Sunday, April 30, 2006

Someone once told me, incinerators will kill you...

From a friend and a fellow 'concerned citizen':

Dear All,

In response to some idiotic letters published in the Star on the incinerator (see below), I urge you to write in to the Star/media to voice our concern. Send your letters to

Answers to questions why you should voice your concern against the incinerator in the media

Q: What is this I hear about the Broga incinerator being built in a water catchment area?

A: That is true. While we are facing problems of smelly tap water because of leachate from landfills that end up in water catchment areas, the authorities are now planning to build an incinerator in a water catchment area near the Sungai Semenyih that supplies water to more 1.5 mil people in the Klang Valley.

Q: Incinerators are used by developed countries which have higher environmental standards than Malaysia. Surely, it can't be that bad?

A: Incinerator is a dying technology. Developing countries often end up as dumping ground for obsolete technologies. Worse, in the case of Broga, it is going to be a guinea-pig site to test a largely unknown technology.

In the home country of Ebara Corporation, incinerators are gradually being phase-out as Japan follows stricter dioxin-emission standards since 2002. Many studies have shown that dioxin is a cancer causing agent. Check out the global anti-incineration movement.

Q: What do we do with all our garbage if we don't have the incinerator???

A: There are so many ways to solve our garbage problems. It is because we have a throw-away lifestyle that we can hardly envision a zero garbage economy. We cannot continue to produce garbage because our world is finite. Material has to be recycled back to nature. In the same way, we need to start thinking of garbage as resources that can be re-used and recycled. So, support recycling campaign, practise composting and lobby for a holistic and sustainable solid waste management system.

Q: Is landfill the best solution given that it pollutes the soil and contaminates our water source?

A: Most of our landfills are open dumps with no lining to prevent leachate. The government should only approve sanitary landfills and implement waste separation to prevent non-biodegradable waste from getting into the landfills.

Then there is the problem of good, sanitary landfill forced into 'early retirement' as it succumbs to public complaints despite the landfill being there first! All this is because land use plan was ignored in favour of development projects especially housing projects which encroached into the landfill buffer zone. For example, the 20-year lifespan of the Ayer Itam landfill in Puchong was halved at the time it was shut down in early 2005. Government must be held accountable to protect landfill zone against encroachment.

Q: Isn't thermal treatment different from incineration and touted as the cutting-edge waste management solution?

A: Pyrolysis, thermal gasification and Refused-derived fuel are essentially incineration as they all involve a combustion process. The name difference is just the manufacturers' creative and deceptive tactics. Far from cutting-edge, these technologies do not make waste disappear but convert them instead into hazardous gases, slag and ash. In the end, we are saddle with a new set of problems. Incineration is an expensive option and it still requires a landfill to store the toxic ashes.

Q: But the government vouched that incineration is good for the environment and poses no threat to human health?

A: That's exactly what the incinerator spin doctors/proponents would like you to believe. But no incineration technology can claim to be hazardous-free, as it cannot guarantee 100% efficiency. The combustion process releases pollutants such as dioxin, lead and other heavy metals into the environment.
In fact, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) has identified all forms of incineration as sources of dioxin and this toxic substance is one of the 12 pollutants that a global treaty – the Stockholm Convention is committed to reduce and eliminate its releases. The legally binding agreement came into force in May, 2004 and Malaysia is a signatory.

Q: Didn't the government say the incinerator come with built-in pollution-control mechanisms?

A: The truth is the built-in mechanisms are untested. And with the country's less than desirable track record of public infrastructures and equipments maintenance, the result could be catastrophic!

Q: But dioxin is already in the environment from industrial activities as well as from motor vehicle emissions?

A: That is true. However, with the incinerator project, it is 'burning' tax-payers money that does not solve their problems but only guarantee to bring them more problems in the form of dioxin and other chemical-poisoning. That is fool-hardy policy especially when we have yet to allow alternative waste reduction measures a chance to work. The recycling rate is only 5%. With better coordination and recycling infrastructure, we can cut down the waste stream and do without incinerator. In fact, incineration will negate all efforts to promote recycling and a sustainable lifestyle.


Opinion below taken from The Star Online.

Wednesday April 26, 2006

Time to get tough and build the incinerator

I SUPPORT Reader of Shah Alam, "Be firm on rubbish" (The Star, April
25) on ways to manage our waste.

Every now and then we hear of ammonia contaminating our rivers as a
result of leachate spillage or seepage. All this will result in a huge
disruption to our domestic supply of fresh water.

The way we are managing our waste is primitively third world in
nature, whether it is sanitary or unsanitary landfills.

We are living in a new millennium and yet when the Government wanted
the state-of-the art incinerator system, droves of so-called
"concerned citizens" demonstrated against it.

When our water was contaminated it was the same "concerned citizens"
who pointed fingers at the authorities for "allowing this to happen."

Come on Malaysians, wake up and stop being hypocrites. I remember one
of the first English phrases that my teacher taught me at school was:
"You can't have your cake and eat it, too."

It is about time the Government got tough. If an incinerator is
necessary, build it.

Kuala Lumpur.


Referenced opinion taken from The Star Online.

Tuesday April 25, 2006

Be firm on rubbish

Of LATE, there has been so much hue and cry over the illegal dumping
of rubbish, leachate polluting our rivers, etc.

Rubbish will always be generated whether you like it or not.

Closing one dumpsite after another will not solve the problem in the long run.

The problem we are facing is not unique to our country. Look at Japan
or Singapore or Taiwan, how do they dispose of their rubbish?

If incinerators are the answer, then the Government should have the
political will to get this done for the sake of our future

Shah Alam.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Tainted History, Dangerous Minds

How can we put a stop to this kind of intimidation? If we all stand together as Malaysians, and not be divided by race, culture and religion, then we have a slight glimmer of a chance.

For far too long our nation has made decisions based on race, religion, bad capitalism and corruption. It's ironic that a religious government should be corrupt as well. But then again, religion has always been a good way to win votes and manipulate the masses. In the wrong hands, a very powerful and dangerous tool.

We, the people, have to remind the government to be concerned about us. To make decisions with our well-being in consideration, not just the well-being of the majority race, and especially not just the well-being of their own, and their cronies' bank accounts.

Many of us live and die in silent discontent. Is not a better life worth fighting for? Even if not for you, but for your children, your grandchildren, and future generations. What is the point of talking, complaining, being frustrated and being angry only behind closed doors!? Why allow racial tensions to plague us because of the ignorant and foolish? If you are happy and content, teach us. If you are not, then stop pretending to be.

To the powers that be, please stop trying to erase us from our history books. We have been here for generations. We've breathed the air and fertilized the soil. We've fed the nation like a mother feeds her young. We've toiled for centuries. Do not create false illusions of muhibbah. Help us transcend illusions and superficialities. Give us what you've promised! A forward-thinking, intelligent nation undivided by race, culture and religion. Or else... the consequences of an uncivilized nation are many and ugly to bear.

I'll pick beauty over ignorance any day.

News articles below taken from Malaysiakini.

BN MP gets 'ultimatum' from Umno Youth
Beh Lih Yi
Mar 28, 06 5:21pm
A MCA parliamentarian's scathing speech on religion and history in the Dewan Rakyat two weeks ago has prompted an unannounced visit by Umno Youth members bearing a protest letter.

On March 15, Kelana Jaya MP Loh Seng Kok had complained in the House about the 'imbalance' in the history textbook syllabus, Muslim prayer recital gu! idelines and the problems faced by non-Muslims in relation to places of worship.

One of his peers had warned him then about the potential hazards of speaking his mind and about his choice of words.

It is learnt that, six days later, some 50 Umno Youth members, led by Kelana Jaya division chief Abdul Halim Samad, paid him a visit. Their sudden arrival at about 9.30pm took those at the office by surprise.

Loh was handed a protest letter. It is learnt that Abdul Halim told him, "We don't want to hear any explanation now; this is our letter, you read and answer it."

The MP was also purportedly told that Umno Youth would "take action" if he failed to respond to the letter within several days. Some in the group had brought along video cameras to record the brief meeting.

It is learnt that the Youth wing! has rejected Loh's proposal to set up a religious development department on the grounds that this would undermine the position of Islam as the official religion.

The Kelana Jaya division had apparently held a meeting to discuss the speech and concluded that Loh's proposal had hurt the feelings of Malay Malaysians, who make up the majority of voters in the parliamentary constituency of the same name.

It is also learnt that a copy of the letter to Loh has been sent to Umno leaders at the national, state and divisional levels, as well as to Malay-based non-governmental organisations.

'Sensitive matter'

Contacted today, Abdul Halim confirmed that he had submitted a protest letter to Loh but declined to comment on the contents.

Asked for the reasons behind the division's discontent, he replied: "There are two or three grounds but I cannot tell you over the phone now."

On whether the division ! had gone to the MP's office to teach him a lesson, he refused to comment, saying that it was a "sensitive" matter.

Meanwhile, Loh when met at Parliament, said he is willing to meet with anyone.

"I don't deny that there are people who have visited me. I am willing to explain to anyone the context of my speech," said the first-term MP and former aide to ex-MCA president Dr Ling Liong Sik.

It is learnt that a dialogue will be held this week between the Umno Youth Kelana Jaya division and Loh.

Selangor Umno deputy chief Muhammad Muhd Taib is said to have been informed of the matter, but could not be reached for comment.

Religion & History: BN MP with all guns blazing
Beh Lih Yi
Mar 15, 06 7:05pm

A Barisan Nasional (BN) parliamentarian today raised the temperature in the Dewan Rakyat by touching on history and religion. This prompted another BN MP to issue a caution.

In a no-holds-barred speech, Loh Seng Kok (BN-Kelana Jaya) complained about 'imbalanced' history textbooks, new prayer recital guidelines and the problems faced by non-Muslims with regards to places of worship.

Loh said the syllabus of history textbooks ignored the contribution of non-bumiputeras and only emphasised on the Islamic civilisation.

Terming it as "incomplete and imbalanced", he said the syllabus does not encourage critical thinking among ! the students.

"For instance, the fight against the Japanese Occupation during World War II is portrayed as only the effort of the Malays but ignored the role of Chinese and Indian Malaysians," he added.

Furthermore, he said the syllabus from Form One to Form Five does not provide a deeper understanding of other civilisations.

"Five out of the 10 chapters in the Form Four history textbook only focused on the Islamic civilisation," he added.

Prayer recital guideline

Earlier, Loh also complained about the prayer recital guidelines which were being drafted by the Department of Islamic Development (Jakim).

According to him, the new guidelines would be imposed on "everyone and every government and private agency" during official or semi-official functions.

"The guidelines are being drafted without consultation, reference or discussion with representatives of other religions," he s! aid while seconding the motion to thank the royal address.

"This is against the principle of respect, understanding, discussion and transparency promoted by the government and its leaders," he added.

Loh also urged the government not to ignore providing allocation and basic facilities for non-Muslim places of worship.

He claimed that one of the problems faced was the Registrar of Societies (ROS) revoking the registration of these places of worship without strong reasons.

For example, he said a church was recently de-registered by the ROS due to confusion regarding its membership, failing to publicly display meeting notices and accepting university students as church members without prior consent from the university's vice-chancellor.

In view of this, Loh said the time was ripe for the establishment of a religions development department.

He said the department would be seen as a step towards recognising other religions and upholding the ! spirit of religious freedom enshrined in the federal constitution.

"If Jakim is needed, the religions development department must be established as well," he added.

'Dangerous' interpretation

At the end of his speech, Mohamed Aziz (BN-Sri Gading) issued a caution to Loh, saying his words could be interpreted in a 'dangerous' way.

"The country's harmony is based on the nation's history, where there was a consensus reached by the different ethnic groups... we shouldn't just look at superficial issues.

"The nation has also never denied freedom of religion," he added.

Also irked was Salahuddin Ayub (PAS-Kubang Kerian), who told Loh not to question the prayer recital guidelines.

He warned that the BN MP's speech could lead to a rift between the dif! ferent races.

In another development, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in a written reply to Chow Kon Yeow (DAP-Tanjong) today reiterated his rejection to the formation of an interfaith commission.

He said the proposal had caused controversies and widened the division among different religions.

However, the premier added that dialogues will be held between the various faiths from time to time.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Anyone up for some Racism?

I'm currently developing a script dealing with the issue of racism in Malaysia, which will later be translated into a short film that I will direct. As part of my research for this project, I have decided to request from as many people as possible for interesting insights, experiences or stories related to racial prejudice in our country.

What I am asking from you is that you email me your experiences and stories regarding any form of racism, whether it has happened to you, someone you know, or you just happened to be there when it happened. It could also be passing comments that you have overheard. Email me quickly so I can compile the information, and don't be shy to email me later on if more memories come rushing back to you.

If you are braver, please share your stories and experiences as comments of this posting. I hope this will open up an avenue for discussion. However, if you are less brave and would prefer to share your stories over the phone or face-to-face, email me at & (in case one of them doesn't work) and we can arrange something.

For those of you not from Malaysia, please feel free to share your stories with us too. It may help us to see and understand other situations, contexts and cultures.

I shall not share with you the idea for the script yet until I develop it further and it is confirmed by the NGO, KOMAS, that recruited me to make this short movie. I shall keep you informed about the progress of this project.

Dig deep into your past, even to the days of junior school and senior school. You can also share other problems in Malaysia regarding politics or culture that you are aware of or affected by. Your response will be greatly appreciated. And a teh tarik or kopi O will not be out of the question as a gesture of gratitude.

If you want, you can forward this link to every single person you know. The more people involved in the project, the better!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Souvenirs from better times...


These days I don't see my father unless we have official business, like loaning money or filing taxes. We disguise these meetings as dinners or lunches just to trick ourselves into believing that we actually made an effort to spend time with each other. Today was no different... But many things were different tonight.

I picked him up from his workplace and we headed off to a Chinese place nearby for dinner. I passed him some official documents so he could help me with my company's tax forms. Formality over. Now for the conversation to happen.

In the past many years, I have been finding my father somewhat annoying. I could never have a proper conversation with him without getting bothered. So I don't usually look forward to meeting him. In fact, I was used to not having him in my life, and sadly, I felt a sense of happiness that he wasn't a part of it.

Tonight, things were different.

As the conversation began, it was evident that it wouldn't be as annoying as I remembered it. Maybe he has changed. Maybe I. We talked about many things. My work, his work, Fallen Leaves, Philip's new car, lazy people, women, relationships, his new wife... This caught me off guard. I asked, "That's not possible. You can't officially marry her right? You're not divorced yet..."

"Mom didn't tell you? We're divorced already."

     "When did that happen? Last I heard, it was still being processed."

"Yeah. It takes a while."

     "So when did it become official?"


     "Huh? That's when the divorce was beginning to be processed right?      When was it finali..."

"That was when it was finalised."

     "What?! Really?! I never knew... I never knew."

     "So long ago? It's been years.... I didn't know."

The news sunk in. I kept wondering why no one told me. I wondered if Philip knew.

We continued talking. We talked for a good few hours. For once we talked almost as equals. He was more transparent than I remembered. He told me about how he broke up with the previous woman and how he met his new wife. He told me he would like to bring her along for one of Fallen Leaves' gigs. He was just unsure of whether we would like it or not.

     "How come you never invited us for the wedding?"

"Would you all have come?"

     "I would have! I mean, it's your wedding. I guess it would have      been nice for you to reconcile with mom, but it's probably too late      for that... Life isn't ideal. It never is. Anyway, it's been so long."

"Last time with the previous one you all wouldn't even see her."

     "That one's different. She caused a lot of trouble for all of us. Of      course we didn't like seeing her. Even to look at her! But this one      hasn't done anything to us. There's no bad blood. And it was your      wedding... When was it?"


     "So long ago?"

Then we talked about my relationship with Mei. Or what's left of it. Even I myself am unsure. We're not together anymore. But I shared with him that I don't think I'm the type of person that needs a relationship, that I could do without it. But if I had to think about it and pick someone... I couldn't find anyone else that could connect with me the same way.

He started drawing graphs in the air.

"Your relationship has extreme highs and extreme lows. You should look for someone who may not make you as happy... but the relationship is less stressful."

     "But then where's the intencity?! I like that."

"It's not as important. Who knows? Maybe you can find someone who makes you feel even happier."

     "It's possible... but it'll probably take me forever to find that      person."

"Like my previous relationship. It'd be bad, then I'd say we should break up, then she becomes nicer. Everything is great. Then after a while she forgets and the whole cycle repeats itself. My wife now... it's been a couple of years, and she's still ok. She doesn't argue much, she's easy-going and understanding. So everything is just (makes graphs in the air again. Little ascents and descents, very little fluctuations. Means stability.)"

We talked some more. I told him stories. Then we left and I sent him home. It felt nice to be able to pick him up and send him home after all the years of him doing that for me. It felt nice to be able to talk, really talk. Tonight, things were different.

Here's to the memory of the passing of what was already fading...

Mom & Dad

The title of this post is taken from a line in Death Cab for Cutie's song, Title and Registration.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Act in Fallen Leaves debut music video!

Greetings earthlings!

Fallen Leaves will be making our first music video at the end of this month! Which happens to be May... just in case you only read this much later on.

We are looking for 2 female talents to act in our long overdue music video for Drown With Me. Please e-mail, or call me at 012 372 0588 if you are interested to be auditioned for the parts.

Please help forward this email to your friends whom you feel may be interested. Spread the word! We need to find the right people immediately so the director can start working with them.

Thank you so much!


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Important Announcement!

Just the other day during a conversation, I revealed that I would be working in an office for 3 weeks. Somehow it seemed that all this time, people don't really consider what I do as a job. But now that I'm in an office, then it's considered a proper job. Let it be made clear that I actually earn more in a month that most of my peers, with leisure time and a sane mind to spare.

I am making this announcement out loud that I do have a job! I am a photographer and a video editor. I own a small company which will be expanding this year to include more skilled professionals, like myself, who refuse to be a slave to the media industry. My time is valuable and people who hire me know that. Take for example this current stint with Red Comm in which I have to enter the office to edit a television programme. I wasn't one of the cheaper video editors, but they hired me anyway because of the quality of my work.

Photographers and Video Editors are skilled professions. Not everyone can do what we do, although that doesn't seem to be the case in Malaysia with so many lousy ones running around. Proper ones are out there, and our skills are worth something.

So yes, even though I do seem to have a lot more free time compared to most people, I do have a career.

With that aside, let me leave you with a couple of photographs of my current 'office'. I arranged the lights to improve the ambience of the room.

My Beautiful Office 01 My Beautiful Office 02