Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Magna Carta

For Malay language version please visit this link.

There have been two documented events called the Baron’s Revolt (or also known as Baron’s War) in medieval English history. The first was from 1215-1217 (also portrayed in the movie Robin Hood featuring Russell Crowe) and another one from 1264-1267. The important consequences of these events are the gradual changes from absolute monarchy system which has been in used for some times to the constitutional monarchy system which have since then been in use in many countries including our own.  The events also introduced a sets of documents known as the Magna Carta which has been the foundation of the freedom of the individual against any arbitrary authority as the important symbol of liberty.

In our modern country’s history, the constitution amendment in 1993 involves the limitation of the royals’ legal immunity. It was sees as a victory for the commoners after few incidents involving a few royal family and common people which were made into the news and could turn the people against the royals. It was not seen by the majority of the people at that time as just a fight between royalty and nobility (read ruling government) but the support from the nobles for the large segment of the people who are seem to be against the royals.

Photo Credit: FreeMalaysiaToday

There were few other spats between the royals and the nobles from then on but the event that happened a few days ago that seems to change its tune where the commoners are the one who seems to be supporting the royals this time instead of the nobles.

It all started after the ‘No Show’ incident by the Prime Minister where one of the royal questions what many commoners have been asking the Prime Minister, basically ‘What have you been hiding?’

There have been many questions which no answers were given even when the questions came from one of the most respected commoner in this country, the one who have ‘been there, done that’ once and have never been as far as I remember, shy away from answering any questions without having to resort to some written script during his time as the Prime Minister.

Photo Credit: FreeMalaysiaToday

Obviously, rather that turn up to the event that is supposed to be a platform to answer, if not all then at least some of the questions, as expected he did not turn up. Citing security matter (which I find it strange as the place itself is what can be said as the party’s own headquarters) and as we know he then left the country even when disaster struck East Malaysia.

Stranger more is that the Prime Minister then left to his nobles then to answer to the questions and one among them even dares to question the questioner. Later we hear the words that ‘royalties should be above politics’ and so on but my take is that while it is true, it has been used by this noble for a wrong reason and certainly out of place.

Photo Credit: JST Facebook Page

Yes, the royalty should be above politics by not showing preference of which parties especially during election time so not as to influence the commoner whom they will choose to be their modern day nobles. However, this new event is not about politics at all. This event is about questions from the commoners regardless of their political support, including from the ruling government’s party themselves has been asking. It got nothing to do with politics. It all got to do with how the government governs the country which will affect the commoners the most, rather the royals and the nobles. Since even the most respected commoner’s questions has even been brushed aside, then what can you expect when the questions comes from the more common commoners?

This could be trigger to what the nobles have not been imagining of, where the commoners sided with the royals against them. Could this also trigger our own Magna Carta to be written where we can have a truly transparent government in all possible things especially that involves the money which come from the taxes we’ve paid as long as they do not involve national security. We want to know what the money is going to use for before it’s being used and rather not know them only after they were gone. 

Photo Credit: Google Images
Well, we'll probably will never know.

Disclaimer : All images are for illustration purposes only and this blog author does not claim any copyright to the published images and he only copied the images already publicly available on the internet (unless stated). The blog author also wishes to state that his opinion posted on this blog are his alone and not paid by any political parties.

Friday, June 12, 2015

When In Rome...

For Malay language version please visit this link.

No, this is not about my travel to Rome. In fact, I have never even been to Rome though I have many times over defeated and annihilated the Roman Legions leading the Carthaginian armies and even sacked and razed the city to the ground with my Hunnic hordes in few Total War games. Actually this post is about the phrase that many of us have read or heard which is "When in Rome, do as the Romans do” or “When in Rome, act as Romans”.  It is first attested in medieval Latin “Si Fueris Rōmae, Rōmānō vīvitō Mōre; Si Fueris Alibī, Vīvitō Sicut Ibi” (if you should be in Rome, live in the Roman manner; if you should be elsewhere, live as they do there); attributed to St Ambrose.

There is even a Malay proverb which reads “Masuk kandang kambing mengembek, masuk kandang kerbau menguak” which practically advice us very much the same as the Latin quote above. While there are probably various meanings or places that we can use the proverb above, I’m going to talk specifically about the dress codes.

Photo credit: Google Images
We surely have heard regarding the sarong incident at one of the government office few days ago and like many other things that happened in this country, for me it’s a small issue blown out of proportion every time any politician opened their mouth. From a practically an issue regarding conforming to the dress code, it has become a political and even a religious issue, with accusations like the government is going to Talibanize the country, personal definition of what decent and what’s not decent to wear  to the minorities are losing their rights and so on. You can almost pick up various types of these kinds of answers on many blogs, news sites, forums and Facebook pages relating these incidents.

Photo credit: Suzanne G L Tan Facebook Page
There are some that gives their opinion of what is decent and what is not like saying that since they are confirming to their own office dress codes, then they must be confirming to other places dress codes. Look, just because you can wear something to some place, it does not mean that you can wear the same thing at every place. The dress codes are there for a reason and they varied from places to places. Not just government and public offices but there are also dress codes even for privately invited parties which one must follow if one wants to participate.

Photo credit: Google Images
I find it strange that the particular government office was forced to issue an apology because someone who came to their place did not conform to the office rules. I did not read about the apologies and wondering are they apologizing because they did not turn the woman away and come back when she’s dressed according to the rules or because rather than turning the woman away , they provided a solution where that saves everyone’s time?

Yes, there are times that some rules may no longer be relevant but as long at the rules is being in practice then should not we follow them? Yes, rules are made to be broken, but then we’re not English. Again the little non-issue has become a national and religious issue especially when every politician racing to show their faces on the newspaper get saying all sort of things.

Photo credit: FreeMalaysiaToday
However, coming from any other people I can simply say that these are political stunts but from this particular politician however there seems to be some sort of agenda which is not solely politics. I would rather not speculate much but this particular politician never seems to miss commenting on almost any issues that may (or may not) related to Islam. Whether that’s a coincidence or whether that’s what the type of person she is or even whether that’s what her constituents expected her to say, from the issues like azan and Octoberfest, my impression is that she’s that she’s trying to make Muslims feels ashamed for being what they are. 

This can even be seen from her personal attack on one of the Multiracial Reverted Muslims group founder related to the article posted on FreeMalaysiaToday where she in the first place tried to give the impression that the ruling is related to Islam and will probably infringe on her moral and maybe her own religious sensitivity. Luckily I’m not staying under her constituency so I will not bother much as long as her intentions are political.

Photo credit: MRM Facebook Page
I guess I should stop talking about this anymore since cheap politics are not within my listed interest and I would rather go back to read about Rome. Who knows, maybe someday I can afford to take my wife for a visit to the Roma Aeterna the Eternal City, the Caput Mundi, the Capital of the World, sitting in front of the Flavian Amphitheatre sipping Lavazza’s Crema e Gusto!

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Disclaimer : All images are for illustration purposes only and this blog author does not claim any copyright to the published images and he only copied the images already publicly available on the internet (unless stated). The blog author also wishes to state that his opinion posted on this blog are his alone and not paid by any political parties.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Alea Iacta Est (The Die Is Cast)

For Malay language version kindly visit this page.

When Caesar was ordered by the Senate to resign his military command, which is practically illegal since he’s entitled to command the army until his proconsular term expired, or face the ultimatum of being declared the enemy of the people. Due to jealousy of Caesar’s success in his Gallic campaigns the Senate has thought that this these charges can put stop to Caesar’s ambition and hoping that he will quietly retire and forgotten by the people as being called the enemy of the people and the republic is the same as being called a traitor and liable for any persecutions. The Senate however miscalculated Caesar commanded respect from the army and has the love of the people of Rome especially the plebians, if not the aristocrats.  

Face with either to quietly fade away from the public or face persecution from the false accusations of theft, tyranny and illegal warfare, Caesar has done what is unthinkable. With a single legion, he was said to utter the famous word and crossed the Rubicon bringing his army into Italy and the rest is history.

Alea iacta est.

From https://najibrazak.com/faq-4/
It certainly feels that the die is cast now regarding the showdown between Tun Mahathir and Prime Minister Najib and base on my innocent observation the Prime Minister has now perform the biggest major blunder by proclaiming that Tun Mahathir is the one behind the ‘crisis’. A blunder that is much bigger than the ‘No Show’ event that happened last week. Just like Pompey and the Senate has miscalculated, so did the Prime Minister probably on the wrongly advice of his highly paid advisers is that Tun, just like Caesar still commands respect and surely the love of still many people in this country.

From https://najibrazak.com/faq-4/
The claim that Tun is trying to mislead and maybe trying to influence the people is simply wrong. The Prime Minister are getting the wrong type of advisers who may still be thinking in the terms of ‘pemimpin’ and ‘rakyat’ and not ‘wakil’ and ‘rakyat’. The advisers may still be advising base on 20th century political mentality where the ‘wakil rakyat’ are voted to be the leader rather than what it’s supposed to mean which is simply the representative of the people.
From https://najibrazak.com/faq-4/
It’s funny that the very people who understand actually what the job of ‘wakil rakyat’ happened to be a former one himself. Tun did not write as he had written to mislead or misguide the people. What he wrote was simply what the ‘rakyat’ has been asking. It is as simple as that. What we need is just answers. If we had asked the wrong questions where there are no answers then at least show us where we are wrong rather than trying to shut down the only voice where many people from various different race, religion and political affiliation can find a common cause.

From https://najibrazak.com/faq-4/
To the Prime Minister, I ask nothing than you to tell the truth. I know that the money are gone but at least show me where they went to. Show me where the photos of the power plants that the money was suppose to have bought. Tell me how those power plants are supposed to help me and my fellow Malaysians?  How many jobs will the plants help created for us? Will you ensure that after this to let businesses to be run by businessmen rather than politicians just like politics be run by politicians rather than businessman? You can still make your mark in our history by being the first prime Minister to actually be the leader of the representatives of the people. If not, may you step aside and resign with dignity so that a more capable person can replace you?

From https://najibrazak.com/faq-4/

*To Tun Mahathir, do not relax your efforts, and thoroughly polish what you have already on the stocks, and - continue to represent me, to be my voice, to ask my questions as long as you are able to for the style of your composition, though I had always entertained the highest expectations of it, has yet surpassed my hopes, and has taken such a hold upon me, or rather has so fired my imagination.

Photo credit: Google Images
I wish you well and long life. You wont cross the Rubicon alone.

* The above is my reproduction of  Cicero's Letter to L. Lucius befitting the current scene.

Disclaimer : All images are for illustration purposes only and this blog author does not claim any copyright to the published images and he only copied the images already publicly available on the internet (unless stated). The blog author also wishes to state that his opinion posted on this blog are his alone and not paid by any political parties.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The 10th Of June

On the 10th of June 1190, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa drowns while crossing the Saleph River in Turkey while leading an army to Jerusalem during the Third Crusade and thrown his army into chaos. While the Crusaders army still have other capable leaders like Richard the Lionheart which have won many battles against Saladin, the have failed to win the war and Jerusalem stays in Muslim hands.

Photo credit: Google Images
At 3pm, 10th of June 1540, Thomas Cromwell, the Earl of Essex was arrested on the falsely accusation of the crimes of corruption, heresy and treason. He was then sent to imprisonment and later executed at the Tower of London. 

Photo credit: Google Images
The first boat race between the now famous Oxford and Cambridge universities happened on the 10th of June 1829 between Hambleden Lock and Henley Bridge on the River Thames. It has then became an annual event starting from 1856, interrupted only during the First and the Second world Wars.

Photo credit: Google Images
Thanks to Google, there were a lot of momentous events that happened on this date throughout history whether they are related to politics, warfare and even sporting events. There's so much that have happened on this date that's worth remembering.

There is however an event which is the most memorable, that is the event on the 10th of June 2005, the day that I married the most beautiful woman on the planet. It was 10 years ago to this date that I married my wife and it was the day that I don't need Google to remember.

From left : Iris, Iman and Ian.
To my wife, thanks for giving me three (any more coming soon ?) beautiful children. Thanks for being an ibu to Ian, Iris and Iman. Thanks also for being an ibu to Mimie. Last but not least, thanks for being you and besides the regular doa in my prayers, I dedicate this poem to you.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Happy 10th Anniversary darling, on this day, today the 10th of June 2015 to you, to me and all of us!

Disclaimer : All images are for illustration purposes only and this blog author does not claim any copyright to the published images and he only copied the images already publicly available on the internet (unless stated). The blog author also wishes to state that his opinion posted on this blog are his alone and not paid by any political parties.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Nero Burning Rome

For Malay language version kindly visit this link.

They said that Nero watched Rome burned from his palace at Palatine Hill singing and playing the lyre. They even said that Nero himself sent out men to set fire to the city. Some even blamed the Christians that sets out to burn Rome. There are those that even said that Nero was not even in Rome when the disaster happened.

Photo credit: Google Images
Whatever surviving historical accounts that we have today with regards to the Great Fire of Rome in 64AD came only from secondary sources through the writings of Cassius Dio, Seutonius and Tacitus. Unfortunately the primary accounts from contemporary writers like Fabius Rusticus, Cluvius Rufus and Pliny the Elder no longer survived. 

Photo credit: Google Images
Since only the secondary sources survived and they tends to differ from each other, and even the primary accounts themselves were said to be contradictory and exaggerated.  Modern historians tends to agree with Tacitus version of the event though in truth, while we do know that the fire incident did happened, we may never truly know how and who caused that event to happen.

Photo credit: Google Images
We also do know that during the flood crisis in Kelantan late last year, our Prime Minister was away playing golf with Obama. We also know that when Sabah was hit by an earthquake a few days ago, our Prime Minister was seen in Saudi Arabia a few days later. Those two things we do know and they have been reported all over the news.

Photo credit: Google Images
What we may never know unless we are in the loop are the reasons. Maybe it was a coincidence that the Prime Minister left the country right after the much talk about Nothing 2Hide/Everything2Hide incidents? Maybe the prime Minister unfortunately has booked with AirAsia with its No Cancellation Policy which made him not able to cancel these engagements when disaster struck the country? 

Photo credit: Google Images
We don’t know the reasons and that unfortunately, for better or worse leaves room for a lot of speculations. What we only know is that at the time of national trouble and disaster, our very dear leader is not here with us to share our grief and to relief our pain. For me, I will let those political players (and political writers) present to us their version of these stories while I go on and continue to read and write what I know about.

I know that not long after the Great Fire of Rome, Nero was murdered and since he was the last in line of the first Julio-Claudian imperial dynasty, the imperial throne of Rome was contested by 4 influential generals (google Year of the Four Emperors) between late 68AD until 69AD when the victorious Vespasian finally becomes the victor to wear the purple and Rome finally had peace internally for the next hundred years.

Disclaimer : All images are for illustration purposes only and this blog author does not claim any copyright to the published images and he only copied the images already publicly available on the internet (unless stated). The blog author also wishes to state that his opinion posted on this blog are his alone and not paid by any political parties.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Mind Your Language !

For Malay language version please visit here.

"English is a Germanic language formed by a fusion of Old English and Norse. If you want to talk about religion or science or law or medicine you must use Latinate words (from French or Latin) and a smattering of Greek. English is basically a skinny barely functional body of Germanic (bones, basic organs and muscles) with a huge overgrowth and brain of Latin and Greek words, more than trebling it in size. Sort of like a massive genius head crab perched on a hillbilly."

The quote above is one posted by a user on an internet forum that I usually frequent and I like that considering that language, as in many other things in Malaysia has and is being politicized much by almost every segment of the society.

There’s this issue about teaching Science and Mathematics in English which I believe now has been scrapped and the call to uphold the Bahasa Kebangsaan (which I very much agree despite ironically I’m posting my blog articles in English).

There are people especially from the upper middle class to the higher class (the haves and the have yachts) who are probably thinking without saying out loud that we should be better replacing Malay as the national language to English. They gave us various reasons to support their claims like most accessible knowledge currently can be found in English.

Photo credit: Google Images
On the other hand, there are those who have said that English, while it’s certainly important, is just a tool. Our dependence of the English language is that we as a society has grown into the end user, rather that becoming the inventor. We are seeking knowledge, not creating and expanding them. We can’t say as of now that the people in Japan, Germany and France for example don’t even bother to make English as their first language since they are a nation of inventors and people even have to learn their language to further develop their product.

Photo credit: Google Images
While I find nothing wrong with learning Science and Mathematics in English for schoolchildren, there are two equally possible scenarios that can happen if that is continued.

First, the students will be better equip to look up further information on their own from outside sources (like the internet) and develop thinking of their own rather than what’s only been though in the classroom. Besides the knowledge in Mathematics and Science, they can also master English at the same time (I don’t know whether killing 2 birds with 1 stone applied to this).

Second scenario however, without proper basic in English, the students may be left behind because they will not know what’s being teach. The terms use in those subjects maybe alien to them and this will cause them to lose interest in the subjects since they can’t catch up. This is because they need to learn and master English first before even learning other subjects in English.

Photo credit: Google Images
There is nothing wrong whatsoever in learning other language. In fact I have regretted that I did not properly learn Arabic and French in school while I had the chance (Arabic is compulsory while French is optional). In fact, the earlier Muslim thinkers actually learn Greeks and Latin too to collect earlier knowledge before translating them to Arabic and then expanding upon the knowledge, creating new stuff with them which contributed to what is known as the Islamic Golden Age when non-Muslim Europe at that time were living in the so called the Dark Ages. In the ninth century, the library of the monastery of St. Gall was the largest in Europe. It boasted 36 volumes. At the same time, Cordoba’s library contained over 500,000.

Photo credit: Google Images
During the renaissance the Europeans use all the discoveries to kick start their scientific revolution which leads to the Enlightenment and subsequently to this modern age. They have rediscovered their Graeco-Roman roots via what was saved actually by the Islamic thinkers and even translated Arabic text to their own language. So like the Arabs (including Persians and many other Muslims at that time) and the Europeans, we should not be shy to learn other languages.

Photo credit: Google Images
However we should not forgets our own language. We should not however content to being the end user. Once we become an inventor, others will come and learn our own. After all, Malay is not a ‘small’ language. It’s a language (including all the dialects) being spoken by more than 150 million people. However, to become inventor we should all learn a new language, a language that can send humans to the moon and outer space.

We should all learn Java ! 

Photo credit: Google Images

Disclaimer : All images are for illustration purposes only and this blog author does not claim any copyright to the published images and he only copied the images already publicly available on the internet (unless stated). The blog author also wishes to state that his opinion posted on this blog are his alone and not paid by any political parties.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Look East Policy

For Malay language version please visit this link.

Nakanu nara, koroshite shimae, hototogisu 
(If the cuckoo does not sing, kill it.)
Nakanu nara, nakasete miyou, hototogisu 
(If the cuckoo does not sing, coax it.)
Nakanu nara, naku made matou, hototogisu 
(If the cuckoo does not sing, wait for it.)

The senry (Japanese form of short poetry) above are best described the important characters that contributed the most for Japan’s unification post Sengoku Jidai or Japan’s medieval age civil war where the first line is attributed to Oda Nobunaga, the second to Toyotomi Hideyoshi and the final to Tokugawa Ieyasu who later on form the Shogunate that lasted for few centuries until the modernization of Japan. 

The poetry describes the characters for their traits where Oda is known for his ruthlessness in the first verse, Toyotomi for his resourcefulness in the second verse and finally Tokugawa for his perseverance and patience in the final verse.

Photo credit: Google Images
The Sengoku period happened from 1467 until 1603 before Japan is finally united after the previous Ashikaga Shogunate lost power and control over Japan and warlords pop up all over using war and diplomacy to become the next Shogun (which meant supreme military leader). Even though the Emperor is the highest authority in theory, he basically just governed issues related to custom and ceremonies while the temporal power were in the hands of the Shogun and other military commanders (sounds familiar?).  

Photo credit: Google Images

The war basically goes on for the next one and a half century before Japan was finally united by the three characters above.

The interesting thing to note is that Oda was a ruthless general he almost successfully capable to unify all of Japan if he was not assassinated by one of his closest companion through treachery. It’s very interesting also to learn that his companion was actually coaxed by his another companion, the one who eventually succeed him to do the traitorous deeds. So, to cut thing short, Oda is killed by his friend who upon instigation from Hideyoshi, seek out to assassinate him for some made up reasons.   

(Do you think this sounds contemporaneously similar?).

Photo credit: Google Images
Hideyoshi through diplomacy (and some said intimidation too) manage to make all other warlords make peace with him and support him for the invasion of Korea. Even though he can be consider the supreme military commander at that time, he was not eligible to become a Shogun since we was originally from the peasant stock and not the ancient samurai lineage. 

Finally, after he died and nominated his heir to succeed him the power eventually fell upon one of heir’s guardian. Tokugawa was believed to have already planned the ambition to become the Shogun and rather than take power by force but wait until the opportune moment.  He initiated a scenario where the final civil wars were forced upon him starting with the Sekigahara campaign and ended with the Siege of Osaka where all his opponents are obliterated or forced to submit to his sole power.

With the end of the civil war period, he can now petition the Emperor to grant him and his descendants the Shogunate office which had ruled Japan until 1868.

When Tun Mahathir announced the ‘Look East Policy’ in 1982 I was too young to remember what it’s all about so maybe I’m looking from a different angle and my interest in Japan was not economics but more about history.  I’m still looking at this when Mahathir retired and was replaced first by Oda Nobunaga (I mean Tun Abdullah) and later by Toyotomi Hideyoshi (current Prime Minister Najib Razak).

Photo credit: Google Images
I am wondering who will become Tokugawa Ieyasu? Who have the perseverance and patience to wait. Easiest bet will be Tan Sri Muhyiddin of course as a natural successor since he’s the current Deputy Prime Minister but then Tun Mahathir himself was served by 4 different deputies so there’s no guarantee that Muhyiddin will survive.

There’s also the high equally possibilities that the BN will fail to win the next general election. If that happen then I will then tell the end of the Shogunate days.

Until then, just let the cuckoo sings.

Disclaimer : All images are for illustration purposes only and this blog author does not claim any copyright to the published images and he only copied the images already publicly available on the internet (unless stated). The blog author also wishes to state that his opinion posted on this blog are his alone and not paid by any political parties.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Year Of Living Dangerously

For Malay language version please visit here.

"Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth." 
~ Marcus Aurelius

I was introduced to Marcus Aurelius actually from the movie Gladiator (featuring Russell Crowe) who as portrayed in the movie, a Roman emperor who while doing what most of Roman emperors did at those time such as killing and conquering the Parthians, the Marcomanni, Quadi, and Sarmatians  among others, also have time to write down his Mediation which according to wikipedia, a revered as a literary monument to a philosophy of service and duty, describing how to find and preserve equanimity in the midst of conflict by following nature as a source of guidance and inspiration.

I wont write more about him but more about the particular quote. Today, we are indeed living in dangerous years. Not the danger of being at war whatsoever (though there are people indeed at war on some other parts of the planet but if you're able to read this blog then there is a high chances you are not at war), but the danger of having too much information easily at the tip of our finger. The danger of thinking that we can know everything just because some people somewhere posted something that we think we want and need to know. We think that knowledge is easier to find since we can seek them from the comfort of our home (or from our office), as long as we have a computer, or a phone or whichever devices that we can connect to the internet.

Photo credit: Google Images
We no longer have to cross the seven seas or to climb the seven hills to seek knowledge as knowledge is easy to come by. It came even without us seeking them, from various media that are being shared by our friends and acquaintances. We can read what has been written either yesterday or even thousand years ago without even waking up from our bed.

Therein lies the danger. While it seems easy to seek knowledge, we may not learn wisdom through them. In the easiness, because in this internet age we all think we will know everything. Since we all think that we know everything with the knowledge, we no longer continue to find wisdom. We trust everything said by someone just because we no longer feel the need to learn about other opinions that may be contradictory with what we want to hear. Just because some news site posted something that we 'want' to read, we do not feel the need to verify the news even further. Just because some information is shared by someone we know from Facebook or Twitter, we easily believe that the information is true.

Finally, as Marcus Aurelius wrote nearly 2000 years ago, we easily believe something as a fact, when it's just an opinion and more dangerously we believe everything we see as the truth when it's just a perspective. It's no wonder an American President, from the country that gives birth to the internet have already warned us of the danger.

Photo credit: Google Images
Oh yes, before I forget. Marcus Aurelius in the movie Gladiator was portrayed as an ideal Roman emperor who intends to give power back to the Roman senate and make Rome a republic again rather than be rule by emperors when the historical Marcus Aurelius actually nominate his son Commodus as heir rather than adopt a really capable general to succeed as 5 other successful emperor before him (google Five Good Emperors for details). I may write about that some times in the future.

Disclaimer : All images are for illustration purposes only and this blog author does not claim any copyright to the published images and he only copied the images already publicly available on the internet (unless stated). The blog author also wishes to state that his opinion posted on this blog are his alone and not paid by any political parties.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Dictator In Need

For Malay language version please click here.

I have to confess that when I first hear the word 'dictator' the only information and images that I received is that it is something bad. Images of Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Saddam and Gaddafi among others are those that entered my mind when hearing the word. The word portrays the image of a ruler with total power over a country and typically one who has obtained power by force, synonymous with autocrat, despot, tyrant, oppressor and all the negative ways and method of how to rule a country, for the citizen at least.

Closer to home, we've heard that the late Lee Kwan Yew was called a dictator too and to certain extend our own Tun Mahathir during his stewardship of the country.

Photo credit: Google Images
I was introduced to the origin of the word actually from playing computer games. Rome Total War (developed by Creative Assembly and originally published by Activision) is one of the game that sparked my interest in wanting to know more about ancient history especially during Roman republican era that introduce me to dictators like Sulla and the most famous Roman (which I'm sure everyone has heard of) Julius Caesar and have learned that the office of Dictator itself is nominated by the Roman senate in emergency situation.

By law, the Roman republic was ruled by two consuls elected each year with each consul holding imperium (a Latin word meaning 'power to command') the armies of the Republic in alternate months. In the event of extreme emergencies, like the consuls themselves are not capable of being good military commanders and in many cases, the consuls themselves were killed in battle then the senate will pass a senatus consultum (decree of the senate) for existing or newly appointed consul to nominate a dictator which holds great extraordinary power. The office of dictator itself is originally set for 6 months and only renewed should the need arise.

Among the famous dictators of ancient Rome was Quintus Fabius Maximus who was appointed dictator after two consular armies were defeated by Hannibal during his invasion of Italy and even after his term has ended he was again consulted after Hannibal again defeated even bigger Roman consular armies at the famous Battle of Cannae.

Photo credit: Google Images
The other famous Roman dictator was Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus who was made dictator twice and was regarded as a model of Roman virtue and simplicity. What's interesting fact about Cincinatus is that he hold the most supreme power the first time for only two weeks, where he resign from his office right after he completed his tasks of defeating the enemies of Rome.

His immediate resignation of his near-absolute authority with the end of the crisis has often been cited as an example of outstanding leadership, service to the greater good, civic virtue, lack of personal ambition and modesty ~ Wikipedia

Cincinnatus was also nominated the second time even as he already retired and working on his farm to put down conspiracy and rebellion in Rome and like the first time, he resign immediately after the crisis has ended.

Within his lifetime Cincinnatus became a legend to the Romans. Twice granted supreme power, he held onto it for not a day longer than absolutely necessary. The high esteem in which he was held by his compatriots is illustrated with an anecdote from the end of his life: one of his sons was tried for military incompetence. The great Capitolinus defended him by asking the jury who would go to tell the aged Cincinnatus the news in the event of a conviction. The son was acquitted because the jury could not bring itself to break the old man's heart. ~ Wikipedia

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The more I read about the deeds of these ancient dictators, the more I can't help to have these feeling that a dictator is what Malaysia needs at this time. With all the issues surrounding the government regarding the 1MDB, the mistrust in the Prime Minister, the internal squabbles with the Opposition pact it seems to me that a strong, capable leader who 'been there, done that, got the t-shirt' to prove it' who can come and lead us out of these mess and then resign when these crisis is over.

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No, I'm not advocating a rebellion or revolution whatsoever (so don't change me under Sedition Act) and only suggesting that what may be possible. What if Tun Mahathir or even Tun Abdullah can again be the president of UMNO and chairman for BN as a temporary measure? These two statesmen have known how to rule and also to let go of the rule.

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I'm sure if these two of our former statesmen can come again to save the nation in these times of trouble, 50 years from now our next generations don't have to go back to more than 2000 years ago to learn that the word dictator does not always mean a bad word.

Disclaimer : All images are for illustration purposes only and this blog author does not claim any copyright to the published images and he only copied the images already publicly available on the internet (unless stated). The blog author also wishes to state that his opinion posted on this blog are his alone and not paid by any political parties.

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Barbarians Are Coming !

For Malay language version please click here.

“Discover how to visit the past and bring yesterday's stories into our lives today” ~ Gillian Hovell.

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The late classical antiquity, the Dark Ages, dawn of medieval age, the migration period and many other names given by both historians and non-historians were a period containing series of events that eventually lead to the collapse and fall of a political entity known as the Western Roman Empire which were the provinces of the Roman Empire administered by the western court base on Mediolanum (modern day Milan) and later Ravenna, while the city of Rome maintains at the spiritual capital of the whole empire.

Series of invasions by the barbarian tribes from the north and the east was not the sole reason for the collapse of the empire but they were also helped by the instability and the dependence of the foederatis (non-Roman soldiers) to guard the borders while the famed legions of the Caesars and the earlier Principate were no longer the backbone on the military structure. The legions themselves, rather than swearing loyalty to Rome, transferred their loyalty to those generals who paid them more, a repeat of events few centuries earlier that brought down the Roman republic. 

Obviously there are many theories regarding the reason why large group of people (we're not talking about few families, but whole tribes) migrating, including climate change, seeking better lands, running from other invaders and various reasons, but whether the reasons were political or economic, both were towards the same goal, which is to continue living. The Angles and the Saxons, among other migrated and invaded Roman Britain, driving away both the Romans and native Celtic people away and eventually became the English left the native lands in Germania from more vicious people from the east. The Franks move towards what is now central Western Europe while the Lombards moved south towards Italy and eventually replaced the Romans and the Italic people after the fall of Rome. The barbarians facing death and annihilation did only what they know at that time, which is to move to other place and cause the death and an almost annihilation of the native people already living there and unfortunately for those people there are no other places to go except the Atlantic ocean.

"What I love about the stories of the Great Migration is that this is not ancient history; this is living history. Most people of color can find someone in their own family who had experienced a migration of some kind, knowing the sense of dislocation, longing and fortitude." ~ Isabel Wilkerson 

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Closer to our shores in this modern time we are reading and viewing the news regarding a new events of migration, which is the Rohingya people who fled Myanmar and also from Bangladesh. I will not get into the details of the reasons and there could be various reasons depending on one point of view but just like the ancient time people are running to find a better life either when facing persecutions or for economic reasons. While this kind of events are not something new as Malaysia has already seen the coming of boat people from Vietnam and the Cambodia in the past, these new events unfortunately brought out some ugly side of the people and we can see many comments of the internet about how the government should not accept these people with questions about 'who's going to feed them?', 'we don't need any more crimes from these people', 'this will be new project IC' and so on, even those that boldly shouted that these people should just be left to die in the seas.

There are also sane arguments that humanity should supersede any political, even emotional or economical reason in urging those in power to help these people as they are the right thing to do, even if the time is not right. Of course some people not just talk the talk but walk the talk to by actually doing something to help these people while some vocal people at the beginning are now being seen as shutting their mouth because it is now seem that helping the Rohingyas is not the correct thing to do by their own political supporters. In the period of political instability in our country, the government seems to be indecisive in their actions, with some quarters wants to help while some quarters are still looking for solutions while those who are trying to seek refuge are dying day by day. 

Even without the Rohingyas, we already have a lot of immigrants to this country and the funny thing is that some of those who are against these refugees are descendants of those immigrants themselves, either to escape persecution of their native land or simply just for economic reasons. It's really funny when hearing this kind of people talk about how they themselves are ready to migrate if they feel that this country is no longer stable and can no longer provide security for them or their wealth. 

It is interesting to finally hear that the Turkish government has pledge to help these people and provide the humanitarian aid and it took a nation formed of descendants of one of the great migration people itself to show what country like Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia their lack of moral courage to do what's right and putting political and economical reasons above humanity.

"We must force the government to stop the bird migration. We must shoot all birds, field all our men and troops... and force migratory birds to stay where they are." ~ Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

Disclaimer : All images are for illustration purposes only and this blog author does not claim any copyright to the published images and he only copied the images already publicly available on the internet (unless stated). The blog author also wishes to state that his opinion posted on this blog are his alone and not paid by any political parties.

The Magna Carta

For Malay language version please visit this link . There have been two documented events called the Baron’s Revolt (or also known as Bar...