Monday, 31 December 2007

Bhutto's successor

Three days after his mother's assasination, 19-year-old Bilawal Bhutto, finds himself inheriting not just one of the most celebrated names in politics, but a history steeped in power and bloodshed.

He has been chosen as the chairman of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) while his father, Asif Ali Zardari, will serve as co-chairman.

The appointment means the party leadership follows the Bhutto bloodline for a third generation, some four decades after it was founded by Bilawal's grandfather and former prime minister, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

The decisions were made at a closed-door meeting of the party's central executive committee.

The PPP also decided to contest in the upcoming elections, apparently ending the threat of a wholesale boycott by Pakistan's political opposition.

"The party's long struggle for democracy will continue with renewed vigour," Bilawal told a news conference.

"My mother always said democracy is the best revenge," he said.

While friends of the slain former Prime Minister say she always envisaged Bilawal becoming her political heir, they agree that she would not have wanted him to have to bear that burden so young.

At 19, Bilawal is still some way from completing his education.

Read here, here and here

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Benazir Bhutto killed

Somehow I knew that it would come to this - the moment she returned home to Pakistan on Oct 18 to take part in the country's election after eight years of self-imposed exile.
May she rest in Peace. Al-Fatiha.
Left: Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto waves to supporters after an election rally in Rawalpindi December 27, 2007, shortly before she was killed in a gun and bomb attack.
Pix by: Mian Khursheed / Reuters

Pakistani former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has been killed in a presumed suicide attack, a spokesman for the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) says. Earlier reports said Ms Bhutto had only been injured and taken to hospital.

Ms Bhutto had just addressed a rally of PPP supporters in the town of Rawalpindi when the rally was hit by a blast.

At least 15 other people are reported killed in the attack.

Ms Bhutto has twice been the country's prime minister and was campaigning ahead of elections due in January. More from BBC

AFP: Here
Time: Here
More Here and here
Obituary: Bhutto had turbulent history
Also read Who did it? By Jason Burke, here
Benazir Bhutto (1953–2007)

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

My grandson is now a!

“Tell me Tok Mommy, will it be painful?” Adam, my eight-year-old grandson, asked me.

“Hmm, I don’t think so. You go ask Tok Abah.” I replied.

“Abang says it is not. But I don’t want to use a clamp. Abang says laser is better.”

That was a conversation between Adam and me. And the topic of discussion was on circumcision - an important rite of passage marking a boy's entrance into adulthood

You see, I don’t have a son and so I wouldn’t know the difference between using a clamp or a laser. I wonder if Adam himself knew the difference. I suppose he does after having talked about it with Nik Adam Haris, my sister Lalin's eldest son. Twelve-year-old Haris, whom Adam refers to as abang, was circumcised three years ago by the laser method.

I was told that the benefits of using a laser are: faster operation, limited or no bleeding, quicker healing, minimal post-op pain, pleasant experience and most aesthetically pleasing results. (Lol!)

“It is better because the wounds heal faster,” Lalin said.

Adam is the grandson whom I raised since he was a baby. My husband and I have been preparing him for this important journey in his life - that first step towards adulthood.

We thought that the December school holidays would be a good time for Adam to be circumcised - there would be enough time for him to recuperate.

Somehow we weren’t able to have it done during the first half of the holidays and had to settle for the second half. We chose Subang Jaya Medical Centre (SJMC) for Adam on the recommendation of our neighbours whose 12-year-old son had his done there recently. Secondly, it is near to our house. They also recommended to us the doctor who performed the surgery on Hisham.

So, last Friday we brought Adam to see Dr Zulkifli Laidin who assured us that it‘d be okay for him to be circumscised this week because the wound would heal by the time school reopens.

The day of the circumcision was fixed for Monday, December 24. The surgery was to be performed by Dr Zulkifli at SJMC, at 11.00am.

Adam was not to eat after 5.00am - five hours before the surgery. Why you might ask. After all it is a simple surgery. Not really...because his circumcision was to be done under general anesthetics (G.A). We opted for G.A out of fear that he might get cold feet if the circumcision was done by conventional method. But of course the costs of having it done under G.A. is 10 times more than under local anesthetics.

Adam was asleep by Sunday night after a dinner of Dominos pizza. We wanted to make sure he had enough to eat.

He was up by 7.30am the next morning, had his bath, dressed up and by 9.00am we were already on the 1st floor of SJMC’s North Tower, where the surgery would take place.

I know Adam was quite nervous but he behaved very well. After the necessary registration and changing to hospital attire, he was wheeled into the Operating theatre at 10.30. And within 15 minutes the circumcision was complete. However, he was not out until an hour later when the anesthetic wore off.

At about noon he was wheeled out of the day care surgery centre. There was my grandson, now a man!

We had wanted him stay for the night at the hospital, but he was eager to come home. By 1.00pm we were already back.

Monday, 24 December 2007

Christmas Greetings

Wishing all visitors here a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and May God's Blessings be on each of you.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Floods worsening in Pahang

The flood situation in Pahang and Kedah is worsening. More people had been evacuated yesterday. In the meantime, the situation in Terengganu, Kelantan and Johor has improved.

In PAHANG, the number of evacuees rose to 16,791 from 3,621 families at 90 relief centres as at 4.30pm ysterday from 16,637 in the morning.

Pekan has the highest number of evacuees at 9,700 followed by Maran (3,290), Rompin (1,569), Bera (1,125), Kuantan (1,019) and Temerloh (88), according to a Pahang police spokesman.

Jalan Pekan-Kuantan at Km19, Jalan Pekan-Muadzam Shah (Km8) and Temerloh-Maran trunk road are closed to all vehicles, while Jalan Muadzam Shah-Rompin and Temerloh-Triang are closed to light vehicles. Bernama has more: here

Marina Mahathir received an urgent sms from a friend appealing for help for the flood victims in Pahang.

The floods are getting worse especially in Pekan area. 8000 people are stranded and the roads have been cut off. Not sure how they are going to get supplies to the Pekanites but these are items they need:

diapers, baby milk, sanitary pads, eggs, canned food, rice, sugar, water, other foodstuffs, candles and torchlights, clothing.

Those living in KL, please deliver your contributions to the Flood Relief Centre at Istana Pahang, Persiaran Raja Chulan, KL. Please contact Dato Nordin at 012-988-9149 or 012-900-7068."

Pix: Courtesy of Pasquale

Friday, 21 December 2007

A quiet Eidul Adha

My 2nd daughter Jehan, with her kids (Ayra and Ayna on her lap) and my brother-in-law. TJ

Sitting from l-r: yours truly, my mom-in-law, Datin Zaiton, Adam and my biras, Nafisah. Standing l-r: Hashley, Ayesha and Johanne (Nafisah's children)

Jehan, Ayna, Shahriman (her husband) Ayra and my mom-in-law.

Left: Food galore...prepared by Puan Nafisah Ali
At my dad's: Food, glorious food ...

As with previous Hari Rayas, we spent the first half of the day at my mother-in-law's at her section 14 house. My 77-year-old-mom-in-law lives alone since my father-in-law passed away 11 years ago. And since she is alone, she doesn’t cook. So when it comes to special occasions like Hari Raya, we will bring food to her house and have a "feast" together with other members of my husband’s small family.

When I talk of "we", it usually means my biras, Picah (Nafisah, the wife of my third brother-in-law, Tajudin or TJ) and I. But this time, Picah called up to inform me that she'd be preparing "everything" (the whole works - nasi empit, rendang, serunding, kuah kacang & lodeh). How nice, I thought. My dear sis-in-law, Nafisah, is someone who you can always count on! She's one great lady. All I had to bring was ayam goreng, which I had promised my mom-in-law earlier.

The afternoon, as always, was reserved for my visit to my dad’s. The same goes for my sisters. They spent the morning at their respective in-laws. I don’t have any pictures at my dad’s because my siblings suddenly became camera shy.

”No need to take our pictures and put them in you blog. Cukup lah gambar yang ambil during the Singapore trip. Just take the picture of the food," says Nina.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Eidul Adha Mubarak

Here's wishing all Muslim readers and visitors of "Tok Mommy" a Happy Eid ul-Adha, the day of sacrifice.

Eidul Adha is a celebration of God's love for the whole of mankind.

Let us rejoice on this holy occasion and spread the Spirit of Eid among our dear ones... near and afar.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

It was a good trip

Adam and Heikal... raring to go

The Aeroline, the bus which took us to Singapore. It is very comfortable, clean and provides good service. It is punctual too. I like that.

Front row, Syaira, Adel, Adam and Heikal together with Afizuddin, Amalina and Sara back row waiting to board the bus. At 8.00 am sharp, we departed for Singapore.

After a journey of 2 1/2 hours we made a 20-minute stop-over at the recently-renovated PLUS's R&R in Pagoh. It's very pretty and clean...

... with rows of stalls selling fresh local and imported fruits

Just arrived and waiting to check in at York Hotel

On our first night (Fri, Dec 14), we went on the "must see" Nite Safari. Seen queuing up to board the tram/train for the 45-minute ride are from L-R: Syaira, Sara, Liyana and Amalina. Towering over them at the back is Adel.

Nuraina, the photographer clicking away...

Lalin and three of her children, (from left, Sofia, Soraya and Sonia) Adam, Nina and Sara (partly hidden) waiting to board the tram. The Night Safari is said to be the world's first wildlife park with a night view.

"Abang" Haris and his two loyal fans, Adam and Heikal.

All smiles and ready for the fancy tram ride covering a distance of 3.2km to catch sight of rhinos, elephants, giraffes, tapirs, tigers, lions along with a variety of birds in their "natural" habitat. The ride takes you along two loops that cover terrain ranging from the rocky Himalayan foothills to the grassy plains of Equatorial Africa. L-R, Sonia, Soraya, Sofia (hidden) and Cik ton aka Tok Mommy

These are tiger cubs. They are among the 900 noctural animals of 130 species inhabiting 40 hectares of dense forest located near the Upper Seletar Reservoir. The forest is bathed in shadowy half-light so that the animals are largely oblivious to our presence. We aren't allowed to take pictures of these animals in case the flash frightens them. This picture is taken from the Night Safari pamphlet.

The awe-inspiring tribal performers from the rainforests of Borneo demonstrating their fire-eating...

...acrobatic and blowpipe skills

Lalin and the children having fish and chips at the Bongo Bongo

Nuraina and Adel

Tok Mommy and Haris

Syaira, Amalina, Liyana and Mia (Raja Amylea)

Sofia, Sara and Tante Nina having breakfast on the 2nd day at York Hotel

Abang flanked by his fans during breakfast

A walk down Orchard Road after breakfast before visiting "Nek Busu" (on the 2nd day).

Takng a rest...near Tang's

A lone Chinese musician

On the 2nd & last night (Sat, Dec 15) in Singapore we went down to Orchard Road which is about 10 minutes walk from the hotel. We simply love the Xmas trees in all the shops along the road.

Just have to take more...

One for the road...with my cousin, Linda, (and her two children beside her) who called on us just before we checked out.

In front of the hotel's beautifully-decorated Xmas tree minutes before we checked out and headed for the Harbourfront to catch our Aeroline bus. We left for home at 3pm.

Read nuraina's Oh Singapura here and
Balik Kampung: here

Monday, 17 December 2007

Who is Damai?

So this is the question some of the popular blogs are asking: Who is Damai?

I heard that Damai is supposed to be representing us, the silent majority? I haven’t heard of the organisation. Have you? And who gave Damai the right to speak on my behalf?

From the little that I know, Damai wants peace. Well, that is what damai means.

And the silent majority? Who are they? Do they constitute majority of Malaysians or the majority from Barisan Nasional?

According to the Star it is a coalition of 395 non-governmental organizations, representing nearly 1.5 million members.

Damai Malaysia representatives also included those from 75 Chinese-based and 20 Indian groups and associations.

It’s mainly a coalition of mostly pro-government groups and they held a forum to denounce street demonstrations without specifically mentioning names, but mostly likely in response to Hindraf as well as the Bersih coalition gathering on November 10th.

Marina Mahathir is still pretty riled up over this and Rockybru is trying to mencari damai .

And so are we - the silent majority - trying to figure out what Damai is all about.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Singapore, here we come!

We'll be leaving for Singapore early tomorrow morning. It’s gonna be my first time balik kampung by bus/coach. In the past, it has always been balik kampung either by car, train or by air.

And this is going to be one hell of an experience - travelling with five (or is it seven?) teenagers and seven children.

In the group will be my sisters Nuraina (her two teenaged kids), Lalin (four children), Nina (two) Mia (Ena’s good friend and her daughter), and yours truly with Adam.

Going by coach is, of course, Nuraina's idea after a bad experience she had travelling by train two trips ago. Nuraina and my sisters (Lain & Nina) together with their children were forced to break their journey because rising flood waters made it impossible for their train to proceed. They had to continue their journey by bus in the middle of the night. Thank God, I gave that Singapore trip a miss.

This “Singapore trip:” is our annual “pilgrimage” to the island down south, the place of my birth. It’s sort of balik kampong - to renew ties and kinship. But unfortunately, we don’t have a kampung to speak of. Kampung Melayu is long gone, flattened to the ground. In its place are blocks and blocks of multi storey apartments. No, I don’t recognize the kampung where I grew up before I moved here in 1960.

We normally “squat” at my aunt’s Bedok Reservoir flat whenever we're in Singapore. But this time around we’ll be staying in a hotel right in the middle of Orchard Road. That’s what I’ve been told by Nina. For sure there will be some who are going to be “kecil hati” but we thought it’s best that way. My aunt is too old to entertain and “melayan” us.

Anyway, I missed the last two trips and can’t afford to miss this one. And, I am also doing this for my eight-year-old grandson, Adam. He didn’t make the trip last year and when he found out later that his “uncles” (Lailn’s son, Nik Haris, and Nina’s Heikal) had "lotsa" and "load" of fun in Singapore, he gave me that “how could you, Tok Mommy?” look. Kesian betul!

The arrangement for the trip was handled by my youngest sister, the super efficient Nina. We get her sms-es all the time... “Dear all please prepare a cheque for... being payment for 2nights-3days-stay at hotel…”; “ Dear all, please write a cheque to Kak Ena for...being payment for the two-way fare:” and “ Dear all, please be at Bapak’s house by 7am tomorrow, Friday. The coach leaves at 8am.”

Oh, oh, but I didn’t get the last message. I thought we’d be leaving for Singapore at 3pm.

“No Kak Ton, we’ll be leaving for KL from Singapore at 3pm on Sunday NOT for Singapore," Nina said, somehow irritated that I had misread a simple message. Lol!

Haiyyah, luckily I called up. Otherwise, I’d be left behind. Yup, by 3pm today they’d already be in Singapore.

So we’ll be away until Sunday. Not to worry. I would have been back by Tuesday.

And, yes, MRT will be on.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Datin Paduka Sister Enda...

Sister Enda Ryan, the former principal of my Alma Mater, Assunta Convent, has been conferred the Darjah Kebesaran Datuk (DSIS) which carries the title Datuk Paduka by the Sultan of Selangor in conjunction with his 62nd birthday on Tuesday.

This recognition could not have been more appropriately bestowed to one more deserving than Sister Enda.

She has devoted her entire life to Assunta, and to setting high standards among her teachers and students. Sister Enda continues to be an inspiration to me and to many other Assuntarians.

Thank you, Sister Enda. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us.

Five Hindraf leaders detained under ISA

Five Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders have been arrested and detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

The five are P. Uthayakumar, M. Manoharan, R. Kenghadharan, V. Ganabatirau and T. Vasanthakumar. They were picked up at various locations in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Seremban.

It is learnt they were detained under Section 8 (1) of the ISA after Internal Security Minister Datuk Seri Abdulah Ahmad Badawi signed their detention order.

Their detention is for two years.

Uthayakumar and two others namely Ganabatirau and P. Waythamoorthy were charged under the Sedition Act on Nov 23 in Klang 23 for allegedly making speeches to incite hatred at a gathering in Batang Berjuntai, Selangor, on Nov 16. Waythamoorthy is currently overseas.

Source: The Star
Also read Bernama

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

CJ vows to do what's right

Datuk Abdul Hamid Mohamad has vowed to “do what he honestly believes to be right, as best he can” to improve the public’s perception of the judiciary.

The new Chief justice vows to safeguard independence of the judiciary, revive public confidence in the institution.

And to show he is not mincing his words and means to whip the judiciary back into a respected institution, the nation's 11th Chief Justice flashed a placard with the words "BUAT KERJA! (work!) to his subordinates shortly after being sworn in.

He received a rousing handclap from the audience comprising former Chief Justice Tun Dzaiddin Mohamad, Federal, Appeal, High court judges, Bar Council president Ambiga Sreenevasan and others.

He said:

"I am aware that this appointment is a heavy burden on me. It is more so when it happens at a very challenging time, that is, when public perceptions of the judiciary are disturbing, when the integrity of the courts in the administration of justice is doubted, when appointments and the behaviour of judges and their commitments in the discharge of their duties, are all being questioned,"

Describing the judiciary as the last frontier of a nation.

"When the people no longer have confidence in the courts, there will be chaos."

"The independence of the judiciary means giving decision in a case based on law and evidence adduced in court without being influenced or pressured by any party."
The sun has more...

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Mee Rebus Tuesday

We had two newcomers, Pi Bani and Zawi, at our weekly MRT today.

Raden Galoh came with Pi Bani at around 11.30am. I wasn't properly dressed when they both arrived - had been in the kitchen the whole morning cooking my mee rebus. So I excused myself and ran upstairs to take a quick bath while my other half chatted with them. I have, in fact, been expecting Pi Bani to come to MRT after extending an invitation to her some two weeks ago. I am happy she did.

Pi Bani, who lives in Ipoh, is a volunteer with an NGO providing moral and emotional support to People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). I've always wanted to meet this selfless lady - this unsung hero - eversince I got to "know" her through her own blog and my sister's TWB.

Zawi is from Pasir Mas, Kelantan. He is an excellent narrator who writes about his life-long experience. Pak Zawi came with Elviza a little later together with Acciaccatura.

It was very nice of Elviza to fetch Pak Zawi (who is here on a holiday and staying in Puchong) and Acciaccatura (who lives in Ampang). Bless you, Elviza.

I could instantly recognize Pi and Zawi the moment I saw them, having seen their photos in their respective blogs.

Soon after, The Ancient mariner, an MRT regular, strolled in followed by Kerp who was driven to my house by his girlfriend. She couldn't join us because of some errands she had to do.

Others who came were Husna and her son, Aiman, Pasquale (Dino)and Galadriel who brought with her curry Puffs and some kuih muih, Rocky, Stephen Francis, Rusdi Mustapha and his brother-in-law and Wahti(former journalist and now publisher of TELL magazine).

Rusdi of Seri Menanti called up earlier to say he was coming with his brother-in-law and asked if I’d like him to bring the usual nasi bryanii. Rusdi always brings along his own food because he's allergic to udang kering. an essential ingredient in mee rebus.

Today, not many of the MRT regulars turned up. Mat Salo called up Galadriel to say he was stuck in a traffic jam in Kuala Lumpur and would not be able to make it. And my sister, Nuraina, came when the earlier guests (elviza, r. galoh, Zawi and Acciaccatura) have left.

But I was kind of worried when Zorro, who is usually among the first to arrive, was conspicuosly absent. What with reports of the arrests of some marchers at Parliament House and my biggest fear was that he could be among them.

Ahhh, what a relief when we finally saw him at the door...much much later.

Yaay, uncle Zorro is safe and sound.Thank God!

Also read Zawi's entry: here

Now the Pictures:
1. From L to R: Raden Galoh, Elviza(on the floor), Tok Mommy, Pi Bani and Acciaccatura
2. Zawi (standing), Kerp, and the Ancient Mariner
3. Roslani, Husna and the Ancient Mariner
4. Galadriel, ShanghaiFish, Rocky and Rusdi
5. Pix courtesy of Zawi seen here shaking hands with celebrity blogger AhiruDDin ATTan

12 people arrested...

...including Opposition leaders

Police today arrested 12 people including Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) information chief Tian Chua, its secretary-general, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim. and Pas central committee member Dr Lo'Lo' Mohd Ghazali

They were picked up at several locations near the Parliament house.

Police had earlier dispersed a crowd of supporters of the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih), organised by opposition parties, who had gathered at the Parliament House to hand over a memo demanding reforms in the electoral process. Read Bernama:here

De facto opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was detained at the KL International Airport upon returning from Istanbul. He, however, was later released, The Sun reports.

Read Michelle Gunaselan's The Storm: here
jeffooi's 'Blackest day for Parliament in 50 years': here
shar101's 30 nabbed, Rashid carries on, here

Monday, 10 December 2007

Eight arrested in Freedom Walk released on bail

The four lawyers and four activists arrested in Jalan Tun Perak yesterday for taking part in the Freedom Walk along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman were released on bail pending trial.

They pleaded not guilty at the Sessions Court here today to two charges of being in an unlawful assembly and failing to adhere to police orders to disperse.

Lawyers Amer Hamzah Arshad, Latheefa Beebi Koya, N. Surendran and K. Sivarasa and activists Eric Paulsen, Johny Andu @ Abu Bakar Adnan, Nooraza Othman and Ashraf Ali Sadakathullah also claimed trial to two alternative charges of taking part in the illegal assembly and failing to adhere to police orders to disperse.

In the same court, lawyer Edmund Bon Tai Soon, 33, claimed trial to obstructing a Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) enforcement officer from removing a banner in front of the Bar Council office in Jalan Lebuh Pasar at about 12.15pm yesterday.

Bon, the Bar Council's human rights committee chairman, had allegedly committed the offence under Section 186 of the Penal Code and faces up to three years in jail or a maximum fine of RM1,000, or both, if convicted.

Bernama has the report here
Also read Colour Blind's "All protesters freed on bail" : here
"Updates from Jalan Duta" : here

Celebrating World Human Rights Day...10 December

Today, 10 December 2007, is Human Rights Day. The Secretary-General and High Commissioner for Human Rights will launch a year-long celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This theme for 2008, “Dignity and justice for all of us,” reinforces the vision of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as a commitment to universal dignity and justice. It is not a luxury or a wish-list.

The UDHR and its core values, inherent human dignity, non-discrimination, equality, fairness and universality, apply to everyone, everywhere and always. The Declaration is universal, enduring and vibrant, and it concerns us all.

Since its adoption in 1948, the Declaration has been and continues to be a source of inspiration for national and international efforts to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms.

An essential element in the protection of human rights is a widespread knowledge and understanding among people of what their rights are and how they can be defended. The Declaration is now available in over 360 languages and is the most translated document in the world – a testament to its universal nature and reach.

Sixty years on, we pay tribute to the extraordinary vision of the Declaration’s original drafters and to the many human rights defenders around the world who have struggled to make their vision a reality.

The Declaration belongs to each and every one of us – read it, learn it, promote it and claim it as your own.

Source: : Human Rights Day
Also read:
rocky'sbru's "No one is above the Law" : here
Aniza Damis's interview with Tun Musa Hitam "Rights come with responsibilities" : here
Nuraina A. Samad's "International Human Rights Day" : here