September 12, 2008

Where do you stand in the face of injustice, intimidation, and provocateurs?

Peaceful vigil tonight.
Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) together with other friends and NGO will hold a solidarity vigil for Raja Petra Kamarudin, MP Teresa Kok and sin Chew Daily Journalist Miss Tan Hoon Cheng who has been arrested under the draconian ISA.

Date: 13 September 2008Place: Bukit Aman Police HQ EntranceTime: 8.30 pm
"the selectiveness of the ISA arrests is an insidious and misleading attempt to create resentment among particular communities.
Perhaps it is hoped that impassioned and racially tinged sentiments will be expressed in the coming days, escalating to even more impassioned racial reactions. This in turn may lay the ground for emergency rule, and for all the suspension of civil liberties and human rights that follow.
"When talk is no longer sufficient we will act. We will act only peacefully, without burning tires or harming even a fly."
“The Malaysian government apparently thinks it can only maintain power by jailing journalists and opposition politicians,” said Elaine Pearson, the group’s deputy Asia director. “Such tactics have no place in a modern democracy.” (AFP)

September 9, 2008


I have great admiration for the Freedom Film Fest and the folks/ volunteers who have been running it for 5 years now. The first of its kind in Malaysia, it creates a platform for filmmakers and social activists to use their talent and passion to express social concerns and human rights issues.

Personally, through FFF, I found meaningful friendships, learnt a lot, and gained many fond memories working on the documentary about the Broga incinerator, 'Alice Lives Here', three years ago.

What I admire most about FFF, is that- like many great things- it started humbly small but it started right; guided by the right principles. It was created out of a need, and not at a time when social or environmental causes were popular in Malaysia, like how green issues are becoming the buzzwords these days, making it easier to attract funding or sponsorship from entities keen to be positively associated.

It was precisely with the lack of this space, that FFF sought to create. With a very trim budget, resource, and team, KOMAS and FFF have been providing an ideal platform for filmmakers and human rights issues for its 5th year. In return, filmakers, volunteers, and participants return to FFF the following years; creating a culture that supports the festival and continue to bring us films and spaces of value to our society.

FFF will be screened in KL, JB, Penang, and for the first time, Kuching. I will be playing a song or two at the FFF KL awards night.

Be a part of Freedom Film Festival at the following locations:

Kuala Lumpur – Central Market Annexe: 5th to the 7th September
Johor Bahru – Tropical Inn: 12th to the 14th September
Kuching – Old Court House: 19th to the 21st September
Penang – Wawasan Open University: 26th to the 28th September.

To make a reservation, email and type the city you wish to attend into the subject line e.g. 'reservation JB' for Johor Baru.


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Welcome to my site. You can listen to my songs and read my writings here. I'll write more about 'about' later, while I post my song lyrics..

September 1, 2008

We're all swimming to the other side

It's that time of the year again soon – 'where Malaysians from all walks of life gather to celebrate their independence'. Or not.

Last year's official celebration was a disappointment of epic proportions, at least for me and I know of many others; huge displays of self-glorifying images and speeches by the ruling elite of 'the independence struggle', ironically, fought by others (award winning documentary on Malaysia's struggle for independence – non-school-textbook-version

Ceremonies that reflect the belief or propagate a view that Malaysia is made by or equated to one political party and its subsidiaries only, was an arrogant display of power; leaving many ordinary Malaysians left standing by the sidelines, waiting in vain to be included, or for some sign that they were remembered or acknowledged as Malaysians, not one neatly represented by an approved proxy, or always in turn according to race, religion, or not at all.

Some creativity perhaps in the usual national day parade line-ups instead of in accordance to which 'ethnic group' populates Malaysia the most? Even an orang-utan leading the march would be a good change. They, after all, contribute a lot to Malaysia's tourism and take nothing in return.

When our national shuttler won the Olympic silver medal, he kissed the Malaysian flag, not that of a political party. Likewise, for a start, the appropriate symbol to project for all to see during our national day is that of the Malaysian flag, not a political party's symbol, be it the keris, rocket, moon, or any alphabetical letters.

A celebration for all Malaysians in the spirit of inclusiveness and unity, or will 31st Aug a day or tool to be used again in an empty display of self-glorifying audio-visuals?

Perhaps, it will be different this year. Maybe Malaysians don't even bother anymore, what with more sensational stories grabbing the headlines and web spaces these days; over-politicking, murder mysteries, and crucial by-elections. All these while Malaysians struggle to cope with rising inflation, ill-planned transportation systems, ill-planned everything, and the fear of rising crime.

Regardless, I will reflect on how I would like our national day to be, or how we want our Malaysia to be. Because we can, and we should create spaces where we can all belong in mutual respect. Despite all the circus that goes on- and in the same spirit as activist musician Pat Humphries' song below- we're all swimming to the other side. And we still love this country, warts and all;

"We're swimming in this stream together, some in power and some in pain,
We can worship this ground we walk on, cherishing the beings that we live beside,
Loving spirits will live forever, we're all swimming to the other side."

The writer is a singer-songwriter. She thanks Pat Humphries (Emma's Revolution) for the inspiration and use of her song title for this article.

First draft for Freespace, The Sun. Published 27th August 2008