Thursday, September 26, 2013

JUST Inhouse Forum: Religious Crisis in Myanmar - 28 Sepmber 2013, 10 a.m

JUST cordially invites you and your friends to the forum "Religious Crisis in Myanmar?".

JUST would be grateful if you wish to participate in this event and also appreciate if you can circulate this invitation among your network or share on your Facebook page?? 

The details are as follow:

   Date: 28.9.2013 (Saturday)
   Time: 10.00am - 12.00pm
Venue : JUST Office,JKR 1258 Jalan Telok,Off Jalan Gasing,
            46000 Petaling Jaya. 
Speaker: Associate Professor Dr. Farish Noor
            (Head of Religious Cluster on religio- politics in Southeast Asia, at                 the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies RSIS,  Nanyang                Technological University,Singapore, and a member of JUST)

Moderator: Mr. Nile Bowie

Myanmar is currently experiencing a slow and complicated transformation towards becoming a democracy, but at the same time recent developments have been a cause of international concern: The inter-religious and inter-ethnic violence in some parts of the country has contributed to the flight of Rohingjas who have become a refugee problem for neighbouring countries as well. This presentation will focus on one aspect of the problem, which is the rise of ethno-religious communitarian politics in Myanmar and the role - both positive and negative - that can be played by the Buddhist leaders of the country. It will also assess the impact of the Rohingja crisis on Myanamar and the countries close to it.

Admission is FREE. RSVP is required.

To RSVP, please fill in the registration form and send it back to us by 26th September 2013 via:

tel: 03-7781 2494
fax: 03-7781 3245

or obtain your free ticket through Eventbrite:

Seats are limited, please register yourself as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The toxic gas of hypocrisy By M. Veera Pandiyan

These days, it is harder to sell a war based on untruths or doubts, as the Obama administration is finding out.
Two weeks ago, Barack Obama led a huge gathering to mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington when Dr Martin Luther King Jr made his rousing “I Have a Dream” speech for peace, equality and justice.
The US president said King, the 1965 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was one of two leaders he admired most, the other being Abraham Lincoln.
Obama won the same award in 2009, after assuming office even when there wasn’t much to show over what he had done for global peace.
Last week, a Swedish reporter asked him to describe the dilemma to being a Noble Peace Prize winner and getting ready to attack Syria.
He must have been stumped but kept his composure, saying that even in his acceptance speech, he had admitted being undeserving compared with other recipients.
Obama said he had also mentioned the challenge of believing in peace in a world full of violence, adding that he had tried hard to end the war in Iraq, wind down the fighting in Afghanistan, strengthen commitment to multilateral action and promote diplomacy as a solution.
“The question that all of us face as political leaders is: At what point do we need to confront actions that are violating our common humanity?”
How about solid evidence? Going by the rabid fervour to bomb Syria over its government’s alleged but yet unproven use of chemical weapons, it is apparently unnecessary.
One wonders how King would have responded to such justification for violence.
A less famous speech to the American Psychological Association in 1967, seven months before he was assassinated, offers some insights.
“There are some things in our society, some things in our world, to which we should never be adjusted. There are some things which we must always be maladjusted if we are to be people of good will.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy

Say hi to Lucy.
Lucy is part of Generation Y, the generation born between the late 1970s and the mid 1990s. She's also part of a yuppie culture that makes up a large portion of Gen Y.
I have a term for yuppies in the Gen Y age group -- I call them Gen Y Protagonists & Special Yuppies, or GYPSYs. A GYPSY is a unique brand of yuppie, one who thinks they are the main character of a very special story.
So Lucy's enjoying her GYPSY life, and she's very pleased to be Lucy. Only issue is this one thing:
Lucy's kind of unhappy.
To get to the bottom of why, we need to define what makes someone happy or unhappy in the first place. It comes down to a simple formula:

It's pretty straightforward -- when the reality of someone's life is better than they had expected, they're happy. When reality turns out to be worse than the expectations, they're unhappy.
To provide some context, let's start by bringing Lucy's parents into the discussion:
Lucy's parents were born in the '50s -- they're Baby Boomers. They were raised by Lucy's grandparents, members of the G.I. Generation, or "the Greatest Generation," who grew up during the Great Depression and fought in World War II, and were most definitely not GYPSYs.

Lucy's Depression Era grandparents were obsessed with economic security and raised her parents to build practical, secure careers. They wanted her parents' careers to have greener grass than their own, and Lucy's parents were brought up to envision a prosperous and stable career for themselves. Something like this:

Monday, September 23, 2013

10,000 'nice' dedications for Malaysia by

Photos courtesy of Sunway Pyramid
PETALING JAYA (Sept 14): Mall visitors have dedicated almost 10,000 notes, flowers and balloons for Malaysia as they came together in the spirit of the #SaySomethingNice campaign at Sunway Pyramid, running from Aug 31 until Monday. 
Shoppers have been diligently drawing or writing messages in Malay, Chinese and English at the exhibition booth of the Pyramid Concourse, saying "I love Malaysia", "It's good to wake up to sunshine everyday feeling blessed", "Wishing for world peace" and "Cinta punya banyak warna tapi bentuknya tetap satu" (Love has many colours but its shape is just one), the mall said in a press release.  
Shoppers received balloons tagged with a nice note to uplift them during weekends and public holidays as well as flowers, also tagged with a nice note on Malaysia Day and Independence Day, it said. 
"It's indeed a pleasant surprise for us to receive the flowers," said shopper Emery Tan, who was at the #SaySomethingNice exhibition booth during Independence Day. "It really made my day."
"This is a refreshing reminder to us on the importance of words and how saying something nice makes a difference how we feel," another shopper, Chew Yee Wei, added. 
"The response so far from the public has been tremendous and we are very proud to be part of such a meaningful campaign to spur the optimistic vibes around us from Merdeka Day to Malaysia Day," said Sunway Shopping Malls COO Kevin Tan.
Members of the public were invited to spread the spirit of #SaySomethingNice on Malaysia Day. 
Visitors to the exhibition booth will receive balloons and flowers and can write heartfelt messages to send the message across for a meaningful Malaysia Day this year, it said. 

click here to read more

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Radio deejay and cartoonist teach children about bridging differences by Yvonne T. Nathan - The STAR

Telling her story: Azura (left) interacting with the children during the event. Art class:
Telling her story: Azura (left) interacting with the children during the event. Art class:
Enigmatic Red FM radio announcer Azura Zainal demonstrated the importance of unity to nearly 1,000 pupils of Sri KDU Primary School, as part of the second instalment of the #Say SomethingNice campaign (#SSNC).
Zubedy (M) Sdn Bhd managing director and founder Anas Zubedy who initiated the campaign, was also present, cheerfully starting the event with a dance to encourage the students and teachers to be more receptive to the messages of the event.
“We are here to celebrate the positive message, that although we may look different, we are actually all the same; a people of many colours with one race,” Anas said.
Azura captured the pupils’ attention with an uplifting talk in which she used visual aids and activities to show the children the way the brain distorted information and rejected what it did not recognise.
She said a growing obsession with technology, even among children, was one of the main reasons why people rarely spent enough quality time with one another.
“People don’t spend enough time talking to their friends and the people around them because they are busy with their gadgets and phones, but communication is very important,” she said.
She recounted how she used to play with friends of different races and religions during her childhood, and later meeting people from various countries.
“We need to be able to understand where they are coming from, their culture, their background and respect people’s differences by having an open mind because at the end of the day, you can learn something from them,” she said.
Azura stressed that everyone must learn to be a little more open-minded and not judge people because of the way they look or because of first impressions.
Full-time artist and TV2 children’s art tutor Hasren Ismail, better known as Uneh the Colour Pencil King and veteran naïve artist Ismail Baba joined in the efforts with a drawing workshop.
Uneh taught the children his drawing and colouring techniques to create heart-warmingly positive messages that will be given to the National Cancer Council (Makna) and distributed to cancer patients.
Azura, Uneh and Ismail volunteered because of their belief that unity begins from experiences as youths.

zubedy #SaySomethingNice Campaign - Hari Malaysia Media Coverage

By The STAR- More than a million have something nice to say about Malaysia 

PETALING JAYA: Malaysians proved that they loved their country and have nice things to say about it when more than a million people gave their views on the just-concluded #SaySomethingNice campaign (#SSNC).
Anas Zubedy, managing director and founder of Zubedy (M) Sdn Bhd, which ran the 17-day campaign that started on Merdeka Day, said it was a resounding success despite its short span.
Participants were encouraged to write “something nice” on posters that Zubedy and other participating groups had handed out.
The nationwide campaign to drive home the message of kindness, peace and a sense of camaraderie among Malaysians ended at the Tropicana City Mall here as the nation celebrated the 50th Malaysia Day yesterday.
Present at the event were Tropicana Corporation Bhd executive director Andrew Ashvin, Mydin Group managing director Datuk Ameer Ali Mydin and Sunway shopping malls senior manager (marketing) Loo Hoey Theen.
“We can’t pay or reward people to participate, yet we’ve found when you do good, people come forward to help you,” said Anas.
“People have been e-mailing back photos of what they drew or wrote on these posters and we will be putting them on our Facebook page,” he said, adding that over 15,000 posters were given out at schools and malls.
Anas said he planned to continue the programme with a goal to make it an annual event.
“We (at Zubedy) are just co-ordinators of the programme,” said Anas.
“Anyone can take part and even monitise it, within reason. I would like to see it adopted further than what we at Zubedy can do.”
Tropicana City Mall had opened a booth for the #SSNC programme and sold commemorative Touch N Go cards during the campaign period.
By The Sun Daily -  #SaySomethingNice ends on hopeful note

Aslina Bonari, 39, and her six-year-old daughter Athirah Adrol Shah wanted to 'SaySomethingNice'. SUNPIX by ASHRAF SHAMSUL

PETALING JAYA (Sept 16, 2013): A fun project launched on Merdeka Day to make Malaysians rise above negativity drew to a close on Malaysia Day today with a trip down the cultural lanes of the nation at Tropicana City Mall, Petaling Jaya.
The #SaySomethingNice campaign by Zubedy, an organisation with a social cause, closed with an invitation to a "rumah kampung" at the shopping mall, where visitors could pick up traditional games such as "congkak", "batu seremban" and "teng-teng".
They were also served local delicacies while singer Amirah Ali delivered a self-composed song titled Unity.
The brainchild of Anas Zubedy, the nationwide campaign hosted by Tropicana City Mall was mooted to showcase the best of Malaysia as well as to encourage people to always be positive and to say something nice.
The initiative revolved around the action "say" as that was the simplest of actions, and writing it out on the campaign's free posters hung on display.
"We should celebrate the many colours that make up the country's outlook," said the Zubedy managing director.
"Our leaders of the past chose to integrate the many ethnicities of the country instead of following the examples of assimilation by our neighbours like Thailand and Indonesia."
He hopes that in a decade, this initiative would grow exponentially to attract tourists to Malaysia to witness the display of unity and positivity.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hari Malaysia Speech – We Chose NOT to be colour blind.


Ladies and Gentlemen, friends and colleagues, peace be with you.

My speech today will cover two main parts. One, The Hari Malaysia celebration and two, the closing of our project the #SaySomethingNice campaign.

Today September 16th is Hari Malaysia. Exactly 50 years ago in 1963 we formed Malaysia. A day that has found a larger awareness amongst the rakyat the last few years .

Our message this year calls Malaysians to go back to basics. We need to Embrace Many Colors, One Race.

We featured Ngimat Ayu the late Pemanca or Paramount Leader of the Kelabits, our brother and sister Malaysians in Bario, Sarawak in our advert featured last Friday. He passed away recently. I was lucky to have lived with him for 8 days in 2008. He named me Giak. So, I am an associate member of the Kelabit people.

Let us embrace Many Colors, One Race.

We as a nation in 1957 and later 1963 chose integration over assimilation. We decided not to be colour-blind. Yes …. we decided not to be colour-blind.
We chose to practice The Quran Chapter 30 verse 22 where it says, “And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge”.

It was a bold and daring move. It is easier to choose the path of assimilation like our neighbours Indonesia and Thailand did.There all other cultures are put aside or discouraged, allowing only one culture to exist. Cultural names are exchanged with national ones. No need for negotiation, no need for empathy, no need for give and take. Take it or leave it.

Instead we chose to embrace all the colours. We created a nation with many colours but with the goal of becoming one Malaysian race. We are many colours, one race – a fine example of Unity in diversity.

It is very important that we the rakyat understand this position.

Take language, for example.

We allow and encourage every language to prosper instead of forcing one language on everyone – while at the same time promoting Bahasa Malaysia as our National Language and as a platform for Unity.

Our decision to integrate rather than assimilate is a wise one. Three thousand languages have ceased to be spoken all over the world and the number is growing.

While humanity, Malaysians included, always make a big hoo-haa about the extinction of animal species – which is good, many fail to pay attention to the demise of cultures and languages – which is bad.

This must be corrected

Malaysia is not going to be a party in this loss to humanity. We belong to a nation that cares for our cultural treasures - all cultural treasures.
We not only want to preserve, promote, and guard the main languages and cultures in our society but to also ensure smaller ones like Kelabit, Kristang, and Temuan.

They must not go extinct.

We must never allow any one of our many cultures and languages to perish – the loss of one is the loss of the whole.

Firstly, parents must pass this down to their children.

All these accusations that one group is trying to kill the language of the other via this or that school programs or syllabuses are shallow political talk.
What happens in school cannot kill a language or culture. What we do at home can.

If we do not speak our mother tongue at home to our children, we are ensuring its natural death. Let us stop blaming others and take responsibility – we take action and conquer our own failures.

The Buddha’s teaching in Dhammapada 103 says, “Though one should conquer a million men in battlefield, yet he, indeed, is the noblest victor who has conquered himself “. Pay heed!

At the same time we also want government policies not to neglect any cultural traditions. We expect businesspeople to balance profit and people. Civil society must play its part too.

This is important because our strength and beauty lie in our diversity.
As we are Many Colors, One Race.

This takes us to the second part of my speech. The closing ceremony of our #SaySomethingNice campaign.

A campaign that looks for the co-operation and involvement of individuals young and old, business organizations, civil society and the government. A total Malaysian affair.

The Tunku laid our foundation for success when he said, “Our future depends  on how well many different kinds of people can live and work together” This campaign is a direct practical application to Tunku’s wish. A wish that can be accepted by all regardless of race, religion or background.

For the Bible in Psalms 133:1 says, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity”. And the Rigveda says, “Let your aims be common, and your hearts of one accord, and all of you be of one mind, so you may live well together”.

The Rigveda is right. Through this campaign we made new friends. Fellow Malaysians that share the same heart, the same passion and a vision for a better Malaysia.

A vision not only to unite Malaysians but also create economic value to our UNIQUE SELLING POINT – our UNITY IN DIVERSITY

We have a dream that one day, perhaps in 10 to 15 years, this time segment between HARI MERDEKA & HARI MALAYSIA will be so renowned that it will attract tourists from all over the world in droves to visit the country and witness for themselves our Unity.

Today we stand proud that we took this first step.

Let’s celebrate and be joyous. Let’s congratulate and pat each other’s back. 
Let’s say thank you to all our fellow Malaysians who trust in our dreams.

The earlier Closing Gambit showed a collection of pictures of activities in our campaign this year. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! We made it happen.

Special thanks to the Team at zubedy who has been spending many day and NIGHTS to make sure the project is a success.

A very very BIG thank you to our friends here at Tropicana City Mall - Andrew, Mabel, Katy and our lovely girl made to run here and there for days, Erynn.

But brother and sister Malaysians let’s not stop here. Walt Disney once said, “ You are as good as your next picture”.  Let’s us not lose momentum. We must continue to move forward. Personally I have set three meetings within this month to gain more support for next year’s campaign. We must also improve our organization.

Let’s pledge for #SaySomethingNice 2014 Campaign. Let us all make next year’s campaign an even better one.

Before I end I would like to share with you some challenging experience.When we first mooted this project, I received quite a few nasty emails, facebook and direct comments. Many suggested that we were simply dreaming. Some even laughed openly – they said we were simply naïve. Simply silly.

You too may have met with such reactions. But we must practice turning the other cheek. We must answer bad with good. Hate with love. There are not many bad people, just unconscious ones. It is our job to educate and win their hearts.

We must continue our good work, no matter what others may say. We must trust God will repay good with good.

Going forward we can learn from this video.

When we #SaySomethingNice, #DoDomethingNice, or #GiveSomethingNice … it may take time to bear fruit, to show results. It may even take 30 years. But I promise you. IT WILL BE WORTH IT!!!

Thank you.

Anas Zubedy

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Have a meaningful Hari Malaysia - Friday in The STAR

Ngimat Ayu @ Gerawat Aran (1921 – 2013) was the Pemanca (Paramount Leader) of the Kelabits.
He believed that the values and traditions of our ancestors emphasise ‘peruyung’, ‘peruyud’, and
‘perurum’ (collectivity, collaboration, and cooperation).

Back to basics: Embrace many colors, one race.

We as a nation chose integration over assimilation. We decided not to be colour-blind. Instead we chose to embrace all the colours. We created a nation with many colours but with the goal of becoming one Malaysian race. We are many colours, one race – a fine example of Unity in diversity.

It is very important that we the rakyat understand this position.

Take language, for example. We allow and encourage every language to prosper instead of forcing one language on everyone  – while at the same time promoting Bahasa Malaysia as our National Language and as a platform for Unity.

Our decision to integrate rather than assimilate is a wise one. Three thousand languages have ceased to be spoken all over the world and the number is growing. We are not going to be a party in this loss to humanity. We belong to a nation that cares for our cultural treasures.

We not only want to preserve, promote, and guard the main languages and cultures in our society but to also ensure smaller ones like Kelabit, Kristang, and Temuan do not go extinct. We must never allow even one of our many cultures and languages to perish – the loss of one is the loss of the whole.
Parents must pass this down to their children. Government policies must not neglect any cultural traditions. Businesspeople must balance profit and people. Civil society must play its part too. This is important because our strength and beauty lie in our diversity.

We are Many Colours, One Race!

At zubedy, our programs draw strength from our shared values and traditions. We believe that at heart, all Malaysians want good things for themselves and for their brother and sister Malaysians, simply because our nation cannot prosper as a whole if some of us are left behind.

Let us be, first and foremost, Malaysians.

Let us add value,

Have A Meaningful Hari Malaysia.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Syria : A 12 Point Case Against Military Intervention by Dr. Chandra Muzaffar

The House of Representatives and the Senate of the United States of America should reject any form of US military intervention in Syria.
Rejection would be a clear statement against war. It would be a lucid message on behalf of peace.
There are at least 12 reasons why the US Congress, and the people of the world, should adopt such a stand.
One, if the two houses represent the voice of the American people, it is significant that 50% of the people are against military intervention in Syria according to a NBC poll conducted on the 28-29 of August 2013. Only 42% support military action. It is also important to bear in mind that the people in countries regarded as the US’s ‘comrades-in-arms’ are also opposed to military force. In France it is 64% of the citizenry. In Britain, the House of Commons, reflecting popular sentiment, has voted against military intervention in Syria.
Two, since the United Nations’ investigation team has just begun its analysis of the alleged chemical attack near Damascus on 21 August, the US Congress should insist that President Obama wait until its findings are made public, before any multilateral — not unilateral—decision under the aegis of the UN is taken on Syria. Though the UN report will not tell us directly who was responsible for the attack, there may be enough circumstantial evidence in it to indicate the likely culprit. Obama’s disdainful attitude towards the UN’s investigation is an affront to the world’s most important international institution. Former US president George Bush junior was also guilty of such disdain when he ignored the UN Security Council (UNSC) in his arrogant march to war in Iraq in 2003.
Three, an attack on Syria would also be a violation of international law since Syria has not attacked the US. Like Bush, Obama has decided to bypass the UNSC. In fact, on a number of occasions in the last three decades, the US has, without going through the UNSC, invaded other sovereign states.
Four, the US Congress should in all fairness accord due  consideration to the facts and arguments advanced by those who insist that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could not have been responsible for the chemical weapons attack. Why would he want to use such a weapon in the presence of the UN investigation team that he himself had invited to ascertain the truth about earlier chemical gas attacks? More importantly, what does Bashar gain from a chemical attack when he has already scored a series of victories on the battle-ground in recent months?
Five, in contrast to Bashar, the armed opposition in Syria appears to have compelling motives for launching a chemical weapons assault. It would serve to draw the US and its allies into a direct military involvement in Syria especially since Obama had declared repeatedly that the use of chemical weapons by Bashar would be the red line that would provoke a US response. There have been other occasions in the course of the 30 month conflict when the armed rebels have manipulated incidents and events to elicit some reaction or other from Western powers or the UN. Often, incidents linked to heinous mass killings committed by the rebels are blamed upon the Bashar government via a biased global media. The 21 August chemical gas incident has all the markings of a meticulously planned and executed false flag operation.   
Six, indeed the US is guilty of fabricating various false flag operations since it emerged as a colonial power at the end of the nineteenth century. From the battleship Maine  incident in Havana in 1898 to the Gulf of Tonkin episode in 1964 to the Kuwait incubator event in 1990 to the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) myth in Iraq in 2003, US intelligence and security outfits have become adept at creating situations and circumstances which are then manipulated to undermine ‘the enemy.’
Seven, the hypocrisy of US political and security elites is not confined to false flag operations. Even when it comes to the use of chemical weapons, it is obvious that what the elites preach often contradicts their actual behaviour. Today, US leaders condemn the use of chemical weapons as morally reprehensible. We ask, who used agent orange in Vietnam which led to the death of thousands? Who supplied through oblique channels mustard gas to Saddam Hussein in his aggression against Iran — gas which he employed in Halabjah in March 1988 killing 5000 defenceless people?  And what about the depleted uranium widely used in Iraq in the wake of the Anglo-American invasion of that land in 2003? To this day, hundreds of babies continue to be born deformed as a result of the impact of DU. US  leaders have no moral authority to pontificate about the obscenity of chemical weapons.
Eight, that the moral fig-leaf is a cover for motives which are related to power and politics is borne out by yet another dimension of the chemical weapons issue. If Obama has chosen to be bellicose on the issue, it is partly because his Administration sees it as an assertion of power against Russia in light of a number of recent developments in which the latter has stood up to the US. Through the Syrian conflict, the US elite aims to show President Vladimir Putin that the US is still the world’s sole military superpower and not to be trifled with.
Nine, the conflict raises yet another question of morality and power. The US and its Western allies, like its regional partners such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Israel, are funding, arming, providing intelligence and offering logistical assistance to groups totally committed to violence and terror as a method of achieving their goal of ousting the Bashar government. The Jahbat al-Nusra, linked to Al-Qaeda — arguably the strongest of the armed groups ― is a case in point. On the hand, the US and the others proclaim that they are all opposed to violence and terrorism and yet on the other hand they unscrupulously use terror outfits in pursuit of their power.
Ten, the Syrian conflict has also reinforced longstanding sectarian and tribal divisions in West Asia and North Africa (WANA). Actors within and without WANA are exploiting the Sunni-Shia dichotomy in particular as a way of playing the majority sect in Islam against the minority with the aim of weakening Muslim solidarity. Sectarian violence is now rearing its ugly head not just in Syria but also --- and for a much longer while --- in Lebanon, Bahrain and Iraq.
Eleven, needless to say, sectarian clashes in WANA benefit Israel which views turmoil and upheaval in its neighbourhood as a boon to its  goal of remaining the dominant force in the region. For the Israeli elite, the ability of their nation to perpetuate its dominance is sine qua non for the security of the state which is their primary obsession. It is significant that Israel and Zionism have been able to ensure that US and Western policy as a whole in WANA is dovetailed to meet the core interests of the Israeli state. Taking military action against Syria with the objective of overthrowing Bashar is what Israel wants because Bashar is an important link in the axis of resistance to Israeli dominance which includes Iran and Hezbollah. Israel has conducted three air strikes within Syria in the last six months and its commandos have been training segments of the armed opposition. It is believed that the so-called ‘independent’ intelligence on the 21 August chemical weapons incident that is being hawked around by the US and Britain is actually from Israel. In this regard, it is worth reiterating that Israel is the hidden hand in much of the politics of other states in WANA such as Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Sudan.
Twelve, by taking military action against WANA states ― partly at the urging of Israel ― the US has brought nothing but misery and suffering to the people. The classic example is of course Iraq. 10 years after its conquest by the US and Britain, Iraq is a totally devastated nation, wrecked by perpetual sectarian violence, first ignited by the invasion itself in 2003. Outside WANA there is the other tragic case of Afghanistan which 12 years after the US-NATO occupation is still mired in the agony of chaos. Why should Syria be any different?  Some advocates of military intervention in Syria are of the opinion that since the military action that Obama is planning is limited in scope and duration, Syria will not end up like Iraq or Afghanistan.  There is no guarantee. Once it commences, the military operation could assume a life of its own. The response from the Syrian military command, and the reaction of Iran and Russia could be decisive. Besides, there are individuals and groups in Obama’s trench who are determined to oust Bashar, to achieve regime change. That could lead to a prolonged campaign.
Instead of travelling further down the military route, the US House of Representatives and the Senate should urge Obama to lend his weight to the proposed US-Russia meeting on Syria to be attended by all the other regional and international actors connected to the Syrian conflict.  Securing an immediate ceasefire would be the meeting’s principal goal. The US and its allies should cease providing military, monetary and all other forms of assistance to the armed opposition on the ground. As the opposition’s benefactors turn off the tap, so should Bashar’s Russian and Iranian backers. The ceasefire should be supervised by the UN and would set the stage for the establishment of an interim national unity government comprising representatives from Bashar’s Baath Party, the legitimate Syrian opposition and independent individuals. The unity government will draft a new constitution which will provide for a parliamentary election to be followed immediately by a presidential election. Both elections, and the referendum on the constitution, should be conducted and monitored by the UN.
These are ideas which have been on the table before but they have not materialised. Both Bashar and his opponents and their respective supporters should prove, through deeds, that this time they will make a determined effort to achieve results. They should realise that the alternative to a peaceful resolution of the conflict through negotiations is a continuous, brutal, bloody civil-cum-proxy war without winners.

Friday, September 6, 2013

‘Zubedians’ walk the talk By Yvonne T. Nathan

Ready to serve: Zubedy (right) and his team volunteering to help Kechara Soup Kitchen distribute food for the homeless.
Ready to serve: Zubedy (right) and his team volunteering to help Kechara Soup Kitchen distribute food for the homeless
ACTIONS speak louder than words decided Anas Zubedy, who with his employees, kicked off the #SaySomethingNice campaign (#SSNC) with #ServeSomethingNice.
The ‘Zubedians’ led by their managing director and founder Anas Zubedy, found their own way to give back to society by volunteering at Kechara Soup Kitchen (KSK) on Merdeka Day to provide food for the homeless.
Nazrin Fikri, 20, came up with the idea for the campaign after seeing the tears shed by a grateful man he had offered food to.
“In my view, people’s perception is that if we feed the homeless, they just get lazy; but although giving food is just a small thing to us, it means a lot to those who haven’t had a proper meal in days,” he said.
The employee of Zubedy Sdn Bhd’s discovered KSK, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to providing basic necessities to people without a place to call home.
The sentiment which echoed the core ideals of #SSNC culminated in a fund-raising effort for KSK, as well as the eager participation of 25 ‘Zubedians’ alongside KSK volunteers in distributing food to 650 people around Kuala Lumpur, irrespective of race, gender or beliefs.
The programme began with the orientation of all newly-registered volunteers by KSK committee member Justin Cheah.
Cheah related the common misconception many have that providing the homeless with food and other provisions only encourages them to continue living on the streets.
“This isn’t just a touch-and-go service, our main goal is to reduce homelessness; so we first develop their trust and help with job placements or persuade those in need to seek help through other forms such as counselling,” he said.
KSK committee member Wong Kwok Wai knows most cases by heart; he recounted the story of Sulaiman, an employed man unable to afford the high rental in Kuala Lumpur who has been sleeping in a bus stop for 14 years, so he can send the money he earns back to his family in the village.
Passing the place where Sulaiman sleeps, Wong said, “He carries all his worldly possessions around in the two bags next to him, that’s why you never really know what people are going through or what they have been through so why judge?”
Everyone had the genuine desire to help the appreciative and generally good-humoured people in need.

#SaySomethingNice Happenings

The #SaySomethingNice has started on 31st August 2013 and our partners’ and supporters’ spaces are abuzz with their activities for the campaign. Until the campaign period ends on 16th September, our partners and supporters are spreading the message of #SaySomethingNice where they showcase the best of Malaysia while doing something good for the nation. This is what some of our partners and supporters have been doing with the #SaySomethingNice campaign so far.

Sunway Pyramid

On 29th August 2013, the #SaySomethingNice campaign was kicked off officially with Sunway Pyramid’s launch. Supporters of the campaign, friends of zubedy, and members of the media came to make the event a memorable one.

After the launch, Sunway Pyramid surprised its shoppers with giving away 1,000 flowers and balloons to everyone. Each of these flowers and balloons came with small notes of cheer and happiness that put a smile on everyone’s face.

For the stretch of the campaign, Sunway Pyramid has provided a space for other supporters of the campaign to showcase their way of doing the campaign. The booths at Sunway Pyramid welcome shoppers to write positive messages on Post-Its and put the up on pillars for others’ delight. Other than that, posters of #SaySomethingNice are given away at the booth as well.

Sunway Pyramid is giving more flowers and balloons to visitors on every weekend until the campaign period ends.

Tropicana City Mall

The display of #SaySomethingNice banner at the mall went up on 26th August 2013 and it will be there until the closing ceremony on 16th September, which will be held at the same space.

The theme for Tropicana City Mall’s #SaySomethingNice is Malaysian Tradition. Traditional games such as congkak and teng-teng (hopscotch) are featured at the space and shoppers can spend their time with their family and friends playing these games.
Tropicana City Mall is also exhibiting Ninot Aziz’s 17 illustrations from her A Hikayat A Day.

On 31st August, Tropicana City Mall’s #SaySomethingNice space was pulsating with one of the campaign supporter’s activity. Khema-Yen, her group of mandala drawing instructors, and a group of participants came to draw mandalas together. From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., they sat together, learned about mandalas, and drew mandalas together to promote the message of healing and showcasing the best of Malaysia.

#PlantSomethingNice by TATA Consultancy Services Malaysia (TCS)
TCS plans to donate 500 saplings of neem trees to schools during the campaign period. Their aim is to help the environment as neem trees are known for their environmental and medicinal purposes. On Hari Merdeka, the program was started at SMK Bandar Sunway. TCS employees and their heads brought 70 neem saplings to the school and planted the little trees themselves. 

#SaySomethingNice poster by campaign supporters

To serve a platform for Malaysians to say nice things to each other, zubedy has printed posters to be used for this purpose. Many supporters have come to grab them and putting the posters to good use. Positive messages about the country, their people, and their organizations adorn these posters.


Sekolah Kebangsaan Temenggong Abdul Rahman 1

Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB)


Sri KL