Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Rethinking Politics

I wonder how the world would be if the mainstream political thinking would be based on this:

"Oh mankind, We created you from a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another. Verily, the most honored among you in the sight of God is the most righteous of you..."

Rather than this:

"Humans are selfish, two-legged animals."

Or this:

"[Human life is] solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short."

Or this:

"Might is right."

Or this:

"[distrust] the multitude'".

Or this:

"The general will"

Or this:


Or this:


Or this:


Or this:

"People's power"

Or this:


Or this:


Or this:


Or this:


Or this:


Or this:


Or this:


Or this:

"Human capital"

Or this:

"The World Bank"

Or this:

"Fiat currency"

Or this:

"National security"

Or this:


Or this:

"Social contract"

Or this:


Or this:


Or this:


Or this:



Out of all, we wonder ourselves why politics is so "dirty" and yet in the end, we point our crooked fingers to this and that politicians, never to bother about the underlying assumptions and principles that define and govern politics itself. Whereas we strive to classify and differentiate ourselves from others with so-called "group identity" and "mutual interest", are they alternatives to these thinking that calls for not "group identity" , rather, "commonality"; not "mutual interest", rather, "selfless interest"?

Philosophers and thinkers throughout the ages deliberate much about how their brethren behave such and such especially when it comes to "power", "authority" and "legitimacy". What they found were a whole lot of behaviors (of human vices and virtues) whilst scholars of today generalize them into a whole continuum and spectra of what is "left" and what is "right" or what is "good" and what is "bad".

The result? Well, the outcome is more often than not, as effective as passing resolutions in the United Nations. Despite our economic, technological, and material advancement, why are cries of the world getting ever louder longing for justice, peace, and compassion? Why are we getting ever restless despite having all the comforts that we have from a well-heated room to the fastest-broadband connection to the virtual world?

Perhaps there are other missing variables that we forgot to throw in when we consider our philosophy that governs our thoughts and principles; perhaps we just simply gulped in whatever is thrown at us without really looking at the ingredients? Perhaps we should embark an extensive research on this, no?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Of What We are "Taught"

In school and college:
  1. Textbooks are (almost) always right - don't ever attempt to contest their contents if you want to get an "A" and maintain a public image (Chances are you will sound like a freak if you question a point or two from those "holy books" that cost you an arm or a leg every time the school opens).
  2. Study FOR exams: Study hard guys and girls so that in exam you guys can get an "A". Whatever happens to what you've learned after exam does not matter - trash it or keep it, your choice as long as you excel in exams.
  3. Get into Deans List and Honors program to demonstrate your "intellectual gifts".
  4. Fulfill certain hours in certain subjects with certain grades, and get a piece of paper to be used to find a "good job".
  5. Party, have fun and be merry. People are young after all. Once you are married, you are 'tied' and no longer have 'freedom' of bachelors' life.
  6. CGPA is all-important: Flunk it and there goes all the points above down the drain.
In TV:
  1. Watch drama, watch more series, more and more. You know, we should feel sad and cry because that beloved, handsome, macho hero had died and we gotta know what's next. Can't afford to miss 'em!
  2. Ah, beauty and get sexy! Girls, wear as few as possible because that is liberty and a sign of self-confidence. Have certain size on your waist, trim certain hairs on your face, show up your assets, and act kinky-innocent so guys will drool over you. Guys, remember... fat bank account, being Mr. President, a silver tongue, and a six pack are the ideals. Fall short of that, and no chicks would adore you (you know... no shouts of aaaaaaaaahhhhhh... when you pass by them).
  3. Buy and buy and buy! Dude, nobody uses your week-old phone anymore. Go grab a new one NOW!
  4. Watch news guys and get "informed". Watch people die, skies crumble, shouting matches, and more! Yeah, you don't have to think too much about them since the news channels already have the analysis done for you from their "enlightened" "prophets" and "sages". Make sure you do what they tell you to do, or else...
  5. Make sure to follow who's at the top of the mountain this week. Is she her in who's the most chicky contest? That bands of guys who can ran 3 miles at full speed and kickin' - yeah, lots of pompom girls, too. Be like them for their way to success is indeed an example.
In the Internet:
  1. Let yourself be known. Make sure to update your profiles, add new pictures, write stuffs, so that your friends (and others) can know about you. You know, many would have been concerned if you changed your status from "male" to "female" especially from those who matters.
  2. Cheap deals and it's just one click away!
  3. (same as pt. #1, 3, 4, 5 in TV)
  4. Watch and put anything your heart desires, ANYTHING!
About money:
  1. Remember to keep that green paper safe and have lots and lots of digits in your bank account (even though the green paper has no real value at all... that's right, not even an ounce of gold)
  2. Work FOR them. With them, you can show love to your wife by giving her that 1lb. diamond, bring your children into that Lala land where dreams come true, and of course... get that dream sports car, exotic pina coladas... ONLY money can BUY you those... (forget about "there are things money can't buy", it is just an empty slogan).
About faith and religion:
  1. Come on, don't get too serious (even better, don't get serious at all). Let's laugh at the naked Jesus (it's just a joke), and don't make a fuss with Muhammad with a bomb on his head (freedom of speech and expression, you know).
  2. Come on, you get other better things to do than attending boring sermons and reading stuffs only for goody-two-shoes: you won't even get extra credits for your CGPA from them. Also, there are many, many other fun stuffs ready-made just for you. Just tune in the TV...
  3. Be a (seemingly) good man and woman, but what is in the heart doesn't count.
  4. Know that God exists, but serving Him or not is another matter.
  5. What are in there in those Scriptures? Come on, you are reading fairy tales! Read other stuffs instead, for pundits... read world-class and certified compiled booklets to get your facts right. For slackers, ummm... wanna get hot with some Playboy?
About governance and government:
  1. Yup, the boss is always right. If your boss is in the blue team and you're in it, you better listen and give your best against the red team and vice versa.
  2. Never mind the Constitution, who bother to read them after all. Let others read it for you instead, shall we?
About natural sciences:
  1. Biology: Remember, only the fittest survives and in whatever means!
  2. Chemistry: Ultimately, we are indestructible building blocks that we know as "material".
You can add up the list on your own...

What the world we are living in...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Reminiscing the Story of Puteri Santubong

I am about to share a legend-song told by my parents and grandparents, and sung again and again by my people.
This is a song entitled "Puteri Sentubung" (English: Princess Sentubung); it is a pride of my people:

The lyrics in Bahasa Sarawak with English translation:

O… Puteri Sentubung,
O… Princess Sentubung
Sejinjang sayang,
Beloved Sejinjang
Kesah lamak,
An old story
Jaman menseya mayang
Of forgotten time

Puteri Sentubung, Puteri Sejinjang,
Princess Sentubung, Princess Sejinjang
Penjaga gunung negeri Serawak,
Guardians of Sarawakian mountains
Manis sik ada dapat dilawan,
Beatiful they were, unmatched
Anak dak dewa turun kayangan
Daughers of gods descended from the heaven

O… Sentubung puteri,
O… Sentubung the princess
Bertenun kain malam,
Who weaves fabric at nightime
Ooo… Sejinjang puteri,
O… Sejinjang the princess
Menumbuk padi siang
Who thumps paddy at daytime

Satu hari nya duak kelaie,
One day they quarreled,
Beranok-anok sik henti-henti,
Exchanging words unrelentingly,
Sorang madah dirik bagus agi,
One said she was better
Sorang sik kalah walau sampe ke mati.
The other did not give in, even to death

Puteri Sentubung, Puteri Sejinjang,
Princess Sentubung, Princess Sejinjang
Penjaga gunung negeri Serawak,
Guardians of Sarawakian mountains
Manis sik ada dapat dilawan,
Beatiful they were, unmatched
Anak dak dewa turun kayangan.
Daughers of gods descended from the heaven

O… Puteri Sentubung,
O… Princess Sentubung
Sejinjang sayang,
Beloved Sejinjang
Udah bermusuh berpanjang-panjang,
Are now enemies for a long time

Udah lejuk nya duak kelaie,
Endless altercations wore them out
Lalu bertukuk nya duak puteri,
Finally, fighting they were
Sejinjang mengayun aluk ke pipi,
Sejinjang swung a slap to her (Sentubung’s) face
Tebik sentubung sampe gitok ari.
Sentubung became dented, until today.

Tapi Sentubung membalas juak,
But Sentubung fought back,
Lalu ditikam batang belida,
A daggered pole she threw, then
Lalu terkenak sejinjang ke palak,
Right at Sejinjang’s head it went
Lalu bertabur jadi Pulo Kerak.
(Sejinjang) shattered and became the Isle of Monkey

Puteri Sentubung, Puteri Sejinjang,
Princess Sentubung, Princess Sejinjang
Penjaga gunung negeri Serawak,
Guardians of Sarawakian mountains
Manis sik ada dapat dilawan,
Beatiful they were, unmatched
Anak dak dewa turun kayangan.
Daughers of gods descended from the heaven

Kesah Sentubung kesah Sejinjang,
The story of Sentubung and the story of Sejinjang
Asal berkawan jadi musuhan
Once were close friends, then became bitter enemies
Kinek tok tinggal jadi kenangan,
Now are left to be memories
Pakey ingatan sepanjang jaman,
As a lesson for all time

Puteri Sentubung, Puteri Sejinjang,
Princess Sentubung, Princess Sejinjang
Penjaga gunung negeri Serawak,
Guardians of Sarawakian mountains
Manis sik ada dapat dilawan,
Beatiful they were, unmatched
Anak dak dewa turun kayangan.
Daughers of gods descended from the heaven

Puteri Sentubung, Puteri Sejinjang…
Princess Sentubung, Princess Sejinjang...

Legend about Puteri Sentubung and Puteri Sejinjang (as so it was passed to me and how I understand it):

Puteri Sentubung and Puteri Sejinjang were daughters of the King of heaven and were two most beautiful Princesses in the world. They were descended from their heavenly palaces to take care of mountains in Sarawak and people who lived there. On Earth, they worked just as normal people did: Puteri Sentubung worked as a weaver while Puteri Sejinjang worked as a paddy-thumper. Puteri Sentubung and Puteri Sejinjang were best friends. As best friends, they did many things together: they grow up together, eat together, played together etc. But their friendship did lost last forever...

One day, a handsome Prince from land afar came to Sarawak. His name was Putera Jaya (other version: Putera Serapi) [English: Prince Jaya/Prince Serapi]. Putera Jaya met both Puteri Sentubung and Puteri Sejinjang. Awed by the handsomeness and manly behavior of Putera Jaya, Puteri Sentubung and Puteri Sejinjang had a crush with him... in secret. As time went by, Putera Jaya fell in love with one of them; his heart preferred Puteri Sentubung over her best friend, Puteri Sejinjang.

At first, things were okay between Puteri Sentubung and Puteri Sejinjang. But eventually, things changed. Sentubung were deep in love with Putera Jaya. She cared nothing except Putera Jaya. Sejinjang, once her best friend, is now ignored just because of Putera Jaya. Not only that, Puteri Sentubung was also careless in her heavenly job as Warden of the mountain and its people and his earthly job as paddy-thumper. Her days and nights were spent with Putera Jaya and Putera Jaya alone.

Of course this did not bode well for Puteri Sejinjang. Not only she lost her bestfriend, she also has to shoulder extra responsibilities of guarding the mountain and its people alone! With Puteri Sentubung neglecting her paddy-thumping job, many paddies were not processed into rice. As a consequence, starvation reigned throughout the land. Morevover, Sejinjang had a heart for Putera Jaya. But knowing that he is her bestfriend's love, Puteri Sejinjang tried to ignore her inner feeling for her best friend's sake. But, love, when suppressed, is a hard thing to contain - it bursts! From suppression it becomes jealousy, from jealousy it becomes enmity.

Finally, Puteri Sejinjang lost her patience. Puteri Sejinjang then hurled words to Puteri Sentubung, accusing Sentubung for neglecting her jobs and her endless mingling with Putera Jaya. Dismayed, Puteri Sejinjang replied, "I am better than you!" and her claim was true.... until she uttered the very claim. Between the two, Puteri Sentubung was naturally more beautiful than Puteri Sejinjang. She was smarter and did many things better than Puteri Sejinjang. When they were child, the King of heaven favored Puteri Sentubung more than Puteri Sejinjang because of her superior beauty and skill. Perhaps this is a ground for Puteri Sentubung to claim her superiority over Puteri Sejinjang.

Now, they no longer talk to each other. The only time the two princesses talk were the time when they hurled curses and accusations over each other for each others' weaknesses and mistakes. But, it was not them who were hurt the most: it was the mountains and people who lived there that suffered the most! Once, people had little food and natural disasters because of Puteri Sentubung's neglect. Now, in addition to the former, they now live naked because Puteri Sejinjang no longer provided clothes for them. Furthermore, diseases as a result of heat and cold now ensue the people - thanks to Puteri Sejinjang.

Long time had passed. The once large, thriving and prosperous mountains and people under Puteri Sentubung and Puteri Sejinjang's protection are now almost reduced to nil. On one hand, Puteri Sentubung is blinded by excessive affection. Puteri Sejinjang, on the other hand, is bogged by excessive hatred. And one day, Puteri Sejinjang made her mind. Because of Puteri Sentubung, she becomes the way she right now: full of hatred, unproductive, and not having a lover. She no longer remember the sweet time when she and Puteri Sentubung were holding hands and singing together. The only thing she knows now that Puteri Sentubung is a thief of her soulmate, a betrayer of friendship, and an irresponsible ilk: it is time for REVENGE! And so she went to see Puteri Sentubung, for one last time...

At so they met and clashed. First, with words. But later, with hands. Puteri Sejinjang started the great fight - it was told that people suffered great thunderstorms lasted for days because of the fight. Puteri Sejinjang, due to her anger, swung her hand very hard and fast that it landed squarely on Puteri Sentubung's face and displaced Puteri Sentubung's jaw and bled Puteri Sentubung's mouth - a fatal blow to Puteri Sentubung's beauty. That is why when one sees the Santubong mountain today, one can see a dent on the higher part of the mountain - a physical manifestation of the "great slap" by Puteri Sejinjang on Puteri Sentubung's face, and so the legend tells.

Of course Puteri Sentubung did not stay silent. Now she had lost her eternal beauty. She did not want to be succumbed by what she perceived as inferior Sejinjang. In a flash, she took a daggered pole and threw it towards Puteri Sejinjang. The pole hit right at Puteri Sejinjang's head and shattered it subsequently. And this marked the end of Puteri Sejinjang's life. Today, if one passes by Mount Santubong, one can see a group of small islands right beside Mount Santubong. These are Pulo Kerak (Isles of Monkey), a remnant of Puteri Sejinjang. And so the legend tells.

Puteri Sentubung won the battle but it was not a sweet victory. Suddenly she regretted her misdeed - she killed her very own bestfriend and the only true friend she had. Putera Jaya, once he learned about the killing, soon deserted Puteri Sentubung. She then turned to the mountains to see the people but the people rejected her as she rejected the people. In great forlorn, she went to Puteri Sejinjang's dead body and cried over and over...

After many days of crying and neglecting herself, she is now weak, physically hurt, and ugly. At the brink of her death, she called to the heaven, a place she had long forgotten. The heaven King , who was her own father, she ignored simply because of a man. To her father then she begged for mercy. But as King, her father chose justice over mercy towards her. Because she had neglected her jobs, many lives were lost and nations destroyed; because she had abandoned her friends, she had sown hatred and enmity inside the heart of a sincere friend; because she chose blind andunrestrained affection towards Putera Jaya over genuine love of Puteri Sejinjang, she opened a way for Puteri Sejinjang's jealousy and feelings of loneliness that finally bred contempt and evil deed; because she failed to give love and friendship to Puteri Sejinjang, her beauty was stripped from her and her stripping the life of her best friend; most importantly, because of her arrogance, her thoughts that she is better than Puteri Sejinjang, had led her to do to all misdeeds and maladies mentioned.

In the end, she died a dishonorable death. The heaven cursed her to become a mountain - Mount Santubong, as a lesson for all people to see the dire consequence of arrogance and neglect of friendship. While Puteri Sejinjang was condemnable of her jealousy and hatred, her faults was not as great as Puteri Sentubung's. That is why Pulo Kerak (the Isles of Monkey) are relatively hidden from eyesights by towering Mount Santubong itself that can be seen many miles away, and so the legend tells.

Such is the sad story of Puteri Sentubung and Puteri Sejinjang; a story passed down for generations and shared by all people of Sarawak as a reminder for themselves and for others.

Lest we forget.


p/s: Although I do not subscribe to paganistic elements of the song, the moral behind the story is well worth taking note.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Solidarity Rally for Gaza at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA

And the Illinis have spoken: we choose not to remain indifferent to issues of the world. A rally for Gaza was held at The Quad on Jan. 27th in support for the people of Palestine and against the Israeli's aggression and occupation:

For peace with love from Urbana-Champaign, USA.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Cup of Peace and A Sip of Joy

I wrote and sang a piece of song entitled as above. I wish to dedicate this song to everybody who want to see peace and joy for everybody and to those who are still finding their peace and joy.

The Lyrics:

A cup of Peace and a sip of Joy,
That's what I'm longing for.
I ask from you a little favor
to appease this thirsty soul...

A cup of Peace and a sip of Joy,
I wonder how they taste?
I heard those are gifts from Heaven,
Please share me the Peace and Joy.

Peace and Joy,
Please share along...

Peace and Joy,
Don't spill them gone!

A cup of Peace and a sip of Joy,
Please spread them all around.
So that everybody
would have a taste of Heaven.

A cup of Peace,
and a sip of Joy...
Those are the tastes of Heaven.