BlessingsMay Allah grant us with MORE. Happy and blessed Wednesday everyone :)

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Project shows what it means to be poor

 Poor man’s meal: A photo submitted by Atty Sulaiman showing what a person can buy with RM7 a day – (from left) fish, tempe and rice.
Poor man’s meal: A photo submitted by Atty Sulaiman showing what a person can buy with RM7 a day – (from left) fish, tempe and rice

BEIJING: How much food can we get with RM7?

Stefen Chow, a Beijing-based Malaysian photographer, is calling on the public to join in “The Poverty Line” project by submitting photographs of food items bought with RM7 on a sheet of newspaper.

“It is how much a person living on the poverty line can afford to spend on food each day,” said Chow, 35.

Among the entries he has received so far include a packet of nasi kandar submitted by Belinda Ho in Penang; and a selection of grocery items such as potatoes, tomatoes, eggs, shallots, ladies’ fingers and curry powder by Joseph Foo in Kuala Lumpur.

“The Poverty Line” (http://www.thepovertyline.net/) is a visual project created by Chow and his wife Lin Hui-Yi back in 2010 in Beijing, and since then, it has been expanded to more than 20 countries.

Viewers are able to discern the countries discussed based on the newspapers that serve as the background, while the newspaper’s content conveys social context at the time the photographs were taken.

Chow’s job as a freelance photographer allows him to travel around the world.

Lin, an economist, works out the amount of money a poor person allocates for food per day in each country, while Chow then purchases food items from local grocers and photographs them on local newspapers.

Essentially, the project attempts to answer the question “What it means to be poor?”

Beginning early this month, Chow and Lin decided to open up for submissions from people residing in Malaysia, Singapore (S$2.25 or RM6.03), India (47 rupees or RM2.76) and Hong Kong (HK$25.25 or RM11.73).

Enough for just one meal: A packet of nasi kandar submitted by Ho against a sheet of a local Chinese newspaper.

Enough for just one meal: A packet of nasi kandar submitted by Ho against a sheet of a local Chinese newspaper.

By responding to their call, the public becomes part of the larger discussion about poverty and food choices around the world.

“While artwork is, a lot of times, a one-way conversation with the artists communicating their intentions for interpretation, we are inviting the public to be part of the conversation in this case.

“We have already thought about it for years to engage the audience in a two-way conversation with the artwork,” Chow said when contacted.

Chow, whose photograph of Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei won the second prize in the staged portraits category in the 56th World Press Photo contest in 2013, lives in Beijing with Lin and their daughter.

“The Poverty Line” was also awarded with the grand prize in Arles Open Photography Salon in 2011.

“We intend to open this project to 60 countries by the end of the year and hopefully it will morph into an international movement,” he said.

Chow said photos can be posted on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtags #thepovertyline and #Malaysia, together with a quick thought on the topic.

The Poverty Line’s Facebook page is www.facebook.com/thepovertyline.

source : The Star

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Dua for the opressedAamin Ya Rabbal Alamiin. My thought and prayers are with you people. :(

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Boycott Netanyahu’s Unauthorized Speech to Congress

To be delivered to The United States House of Representatives and The United States Senate

Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is an affront to the President of the United States and a move by Israel to dictate America’s Foreign Policy disrupting peaceful means to achieve Iranian Nuclear Disarmament.
There are currently 760 signatures. NEW goal – We need 1,000 signatures!

Petition Background

Boehner’s treacherous invitation to Netanyahu verges on treason.

Netanyahu’s goal is to use Boehner to sabotage the Iranian Nuclear Disarmament talks. Netanyahu is facing an election in March. This speech is clearly a campaign stunt that will be used to justify his continuing persecution of the Palestinians.

It is the constitutional responsibility of the President to conduct foreign policy. There are well-established protocols by which an invitation would be extended through the State Department so that America presents a unified diplomatic position to the world.

Democratic Representatives must boycott this speech and remain united behind the President. Failure to do so will make the United States appear to be controlled by Israeli interests further disrupting efforts to achieve Peace in the Middle East.

Continue reading

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Bank Counterfeit Money In China Deceiving Customers RM116 Million

I just can’t stop laughing. So irony that China used to be associated with branded fakes , now even have  fake bank, Lol!

BEIJING: A fake bank counters equipped with sophisticated and with uniformed officers exist in China, making the country’s government became dizzy than dealing with the issue of counterfeit which involves the official currency yuan. According to a report on Saturday of a local media, The false bank located in Nanjing, Jiangsu province in eastern China.

What is strange, the bank had a year to operate without problems with their customers in excess of 200 people. According to police investigation, the bank ‘ghost’ is actually a rural cooperative that no bank operating license by the Chinese authorities. Even so, the bank managed to collect deposits from the public up to 200 million yuan (RM116 million).

According to the report, China’s official news agency, Xinhua, the ‘bank’ mini size is known as Nanjing Economic Cooperation Mou Village. The bank also attracted many small business sector customers from neighboring provinces, Zhejiang. Bank that resembles the image of the government-owned regional bank finally tebongkar bank activity was uncovered after a local entrepreneur known Wang from Hangzhou want to reclaim her accumulated savings of 12 million yuan (RM6. 9 million). The businessman is angry then lodged a police report after the bank refused to return all money deposit hers. In addition, the bank also denied ever promising rates of return of about two percent interest per week.

However, the mastermind of fake bank Liu and four of his aides, including a woman were arrested when police tried to escape to Macau with money in their customer deposits. Most of them who fooled by the fake bank is the local population. They deposit their money because the bank promises to be quite beneficial which is much higher rate than banks other official.

A fake bank counters equipped with sophisticated and with uniformed officers exist in China, making the country’s government became dizzy than dealing with the issue of counterfeit which involves the official currency yuan. According to a report on Saturday of a local media, The false bank located in Nanjing, Jiangsu province in eastern China. What is strange, the bank had a year to operate without problems with their customers in excess of 200 people. According to police investigation, the bank ‘ghost’ is actually a rural cooperative that no bank operating license by the Chinese authorities.

Even so, the bank managed to collect deposits from the public up to 200 million yuan (RM116 million). According to the report, China’s official news agency, Xinhua, the ‘bank’ mini size is known as Nanjing Economic Cooperation Mou Village. The bank also attracted many small business sector customers from neighboring provinces, Zhejiang. Bank that resembles the image of the government-owned regional bank finally tebongkar bank activity was uncovered after a local entrepreneur known Wang from Hangzhou want to reclaim her accumulated savings of 12 million yuan (RM6. 9 million).

The businessman is angry then lodged a police report after the bank refused to return all money deposit hers. In addition, the bank also denied ever promising rates of return of about two percent interest per week. However, the mastermind of fake bank Liu and four of his aides, including a woman were arrested when police tried to escape to Macau with money in their customer deposits. Most of them who fooled by the fake bank is the local population. They deposit their money because the bank promises to be quite beneficial which is much higher rate than banks other official.

Source :Siakapkeli.com.my/ Agencies

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DuaAamiin Ya Rabbal Alamiin

A beautiful doa for all of us and for our beloved Prophet Muhammad

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destinySalam Jumaat

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Blasphemy & Freedom Of Speech : When One Culture’s Satire Is Another’s Offense

Pic: Heathcliff OMalley/ The TelegraphPic: Heathcliff OMalley/ The Telegraph

“I would rather die standing than live on my knees.”

This is one of many poignant phrases by Charlie Hebdo’s editor Stéphane Charbonnier which has been widely circulated in the social media after the deadly attack at the French satirical weekly magazine’s office that killed 12 people including 10 journalists (and cartoonists).

The vicious attack two weeks ago has focused attention on not only how terror could never be justified in the face of dissenting views but more importantly the price of standing up for freedom of speech and expression.

“Nobody has the licence to kill by any reasons. We must respect the rights of the cartoonists and freedom of expression,” political cartoonist Zunar told Malaysian Digest in

In a Skype interview recently.Malaysian political cartoonist Zunar (née Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque)Malaysian political cartoonist Zunar (née Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque)

Zunar, whose real name is Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque had earlier condemned the killing of his fellow comrades at Charlie Hebdo office in Paris and proposed that January 7, the day of the black tragedy be remembered as “World Cartoonist Day” in honour of Stéphane and cartoonists Cabu, Wollinski and Tignous.

For Malaysia, while this hedious attack, dubbed as France’s “9/11” will always be a black page in history and should be fulminated, this incident has brought about a more important question: How do you draw the line between freedom of expression and blasphemy?

Or rather should there be a line at all, in other words, should blasphemy be tolerated?

After all, blasphemy is ‘the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God, to religious or holy persons or things, or toward something considered sacred or inviolable’, well… the definition speaks for itself.

In a multi-racial and multi-religious society such as Malaysia, surely this is not a good idea.

On the other hand, freedom of speech and expression are the hallmark of democracy, including through satire and humor – in various forms including cartoons. By saying “no, you cannot do this because it insults a particular religion” – you are also indirectly impinging the rights to speech and expression.

In the crossfire between these two, maybe the only thing we can agree on is that one, it is a “sticky” issue and that perhaps this is the perfect example of notable scholar Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilization” hypothesis (conflict based on cultural differences rather than ideological one).

Still, the incident which sparked protests around the world put the spotlight on the terrible risks faced by people like Charlie Hebdo cartoonists – and are still facing just through the tip of their pen.

“His Pen Is Loaded”

Charlie Hebdo, which uses satire especially in the forms of cartoons are not the only publications that are provocative and controversial.

“The tragedy of French cartoonists is a high-profile case but there are many smaller-scales Charlie Hebdo out there around the world such as renowned Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat, Prageeth Eknaligoda and many more.

“As cartoonists, we must create an impact through our art depending on our target. For me, I want to take risks through my cartoons, and I am ready to face the challenges,” Zunar said.

Zunar, is no stranger to living his life under the microscope – with constant scrutiny by the government and threats by various legal means to silence him. He has been investigated twice under the Sedition Act for his controversial cartoons, investigated for “Classified Crime” under the Printing Presses and Publication Act 1084 (PPPA) and detained in lock-up. Seven of his cartoon books were banned and more than 1000 books were confiscated from his office. He was even detained for two days.

Commenting on the Charlie Hebdo case, Zunar, who had lost two long court battles with the Malaysian government on banning of his publications and for unlawful detention said that freedom of expression must be a priority.

“We cannot compromise on freedom of expression and speech. In fact, every person must be free. In the context of a cartoonist, we need to talk about the content. The cartoonist’s freedom must be respected.

“Yet, when we talked about the freedom of expression in the form of provocation, for example the cartoon about Muhammad, there are consequences,” he said.

The 52-year-old cartoonist also said that when one “launched” such provocation, they must also accept that blasphemous cartoons will receive reaction, adding: “its fine (if they want to publish such cartoons) but Muslims would not be happy with such cartoons and we can agree that they have the rights to that view,”

What is wrong with the reaction of the Charlie Hebdo incident that many made “them” a hero.

“Before the incident, nobody knew who they are. Now, after what happened, everybody is talking about them and some Muslims made them a hero,” he said adding this will add a chain effect; other cartoonists might want to replicate this, the question is: “Do they dare to take the risk up to that level?”

Still, while saying that the issue is the reaction by Muslims more than others, he stressed that terror (as in the Charlie Hebdo incident) is unacceptable.

“Instead of violence, Muslims authorities and cartoonists should ‘address’ the content (for example the insult on the prophet) with open debates and challenge these provocation and show the true image of Islam (as a religion of peace, tolerance and moderation) through cartoons,” he explained, adding that very few artwork ever done by Muslim artists to portray good image of Prophet Mohammad, the last one that he remembered was in 1979, which is a film by a Syrian American, Moustapha Al Akkad.

“I wish issues involving other cartoonists around the world should be addressed as well. It is good if people from the East and the West can unite and condemn the ‘attack’ on cartoonists in other countries, like they have on the French cartoonists’ issue. Failure to reprimand oppressive governments will provide more power for these governments to be more arrogant.

“Let the people judge the cartoonist point of view. This is very important. Even Prophet Muhammad himself, when faced with criticisms and challenges, try to explain his position. With ‘ignorance’ (kejahilan), the better approach is to explain,” he said.

Balancing Freedom and Responsibility

While defending the western world’s cherished ideal of liberty is laudable, in Malaysia, a country with various ethnic backgrounds and religions – and a Muslim-majority country, it is almost hard to imagine how this ideal would fit.

It is also evident that in Malaysia, freedom of speech and expression has always had restrains and in some cases suppressed completely. The reality is there are many prohibitions in these categories.

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) 2014 report on human rights said that freedom of expression “took a heavy toll” this year with 44 people being investigated, charged or convicted under the Sedition Act 1948 including opposition politicians, activists, lawyers and academics.

Our press freedom also took a heavy beating last year, where the press freedom index (PFI) has dropped to a historic low at 147 out of 180 countries.

So, it is not surprising that Malaysian government has also suspended newspapers that published blasphemous cartoons, for example the Chinese-language newspaper Berita Petang Sarawak and Guan Ming Daily in 2006. In the same year, the government has even indefinitely shut down the regional newspaper Sarawak Tribune after it reprinted controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Part-time cartoonist and blogger Irwan Abdul Rahman, 41, who blogs under the pseudonym “Hassan Skodeng”, had expressed a different stand compared to his fellow cartoonist as his opinion is that total freedom is unwise.Irwan Abdul Rahman. Pic: Facebook

Irwan Abdul Rahman. Pic: Facebook

On Charlie Hebdo’s case, while saying no violence is justified, he cited the incident is one of the ways the public can “respond” and said: “I am all for creative expression but bear in mind, it is for public consumption and open to reaction from the public, as not everybody can take things with a grain of salt.

“We have to be mindful when we create content. The challenge here is to be more creative with limited freedom.”

Irwan said the sensibility of what’s blasphemous should be up to the content creator.

“In the end, it boils down to the basic sensibility of the creator and the sensitivity of the readers or listeners,” he explained.

The blogger, who was charged by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) in relations of his posting relating to Tenaga Nasional Berhad on his blog on March 25, 2010 under Section 233 (1) (a) of the Communication and Multimedia Act 1998 but was discharged a year later.

Irwan’s blog, nose4news.wordpress.com a portal dedicated to humorous satirical news pieces in the vein of popular US website, The Onion.

He said that satire and humorous pieces in online mediums, for example blogs or online cartoons should also be held to the same benchmark as the print media.

“For me, your behaviour online should reflect your behaviour offline. You should be able to take real world consequences.

“Still, you can be more impactful by saying less. You dont have to be too provocative to get your point across. The key is to strike that balance,” he said.

Double Standard: The Mirror Works Both Ways

Another question we can ask is the double standard in the depiction of certain religions that is blasphemous in nature.

In the West, Islam is vilified and sometimes demonized while cartoons mocking the Jews are called anti-Semitic. In contrast, for the Muslim world, perhaps cartoons mocking Israelis, their country and Jews are tolerable but not the insults on Islam.

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) senior lecturer and political analyst Associate Professor Sivamurugan PandianUniversiti Sains Malaysia (USM) senior lecturer and political analyst Associate Professor Sivamurugan Pandian

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) senior lecturer and political analyst Associate Professor Sivamurugan Pandian told Malaysian Digest: “Nowadays, it is clear that there is a double standard for Muslims. The western world tries to portray Muslims as a threat, with the IS issue.

“We cannot deny that this (double standard exist regardless of ethnicity and religion). However, in Malaysia, it is still under control,” he said, adding that we should learn from the France tragedy.

On the other hand, Suaram director Dr Kua Kia Soong does not believe there is a lesson to be learnt for Malaysia in relation to the Charlie Hebdo incident.

“I have never seen such insensitivities here in Malaysia. I don’t think it is an issue for us, .Dr Kua quipped”

Suaram director Dr Kua Kia Soong

Suaram director Dr Kua Kia Soong
What is clear here is that the mirror works both ways. The majority in a country reflects what is acceptable in a society and what is considered a blasphemy.

Zunar suggested that censoring what is blasphemous should be the responsibility of a publication and that diversity of opinion (and freedom of speech/ expression) should be defended.

“For example, Charlie Hebdo has a right to censor what goes on in their publication but other publications can publish it. At least there is a differing view in the same type of media.

“In Malaysia, however, nobody is allowed to say differently. Generally, political cartoonists in Malaysia are very nasty towards Obama and Israel but they kept quiet about our Prime Minister and his wife.

“Clearly, there is a double standard here. We are allowed to talk or sketch about Gaza but will the view of an Israeli who lives in Gaza be published?” he said.

Yet, he also agrees that double standard is everywhere, adding: “It’s also very subjective. If you don’t agree with one thing, you can take action but what kind of actions, should always be open to debate”.

Freedom of Speech vs Blasphemy: Are We Ready For Absolute Freedom?

Discounting France’s rich satirical culture, in most countries where freedom of speech and expression are under serious threat, humor and satire are usually a way to get around draconian laws, censorship and even self-censorship in the Press.

Malaysia is without a doubt where this applies. Zunar said: “Generally, Malaysians are very scared to confront the government but when it comes to humor, they make fun of the government. An example is the ‘kangkung’ issue. The joke is a protest but for me that is not enough.”

File picFile pic
Whilst Zunar stood behind “why pinch when you can punch” principle, Sivamurugan is under the impression that Malaysians have yet to reach a level of maturity to talk about the sort of freedom experienced in the West.

“Unless we have reached that level, Malaysia cannot have absolute freedom. It has to be a guided freedom that takes into account the sensitivity of all ethnic groups. We must have respect, understanding and tolerance.

We cannot let freedom of speech and expression be suppressed – and censorship is an ugly word – but at the end of the day any content creators – including cartoonists and media should also be responsible and accountable for what they put out there.

Ultimately, Charlie Hebdo reminded us that sometimes it is not always black and white – and the danger for insisting so could be very costly.

As aptly observed by Randa, Abdel-Fattah, an Australian Muslim writer of Palestinian and Egyptian parentage, she wrote that “[t]here is nothing “free” about free speech. All speech has a price and the currency is privilege”.

source : MalaysianDigest.com

 

 

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Parents urged to safeguard children against paedophiles on social media

PETALING JAYA: With paedophiles widely reported to be using the Internet, women groups are asking parents to monitor their children’s social media interaction regularly to ensure that they are safe from predators.

Voice of Children president Sharmila Sekaran said parents should ensure they were up to speed with the technology so they could spot potential dangers.

“You may think that a paedophile looks suspicious, but the fact is that most paedophiles have an outward appearance resembling a friendly neighbour.

“Also, if your child is giving personal information to an online person unknown to you, make sure to look into it,” she said.

Sharmila said parents should be alert when there is little information about their children’s “online friends”, as paedophiles do not reveal their true nature on social media.

Paedophiles also tend to use acronyms to communicate inappropriate requests so that most adults will not be able to spot these when going through the messages.

CNN had published a list of such acronyms for parents to look out for, which includes terms like GNOC (get naked on camera) and CU46 (see you for sex).

Women’s Aid Organisation communication officer Kristine Yap said:

“Parents should be aware of their children’s social media activities, but they must monitor respectfully and always be vigilant for signs of unfamiliar interaction.

“At the end of the day, what you need is for your child to recognise signs of a potential predator and for the child to feel able to come to you for help,” she said.

Last Friday, a 31-year-old Malaysian quality assurance engineer in Singapore admitted to preying on 31 children aged between 11 and 15 over three years.

The man had befriended the boys on Facebook using different personas, chatted with them on the social networking site and later persuaded them to meet him.

Meanwhile, Sharmila and Yap both believed that parents should be more involved in their children’s lives, and get them to speak out about the happenings in their lives.

“These days, parents think nothing of getting their children electronic gadgets. Perhaps they think these elevate their social status, but they also expose the children to a lot of unnecessary attention,” said Sharmila.

“Social media is easily accessible and children are going to engage, so parents need to be their children’s safe harbour, and mutual trust will ensure this,” said Yap.

Sisters in Islam communications officer Aliah Ali, however, said monitoring children’s activity online only worked to a certain extent.

“The best way to protect our children from online predators is to provide comprehensive sex education, which should include information on statutory rape, the power of imbalance between an adult and a child and to learn how to recognise predators.

“By doing this, we are also equipping them with the knowledge to make informed decisions about their own conduct,” she said.

source : The Star

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changeGood Morning, have a blessed Wednesday everyone

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