Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Obama's CASA NOIR

Prior to the recent US Presidential Election, there was a widespread skepticism of a black candidate becoming the most powerful person on the globe. I had my share of reservations too. But the US has shown that being black is no hindrance to being elected to the highest office in the land. Congratulations to the ordinary citizens of the US, black, white & coloured, and Barrack Hussein Obama for this history-making epoch. I, however, took Obama's victory as the resultant electorate rejection of George Bush's trigger-happy foreign policy particularly that towards Iraq and Afghanistan.
Would Obama turn the White House (to be read as Casa Blanca) into a Black House (Casa Noir) now ? No, not likely ! Having appointed Rahm (Rahem) Emanuel as his Chief of Staff is inferential enough of things to come. This could have been a political deal Obama has made with the US jewish lobby and AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) during the campaign period to secure his ascendancy. Hussein Obama would not stand a strand of a chance of winning the election had he not projected himself as being pro-Israel. In his campaigns, he addressed the AIPAC and visited the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem to seek the jewish endorsement of his candidacy. At least that way he would not be deprived of receiving campaign funds from the wealthy jewish organisations or individuals. But those campaign donors don't contribute for nothing, but for some considerations only Obama knows what. Is appointing Rahem Emanuel one of them ?
Rahem is an active member of Anshe Shalom, a modern orthodox jewish congregation, and a son of Dr. Benjamin M. Emanuel, a practising paedetrician in Chicago who was once a member of Irgun Zvi Leumi, a zionist terrorist movement in Palestine during the British Mandate. During the 1991 Gulf War, Rahem was a volunteer at an army base in Israel.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

You ARE shooting blanks, Anwar !!!

I was rather excited at the prospects of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) under Anwar Ibrahim taking over the Federal Government of Malaysia from Abdullah Badawi of the incumbent Barisan Nasional (BN). The much-hyped 16th September did not produce the regime change promised by Anwar. The Parliament was not in session during the fasting month of Ramadhan but Anwar drummed up a roar demanding for a special seating of Parliament to debate a motion of no-confidence against Badawi, the Prime Minister. Badawi, however, did not entertain such rhetorical idea.
When Parliament re-convened immediately after Ramadhan, no such motion was moved by PR or Anwar to the despair of the people who have rallied behind PR in the March 2008 General Elections.
I don't think I could believe Anwar again.

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The NEOCONS : One Tentacle of the Jewish Lobby in the US

One of the key tenets of neoconservatism is the vigorous support for Israel and a tendency to favour its more hardline elements. It is the Jewish Americans who form the core of the neoconservative movement which is a microcosm of the larger pro-Israel movement. Neoconservatism is also widely supported by Christian Zionists which is a subset of the politically-inclined Christian Right.
Some of the notable neoconservatives (or neocons) include Elliot Abrams, Kenneth Adelman, William Bennett, John Bolton, Douglas Feith, Jeane Kirkpatrick (dec.), I. Lewis Libby, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, James Woolsey, David Wurmser, Robert Bartley, David Brooks, Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol, Bret Stephens, Norman Podhoretz, Fouad Ajami, Eliot Cohen, Aaron Friedberg, Bernard Lewis, Ruth Wedgwood, Max Boot, David Frum, Reuel Marc Gerecht, Robert Kagan, Michael Ledeen, Joshua Muravchik, Daniel Pipes, Danielle Pletka, Michael Rubin, and Meyrav Wurmser.
The leading neoconservative magazines & newspapers are the Commentary, the New York Sun, the Wall Street Journal and the Weekly Standard. The think-tanks and advocacy groups that are closely aligned to the neocons are the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the Centre for Security Policy (CSP), the Heritage Foundation, the Hudson Institute, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), the Middle East Forum (MEF), the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), and to a lesser extent, the Bradley Foundation and the Henry Jackson Society.
The neocons occupy influential positions at a variety of organisations and institutions and have been prominent in shaping the Bush Administration's unilateralist foreign policy, and especially the ill-fated decision to invade Iraq in March, 2003.
Neoconservatism is essentially a political ideology which mostly extols the virtues of US hegemony, and sometimes even the idea of an American Empire, and they believe US power should be used to encourage the spread of (western) democracy and discourage potential rivals from even trying to compete with the United States.


Source : The Israel Lobby & the US Foreign Policy

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Hey, I am Home

It's great to be home again and more strikingly I got my mobile phone back ! I was without the phone for the whole duration that I was away from home. I had unwarily dropped it in the car on the way to the KLIA on the day of my departure. Luckily my vacation retreat on a man-made Palm Jumeirah island was adequately connected to the internet. I could have gone bonkers without it ! Thank you Nazrah & Anwar for the good time I had on my recent retreat and for being such great hosts. I am already missing you, Sofea Aishah and Arzaqel, hehehe....
Flying Kuwait Airways (KU) on my return journey wholly negated the adverse impression I first had of the airline. To my complete disbelief, the cabin service was excellent. I had an aircrew named Wadi to thank who exactly knew what service quality was all about. On disembarking at KLIA, I congratulated the Asst. Chief Cabin Crew named Nasser for the excellent service rendered. Landing of the aircraft by the pilot was perfect. I don't mind taking a KU flight again on my next trip anywhere on the globe.
Currently I have a number of serious issues to blog about but I need a little more time to decide which is relatively more imperative and expedient. Also I need to catch up with my chilling-out buddies at the cafe around the corner of my present house.
To Bujai particularly, I am ready to meet up whenever you have a free time to chat on certain issues of mutual interests over a 'teh tarik' in one fine afternoon.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

SNIPPETS from the MIDDLE-EAST (Part III) : All Is Not Bed of Roses

Walking around in this region has forced me to grapple with stinking body odour of foreigners from certain countries of the South Asian sub-continent. Even the locals have to hold their breath when those dark-complexioned people are passing by them. Who cares to tell them that they need to do something about their extremely repulsive body odour ?
Housemaids here are simply treated almost like 'no thing'. The maid would tag along with the family she works for on a shopping trip either pushing a trolley or baby-stroller. When comes the time for meal in the foodcourt or restaurant, the maid would be allowed to sit together at the same table with the family, but never would she be offered to eat something with them nor a cup of plain water for her to sip. She would just sit there watching until they finish eating. Such is a respect for humanity ! Is it a cross-cultural thing ?
In the hypermarkets or huge departmental stores in town, racial discrimination is conspicuously rampant. I wanted to buy some fresh fish from an international hypermaket at a famous shopping mall but felt somewhat ignored by the store assistants manning the fish section. I waved at them for attention as they would still need to pick the fish for you anyway. They looked at you fleetingly and didn't care a hoot. They instead attended to their own kind who was in fact behind me in the queue. When shopping for a unique straw hat at a store, I was already ahead in the queue to make payment at the cashier when a local just jumped the queue to my absolute astonishment. You wouldn't see that happening in Kuala Lumpur !
I had a chance to visit a compatriot who worked in one of the airlines on the occassion of the Eid. He was one of the most senior pilots who had grown with the airline until what it had become today. He was working under contract with the airline and had his contract revised or amended 3 times unilaterally by the so-called 'first-world management' expatriates who hailed from either the UK or Australia. They were pure racists to the core as they would choose only those of their skin-colour to fill expatriate job vacancies at the expense of other more qualified and experienced candidates. Even post-Apartheid Afrikaaners were more amicable. First-world managers practising third-world management standards, huh... !! And these #$^&*+% racists were fully aware that the same standards would be wrong and illegal when applied back in their home countries. It was a blatant hypocrisy against Asians, plain and pure. But there was nothing that he could do about it. He could not complain through his pilots' union because unionism was non-existent in this part of the world.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

SNIPPETS from the MIDDLE-EAST (Part II) : The Glorious Towers of the Emirate

Malaysia can still be proud of retaining the Petronas Tower as being the tallest twin-tower ever constructed anywhere in the whole wide world standing at 452 metres in height. But by international comparison of singular monolithic towers in general, it is ranked as the 7th tallest after Burj Dubai (807m), Chicago Spare (609m), Makkah Abraj al-Bajt Towers (595m), New York Freedom Tower (541m), China 557 Tower (520m), and Shanghai WFC (492m). The landmark Burj al-Arab, the tallest hotel on the Planet, only stands at 321 metres ASL (above sea level).
A Dubai company announced yesterday that it was constructing the world's tallest tower yet, to be known as Nakheel Harbour Tower standing at a height of more than 1 km (rumoured to be 1.4 km) into the sky on a plot adjacent to the present Ibnu Battuta Shopping Mall not far from a man-made island of Palm Jumeirah where I stayed. The tower would have more than 200 floors to house around 19,000 residential units accomodating about 55,000 people.
Another local company was rumoured to be planning to construct a more dizzying 2.4 km high tower in the same vicinity.
The Nakheel Tower project is largely Islamic in design drawing architectural inspirations from the gardens of Alhambra in Spain, the Alexandria Harbour in Egypt, the Tangier Promenade in Morocco and the bridges of Esfahan in Iran.
The Nakheel project is expected to be completed in 10 years.

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Monday, October 6, 2008

SNIPPETS from the MIDDLE-EAST ( Part I ) : Flying on Kuwait Airways

Wishing everybody a joyous Eid Mubarak.
I took Kuwait Airways (KU) to join my daughter in Dubai flying via Kuwait on the 3rd Day of Eid. As I took off late at 3.15am from KLIA, there was nothing much to endure except for my new experience of flying on KU. The flight had earlier started off from Jakarta with some European and Indonesian passengers already on board though not even half-full laden. I was allotted a window seat when I checked-in and was quite happy with the help of a ground crew at the check-in counter who suggested that I could sleep undisturbed on flight. Never did I realise that all the aisle seats were already taken up and monopolised by the European passengers who each filled the improvised sofas to sleep on. My reclining seat had to be manually operated to make it upright.
Shortly after take-off, we were served with some delicious meal, more like a light middle-eastern savoury, which was too short on quantity ! I was quite hungry then and whispered to the stewardess, who happened to be a Malaysian named Win Nee, asking for a double portion of same but it never came. The flight was not full, remember ? There were still so much food on-board the flight to go round with. I didn't see them serving liquors or beer on flight, but the pineapple juice given to me was simply a disaster; it tasted as if a cockroach has swum in it. I asked for an orange juice for a substitute. For Heaven's sake, don't they check the quality before it is served ?
I have brought along 2 books with me for my in-flight reading but after the cabin lights-out I found that the reading light above me did not work. In fact only 2 or 3 lights did I see working in the whole cabin I was seated. What was even worse, from my quick count, less than 10% of the video screens available in the cabin were functional. And no one seemed to wanting to complain. It didn't seem to matter the passenggers for being deprived of the in-flight movies. For me, there was no reading nor movies to enjoy on the 9-hour or so flight. I managed to perform my Fajr prayers from my seat in between my numerous forty-winks when I saw an awesome streak of some red-orange dawn light over the horizon.
We touched down in Kuwait at 6.15am which was already broad daylight, but there was a heavy overcast in the sky. The weather was very cool upon our arrival. The airport, against my fanciful expectation, was just mediocre. I now had the impression that Kuwait was not as vibrant as it was hyped to be.
The good thing about KU flight, they served complimentary breakfast to all transit passengers upon arrival. May be MAS could take heed to enhance its passenger services to a higher quality level.

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