Monday, December 2, 2013

Historical site cleared, history erased - What are we doing?

All over now, the people are abuzz with one word "Candi". The somewhat secret demolishing and land clearing at the earliest Hindu / Buddhist ancient tomb temples, called candi  believed to be the richest archaeological area in Malaysia, raises many questions. As usual, finger pointing have begun, shifting the the blame to various parties like the previous PAS government, the current BN government, the land owner and the developer.

Let's revisit what is this area all about. Wikipedia records that, these archaeological remains show that there was a Hindu-Buddhist polity here. The area consists of ruins that may date more than 2000 years old. More than fifty ancient tomb temples, called candi (pronounce "chandi"), have also been unearthed. In the area of Bujang Valley known as Sungai Batu, excavation have revealed jetty remains, iron smelting sites, and a clay brick monument dating back to 110AD, making it the oldest man-made structure to be recorded in Southeast Asia, built even before the world renowned Angkor Wat.

Further to this, Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog records the Bujang Valley was surveyed in the 1930s by Quartritch Wales, who found some 30 sites in the area (some 50 sites have been found to date). In particular, the area known as Sungei Mas, which would have been a logical place for landfall, yielded a number of trade artefacts and Buddhist monuments. The Tamil kingdom mounted a swift attack through the Straits of Malacca, conquering the culturally-significant Kataha, as well as plundering the main ports of Srivijaya. Tamil occupation of Kataha was short, lasting about a century, but the cultural and architectural influences carried on until today. Some of the most significant temples – known as Candi – that populate the valley have a distinct South Indian influence. 

Closer to home, our very own ARKIB NEGARA acknowledges the existence of rich archaeological site in Kedah, with the establishment of Lembah Bujang Archaeological Museum on 23rd January 1980 by DYMM Sultan of Kedah, Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah, incidentally the current Agong / KING of Malaysia. So there you have it, its all about Buddhist and Hindu origins of the current Malaysia, which is seeing active population of Banglas, Indons, Pakis, Myanmars, Viets, Nepalese and many more. If someone goes around destroying any significant evidence of a large Hindu / Buddhist kingdom, which was recognised by the Sultan of the state / King of the country as historical site, what do you call that?

Some are claiming its a calculated move to erase the history which existed before the Islamic kingdoms, believed to originated from Indonesia. Some are saying the PASt state government sold the land to private developer, while another group claims the current state government is 'ignorant' about the existence of a very important archaeological site. We have not heard from the 'ultra-vocal' tourism minister yet, while some MIC, Makkal Sakit, PKR & DAP reps screaming their lungs out, albeit the whole area have been cleared beyond recognition as seen below.

One of the most glaring issues we have here is, blaming others. Just look at how the Lembah Bujang Archaeological Museum washes its hands and blames the villagers for not stopping the developers! But they also raise a valid point here, what were the villagers close to the site were doing since September? If we can get into fist fight with authorities and land in jail for 'protesting & protecting' kutti-kutti shrines or 'temples' around town, why were we quiet when such blatant, open demolishing work was carried out? The state government is also shifting the blame to the land owners and developers, so we can't hold them responsible.

Whatever said and done, what are we going to do for the remaining historical archaeological sites which stamps the existence of ancient Hindu / Buddhist kingdoms in Malaysia? There should be a huge push for comprehensive identification, assessment, listing and protection provided to these sites, before our future loses sight on our ACTUAL history. Question is, who is going to push and who is going to do it? Pi mai pi mai tang tu?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Turning towards Tamil Schools

Almost 2 months since I last wrote here. Though there are tonnes of issues happening around, which are related/affecting our community, I couldn't find the right time and space to write my views on them. I begun writing this piece, after talking to my father on some of the recent 'developments' in schools around our country. Yes, some of these issues have already turned into ஊசிப்போன tofu, but its relevant for today's topic.

We have seen, read, heard, screamed, cried and had heated discussion with கொலைவெறி among us for the following matters:

All the above, predominantly happened at national schools, which is suppose to be the 'gelling agent' for different ethnicities in our country. But, we can remember the annual 'anthem' to close down vernacular schools and make all students attend national schools for the sake of 'integration and tolerance' among races.

However, these sort of incidents are not isolated any more. Almost every month, there are some incidence of racism issues cropping up around us, particularly at schools where young, helpless kids are targeted. And every time, we keep blaming the national schools and (some of) its racist staffs for creating such disharmony and sometimes goes on insulting our community.

I'd like to refer to the case of changing room aka jamban canteen incident, the pupil was tormented after the issue was highlighted by her mother. Not wanting her young kid to face those racial taunts, she was forced to transfer the kid to a Tamil school. Finally she realises the advantage of Tamil schools. If only we concentrate and make the effort to send our kids to Tamil schools and improve the enrolments, I feel Tamil schools promises great start for our young kids.

We all know that, some parents will find 1001 reasons on why they're not sending their kids to Tamil schools, but they're ever willing to force their child to endure Chinese school education, in the pretext of superior 'quality'. We are moving away from rankings & failing kids at young age, so why the rush to make those பிஞ்சி kids to face stiff competition at Chinese schools? They can always learn Mandarin as another language. Why not have the same faith in our schools, which are continuously producing good students, albeit with limited infrastructure & facilities?

If we can take additional effort to ensure the enrolments in our schools are in the upward trend every year, we can demand for better facilities and support. Instead of begging the government, our community's corporate companies which are spending millions for promotions can allocate funds or even adopt any needy schools. 

Every time someone says, close the vernacular schools because its not integrating the diverse communities, we must remind them that, vernacular schools will never stop any student from another religion from joining that school, unlike the other school which is exclusive for one religion. So which one is 'disintegrating' the community? The existence of any school, be it national, vernacular or religious is protected in the constitution and should not be questioned by anyone. Tamil schools are for our community, if we don't preserve it ourselves, don't blame others when its shut down slowly.

I will send my kids to Tamil schools.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Sudu sumbat, kaingeh mampat - Don't drink & dream on streets

Kudi, kudiyai kedukkum - that's a phrase that we are all familiar. While consuming alcohol is a personal choice/matter, the result after excessive drinking session can sometime create public nuisance. Many times, while walking along the city corridors, we come across people from our community sleeping on the walkway, usually after heavy drinking sessions.

Its shameful to see people from all walks of life showing their disgust at our community, when these sort of drunkards found lying in the middle of the corridor, even in daytime. No one seems to be bothered, in fact we all think, why we should be bothered anyway.

Probably, the next time we see any of them slumbering under the sweltering sun on walkways, we should get ice cold water in a plastic bag and smash it on their face, walk away before he sees you ;)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Territory marking by non-animals (number ottings & promotings)

[Disclaimer : this article is not to offend anyone, I wrote because I'm offended by ugly graffiti tak menjadi]

Sunday noon, not much to do, camera and bike key in hand. Took a quick 15 minutes ride around the (used to be notoriously) famous Air Panas / Hot Spring, Setapak

This place was marked as 'Black Area' in the 80's and early 90's due to rampant crime and gangsterism cases. When a large number of residents were evicted and placed in many highrise flats around KL, this place begin to feel safer, with less number of gang activities. In the 2000s, a number of public housing projects brought back large number of residents to Setapak.

With that, there's re-birth of gang activities, only this time by a larger group of 'kuchi brats' with spray can running around in EX5 bike like rabid dogs, with petrol filled using pocket money 'donated' by parents. Majority of these brats are in the age region between 14-25, sometimes include '7 donkey aged' (ezhu kaluthai vayasu) youth around 30s. Anyway, most of them wouldn't be able to contribute any tax money due to their pay grade. But, 'bantha-ku mattum koreichal hair irukathu'. 

Young idiots think that, if they have a number, they become gangster. Yes, there are larger (organized) group of gangster that used the numbers, but they don't go around town flashing placard claiming they are gangsters. It would be like walking around with this:

In just 15 minutes of ride around the 1KM radius from Jalan Air Panas, we can witness the creative ideas of marking territory by these so called 'gangsters'. Initially you might not suspect the markings on the walls, sign boards and longkangs as gang sign, but after seeing many such badly painted signs, you'll knock your head on the nearby fire hydrant, thinking why they're doing this. Let's look at the pics :

Common word used : TOP

 Someone didn't think its lucky number

Bigger 0, 8 inside .. wow

 then comes this number, obviously another team crossed them out

 this lift is proudly sponsored by 36 team.

they can't seem to make up their mind : 36? 360? 306? ennadah solleh varinggeh?

when they spray 36, we spray 08 .. alamak silap, now looks like 0XX8!

rival teams taking over large signboards, conclusion: they are not tall enough

TOP means what? on top of what? below got what? what what what??

 more crossing out

 this is creative spraying, masking number 36, so it look 08. Looks B8 lah!

 another creative idea.

 then comes, design convergence .. wow 24 in single stroke!! add Hidup. Then mati dalam lokap?

Finally, combi of number & shape. 91?

Don't forget, modifying the the Sanskrit Ohm into 36
(image from

After seeing all this, it looks like our teen gangs are following the territory marking behavior of animals:

 normal marking

karat marking

murattu marking!

Teens who are just growing mustache and pubic hair now must belong to any numbered gang. Then they can proudly go around saying, "nambe number machi, hidup" reply, "ama machi nambe number than top". Then they draw numbers on books, school furniture, wall etc. Then they become gangsters?? Huh?? Ennadah seiringeh?? Number oturuven publicity panni sonthama talayileh mannei vari potuka mattaanda!! Wallet-leh rendu 100 velli notu iruka paru? Illeyah, appadina unaku peru gangster illeh, vetti payeh!!

Teens who get into this early dream of becoming gangsters will either be graduating in jail, become drug addict at nearby pasar, killed by rival gang or die in accident. Then their parents will scream by the casket "yean maganuku onnumeh teriyathu!! aven kuttalingeh keduthutangeh!!".

At the funeral, they fight like dogs in heat. 
(Actual picture of fight between 2 gang at a 'number' youth funeral)

Numbers, at least if got 4 digits, we can use for 4D permutation. What to do? What to say? Number ottings ... valkai umbings.

Monday, August 12, 2013

2013 Tour of Kolkata

This year we landed in Kolkata, purely because our Colombo flights were cancelled. Despite not knowing the local language and prevailing monsoon season, we managed to visit this oldest city in India, which used to be the capital before Delhi.

3/4 of the gang on train, Don on private limo.

 This is how typically Kolkata is, not much different from other Indian cities

We were amused by the vegetarian symbol found on Carlsberg bottle, in an all vege restaurant.

The gang!

Checking the map before walking, around 200 meters away!

Fire safety at hotel, is HUGE!

Kalighat Kali Temple

With your friendly neighborhood terrorist!

Typical snacks found all over Kolkata, mini pooris with dahl, eaten on stacked 'leave plate'.

The ward of negative energy, hang this around (not on your neck).

Inside a 'food stall', waiting for Pandit with our hotel manager.

Food stall interior, eat at your own risk.

The gang waiting.

After visiting Kalighat Kali temple & Mother (Theresa) House

Monsoon season at Kolkata

A very beautiful cathedral.

Victoria's Memorial

Belur Math (Ramakrishna Math & Mission) along the Ganges river. We ended up here without any plans, I believe its for a reason. Photography is strictly prohibited, but somehow I got permission to shoot the place, after blessings from the VP Swami Smarananandaji.

Dakshineswar Kali temple

The gang at Dakshineswar Kali temple

Reenactment of a stupid fight scene between a local and temple guard.

Flying poori dough into hot pan, open kitchen.

Open kitchen, in front of the shops.

Ancestral home of the Swami Vivekananda.

A very brief visit to this place got me interested to read and know more about the great Swami Vivekananda.

The majestic Vidyasagar Setu bridge across great Ganges river. This shot took 2 hours to compose and shoot, as there many boats plying under the bridge, it took me many shots before getting the right timing with no boats in frame.

The shops are raided by these 2!

Bengali cotton materials.

Waiting for tea ordered by Shan at the only Chennai Dhaba (stall)

Tambi waiting for tea.

Innum konjam, Cheers!

And now for the food exploration ...



Good chinese food found in Kolkata

Lamb briyani!!

Chicken, lamb & prawn briyani with chicken tikka butter masala.