Bob Dylan wins Nobel Prize for Literature

October 16, 2016

Bob Dylan wins Nobel Prize for Literature

by Dean Johns

The awarding of a richly deserved Nobel Prize for Literature to Bob Dylan has shocked and dismayed some of the non-musical writing fraternity around the world.

Though it is hard to think of any other writer in recent times whose work has so poetically and powerfully, let alone so memorably and enjoyably, inspired and encouraged the causes of peace, love, freedom and justice.

In fact there was a time when those of us who grew up with early Dylan classics as ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ and ‘The Times They Are a-Changin’’ were so naive as to believe that they were compelling enough to help us literally change the world.

We were completely kidding ourselves, of course, as subsequent events have all-too-clearly revealed. But the spirit of the sentiments that Dylan expressed lives on, and continues to give us heart and hope.

Thus by extension his anthems remain anathema to the war-mongers, whore-mongers and just plain mongrels who still misrule so many countries and rob and miserably mislead their citizens.

So I see Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize as not just a fitting reward for him personally, and for the common people everywhere, but also as a poke in the eye for the members and accomplices of every rotten ruling regime on the planet, from China and Russia to Syria and Zimbabwe.

And, of course, along with almost countless others, Malaysia, for whose Islamic-supremacist and viciously anti-Semitic UMNO-BN regime the Swedish Academy’s honouring of Bob Dylan must be an especially bitter pill to swallow, as Dylan was born Robert Zimmerman of Jewish parents.

Then there’s the jealousy factor. Dylan has been actually given his Prize, whereas the members and cronies of UMNO-BN have to allegedly buy their awards and titles either by selling their souls in the service of royalty or the regime, or else by handing-over wads of hard cash.

But of course they’ll try to ignore Dylan’s achievement, or else try and diminish or outright dismiss it among themselves with such typically self-serving sentiments as “Dylan may well be an icon, but UMNO-BN is a far bigger ‘I con’,” or “he might have more gold albums than us, but we’ve got far more actual gold”.

Or else, “one single, solitary Nobel Prize is nothing compared with the numerous ignoble prizes we’ve awarded ourselves in all our decades of nobbling Malaysia and fobbing the Malaysian people off with a pack of lies.”

Deserving the Nobble Prize for Lieterature

In short, the members and accomplices of UMNO-BN can console themselves in the face of Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize for Literature with the thought that each and every one of them deserves the Nobble Prize for Lieterature.

They can take heart too, if they like, from the fact that, to judge from the titles of many of the songs for which Bob Dylan has been so highly honoured for writing, he could well have created them for UMNO-BN.

I’m joking, of course, as there’s no evidence in Bob Dylan’s life or work, as far as I know, that he’s ever so much as heard of Malaysia or its malevolent ruling regime.

However, it is tempting to observe that such titles as ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’, ‘Idiot Wind’ and ‘Talkin’ Devil’ could well be intended as descriptions of any of the public speeches or press-statements made by UMNO-BN ministers or minions in the past half-century or so.

Similarly, titles like ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’, ‘Rattled’, ‘Sitting on a Barbed Wire Fence’, ‘Wanted Man’ and ‘Wiggle Wiggle’ seem to be uncannily apt descriptions of how Prime (but let’s be honest here) Crime Minister Najib Abdul Razak must be feeling and doing as he anxiously awaits the results of international investigations into his alleged 1MDB embezzlement and money-laundering project.

Certainly the 2006 Dylan title ‘Ain’t Talkin’’ pretty accurately sums-up Najib’s attitude in the face of all the allegations he and his accomplices and accessories in this and many other scams are facing, and ‘Disease of Conceit’ aptly describes the attitude that got them into this fix in the first place.

No matter what he does to try and take ‘Shelter from the Storm’, however, let’s hope that other Dylan titles like ‘Seven Curses’, ‘Pay in Blood’, ‘End of the Line’, ‘Everything is Broken’, ‘Going Going Gone’ and above all ‘Steel Bars’ are accurate predictors of what’s in store for him and his entire UMNO-BN band of blunderers, plunderers and pathological liars.

So that, after so many decades of ‘Long and Wasted Years’ in which ‘The Devil’s Been Busy’ despite UMNO-BN’s false mantra of ‘With God On Our Side’, Malaysians will finally get to hear the ‘Chimes of Freedom’.

DEAN JOHNS, after many years in Asia, currently lives with his Malaysian-born wife and daughter in Sydney, where he coaches and mentors writers and authors and practises as a writing therapist. Published books of his columns for Malaysiakini include ‘Mad about Malaysia’, ‘Even Madder about Malaysia’, ‘Missing Malaysia’, ‘1Malaysia.con’ and ‘Malaysia Mania’.


The Musical Compositions of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand–A Tribute

Your Weekend Musical Guest–The Musical Compositions of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand


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Dr. Kamisiah Haider and Din Merican have chosen to play the musical compositions of the dearly departed, much respected and admired, and loved His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand.

For this weekend, we pay tribute to a multi-talented long serving  His Majesty King of Thailand for his many contributions to socio-economic development of the country he loved very much. By listening to His Majesty’s compositions, we  should not be surprised that His Majesty  The King is regarded as the Soul of Thailand. His Majesty’s musical compositions reflect his love and passion for the Thai People.

His Majesty is not just a wise and compassionate King but also a pioneer agriculturalist, humanist-environmentalist, scientist and talented musician. Let us and all mourners in Thailand listen to His Majesty’s wonderful compositions that will be remembered and appreciated through the ages by us in ASEAN and around the world.

Once again we wish to convey our heartfelt condolences to the people and the government of Thailand, in particular to our Thai friends, associates and readers of Din Merican’s blog. We join you in your moments of grief of His Majesty’s passing. At the same time, let us celebrate His Majesty’s life and legacy through his music.–Dr. Kamsiah Haider and Din Merican


Your Weekend Show Time Featuring The Shadows

October 8, 2016

Your Weekend Show Time Featuring The Shadows

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Dr Kamsiah Haider and Din Merican present The Shadows and the sound that made them famous around the world.  Although they were identified with Britain’s singing sensation of the Sixties, (Sir) Cliff Richard, we are certain that they are equally famous in their right for their unique sound and style. Please enjoy your weekend.–Dr.Kamsiah Haider and Din Merican


The Music of Count Basie and The Voice of 20th Century

September 30, 2016

The Music of Count Basie and The Voice of 20th Century

Let us usher in October with the music of Count Basie and Frank Sinatra for this weekend entertainment. Both the bandleader and the singer need no introduction. All we have to do is to sit back and enjoy their presentation.


On October 21, 2016, my Alma Mata, The Penang Free School will celebrate its 200th Anniversary. I am sorry I will not be there but some of my classmates will be there. Thank you, PFS, MU, and GWU (and my intellectual and academic mentor Dr. Philip D. Grub) for nurturing me. –Din Merican, PFS Class of 1959, UM Class of 1963 and The George Washington University Class of 1970.

We hope you have a good time. Whatever you plan to do, please pursue it in moderation. With best wishes from Dr. Kamsiah (now in Bangkok, Thailand) and Din Merican.

Down Memory Lane with Bobby Vee

September 24, 2016

Our Weekend Entertainment–Here’s Bobby Vee

Another Weekend is upon us and soon September will give way to October, and after that Americans will go to the ballot box to choose Obama’s successor in The White House. Who will she be? Your guess is as good as Dr. Kamsiah’s, or mine.

Our American friends are facing many challenges at home and abroad, quite reminiscent of 1968 when Din Merican was a 28-year-old student in Washington DC.

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At Pochengtong International Airport, Phnom Penh with Dr. Kamsiah Haider

America was then embroiled in the Vietnam War and engaged in the Cold War  with The Soviet Union. Today, the Land of the Brave and the Free is caught in a  Middle East mess over Syria  with a resurgent Putin-led Russia, and waging a war against international terrorism, while having to cope with social unrest and economic anxieties at home.

In 1968 , it was Richard M. Nixon and Hubert H. Humphrey and in 2016 it is Donald J. Trump and Hillary R. Clinton. In that election, Nixon won narrowly. Could the outcome of this  election be a Republican Presidency?   Although it is a toss-up at the stage and, therefore, too close call, that possibility cannot be ignored.

History could be repeating itself since the human race never learns its lessons, and we collectively are damned to repeat follies of the past.

We should be well advised  not to vex and wane over this since we cannot do anything about big power rivalry except to suffer the consequences when men with awesome power compete for supremacy.

Men and women, young and old, and children die as politicians in power and their advisors play  their war games in the comfort of their plush offices in their respective capitals, and at the United Nations, that useless relic of Second World War.

Dr Kamsiah and Din Merican are, however, happy to present Bobby Vee as our guest entertainer for this weekend. May Bobby bring back sweet memories of a bygone era for you. –Dr. Kamsiah Haider and Din Merican

Bonus No– Via Veneto by Dean Martin


Matt Monroe: From the Greatest London Bus Driver to Britain’s Voice of the 20th Century

September 11, 2016

Matt Monroe: From the Greatest London Bus Driver to Britain’s Voice of the 20th Century

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Greetings from Phnom Penh. Dr Kamsiah Haider is spending her Hari Raya Haji break with Din Merican.  We took a tour of some parts of Phnom Penh city. The rain did not damp our enthusiasm.

Politics aside, we have pleasure to introduce the singing London Business driver, the James Bond of British entertainment with his  unique clear voice with style that defines music of that era of 1950s and 196os, that is before the arrival of Cliff Richard and The Shadows and Liverpool boys, The Beatles on the scene. Dr Kamsiah  and Din Merican present this moving tribute to Terry Parsons/Matt Monroe. Enjoy.–Dr. Kamsiah Haider and Din Merican