Saturday, February 23, 2008

Between Strangers (The Haves) and Friends (The Have-nots)

Yes, the neighbourhood folks have indeed caught up with the election fever. With the Operation Centres of each opposing parties are within viewing distance from each other, both camps would certainly be working very hard towards winning the hearts and minds of the neighbourhood folks and ultimately their precious votes.

For the first time ever, the Barisan Nasional is having their own Operation Centre in the housing estate. Just recently renovated, given a new coat of paint and complete with air-conditioning units, the Operation Centre is surely a class way above the other Operation Centre belonging to the Opposition Party which lies just a few metres away.

However, though the Operation Centre is most comfortable with spacious compound, noticibly missing at the Centre are the local folks. Yes, the Operation Centre is practically completely run by those from outside the housing estate. In fact, the manager of the Operation Centre is a Ketua Umno from the neighbouring housing estate.

Just where are the local folks? Well, you can find them at the other camp, the one with the flags of two parties. No air-condition, no computers, no nice tables and chairs, just a canopy at the lawn of an unoccupied house. But even though you can't find convenience there, what you will find are the all too familiar faces and friends of some of whom you would have known for more than 7 years. Only there you'll be able to talk and laugh like real friends. Only there you'll find people who understand each other. And most importantly, it's only there you'll find a group of people who truly and really believes in a political struggle that couldn't be achieved if the traditional government, the government that has been ruling the land for the past 50 years, continued to be given a huge mandate to keep on ruling.

You will also find true volunteerism there, they don't ask for money or incentives, in fact they themselves throw in their own money to make things happen, like renting the canopy for instance. In short, only there you'll find the true, frank and sincere people.

Sadly, a visit to the fully equipped Operations Room across the road that's surely costing thousands of Ringgit to maintain would give you an impression of visiting an official office like a government office that has no personal touch. In fact it would make you feel sort of alienated and stonic as you are practically with total strangers, strangers whom who have never met before until just yesterday!

So if you were me, where would you go to spend time and to join in the election fun? The BN Camp or the BA Camp? I would think the answer is obvious. Don't you?

Happy Voting All.

Jasni AJ

Rubbing Shoulders with Celebrities

Staying far far away from homeland does not deprive you from meeting those making waves back home. Especially when you're staying in London, more often than not you would be able to meet all the more established local celebrities there, either during their holidays or having special programmes to entertain the foreign based Malaysians over there.

Latest to make his appearance in London is Mawi. My brother, Jafri and his family who reside in London met Mawi last Wednesday and took the opportunity to have a photograph of them together taken.

Here's the photo sent over the internet for all to see.

Talking about rubbing shoulders with celebrities, I too had my fair share of such experience with international acclaimed celebrities when I was in London a few months back.

They include, Shah Rukh Khan

Daniel Radcliffe, the Harry Potter fame

John Travolta and Samuel E. Jackson

and Amitabh Bachchan

The only difference between my rubbing shoulders with the celebrities and Jafri's experience is that Mawi rubs back but those I met in London just stared at me without uttering a single word.

Oh, I forgot, they are not real people but just dummies made of wax on display at London's Madame Tussads. Got you there, ha ha!

Happy weekend folks!

Jasni AJ

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Election Fever and Unfair Campaignings

Though election campaigns are yet to start formally but parties interested in the election have actually started them up by utilising the various mediums.

While the Police insist on political parties apply for Police Permits for any election campaigns, that rule does not seem to be applicable to personalities linked to the "previously" ruling party. Why I say "previously" is simply because they are no longer the ruling party ever since the parliament got dissolved. At least this is what I understand by the effect of a parliament dissolution taught by my lecturers back in college those days.

There is an article in The Star today that reaffirmed my understanding on the matter written by Datuk Dr. Rais Yatim. In his article, currently there are no more Yang Berhormats except for those holding positions in the Federal and the various States Caretaker Government.

Dr. Shad Faruqi made a comparison between the practice in Malaysia and those in India and Bangladesh. If at all Malaysia follows the systems implemented in India and Bangladesh, we would be almost be certain not to be forced to listen to "official" propagandas over radio & tv that overly and unshamely making unveiled but direct campaigns for the "previous" ruling government.

Not enough with the super advantage, other platforms are also being used unshamely too. Today, at a PTA Annual General Meeting of a school near my home, the VIP guest turned the event into a BN Election campaign and started to discredit the proposed programmes of the other competing party (namely BA) especially on the "Welfare State" ideology.

While the Police are saying that any election campaign needed a Police Permit, these "official" campaigns can simply be held without one and worst, by making use of government machinery and infrastructure for free.

And this practice is not confined to the local politicians but being the practice of those high ups especially by the No. 1, 2, 3 and so forth. The No. 2 was in Kelantan yesterday, what was he doing there if not campaigning with the new catchword "Tahun Merawat Kelantan" just to redicule the State Government's "Tahun Melawat Kelantan".

I am not against BN or support opposition parties. I don't believe the guys in the oppositon parties can do a better job than the ones in BN. But I'm against unfair practice. The more unfair practices I see, the more turn off I get and this will definately cost those practicing the unfair practices of my valuable votes, one for the parliamentary seat and the other, the state seat.

At the last 11th General Election, I helped arrange for BN candidates to meet the voters at my "Taman" after a hugely turnout PAS meet the voters event was held. But I'm not so sure if I would want to get myself involve this time around as I think BN do not really need of such event as they have the TV and Radio to do the job for them.

I also (with a couple of other friends)hang the BN string small flags along the major roads and junctions at our Taman for free. That's how much I want to make sure that the Taman would not be branded as an opposition's base though there are no branches of any political parties in our small Taman.

Actually, I like it better this way, at least we are more genuinely united, without the political alliances breaking us up.

How I wish the new government that is to be formed after the General Election, which is most probably will continue to be held by the BN, consist of Ministers and MPs who are genuinely working for the interest of the rakyat in mind and not self interest superseeding anything else and besides that no more puppetry judiciary as what it is perceived now.

We'll look forward for this 8th of March 2008. Incidently, we are starting our vacation on that day with a flight to catch at 1.30 noon. So it look like we would have to rush to Wangsa Maju early that morning (as my wife is a registered voter at Wangsa Maju) and quickly get back here to cast my votes for the Sri Muda (State) and Kota Raja (Federal) constituencies.

Happy Voting All.

Jasni AJ