Thursday, February 13, 2014

Vacancies for the position of Programme Coordinator at International Movement for a Just World (JUST)

International Movement for a Just World (JUST) is a non-governmental organisation that has been tirelessly promoting an alternative international order which will enhance human dignity and social justice by establishing a spiritual and intellectual foundation for a just world.
We have been around since 1992. For over 20 years, we’ve published commentaries and articles on current and contemporary issues through both print and electronic media, produced and distributed books, monographs and pamphlets. We work with many prolific and respectable figures in our efforts to promote a just world. We hold talks, workshops, forums and conferences directed at specific target groups and the general public, especially focussing on youths.
And now there is a chance for you to be part of our small and enthusiastic team of dedicated staff and volunteers. JUST is looking for a suitable candidate for the position of Programme Coordinator. The Programme Coordinator is expected to:
-          Report directly to the Secretary-General and President
-          Be in charge of youth programmes, including:
  • Forums
  • International conferences
-          Liaise with and represent JUST to other organisations when dealing with external parties
-          Assist JUST’s role at the global level
-          Organise and write on current international issues
-          Assist in fundraising efforts
-          Represent JUST in international forums

If you have a strong command of English, are between the ages of 20-35 years, and have experience in organising events and promoting specific causes; please submit your application or enquiries to or we can be contacted at 03 7781 2494.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The circus is in town by Wong Chun Wai - The STAR

Our politicians should spare us the blushes and sign up for media engagement courses.
WE are indeed still in a silly season. From gaffes over the price of kangkung to comparing a politician to the likes of Winston Churchill. From idolising this same politician as godsent and world-class material to producing a distasteful Chinese New Year video, it simply means our politicians are lousy at media engagement.
Even the Prime Minister has suggested that Cabinet members should take media engagement courses, pointing out the importance of giving out “clear and proper explanations” on government policies. We assume that includes himself.
Here are 11 points that politicians should accept before they even bother signing up for such a course.
Point No 1: The world has changed. No one has a monopoly on the distribution of news. The last thing politicians, especially those in government, should do is to dictate terms on how news should be skewed and written to benefit them. Only one politician still has the privilege of doing that – Kim Jong-un. Well, he has total control over everything, everyone and every piece of kimchi in Pyongyang.
Point No 2: Learn to laugh at yourselves. Humour seems to be lacking in our politicians. They confine themselves too much in a straitjacket. They are too sensitive to criticism and are easily upset. That’s being thin-skinned, which is strange because all politicians are supposed to be thick-skinned. The only exception, again, is if you are the Dear Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which is anything but democratic.
Humour is also possibly scarce in Taliban country. How can they possibly smile and laugh when they are stuck in caves most of the time with only camels as their companions?
Just take a leaf from London Mayor Boris Johnson, who sportingly joked and laughed at himself when he was stuck dangling in mid-air while riding a zip wire as part of the 2012 Olympics celebrations. He has also cleverly used his many guffaws to endear himself to the voters.
The Chinese New Year video by the MCA Youth taking a dig at that superbly ridiculous “Love Is In The Air” election video by the Bukit Bintang MCA is refreshing. Learn to laugh at yourself.
Point No 3: Chicken is simply food to people. Chickens are not used for political purposes. Older Chinese may insist on slaughtering chickens in temples to prove their innocence but to most of us, a lie detector would do a better job. Besides, what have these innocent chickens done to politicians that they have to be sacrificed in this manner? You can slap my back for laughing at silly video jokes but why must you offer me RM1,200 to slap someone on her face? Now, that could be slapstick comedy! Pakatan politician Teresa Kok can be likened to a fighting cock and her video may be full of cock and bull. But it’s best we leave the animals out of the fight. Just leave that to the real political animals.
Point No 4: Can we cut the charade of addressing every Tan Sri, Puan Sri, Datuk Seri, Datin Seri, Datuk-Datuk, Datin-Datin …? This whole salutation takes up too much time. Can we just get straight to the point? Most journalists find such salutations a complete waste of time. The only ones excited are these titled people. Surely, not the ordinary people. The time will be better used explaining what needs to be said by our leaders. We are no longer feudal although we respect the traditions.
Point No 5: Never talk down to the people. The rakyat are not stupid. Don’t lecture us and don’t expect Malaysians, especially the taxpayers, to be thankful, grateful and blindly loyal to politicians for just doing what they are voted in to do. Politicians are supposed to serve the people and not the other way around. So if that point is made clear, our leaders will be able to communicate more effectively with the people. It’s that simple, really.
Point No 6: Stop paying a bomb to spin doctors calling themselves media consultants. It’s really a con job. How would these guys know the political behaviour of Malaysians when they don’t even know their way around town? Except maybe Bangsar? So, forget about giving fat contracts to these expatriate self-declared experts with their fanciful graphs and power point presentations.
There’s a battalion of Malaysian ex-newsmen working as press secretaries, advisers and aides in Putrajaya. They know the job better.
Point No 7: Politicians get into trouble because they tell different things to different audiences. That’s what happens when their mouths are bigger than their brains. Everything and anything can now be captured as pictures, sound bites or video clips via the smartphone. Voters love to expose politicians and these videos have a way of going viral on social media.
Point No 8: Be clever. Using those instant one-man outfits disguised as non-governmental organisations to carry out your dirty tricks, and then disassociating from these political jesters, won’t work. The public hates it. The media hate it. Everyone can see through these devious schemes except the politicians who think we don’t. Does anyone actually join the Persatuan Mukabuku Malaysia?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Open the Gates of Ijtihad, Closed Since 1258: Egyptian Leader Calls For Reformation in Islam By Claude Salhani - New Age Islam

The head of the military government that ousted the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammad Morsi from power in Cairo has taken the highly unusual step of calling for the reformation of Islam.
Such actions have in the past brought down the wrath of Islamists who typically label anyone calling for reform an apostate.
First, a quick look back: On September 11, 2001, the world awoke to two terrible tragedies; the one that was seen by millions of people on live television as Muslim extremists crashed passenger planes into the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, the Pentagon, just outside Washington, D.C. and in a field in rural Pennsylvania.
The other reality was far more complex than and not as visible as jetliners slamming into sky scrapers. That was the fact that there was something terribly wrong within the House of Islam.
If the first issue, that of terrorism, was addressed by military force, as was the U.S. reply to 9/11, the invasion of Afghanistan and ultimately, of Iraq, the second issue, that afflicting the followers of one of the great religions, Islam, had to be addressed from within.
This is an extremely sensitive topic. Due to the very nature of militant Muslims who have quite literally hijacked the religion to suit their political objectives, projecting an image of violence and non-tolerance of anyone not accepting their medieval views of the world. All experts who followed the debate were quite adamant in their prognostics of what was the solution to the crisis tearing Islam apart: that a solution had to come from within Islam.
In no manner could it be imported from the West. The problem was that no one leader in the Arab and/or Muslim world dared speak up, lest they be accused of apostasy. That is until now.
In an extremely rare display of courage and bravery by a leader in the Arab world General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, the commander of the Egyptian Armed Forces and current head of state, spoke out for the need of reformation in Islam. During a speech, which went unreported by the Western media, General El-Sisi delivered at the Armed Forces' Department of Moral Affairs in Cairo, the general stated: "Religious discourse is the greatest battle and challenge facing the Egyptian people, pointing to the need for a new vision and a modern, comprehensive understanding of the religion of Islam-rather than relying on a discourse that has not changed for 800 years."
Coming from the current ruler and very possibly the next president of Egypt, this statement carries great importance and must not be underestimated by any means.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Lightning Lady shows women engineers the way - The STAR

MORE and more women are taking up engineering, a field that is no longer the domain of men.
It is no longer strange to see women leading technical discussions or wearing hard hats and boots at construction sites or oil production platforms.
Since many women engineers have now attained managerial and top executive positions, a leadership forum for women in engineering has been organised annually with the next one in mid-February.
I would like to share about one such engineer who has been quietly playing a key role on the world stage for the past two decades.
She is well known among western experts as the first woman to develop the latest method of lightning protection that is already being used worldwide.
Although she is not an academic nor affiliated to any established research body, her publications have been highly cited by dozens of lightning experts in reference books, engineering journals, technical reports and also in foreign postgraduate theses on lightning protection.
Robiah Ibrahim (aka. Ruby) was born and raised in the southern state of Johor. Nicknamed the “Lightning Lady” by her ex-schoolmates from Tunku Kurshiah College, she studied electrical engineering in a local university when the highly demanding course was still a male-dominated one more than three decades ago.
She became prominent in the scientific world when her inaugural paper on lightning damage to buildings caught the attention of professors from Australia and Singapore back in 1995.
With their support, her work was highlighted to lightning experts in CIGRE, the international technical organisation that studies lightning and high voltage phenomena.
Apparently, she had co-discovered a key mechanism for lightning strikes by studying the pattern of lightning damage on tall buildings in the country.
She also suggested a new and highly effective method for protecting tall buildings from being damaged by lightning strikes.
Her novel method was first endorsed in the Australian lightning protection standard in 2003 after a detailed study led by Professor Mat Darveniza of the University of Queensland.
The professor, a highly respected expert in the world of lightning protection, was also instrumental for introducing her method to the technical committees of CIGRE and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the international standards body based in Geneva.
In 2006, the IEC endorsed Robiah’s method in the revised lightning protection standard, the IEC62305. Malaysia, being a member of the IEC, endorsed the revised IEC standard as the Malaysian standard a year later.
Among women lightning protection experts, Robiah definitely occupies the top position since no other women in history has had their work or discovery included in either the national or international lightning protection standards. This is certainly a scientific first for an Asian, a Malaysian and a woman.
What is surprising about Robiah is the fact that she became an internationally recognised expert on lightning protection through self-study.
Since the subject was not taught at university level then, she had studied the subject from dozens of articles extracted from engineering books, technical magazines and scientific journals.
These articles were collected over a period of 10 years prior to writing her first paper in 1995.
The fact that Malaysia has one of the highest number of thunderstorm days in the world also aided in her understanding of the subject.
When her work was first published in an international conference that was held in Kuala Lumpur, only lightning experts like Professor Darveniza and his colleagues could understand its contents. Since then, several renowned western lightning experts have visited the country in order to witness the damages first hand and to learn how the data was collected.