (the Treasurer) that other entry points were also blocked. We had no choice but to begin the walk from that spot which is around 6 kilometres to Palace of Justice. When told of this, the Members on the buses did not hesitate to come down and start walking. The policemen were surprised and watched us walk past them. There were other Members who were driving in their cars and they stopped to take on some passengers to continue with the journey.

The hats, fans, bottles of water and banners all came out and we soldiered on, led by Amer and Edmund.When we met a group of FRU personnel after a few hundred metres, there was slight anxiety in the air but we were encouraged to continue walking, which we did and we were not stopped. Members’ cars kept on stopping to carry some of us to the Palace, some of the Members who were carrying the banners continued walking; such was their determination and strength.

Shortly after we began the walk from the Palace of Justice towards the Prime Minister’s Office, we were informed by the press secretary that the police would request the Members to stop the Walk and that the appointment is cancelled. We carried on nonetheless. When 3 policemen wanted to speak to us after 1 kilometre during the walk, we continued walking past them. When the FRU personnel formed a line before Dataran Putrajaya, we continue walking and they backed off towards the main gates of the PM’s Office. We were then informed that the appointment is going ahead.

Yesterday, the Malaysian Bar showed the authorities how we can have a peaceful walk to express our grave concerns with the state of the Judiciary. Nazri is dead wrong to say that the Bar is an opposition political party. We oppose corruption and injustice. We do not oppose the Judiciary, in fact we support the honest and hardworking members of the Judiciary. We demand investigation into the state of the Judiciary due to allegations of corruption and the videoclip is but one incident.

I am proud to be associated with the Malaysian Bar, I am overwhelmed by my brothers and sisters in the Bar who walked fearlessly, I salute you. We will keep on walking if need be, and continue to knock on the doors until they open to truth and justice.*******************

Here is one of the many photos taken at the march; the photo below was sourced from Jeff Ooi’s site.

Lawyers march for justice

A fellow blogger, Lulu compiled a list of references to the march, which you can view here.

Nine killed as Myanmar junta cracks down on protests

I guess it is too easy to be wrapped up in our own cocoons.

Security forces swept through Myanmar’s main city Thursday, killing nine people including a Japanese journalist, and arresting hundreds more in a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests.

At least 50,000 people, many of them youths and students, swarmed into Yangon undeterred by the deaths the day before of at least four protesters, including three Buddhist monks, and repeatedly defied orders to disperse.

As the shots rang out, they ran for their lives, only to regroup and face down the might of Myanmar’s junta which has exerted iron rule over the impoverished country for more than four decades.

In six hours of chaotic protests, state media said nine people were killed and another 11 protesters injured including one woman. ( Story link )

Below is a blog post written by a fellow blogger a few days ago regarding the situation.

If ever there was a time to pray
by Erna Mahyuni

I’m praying that 1998 doesn’t repeat itself. The people of Burma have suffered enough and even if the junta doesn’t back down from rule, I’m hoping that at least they’ll restrain themselves from shooting into the crowd.

My time at the UNHCR seems so long ago but I still remember the stories. I remember the old man who was almost blind from being hit in the head with a gun butt. I remember the mother who had to leave her children with four different families, because no one could afford to take them all in. And I remember one of my dearest friends telling me he gets nightmares even thinking about telling the press what he went through. He still can’t find it in him to tell me his story. I still remember how his voice broke when he told me he couldn’t bear having to tell it all over again.

It saddens me that the junta tries forcing the Buddhist faith down the throats of the unwilling when Buddhism is a leaning of peace. So I find it apt that the Burmese monks are leading the throng, following in a path that Gandhi walked. That the People’s Party of the Philippines demonstrated. That political change doesn’t need bloodshed. That nonviolent resistance can work; that we don’t need to trade blood for peace.

I want so much to believe.

Yet, if this fails I don’t want foreign military intervention. I believe in the sovereignty of a country, for if we deny that sovereignty over its own affairs then we open the doors to unwanted meddling. Regime change by conquest is…just unacceptable. That it took an oil price hike to cause revolt is another sad state of affairs but maybe, the Burmese people have finally had enough. I just hope what they’re doing is enough.********************

It is Wear Red For Burma day today.

Learn Chinese

First of all, before I begin, may I just say that:

1) I am a Chinese and I’m not a racist against my own race;
2) this doesn’t apply to all Chinese, just most (of the ones I know, heard of, and watched on TV)

A friend and I were talking about my extremely cute little 2 year-old nephew and how his mum once said to him “you’re such a cute baby. look at that baby there. he’s so ugly”. First of all, on an adult level, that’s just bad parenting. Secondly, my little nephew does not need someone to teach him to judge others, as he will learn that when he’s judged by society as he grows older. And that would be in 3 years’ time, when he enters kindergarten and the social part comes to play.

you’re too fat.
… too thin (rarely happens).
you’re not a doctor, lawyer, accountant.
you’re still single at 35.
you’re still single because you’re gay.
you’re married without kids…
… or worse, not married with kids…
you don’t have a car…
… much less a house.

That brings us to another thing. That most are very judgemental, and dare I say this equates shallowness (if there’s such a word).

Before I go on, again, these don’t apply to all Chinese, just most.

Family members who have not seen you for a while (”a while” being weeks, months, years) will most likely, in the following order:

1) Ask how you are (occasionally) and promptly go on to comment on your physical appearance
“Wow you’re so fair. Your hair’s long now. You’re so tanned. You put on weight. You lost so much weight.”

2) Ask about your marital status
If you’re single, are there no potential girls? no potential guys?
If you’re with someone, be prepared to be put on the witness stand.
If you’re married, where are the kids?
If you’re married with one kid, when is the next one coming? If your first born was a boy, a girl would be good to balance the siblings relationship out. But if you’re Chinese and the first born is a boy, let’s hope that the second born is a boy too.

3) Ask about your job
Who what when where why how about your job.
Who are you working for?
What do you do and what company is it?
When did you start?
Where is your office located?
Why did you quit your previous job?
How do you get to work? How much do you get paid?

3.b) Ask about your salary
This is a personal incident that happened last year, asked by 2 people, at 2 separate occasions, weeks apart:
“So how much are you earning now?”
… enough to be comfortable…
“Yeah… so how much is that approximately?”
… approximately enough for me to survive comfortably. Why do you want to know anyway?
“Ooh I’m just concerned about you, you know, if you’re doing okay over there on your own.”

If you wanted to know if I’m doing okay aka my well-being, ask me how I am… if I’m happy here… if I’m coping with my job… if I’m coping living out… if I’m coping with life here. So it’s pretty plain isn’t it…

Happiness = money + beautiful physical appearance.

If you only possess only one of the 2 elements above, you should, if you’re smart, be able to obtain the other i.e. plastic surgery if you have the former, and being a toyboy/ teaser if you have the latter.

*shakes head* I guess I can go on ranting, but I don’t think it’ll reflect very well on me. Ironically, only because I am only trying to reflect on my own kind, from my personal point of view.*****************************

About The Author: plastykcrayon would like to think that she’s a writer as she dreams/ writes/ talks about being one, not doing anything about it, and blames it on her muse by saying that he went on a permanent holiday, when in fact he’s locked up in a white box somewhere in the corner of her mind, screaming his ideas out, trying to overcome the other voices in her head. sounds about right.

Tuesday open thread

I have a few errands to run today.

What do you have in mind?

Rasa Sayang ‘ours too… we have right to sing it’

KUALA LUMPUR: Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor has dismissed an Indonesian legislator’s claim that the song Rasa Sayang belonged solely to Indonesia.

He was responding to a report in the Jakarta Post quoting Indonesian House of Representatives member Hakam Naja as saying that Jakarta should sue Malaysia for its use of the song in its “Truly Asia” tourism campaign. ( Story link )

What next, Mamula Moon? ;)

PSP enjoys 'Monster' success in Japan

And it would have outsold all of the competition combined if it weren't for that pesky Xbox 360 contributing 1,547 units to the tally. The number the other systems had to defeat was 129,986, the number of PSPs sold in Japan last week according to the compulsive counters at Media Create. Nintendo's DS occupied the second place in the chart with 58,916 sold -- less than half of that managed by the PSP.

The system's monster success arrives hand-in-hand with Capcom's Monster Hunter Freedom 2 G, which sold 880,468 copies in its first week. Capcom revealed earlier this week that it had already shipped over a million units of the PSP expansion in an attempt to satiate the demand for "epic battles with giant monsters."

Al-Qaeda leader al-Masri 'dead'

The US says Abu Obaida al-Masri, reputedly al-Qaeda's mastermind in Afghanistan, has died, but still skeptical about claim.The Interior Ministry is trying to gain custody of what it claimed was the body of Abu Ayyub al-Masri, a senior Iraqi official said Wednesday, amid widespread skepticism over reports that the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq had been killed.

Meanwhile, a police official in Anbar province said al-Masri died when his explosives belt detonated during fighting but security forces could not retrieve the body because it was in a part of the desert controlled by the terror group.

U.S. authorities urged caution about the reports, saying they had not been confirmed and warning that even if the claim were true, the death of the shadowy Egyptian militant likely would not spell the end of the terror movement in Iraq.

Continue reading at the following sites: -  Al-Qaeda leader al-Masri 'dead'
MSNBC - U.S. urges caution over al-Masri death reports

MySpace and 3 major labels to launch MySpace Music

MySpace, Warner Music Group, Sony BMG, and Universal Music have announced plans to launch an online music web site called MySpace Music (not to be confused with the existing web site called MySpace Music, rather the new site will be a spinoff of MySpace's existing service).

The music companies wil be making their complete content libraries available. Users will be able to stream ad-supported audio and video for free, or pay to download files includign songs and ringtones, MySpace Music will also sell concert tickets and artis merchandise.

EMI hasn't signed onto the project yet, but the New York Times reports that sources say the 4th major label will probably join up soon.

The music labels will own a minority stake in the business, which will compete with Apple's iTunes. Of course, the labels are making money through iTunes sales as well, but they've been complaining for a whlie that as the dominant online music retailer, Apple has too much control over the pricing and distribution of digital music.

Should men wear heels?

Sales of men's high-heeled shoes are sky rocketing! Does Britain have that many height impaired men?

Sales of men's high-heeled shoes are up in British department stores, according to a story by the UK Telegraph, and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is believed to be to blame. It seems her husband, the diminutive President Sarkozy, has been been donning two-inch platform shoes (while Ms. Sarkozy wears flats) to balance out their height differential during official outings. 

The look, such as it is, has gained attention among Europe's short and stylish and UK businessmen have apparently followed, um, suit—the popularity of shoes like Jeffrey West's "Decadent and Dandy" lace-ups which sport a two-inch heel, has surged in recent weeks.