Presenting Harry Belanfonte

December 3, 2016

Your weekend entertainer for the Weekend–Harry Belafonte

By presenting Harry Belafonte, we hope we can divert your attention from the 2016 UMNO General Assembly, which is being stage managed to boost the sagging morale and battered image  of its President.

Our best wishes  for this first week in December with Christmas only weeks. As we all know, 2017 will open with the inauguration of President-Elect Donald J. Trump as the 45 POTUS.

Fats Domino–Our Guest for this Weekend

November 26, 2016

Fats Domino–Our Guest for this Weekend

Dr. Kamsiah Haider and Din Merican present Fats Domino of the Rock ”n’ Roll era. He appeared on the music scene in the 1950s together with Rock ‘n’ Rollers like Bill Haley and His Comets, Elvis Presley and others who brightened up the 1950s with their unique brand of all American music. Enjoy your Sunday.–Dr. Kamsiah Haider and Din Merican

Russell Watson–Our Guest for your weekend entertainment

November 12, 2016

Russell Watson–Our Guest for your weekend entertainment

Will Donald keep his word? Like the Mexicans, we are not going to pay for it

Like it or not, Donald J. Trump is POTUS-Elect. Let us wish him well as he becomes the 45th President of the most powerful democracy. Kamsiah Haider and Din Merican were rooting for Hillary Clinton who was by popular acclaim the most qualified politician ever to be elected successor to the popular Barrack Obama. It is not to be and that is destiny for you.

We were right since Hillary won the popular vote but she did not get the 270 electoral votes to take The White House. President-Elect Trump got more than 280 votes. As a result, he made history by becoming the first business person to become Commander-in-Chief. Put politics behind, let us enjoy Russell Watson and relax.–Dr. Kamsiah Haider and Din Merican.


Looking Back in Time with Music–For Your Weekend

November 4, 2016

Looking Back in Time with Music–For Your Weekend

Dr Kamsiah and Din Merican in Phnom Penh

I have just returned from a brief visit to Kuala Lumpur to be with my beloved Dr. Kamsiah G. Haider. While I was there, I befriended my neighbour in my Damansara Jaya community (Road SS22/39), Sunny Chew and his horticulturist wife, both of whom were educated at The Penang Free School. They told me that they were in Penang to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of our alma mater on October 21.

During our conversation, Sunny told me that he was a regular visitor to my blog; he particularly enjoyed the songs Dr. Kamsiah and I played during the weekend. I promised Sunny and his wife that when I returned to Phnom Penh, I would dedicate two tunes to  them and our fellow PFS  alumni and in memory of our great teachers.

So here are the tunes Sunny suggested for your listening pleasure, The first tune is titled Enjoy Yourself by the incomparable  Doris Day and the other is You raise me up by Josh Groban.

Let us all also enjoy The Platters with their hits. May these tunes bring back memories of times past and may we recollect what it was when we were carefree and gay. Best wishes from Dr. Kamsiah and Din Merican

The Sound of Santo and Johnny for this Diwali Weekend

October 29, 2016

The Sound of Santo and Johnny for this Diwali Weekend

Let us enjoy the music of Santo and Johnny. Relax before the Clinton-Trump Presidential race culminates on November 8. Who will be the next POTUS?. Some say America will have its first Madam President and Commander-in Chief. Others who seek change want a Trump Presidency. We wish the American  voter all the best  when they go to the polls. Voter turnout will be crucial. –Dr. Kamsiah G. Haider and Din Merican

Bob Dylan and The Nobel Prize–What’s UP

October 26, 2016

Bob Dylan and The Nobel Prize–What’s Up?

by Adam Kirsch


In the summer of 1964, Bob Dylan released his fourth album, “Another Side of Bob Dylan,” which includes the track “It Ain’t Me Babe.” “Go ’way from my window/Leave at your own chosen speed,” it begins. “I’m not the one you want, babe/I’m not the one you need.”

That fall, the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre played a variation on the same tune in a public statement explaining why, despite having been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, he would not accept it. “The writer,” he insisted, must “refuse to allow himself to be transformed into an institution, even if this occurs under the most honorable circumstances.” Mr. Dylan was talking to an imaginary lover, Sartre to an actual Swedish Academy, but the message was similar: If you love me for what I am, don’t make me be what I am not.

Image result for Bob Dylan and the Nobel Prize

We don’t know whether Mr. Dylan was paying attention to l’affaire Sartre that fall 52 years ago. But now that he has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, he seems to be following in Sartre’s footsteps. Indeed, Mr. Dylan has done the philosopher one better: Instead of declining the prize, he has simply declined to acknowledge its existence. He hasn’t issued a statement or even returned the Swedish Academy’s phone calls. A reference to the award briefly popped up on the official Bob Dylan website and then was deleted — at his instruction or not, nobody knows. And the Swedes, who are used to a lot more gratitude from their laureates, appear to be losing their patience: One member of the Academy has called Mr. Dylan’s behavior “impolite and arrogant.”☺ There is a good deal of poetic justice in this turn of events.

For almost a quarter of a century, ever since Toni Morrison won the Nobel in 1993, the Nobel committee acted as if American literature did not exist — and now an American is acting as if the Nobel committee doesn’t exist. Giving the award to Mr. Dylan was an insult to all the great American novelists and poets who are frequently proposed as candidates for the prize.

The all-but-explicit message was that American literature, as traditionally defined, was simply not good enough. This is an absurd notion, but one that the Swedes have embraced: In 2008, the Academy’s permanent secretary, Horace Engdahl, declared that American writers “don’t really participate in the big dialogue of literature” and are limited by that “ignorance.”

Still, it’s doubtful that Mr. Dylan intends his silence to be a defense of the honor of American literature. (He did, after all, accept the Pulitzer Prize for “lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.”) No one knows what he intends — Mr. Dylan has always been hard to interpret, both as a person and as a lyricist, which is one reason people love him. But perhaps the best way to understand his silence, and to praise it, is to go back to Sartre, and in particular to Sartre’s concept of “bad faith.”

Bad faith, Sartre explains in “Being and Nothingness,” is the opposite of authenticity. Bad faith becomes possible because a human being cannot simply be what he or she is, in the way that an inkwell simply is an inkwell.

Rather, because we are free, we must “make ourselves what we are.” In a famous passage, Sartre uses as an example a cafe waiter who performs every part of his job a little too correctly, eagerly, unctuously. He is a waiter playing the role of waiter. But this “being what one is not” is an abdication of freedom; it involves turning oneself into an object, a role, meant for other people. To remain free, to act in good faith, is to remain the undefined, free, protean creatures we actually are, even if this is an anxious way to live.

This way of thinking is what used to be called existentialism, and Mr. Dylan is one of its great products. Living like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone, is living in Sartrean good faith, and much of the strangeness of Mr. Dylan’s life can be understood as a desperate attempt to retain this freedom in the face of the terrific pressure of fame. In a profile in The New Yorker in that same year of 1964, Mr. Dylan was quoted as saying that he didn’t “want to write for people anymore” but rather wanted to “write from inside me.”

Image result for the nobel prize in literature

To be a Nobel laureate, however, is to allow “people” to define who one is, to become an object and a public figure rather than a free individual. The Nobel Prize is in fact the ultimate example of bad faith: A small group of Swedish critics pretend to be the voice of God, and the public pretends that the Nobel winner is Literature incarnate. All this pretending is the opposite of the true spirit of literature, which lives only in personal encounters between reader and writer. Mr. Dylan may yet accept the prize, but so far, his refusal to accept the authority of the Swedish Academy has been a wonderful demonstration of what real artistic and philosophical freedom looks like.