Archive for June, 2009

R Nadeswaran aka Citizen Nades, my countryman, who writes for the Sun is one Investigative Journalist I have great respect as I am a bit of a fan.

I worked in Peninsular Malaysia as the Bureau Chief for a Sabah based paper for nearly 5 years and am familiar with many of Nadeswaran’s cutting-edge reports from uncovering bribes and corruption by Little Napoleans in local councils to getting the inside story on politicians influencing civil servants through their shenanigans and utter greed.

I know, investigative journalists are an exquisite breed and Nades fits the bill. They work in a lonely world, pouring over laborious details for days to collate enough information for a story. Very often they hit a brick wall. They have passion, persistence, discretion, but, sadly, little recognition.

Lets give Nades, my friend, some recognition. See why I say Nades is good….

By R. Nadeswaran (The Sun)

“A JOURNALIST will always protect his kind,” is the common remark we usually get when we attempt to defend our professions from friends and foes who disagree with what we write or do. “You guys will never let each other down, however wrong you are,” is another often-repeated claim. I take pride in stating that if I have made a mistake, I will apologise and have done so before.

Terence Fernandez was abducted and held at gunpoint in Baghdad at the height of the US invasion in 2003. He was released unharmed – though not before two people in his convoy were shot and killed. Despite wanting to stay on, Terence was ordered home in my capacity as his editor, after consultation with the senior management of this newspaper.

I justified this decision in an open letter to the readers by saying that no story is worth your life. Many, including those in the government which had sponsored the Joint Malaysian Media Team to the war zone to give an “independent view” of the American onslaught were not happy with the decision but it stood. We were accused of being cowards but I would rather have a living coward than a dead hero.

To those who had offered support and sympathy for the 24 hours that we had lost contact with Terence, I penned these words: “It had been a harrowing day for me at the office, but nothing is more satisfying to note that our boy is still there, making me proud of being a journalist, his colleague, friend and confidante.”

Over the years, both of us had brushes with the law – not of our doing – but over-zealous law enforcers who think they can cow us into revealing our sources. We have always protected our sources and still seek legal counsel when the need arises. If we break that code, no one would ever want to deal with us. And wherever we go, we tell our audience to not treat us as enemies but as friends who can help further a common cause. Not that we would take sides, but sitting over a cuppa beats a confrontational interview, hands down, every time.

Long before Terence’s harrowing experience, there has always been a tinge of support in my heart for my brethren journalists if they had done no wrong. It was on that premise that I walked into the Brickfields police station many moons ago to demand why my late colleague Raymond Nathan was handcuffed behind his back. His

“offence” was to have harshly demanded why an accident victim was not attended to immediately. Having said that, I stayed away from the cause of another journalist who was detained for drug-related offences.

Therefore, after reading the plight of Nevash Nair of The Malay Mail (where I started and honed my investigative journalism trade), who was questioned for six hours by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), I can relate my feelings. I too, not long ago, underwent a similar exercise (though I was not detained) when police officers came to record my statement on the Balkis affair. Nair’s alleged offence (gathered from news reports) was reporting what a member of Parliament experienced at the MACC office. His laptop and handphone were seized – a new experience for those in the fraternity.

What offence did he commit? Did he take a bribe from the MP or any other party to write the report? If that is the case, I would rest my case and declare that the law must take its course. However, this was not the case. While it would be wrong to “interfere” with investigations, no one has told us what Nair is being investigated for. The National Union of Journalists has come out strongly against the treatment of the journalist, but the silence on the part of two senior newsmen in the MACC’s Consultation and Anti-Corruption Panel is deafening indeed. No one expects them to defend any wrongdoer – journalist or not – but they owe a special duty to find out and explain the nature of the so-called offence and if the methodology used by the MACC in the course of its investigation is commensurate with the provisions of the Act. We are likely to be told that “MACC has wide powers” but the speed with which it embarked on Nair’s report and its almost immediate statement – the files were never missing – gives us, lesser mortals hope that the commission can work on cases and produce results in a jiffy if it wants to.

I am not against the MACC and I will be the first to admit that there are bad apples among us and there a handful who are involved in dubious deals, for whom there should be no sympathy. The MACC has a job to do and it should show no favour to anyone – journalists included. In this case, no money changed hands and apparently, they wanted to get to the bottom of the issue where the MACC officials had been quoted saying that “the files are missing”.

If I had been the investigation officer, I would have had a chat with him and asked him how and why he came to the conclusion that the files were missing. Surprisingly, to add to MACC’s perception problem, it singled out Nair while other journalists who filed similar stories were spared the detention and interrogation.

The Fourth Estate has a duty to play in nation-building and the creation of a better society. It has a duty to work with both the public and private sectors in disseminating news which the public wants. If there is something wrong, it has a job of pointing it out and if there’s something positive, it has to be reported as well. This is the credo in every journalist’s mind and most of us are aware of this when we put pen to paper. We are aware of the laws of defamation and the other punitive laws which could land us in jail. But when we are faulted for reporting what was said, is it not a case of shooting the messenger?


The sun, a star at the centre of the solar system, is known to provide ideal conditions for life to thrive on Earth. But, astronomers have claimed that it also leaves the planet wide open to harmful cosmic rays.

A joint team from University of Arizona and University of Texas in the US has found that the sun periodically leaves Earth open to assaults from interstellar nasties in a way that most stars do not, the ‘New Scientist’ reported.

The sun protects humans from cosmic rays and dust from beyond the solar system by enveloping in the heliosphere — a bubble of solar wind that extends past Pluto. These rays would damage the ozone layer and interstellar dust can dim sunlight and trigger an ice age.

However, when the solar system passes through very dense gas and dust clouds, the heliosphere can shrink until its edge is inside Earth’s orbit. So, in their research, the team, led by David Smith, has calculated the squeezing of various stars’ protective “astrospheres”.

Michael Jackson is a musical genius and an icon of my generation a true LEGEND. In my mind, The King of the Pop will always be Micheal Jackson the undisputed king, just like Elvis the  King of Rock and Roll.

I have many fond memories that come with MJ’s music from the days of Jackson 5. Regardless of this personal life, he was a musical and entertainment genius and he personified an era. The world has lost someone that has defined a generation.

I find it amazing how everyone in the media are now paying tribute to him and saying how great he was but when he was down in the dumps, accused of sexual child molestation, these very people were nowhere to be found or just throwing all kind of shit at him…Its really sad how people say nasty things about you when you are alive but when you die, all you hear are nice things being said. How ironic.

 We mourn the passing away of a legend, who brought the world together much more than any politician. In MJ’s words, his was a world of “neither black or white”  although MJ himself went to great lengths to change his own colour.

The world today is grieving for MJ because he brought great joy to all of us through his music and his dance moves. Remember Moon Walk?

Despite MJ’s obvious poor health condition, he was signed up to perform in 50 shows in London. Its sheer madness. Imagine, the tickets for the shows were all sold out in an hour. But there was also a price to be paid as MJ prepared for the tour. The toll must have been too much for MJ.

There’s a lump of sadness in my throat that won’t go away now.

Michael, the world would never forget you and your songs.  I’m “speechless”. Rest in peace Wacko Jacko!

Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown, pauses for a moment before a news conference held after the death of Micheal Jackson in LA.

A fan cries holding a wax replica of Micheal Jackson outside of Madame Tussaud’s Museum.

An unidentified man holds up a Micheal Jackson poster outside the UCLA Medical Center.

Young Michael Jackson performs at opening night of his Victory Tour at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Dec. 1, 1984. At Right: A man embraces Jermaine Jackson, brother of Michael Jackson after a news conference that annouced the star’s death at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Michael Jackson, the sensationally gifted child star who rose to become the “King of Pop” and the biggest celebrity in the world only to fall from his throne in a freakish series of scandals, died on Thursday. He was 50.

Jackson died at UCLA Medical Center after being stricken at his rented home in Holmby Hills. Paramedics tried to resuscitate him at his home for nearly three-quarters of an hour, then rushed him to the hospital, where doctors continued to work on him.

“It is believed he suffered cardiac arrest in his home. However, the cause of his death is unknown until results of the autopsy are known,” his brother Jermaine said. Police said they were investigating, standard procedure in high-profile cases.

Jackson’s death brought a tragic end to a long, bizarre, sometimes farcical decline from his peak in the 1980s, when he was popular music’s premier all-around performer, a uniter of black and white music who shattered the race barrier on MTV, dominated the charts and dazzled even more on stage.

At the time of his death, Jackson was rehearsing hard for what was to be his greatest comeback: He was scheduled for an unprecedented 50 shows at a London arena, with the first set for July 13.

As word of his death spread, MTV switched its programming to play videos from Jackson’s heyday. Radio stations began playing marathons of his hits. Hundreds of people gathered outside the hospital. In New York’s Times Square, a low groan went up in the crowd when a screen flashed that Jackson had died, and people began relaying the news to friends by cell phone.

From Jackson 5 to numero uno

The public first knew him as a boy in the late 1960s, when he was the precocious, spinning lead singer of the Jackson 5, the singing group he formed with his four older brothers out of Gary, Indiana. Among their No. 1 hits were I Want You Back, ABC and I’ll Be There.

He was perhaps the most exciting performer of his generation, known for his backward-gliding moonwalk, his feverish, crotch-grabbing dance moves and his high-pitched singing, punctuated with squeals and titters. His single sequined glove, tight, military-style jacket and aviator sunglasses were trademarks, as was his ever-changing, surgically altered appearance.

“For Michael to be taken away from us so suddenly at such a young age, I just don’t have the words,” said Quincy Jones, who produced Thriller. “He was the consummate entertainer and his contributions and legacy will be felt upon the world forever. I’ve lost my little brother today, and part of my soul has gone with him.”

Jackson ranked alongside Elvis Presley and the Beatles as the biggest pop sensations of all time. He united two of music’s biggest names when he was briefly married to Presley’s daughter, Lisa Marie, and Jackson’s death immediately evoked comparisons to that of Presley himself, who died at age 42 in 1977.

As years went by, Jackson became an increasingly freakish figure — a middle-aged man-child weirdly out of touch with grown-up life. His skin became lighter, his nose narrower, and he spoke in a breathy, girlish voice. He often wore a germ mask while traveling, kept a pet chimpanzee named Bubbles as one of his closest companions, and surrounded himself with children at his Neverland ranch, a storybook playland filled with toys, rides and animals. The tabloids dubbed him Wacko Jacko.

Jackson caused a furor in 2002 when he playfully dangled his infant son, Prince Michael II, over a hotel balcony in Berlin while a throng of fans watched from below.

In 2005, he was cleared of charges he molested a 13-year-old cancer survivor at Neverland in 2003. Despite the acquittal, the lurid allegations that came out in court took a fearsome toll on his career and image, and he fell into serious financial trouble.

Jackson was 4 years old when he began singing with his brothers — Marlon, Jermaine, Jackie and Tito — in the Jackson 5. After his early success with bubblegum soul, he struck out on his own, generating innovative, explosive, unstoppable music.

His 1982 album Thriller is the best-selling album of all time, with an estimated 50 million copies sold worldwide.

The album Thriller alone mixed the dark, serpentine bass and drums and synthesizer approach of Billie Jean,” the grinding Eddie Van Halen solo on Beat It, and the hiccups and falsettos on Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.

The peak may have come in 1983, when Motown celebrated its 25th anniversary with an all-star televised concert and Jackson moonwalked off with the show, joining his brothers for a medley of old hits and then leaving them behind with a pointing, crouching, high-kicking, splay-footed, crotch-grabbing run through Billie Jean.

The audience stood and roared. Jackson raised his fist.

By then he had cemented his place in pop culture. He got the plum Scarecrow role in the 1978 movie musical The Wiz, a pop-R&B version of The Wizard of Oz, that starred Diana Ross as Dorothy.

During production of a 1984 Pepsi commercial, Jackson’s scalp sustains burns when an explosion sets his hair on fire.

He had strong follow-up albums with 1987’s Bad and 1991’s Dangerous, but his career began to collapse in 1993 after he was accused of molesting a boy who often stayed at his home. The singer denied any wrongdoing, reached a settlement with the boy’s family, reported to be $20 million, and criminal charges were never filed.

Jackson’s expressed anger over the allegations on the 1995 album HIStory, which sold more than 2.4 million copies, but by then, the popularity of Jackson’s music was clearly waning, even as public fascination with his increasingly erratic behavior was growing.

Billboard magazine editorial director Bill Werde said Jackson’s star power was unmatched. “The world just lost the biggest pop star in history, no matter how you cut it,” Werde said. “He’s literally the king of pop.”

Jackson’s 13 No. 1 one hits on the Billboard charts put him behind only Elvis Presley, the Beatles and Mariah Carey, Werde said.

“He was on the eve of potentially redeeming his career a little bit,” he said. “People might have started to think of him again in a different light.”

This is one of my favorite quote which was made by Late George Harrison a long time ago “The only thing which is important in life is karma”

And this is for all the Beatles fans including me….

A souvenir poster of Beatles’ iconic rock and roll album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” went under the hammer for USD 52,500 at a Christie’s auction of pop culture memorabilia that saw total sales of USD 650,862.

The auction of 193 lots featured a variety of Hollywood music, sports, and pop culture ephemera.

The Sgt Pepper poster had signatures of all four Beatles — John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr in blue ink circa 1967.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is the eighth studio album by the The Beatles. Recorded over a 129-day period beginning on December 6, 1966. Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band the album was released on 1967 June 1 in the United Kingdom and the following day in the United States. Sgt. Pepper is recognized as one of the most influential albums of all time. It was ranked the greatest album of all time by the Rolling Stone in 2003.

Alternative rock icon Kurt Cobain’s Sears bass guitar sold for USD 43,750, while a classic black leather motorcycle jacket signed by members of his band Nirvana and Soundgarden fetched USD 12,500.

A set of rare handwritten and partial lyrics for the song “With God On Our Side” from Bob Dylan’s seminal 1964 album “The Times They Are A-Changin” sold for USD 25,000.

An original script of “The Godfather” signed by Marlon Brando in blue ink fetched USD 10,625 while a pair of handwritten and signed cheques of Marilyn Monroe sold for USD 4,750.

Want to retain your sight as you age? Well, eat a diet full of fruit and vegetables daily, say researchers.

A new study, led by Indian-origin scientist Usha Chakravarthy of Queen’s University in Belfast, has revealed that antioxidants found in fruit and vegetables may slow down sight loss in many elderly people.

Age-related muscular regeneration (AMD), an incurable eye disease which causes blurring of central vision, affect a number of aged people across the world.

For their study, the researchers developed a new antioxidant supplement and tested it on more than 400 people across Ireland to check whether nutritional supplements helped sharpen vision.

The subjects, with an average age of 77, took part in clinical trials investigating whether rich antioxidants found in fruit and vegetables could prevent progression to the more serious late AMD.

The study showed the intake of high levels preserved the muscular pigments, slowing down the progression from early AMD to late AMD. In contrast, muscular pigments of participants in a group given placebos declined steadily.

“These findings are important as this is the first randomised controlled clinical trial to document a beneficial effect via improved function and maintained muscular pigment.

“Further research is needed to confirm these findings and to identify the numbers needed to treat to prevent one case from progressing from early to late AMD,” Chakravarthy was quoted by The Daily Telegraph as saying.

An agriculture specialist recently discovered in the U.S. state of Texas a weevil that the science world has yet to describe, the U.S. media reported Thursday.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialist working in Freeport, Texas, discovered two weCBPevils during a routine cargo examination of a 50,000-kg shipment of Guatemalan pineapples, according to the ABC TV channel.

Since specialists were not able to identify the pests, they sent the specimens to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for identification, and the USDA results indicated the pests are a new species.

“On rare occasions while our officers and agriculture specialists are doing their jobs they make history. CBP is very proud of our agriculture specialists and their accomplishments,” said Jeffrey O. Baldwin, director of Houston Field Operations.

In a statement to CBP, the Smithsonian Institute’s Entomology Lab in Washington D.C. wrote that the species was similar to the weevil genera Conotrachelus and belonging to a tropical genus that is currently not described in the traditional sense.

CBP has ordered the shipment of pineapples be treated, destroyed or re-exported to prevent the introduction of this agricultural pest, the report said


Datuk Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy charge is to be heard by the court beginning 1st July, 2009.

Another 10 days more for Anwar Ibrahim to meet Saiful The Pondan, in person, in court, after Saiful The Pondan had lodged a police report last year on June 28, claiming that two days before the police report, Anwar, had sodomised him on various occasions, the last being at a condominium unit in Damansara. Saiful The pondan also claimed that he could not pass motion for a number of days after being sodomised.

Remember, back in 1998, Anwar Ibrahim was also first charged for sodomy for sodomising in 1994, Azizan Abu Bakar the driver of Kak Wan Azizah. For this, Anwar was sentenced to 15 years in prison for sodomy and for abusing his authority to cover up the deed.  However the  court overturned the sodomy conviction and freed him in 2004, after Mahathir had retired.

So what will happen to Anwar when he goes for trial this July 1st? Most likely, he may be denied bail and then sent to prison under remand.  After that, there will be a quick conviction and found guilty and jailed for 20 years and whipped under section 377B of the Penal Code. This is a very possible scenario. If this is going to be the case, Anwar may die in prison after this.

So, can we trust our judges to be impartial and fair? I have my doubts like many other Malaysians.

I totally agree with many that our system has fallen pray to Umno power play and money.  Consequently, many individuals and even lawyers wonder if they are ever going to get a fair trial here.  Such a question should never enter someone’s mind when going to court. But its not the case here, sad to say. All judges should be fair and impartial, and when we start questioning whether our judges will be fair and impartial, democracy ceases to exist as we know it.

The only alternative for Anwar in this scenario is to go into exile from Malaysia. Maybe Anwar should look into this option. Anwar should know that even Daw Aung San Suu Kyi should have gone into exile long time ago in order to be more effective for Burma. By staying put in Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi was not able to meet and talk to the international community and hence could not urge more international pressure to be put on Burma like what Khomeini or Dalai Lama did.

What are you waiting for Datuk? This is a sincere request from a fellow Penangite. Don’t wait lah! Malaysians will be very depress if you go in for the next 20 years and there will not be any more SEMANGAT to fight. We want you outside so that the fire will be burning till there is a real regime change.

Often it is said that alcohol goes to one’s head really fast. But, guess how fast? In just six minutes, say researchers.

A new study by Heidelberg University has found that six minutes after consuming the equivalent of three glasses of beer or two goblets of wine, changes actually start taking place in people’s brain cells.

It has also shown that men’s and women’s brains react to alcohol consumption the same way and the harmful effects of alcohol on the brain might be shortlived, but over time cells take longer to repair themselves.

The researchers have based their findings on an analysis of an experiment in which eight male and seven female volunteers took part and drank a specified amount of alcohol through a 90cm-long straw while lying in a MRI brain scanner, ‘The Daily Telegraph’ reported.

The goal was to reach a blood alcohol content of 0.05 to 0.06 per cent — a level that impairs ability to drive, but does not induce severe intoxication.

Using a scanner, the scientists examined the tiny changes in brain cell tissue structure caused by the alcohol in tests which previously had only been done on animals and found that the drinks took six minutes to reach their brains.

Lead researcher Armin Biller said chemical substances that normally protect brain cells are reduced as concentration of alcohol increases. Other components of brain cells were also cut as more alcohol was consumed.

“Our follow-ups on the next day showed that the shifts in brain metabolites after moderate consumption of alcohol by healthy persons are completely reversible. However, we assume the brain’s ability to recover from alcohol effect decreases or is eliminated as the consumption of alcohol increases.

“The acute effects demonstrated in our study could possibly form the basis for the permanent brain damage that is known to occur in alcoholics. This should be clarified in future studies,” he said.

The findings are published in the ‘Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism’.

This was reported by Bernama… – Manik Urai voters should show the country that Malays can still be united under the Barisan Nasional, said Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

He said what was hoped was that the unity that had been established for over 50 years remained strong so that people could live in peace and harmony under Barisan rule.

“Umno and Barisan place importance on unity, not splits, among the people, because this allows development to be carried out in the country,” he said when launching the Barisan election machinery here Saturday night.

Shafie, who is also Rural and Regional Development Minister, said the government had clear principles whereby the people’s interests came foremost.

He also took to task certain leaders in the Opposition for trying to cause disunity when they questioned the noble intention by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang to forge a unity government.

“We are concerned by the objections made by (PAS spiritual leader Datuk) Nik Abdul Aziz (Nik Mat). Although Hadi is for unity, Nik Aziz seems not,” he said.