Friday, August 31, 2012

Merdeka 2012 - The Politics Of Hate Mongering

In Malaysia these days it is truly sad that everything is politicized. Official government functions, sporting events, national festival open houses, religious occasions and places of worship are now being politicized to gain votes.

Tragically even a joyous national event like the Merdeka celebrations have not been spared. It is regrettable that political parties have total disregard for the national day which should be above politics. Of course this can be directly attributed to the crucial 13the general elections to be held anytime soon.

As Malaysians from all walks of life unite to mark the independence of their nation 55 years ago, it is deeply disturbing that the celebrations of our independence, is being so politicized that it mars the significance and importance of this auspicious day.

The choice of the Merdeka theme and the logo created so much controversy. We now have one theme and logo by the ruling party and another for the opposition, which is totally absurd. Opposition leaders also shunned the national celebrations in favor of their own event in Selangor.

Adding to add to the controversies were people dressed in yellow T-shirts, the colour of Bersih, engaging in unacceptable behavior and hate mongering in the annual Merdeka Eve countdown at Dataran Merdeka.

No prizes for guessing where they learned such behavior from:

Meanwhile the Janji Bersih crowd these unfurled flags:

very much similar to the flags of the republic of Indonesia and the Republic of Singapore, both countries without Monarchs as their Head of State:

They also distributed these pamphlets at Dataran Merdeka:

This time around there was deafening silence from Bersih co-chairman Dumbiga, replaced by the unlikely choice of Mat Sabu while Anwar and Azmin were represented by Tian Chua and Fuziah.

For 55 years since Merdeka there has never been such blatant disrespect to the Jalur Gemilang a symbol of this sovereign nation we call Malaysia. Many of our soldiers and police officers died while others lost their limbs in defense of our nation under the Jalur Gemilang.

We celebrate our achievements in sports and other arenas with the Jalur Gemilang. The Jalur Gemilang is the national symbol of this sovereign and independent nation.

I do not know what their intentions are in wanting to change the Jalur Gemilang.

All these scenarios are targeted to spark two sets of celebrations, one for the ruling party and another for the opposition.

Such divisive politics have never been witnessed before when Malaysians of all ethnicity and walks of life, regardless of their political ideologies, freely and proudly participated in the celebrations.

As long as they gathered in peace, there were no restrictions on the way they celebrated or the colour of the attire they wore. All that mattered was that they were all citizens and that was enough to unite them in sharing their pride and joy of their independent nation.

The Merdeka celebrations are not only for political parties. It is for all Malaysians regardless of their political affiliation, ethnicity or creed.

It is a day to recall and be grateful to the many who put behind their differences, united and sacrificed so much to regain the sovereignty of the nation. It would be a tragedy if we allow it to be hijacked by political parties for their own agendas.

Our leaders from across the political divide must come together to celebrate Merdeka with the very same rakyat whom they claim to serve unconditionally. That will be the greatest lesson on unity that they can demonstrate to the people.

The Singapore Law Society Vs Zero Nalpon

In a profession where decorum and “propah” behavior are the rules of the day, one lawyer has decided to rock the boat.

That lawyer is Zero Nalpon from Singapore, who has claimed that he is now being investigated by the island’s Law Society following a complaint by the Attorney-General Chambers after he lodged a complaint against a Deputy Public Prosecutor for alleged misconduct in April this year.

The complaint relates to a criminal case where Zero defended an accused person against two counts of criminal breach of trust in 2010. A third charge against his client was not proceeded with initially, and subsequently withdrawn.

At the end of the trial, which lasted 22 days, Nalpon’s client, Ezmiwardi Kanan, was convicted and fined S$6,000 (RM14,600) on the first charge and acquitted of the second charge.

Both the defense and prosecution appealed after which High Court judge Lee Seiu Kin quashed Ezmiwardi’s conviction on the first charge and ordered the S$6,000 to be returned to him.

The case involved Ezmiwardi, 46, a car salesman, who had agreed to buy a Hyundai Matrix from its owner for S$29,200 in 2008. In exchange, the owner had to buy another car from Ezmiwardi. The plan derailed when Ezmiwardi allegedly did not keep to his side of the bargain, leading to criminal charges against him.

The judge also dismissed the prosecution’s appeal against the acquittal on the second charge, and appeal against the sentence on the first one.

Last year, in the run-up to the High Court appeal, Nalpon discovered that the DPP had allegedly withheld a record of a key 999 call to the police made by the owner of the Hyundai. In that 999 call, he had told the police to cancel an earlier 999 call he had made asking for help.

In court papers filed before Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong, Nalpon claimed that the existence of this second 999 call - in addition to the first 999 call that had been admitted in the original trial - would have made a difference to his client’s case.

At issue here is whether the Hyundai owner’s testimony about this second call, had it come to pass in the district court, would have changed the outcome of the case. Nalpon wants to know if another 10 days of trial could have been avoided if the testimony about the second call had come to pass.

Another key issue is whether the DPP’s alleged misconduct was due to an honest oversight or was something else altogether.

Under the Legal Profession Act, an application is made directly to the Chief Justice to order an investigation into a complaint of misconduct by a legal officer or non-practicing member of the profession.

This is unlike the case with practicing lawyers, where the complaint is referred to the Law Society, which probes the case to assess its merits before referring it for further action.

In the case of an application to the Chief Justice, the applicant has to show the full circumstances and facts of the case to justify the convening of an investigation into a claim of misconduct.

The other party is therefore not required to be present, as the hearing is not to determine guilt. If the application is allowed, the investigation proceeds and the affected side can state its case.

This is understood to be the first such move against a DPP in such circumstances, and the Chief Justice’s grounds for decision are expected to clarify the circumstances in which the investigations into such complaints can, or cannot, proceed.  

Chief Justice Chan gave his Judgment on May 7th and Nalpon has filed an appeal against the whole decision. The Court of Appeal is scheduled to hear it in the week beginning 15th October 2012. Spanking DA Monkey will keep readers updated.

A facebook group has been set up to raise public awareness of Nalpon’s ongoing case.

In a parallel development on our own shores, the debate for an alternative Bar is set to reignite a group of lawyers who have been pressing for their own organization.

It is led by advocate and solicitor Nordin Yusoff, who is a member of the Selangor Bar, who claims to have received enough support to form an alternative to the current Bar Council regulatory body.

“We have received the green light from the Government. We have spoken to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz and are formalizing the registration with the Registrar of Societies,” he said.

Nordin said it was a plan that was five years in the making and should materialize by early September 2012.

While refusing to disclose the name of the organization or details of the pro tem committee, he said many of his friends in the legal fraternity were “raring to join”.

“We will open up our membership to ministers, judges, academicians and other lawyers who are not currently practicing,” he added.

His reason for setting up the alternative: “The Bar Council and the Advocates and Solicitors Disciplinary Board are just bullying us and doing whatever they like.

“I am sick and tired of their antics and I am going to expose their dirty tricks soon.”

The issue of an alternative Bar arose in May 2012 after the Malaysian Bar passed a resolution condemning excessive force by the police in the Bersih 3.0 gathering a month earlier.

Nazri brought up the matter, claiming that the Bar Council’s views were not shared with most of its 14,500 members despite the overwhelming majority in passing the resolution.

However, the idea was shot down by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

In response, the Malaysian Bar President Lim Chee Wee said any member could form an association as guaranteed by the Federal Constitution.

“However, for licensing, regulation and disciplinary processes, in the interest of the public and the profession, it must lie with one body – the Bar Council. This is a rationale recognized by the Government.

“The Bar will not stop this member of the Bar from registering an association so long as it is consistent with the Legal Profession Act and does not confuse members of the public of its purpose,” he said.

Lim also said Nordin was free to raise his complaints at general meetings, run for leadership or even resort to court actions.

“He should have confidence in our general membership of 14,500 and do the right thing in elections or general meetings.”

The Spanker’s take? The Malaysian Bar must always take its responsibilities seriously under section 42(1)(a) of the Legal Profession Act 1976. It is a three-fold task: (1) to uphold the cause of justice; (2) without regard to its own interests or that of its members; and (3) uninfluenced by fear or favor.

Article 14 of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers reinforces this role that lawyers must play:

14. Lawyers, in protecting the rights of their clients and in promoting the cause of justice, shall seek to uphold human rights and fundamental freedoms recognized by national and international law and shall at all times act freely and diligently in accordance with the law and recognized standards and ethics of the legal profession.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Gangnam Style Decoded

Wop…Wop…Wop…Oopa Gangnam Style!

He's 34, slightly rotund, and happy to laugh at himself and also at others - this is the K-Pop star happily galloping on his invisible horse while seemingly taking over the world.

The "Oppa Gangnam Style" music video has gone mega-viral since its release on 15th July 2012, clocking in over a whopping 40 million YouTube hits as of the time of writing.

Thanks to PSY (short, apparently, for psycho, real name Park Jae-Sang), the whole world is talking about Gangnam, Seoul's ritziest district, and wondering where - or what - it could possibly be.

I think it’s pretty impressive that PSY has managed to pick up already existing styles and beats and managed to make this fully his own. The bumping beats rival the likes of LMFAO's 'Party Rock Anthem' and Far East Movement's 'Like A G6', with moves from Lady Gaga and Beyonce to boot. What can we say, we're hooked!

Billboard describes his music as on the “fringe due to what the authorities cite as ‘inappropriate content.’ His first album got him fined and his second was banned.”

From a hit music video, a spectacular concert stage fire in front of 33,000 people, a spontaneous 'guerrilla' gig at Gangnam Station, to flying to LA following a call from Justin Bieber’s label, the comic hip-hop/rap star is riding one high-flying rocket to international stardom. If anyone can make Justin Bieber bearable, it's PSY.

Over on Facebook and twitter, feeds continue to be peppered with posts about the comic K-Pop singer-songwriter’s frenzied “horse dance,” which foreign media is calling “the second Macarena" because of its catchiness.

Not to be outdone, Psy’s released a companion "girl version" to the viral hit. This one, titled "Oppa Is Just My Style," features Hyuna, a member of the Korean pop girl group 4Minute, who plays PSY's muse in the first "Gangnam" video.

The "Gangnam" lyrics are apparently retrofitted here to work from a woman's point of view, but the main difference we're spotting is less invisible horse riding and more sultry side-eyeing. The visuals definitely aren't as wacky as the original, though.

I felt that the elevator guy in PSY's music video didn't get the spotlight he deserved. The horny elevator guy is called Noh Hong Chul and he probably set a new world record for pelvic thrusting!

It was difficult, but I found a video of the recording session in the elevator scene... :D Enjoy!

Look out for announcements of future concert dates, tentatively planned for Christmas and the end of the year.

Here are excerpts of my interview with him:

Me: What on earth were you thinking about when you dreamed up that video?

PSY: With this new album, I just wanted to make something that was purely comedic – something that could make people laugh like crazy even in the midst of all this global economic slowdown.

I wanted to make them forget - just for a moment even - about their immediate troubles, and to entertain them the way entertainment should be all about.

Me: It’s been very entertaining to read the foreign media’s explanations of what Gangnam is and why you are singing about it. So what IS your reading of Gangnam, and why are you singing about it?

PSY: I’ve heard it said that Gangnam is the Beverly Hills of Korea. But I would say that Gangnam is the capital of Seoul, which, of course, is the capital of Korea.

People who are actually from Gangnam never proclaim that they are - it’s only the posers and wannabes that put on these airs and say that they are "Gangnam Style" - so this song is actually poking fun at those kinds of people who are trying so hard to be something that they’re not.

Me: So where would you recommend people go when they come to Korea?

PSY: First of all, I would recommend a PSY concert! I’m having a few more at the end of the year so that's a great reason to come to Korea. But also Gangnam of course. It’s just a great place to party and have fun.

Me: How did you feel when you saw yourself on CNN?

PSY: I didn’t believe it. When I saw articles on the other foreign sites like Huffington Post and Gawker I thought it was really cool. But when I saw the CNN video, I actually thought the video wasn’t real! I thought someone had edited it as a joke.

Me: Where on earth did you find that little boy in the video? He’s hysterical.

PSY: Isn’t he great? His name is Hwang Min-woo and he’s five. The night before the music video shoot, I was watching Korea’s Got Talent and saw him dance to Michael Jackson. His moves were ridiculous. So we called him up and asked him to be in the music video, which was shooting the very next day, and he came and it all worked out.

Me: What is your favorite song off this album? ‘What If,’ with Lena Park is great.

PSY: I’ve noticed that a lot of women in their 20s and 30s really like that song! Something about the lyrics about wondering about past loves really hits home for them. My personal favorite is actually ‘Hot Goodbye’ which I collaborated on with Sung Si-kyung.

Me: A lot of foreign artists have tweeted about how they love "Gangnam Style." Are there any foreign artists who you would like to collaborate with?

PSY: Anyone who has tweeted about me, I would love to work with haha. Robbie Williams, T-Pain … But actually the biggest influence in my music, especially when I was starting out, was Queen. I know that’s probably surprising, but you’ll know if you’ve ever been to one of my concerts that I love to emulate their style when I’m performing live. So yeah, that would be amazing!

 We've had many enquiries asking where parts of his popular video was shot. Here are some of those and other locations where you can find some "Gangnam Style."

Cheongdam Station (music video opening sequence): 75-1 Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul (서울 강남구 청담동 75-1)

Gangnam Station (guerrilla concert site), 821-1 Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul (서울 강남구 역삼동 821-1)

Royal Saddle Equestrian Society (the stables from music video), 402 Gyeondalsan-ro Ilsandong-gu, Goyang (고양시 일산동구 견달산로 402)

Han River yoga, Jamsil Easy Yoga, 12/F, 13/F, Roy Tower, 175-11 Jamsil-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 송파구 잠실동 175-11 로이타워 12, 13)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Unlucky Stripes and Zombie Minds?

As a proud Malaysian, the Spanker is totally disgusted with Pakatan Rakyat's lack of tact and respect for the nation and what independence stands for. Pakatan should be proud of Malaysia and the values that the national flag upholds. When Malaysian Olympian Dato’ Lee Chong Wei won the silver medal for badminton, the country’s flag was raised high and proud.

In every country, including fully developed democracies, it is an accepted fact that the national flag should never be dishonored, even more so by its lawmakers.

The Jalur Gemilang is recognized by the United Nations and the International Olympic Council as a symbol of Malaysia’s nationhood. Pakatan, in disdaining our beloved Malaysian flag also disrespects our nationhood and sovereignty. Sport unites a nation and should always be above politics.

Kota Alam Shah's DAP imbecile M. Manoharan has rightly come under fire from 28 million Malaysians for making disparaging comments about Datuk Lee Chong Wei's defeat to China's Lin Dan in the Olympic badminton men's singles final. The Spanker tweeted him directly and told him to go buy a brain. The imbecile didn’t reply.

Last year, this very same DAP imbecile stirred up a similar controversy when he suggested modifying the Jalur Gemilang because its design did not reflect Malaysia to his zombie mind. He claimed the Jalur
Gemilang resembled the national flag of the United States of America.

This imbecile had proudly claimed that he had distributed DAP flags to his constituents instead of the Jalur Gemilang. To top it off, he then claimed that Pakatan would redesign our national flag once they take over federal government.

In a move to carry out damage control, the DAP suspended his membership for six months but promptly lifted the punishment after a month.

Dear imbecile, THIS is how Malaysians feel about Dato Lee Chong Wei:
Let the Spanker reminded Malaysians that it was not the first time Pakatan has insulted the national flag.

Former Perak Mentri Besar, Bukit Gantang MP and Panjang state rep Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin's “Jalur malang” tweet insults the national flag is akin to treason. It reflects very badly indeed on this PAS national leader’s maturity level.

Nizar had tweeted: “Janji ditepati malang prayaan kemerdekaan tahun ini di buat oleh kabinet BN, luntur semangat nak kibarkan jalur gemilang, jalur malang! (Promises fulfilled' - unfortunate that Merdeka celebration this year is organized by BN Cabinet, no mood to wave Jalur Gemilang, unlucky stripes!”).

This is the same Nizar whose earlier tweet on the Johor royal family’s bid on the WWW 1 license plate induced a barrage of Police reports, an investigation and may just about wreck his chances in the next general election.
Then you have DAP Klang Member of Parliament Charles Santiago who not only disrespecfully flew our Malaysian flag upside down and also tattered at his Pandaraman service center. 

If there was an Olympic medal for being a political imbecile, one of the three Pakatan imbeciles above would win hands down.

It is really unfortunate for the national flag to be used as a tool for political mileage by politicians that are bankrupt of useful issues that matter to the rakyat. Instead of showing contempt and disrespect for the nation’s flag, the Spanker strongly urges Pakatan to put aside their political agenda, wake up and smell the teh tarik.