January 28, 2009

Malaysian People In The News- Rihanna

PAS To Protest Against Rihanna Concert
The Star Online
25th January 2009


PAS remain persistent in their efforts to prevent popstar Rihanna from performing in Malaysia despite the Government's approval.

Best Quotes

PAS chief Kamaruzaman Mohamad said the demonstration would mainly be to exert pressure on the Government to show that the movement disapproved of such concerts, which it described as unsuitable for the country.

Kamaruzaman said he was upset with the government’s decision to reject their memorandum.

“Rihanna’s image including her dressing is not suitable for our culture,” he said.

“Even if she wore a headscarf here, we know it is not her real self because she performs differently in other places,” he said, adding that they had sent a memorandum to the Religious Affairs Department to have a standard guidelines for such concerts.


PAS are obsessive and aggressive when the thought of Rihanna comes up, stressing and incessantly pressing the issue of prohibition. Despite their best efforts, the Government doesn't see a reason to stop the music.

Stuff Mentioned

January 21, 2009

#54 Chinese New Year

It's that time of the year again when the Chinese people of Malaysia celebrate the Chinese New Year, the first day of the first lunar month in the Chinese calendar. The great thing about ethnic festivals in Malaysia is that regardless of your religious or spiritual persuasion, you won't feel left out during such festivities. And Chinese New Year is no exception. After all, everyone gets two days off work.

As opposed to other holidays that are religion-specific, Chinese New Year requires no such commitment to faith or belief. The only stipulation is that you be, well, Chinese. As with all things Chinese, the New Year will revolve around ideas of prosperity, wealth, good fortune, auspiciousness and health. And many, many time honored traditions and customs (you don't want to know).

You'll also be seeing red, but in a good way, as Chinese recognize the color red as a symbolism of wealth, fortune and happiness. By now you would have identified the subtext of money and its importance to the Chinese but of course, one should never be so crude as to suggest CNY is a celebration of currency. It's really all about family and new beginnings. And prosperity.

The CNY festivities typically start with the Reunion Dinner whereby families near and far gather to have the meal on the Eve of the CNY. This normally sets the scene for reluctant reconciliation and temporary truces while each member compares their good fortune over the past year and compete to see who has accomplished more. It's also a good time to interrogate members of the family who are single and attempt to set them up with "someone nice". Following a meal that will entail plenty of jostling for food and biting criticism subsequently, there'll probably be a gambling session (notice the subtext again). Some people will observe superstitions such as washing hands of bad luck or donning lucky underwear.

On the First Day of the CNY, families visit their elders and each other's houses. Red packets will be exchanged. Children will sneak away to inspect the contents of said packets. Families resume eating traditional CNY meals and another round of gambling will take place. At night, there'll be a showcase of fireworks. The more ostentatious Chinese folk will purchase the loudest and most colorful fireworks displays to ring in the New Year (rule of thumb: big and loud is very CNY).

And then it goes on for another 14 days of pretty much the same thing happening but on an increasingly smaller scale as the celebrations dwindle and routine sets in. By then you'll have ODed on Mandarin oranges and peanuts, conducted your red packet balance sheet, gambled away a small fortune, watched a few lion dances and seen off annoying relatives until the following year. All in all, a very productive holiday.

Remember that this is a glorious opportunity to get in the good graces of your Chinese Malaysian friends. Wear lots of red, gush about the rich culture and traditions of CNY and lose some money to the host of the open house you're attending. Consider it your contribution to the sustenance of Chinese heritage.

January 16, 2009

Malaysianspeak- Lah


A Manglish particle used primarily at the end of sentences to affirm a point or statement. Also to add weight to a sentence not unlike an exclamation mark.

Malaysian Usage:

i) Ya lah
ii) No lah
iii) Economy bad lah
iv) Petrol price down lah
v) Go mamak lah
vi) Virtually with anything


a) He's getting married lah. No more crazy nights out already. It's parenthood and Pampers for him now lah!

b) Yeah lah, she's like that one. You can't save a damsel who likes her distress lah.

c) Your fault lah! Who asked you to come late?


Lah is ubiquitously used in the Malaysian lexicon. Much like other Malaysian phrases or colloquialisms, its usage can be varied to signify diverse emotions, connotations or expressions. If you are unfamiliar with the use of Lah, observe how real Malaysians incorporate it into daily conversations before attempting it. Otherwise you run the risk of sounding obnoxious. Or French. Same thing really.

January 7, 2009

#53 Has-Been Concerts At Genting Highlands

Malaysia has always been a veritable ground for foreign artistes looking to build and grow a solid fan base. Regardless of whoever the artist(s) is, rest assured that there will be a tweenybopper, emo teen, diva enthusiast or contemporary pop connoisseur here to welcome their idols with open arms and zero judgement.

However, there remains a niche market in Malaysia that foreign acts have identified and continued to exploit over the years. These artistes are those in the twilight of their careers, seeking a little nostalgia trip as well as a fiscal boost to their ailing royalties and to further fund their retirement plans.

The one place in Malaysia that hosts these memory lane moments is Genting Highlands; otherwise known for being a mountain resort, gambling den of decadence and the only place in Malaysia whose weather doesn't reduce you to a hot, sweaty mess.

Part of the reason why these concerts are held in Genting Highlands is because it's far enough from anyone you know, which spares you the embarrassment should you be caught indulging in corny, dated music performed by geriatric popstars. However, if you are below the age of 30 and are caught in such a compromising situation, just say that you're there to accompany your parent/uncle/auntie who begged you to drive them up the steep, winding mountain and attend the concert. Don't worry, the countless number of senior citizens there will assist in your charade.

But regardless of your age and mortifying taste in music, it's completely understandable and you shouldn't have to apologize. After all, it really is hard to say you're sorry for habits that are hard to break.