Ephialtes of BN

If you have watched the movie “300” and are familiar with the Battle of Thermopylae, you would know that for two days the Spartans held off the Persian army under Xerxes bravely; that is until a farmer called Ephialtes of Trachis showed Xerxes of a mountain path that would bring the Persian army behind Spartan lines. Trapped, the Spartans fought to their death and gave the Persians a pyrrhic victory.

Ephialtes found notoriety as one of the greatest traitors in the history of mankind, and as usual: history teaches us nothing.

Sometime late last week, a former BN Parliamentarian gave a speech to a group of possibly drunk lawyers and their clients during the latter’s firm’s cocktail cum dinner event I was told by one of the attendees. In his fear-mongering speech, he spoke against Barisan Nasional. In the words of my friend who attended the event:

He is a perfect candidate for the Pakatan Rakyat who can work from inside the Barisan Nasional to push as many people as possible to the PR side.

Apparently, under the guise of the National Unity Consultative Council, this BN-appointed member spoke about HIS middle-ground approach that really is the Pakatan Rakyat’s approach, damaging BN’s effort in reaching out to people “on the other side.” He made fun of JAIS on the confiscated-Bibles issue as well as the Barisan Nasional that night.

For me, this politician is a well-known Judas Iscariot, another famous traitor, who has both feet firmly planted on the PR side, leaning with one finger to hold his weight on the BN side, yet refuses to leave BN despite being rejected by both the voters of his constituency and losing his position in his own UMNO homeground.

For whatever reason that Najib continues to keep this rat, I am truly baffled; but even rats are known to have brought mighty airplanes down.

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MH370: I Speak Out

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This posting is made with the above in mind. A lot has been said about the disappearance of the MH370. Most of what has been said are purely speculations, with some that might have qualified to be nominated for best screenplay at the Academy Awards. I, too, have some idea of what might have happened but I put them aside so I could listen to the daily press conference with an open mind. I will also attempt to maintain some form of ethics because I also have the feelings of the family of the passengers and crew in mind when I write this.

The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) has come under intense attack by both foreign and local media alike. The Air Defence system has also come under intensive fire by members of the opposition party for its failure to detect the MH370 upon deviating from its intended path and the subsequent failure to scramble our fighters. Some even say our air defence personnel were asleep on the job, and that at least one air defence radar was not working.

It is easy for keyboard warriors to criticise the RMAF without knowing what or how our air defence systems work. Perhaps when they think of an air defence system, they had the following in mind:

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Why I write this is to give a general understanding of how our air defence system works, and what really happened that night. I have been generally quiet on this matter as at the time of writing, I am grieving the passing of my younger brother exactly 100 days today. But duty calls, I guess.

I left the RMAF almost 20 years ago. A handful of my squad-mates are still serving senior officers. Back in September 2012, a number of bloggers (including I) and some senior editors of the Malaysian media (including those that are opposition-leaning) were invited to a media open day organised by the then Minister of Defence. Everything was displayed to us, including some of the very sensitive information, so that we could acquire enough background and understand how the RMAF works. Out of the 80 or so people who were there that day, I guess I am the only one to come to the defence of the RMAF.

First of all, this is how a typical air defence centre looks like from the inside:

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It is no longer the one-man show you see in the movie “Tora! Tora! Tora!” There are several air defence centres around Malaysia covering both the Peninsula, Sabah, Sarawak and FAR beyond. I have a photo of how far our air defence radars reach, but although I was allowed to take photos of the main display, I opt not to put it up here. Suffice to say, what we have is enough to tell us way ahead if a hostile aircraft is approaching our airspace. When we were at the air defence centre, we were shown a live interception of two bogeys by two of our MiG-29N interceptors.

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If I may say, what we all saw on the screen was what would have been seen by all the operators of the other RMAF Air Defence Centres around the nation that if one failed, it would not jeopardise what the others could see.

During this display, not one journo nor blogger could come up with a sane question related to what was shown to them. In the end, I and a few of my blogger friends had to ask the questions to get the RMAF clarify on issues that the media and bloggers have been attacking them on. Even the Deputy Chief of Air Force, Lieutenant General Dato Seri Haji Roslan bin Saad thanked me for my participation and for helping the RMAF clarify some issues.

Let us go back to that wee hours on Saturday, 8th March 2014. MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 0041 hours (Local Time). At 0107 hours, the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) transmitted that all was well with the aircraft.

The aircraft soon after arrived at waypoint IGARI, about 78 nautical miles from Redang island, bearing 056 degrees) which is a point in the South China Sea between the Malaysian border with Vietnam. At this point, Lumpur Flight Information Region (FIR) would hand over the control aircraft to Vietnam. At 0119 hours, a person believed to be the co-pilot transmitted the final vox transmission, “Alright, good night.” At 0122 hours, the aircraft disappeared from secondary radar coverage without any distress call suggesting its transponder had been switched off by someone on the flight deck. However, it was only at 0240 hours that Malaysia Airlines was notified.

The RMAF Air Defence radars saw the MH370 tracked West Southwest to waypoint VAMPI (68 nautical miles East Northeast of Lhokseumawe, Indonesia), then Northeast to waypoint GIVAL (69 nautical miles South Southwest of Phuket International Airport) before tracking Northwest towards waypoint IGREX (100 nautical miles East Southeast of Car Nicobar airport on India’s Nicobar Islands), the last known position according to the primary radar. Where MH370 went to after this point is unknown at this point, but I believe the Indian Air Force’s Andaman and Nicobar Command’s primary radar there would have caught the MH370 in its scope.

So, if the MH370 was seen to deviate from its intended course, why didn’t the RMAF scramble its fighters to intercept the airliner?

Every bogey (unknown aircraft) would be tagged by an Air Defence Officer and this data will be processed to ascertain whether it was a threat to air defence or otherwise. In the case of the MH370, it was not regarded as hostile. Is this a weakness on the part of the RMAF? Mind you three jetliners took down the World Trade Centre towers as well as the Pentagon in the sophisticatedly-defended United States of America.

Should our fighters have been scrambled? If you remember, the MH370 was no longer in our airspace. When the MH370 tracked West Southwest from IGARI to VAMPI, she did not cross Malaysian airspace. She flew over Thai airspace and into Indonesian airspace, then tracked up to GIVAL near Phuket and subsequently to IGREX near India’s Nicobar Islands (see below).

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When she tracked from IGARI to IGREX she entered an area with two Royal Thai Air Force fighter bases namely the RTAF 7th Wing in Surat Thani and the 56th Wing in Hat Yai. They, too, were not scrambled. Nor were the fighters of the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) scrambled from Lhokseumawe or Banda Aceh in Aceh, or Suwondo in Medan. If you think the Indonesians are as incapable as the RMAF, they forced a US military transport down without scrambling their fighters at their base in Banda Aceh on 20th May 2013 for entering Indonesian airspace without proper clearance.

The Chief of Air Force, General Tan Sri Dato Seri Rodzali bin Daud have explained that the RMAF did not see the need to scramble its fighters as the blip on the primary radar was deemed not hostile, and that there was nothing wrong with the air defence system. I just find this attack on the RMAF as another cheap publicity shot by a bunch of losers who do not know how things work and why, and would just take pot shots and see what gets hit.

I know the RMAF I see now is a far advanced RMAF than the one I left almost 20 years ago, and I have faith in the officers, men and women in their capability to defend this nation. I cannot say the same for the group of losers bent on hitting out at any institution of His Majesty Yang DiPertuan Agong.

To these losers, please just STFU!

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Malaysia: Fatigue At 50

Photo by Patrick Coston
Photo by Patrick Coston

As Malaysia approaches its 50th year, I cannot help but think that while being in its infancy this nation is ageing far too fast and is fast being tired of itself. The cohesiveness of its people in the run up to the events on the 31st August, 1957 and 16th September, 1963 is fast coming undone. Many a times have I written on how far more cohesive we were immediately after the 13th May, 1969 tragedy than we are now, despite claims of how far more mature we are in the political sense. That may be true, but we behave like immature kids behaving like we are politically mature.

Elements once found destructive, such as Communism, is now being looked up to. A few days ago, left-leaning students were audience in a forum that had a former member of the all-but-defunct Communist Party of Indonesia, and students were seen wearing t-shirts glorifying Tan Malaka, a Marxist who once lived in Indonesia. To add insult to injury, Karpal Singh has also been reported as supporting the move to allow former leader of the Communist Party of Malaya, Chin Peng, to return to Malaysia. Of course, humanitarians would argue that there is nothing wrong with allowing an octogenarian back to the land he was born in, and liberals would think the same. I hope these same people would also condemn Israel for still hunting former Nazis and tell the people of Cambodia they should forgive the Khmer Rouge.

For whatever reasons too did the police not act previously on criminal elements. The removal of the ISA and the Emergency Ordinance rendered the police virtually helpless in its fight against crime, let alone be able to maintain peace and order and breathe at the same time. Kudos to the good teamwork of the present Inspector-General of Police and the new Minister of Home Affairs. We have not seen this kind of teamwork since the days of Tun Dr Ismail – Tun Salleh, and Tun Ghazali Shafie – Tun Haniff days.

I have read comments from politicians from both sides of the political fence who are against giving the police emergency powers and say that the police should learn from their British counterparts on how to police the law without having firearms. Britain, for those who did not study geography, is an island, unlike Malaysia that has land borders with neighbours. A simple ferry or train ride from the European continent requires passengers and luggages to be scanned. My former college mate who is now a Chief Inspector in the Thames Valley Police lamented how he sometimes wish he was given a gun, especially in the wake of the two incidents where two women constables were gunned down by armed criminals. Imagine our police fighting crime with porous borders.

The introduction of the proposed Criminal Prevention Act should hopefully allow the police to conduct interdiction strikes on hardcore crime gangs. This Act will allow the police to hold criminal elements for up to 70 days pending trial. I have not seen the draft in full but I am sure it will uphold the rights of those who want peace.

Was there political interference in the police’s operations before the new Minister and Inspector-General came into office? I would leave that to the former Inspector-Generals to answer. But I know a gangster was awarded one of the highest Federal titles. How his name had made it through police vetting definitely puzzles me.

I know for sure there are politicians from both sides of the political fence whom have been seen with criminal elements, and photographs of these politicians meeting with criminals exist. These are prominent politicians and I know the police has full knowledge of this. Whether their presence with the criminals is for political or for personal reasons, only they and the police can answer this.

Former IGP Tun Haniff Omar once remarked that the BERSIH rally had communist elements involved. I would not be at all surprised if there are members of the CPM whom have made it into political parties, as they did before 13th May, 1969. Today, we have former police Director of CID Tan Sri Zaman Khan saying that an ex-convict who was a triad chief is also holding a lower office in a political party in Penang (NST, Nation page 25, 5th September 2013).

I particularly like Ben Tan’s article “Youth gangs today lack ‘basic values’.” (NST, Comments page 18, 5th September 2013). Ben, NST’s Johor bureau chief wrote:

GANGSTER’S LIFE: The members just crave money and power.

Ironically, the same can be said of the young politicians mentioned above, and of most politicians too. I certainly hope the Home Minister will give all the support the police needs in making this nation a safer place to live in.

At 50, Malaysia is already more divisive than it should be. Political fanatics are to be blamed. With the underworld and subversive elements making a breakthrough, it will not be long before our children begin to face the mistakes we have all made. Criminals, subversive elements, politicians with links to the underworld should never be allowed to represent the people of Malaysia, and I urge the Malaysian people to reject them and reject those who protect them. If we don’t, we won’t see Malaysia living past 100.

Moving On

When the late Tun Razak saw a swimming pool at a friend’s house, he thought he should have one constructed at his official residence, Seri Taman, located on Venning Road (now the Tun Razak Memorial on Jalan Perdana). He asked his friend how much did it cost to get it built and was told something to the region of RM26,000, well within his budget. Since the “Seri Taman” belonged to the government, he had to go through the Public Works Department, more known here as the JKR (Jabatan Kerja Raya). He gave the JKR the contractor’s details for them to get a quote.

When the JKR came back with the quote, he had the shock of his life: in excess of RM100,000! He immediately told them to get another quote. The final quote was at RM56,000. Still higher than the quote he received directly from the contractor. He never got the swimming pool built. As the Prime Minister, he could easily have asked the JKR to pick up the tab, but as a man with integrity, he did not.

The late Tun was very careful when it came to spending money, personal and the government’s. He did not come from a rich family and was always aware of his origin. What the story above tells us is that when one mentions corruption and kickbacks in the government, one should be able to distinguish between the government machinery and the political party that forms the executive branch of the government. It also tells that although he was the Prime Minister, he did not abuse his position, something not many politicians let alone Ministers can brag about nowadays.

While the Barisan Nasional has formed the Federal government and in all but three states, it has failed to wrestle Selangor and Kelantan from the clutches of the Pakatan Rakyat. This despite the feel good reports that were given to the so-called BN War Room by the respective state’s BN leadership. For some weird reason, BN has fallen yet again to feel-good reports as it did in 2008. This is actually as bad as the one in 2008. Factions in Selangor and Perak were not checked, candidates were put based on how well they can talk (and in the case of Shah Alam, what the person has on Anwar Ibrahim) rather than what the ground feels like or prefer. Some were moved from where they were strongly supported, to a seat that they are not familiar with, or voters not being familiar with them (as in the case of the former DUN Anggerik assemblyman being contested at DUN Batu Tiga and lost). In that sense, Selangor BN lost twice: the seat contested, and the seat it held previously, in a classic case of Pakatan Rakyat killing two birds with one stone.

The Pakatan Rakyat had had a good running in the cyberworld; they made full use of blogs and SMS in 2008, and then Facebook and YouTube for 2013. BN, with the various internet media units was never able to keep up with the allegations thrown. There was no strategy employed by the BN team. UMNO in particular, had groups of bloggers reporting to various people. It is no guess what these people they reported to wanted, other than the recognition by Najib. Pakatan had one strategic director: all came from him. Some would blog allegations (offensive), while the rest would be on the defensive; all structured and “think” in unison.

BN’s on the other hand had everyone on both the offensive and the defensive. When one person blogs about an issue, everyone else jumps into the bandwagon either re-writing and re-phrasing the first blog, or outright Copy and Paste, or the lazy ones would just have a catchy headline and paste the URL of other blogs to read about the issue.

But never do I see people answering to allegations made by the Pakatan bloggers save for some who are not part of the BN cyberwarriors’ teams! I blame this on the “strategists” these BN cybertroopers report to, and also their lack of knowledge on institutional memory as well as current affairs. Not one person from the BN cyber units dared engage people on the issue of Budget Deficit, Economics, History, Law, Constitution etc. Most are contented with ridiculing Pakatan and their figureheads while fighting for ratings using scandalous headlines and sometimes even add scandals of artistes in their blogs just to keep their ratings up!

In short, BN failed to manage the perception of voters, especially the younger ones by not fully utilising the world wide web. No one wrote about how BR1M for example is good, not as a political tool, but in spurring economic activities. All I see written about BR1M is it is a gift from BN and the rakyat should appreciate it. Well, they should put themselves in the shoes of the voters: the voters turned and said it is their money anyhow so why is BR1M a gift?

The other reason of course is the Chinese swing (since they cannot accept the term “Tsunami”). For the past three elections it took me less than twenty minutes from parking my car at 9am, to casting my votes, to starting my car again. This time around, it took me more than two hours! And all around me were faces of Chinese people I never knew lived in my neighbourhood! Let us face the fact that the Chinese have found a bargaining chip in the Pakatan Rakyat. I think Annie’s summed it up real good.

Having won five states in 2008 which we all know was beyond the expectation of the then Barisan Alternatif, the Pakatan Rakyat representatives went on a spree of ceramahs virtually every night since March 2008 until the 2013 elections. This is because they were not sure of repeating the same success, and had to win the perception of the people. And it is probably because of that they did not focus so much on work, but rather on roadshows. Penang, while managed to reduce its debt, saw a substantial increase in deficit, and decrease in investment (BN/UMNO cybertroopers, please learn here):

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All the Pakatan Rakyat-controlled states have formed their respective government which means that all have accepted the results of the GE13, save for Anwar Ibrahim and his band of “boys” who still harp on the fact that the Pakatan Rakyat had won the popular votes. Well, that may be true but this is not a reality show. The formation of the government follows a set of law – the one with the most electoral votes forms the government!

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Else, would the Pakatan Rakyat want to concede defeat to a government formed by UMNO alone? UMNO as an individual party won 29.3% of the popular votes, and on its own won 88 electoral votes! DAP came in second very far behind with only 15.7% popular votes and only 38 seats! Maybe Anwar would like to see an UMNO-DAP coalition government instead! How much did PKR get?

Remember, in Malaysia, Parliament is not paramount; it is the Constitution that makes Parliament! Therefore, respect the Constitution and move on, or find another country that employs popular votes to live in!

The Huguan Siou Denies

And here comes the denial:

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Anwar Ibrahim has denied that he was installed as the Huguan Siou (Paramount Leader) during a visit to Ranau, Sabah, and Lim Kit Siang has called the former up to confirm that such an event never took place.

But what do we all make out of this?

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As pointed out in my previous posting, this was posted by Jonathan Yasin, Deputy PKR Chief of Sabah a few days ago. Now, let us see the pictures below:

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The above pictures posted on the Internet have effectively proven that both Anwar, and Lim Kit Siang, are trying to hoodwink the Sabahans for their support in the forthcoming general elections. In short, they have lied about the event.

And I can bet you, that’s not the missing Omega watch on his wrist.

Probably Anwar is going through his usual looks like me, but it’s not me routine. Nevertheless, this event has not gone down well with most Sabahans. The title of Huguan Siou is not something that is easily given out, and never to anyone outside the Kadazan-Dusun-Murut (KDM) community.

For those from the Peninsula who may not understand the significance, some may describe Anwar being bestowed the title akin to Justin Bieber being made a Knight of the Realm. But in actual fact, it is more like replacing the retiring Pope with Nik Aziz, a Muslim. Anwar may have denied the event took place, but Jonathan Yasin has not issued any denial. In fact, he was reported to have blamed it on an ex-tribal chief whom had performed the ceremony – the blame game commences.

There is no question that the event did take place, and it is perhaps the ultimate insult by a Peninsula-based party in its attempt to subjugate the people of Sabah.

And no other way best to depict the gravity of this issue than a cartoon that was posted on Twitter:

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Ini kali kah? Choose wisely, Sabahans!

Congratulations To The Kadazans, Dusuns and Muruts

This is probably the Chinese New Year gift from Pakatan Rakyat to the people of Sabah; especially the Kadazans, Dusuns and Muruts. According to Jonathan Yasin of PKR Sabah, PKR Supremo, Anwar Ibrahim is the new Huguan Siou (Paramount Leader) as of 10th February 2013. This appointment, according to Jonathan’s Facebook, took place at Kampung Paginatan in Ranau district.

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So, where does Pakatan Rakyat or PKR plan to throw Joseph Pairin Kitingan, the incumbent Huguan Siou? Does PKR now want to replace the Kadazandusun Cultural Association by usurping the latter’s power and appoint a Huguan Siou who is not from the KDM community?

Let us have a look at the bigger picture:

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I guess this is how Pakatan Rakyat treat the people of Sabah. Whatever goes as long as Pakatan Rakyat forms a government, gains power, and Anwar achieves his life-long ambition of becoming the Prime Minister of Malaysia. I won’t be surprised Sarawak would receive the same treatment. Who cares about local sensitivities or what the locals want?

Oh, wait! If you look at the second picture, the caption also says that Anwar has been appointed the Huguan Siou of MALAYSIA! That, in effect, replaces His Majesty Yang DiPertuan Agong (Paramount Ruler of Malaysia).

Little wonder Pakatan Rakyat is so confident of taking over Putrajaya and calling it their year, come what may. After all, IT IS the Year of the SNAKE.

The Case for God – Part 3

In the previous installment I discussed the concept of Trinity to explain how it undermines the divinity of God according to Christianity, thus making the application of the name Allah for a such God an overkill and not appropriate for the actual meaning of Allah.

As mentioned in the previous installment, too, I find the argument that Allah is the common denominator for God in this region a joke. The common denominator in the Indo-Malay speaking world would be Tuhan instead of Allah. However, Allah is the term that is inside the Quran for as long as time can remember. I cannot say the same for the Bible as it no longer reflects the Old Testament. Anyhow, you cannot find the name Allah inside the Old Testament. Just a Hebrew name that does not even resemble both the Arabic and Roman spelling of Allah. Even so, Elohim as called by the Jews, refers to The God that has no Son, nor an equivalent called the Holy Spirit. Mind you, even the Jews are totally against the concept of deifying a human being. I am sure my wife’s Iban relatives who are Christian would understand the term “Tuhan” without any problem since Bahasa Malaysia is derived from the Malay language, and the term for God in Malay is Tuhan.

We have seen the subtle tactics of missionaries of those days in the first installment and how their modus operandi is now refined by present-day missionaries. This blogger had had the opportunity to meet up with Muslims proselytized during the month of Ramadhan of 2012 and was told of the very fine and subtle methods used to proselytize Muslims in Malaysia. Back in the late 19th and early 20th century, the Malay people were not only bombarded with the Malay Bible, but also Christian publications in Malay such as Buletin Ariffin, Cermin Mata, Sahabat and Warta Melayu. Little has changed, but made only better. Recently, Johor’s Department of Islamic Affairs, together with the Home Ministry, confiscated 250 Christian literature in the Malay language. Imagine these books having titles such as Kaabah, Mengenal Rasul and Wahyu Illahi. With the state of Johor having around 58 percent Muslims, 2 percent Christians, and 40 percent other religions, who were these Malay literature targeting? Ibans? Christians? Chinese? Read more about the attempt to proselytize Muslims in BigDog’s post.

So, what about the use of Allah by Christians in Indonesia, Egypt etc.?

Tell me how good has that been for Indonesia and Egypt? How well do the Muslims and Christians get along in those countries? The very reason we do not have beheading of Christians in Kelantan or lynching of Muslims in Sarawak is because we do not step on each others toes.

But I guess, for the purpose of gaining support and diverting the attention of voters from issues currently plaguing the DAP so close tot the next general elections, Lim Guan Eng raised the “use of Allah in Bible” issue again. And the Muslims in the Pakatan Rakyat chose to keep quiet about it except for the MP for Parit Buntar, Mujahid Yusof Rawa who questioned Guan Eng’s motive. I suppose for most PR Muslims, it is okay for Muslims to be proselytize as long as they get to wrestle power from the present government. To cloud the vision of their supporters from their internal issues of corruption, cronyism and nepotism, they decided to rally the support of the mostly Chinese Christians by raising the Allah issue again, knowing very well it would somehow hurt the relationship between UMNO and the Christians within the Barisan Nasional. I hope no fool would fall for this treachery.

What is the purpose of using the name Allah in Bibles, having a Malay Bible, and Christian publications in Malay if not to proselytize the Muslims? With all due respect to my Christian friends, why hasn’t the Vatican been using Allah or Elohim? Why do they stick to the name they know? And what is the most familiar term for God here in Malaysia if not Tuhan?

Like I mentioned in the first instalment. I am called John, and wherever I go, I will still be called John. No one in Germany would call me Johann, no Arab would call me Yahya, no one in Sweden would call me Jan or Jon. So, if your common denominator is Tuhan, call as it is. Not adopt from some other language. Or else, I would question why aren’t you calling God “Deus.” Please don’t fall for the politics of hate propagated by those who are irresponsible.

We have been living together, respecting each other for more than five decades peacefully except for one dark moment in 1969. Let us not let the political ambition of some to destroy the peace and prosperity that we have maintained for so long.

May I remind the Christians, in particular the Catholics about what is mentioned in the Catholic Encyclopedia about Allah:

Let it be noted that although Allah is an Arabic term, it is used by all Moslems, whatever be their language, as the name of God

If you still cannot see that, then there will soon be trouble in this peaceful nation. So, who is not respecting who?

The Case for God – Part 2

In the previous installment we see the difference in how Christianity was spread throughout the Indo-Malay world. In this installment, we discuss the concept of Trinity and why some Christians now continue to reject it.

Allah The One God

Since Allah is the common denominator to refer to God in the Arabic-speaking world, why is it then a problem for Malay Muslims to accept its use in the Malaysian Bibles?

First of all, the common denominator for God in the Indo-Malay speaking world is Tuhan, not Allah.   Like mentioned in paragraphs above, the general Christian world believes in the Trinity where God is the Father, God is the Son, and God is the Holy Spirit.  Muslims have a problem here thinking that this is all about polytheism, but really in technical terms it is not.  But neither is it monotheism as the Jews and Muslims hold on to.  In the Trinity concept, while God is all those three persons, the Father is NOT the Son or the Holy Spirit; the Son is NOT the Father or the Holy Spirit; neither the Holy Spirit is the other two.  It is the concept of one deity in three persons.

The problem with Muslim scholars in Malaysia is that their studies are so focused on Islam that they fail at comparative religious studies and often make opinions based on what they think is being practiced in other religions.  How many other Muslims read the Bible to know that after the publishing of the King James Bible in 1611, there have been other versions including the “new version”, the “children version”, and the “American version” (I’ll call them KJV in short)? How many know of the various changes made to God’s words in the Bible that appears in the KJV of today?

Mind you, the KJV was translated and printed by Thomas Nelson Publishers.  In 1969, the publishers was purchased by Sam Moore, who started by selling Bibles door-to-door to finance his pursuit of a medical degree.  He vowed to make Thomas Nelson the leading publisher of Bibles again. In 1976, he initiated the creation of the new Bible translation calling it the New King James Version (NKJV) that propelled Thomas Nelson back to the number one spot.

Hence, the NKJV Bible is more a human dogma than a collection of divine words.  Some versions has had the word “He” changed to “It” to accommodate a politically-correct gender-unbiased view.  Personally, I would use “It” to refer either to things that are not alive, or to beings other than the human.  The Quran, on the other hand, has never been changed, and the divinity of its content unquestioned.

The concept of Trinity was also alien to some Christians.  It was during the First Council of Nicea in 325AD , the first ecumenical council of the Church that was convened by the Roman Emperor, Constantine I, that an attempt to get the Christian world to agree on the divinity of Jesus Christ.  The main topic was to discuss the teachings of a Christian presbyter in Egypt called Arius, who focused on Godhead, which emphasized the Father’s divinity over the Son.  He endorsed the following doctrine:

  1. That the Son, or the Word (Logos) and the Father were not of the same essence (ousia);
  2. That the Son was a created being (ktisma);
  3. That the worlds were created through the Word, then he must have existed before all time;
  4. However, the Word did not exist, before he was begotten by the Father.

For his belief, and for refusing to sign the Creed and accepting the divinity of Christ, Arius and two other Church leaders were banished, prompting others to sign.  One must remember that Emperor Constantine I was never a baptized Christian until he was on his deathbed and the word ecumenical means world, in reference to the Roman Empire dominating what they saw was the world to them.

The Arian church lives on in some parts of the world, notably in the Eastern Christianity domain, the Oriental Orthodox.  Due to the differences, the Church of Rome and the Orthodox Church were no longer in communion, although rivalry between the two have all but diminished since the Great Schism, but the latter still rejects the dogmatic definition published by the Pope, or by an ecumenical council, and also rejects the Council of Chalcedon.

The introduction of  the Filioque by the Western Church into the Latin version of the Nicene Creed without holding a council or gaining consent from the Eastern Churches contributed greatly to this schism. The Filioque is a phrase that states the Holy Spirit as proceeding from “the Father and the Son”, while the Eastern Churches have always held on to the fact that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, and has the same status as the Son.

As such, God the Father in this concept does not qualify itself to be interpreted as Allah to be used in the Bible. God, as portrayed in the Trinity concept, does not stand, and cannot stand alone.  The concept of God as a Supreme Being that exists even before time does not seem to hold true when it comes to the Christian interpretation of God, and although the Jews, Christians and Muslims are people of the book, only the Christians have created God as an image, whereas, especially in Islam, God is beyond human comprehension.  Simply put, if you think that it is impossible to imagine God, even that imagination and thought come after His creation and is still nowhere near describing Allah.  Both the Jews and the Muslims reject the hypostasis nature of God as projected by the Christians.

Therefore, in my humble opinion, and without prejudice to my Christian friends, God the Father should be Tuhan Bapak; God the Son should be Tuhan Anak; and God the Holy Spirit should be Tuhan Ruhul Kudus.

In my next installment, we will have a look at the common denominator and what has become of it, and what I think of this whole issue.

The Case for God

I am called John.

John F SeaDemon.

I may be called Yahya or Yahya Shaitan al-Bahri  if I were in an Arab country somewhere, but I doubt John F Kennedy would have been called Yahya F Kennedy had he gone to Saudi Arabia or even Egypt.  In fact, he would still be called Jack…or John.  But for some Christians in Malaysia, especially in the Peninsula Malaysia, God is called Allah. Maybe it is time for me to address the Logos behind the Theos in this theological subject.

The Language behind Allah

There has been many attempts at explaining the origin of the name Allah, and the similarity the name has to the Jewish word, Elohim (Elochim).  Allah is derived from two distinct Arabic words: Al (The), and Ilah (God), to describe the Supreme Being, the One God, and the word Allah, in Arabic takes a masculine form.

The Hebrew equivalent would be Eloah.  However, Eloah is the female word for God.  In order for the name to have a masculine form, the name Eloah is given a plural form, -im, making it masculine.

However, the Catholic Encyclopedia does not recognise Elohim as the Hebrew word for the God of Israel, but says that it could have been referred to an earlier polytheistic culture’s deity.

In Arabic, a female form of Allah would be Al-Lat.  Interestingly, Al-Lat during pre-Islamic times refers to one of three goddesses (female) whose shrine and temple was built in the city of Taif in Saudi Arabia.  She was a daughter of the Supreme God, Allah, along with her sisters Manat and al-Uzza.  Here you can see that even polytheistic pre-Islamic Arabs had a Supreme God called Allah.  Hence, if you ask me, an equivalent of Al-Lat in Hebrew would be Eloah, and not The One Supreme God. You can clearly see the difference between Elohim and Allah. While the former had to undergo a gender transformation, the Arabic word Allah is free of grammatical structure and corrupted meanings.

Of course, Christians in Malaysia argue that Allah is a common denominator for God for both Arab Christians and Muslims.  We’ll come back to that in a while.

The Local History behind Allah

Let us remember one thing.  Malaya (Peninsula Malaysia) was never colonised as a whole by the British, save for Penang, Malacca, and Singapore, while Sabah and Sarawak came under direct British colonial rule. Penang was acquired through a deal to lease the island made between the British East India Company and the Sultan of Kedah; Malacca was acquired from the Dutch through the Treaty of Bencoolen; and Singapore was included in the Treaty of Bencoolen by making the severely weakened Dutch to not object to the British occupation of Singapore.  The people of these three places, together with Sabah and Sarawak, became British subjects.

Through treaties with the Sultans on the Peninsula, the British helped administer the State of the respective Sultans, while the Sultans remained as the supreme head of these sovereign states.  The administration of Islam came under the purview of the respective Sultans as the protectors of the state’s religion.

So, why does Indonesia have Bibles that use the word Allah to describe God?

Unlike Malaya, Indonesia was a nation of conquered people.  Hello! Remember the Dutch?  When Douglas MacArthur met Emperor Hirohito, he purposely stood next to the Emperor to show the Japanese people that the Emperor was not a demi-God.  Victors get to do as they please, and this is probably the same case as the Ladang Rakyat issue in Kelantan.  The Dutch conquered parts of Indonesia beginning in 1595, and as part of its attempt to call the Malay diaspora in Indonesia to Christianity, the Book of Matthew was translated into the Indonesian language in 1629; and where the Dutch set foot, other religions were formally prohibited although Chinese temples as well as mosques remained in existence.

Missionaries, too, made headway in Sabah and Sarawak, converting the populace to Christianity.  Sir Stamford Raffles recommended to Rev. Thomas Raffles (Buitenzorg, 10th February 1815, Mss. Eur. F.202/6) that Borneo be given vigorous campaigns by the missionaries as “the island is inhabited by a race scarcely emerged from Barbarism.”

This does not mean that the Malays were free from attempts to proselytize them.  In fact, Raffles, in a letter to his cousin in 1815 mentioned how “Religion and laws are so united” in Muslim dominated areas that the introduction of Christian beliefs will bring about “much mischief, much bitterness of heart and contention”.

Raffles contended that Christianity must be packaged in a new form and be conveyed to the Muslim majority through a gradual approach. The “pagans”, on the other hand, required no stratagems.  His methods include the establishment of missionary schools where the Malays are taught to read and write in their own language.  Then he set up printers to publish books in Malay.  Missionaries were largely responsible for this effort with the help of local agents, and the most famous of these agents was a chap called Abdullah Abdul Kadir who is better known as Munshi (Teacher) Abdullah.  He and other Munshis taught Christian missionaries the Malay language.  His role went beyond that and became the first Muslim in South East Asia to translate the Bible into the Malay language, that he became the target of his contemporaries who called him Abdullah Paderi (Pastor Abdullah) among other things.

It is interesting to note, however, that Raffles never once attempted to convert Malays in the Federated and Unfederated Malay States where the Sultans rule and guard the interest of the religion of Islam.  This is because it would be foolhardy to anger the Sultans whom the British had a treaty with, by undermining the sanctity of Islam by converting their subjects.  In the case of Raffles, he only focused his efforts on those who are British subjects.

Here we see the subtle tactics of the Christian missionaries during Raffles’s times, and the Malay lackeys who colluded with them.  We can see the similarities in events of nowadays.  But the above is also why we have Allah in the Bibles of Indonesia and Sabah and Sarawak, but not in Peninsula Malaysia.

In the next installment I will discuss on how the concept of Trinity came about and why it was opposed by some Christians, and about Allah as the common denominator for God in the Arab-speaking world.

Rebuttal: Con Air

I refer to an article in The Star dated 25th September 2012 implying that I exposed Dato Taufik Omar as the person who had loaned the said private jet to Anwar.

I hope that the respected newspaper had read my blog posting that only mentioned Dato Taufik is said to be the operator, or owner, or agent of the aircraft, and that he should come forth to clear the air to the masses on the situation.

John F SeaDemon
25th September 2012
10.02AM