Happy Birthday, Fred: Yabba Dabba Doo


September 30, 2010

http://www.the star.com

Happy Birthday  Fred Flintstone: “Yabba Dabba Doo!”

by Cathal Kelly

The key to The Flintstones was its surfeit of hate. Fred, if truth be told, hated Wilma, who hated Fred, who hated his job, where he was hated by Mr. Slate. Barney didn’t hate anyone, but everyone treated Barney like a flesh piñata.

Hate was the key. And lies. Every single episode of The Flintstones hinged on some sort of untruth someone told someone else, prompting shenanigans. Modern research shows that Faces of Death had a less deleterious effect on childhood delinquency than just 10 minutes exposure to The Flintstones.

If you took Fred and Wilma as your marriage role models, you’re divorced now. You might be in prison. Depends if your plan to plant subliminal messages in your husband’s brain while he slept actually worked, coercing him to commit robbery on your behalf.

It was nasty stuff. When we were kids, the reruns were on during the lunch hour so, what the hell, what else were we going to watch? The news?

Kids really only loved one character on The Flintstones. Dino. Dino was pure. His brand of love was

Dino

unhindered by malice or greed. Dino was also purple, which kids love.

We also liked the Great Gazoo, but only because he tormented Fred, who really was an awful fake human being.

The Flintstones turns 50 years old on Thursday. The show first aired September 30, 1960. The series lasted six seasons. Just long enough to warp many, many young minds. Here are some of the things The Flintstones taught us:

That a man can make a living wage and support his family doing a job he despises, which also happens to be environmentally unsustainable.

If you are caught in a lie (as Fred inevitably was in minute 7 of every show), tell a more outrageous lie. This is how Mussolini got into power.

It’s all right for a man to wear a leopard-skin dress. As long as he also wears a tie.

That if your household appliances were living creatures and could talk, they would tell people how awful you are.

Time spent with your family is wasted time. Time spent golfing, bowling or carousing with a bunch of idiots in buffalo-skin toques revives the flagging spirit.

You have a best friend for a reason. And that reason is to bully him mercilessly.

Red meat, consumed in huge portions, makes you fat. Fat men attract women far above their station in terms of attractiveness, but they’ll never let you forget it.

You should appreciate your wife. But only after you fall asleep (drunk?) at a picnic and have a terribly realistic nightmare in which everyone has moved on without you. Coincidentally, they’re all happier.

If you construct every episode of a TV show around the premise that, “(Blank) wants to go (blanking) with his friend (Blank), but his meddlesome wife (Blank) has planned a dinner for that night,” you will be a god in America. Or Jim Belushi. It’s a crapshoot.

Footnote:

Wikipedia:

Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc. (pronounced /ˌhænə bɑrˈbɛrə/) (formerly Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc., and originally H-B Enterprises, Inc.) was an American animation studio that dominated North American television animation during the second half of the 20th century. The company was originally formed in 1957 by former Metro Goldwyn Mayer animation directors William Hanna and Joseph Barbera in partnership with Columbia PicturesScreen Gems television division, as H-B Enterprises, Inc..[1]

Established after MGM shut down its animation studio in 1957, H-B Enterprises, Inc. was renamed Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc. in 1959. Over the next three decades, the studio produced many successful cartoon shows including The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?, Jonny Quest, The Yogi Bear Show, The Jetsons, The Huckleberry Hound Show, Top Cat, Wacky Races, The Quick Draw McGraw Show, Snagglepuss, Pixie & Dixie and Mr. Jinx, Space Ghost, The Smurfs and The Magilla Gorilla Show. In addition to their animated projects, the studio also made live-action productions (with or without animation) for television and film as well. Hanna-Barbera’s television productions have earned the company eight Emmy Awards .[2] In the mid-1980s, the company’s fortunes declined somewhat after the profitability of Saturday morning cartoons was eclipsed by weekday afternoon syndication. In 1991, the company was purchased by Turner Broadcasting System, who began using much of the H-B back catalog to program the Cartoon Network the following year.[3] [4]

Both Hanna and Barbera went into semi-retirement, continuing to serve as ceremonial figureheads for and sporadic artistic contributors to the studio. In 1994, the company was renamed Hanna-Barbera Cartoons and in 1996, Turner merged with Time Warner. By the time of the merger, Turner had turned Hanna-Barbera towards primarily producing new material for Cartoon Network, including successful Cartoon Cartoons shows such as Dexter’s Laboratory, Johnny Bravo, Cow and Chicken, and The Powerpuff Girls.

With William Hanna’s death in 2001, Hanna-Barbera was absorbed into Warner Bros. Animation, and Cartoon Network Studios assumed production of Cartoon Network output. Joseph Barbera remained with Warner Bros. Animation until his death in 2006. The Hanna-Barbera name and studio is today used only to market properties and productions associated with Hanna-Barbera’s “classic” works such as The Flintstones and Yogi Bear.

A Malaysian writes to his Prime Minister


September 30, 2010

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com

From a Malaysian to the Malaysian Prime Minister

September 29, 2010
Dear Datuk Seri Najib,

Greetings from a Malaysian. I hope that you are well and have had a fruitful trip to the United States in your official capacity. I sincerely hope that you’ve achieved all that you had set out to achieve when the trip was planned and I pray for your safe return to the country.

Datuk Seri, I was compelled to write you this letter having seen what’s happening here in the country recently. I have always identified myself as a Malaysian first and everything else was and still is secondary to me.

I don’t go about proclaiming myself to be a Chinese first as I feel what good is a race without a citizenship and a place to call a home? Neither do I go around with a humongous cross hanging on my neck to proclaim my faith. Faith, I sincerely believe is a matter between me and God or Allah or whatever it is that we choose to call our Creator.

Allow me to stray and share a personal experience with you, sir. I came to the capital city a few years ago for economic reasons with a mind full of prejudice. Coming from a laid back society in Sarawak, we’ve always viewed West Malaysians with an unhealthy degree of suspicion. I recalled all the advice, both solicited and unsolicited reminding me of the characteristics of the three major races in the country.

The Malays were to be avoided for their supposed extremism and zealous propagation of their religion up to and including proselytising. The Chinese on the other hand were aloof, selfish and arrogant. A relationship with the Chinese is supposedly measured purely in financial terms. While the Indians were a different animal altogether. Tales of their drunkenness and suspect trustworthiness  were commonplace. I remembered as I reported for my first day at work, I wondered if I was ever going to have any friends at all.

Reporting to work with me that day were two other Chinese, one Indian and five Malays. The next three days entailed visits to different offices in the far reaches of the Klang Valley. My first lesson came that day when I was asking my fellow newbies on how could I get to the three different offices by public transport. The sole Indian offered to drive me there since he was staying a short drive away from my rented home then.

The visit to the final location which was over an hour’s drive away required us to report to the office at 6am. We decided to carpool but the early hour meant picking everyone up would be a hassle. And that was when my second lesson came.

One of the Malay newbies offered me a bed at his home to make it more convenient for our Indian friend to pick us up. And that, after being acquaintances for a mere three days. And moving on to pick the fourth of our party, we found him waiting for us at 4.30am with bags of a fast food chain’s breakfast meals.

That day, my prejudice towards my fellow Malaysians was washed away, completely. No longer do I stereotype any races with their supposed characteristics nor do I discriminate on the account of their religion or lack of. Today, I’m proud to say that I have a liberal mixture of races in my list of friends both in the social networks and in real life.

Datuk Seri, you may be asking me why am I telling you a tale as such? I sincerely believe that this country, which belongs equally to all Malaysians, is heading towards an abyss from which there may be no return.

I remembered the days when I would read the sports section of the newspapers as the local news was invariably less exciting. These days, unfortunately, I read of hate, vitriol and blatant abuse of power shouting out at me from the headlines.

The last year or so, we’ve seen many incidents which had touched the raw nerves of many peace loving and moderate Malaysians. We can start with how the Al-Islam journalists desecrate what is holy to Catholics. It was amazing that the Attorney-General decided that No Further Action (NFA) was necessary. Even the apology came grudgingly after it was demanded for by the Archbishop of KL. In fact, there were some quarters who felt that the apology was not necessary.

Let’s compare that with the recent incident involving an elected representative from the opposition, Datuk Seri. She was present at the surau to disburse of aid for the rakyat. And she gave short speech. I’m certain that she wasn’t trying to convert the Muslims who were there then. But consider the uproar that happened in the aftermath of the issue.

Let’s cast our sights at a few other incidences involving religion shall we, Datuk Seri? The cow’s head issue and the arson of churches in the country were incidents we cannot be proud of. It’s good that both cases had been tried in the courts of law and the perpetrators had been found guilty and punished. What is sadly lacking is a truly united Malaysia in condemning the attacks. In fact, there are even quarters within your political party questioning the need for the government to present aid to Metro Tabernacle Church.

I believe in a Creator, Datuk Seri. When I worship in English, I refer to the Creator as God or Lord. When I worship in Bahasa Malaysia, I refer to the Creator as Tuhan or Allah. Ask any man or woman your age in Sabah and Sarawak how do they address God in Bahasa Malaysia and they’ll tell you the answer.

When the previous home minister decided to tackle this matter, it had remained as it were without any issues or confusion. Even your current home minister said that they should have “let sleeping dogs lie” but the fact of the matter is they didn’t. The hornet’s nest was stirred and now the stinging consequences would haunt us all for the foreseeable future.

Moving on, Datuk Seri, the cases of racially tinged statements is truly going up the roof recently. Educators are supposed to educate the next generation to be better persons and to learn from past mistakes. It’s unfortunate that our educators are spewing instead hate with a racial flavour. And to make matters worse, your deputy cum education minister is unable to act as there’s no provision for him to act on supposedly “High Grade” officers of the civil service.

In the last few days, a high ranking officer from Biro Tata Negara (BTN) under the auspices of the PM Department likened certain races in the country to being “slit eyed” and “drunkards”. I suppose that as the PM, your hands are tied, too, as he’s a “High Grade” officer of the civil service and should be dealt with by the Public Service Department?

I know the difficulties of wearing corrective glasses for eyesight impairment, Datuk Seri, as I have been using spectacles since I was eight. But even without glasses, is it really that difficult to see how members of your party and by extension your administration are currently being myopic on issues to harp about?

One of the biggest culprits, in my humble opinion (though probably unsolicited), is your minister in charge of information. He seems to be constantly threatening to arrest those who are making “inappropriate” remarks when there are so many of his own race and religion are making far more callous remarks towards others.

Perhaps, the minister in question should walk the talk. We see the curtailing of news from the mainstream media daily. Reports on the remarks from the BTN officer is not seen anywhere in print media nor on the telly. But it’s all over the internet portals. Neither is the directive by the Jabatan Hal Ehwal Orang Asli (JHEOA) to the villagers of Pos Pasik to demolish their nearly-completed church, publicised. Is this due to the fact that it would reflect badly on your administration, Datuk Seri?

I read with interest on your speech to the United Nations recently. I truly am a strong supporter of you even before you assumed the premiership. But reading the text of your speech left me with mixed feelings as I lament the malaise that the country is in.

I remembered the sense of pride I had and the kindling of hope that maybe, just maybe under your stewardship the country would turn for the better. Today, I’m disappointed with the way things are but the hope remains that you’ll turn things round eventually.

Datuk Seri, I speak to you not as a Chinese, nor a Catholic. But I speak to you as a Malaysian and a fellow human being. I think that your actions will speak louder than all the words you can say in your speeches sir. It’s time to tell the citizens of Malaysia regardless of race or faith that it’s time to walk together hand in hand as we seek the pot of gold at the end of that rainbow.

It’s time to put all our petty differences behind us and make our mark in history that we can all be proud of. Let the history books in future tell generations to come of the day we took control of our destiny and smash all the barriers that are impeding our unity and progress. Let us not make history for the wrong reasons — the start of the downward spiral which ends with the destruction of this proud nation.

I take my leave now with my best wishes to you and your family sir. Thank you and may Allah bless you and grant you good health always.

Best regards

David Martin,
A Malaysian first, second and last

Satire is seditious?


September 30, 2010

http://www.malaysiakini.com

Satire is seditious?, ask International Press Freedom Advocacy Groups

International press freedom advocacy groups have expressed shock that cartoons and satire in Malaysia can lead its ‘perpetrators’ to being slapped with sedition or other criminal charges and prosecution.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), citing the prosecution of blogger ‘Hassan Skodeng’ as well as the more recent police actions against cartoonist Zunar, noted that “sedition charges in Malaysia are often used to suppress press criticism.”

NONEHassan Skodeng, whose real name is Irwan Abdul Rahman, was charged after posting a blog piece poking fun at power firm Tenaga Nasional Bhd with acting with “intent to hurt”.

Condemning Zunar’s arrest during the weeked over his publication “Cartoon-o-phobia” and the seizure of his works, CPJ called on the Malaysian authorities to “stop harassing” the political cartoonist” and drop the sedition charge against him.

“The arrest of a cartoonist is inconsistent with Prime Minister Najib (Abdul Razak)’s vow on taking office that he would uphold, not suppress, press freedom,” said CPJ senior Southeast Asia representative Shawn W Crispin in a statement from Bangkok.

Crispin was referring to Najib’s call upon taking office in 2009 for the media not to be afraid of criticising the government and pointing out its shortcomings.

Zunar’s drawings often tackle sensitive issues, including the ongoing sodomy trial of Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and the perceived influence of Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor  over his decisions.

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein had said the arrest was related to cartoons that touched on the legal system and the ‘Allah’ issue.

Three of Zunar’s previous volumes of cartoons were banned by the home ministry in June under the Printing Presses and Publications Act.

In the Indian sub-continent, the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) also expressed concern over Zunar’s arrest and the seizure of his books.ngo support zunar cartoon pc 260910 zunar Its secretary-general Owais Aslam Ali called for the Malaysian government to release Zunar from all charges as well as to abolish the Sedition Act 1948 “and other outdated, draconian legislation that seek to control (freedom of) expression.”

“As long as these laws exist, they will continue to be open to abuse by the government of the day as a means to curtail legitimate criticism,” said Owais.

“Amid a climate of increased intolerance on the part of the authorities, it is highly likely that Zunar’s latest book will be banned, too,” he added.

The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF), meanwhile, also said it was “distrubed by the repressive nature of the sedition investigation” against Zunar and “firmly” condemned his arrest and the police’ search for his books in Malaysiakini and its publishers and distributors.

It also urge Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak  the subject of some of his (Zunar) cartoons, to intervene to ensure that the police investigation into Zunar, this book and his publishing house is abandoned.

“It would be very alarming for media freedom in Malaysia if press cartoons were to be threatened in this manner,” said RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk chief Vincent Brossel. “How can a book of cartoons be seditious?” he asked.

“Zunar’s cartoons may sometimes be very cutting in their portrayal of Malaysian political life, and especially the ruling party, but they cannot in any way be regarded as seditious. It would be very alarming for media freedom in Malaysia if press cartoons were to be threatened in this manner,” Brossel added.

Appeal to All PKR Members


September 28, 2010

An Appeal to PKR Members

by David Yeoh (received by e-mail)

I would like to express my concern over the overzealous acts of some of the contestants who took part in the on-going party election. All contestants should bear in mind the interests of the party at all times. PKR provides opportunities for all those who wish to serve the rakyat and struggle for a more democratic and just Malaysia, and should not be a platform to pursuing personal ambitions.

I had a long heart-to-heart talk with Anwar Ibrahim sometime last year in London before I decided to join PKR. I’m fully convinced of the sincerity and conviction of Anwar in bringing about political reforms in Malaysia, and I ask those who have just joined PKR like me to study and understand the party history.

Anwar’s contribution to the success of 308 (March 8, 2008 general election) is unquestionable. As the de facto leader of PKR, Anwar has been appointed as opposition leader by Pakatan Rakyat and has performed his role effectively even though he does not officially hold the position of PKR president. I am surprised that the issue was brought up in the current party election.

I am impressed by the vibrant democracy that exists within PKR and would like to remind party members to treasure it. PKR members should be proud of the fact that PKR is the only political party in Malaysia that directly elects its leadership and that the reason why Anwar does not hold party president position is purely due to the prevailing political environment in Malaysia. After all, Anwar is facing unfair prosecution by the BN government.

PKR needs his leadership. The fact that Anwar does not seek election as party president does not at all affect his contribution and leadership in the party. Let me stress that all PKR members who understand the party history have no qualms with Anwar’s position as the de facto party leader. To raise this issue in public only reflects one’s political naivety.

The writer is a former MCA senator.

Jimmy Wales says to Malaysia: Ditch Censorship


September 28, 2010

Malaysia should ditch censorship, says Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia

A co-founder of online encyclopedia Wikipedia said on a visit to Malaysia today that the country should ditch censorship which is a damper on economic growth.

Jimmy Wales said censorship was counter-productive for Malaysia, which ranked 131 out of 175 nations on the 2009 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index because of its tight controls on print and broadcast media.

“This is a country that has a fairly mixed record… there is still some censorship in this country and I think we are beginning to see that it is no longer an effective strategy, certainly not an effective strategy when we think about economic growth,” he said.

“When you think about making sure that the people have the information they need, make good decisions in their lives, it’s absolutely important that we have a very open flow of information,” he told a financial conference.

“I want to write that information (on sites like user-generated Wikipedia) so that my fellow citizens have the knowledge they need so they can’t be oppressed.”

Prime Minister Najib Razak, who took office in the mainly Muslim country in April last year, promised to promote openness and transparency but has since faced accusations that his administration is trying to silence critics.

Sodomy II spooks investors

On Monday, British tycoon Richard Branson told a different conference in Kuala Lumpur that the ongoing sodomy trial against opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was discouraging investors from coming to Malaysia.

Anwar, a former deputy premier who was sacked and jailed on separate sex and corruption counts a decade

Zunar : Why should he be handcuffed?

ago, has said that the new allegations – of illicit relations with a young male aide – have been concocted to end his career.

Major newspapers and broadcasters are closely linked with the ruling coalition, so the Internet has become a lively forum for dissent and debate in Malaysia.

Unlike the mainstream press, the web and online media have remained relatively free, despite occasional raids, bans and government criticism.

Last Friday, police detained political cartoonist Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque – better known as Zunar – over his new comic book, which has a caricature of Najib’s wife on the front cover and contains cartoons on numerous controversial issues such as Anwar’s sodomy trial and police shootings.

- AFP

The UMNO-BN Dilemma: Mahathir Mohamad


September 27, 2010

The UMNO- BN Dilemma: What to do with Mahathir Mohamad?

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s warning that “Malays would lose power if Pakatan Rakyat were to come to power”, is not his first racist rant since his retirement.

He tells young Malays thinking is bad for their brains

He delights in taking pot-shots at Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s administration and excels at instigating unrest. Why would the Malays lose power under Pakatan? The Malays lost whatever power they had under 22 years of Mahathir’s rule.

Mahathir is racist, but Najib would not dare charge him with sedition. Mahathir certainly acts like he is the ‘co-premier’ and his flirtation with extremist NGOs like PERKASA, must embarrass the current administration.

At times, we can be forgiven for thinking that he must be the second most powerful person in the government. His ruthless desire to cling onto the reins of power and pretend to speak out for ordinary Malays must create chaos in government circles. He is great at divide-and-rule.

If he is the ‘Father of Modernisation’, then he is out of touch with the people of 21st century Malaysia. Most Malaysians would be open-minded and accepting of one another, but for the politicians. I would accept a non-Malay prime minister of either sex and sexual preference, provided that person is a strong and capable leader.

Malaysia’s riches lie not its mineral wealth or its agricultural produce; its most important resource is its people. Why can’t we set aside racism and simply move forward? We are a hardworking nation but Mahathir’s policies, perpetuated by his successors, have degraded us. With 10 years left until 2020, by when he hopes Malaysia becomes a developed nation, we still bicker over which race does what, where and when. Instead of emulating our neighbours, we behave like children squabbling in the playground.

Isn’t it a bit rich for Mahathir to suggest that Pakatan leaders might be a bunch of self-serving and racist politicians?

Mahathir and the other politicians in the BN coalition have already proven themselves to be self-serving and racist. Research has shown that politicians are the least trusted group of people. The history of politics is the history of lies, and Mahathir could be considered the most professional in this group.

Once people like him have tasted power and climbed the ladder of authority, the lies, deceit and cover-ups have a cumulative effect. He hates ordinary Malays to get on with their non-Malay counterparts and yet his chums are powerful Chinese tycoons.

Absurd claim

Mahathir is vehemently against the west and accuses it of undermining countries. However, he was happy to offer George W Bush his full support and cooperation in the aftermath of the September 11, attacks. He used this tacit approval to tighten his grip on political dissenters at home, using the ISA.

He has a problem with western values and their concept of ‘absolute freedom’ and told the US Congress in Washington: “The west is very impatient. You want overnight change.”  And yet, for 22 years, he altered the Malaysian landscape with his policies which polarised us, increased corruption, worsened nepotism and created the systematic destruction of our institutions.

His argument is that the Malays would lose power under Pakatan. That is absurd. He leaves the non-Malays with a persecution complex or the Malays feeling victimised.  Mahathir is prepared to sacrifice the ordinary person to protect his, and his cronies’ domination of wealth and power. Malaysians from all walks of life are left frightened, angry and worried.

Similarly, the UMNO cohorts are also fearful of what will become of them when Pakatan gains power. We, the taxpayers of Malaysia, want them jailed and our money returned. Mahathir and other extremist leaders imagine we’re living in a Malaysia where the Malay reigns supreme for life.

Ideas like these will cripple the nation. This is the power that Mahathir has over easily-influenced and unprincipled Malays.

Malaysia is financially insecure. Our civil service is shored up with injections of cash even though large swathes of it are overstaffed and inefficient. Mahathir has turned the Malays into a work-shy part of the Malay community. The country is suffering economically and our most gifted people seek jobs abroad. Talk of Malay rights just distracts Malays from valuing hard work and rewards.

The anomaly is that Bangladeshi fishermen are invited to take up 6,000 jobs in our fishing industry. Why? What happened to our once thriving fishing economy? Where are the government policies to modernise our fishing fleet and lift our fishermen out of poverty?

Taxpayers’ money is indiscriminately spent on divisive projects like the Biro Tata Negara (BTN, National Civics Bureau) or the unpopular National Service (NS). A few months of NS are insufficient for promoting unity. The BTN indoctrination traps Malays in a dependency culture.

Power-mad talk

Racial harmony and unity is an ongoing process, best started as early as possible in life. Mahathir’s racist policies are myopic. They have neither made Malaysia better nor improved the lives of the Malays, or any other poor Malaysians.

Let us not kid ourselves. Mahathir is not making the Malays ‘gain power’ or ‘have power’. He is merely referring to UMNO’s (and BN component partners) hold onto power, over us. It is for their own ends – and certainly not ours.

Just be a Roti Man

What happens if people did not vote Pakatan? By Mahathir’s reckoning, the Malays will still have power.  ‘Power’ is meaningless if people still don’t qualify to tender for contracts, have to pay a higher road-toll, are at the mercy of trigger-happy policemen or racist school principals, don’t trust the judiciary, cannot afford cars or houses, and face escalating prices for petrol, electricity and basic foodstuffs?

Who will the Malaysians blame then? It won’t be Pakatan. It will be Mahathir, his cronies and UMNO. Mahathir’s power-mad talk has only managed to cause tensions to rise. As a retiree who has caused irreparable damage to race relations, why doesn’t he just stick to making the bread rise in his bakery business, ‘The Loaf’?