rockin for change

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12 – 13

Safety concerns over Klang shoplots p 10

Byways of Paya Jaras p

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community

DECEMBER 17 – 19, 2010/ issue 4

Subang Jaya Municipal Council president Datuk Adnan Md Ikshan places a summons on a car. Three cars were towed away during the MPSJ operation in USJ 10 Taipan last week. – Picture by William Tan

• Story on page 6

By Neville Spykerman

shah aLaM: Selangor wants an  international arbiter to decide how much it should pay to take over the water industry, if concessionaires reject its offer again. “Our latest offer is being prepared, and the key difference this time is that we hope to seek the co-operation of the  Federal Government to work with us to pursue the route of international arbitration in the event that the companies do not accept the offer,” Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim told Selangor Times. The Menteri Besar said the move should be accepted by all parties because it is in line with national policy and in the spirit of the Water Services Industry Act (WSIA) 2006. WSIA was passed in Parliament to consolidate the ill-managed and fragmented water services industry. In Selangor, three companies – Puncak Niaga Sdn Bhd (PNSB), Konsortium Abass Sdn Bhd and Syarikat Pengeluaran Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Splash) - treat water; while Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas ) distributes it. But these companies have rejected four offers, including a RM10.8 billion bid from Gamuda, the main shareholder in Splash, in March. The proposal for international arbitration was sent to the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry last Thursday to break the deadlock.

Khalid said independent arbitration was the fairest method and would ensure the integrity of the restructuring exercise. Shah Alam and Putrajaya are also at   loggerheads over who should control supply and distribution of water. Khalid Ibrahim’s administration has vowed not to increase tariffs, improve efficiency while channelling profits back to the state should Selangor be allowed to manage the water services. In the 80s, Jabatan Air Selangor ( JBAS) made annual profits of between RM50 million and RM80 million annually for the state. However, Putrajaya has indicated that Syabas should continue to manage the industry despite numerous contract breaches and poor track record. This is an about-turn of its decision in Jan 2008 when the Cabinet

Selangor: Let arbiter decide
内附中文版
《雪州时报》
gave the Selangor investment arm, Kumpulan Darul Ehsan, the go-ahead to consolidate the water industry. Selangor will make its latest bid for the companies at month’s end. In Feb 2008, the Cabinet gave the Selangor investment arm - Kumpulan Darul Ehsan (KDEB) - the go-ahead to consolidate the

water industry. K ha l i d Ibra h im’s a d m in i strati on committed itself to the restructuring after Pakatan Rakyat swept into power in March the same year. In Feb 2009, the state offered the concessionaires RM5.7 billion but this was rejected by the companies because it was insufficient to cover their combined debts of RM6.4 billion. In June 2009, the state revised the offer to RM9.3 billion but only Splash and Abass accepted it In March this year, the Federal Government offered RM10.3 billion which PNSB and Syabas also rejected. Last month, the state launched the “Return water rights to the people campaign”, which culminated in a petition seeking the intervention of the King.

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news

DECEMBER 17 — 19, 2010

Selangor – My Home

As part of our community service, the first 50 readers who email us a 300-word essay on the above theme will receive a copy of “The Road to Reform: Pakatan Rakyat in Selangor” email to: editor@selangortimes.com

Illegal sand mining on private land, not on Muslim cemetery
SHAH ALAM: The State Government has denied allegations that the latest sand theft in Bukit Enggang, Hulu Langat, has affected a reserved land for a Muslim cemetery as reported by a Malay daily recently. According to state executive councillor in charge of natural resources portfolio, Yaakob Sapari, the illegal sand mining activity took place on a private land, where action has been taken against the owner. “Based on my research, I can assure you that the sand theft was not on the stateowned land as claimed by the newspaper,” he said. Berita Harian recently alleged of another illegal sand mining activity in the state, claiming that 70 percent from 72-hectare reserved land for a Muslim cemetery in the area had been stolen in an operation believed to have started early this year. It also claimed that 12 hectares from a nearby hill have been excavated by a special

Yaakob clarifying a news report at the Selangor State Government office yesterday.

machine that has resulted in a 24-metre deep hole. It said the illegal sand mining activity has gone ‘out of hand’ as it could eventually destroy the existing Muslim cemetery in the area. Maintaining that no Muslim cemetery was affected, Yaakob stressed that the state has acted to curb the problem by issuing a 7A notice to the private land owners to stop illegal activities last March.

When asked why it had taken the state so long to respond, Yaakob said the land owners needed time to repair the damage. On another allegation that there was an officer from the Hulu Langat land office who could have given the green light to the activities, Yaakob said that they were open to any investigation. “If the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) wants to investigate, by all means, go ahead,” he said,

Selangor attracts RM6.5 billion investments
By William Tan

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SHAH ALAM: Selangor continues to be the nation’s top investment destination with RM6.533 billion invested till September, according to the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA). “This year has been an encouraging one for Selangor. [Investments in the state] accounts for 31% of the total national investment,” said Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim. He said 58% or RM3.775 billion were foreign while the rest were from domestic investors. The foreign investments were mainly from Japan with more than RM1.884 billion, followed by the Cayman Islands and Singapore with RM531.6 million and RM393.664 million, respectively. The investments involved 245 projects and generated

up to new 16,996 jobs. As much as 38% of the projects were new ventures, while the remainder involved expansion and diversification efforts. Overall, they exceed the total number of investments recorded for the same period in 2009. Last year, the state obtained 138 projects from RM2.718 billion in investments which created 11,059 jobs. “This increase in total investment is proof of confidence in Selangor as a major investment destination,” said Khalid. He said the state would continue to take pro-active steps to improve the infrastructure and facilities at industrial areas. Khalid added that state subsidiary, the Selangor State Investment Centre (SSIC) Bhd also held regular meetings with investors to address their concerns.

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Tax joy for Ice Kacang Puppy Love
By Alvin Chin and Yasleh Hani Mat Yassin
phone (603) 5523 2288 fax (603) 5523 1188 email editor@selangortimes.com

EDITORIAL
CHIEF EDITOR COMMUNITY EDITOR

KL Chan

Neville Spykerman

WRITERS Tang Hui Koon, Chong Loo Wah, Gan Pei Ling, Alvin Chin, Lee Choon Fai, William Tan, Yasleh Hani Mat Yassin COPY EDITORS James Ang, Deborah Loh DESIGNER

Jimmy CS Lim Victor Chong Evelyne Low

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Faekah Husin, Arfa’eza Abdul Aziz

SHAH ALAM: Entertainment tax collected in Selangor for box office hit Ice Kacang Puppy Love may be returned to the local director. “We want to refund the entertainment taxes but it will depend on whether the state financial officer can work out how much has been collected for the movie here,”  said executive councillor Teresa Kok.  Entertainment tax goes directly to state coffers and accurate calculations have to be made to determine the amount that should be returned to  director Tan Kheng Seong, or Ah Niu, who made his name in Taiwan with his pop songs. They include ticket sales, the number of cinemas that screened the movie and the taxes collected. She said the decision to return the money was to support

and encourage the local movie industry.  The locally-made Mandarin movie was in the beginning classified as a foreign picture which did not meet the criteria for tax exemption. The exemption was only provided to movies with 60% script in Bahasa Malaysia. According to Finas tax rates, foreign movies are subjected to a 25% tax from their revenue where 5% goes to the federal treasury and 20% goes to the state treasury.  However, in August, Information, Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said locallyproduced English, Tamil or Mandarin movies with good content should be classified as local movies so that they could enjoy tax exemption and other benefits. In September, the Cabinet agreed to waive the entertainment tax for the movie and also to review outdated rules pertaining to locally-made movies.

DECEMBER 17 — 19, 2010

news

Security guards foil dance for awareness
By Gan Pei Ling

No plan to increase rates
S H A H A L A M : Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has dismissed allegations that the State Government will increase assessment and quit rent rates, saying that recurrent revaluation of properties in the state is designated under the Finance Ministry’s guidelines. The Menteri Besar was responding to MCA leaders who claim that Selangor was on the brink of financial problems and needed to boost its income by increasing property prices and quit rent rates. “I think MCA should write a letter to the finance ministry if they have g ot the  bola sepak  ( guts), because that (revaluation) is a requirement of the treasury (guidelines) as it evaluates the value of property from time to time,” Khalid said. He explained that the State Government would only make an assessment if it is fair to increase or maintain the current tax rates after the revaluation process is completed. He gave an assurance that there was “nothing unique” about the practice, as it has been

3

KELANA JAYA: A short dance to raise awareness of child marriages was foiled by overzealous security guards at the Kelana Jaya LRT station last Friday. The guards told members of the All Women’s Action Society (Awam) to leave as they did not have “permission” to be on the premises.  “We weren’t doing any commercial activity. Why do we need permission to be in a public space?” asked Abigail de Vries, the non-government organisation’s senior programme manager. The group later moved to the bus stop next to the LRT as they did not want to aggravate the situation.  A marriage between a 14-year-old girl and 23-year-old teacher recently has sparked heated debate in the country about child marriages.   Under Syariah law, Muslim girls below16 are allowed to marry in Malaysia, provided couples get Syariah Court permission and parental consent.   However, Women, Family and Community Development Minister

Volunteers holding up placards.

Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said on Dec 13 the Federal Government did not condone child marriages.   Awam also face d a similar experience when they did a similar jig at KL Central on Dec 3 to raise awareness of violence against women. Awam programme officer Lau Shu Shi said they merely wanted to get the public to support their cause. Unfortunately, Lau said police and security personnel in KL Central

asked them to stop their activity as they did not have the“permission” to be there. “This is what happens when we privatise public spaces,” said de Vries.  Lau said the public were generally supportive of their cause.   Awam also held a workshop for men and treasure hunt in conjunction with the international campaign against gender violence from Nov 25Dec 10.

a policy in other states too. “I hope MCA will write a letter for Negri Sembilan, Malacca, Johor, Perak and Penang too,” he quipped. Khalid said being a growing state, Selangor does not rule out the possibility of rate increases which may take place every three to five years. But he said this will not mean they will increase the revaluation rates because of the rapid growth in Selangor. “It is quite natural for the rates to go up in growing locations, for example, the value of land in Petaling Jaya goes up nearly e ver y quarter,” he explained. Khalid also rubbished claims that the revenue for local councils and state government has been sluggish in the wake of a drop in development projects and stric t de ve lopm ent requirements and regulations. “ We practise a balanced budget. Therefore, we predict we will achieve RM1.4 billion in revenue next year, and we are going to spend with that same amount,” he said.

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4 ⁄ DECEMBER 17 – 19, 2010 ⁄ SELANGOR TIMES

DECEMBER 17 — 19, 2010

news

5

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SHAH ALAM: School exercise books worth RM650,000 will be distributed to poor students across Selangor to ease the burden on their families. “The exercise books will be distributed by lawmakers to [students around the state],” said state executive councilor Dr Xavier Jayakumar. Dr Xavier, whose portfolio includes poverty and caring government, said the exercise books were being given under the state’s “Back to School” aid. This programme is running for the third consecutive year and is part of the state’s efforts to keep youths in school and to ensure more pursue tertiary education. In previous years, students were given shoes and bags. Additionally, the state is

also planning to subsidise bus fares for needy students. “We intend to allocate between RM30 and 50 per for [the bus fares],” added Dr Xavier. The first batch of about a hundred students received the free exercise books during a simple ceremony at the state secretariat last week. “Promoting education is part of the state’s efforts to eradicate poverty,” said Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim during the event. The MB added that he was proud of the fact that Selangor has the most number of students pursuing higher education. Annually, an estimated 30,000 students in Selangor graduate at tertiary level, while 150,000 enrolled for courses.

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Simply disgusting!
My life in Section 17, Petaling Jaya, is very similar to that of a video game character. (The soundtrack to this video game is provided by caterwauling stray felines in heat.) Every day when I walk out of my house or return home, I have to go through an obstacle course to get to my destination. At the lanes and main roads, especially around the PKNS flats, I have to dodge rat carcasses or rats scurrying away on a daily basis. Rats running in and out of houses and drains are a common sight in my residential area. At night, when I walk through the playground and the makeshift food stall lane, I need to turn on my thermal scan vision to detect the rats. On Thursday mornings when there’s the farmer’s market, it gets more challenging. Besides avoiding the dead rats with their entrails lying out, I also have to watch out for crows and their droppings. One morning as I was making my way back from the pasar tani, a crow perched on a cable overhead dropped a chicken head near me!   It doesn’t help that there are residents who think nothing of throwing food scraps out of their windows for the stray cats. Rats and stray cats sit side by side, waiting for feeding time. And the crows are lined up on the telephone cables, waiting to swoop in on the leftovers. Such “harmony in the animal kingdom” is unacceptable to me as a resident, especially when these creatures are all congregating in the back lane near my house. I pay my munici- pal charges promptly and I expect better services. I’ve complained several times about the rats and stray cats since July to MBPJ, and directly e-mailed the director of the MBPJ’s health department. I’ve even called up the Selangor Health Department. Todate, I’ve not seen any evidence of any action being taken as the stray cat and rat numbers seem to be on the rise. I’m still losing sleep because of the caterwauling stray cats. Perhaps the authorities are all waiting for a child to be bitten by a rat or a leptospirosis epidemic to break out in Section 17 before they take action.  Apart from being a public health hazard, this situation is a visual disgrace. you can imagine my utter shame when I have guests from abroad visiting me and they see the squalor around my residential area.  I implore the municipal and state department authorities to act on this disgusting situation and to take action against those who contribute to it. T. Toh 131 Jalan 17/4 Petaling Jaya

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6

news

Parking offenders warned
By William Tan

DECEMBER 17 — 19, 2010

Subang jaya: Motorists with multiple unpaid parking summonses here now risk having their cars towed away in addition to facing more fines from the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ). MPSJ president Datuk Adnan Md Ikshan said motorists with at least 10 unpaid fines will be regarded as repeat offenders. “We have some with as many as 403 unpaid fines,” he said. He added that MPSJ would first target motorists with more than 100 unpaid fines . To show they meant business, an operation was carried out at USJ 10 Taipan last week by a 20man MPSJ enforcement team led by Adnan. Three cars were towed away, including two vehicles which had 167 and 284 unpaid fines respectively. “It was not like I didn’t intend to pay, I was just slow,” said a disgruntled Abdul Malik Othman, who has collected 167 fines since 2007. The cars were sent to the council’s depot at Taman Perindustrian Subang. To reclaim their cars, the offenders will not only have to pay all their fines but also pay all subsequent costs. These subsequent charges are a fee for the compound (up to RM80), a daily surcharge at the depot (RM10 per day) and towing cost (RM8.80).

An offender’s car being towed away.

Leeches saliva can help save lives
SHaH aLaM: : Who would imagine that leeches will be the next medical marvel due to the anti-coagulate properties of its saliva, which may be used in surgery and to cure diseases arising from blood clots. Industrial University of Selangor (Unisel) has partnered Lintah Agrofarm Sdn Bhd to research on the potential uses of local leeches. The agreement, which was signed last Saturday at Unisel’s Shah Alam campus, will involve a year long grant worth RM30,000. “We are quite positive about the business prospects of the agreement,” said Lintah Agrofram Sdn Bhd president Hanapiah Abdul Hassan. She said there were currently no pharmaceutical products in the market capitalising on leech saliva, being confined only to cosmetic purposes in Malaysia. Thus, the bulk of the research will be on two fronts, the potential of a Hirudin compound derived from the leeches’ saliva, and how to achieve a high yield of the compound per leech. Unisel Pro-Chancellor Datuk Dr Rosti Saruwono, who was present at the signing, said such partnerships would benefit the nation greatly in the development and promotion of new technologies. But he said firms should understand that research is a time consuming effort. Unisel is the only state-owned university in the country. – William Tan

From left: Lintah Agrofarm Sdn Bhd president Hanapiah Abul Hassan, vice-president Nurulhuda Mohd Yusof, Unisel president and vice-cancellor Datuk Dr Rosti Saruwono and deputy vice-cancellor Professor Anuar Ahmad signing the agreement at Unisel last Saturday.

College, PJS7 residents reach compromise
By Alvin Chin

Subang jaya: Congestion at Jalan PJS7, used as route to Taylor’s University College Lakeside campus, is expected to be resolved with the introduction of a pass card system soon. The system will allow only students and faculty members who stay at Jalan PJS7 to access the gate into the campus.

The smart card is not transferable and users must swipe in and out to enter via the entrance where a guard post will also be built. The agreement to introduce the system was made at a recent meeting between the Bandar Sunway Residents Association and the college. “A small minority of residents objected to the plan but most residents present supported it,” said Subang Jaya assemblywoman Hannah Yeoh, who attended the meeting.

However, she said the plan still needed the approval of the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ). The plan was first suggested by the college which has registered 330 applicants for the access cards. These include 239 students and 91 staff members and contract workers. Complaints from residents of PJS7/13 surfaced after the campus opened early this year.

Residents and schoolchildren endured daily traffic crawls in the area during peak hours in the morning and evening. Previously, residents suggested that the Jalan PJS7/13 be used as an emergency access to the campus but during a meeting in November last year, it was agreed that Jalan PJS7/13 would be used as a temporary access to the campus for six months — from Dec 1, 2009 to May 31, 2010.

DECEMBER 17 — 19, 2010

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7

Long wait finally over for Taman Mawar residents
AMPANG: Taman Mawar residents now have more reason to celebrate the new year as their 24-year wait for land titles was finally ended last Sunday. “I am very happy to receive my land title as is my father whom I have been living with since 1984 before I bought a house next to his,” said Roszilawati Ibrahim. Roszilawati faced many problems prior to purchasing the house in 2006 as there was no land title from the previous owner. “The sales and purchase period was dragged for six months because there was no land title to begin with,” said the 33-year-old. “I could not apply for a loan from the bank too because there was no title to show to them. They only agreed to loan me the money after I got a clarification of the land title issue from the Land Office,” she added. Chai Kee Kong, who has been living in Taman Mawar since 1984, was equally delighted after getting his land title. He told Selangor Times that he appreciated the state government’s efforts to help the residents to acquire their land titles. “We were all sad and angry when we found out that the developer went away without giving us our land titles,” said Chai. He said that their properties will now have a better resale value after the land titles were issued. According to Selangor EXCO Iskandar Abdul Samad, there are many similar cases like this in Selangor and he added that measures will be taken against the developers. “The Selangor State Government has approve a few policies on August 13, 2008. It includes dividing the master titles and issuing individual titles to the tenants, waiving the quit rent debts to a nominal payment of RM1 and approving premium payments at a nominal rate of RM100 for one lot,” said Iskandar. Taman Mawar is a residential area consisting of 304 units of houses and 25 units of shop lots. The developer for Taman Mawar, Musytari Development Sdn Bhd, had failed to subdivide the master title in which the properties were grouped under into individual titles. This has resulted in the residents who have been living in their houses for the past two decades without legal documentation declaring that they own the house. Musytari Development has since been liquidated and the quit rent that the residents have been paying to them have also disappeared along with the persons responsible for making the yearly payments.

TITLE JOY: A happy Roszilawati Ibrahim shows off her long-awaited land title last Sunday.

MPSJ: Stop using runners
By Chong Loo Wah

8

news

DECEMBER 17 — 19, 2010

Selangor mulls options to improve solid waste disposal
SHAH ALAM: Selangor is considering options to improve solid waste management  handled by Alam Flora Sdn Bhd amid complaints of inefficiency. Menteri Besar Tan Sri  Khalid Ibrahim said they include delegating the responsibilities to local governments and an agency or privatising parts of waste management. He said there had been no improvement in service despite the RM1.2 billion charged to local authorities in Selangor. He pointed out that this amounted to one-third of their total revenue of local governments. “It is such a huge amount and we have received a lot of complaints about uncollected garbage and clogged drains. That is why we are discussing these options to resolve these issues,” he said. Khalid’s response came in the wake of a newspaper report that the State Government was seeking to terminate Alam Flora’s services and award Selangor Economic Development Corporation (PKNS) subsidiary Worldwide Holdings the contract. The report said Selangor was keen to make the change after the Federal Government completes full privatisation of solid waste management system under the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Act 2007, which is expected to take place in March next year. Worldwide Holdings handled the service before Alam Flora was awarded the concession by the Housing and Local Government Ministry in 1998. However, Khalid denied that the contract would be awarded back to Worldwide Holdings and dismissed it as a “non-issue”. He said the state would continue to utilise the services of Alam Flora, which is based on a monthly contract, until the Federal Government proposes its solution.   Khalid added: “Alam Flora’s agreement is based on a monthly basis until the Federal Government proposes its solutions to the state. “For the time being, we accept Alam Flora as our main company for such services. “Perak also faces the same issue and they oppose the privatisation of solid waste management. This means it is not an issue of politics, but an issue of management and delivery to customers,” he said.

SUBANG JAYA: The public should stop hiring intermediaries, or “runners”, to handle their dealings with the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) if they want to avoid being cheated. Council president Datuk Adnan Md Ikshan said he had received at least 10 complaints this year from the public and developers who had

been cheated. “ The most common fraud happened to those who wanted to apply for housing renovation licences and business licences, followed by those looking to reduce their traffic fines,” said Adnan at a press conference on Wednesday. He said the victims chose to hire intermediaries because they were either unfamiliar with local

New jetty for Pulau Ketam
By Lee Choon Fai

KLANG: Pulau Ketam residents will soon have a dedicated jetty after the state acquired a piece of land for it. However, the cost is still being negotiated with the Ministry of Transport. “We should be able to complete negotiations with the Ministry of Transport in a month,” said executive councillor Ronnie Liu. The Pandamaran assemblyman said 0.1577 hectares of land will be used to construct the jetty with an estimated cost of RM800,000 to serve local fishermen and tourists. The old jetty was damaged and became unusable in April last year. Fishermen have been using

various smaller jetties, some of them privately owned, and have to pay a sum to the owners to use them. “The residents of Pulau Ketam can rest easy because even if the Ministry of Transport does not want to fund the construction, the state will help,” Liu explained. He said the state would provide RM500,000 to RM600,000 while islanders have agreed to fork out the remaining RM200,000. “I hope the port authorities and the Ministry of Transport will come to a quick agreement,” said Liu. He added that it would be better if the construction could be finished before the start of Chinese New Year in February.

government procedures or wanted to save time. As a result, they were cheated of their money while their problems remained unresolved. He said MPSJ had already simplified many procedures. “The public can apply for licences or make payments online. Alternatively, the public can use MPSJ’s 24-hour kiosks to make payments or approach their counters.” Adnan added that MPSJ had also increased parking spaces for the public at their headquarters in USJ5. He did not rule out the possibility of intermediaries colluding with council officials. Adnan said MPSJ would probe any complaint or allegation. The public can go to MPSJ’s website http://ocps.mpsj.gov.my to perform the following functions planning permission applications, building plan applications, infrastructure plan applications, business licence renewal, tax assessment status and payment, traffic summons status and payment, MPSJ rental payment, status of provider payment and application to change tax assessment mailing address.

Former Puncak Niaga employees seek justice after being expelled
SHAH ALAM: Fourteen former employees of Puncak Niaga Sdn Bhd (PNSB) staged a picket in front of Wisma Rozali on Tuesday to seek reinstatement and compensation. Together with their families, they protested outside the building at 10am with banners and posters, but dispersed after half an hour. They were joined by some members of the Parti Sosialis Malaysia. Police were also present but did not use force. However, PNSB did not send any representative to meet the ex-employees or to speak to the press which covered the picket. According to former PNSB senior manager Kaharuddin Muhamad Ali, he and other employees received an expulsion notice on 30 Oct but it was dated on 19 Oct 2010. “By right they should give us a one-month notice, but they only gave us the letter on 30 Oct and expected us to leave the company right away,” Kaharuddin told reporters at the picket. He believed that there were no strong grounds for their dismissal, as they had never been issued showcause or warning letters, nor had any of them been subjected to disciplinary action before. He said one possible reason for the sacking was due to the failure of a water flow meter which led to flooding in a nearby housing area, last year. Kaharuddin claimed that the incident was due to a technical fault and that he had submitted a report to the management about it. “PNSB said they will investigate the matter but we have never been told about the outcome. We then received our performance letters which stated that our bonus and increment were being suspended,” he said. They were then called to attend four counseling sessions over the past six months but the sessions were a mere deceit to stand by their actions. “We have filed a report against PNSB to the Department of Industrial Relations and a meeting will be conducted on21 Dec,” said Khairuddin, 48, who has worked with PNSB since 1996. Puncak Niaga could not be reached for comments.

Lifeline goes to Home of Peace
KUALA LUMPUR: Spreading Christmas joy at the Home of Peace is an annual stop for Lifeline Carollers, who have been coming to the orphanage since it was established 17 years ago. More than 25 youths from the Saint Francis Xavier Church college and young adults ministry showed up this year to sing and entertain the orphans at the home, in Taman Bukit Indan. “This our way of spreading cheer to them,” said Alex Chan. In return, the young orphans performed a dance for the youths.  The home for girls which has 17 orphans aged between two months and 21-years-old was founded by Justinne Morais.  “We have 15 girls who stay here and another two who return on the weekends,” said Morais. The home, which is funded by well wishers and grants from the Social Welfare Department, welcomes donations in cash as well as non-perishable food items including rice, cooking oil, sardines and Milo. No used clothes or electrical products are accepted. Morais can be contacted at    jnissi60@ gmail.com.

DECEMBER 17 — 19, 2010

news

9

Rules to reduce strays
By Chong Loo Wah CHERAS: The Ampang Jaya Mu-

nicipal Council (MPAJ) is developing regulations for pet owners to reduce the growing problem of stray dogs and cats. MPAJ councilor Sien Keng Eng also said that other regulations on pets may be amended. These include allowing condominium and apartment residents to keep pets, and prohibiting people from bringing their pets to parks, she said at a press conference. On reducing the number of strays, Sien said existing council regulations on pets only apply to dog owners, and it was becoming necessary to include cats as well. “Both cats and dogs can bring all

sorts of diseases if they are not vaccinated, and may disturb neighbours,” said Sien in a joint press conference with Teratai assemblyperson Jenice Lee. Lee said she has had to deal with an apartm ent owner who kept more than 50 cats. “The neighbours complained. I spent more than two years [persuading] the owner to move,” Lee said. Sien said that the council also plans to educate the public to make them more responsible towards their pets. She noted that according to MPAJ’s records, only around 50% of cats and dogs kept as pets are licensed. She said the council catches an average of 150 stray dogs a week,

and receives five to six complaints about strays every week. The council appoints contractors to catch stray dogs, paying RM36 each for larger dogs and RM15 for smaller dogs or puppies. There were problems, however, when some contractors used the same dogs to claim money from different local authorities, Sien said. Meanwhile, MPAJ and Lee are also co-organising a neuter program for strays at Taman Cheras Hartamas, from 7.30am to 5pm on Sunday, “We will sterilise 25 cats and dogs for free, but this offer is only limited to Teratai residents,” said Sien, adding that the pet must be more than five months old. Those interested must register by

tomorrow, Dec 18, and provide their house electricity bill as proof of their residence in the Teratai constituency. They can get the registration form from Lee’s or Sien’s service centre, or email scopeevent@yahoo.com. Apart from the neuter programme, the public are also welcome to attend pet exhibitions and a dog training programme that will be held simultaneously at the field. Sien added that those who want to apply for dog licenses should also bring a passport-sized photo of their dogs and apply for the licence there. The processing fee is RM15. For more information on Sunday’s event, residents can call 012223 8176.

Do the right thing for your cat
JACquELInE Tsang, founder of Save A Stray, advises pet owners to sterilise their cats, as cats can breed rapidly. The animal lover said on average, a female cat can give birth to 12 kittens a year and the kittens are sexually matured after just five months. She said the public can sterilise their cats at subsidised rates at her organisation while Klinik Kembiri charges RM70 for females and RM50 - RM70 for male cats. Tsang said the process will normally cost RM180 to RM220 in privately-run veterinary clinics. The public can call Save A Stray at 012-2070436 and Klinik Kembiri at  03-40243446. Also visit www.saveastray.org and www.spca. org.my for more information.

Politics takes a back seat at church carnival
By William Tan KUALA AMPANG: Politics was put on the
back burner as both Saari Sungib and Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat graced the Christ Methodist Church carnival at a community centre last week. During his speech, Saari said he and Ong, who is MCA’s Pandan MP, would set aside between RM10,000 and RM20,000 to aid religious groups. The Pas Hulu Selangor assemblyman also praised the church for helping the local community. The carnival’s organiser, Dr Arthur Samuel, said he was both surprised and delighted over how supportive the non-Christian community was towards the church’s efforts. The church provides free legal aid and health checks and tuition classes. The one-day carnival was to collect funds to build a new premises for the church in Jalan Embun, Ampang. “The centre will allow us to serve the community in a bigger and more meaningful way,” said Dr Arthur. He said half of the 200 volunteers who came to help at the carnival were from other organisations. Christ Methodist Church meets on Sundays at 10.30am at Ampang Business Avenue. The public can contact them at 03-42603460.

Parking woes bring down business
By Chong Loo Wah SUNGAI BULOH:: Parking woes at the Bandar Baru Sungai Buloh commercial centre are affecting business but strict enforcement by the municipal council is making the situation worse. “To curb illegal parking, the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) has been issuing summonses at least three times a day but this has resulted in a drop in business,” said trader Tham Kok Kuan. The Matang Pagar Resident Association chairman has been receiving complaints of a 20 per cent drop in business since the council began issuing summonses six months ago. Customers have stayed away as a result. Tham said the move had also failed to solve the lack parking space in the area, and urged MPS to convert a nearby empty plot into a car park. The Bandar Baru Sungai Buloh commercial area is one of the oldest and earliest around. With more than 20 years’ history, the area boasts over a hundred individual businesses and also several banks within the vicinity. “But the infrastructure is outdated as it is an old area, so it gets very crowded here,” said Tham. With only two parking lots provided for each shop lot and fewer than 300 parking lots in the area, traffic is often stalled when trucks unload goods for the shops. Coupled with the narrow roads of the district, traffic often becomes one way even though it is a two-way street. Some drivers park in motorcycle lots. “MPS should be improving the infrastructure, not just issuing summonses,” said Tham.

Dr Samuel with children who are having a good time at the carnival.

Buddhist body gives school aid
SUBANG: Five hundred students here have received back to school supplies, thanks to the Subang Jaya Buddhist Association (SJBA) and assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh. Among the items distributed to the students were school bags, stationery, water bottles and shoes. “In view of the recent subsidy cuts by the Federal Government, this assistance will definitely help reduce the burden of the parents,” said Yeoh, the Subang Jaya lawmaker. Yeoh gave RM7,000 from her state allocation to the back to school programme organised by SJBA. “This is an annual programme by the association and it’s the third year that I’m supporting them with grants since I was elected,” she said. During the event, she thanked SJBA for organising the annual programme which benefited Children trying on their new shoes with the help of volunteers. needy students of all races and religions.

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deceMBeR 17 — 19, 2010

EvEnts
Charity Day
There will be a charity day on Dec 26 at 2pm organised by three housewives at Samnak Song (Watt) Suthas Jindah temple, Lot 11094, Jalan Samarinda 12, Taman Klang Indah, Klang, Selangor. They will distribute groceries to the poor at the temple. If you come across any poor people, refer them to the temple for groceries collection. They will be organising this charity day on the last Sunday of every month. For details, call 016220 6379 (Meckay Eng) or e-mail him at meckayeng@ gmail.com, or call 012-697 7065 (Wong Oi Lian).

Safety concerns over Klang shoplots

Taichi classes

The Association of Huang Tai Chi Malaysia is organising English-speaking Taichi classes for beginners every Tuesday and Thursday from 8.30pm to 9.30pm starting Jan 4. The fee is RM40 per month. For details, call Dr Wong (016-318 4173) or Peggy (017-301 8013). Venue: La Salle Primary School along Jalan Gasing, Petaling Jaya.

Photography workshop

AMP Photography Academy will be holding a basic to intermediate photography workshop from 9am to 6pm on Dec 18 and 19. The workshop will include 3D photography technique and post production of 3D photography. The fee is RM 300 for two days including tea breaks and training modules. Participants need to bring their own camera. For details, call 017-338 5191, 03-6733 1572 or visitwww.ampacademy.com.my

Christmas Gala

The KL Young Singers will be presenting Christmas and retro songs at the VSOP Christmas Gala on Dec 19 at 5pm. The special performance-cum-Christmas dinner is priced at RM 30 per person for buffet dinner. For enquiries please call 03-77815977 or 012 – 4723935. Venue: 1A, Jalan 20/16, Paramount.

Yew (front) and She (back) examining the building on Tuesday.

By Lee Choon Fai

Stamp fair

The Philatelic Society of Malaysia will be organising a Stamp Fair on Dec 18 and 19 from 9.30am to 5.30pm. There will be a display of award winning philatelic exhibits and others. Also present will be many stamp dealers with a wide range of Malaysia/Malaya, foreign and thematic stamps, first day covers and other philatelic items. There will also be a colouring competition for children on Dec 18 and daily lucky draws. Entrance is free. For details, call 012-6043563 (Maniam) or 0126797931 (Wong). Venue: PJ Community Library (near Assunta Hospital), Petaling Jaya.

Deepavali-Christmas Open House

Bukit Gasing assemblyman, Edward Lee invites the public to an open house to celebrate the festive seasons on Dec 18. It will be from 7pm to 10 pm. Admission is free. Venue: MBPJ car park, in front of the “Dewan Sivik”.

Octopus – Theatrical play by KL Performing Arts

“Octopus” by famous American Playwright Steve Yockey (directed by Kelvin Wong) will run from 16 to 22 December, at 8.30 pm featuring five male actors including William Quah (theatre debut performance), Malik Taufiq, up-and-coming writer Nandang Abdul Rahman, newcomers Jack Lua & Edmund Wong. This play examines the depth of commitment in relationships through a post-modern gay lens, and it will feature original music from singer-songwriter Elvira Arul. Venue: Pentas 2, KLPac.

KLAnG: Shop lots at the Taipan commercial centre in Bukit Tinggi, here, are displaying structural problems, making their owners and tenants jittery over their safety. Huge cracks and sinking floors have appeared in some of the lots, owners and Klang Municipal Council (MPK) officers have found. “I was informed about the problem by tenants two weeks ago and was shocked at the size of the cracks when I saw [them],” said She Hock Kee, who owns three shop lots at the commercial centre. Except for minor defects, She said there were no other problems with the lots when he purchased them last year. To make matters worse, water pipes in one of his lots have burst, leaving his tenants high and dry. The situation was bad for business as customers were afraid to enter the shops, and owners might lose their tenants.

“My tenants on the upper floors are already planning to move,” said She. On Tuesday, MPK officers and MPK councilor Yew Boon Lye visited the business centre to assess the damage. In one lot, they noted that the floor was sinking and found glass windows on the verge of shattering. “Consultants will be hired soon to determine if the buildings are safe, and also the cost of repairs,” said Yew. Yew told reporters that inadequate piling works could have be the cause of the problems. The site was formerly an oil palm plantation which consisted of soft soil. Officers from MPK’s Engineering, Planning and Development Departments are also concerned about the situation. They said a meeting between developers and owners will soon be held to find a solution. One possibility, Yew said, is for owners to consider legal action against the developer.

Foreign investors keen on Bukit Sentosa
HULU SeLAnGOR: Investors from China and Australia have expressed interest to invest up to RM20 million in Bukit Sentosa after a meeting with the Mentri Besar last week. “The state practices an investor friendly policy and will extend our cooperation to these investors,” said Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim. To date, 37 shop-houses at Bukit Sentosa, left abandoned by Talam Corporation Berhad (Talam), have been purchased by the investors for RM1.5 million. The joint Australian/China investment group intends to turn the units into a shopping centre. They also plan to purchase, in stages, seven abandoned blocks of shop-houses which they intend to convert into an international college, as well as a beauty, and skills training centre. During the meeting, the investors also noted that Bukit Sentosa was strategically located on the outskirts, yet linked by highways. Khalid pointed out that the investments in Bukit Sentosa will in the long-term benefit the residents there in terms of job opportunities as well as access to better amenities.

Know Your Councillors: Jeyaseelan Anthony
PeTALinG JAyA: A well known lawyer and activist, Jeyaseelan Anthony serves the people of Petaling Jaya as a municipal councillor. Born in Kuala Lumpur on July 16, 1971, Jeyaseelan lived in Gombak before moving to Petaling Jaya in 1988. He is a former St John Institute student and obtained his Masters in law from Universiti Malaya. Jeyaseelan, who has been a lawyer for the past 14 years, was appointed as a councillor in July 2010. He is in charge of zone 20, 21 and 22 of Petaling Jaya. On the common problems in his zone, he said he often received complaints regarding issues on public works. “I get complaints about the streetlights not working and drains getting clogged.” “There are also complaints about lack of street lamps in certain areas.” He said the council allocated RM8000 to improve and repair his zone’s infrastructure. He said another RM20,000 is allocated for functions and events such as Deepavali open house. Being an activist himself, he is associated with a non-governmental organisation called ERA (Educational and Research Association for Consumers). He often gives talks on human rights issues and law reform.

Free Classes

Compassion Buddhist Mediation Society is offering classes on Buddhism for Modern People on Dec 12 and Dec 26. Classes are from 10.30am to noon. Admission is free. Venue: Journey Within Sdn Bhd, 30-2, Block B, Jalan PJU 5/21, The Strand Kota, Damansara, Petaling Jaya. For more details, call 012-222 9201 (Doreen) or 016-620 3565 (Sean), or email at info.mkms@ mediateinkl.org.

Toastmasters Club meetings

Toastmasters aims to teach individuals to master the art of public speaking. Extol Toastmaster is inviting members of public to join them for their meetings on every 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month at 7pm. Venue: Wisma CNS, No 2-6, Jalan SS19/1G, 47600, Subang Jaya.

DECEMBER 17 — 19, 2010

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Tripping Zero 3
Sharyn Shufiyan

trip up to the Ampang lookout point reminds me how magnificent Kuala Lumpur really is. A petty needle in a haystack drowned in the rush for materialism, frustrated over mindless bickering of politicians, disappointed by another new development project, or the sad remains of an abandoned one, I often forget that Kuala Lumpur’s strengths lie not on our majestic skyscrapers nor the flashy malls enticing you to spend luxuriously even when 40% of the average Malaysian is earning peanuts, but on our urban forests. Kuala Lumpur is truly unique in a way that you can find a forest reserve just 10km away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. Sitting at the deck at Panorama restaurant, the highest restaurant at the lookout, my eyes fixated on the twinkling lights of the city below me. Colourful fireworks sparked every now and then – I wondered what occasion it was that night. Or perhaps, children were just lighting off extra fireworks left from the previous festivals, as if Guy Fawkes Night is every night. There are many restaurants to choose from; from western and fusion dining to Mediterranean and Arabic. To get to the restaurants, you’d have to climb some steps but never fear; words of encouragement (You’ve reached 50 steps! Almost there!) plastered on the steps would be rooting for you as you huffed and puffed up the stairs. And your efforts would be greatly rewarded. Earlier in the day it had rained heavily, and coupled with a lower

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Care for our forests
temperature of night time, the lookout point was very chilly. A slight fog cast a dreamy scene, mist settled on our belongings took me away from the hot and humid temperature I’m too familiar with, and the forest tucked in the background tricked me into thinking that I’m in some jungle retreat. Having a hangout spot near a forest reserve is a great way to increase the public’s awareness on the importance of our natural areas, but the impact of the restaurants and public flow must be carefully monitored. Already the restaurant employees are feeding the monkeys and increased contact with humans makes them ‘too-friendly’ and eventually, the poor monkeys would unknowingly be demonized as ‘pests’. Businesses running at the lookout point should play a mountain goat), the more proactive role The Ampang argus pheasant, the in educating employ- Forest Reserve largest Malaysian ees and guests on bird and four species conduct, waste man- is the oldest of primates such as agement and expose forest reserve siamang and mathem to the other in the Klang caques. special trait of the Valley, founded However, situatlookout point – the in the 1890s by ed near an urban area Ampang Forest Re- tin miners in the means that the forest serve. is threatened by deThe Ampang For- area. It is also velopment. There is est Reserve is the old- home to the concern that the proest forest reserve in Temuans.” posed Kuala Lumpur the Klang Valley, Outer Ring Road founded in the 1890s by tin miners (KLORR) will do much damage to in the area. It is also home to the the forest reserve. Building a highTemuans. The forest reserve is part way that will cut across the range of the Selangor State Park which would fragment the forest and can also includes Hulu Gombak and have serious consequences on wildHulu Langat Forest Reserves and life. For example, cutting tapir the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge, the habitat in half can completely delongest quartz ridge in the world stroy their population. and a potential World Heritage Site. The Hulu Gombak, Hulu Langat The Ampang Forest Reserve is and Ampang Forest Reserves are home to various endemic species of water catchment areas and building plants and wildlife such as the Ho- the Kuala Lumpur Outer Ring Road pea Subalata, a type of merawan, will have serious effects on water tapirs, the serou (a unique species of quality; silting, soil erosion – affecting our clean water supply. Residents and NGOs raise concerns that KLORR will spur other developments in the area as there will be access and the environmental impacts are feared to be massive. The area is no stranger to environmental disasters. Back in 1995, precious lives were lost when a landslide hit one of the Highland Towers; the abandoned two towers still stand as grave witnesses to the tragedy, and the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide was another recent warning to not mess around with Mother Nature. Yet, there is no indication that development will be halted in the area. Have we not learned anything? Not only will we lose our natural areas, extraordinary wildlife and plant species, but we will also lose one of our basic rights – clean water. And the devastation should there be any more landslides to occur. Residents, NGOs and experts are proposing different solutions to traffic troubles which are more feasible and with less environmental impacts, such as upgrading the existing MRR2. Building another highway is shortsighted. It is a lazy solution and the Government should well start listening to our pleas. The thought that a variety of endangered and endemic species of plants and wildlife can be found just a few kilometres away from a bustling metropolitan is utterly mindblowing. But without careful planning and consideration towards nature, we might just lose the one thing that truly makes greater Klang Valley exceptional. And a city of concrete is a soulless city.
sharyn works with an organisation which promotes environmental and social sustainability. sometimes you can find her sitting in a coffeeshop with her nose plastered to a book.

Ampang Lookout Point Tower

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deceMBeR 17 — 19, 2010

Rockin change
FOR

Teh during a recording session.

By Gan Pei Ling

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re you tired of listening to uninspiring pop songs? Maybe it’s time to give rock songs on democracy a try. This December, Radio Demokratika – a compilation of 12 songs on democracy, elections, and love – is set to hit the streets. “The album is about your rights, but of course some people get turned off immediately when you talk about such ‘serious’ issues directly and the government might jump,” said Radio Demokratika producer Joe Kidd. So, the 46-year-old suggested to the Bar Council’s MyConstitution campaigners to do a music album to attract young people. “I suggested to them to get bands to contribute to the CD, and in the CD we could put in the guides to the constitution,” Kidd told Selangor Times in an exclusive interview. He said the MyConstitution committee selected

all the bands in the album, including his own band Carburetor Dung. “The rules are very simple, they cannot have any swear word in their songs, but other than that, the bands are free to touch on any issue relating to democracy,” said Kidd. Temporary’s guitarist Azfar Abu Bakar said he found out about the campaign from his aunt. “She told me they were looking for a theme song, so I sent in a demo,” said Azfar. On the other hand, some bands, like An Honest Mistake and The Panda Head Curry, were invited by the MyConstitution committee to take part in the music album. Darren Teh, the lead vocal and guitarist from An Honest Mistake, said his band liked the idea of using music as a tool to help create awareness about peoples’ rights. Rafil Elyas, better known as the Lord Panda from The Panda Head Curry, said someone called him and

Fans coming together to listen to music is freedom of assembly.” Musicians coming together to make music is freedom of association.”

said something about playing in a bar. “I couldn’t make out exactly what bar he was talking about and told him to give me an address. “Next thing I know, I was in the Bar Council,” said the Lord Panda. Another producer Bullet, however, said they were annoyed to find out that some bands expected monetary return to contribute to the album. “Radio Demokratika is about speaking out [on issues]. The concept of being paid to voice out is just weird,” said Bullet, who is also a member of Carburetor Dung. “We’re doing this because we like recording, and we like the idea of contributing [to society],” added Bullet, who is managing his own engineering company full-time. Kidd said it took two days to record most of the album. Three songs were recorded elsewhere as some of the bands could not make it. Both producers said the recording process was

A song is an expression of free speech. Making music is the freedom to express yourself.”

The Panda Head curry

Radio demokRatika pResents you local bands and musicians and theiR songs on democRacy, malaysia, and love:
baRcode Made up of students, lawyers, loyar murtad and everything in between from the MyConstitution campaign members. Barcode sings MyConstitution is Mine for you.

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thin izzy The band’s name is similar to Irish rock band Thin Lizzy. They celebrate our rights under the highest law of the land in their Shine a Light. azmyl yunoR One of the hardest gigging and prolific local indie musicians of the past decade, Azmyl released his new album “Warga” in May this year. He sings about the Law of the Land in this album. tempoRaRy The band’s name was conceived when the guys could not come up with a cooler name for an audition. They thought they would change it later, and they’re still thinking of a new name to this day. They think everyone should be free to love who they want to love in Shrugs All Around.

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generally smooth. “There were some bands without recording experience so we had to coach some of them but that was it,” said Kidd. Indeed, Azfar, whose band had zero recording experience previously, found their recording session “nerve-wracking”. “It was our first time in a recording studio…the session was a bit kelam-kabut. I forgot to tune my guitar! My vocalist forgot the title of the song!” said the Universiti Teknologi Mara student. Despite that, Kidd said the less experienced bands were open to new ideas and suggestions from the producers. Bullet said his favourite song in the album is The Panda Head Curry’s Joget Melayu Liberal. “I remember part of the lyrics said the constitution was written by lawyers, and they wrote how they wish it was written by engineers instead, so there would be more graphs and it’s easier to understand. “The song is amazing and very funny,” said Bullet, chuckling. He added that the band’s drummer is the vocalist’s 12-year-old daughter. The Panda Head Curry is made up of the Lord Panda, General Panda, and the Baby Panda Cat. “Our song is totally awesome. If there were a Nobel Prize for songs, we’d definitely win it. After getting the prize from the King of Sweden, we’d have a nice meatball dinner. “On second thoughts, we’d turn it down, because our fans may think we’d sold out, like Metallica,” the Lord Panda said in jest. Kidd also recommended The Maharajah Commis-

kidd & Bullet

sion’s Where Got?! and Lord Bobo’s Minions’ Better Than This. “Both talk about relationships between couples of different religions. Where Got?!‘s chorus talks about how you can’t put a license on love,” the former journalist explained. He said he also likes Azmyl Yunor’s Law of The Land and the young but talented Temporary’s Shrugs All Around. Azfar said Shrugs All Around is about the paranoia of what society thinks about your love for someone. “You can never stop singing about love lah, can you? “There are many types of relationships in this country: inter-generational, inter-racial, interfaith, same sex…I just wish they could all flourish,” he said. Teh said his band’s song Let’s Battle It Out with Vesuvius the Great is also about love. It paints a picture of failed relationships and the emotions involved. “Feeling lost, confused and searching for answers and learning to move on. It’s a lot like the current situation in our country,” Teh said. Besides that, Kidd and Bullet’s Carburetor Dung’s song is called Ugly, Ugly, Ugly (So Ugly, We had to say it three times). Kidd said it was originally written in 1994 but they rewrote it to include ideas of democratic elections in the song. “Personally, I’ve low confidence in our election process…I think there should be more spaces for dissenting voices,” said Kidd. The Lord Panda said Radio Demokratika probably would not sell. “Because people download and steal music. Music has lost its value. “We thought of a great marketing strategy. Instead of simply selling CDs, we should bundle it with something that people could use. For example, a pet or a maid. “I bet we could sell truckloads of the CD if we did that,” said the Lord Panda. Radio Demokratika buyers would not be getting a pet or a maid, but songs about their rights under the Constitution. Azfar admitted that his band knew little about the Constitution. However, the prospect of a mass resurgence of people speaking their minds freely and standing up for their rights is really appealing, he said. Bullet also said he hoped the songs in the album would help to provoke more questions in people’s minds. “It would be great if it just makes them think and question a little more,” he said.

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loRd bobo’s minions The glorious but fictitious character’s faithful followers can be found on www.loyarburok.com. Their vocalist Fahri Azzat recently performed Better Than This at the book launch of Perak: A state of crisis at the Annexe Gallery. the soundeRs They started playing together in 2008, but the band family members have known each other for as long as they can remember. They were set up initially to play in family events. They questioned if the fundamental rights written in the Constitution were just Lip Service offered by the powers that be. an honest mistake are Darren Teh on lead vox and electric guitar, They have performed in Urbanscapes, Baybeats shows and won some awards. The band also launched their first album in October. Let’s Battle it Out with Vesuvius the Great centers around failed relationships. mc stiff MC stiff is a rapper from Borneo and three-time champion of Think You Got Skillz? Kuala Lumpur Rap Battle. He raps about corruption in Moral Bankruptcy.

caRbuRetoR dung (aka dung) First formed in 1991, the’s band line-up has changed since then but the band is still alive and kicking. They lament about the state of our elections in Ugly, Ugly, Ugly (So Ugly, We Had To Say It Three Times).

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the mahaRajah commission The band has been around since late 1999 and revolved around close college friends. The last album “dialogue amoureux” was released in 2003. Where Got? tells the story between a couple of different faiths.

Rule of Rock A bunch of law students who thought it would be fun to jam in between exams, you may find them performing at a pub after their exams. True to their law-centric lives, their song has the same title as the MyConstitution campaign.

the panda head cuRRy? They call themselves the “most famous band in the known and unknown universe”. And claim to be able to do the following: walk on water, divide by zero and not overflow, count to infinity and vaporize blocks of lead using only thought. Their Joget Melayu Liberal has the longest lyrics in the entire album. More importantly, it is sure to make you laugh out loud.

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Recommended books, and student politics
ear Lord Bobo, I’m done reading Alan Dershowitz’s “Letters to a Young Lawyer”. Could you recommend me other books? @nadiaashburn, via Twitter. Lord Bobo is pleased that there are still young people with a love for reading. The first recommendation is that you must read an actual, printed book. Those who prefer to read in e-ink might as well go and eat an e-banana and fly an e-kite from the top of an e-hill after taking an e-hike. There is nothing quite like walking towards a bookshop, catching a whiff of the lingering smell of paper wafting in the air, approaching a shelf, running your fingers along the lined-up spines, feeling the heft of the weight of knowledge, listening to the oh-so-slight crackle of a book’s virgin bloom, smelling the passion, artistry, wisdom, wit, and life up close, feeling the texture of granulous paper, and… er, what was the question? Oh yes, recommended books! As you can tell, and would no doubt have assumed, His Supreme Eminenceness is a voracious and passionate reader. As part of the Lord’s intergalactic travels, many classics have been discovered. However, the Lord’s favourite books would be too much for your puny human minds, and sharing them would result in everyone’s heads exploding (which, really, is not much fun – who would clean up the mess?). Some LoyarBurokkers have been gracious enough to put forward the following, more human-friendly, recommendations. What was it about Dershowitz’s book that you liked? The flaws of the American criminal justice system? Juicy personal anecdotes from years of courtroom experience? If it’s the latter, you must get your hands on Dershowitz’s other book, “The Best Defense”. It has more of his thoughts on the cases he’s conducted, involving both the helpless and powerless, and the rich and unpopular. He writes candidly, criticising the courts and judges. It is fact which reads almost like fiction, and is very engaging. Also, Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” and Franz Kafka’s “The Trial”. The former underlines the importance of a lawyer’s role, and emphasises the importance of courage in carrying out their duties. The latter illustrates the chilling effect on a person when the law oppresses rather than liberates. The Harry Potter series. Seven books loaded with magic, bravery, imagination, friendship, dark humour, and a sense of revolution. You will learn to make the right choices, not the easy ones, in difficult times. You will read, and perhaps relate to, clandestine activities against the interests of the ruling government, which refuses to let out the truth and mocks those who speak of the truth. There are highly spirited young witches and wizards, ready to defend what they believe in. The Battle of Hogwarts in the final book glimmers with the great courage of students who had yet to come of age. The above are all fantastic reads, but there is one book which you must get immediately. “Perak: A State of Crisis” (details here: http:// www.loyarburok.com/home/perakbook/) is a collection of 20 articles relating to the Perak constitutional crisis from the awesome LoyarBurok blawg. The contributors are a heady blend of lawyers, activists, academics, and even a former judge. You will get a one-of-a-kind detailed running commentary on the goings-on in the legislative assembly, courtrooms, and the palace. It is a must read for anyone who cares about democracy, the rule of law, and justice (that means you). Since its launch on 12 Dec 2010, the books have been selling out fast (immediately following the launch, 500 books were already sold). However, since you asked Lord Bobo, His Supreme Eminenceness has decreed that one extra copy be printed just for you, and the Lord’s printing minions are doing that right now! Once you’ve ordered the book, they will pass it to the gift-wrapping minions, who will wrap it with special monkey-bows and pass it on to the delivery minions, who will bring it to your doorstep in a golden chariot, and the massage minions, who will give you a gentle but satisfying foot scrub and massage while you read, and finally the coffee minions, who will brew up a nice cuppa to warm the cockles of your heart. (PS: As it is the holiday season, the minions may be on vacation or out shopping. In which case, we will use Poslaju.) Lord Bobo, since you have unsurpassed foresight towards the future (which I dare not doubt), when will the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971 (UUCA) be abolished? SapphireDragon, via email Once, in an experiment by Martin E.P. Seligman, there were three sets of dogs. One set was the control dogs, left unharmed. The second set were fitted with shock collars, and placed in boxes with foot switches, whereby they have the ability to turn off painful shocks when needed. The third set of dogs were also tethered with shock collars, but the foot switches were rendered useless by experimenters, allowing the dogs no control. To the third set, the shocks came randomly. Eventually, the third set of dogs stopped attempting to press the foot switches, Ask Lord Bobo is a weekly column by and became passive and LoyarBurok (www.loyarburok.com) depressed. During a secwhere all your profound, ond experiment involving abstruse, erudite, hermetic, recondite, the same dogs, where the sagacious, and other thesaurusdogs could end the shocks described queries are answered! by jumping over a low barrier, the dogs from the again, that would be too close to the third group refused to even attempt New Year, and one must have some to jump. time to get back into full swing, so This is known as learned help- perhaps February. What? Chinese lessness. It’s the same with human New Year? Okay, perhaps March behaviour. Malaysian university stu- then. Overly optimistic you say? dents currently fall under the second Well, Lord Bobo has always believed and third sets. By denying students in the power of positive thinking. the right to exercise and advocate After all, His Supreme Eminencetheir personal opinions and beliefs, ness did come very close to typing up the system cultivates bitterness and an original draft of a play that came depression, which incites them to extremely close in artistic integrity leave, not stay in Malaysia. and vision to Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Some are blessed with the ability Although Lord Bobo already to switch it off or are fighting for knows your question before you it (UKM 4), but some are not so even knew you had a question, as a fortunate (ISA 7). practical display of your true desire Many prominent national to have your query answered, His leaders have spoken up against the Supreme Eminenceness has graUUCA, including Umno Youth ciously allowed you to communicate Chief Khairy Jamaluddin, who your questions by – called a recent Cabinet decision dis- • emailing asklordbobo@loyarbuallowing local university students rok.com, stating your full name, from joining political parties “gutand a pseudonym if you wish less” and said it indicated “outdated the question to be published thinking”. Even the Prime Minister anonymously (and a good reason has said that he is open to possible for anonymity). changes to the UUCA to allow • tweeting your questions by menuniversity students to be involved tioning @LoyarBurok and using in politics. Then again, this could the hashtag #asklordbobo. The all be politically-correct posturing first 100 questions published to maintain the “feel good” aura will receive LoyarBurok’s ONLY in view of the upcoming general merchandise you ever need elections. (worth a lot for humankind) To answer the question then, courtesy of Selangor Times. Now, Lord Bobo believes that the UUCA what the hell are you waiting for? will be abolished next week. HowHear This and Tremblingly ever, as it is the school holidays and Obey (although trembling is opmost lawmakers would be vacation- tional if you are somewhere very ing in The Lost World of Tambun, warm)! Egypt, or Monaco, this will likely Liberavi Animam Meam! I Have be delayed until January 2011. Then Freed My Spirit!

DECEMBER 17 — 19, 2010

Book launch attracts big turnout
KUALA LUMPUR: About 200 copies of LoyarBurok.com’s inaugural book, Perak: A State of Crisis, were sold at the launch in Central Market Annexe last Sunday. Along with the books, the LoyarBurok.com event which attracted some 150 people, the assemble of lawyers and laymen also sold 1,000 t-shirts and another 100 badges and stickers. LoyarBurok’s K Shanmuga described the event, which was graced by former Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, as a huge success. “It was overwhelming to see such a huge turnout for the launch. We regrettably had to turn people away as the hall had reached its capacity.  “Almost 200 books were sold on the day of the launch itself, and another 300 were already booked before the launch. Considering the best selling socio political books in Malaysia generally sell no more than 1,000 copies, we think this is a great start,” Shanmuga told Selangor Times on e-mail. Other notables who were at the launch included former Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, Beruas member of Parliament Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham and constitutional lecturer Datuk Emeritus Professor Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi. The book, which is priced at RM45, can be ordered through http://www.loyarburok.com/home/perak-book/.

(From left) Lawyers Edmund Bon, Leong Cheok Keng, Nga Hock Cheh, Ngeh, Nizar, Amer Hamzah Arshad and Ambiga at the launch last Sunday.

By Gan Pei Ling

SHAH ALAM: What do you do with your used cooking oil? Pour it down the kitchen sink? There’s a better way to dispose of it, some homemakers have learnt. Homes and restaurants in Selangor are encouraged to collect their used cooking oil and to sell it to biodiesel companies, or to make soap. “Usually the used cooking oil is poured into the drain and flows into our rivers, polluting our water in the process. By recycling it, we can keep our rivers clean,” said Lembaga Urus Air Selangor (LUAS) marine officer Mazlan Idrus at a recent workshop. He said the state has been encouraging communities and restaurants to recycle used cooking oil for the past two years. Mazlan said collected oil can be sold to Sime Darby for RM1 per kg. The used oil would then be processed into biodiesel. Alternatively, users can recycle cooking oil to make soap and candles. People in Sungai Way, Petaling Jaya, are already doing this, Mazlan added. Sungai Way residents Zaini Abdullah Thani and Zainal Kamarulzaman demonstrated to 110 homemakers how to recycle kitchen waste at a workshop in Shah Alam on Tuesday. The free eco-workshop was organised by Selangor Department of Environment for women. Zaini said their community had

been recycling their p la stic bottles and newspapers. “We wanted to do more, and we found out we could also re c ycle use d cooking oil and even make it into soap and c a n d l e s ,” h e Salbiah launched the ecosaid. He a d d e d workshop for homemakers. that homemakers could sell the products and earn additional income. Pertubuhan Kebajikan dan Amal Wanita Selangor (Pekawanis) Puan Sri Salbiah Tunut launched the environmental workshop in De Palma Inn, Shah Alam. She said the program is in line with state government’s program to clean up the Klang river. She added that similar programs to recycle used cooking oil have been launched in Gombak, Batu Tiga, Hulu Kelang, Kota Damansara and other state constituencies. Communities or restaurants interested to recycle and sell their used cooking oil can contact Mazlan at 012-2848084 or LUAS at for more information. Those interested to learn how to make soap and candles from used cooking oil, or to recycle their kitchen waste can contact Zaini at 012-2766638 or Zainal at 017Soaps made from used cooking oil. 6253340.

Make money by recycling used cooking oil

DECEMBER 17 — 19, 2010

news 15

news 16

DECEMBER 17 — 19, 2010

RM30,000 raised for Boys’ Brigade
PETALING JAYA: The Philharmonic Society of Selangor and the Boys’ Brigade organised a fundraising campaign last weekend and raised a sum of RM30,000 at the Luther Center in Jalan Utara, Petaling Jaya. According to Boys’ Brigade Captain Ng Yee Khai, this is the first fundraiser held in Selangor and the funds will be allocated to their members. “Our fundraiser aims to help the less fortunate members who need money to purchase uniforms and also funds for traveling,” said Ng, who was formerly from the 3rd Kuala Lumpur Company. About 700 guests turned up on Saturday and another 850 attended last Sunday’s event. He said that they issued a total of 2,000 tickets at RM30 each and distributed them amongst the Selangor Boys’ Brigade members. The Philharmonic Society of Selangor performed for the event voluntarily and the only costs borned by the organisers were for the venue and the audio equipment. They managed to raise about RM30,000 throughout the two-day event. The Boys’ Brigade Malaysia was first founded in 1946 in Penang by Robert Davis together with Geh Hun Kheng as Captain of the Company under the sponsorship of Madras Lane Chinese Methodist Church. The first Kuala Lumpur Company was formed in 1954 under the sponsorship of Wesley Methodist Church in Kuala Lumpur.
Advertorial

ALL FOR A GOOD CAUSE: (from left) BB Selangor State Council Fundraising Programme 2010 committee members Captain Richard Lee, Captain Ng Yee Khai, Captain Vincent Loh and Honorary Captain Seah Lai Yee at the fundraising.

ave you ever looked at the ingredients list of your skincare products? Ever wondered what they are? Over 12,000 ingredients are used in skincare products today and over 80% are petroleum derivatives with chemical names that cannot be pronounced. Shockingly, over 9,000 have never been tested for long term effects on skin or health. This is a serious matter because 60% to 70% of what is applied on the skin is absorbed directly into the body and bloodstream. Daily women apply a toxic cocktail of over 300 chemicals to their face by using traditional skincare products – over 2 kgs annually. Because there is so little research done on these ingredients, the full effects of them on our health is unknown. One long-term effect is premature aging of the skin – precisely what they are advertised to prevent. Over time they stress the skin, weakening and damaging it structurally. Other ingredients are known carcinogens and skin irritants.

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Your Skin Deserves It
Regulations also allow manufacturers to avoid listing many harmful ingredients especially carriers (like propylene glycol and alcohol), preservatives and fragrances used in individual ingredients – only the actives are disclosed. You probably never know exactly what you are putting on your skin. Why take a chance with your skin and your health? There are alternatives available that are as good, if not better than, traditional skincare products. With Taahira Organics products you know exactly what you are using. The ingredients list discloses everything – carriers, preservatives and fragrances included. They use non-animal extracts from fruits, vegetables and sea plants and oils from various seeds, nuts and kernels. All these ingredients are certified organic and/ or Ecocert approved. By changing to Taahira Organics, you won’t expose your skin to carcinogenic or other harmful ingredients. Taahira Organics products will give your skin a potent dose of the vitamins, nutrients and minerals that it needs for rejuvenation and give you that youthful glow. Organic skincare products are also much less likely to irritate your skin since they don’t contain harmful ingredients. Reactions usually result from using too much of the product – you just need to accept that for Taahira Organics products ‘less is more’. Other than the fact that organic products usually do not smell or look as good as traditional products, there really are no downsides to using them. While they appear to be more expensive, this is more illusional than real because organic products are more concentrated and you use much less than traditional products. Pay a visit to their website at www.taahira. com for more information or visit their showroom at 53-1 Jalan SS23/15, Taman SEA 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Make the switch to Taahira Organics – your skin deserves it!

Trying out Asahi
By Lee Choon Fai

Review 17
DECEMBER 17 — 19, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR: Inside Berjaya Times Square is a classy Japanese restaurant Asahi, little known to people but offers great Japanese cuisine albeit not cheap. With dishes that range from RM10-20 to full blown fine dining dishes running into the hundreds, the pricing of food in this restaurant is certainly not everyone’s cup of green tea. But due to the fresh ingredients and healthy reasons, Japanese food has never been cheap. We were, however, delightfully surprised by Asahi. Sticking to our budget of RM100 for two this time, we managed to keep the final bill to RM76 while not being able to finish the food we ordered. To top it off, the food was simply delicious. The sashimi was fresh, the baked rice well cooked, and even the tea is finely brewed. First up was the Bara Chirashi Udon Zen (RM39), a set meal that includes a cup of Japanese steamed egg, a rice box, a medium-sized bowl of Udon, fruits for desert, and some pickles and mashed potatoes for sides. The rice box was huge. While it does not look big, when you get right down to the eating, it certainly fills up your stomach faster than a fast food outlet and definitely tastier. The sashimi in the rice box (which consists of salmon, tuna, and white tuna), was cut into bitesize, chunky pieces and mixed with shrimp roe. While some might find the traditionally sliced sashimi more appetizing and better looking, one cannot argue that good food is good food no matter how it looks.

The sashimi is without a doubt, fresh, tender, and delicious. It was simply satisfying, down to the last bit. Served with a combination of Japanese omelette and cucumber, it was a well-balanced spread too. To make the great dish even better, the usual dip of soy sauce with wasabi is recommended. The bowl of Udon that came with the rice was good too, with a lightly seasoned soup base. Although the portion is enough for most, it is less loaded compared to the rice box. With only a piece of fish cake and some sea weed, it is meant only as a side dish to go with the rice box. Then came the Kaniko Salad (RM12), a small bowl of salad that’s made of cabbage, thin slices of cucumber, shredded crab sticks, seasoned with a mix of Japanese mayonnaise and shrimp roe. As usual, the mixture of Japanese mayonnaise and shrimp roe was simply a delightful experience to the taste buds. Added to the refreshing taste of cucumber and cabbage, you have a great salad to indulge yourself in. Seeing how small Japanese meals are usually served, we ordered another bowl of Tori Katsu Don (RM15). It is a traditional Japanese dish that has rice baked with a sweet sauce with onions and eggs, breaded and fried chicken, with some seaweed to top it off. Crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside, the chicken was fried well. The seasoning and other ingredients went well along with it, but sadly our stomachs were too full by this time. The price might be high for most but it is a place that should be tried at least once as it is definitely worth the price.

Sashimi sliced into bite-sized chunks for the Bara Chirashi Don.

The Kaniko Salad, as good as it looks.

LEE LANDSCAPE SDN BHD

LEE LANDSCAPE SDN BHD (Company No. 433709-X)
46-1, Jalan 8/62A, Bandar Menjalara, Kepong, 52200 Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 03-62731913 (Hunting line) Fax: 03-62750496 E-mail : leescape@yahoo.com Contact person : Ms Brenda Lai

Features 18
DECEMBER 17 — 19, 2010

A new kind of high

By Alvin Chin

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n today’s busy corporate life, many people tend to work their butts off to climb the corporate ladder. But some opt to climb something more challenging. I am talking about pushing your body to the limit, hurting the smallest muscle of your body and achieving something so special upon completing a course. I am talking about rock climbing. Rock climbing started in the late 19th century when Colorado was the home for the earliest rock climbers. It began to gain popularity by the turn of the 20th century. Rock climbing was earlier seen as a part of mountaineering where mountaineers indulged in rock climbing in preparation for climbing expeditions. The United States was the leader in rock climbing throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s, with a number of dedicated climbers working to improve techniques. Rock climbing was declared a sport only recently. Compared to traditional rock climbing, this sport makes use of the most advanced rock climbing equipment today. With growing interest in the sport, climbers chose to do harder free routes and harder individual moves. In the 1980s, the trend was to undertake short but difficult climbs. Development of climbing as a sport resulted in the invention of new safety gear to ensure the safety of climbers. With the introduction of indoor walls, rock climbing techniques can now be practised without venturing into hostile terrain outside. One of the first rock climbing gyms in Selangor was located in The Summit in USJ, Subang Jaya. It was owned by Nomad Adventure which was established since

1994. Although the Summit climbing gym is no longer operating, Nomad Adventure still organises outdoor adventuring for thrill-seekers and nature-lovers. According to Cindy Joon Yee Teing, head of client relations of Nomad Adventure, rock climbing trend is gaining in popularity. “People’s awareness has increased compared to the past. A few years ago, there was only the Summit climbing gym but currently there are more climbing gyms around Klang Valley,” said Cindy. She said people who wanted to buy climbing equipment in the past had to head to either Singapore or Pertama Complex in the city but now there are more outdoor sports shops. Serene Gaik, publicity director for Camp5, agreed that the rock climbing trend is fast catching on. Camp5, which is located in One Utama shopping complex, has easier access for people who stay around the area. “The age group taking part in rock climbing ranges from as young as three years old to seventy three,” said Serene. Camp5 was officially opened in Dec 1, 2005, and according to Serene, they have organised activities, events, competitions as well as birthday parties to further promote rock climbing. On Dec 1, Camp5 launche d their latest addition, the “Pro Climber Wall” which has a height of 20.3 metres

and is recognised by the Malaysian Book of Records as the “Tallest Indoor Climbing Wall in Malaysia”. As more and more people pick up the sport, demand has increased and more are going into advanced levels. Lok Hon San, owner of Mad Monkeyz climbing gym, said the sport is attracting more people. “There are a lot of customers who originated from luxury gyms and they are looking for an alternative exercise. Because working out in gyms can be boring, most of them want to try something new and challenging,” said Lok. Lok added that they mainly target youths and university students. The 28-year-old added that they have organised roadshows in schools and colleges to expose youths to the sport. People say rock climbing is mainly for youngsters, but it does not matter if you are young or old. All a person requires is sheer determination and perseverance. Youths who are exposed to rock climbing should also introduce the sport to a more mature crowd.

Decide where to conquer
Want to feel the pain and excitement of climbing? Here are a few places to consider.

Camp5

Camp5 is a state-of-the-art indoor climbing facility in Selangor. Housed in a 24m high, fully air-conditioned environment and located on the fifth floor of 1Utama Shopping Centre, the gym offers a 270 degree panoramic city view. Operation Hours: Monday – Friday: 2pm to 11pm Weekends & Public Holidays: 10am to 8pm Tel: +603 7726 0420 Website: http://www.camp5.com

Madmonkeyz Climbing Gym

The Madmonkeyz Climbing Gym is an indoor bouldering air-conditioned gym offering all-round fitness training opportunities for anyone and everyone. There are more than 2000 holds installed and approximately 2000 ft² of crashpadded climbing area. Operation Hours Monday – Friday: 2pm to 11pm Weekends & Public Holidays: 10am to 7pm Tel: +603 4142 0698 Website: http://www.madmonkeyz.my/

Nomad Adventure

Nomad Adventure offers outdoor climbing around Batu Caves and Bukit Takun in Selangor. It requires endurance, skills and patience. If you think you have what it takes to do it, then contact Nomad Adventure. Tel: +603 7958 5152 E-mail: info@nomadadventure.com Website: www.nomadadventure.com

SELANGOR TIMES ⁄ DECEMBER 17 – 19, 2010 ⁄ 19

TRAVEL 20

deceMBeR 17 — 19, 2010 Nothing like a plateful of chilli lady’s fingers, bitter gourd slivers and a tasty fish to boost one’s appetite.

Byways and backwaters of Paya Jaras
Somewhere along Selangor’s Sungai Buloh trunk road, a sign points to Paya Jaras. LIN ZHENYUAN takes the road less travelled and enters a verdant kingdom of lush greenery.
LL kampungs may look the same to a lot of people but like fingerprints, each has its own identity. In the constituency of Paya Jaras, there are four main villages: Kampung Paya Jaras Dalam, Kampung Paya Jaras Tengah, Kampung Paya Jaras Hulu and Kampung Paya Jaras Hilir. The 70,000 population that comprises these four kampungs also encompasses the other small villages that go by the names of Kampung Kubu Gajah, Kampung Merbau Sempak and Kampung Kubu Gajah Luar. With a proportionate mix of Malays, Chinese and Indians (60:30:10), Paya Jaras sits on the fringes of a widening stretch of new residential estates. These are Aman Puri, Valencia, Sierramas, Bukit Rahman Putra, and Matang Jaya. The years of constant development have begun to rub off well on the inner sanctum of Paya Jaras. There are fewer authentic kampung homes now. Most of the residences are made of brick and mortar. The roads, though narrow, are mostly tarred. They wiggle their way into the arterial network of sideroads and alleyways that forms the heartland. There’s a conspicuous absence of pollution in the area. Mother Nature manifests her finery in well lined rubber and oil palm trees, tall and wild bushes, coconut trees, banana plants and fruit trees. Traffic slows to cruising speed in these parts because bicycles and motorcycles hold sway. Paya Jaras is prone to minor floods because of the

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nature of the terrain. Our visit was marked by a heavier than usual downpour.  However, the treetops and leafy branches along the roads lessened its intensity and partially protected us from Nature’s fury. Strange as it may seem, there was a calming effect amid sweeping sheets of raindrops. Sudden indeed was the torrential rainfall but the watery veil soon lifted and a gentle breeze brushed across the pastoral countryside. There were a number of small eateries lining the long and winding road that bisects Paya Jaras. One of these single-storied structures beckons as it nestles next to a little brook with its shallow, crystal-clear waters. The proprietress of Restoran Seafood Haniza, Puan Aniz, was most enthusiastic in introducing her menu. At 2.45pm, it was well past lunch time, but the remaining dishes still looked inviting. The customers kept coming. After five years of existence, this restaurant’s reputation is well established and the team of eatery workers is testimony of its success. A look at the array of dishes called for some impromptu decisions. Two plates were quickly decked with some of the best kampung cuisine. There are distinct culinary differences between city and kampung food. The former usually has gastronomic flavours that often reveal factory preparations. The latter on the other hand consists of subtleties that expose traces of home-made ingredients that are absent in other

This small river winds across the Greenland that encompasses various kampungs.

A kampung housewife selling her home-made kuih and keeping an eye on her children.

places. What more can a Petaling Jaya resident ask for? The scenery beyond the low verandah exhibits its finest natural apparel before two pairs of jaded eyes. The little stream snakes its way between the plants, bushes and halfinclined trees. Creatures that live beneath the surface of the ground add to a chorus of sounds that proclaim “this land is forever ours”. Even the birds that come out to play in the refreshingly blue sky swoop low with their salutations. Sometimes just around that crowded road and beyond the little corner lies a paradise that awaits unsuspecting eyes. Malaysia is full of these kinds of out-of-the-way places. They are seldom seen, rarely explored but are often pleasantly invigorating. Paya Jaras is gradually awakening to its destiny that development would soon be nibbling at its boundaries. Its reluctance to join the rat

race is re-assuring to city dwellers like us who have walked on both sides of the track. The homes that are unevenly spaced over the district are almost all single storey. They have wide compounds which are capable of accommodating more than five cars. The gardens looked as if they are attended to with little enthusiasm but that’s the way it has always been. Kampung houses with their front and backyards blend in seamlessly with the lush environment. Somewhere opposite a village community hall, a woman operates a make-shift stall that sells snack food that includes crullers, goreng pisang and keropok lekor. The mother of two has been earning a living at her new profession for only two months. She looked tired and unsure of herself but determination shone through her eyes. Her quest for selfreliance is evident in her demeanour. With her children keeping her company throughout the day, her

“kuih” sells for 40 sen a piece. That works out to RM2 for five assorted pieces of kuih. City folks like us are seldom accustomed to such low prices. A single ringgit can stretch pretty far in the inner sanctuary of Kampung Kubu Gajah. Indeed this “elephant fortress” holds more surprises than one can absorb in a single scorching day. By all accounts in the state of Selangor, Paya Jaras will soon be compelled to join the club of modern residential estates. How fast the district with all its kampungs will keep in pace with the march of progress will depend on its people’s willingness to give up generations of a well loved lifestyle. Places like Paya Jaras and all the little villages that lie within often bring a smile to our city faces. Perhaps in the mad race to join the rest of the First World, we should sometimes reconsider the lovely ways of the old world.

Fiction by Al-Zaquan

o when I was younger there was this guitar lying around the house. It was my brother Ally’s, I guess. I’d strum the strings and hear the noise, at times my dad sat and obser ved with a scary intensity, his eyes pressed on me, maybe worried that I’d spoil the instrument, or curious to see if as a child, I was musically inclined in any way. Then came the holidays, he’d stand from a distance and seem much more at ease, our cousins and my mum and brother Ally, who used to sing along sometimes, guessing the words, but never too loud – and it came to a point here that I knew that this was it for me, the thing I’d do for the rest of my life. I wanted to entertain, make that connection and now I realise, re-live that cosy feeling I felt in our living room. of course, it’s worth saying that I’m no good with anything else. Numbers give me a migraine, I bond better with animals than people, and I’ve just no drive to become a doctor, lawyer, or something like that, I just don’t see myself that way. So when I was 16, I started a band with three of my mates. They were all kind of iffy on things but on stage we always played it straight, and Brandon especially, our drummer, was an odd person. He didn’t speak much, and always fell into the background of things, he was such a comfortable presence that you sometimes forgot

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he was even there, and we suspected he was dumb, even-impaired in some way at least, but you’ve never seen anyone so committed, or so engaging on the stage. Brandon only came alive when we performed, and that’s music for you, it does different things for people. We grew older, began touring college bars and sort of doing it halfheartedly, especially at the end of our freshman year, that was a real hazy period, until Jim’ s mother passed. She threw herself from the ba lcony of their 27th flo or apartment. What’s left was shreds. It didn’t have any semblance of human – but that because I only glanced at the pictures, or somehow dimmed myself out whenever the topic of it came up anywhere. It was tough, and a lot of people at college, our friends and the adults, were there with all kinds of things to say, desperate to find a way to help Jim get through it. But as band members we saw past that, you never really know what a person is going through, I would just say that. It was devastating. As a band our melodies became starved, we had no energy to muster a proper vision for the next step – until one of our songs, “Sofia”, found its way onto radio one night.

Band of Brothers
And it happened quite fast, the If what I was doing kept them fans came. Yes suddenly, we had here, if it would make sense the next fans. People knew my name! So we day, or if they knew about the things were booked for more venues, the we were singing about, singing forcrowd usually got real excited when how this music meant something for we played that one song during the me, Brandon, Tim and Jessie. encore, of course we always saved once I had my cousins, and Ally, the best for last. until the night he left But with time this for Europe, or so he I felt each began to dissipate. told us, and never Still, there would night as we came back and never always be those who played, that ca lle d and ne ver to came our gig a few I was losing wrote me anything or hours early, stood left me any note. I’m right in front and bits of myself, s ur e h e h a d h i s bobbed their heads shred shrinking reasons. to our every note. I and vanishing, Well, before anyguess here was when slowly being thing bad ever hapI began to feel it. The undone by the pened, we sang to loss. keep, preserve somemusic. It had While we played, thing we all shared. I’d sometimes send turned into And now these peothe body to auto- something new, ple, changing faces, it pilot and step outside it took more had ceased to become of myself, see the than it gave, a c onversation I entire scene from a which is why I think, or I had noneutral, real distant thing left worth sayplace – the audience stopped playing, ing. Either way, I just thra shing ab out, and the others felt, departed. mouthing our words said nothing What I was doing and completely taken too, we took our was lost on me, but I by the music, and we stuff and head could wing it for a p lay e d th e s am e while you know, play for home, not songs, and I the tune and abide by wondered what it hesitant to take the p layl ist, but was, what the basis of up our dumb, where was I exactly? this relationship was. menial jobs.” Do you see what I’m

Fiction 21
DECEMBER 17 — 19, 2010

saying? I know as a journalist for some fancy magazine, you’ve probably allocated at most, half a page for this story, maybe we’d be compiled into a short list of one-hit wonders, you probably g ot more than you bargained for from this interview, but it’s a story I think is worth mentioning, just something I need the universe to, know. I had become nothing then, a speck in time, shining momentarily, even-tually I knew it would all be over. I felt each night as we played, that I was losing bits of myself, shred, shrinking and vanishing, slowly being undone by the music. It had turned into something new, it took more than it gave, which is why I stopped playing, and the others said nothing too, we took our stuff and head for home, not hesitant to take up our dumb, menial jobs. Myself I’m a manager at the local Walmart, it’s been a long time since we stopped playing, and sometimes I hear ‘Sofia’ on the speakers. I feel a bit nostalgic, of course. I’m curious to know what would’ve become of the band if we kept at it, if we would have become different individuals. But mostly, I’m content. I think we made the right choice to quit, and with every day each of us are on our way, I believe, to becoming whole again.

Gallery 22
DECEMBER 17 — 19, 2010

Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah (right) presents a posthumous award to Lim Yue Seng, son of deceased Bernama Economic News Service sub-editor Lim Chong in conjunction with the Sultan’s 65th birthday celebrations last Saturday. Lim Chong, who was awarded the Ahli Mahkota Selangor, died of a heart attack on Nov 26.

Attendees at the Islamic Women’s Rights seminar at the Selangor State Government office in Shah Alam take a break to check out the books on offer there on Tuesday.

PKNS general manager Othman Omar (2nd left) shows off a new unit during the handing over of the Panchang Bedena hostel to Yayasan Selangor in Sungai Besar, Sabak Bernam on Tuesday. Looking on is Yayasan’s general manager Ilham Marzukin (left) and UPEN executive officer Muktafi Sarpan (2nd right).

From left: Sarah Tan and friends Iris and Alicia at the CMC Ampang Fund Raising Carnival at Kuala Ampang last Saturday. Behind them is Wong Leh Sing, owner of the puppy.

A protestor’s family holds up a placard during the demonstration at Puncak Niaga’s office in Shah Alam on Tuesday. The protestors were demonstrating against the unfair dismissal of 14 employees.

culture 23
deceMBeR 17 — 19, 2010

PLAYS
2nd Switch ON

❚ COMPILED BY ZEDECK SIEW

INTeRVIeW
alaysians do read; our nascent publishing industry – with small concerns like GerakBudaya, Matahari Books and Silverfish Books leading the modest-but-vibrant charge – is proof. It also follows, then, that Malaysians are doing a tidy bit of writing. Readings @ Seksan, originally organised by writer/poet Bernice Chauly, has been one of the longest-running English- and Malay-language writers’ platforms in town. Convened semi-frequently (at Seksan Design’s swank office/ gallery in Bangsar), it’s a public afternoon where writers and readers gather to hear new work being read. With December’s instalment this weekend we talk to current steward Sharon Bakar about what she’s trying to achieve with Readings, and where she thinks Malaysian writing is going.

M

Mini Festival
Electronic Music Festival Herbal Project KL Performing Arts Centre 18 & 19 December 2010 RM20 donation 03-4047 9000 switchonndon.blogspot.com Experimental electronic music is a difficult nut to crack -- make no mistake. After all, it largely involves self-absorbed musicians playing with reverb. But, if you get past that initial barrier and shed preconceived notions about what music should be, you might be moved; I once spent a meditative evening, listening to musician Goh Lee Kwang play an amp like an instrument. Goh and a number of other Malaysian experimental music stalwarts -- Annabelle Ng, Silent Keat & Wong Eng Leong, Rainf -- are in the second weekend of this modest festival. Also featured is One Lick Less, a French performer who hand-makes his guitars and fuses “American folk and experimental traditions”.

Editor’s Pick
Theatre Performance KL Performing Arts Centre 16 - 22 December 2010 RM38 03-4047 9000 www.klpac.com

OctOpuS
Besides more home-grown fare, KLPac has been putting on rather interesting stuff this year: a Eugene Ionesco double bill; stuff by Samuel Beckett; a stage adaptation of Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis; Mike Bartlett’s Cock. They end the year with a performance of American playwright Steve Yockey’s Octopus. A domestic comedy about a gay couple that’s considering “opening” up their relationship, it soon becomes a dark fable about the minefield of jealousy and betrayal that decision brings to the unprepared. Directed by Kelvin Wong, featuring William Quah, Malik Taufiq, Nandang Abdul Rahman, Jack Lua, and Edmund Wong. With original music from Elvira Arul. Also, a giant octopus.

ReVIeW

What is Readings for? What do you intend to achieve? The aim of both Readings @ Seksan – and its sister event, Ceritaku @ No Black Tie, organised by Bernice Chauly – is to encourage writers by giving them a platform to read work and socialise. This is particularly important, I think, because writing is a very solitary occupation, and it’s helpful for writers to have the chance to test works-in-progress on a live audience. There’s always a mixture of the established and the newbie; fiction and non-fiction; poetry and prose; published and not-yet-published; in Malay and in English. We also like to throw in some music and performance, for variety. After all, we can get textually constipated! The event helps to generate a wider interest in local writing, give newly-published authors an opportunity to sell copies, and for everyone to network. (Creative partnerships have been forged at Readings.) I also hope to give audiences an afternoon of enjoyable and free entertainment. Readings has been around for a while. Have you observed any trends in the work you feature? Any themes or forms that multiple writers keep revisiting? I can’t say that I have noticed too many themes emerging for the live event. But we are currently putting together a book, Readings From Readings – New Writing From Malaysia, with pieces by writers who have read at the events – and we were fascinated to see how many local writers are employing surrealism and fantasy to make their point. This could well be a by-product of living in a country where there is a real fear of speaking out against social and political injustice too directly. Whereas, by wrapping the truths in layers of the fantastical, you can get away with saying more or less anything. There’s some strong and courageous women’s writing emerging, too – often dealing with issues of sexuality.

Art For Grabs: A Human Rights & Xmas Special
The main draw for The Annexe Gallery’s quarterly Art For Grabs bashes are undoubtedly its diverse supplementary events. A glance at last weekend’s bill: The launch of lawyerly website Loyar Burok’s book, Perak: A State of Crisis, which had former Perak MB and opposition poster-boy Datuk Seri Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin making an appearance. A workshop by the six-foot-five queen Shelah on how to dress. Then there were the bazaar stalls that weren’t selling things as much as ideas. The Stop Motion Project people, who got visitors to pose for portraits, accompanied with misogynist statements – examples of “verbal violence against women” – for an awareness-raising film. Activist/ documentarian Fahmi Redza pimping his “Perhimpunan Mahasiswa Negara 11.1.11” event, a nation-wide campus movement that wouldn’t fall into the pre-existing dichotomy of pro-BN or pro-PKR student associations. “You talk about building a Third Force in politics. We’re trying to build a Third Force for students issues,” Fahmi explained. But what about Art For Grabs proper – the market at which art artefacts were to be had at democratised, RM100and-under rates? It’s really a crafts bazaar: cool, creative gewgaws. I got a wood-block painting of a kancil (the animal) wishing me “Merry Christmas”(RM30); a handful of printedfabric badges (by Eff-Bombs; RM5 each); a one-eyed, stuffed plushie called “Bugaboo” (RM25). Nothing wrong with cutesy accessories; they look great around the house – and that, at the end of the day, is what art is, right? However, if you’re looking for more subtle or thought-provoking art objects, your best bet is still to brave the thousand-ringgit-plus gallery circuit.

Is Malaysian writing in good shape? What would you like to see? I’m always an optimist. I’ve been greatly cheered by the writing I’ve heard at the events, and seen published, over the years. I’d really like to see many of these writers push themselves further, and sustain longer pieces of writing. This month’s Readings @ Seksan will feature Azwan Ismail, Eeleen Lee, Maizura Abas, Jeremy Chin, KG Krishnan, and Fadz. 18 December 2010, 3.30pm. 67, Jalan Tempinis Satu, Bangsar. Free admission.

Follow the Light
Musical Kirton Call Productions & Nick Knack Productions PJ Live Arts 2 - 19 December 2010 RM55 03-7960 0439 followthelightmusical. blogspot.com This Christmas musical was designed to be ecumenical. “I wanted to write a fun, colourful, funny poignant piece of theatre that could be enjoyed by people of all ages; of any race, belief or background,” says

composer Nick Choo. Follow The Light takes the Christmas fable and humanises it: the Wise Men are limelight-seekers; the shepherds are bickering siblings; Joe and Mary are a struggling couple who have an unprepared-for baby. Its been getting rave reviews, so don’t miss its last weekend! Directed by Colin Kirton, featuring Juwita Suwito, Tony Leo Selvaraj, Zalina Lee, Aaron Khaled, Nicole Ann Thomas, Judimar Hernandez, and more.

Published by Selangor State Government and printed by Dasar Cetak (M) Sdn Bhd No. 7, Persiaran Selangor, Seksyen 15, 40000, Shah Alam, Selangor Darul Ehsan.