Monday, June 29, 2009

And there goes another chunk of my salary

In another spur of the moment madness – I have gotten myself another bundle of mischief.

I rescued her from a stinky pet store (I am still grappling with the implications of supporting a pet store).
I first caught sight of her right at the back, behind a glass door and a cageful of siblings, and she was the only one going the other direction.
My new baby is smokey with one ear perpetually pointing north. With her hind legs far larger than her front paws, she moves as gracefully as a baby turtle heading towards open water. So in other words, my baby is gorgeous.

Introducing - Gilly.

Baby wabbit

first steps

Pfft! Here's looking at you

Remember the Time

For me and most of my generation, Michael Jackson, as with Thudercats, KFC and Dr M, is an icon that not only hallmarked but practically defined our growing up years.

We were in the golden age of VCRs and cassette decks when Thriller debuted. I could not get my head around Bille Jean and I thought the chick that played in Thriller was such a wuss (a 7-year-old feminist I was). Maggi Mee hair was in and everyone saw or had a recording of THAT MTV programme which also featured hits like Telephone by Sheena Easton and Every Breath You Take by the Police and not forgetting, the original Uptown Girl by Billy Joel.

Every MJ album and movie was awaited and revered. He was the only one who could get away with grabbing his crotch on TV. To the young, we never understood why the adults sniggered so.

The Gloved One encapsulated all that was strange and wonderful and magical. He was true royalty with stardust on his lapels.

And as his eccentricities and lawsuits drove him further away from reality and relevance, time quietly swept him under the carpet. We all knew who MJ was but, lets be honest, we also ceased to care.

Did he molest the children? I don't know but with America's preoccupation with Sex and the Celebrity (truth optional), I can't really say that I am totally convinced.

So in typical fashion - with his death, we celebrate his life.

Friday, June 12, 2009

I didn't have a big enough handbag

Several weekends ago, I had the pleasure being chauffeured all the way to Semenyih. Of course I had no idea where on God’s green earth is Semenyih, yet by hook, crook and GPS we made it to Beh & Yeo’s Rabbit farm.

Only food and furry animals can entice me to wake up before 8 on a Saturday, so we were there slightly after 9 am. The trip should have just taken us half an hour but Garmin was having a bad day. (bloody thing kept going “turn left in 200 meters” AFTER we missed the turning). Evil, evil thing.

Run by an owner who is based in Ampang, the farm is located in the midst of a kampung. Hey, its Semenyih.

When we arrived, the workers were busy cleaning the cages. They were friendly enough and allowed us to walk around freely. The surrounding enclosure was certainly clean but the compound was strewn with rubbish.

I wasn’t quite sure what I was expecting.

Of course the bunnies looked well cared for and their cages clean yet I felt a little sad seeing them cooped up in their wire mesh boxes, living to breed, only for their offspring to be taken away and sold. We are the only species capable of doing this. Yet herein lies my conundrum. Do I save what I can by giving them good homes or do I stop buying in a bid to lessen the demand? Sigh. No use asking me to adopt as there are no wild rabbits for adoption in this country.

One thing we noticed was that the bunnies at the farm were all a little afraid. Curious as all bunnies are, all of them eyed us as though we came courting for a bride. But as we reached out to them, quicker than you say can Peter Rabbit, they would dart as far away as possible from us. Perhaps we smelt strange or we were complete strangers, it was a very different reception compared to my first encounter with my present rabbit.

My present bunny came over to say hello to me first before I even thought I needed another bunny, which is to say, pretty sweet of her.

I got Peanut from another breeder at Subang Parade. From across her cage, she crawled over to nibble my fingers which started the chemical reaction of turning my heart muscles into tofu and now she is growing fat lounging in my dining room - at my expense.

Anyway, here’s some photos of bunnies to turn your heart into soy products too.

I dislike cages desperately.

Lop-eared rabbit

Dog eared um, dog. This puppy is one of 5 others bought by the owner, presumably to guard the place. Lets just say that if I managed to coax him into the car, 5 would become 4 quickly enough.

Revisiting old favourites


Monday, June 08, 2009

Pasti Ada Sudahnya - charting the future

The latest PAS Muktamar delivered no surprises.

Make no mistake, PAS will always maintain its ambition of creating an Islamic state, despite toning down its clarion call during the last general election to garner multiracial support (which of course drew criticism from some quarters within PAS who see this as a concession in exchange for a bite of the cherry that is federal power.)

Of course we all know this.

I am sure that I am not the only one, who in support for the Opposition, derived more than a little comfort supporting a coalition that had PAS on one end of the table and DAP on the other, and Keadilan in the centre keeping them from killing each other.

Be it a belief in checks and balances, or foolhardy optimism, we rejoiced in that there was a viable alternative to an Umno-led government.   

But back to the annual AGMs and Muktamars –we have the same rhetorical regurgitation that endears the politicians to their grassroots. I guess when in Rome.. or Kota Bahru in this case. 

So does it make a difference to us, the new generation of non-muslims and non-traditional voters of PAS, whether the party is helmed by the ulamas or the “Erdogan”, if it is to be conservative or progressive, if at the end of the day an Islamic state is their ultimate aim?

I would venture a yes. Because despite being a party that still functions at the will of the grassroots, it will be the leadership that defines and articulates what an Islamic state is to be. 

To quote Shanon Shah:

PAS needs to be asked, point blank, what it really envisions as its ideal government, whether or not it calls it an "Islamic state". The questions must go beyond such easy-to-fudge concepts as "democracy" and "good governance".

What will the party's position be on apostasy? On the religious conversion of minors? On homosexuality and bisexuality? On moral policing? On disconcerting-concert-banning? On the rights of other religious communities? On turning personal sins for Muslims — not going to the mosque on Fridays or not fasting during Ramadan, for example — into crimes against the state? On the status of deviant sects? On marital rape? On polygamy in Islam?”

Answers that I have been seeking too but nobody seems to be able to enlighten me.

With PAS’ resolution for the National Fatwa Council to investigate, ban and rehabilitate members of Sisters in Islam, the language quickly brought to mind my long history lessons on Soviet Russia. Freaky I know.

With punitive action identified even before engagement with SIS has even commenced, it will be an uphill battle for PAS to convince the masses that it is not out to hang SIS. Despite the press statements where PAS leaders say that they disagree with the punitive actions, the fact that the resolution was adopted and without debate even, the impression that PAS is out to smother opposing/liberal views is already cast.

Bad PR? You bet.

While I am certain that rehabilitation by the National Fatwa Council is not via exile to the frozen plains of Siberia, the obvious question here would be rehabilitation by whose Islam? 

Far be it for me to say whether SIS’s “views caused confusion and were a threat to Muslims' faith” yet SIS’s efforts in championing Muslim women’s rights and access to the legal system is very noteworthy, it being an unpopular and lonely road.     

There is good chance that this resolution would further alienate the modern Muslim woman who is comfortable and confident enough in her religion to not let anyone be it SIS or PAS, to dictate to her the terms of her own belief.

I have yet to read the responses of my compatriots in SIS who fall squarely within "the younger generation and those who have a secular education".  I am anticipating a hailstorm.

I have yet to meet a SIS member who is not educated, articulate, fiercely intelligent and not capable of giving you whiplash should you even suggest that peranan SIS bertentangan dengan syariat Islam.

Being a non-muslim and only a Friend to the Sisters in Islam, I very obviously lack locus standi on the matter of the authenticity of faith. Yet I strongly believe that the right to hold a differing opinion is enshrined in the constitution. But then I can anticipate the not unfamiliar, "Kafir, keep out," retorts to that. 

And if SIS is banned on the basis of confusing Islamic society and also infiltrating the minds of Muslims, as a multiracial society, should we be concerned as to where it would stop? The potential to "corrupt" may come from unconventional scholars, to next door churches to even Akademi Fantasia – seek and thou shall find thy bogeyman.  

Surely we have had enough of those to last us a lifetime?