Wednesday, November 26, 2008

PIKOM PC Fair 2008 (III)

PIKOM PC Fair 2008 (III) - Dates and Venues

5 - 7 December 2008 (11:00 am - 9:00 pm)

-Penang International Sports Arena, Penang - Jalan Tun Dr Awang, 11900 Relau
-Sabah Trade Centre, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah - Jalan Istiadat, Teluk Likas, 88400 Kota Kinabalu
-Central Square, Sungai Petani, Kedah - Jalan Kampung Baru, 08000 Sungai Petani
-Dewan SJK(C) Yuk Choy, Ipoh, Perak - 195, Jalan Sultan Iskandar, 30000 Ipoh
-Berjaya Megamall, Kuantan, Pahang - Jalan Tun Ismail, Sri Dagangan, 25000 Kuantan

12 - 14 December 2008 (11:00 am - 9:00 pm)

-KL Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur - Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50888 Kuala Lumpur
-Mahkota Parade Melaka, Melaka - Jalan Merdeka, 75000 Bandar Hilir
-Dewan Suarah, Bintulu, Sarawak - Jalan Tun Ahmad Zaidi, 97008 Bintulu
-Batu Pahat (BP) Mall, Batu Pahat, Johor - Jalan Kluang, 83000 Batu Pahat

19 - 21 December 2008 (11:00 am - 9:00 pm)

-Persada Johor International Convention Centre, Johor Bahru - Jalan Abdullah
Ibrahim,80000 Johor Bahru
-Dewan 2020, Kangar, Perlis - 01000, Kangar
-Dewan Tunku Ibrahim Ismail, Kluang, Johor - 86000, Kluang

Please contact the PC Fair Team at +603 7955 2922 or email us at for further information.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Japan's Untouchables!

Social Outcasts

By TIM LARIMER and TOKO SEKIGUCHI Wednesday, Mar. 28, 2001

They are Japan's untouchables. A minority group discriminated against while living on the fringes of society.

They are burakumin, or "village people." They may look like other Japanese, speak the same language, eat the same foods and wear the same clothes, but prejudice is always close. And the absence of any information -- and fear of discussion -- about this invisible group serves to perpetuate the prejudice, leaving people to spout untruths and rumors: that burakumin are physically deformed, for example.

The burakumin existed, informally, as a social class as far back as the 6th century, but they were shunted to the bottom of a five-tier caste system during the Tokugawa period (1600-1867), also known as the Edo period. Considered social outcasts, they were typically butchers, tanners and waste-handlers. Japan's Meiji transformation in the late 19th century opened up the country to the outside world, yet the burakumin still exist -- as does the discrimination they suffer.

In Japan, few people are willing to talk about the burakumin. The mainstream media go to great lengths to avoid any discussion of the group, and code words are more the norm. An article about someone thought to be a burakumin, for example, might describe him as someone who likes to attend the dog races. Why the queasiness? The burakumin scare many people.

Justified or not, some burakumin have a reputation for responding to public discussion about them, whether it's on television or in a magazine, with behavior that borders on harassment. "When I talked about burakumin on a TV show," says one reporter, who, predictably, doesn't want his name used, "the station was flooded with calls, day and night, from people wanting my home phone number."

There is one place, however, where talk about the burakumin is freewheeling and unfettered. That place is the Internet. Here, of course, people don't worry about a backlash because they can be anonymous. Channel 2 is a website that hosts many discussion groups -- with topics ranging from food recipes to erotica -- including one on the burakumin. Messages posted on the site include "Tell me the names of burakumin in the entertainment industry" and "Buraku can't intimidate me." There has also been a lengthy discussion about political heavyweight Hiromu Nonaka's burakumin ties.

Says Shigeshi Tabata, who runs an independent, on-line watchdog group called Network Against Discrimination and for Research on Human Rights: "The reason people want this information is to discriminate against people. Policing what is said on the Internet is of course difficult -- and controversial. Tabata has contacted Channel 2's Webmaster about the burakumin postings that he believes to be inflammatory. "I believe he is aware of the problem," Tabata says. "But that was in 1999, and the burakumin names are still posted. Because people can post their comments anonymously, they aren't accountable. Monitoring bulletin boards is an eternal cat-and-mouse chase."

(In the 1960s and '70s, pamphlets were published that listed the addresses and neighborhoods known to be inhabited by burakumin. Family names were also printed. These pamphlets were used by companies, including some of Japan's blue-chip businesses, to weed out burakumin when hiring employees, and by families to investigate the background of potential husbands and wives for their children. In 1975, Japan banned those publications, but the lists are now are popping up on the Channel 2 bulletin boards.)

Hiroyuki Nishimura, a 24-year-old computer consultant, is Channel 2's Webmaster. The site, which launched in May 1999, gets some 15 million hits a day, he says. Hiroyuki is defensive about the material on the site, and says it is impossible for him to police every message that is posted. "Right now, very few things on the Internet are regulated by Japanese law," he says. "For instance, it's not illegal for high school girls to post their cell phone numbers on-line for 'enjo kosai' (teenage prostitution). We actively delete these. But for other things, we don't have the manpower to be actively looking for offensive or unethical and immoral postings." Besides, he says, he is uncomfortable with the notion of censorship. "If you regulate what is said on places like Channel 2, that's fascism. I just provide people a place to discuss issues."

On the one hand, discussion about the burakumin is a good thing. Nowhere in Japan are people allowed to confront stereotypes or even ask questions about a group of people that rights groups say number as many as 3 million. On the other hand, unfortunately much of the discussion is nothing more than hate-mongering.

Japan's government has passed laws to end discrimination against the group, and has set up special programs to improve burakumin neighborhoods, and improve their children's education. The prejudice, though, persists. "Around me, day to day, it doesn't seem anyone discriminates against me," says Hiroshi Kanto, a burakumin in Kyoto. "But then one day my daughter came home from elementary school and said some other kids' parents told them not to play with her because she is burakumin."

The question now is whether the Internet revolution will help, or hurt the group. Channel 2's Nishimura is optimistic. "One of the discussion threads was a survey about discrimination people experienced, or from the other side, that they imposed," he says. "You can't do that anywhere else but on an anonymous bulletin board. It's the only place for these two opposing voices to communicate."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Caste and the question of Identity (Part I)

Caste and the question of Identity I


The term untouchables have long been associated with the caste system of Indian culture as a reference to the class of people at the very bottom of the social hierarchy. While extreme interpretation of this system is beginning to fade away due to the changing times and education which has become the main propellant in empowering those from the lowest rung of the social ladder, there is still a large consciousness among the masses of their cast and creed and the seemingly permanent social distinction. The Indian caste system is deeply routed in the ancestral occupational attachment which has sadly become some kind of social imprisonment for those who are associated to the most “unclean” or dirty jobs thus permanently condemned being labeled as outcasts.

Having said that, it is natural for an outsider to assume that in modern times caste would no longer be relevant for someone who becomes empowered to finally become independent by virtue of his education and profession to break away from such social imprisonment. Apparently that is not the case, as there is also a large fellowship who prefer to retain that identity regardless of caste. Even the so called lower classes take pride in their identity and form such comradeship which is reflected in the politics of today.

In an age of globalization and cultural plurality, we somehow find people who firmly hold on to their castes as a vital aspect of their identity. In a multi-layered atmosphere of Indianness, the question of “who am I?” can never have a simple “Indian” for an answer and the whole concept of Indian is corrupt; the entity having sprung out of an artificial union ; a byproduct of a colonial past. Therefore most would generally be linguistically and regionally divided into the almost countless numbers of languages and dialects they belong to, such as, a few among others, the Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam,Telugu, Hindi,Punjabi and Bengali speakers. Their Lingua-Regional identity comes first and then comes the question of caste and creed before even thinking of Indianness. However the term has gained much popularity abroad among the Indian Diaspora, for this term itself is founded upon that very conception and best reflects the identities of Cultures from the Sub-continent. Caste, while being a sensitive issue these days, is extremely important even for those whose sensitivities are most affected .On the other hand, the downtrodden while denouncing it entirely would also uphold it at some time or other.. It should be noted that caste based societies and associations are thriving in Malaysia with approximately 100 registered bodies.

South Indian Sir Names are most certainly a reflection of castes which they belong to and this could explain the reason behind Indians who don’t possess second names Most Indians would not want to be labeled as an advocate of the caste system. However, there are people who are proud of their ancestry and carry the family name (caste) as their sir-name. But the most unfortunate are those who do not want to be ostracized by society thus keep it a secret. To end in a positive note, I am very pleased to say that the new generation of Indians in Malaysia regardless of caste does not emphasize caste as much as their ancestors did with reference to sir-names.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

< The Origins of Silat >

The Beginning


Maha Guru Victor de Thouars, interviewed by reporter Steve Gartin, for Fighting Knives/Street Fighter magazine.

Excerpts :

Victor: By the end of the second century A.D., India had already established trade routes to Indonesia. By the year 125 A.D., influences from Indian Hindu/Buddhist missionarys was beginning to be felt in Indonesia.

Victor: Indonesian martial arts was very crude and unrefined during that time period, followed by a period of refinement. With the later Influences from India, Indonesia established a system of fighting unique to Indonesia.

Victor: The martial arts the Chinese saw in Indonesia were referred to as "Silate". The indonesian able to absorb and adapt to other cultures, took many words from those cultures and integrated them into their language. This was done with the word "Silate", and was changed to Silat, so in short the word "Silat" is from Chinese origin, not the action".

Victor: Martial arts in Indonesia and China began to develop separately, but both were influenced by the buddhist monks who traveled from India to Indonesia and China during those years".


Silat is an umbrella term for a number of martial art forms originating from the countries of the Malay Archipelago. This art is widely known in Indonesia and Malaysia but can also be found in varying degrees among the Malay-affiliated communities in Brunei, Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand and Cambodia. The art has also reached Europe, and is especially popular in the Netherlands and France. There are hundreds of aliran (styles) ranging from animalistic to human styles and schools or perguruan


To create a balanced person, Silat also focuses on the spiritual aspect. The aim of the practitioner is to free oneself of worldly conceptions and realize that our reality is an illusion. This was originally based on the meditative practices of Hinduism, Buddhism, Kejawen and local forms of animism which is still evident in the older styles today. The later introduction of Islam into Southeast Asia brought influences of Muslim philosophy while retaining traditional Malay elements such as moksa and the Javanese concept of kebatinan in which the exponent searches for the harmony within themselves. Nowadays, spirituality in silat is largely based on tasawwuf (knowledge of Islamic esoteric teaching). In this way, the exponent learns to respect life and his surroundings and see it as a gift from God.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Cure for HIV ???

German hematologists Eckhard Thiel, left, and Gero Huetter of Berlin's Charite Medical University
attend a news conference about a successful treatment of a HIV infected patient in Berlin, on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2008. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

Doctors in Germany say a patient appears to have been cured of HIV by a bone marrow transplant from a donor who had a genetic resistance to the virus.

The researchers in Berlin said the man, who suffered from leukaemia and HIV, had shown no sign of either disease since the transplant two years ago.

But they stressed it was an unusual case which needed further investigation.

Experts said the result may boost interest in gene therapy for HIV.

Berlin's Charite clinic said the 42-year-old patient was an American living in Berlin, but the man has not been identified.

About one in 1,000 Europeans and Americans have a resistance to HIV

more from the BBC

Monday, November 10, 2008

A great Pioneer of Malaya!

An Early Nation Builder Re-Examined for his Great Contribution

to Malaysian Society!

K. Thamboosamy Pillay

K. Thamboosamy Pillay was a prominent Malaysian of Tamil origin during the pre-independence years. He was considered the leader of the Tamil community. He was a wealthy businessman, tin miner, money lender and government contractor.Thamboosamy was one of the founders and one of the original Trustees of Victoria Institution as well as the founder of the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Kuala Lumpur and the Batu Caves Murugan Temple. A Sivan Temple in Klang is also said to have been built on land which was owned by his family but later donated to the temple committee.

Born in Singapore in 1850, K. Thamboosamy Pillay received his early education at Raffles Institution. He sailed to Klang in 1875 with James Guthrie Davidson, when the latter was appointed Malaya's first British Resident. Prior to that, he had been a clerk in the legal firm in which Davidson was a partner.

He was later transferred to the Treasury where he eventually became chief clerk and acted as State Treasurer on a few occasions. He was sent to India by the Malayan Government to bring over the first batch of Indian immigrants for the Railway and Public Works. Thamboosamy resigned from Government service in the 1880s and, going into partnership with Towkay Loke Yew, managed the New Tin Mining Company in Rawang. They were the first to use electric pumps for mining in Malaya.

A Justice of Peace and member of the prestigious KL Sanitary Board, Thamboosamy was the acknowledged leader of the Tamil community in Malaya, especially in Kuala Lumpur.His other business interests included coffee planting, real estate and construction. He was a member of both the Selangor Club and the Turf Club and owned several horses. Thamboosamy was one of the founders and one of the original Trustees of Victoria Institution. One of the sports houses in VI is named after him. His son, K. T. Ganapathy Pillay, was a Victorian and served as the second President of the VIOBA.

The Sri Mahamariamman Temple, Kuala Lumpur was founded by Thamboosamy in 1873 and was initially used as a private shrine by the Pillai family. The family threw open the temple doors to the public in the late 1920s and eventually handed the management of the temple over to a board of trustees. This is the oldest functioning Hindu temple in Malaysia. It is also reputed to be the richest in the country. The Temple was originally sited somewhere near the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station. It shifted to its present location along Jalan Tun H.S. Lee (next to KL's Chinatown) in 1885.

He was also said to have discovered Batu Caves, with its vel-shaped entrance, and was inspired to start a Hindu temple in devotion to Lord Muruga in 1888. The first Thaipoosam festival in Malaysia was also started by Thamboosamy Pillay in 1891.

So great was Thamboosamy's philanthropic spirit, that he donated money to whoever needed it, regardless of race or religion. He contributed a sizeable amount of money to the building fund of St. Mary's Cathedral, Kuala Lumpur in 1893, despite being a Hindu.

Thamboosamy died in 1902 in Singapore, where he had gone to attend a meeting at the Singapore Turf Club.

A street
in the Chow Kit district and a Tamil primary school in Sentul are also named in his memory.

Besides The Victoria Institution Web Page, Wikipedia and Bernama, all information on K Thamboosamy Pillai that I have posted have been verified/obtained first hand from one of his great grandsons who has inherited and collected a vast treasure of historical documents on his great great grand father’s legacy. Having said that, I am pleased to say that he is an important forefather of our nation who helped lay the foundation for a better future. Needless to say,he should always be remembered for his service to the Indian Community and Pre-Independence Malaya. However,the above mentioned is only a small portion of his undeniable contribution as one of the earliest leaders of the Indian Tamil Community to a young Nation in the making.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

World Sight Day - Cataract Surgeries!

Free Cataract Surgeries for the underprivileged

Every five seconds one person in the world goes needlessly blind. World Sight Day was created in 1998 to spotlight the importance or eradicating preventable blindness and improving sight. Organizations around the world hold vision screening events, community education programs, eyeglass collections and other special projects to mark World Sight Day which falls on every second Thursday each year.

…“World Sight Day provides an opportunity for all of us to work together and become more aware and more committed to ensuring the right to sight. Please inform us anytime, of any under privilege person who have vision impairment especially those having cataracts so that we can restore sight back to them.”

Those who would like to take part with the centre in organizing a bigger event next year are welcome to contact the Centre for Sight:

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Refugees in Malaysia

Refugees in Malaysia

Refugees and asylum-seekers in Malaysia,

registered with UNHCR, 2008





Sri Lanka








Source: Malay Mail, from:

Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Malaysia, 2006

Refugees and Asylum Seekers








New Refugees & Asylum Seekers


Involuntary Departures

210 -1000

Voluntary Departures


Malaysia as Source


Source: < >

From: U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants - World Refugee Survey 2006 Country Report,Malaysia

< >

Monday, November 3, 2008

30,000 Malaysians living illigally in Britain!

Friday October 31

The British Government in introducing a programme to reduce the number of illegal immigrants with regards to those who have overstayed.Under this programme those who overstay "can be assisted in returning home by being given a one-way ticket to their respective flight ticket home".
Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said that there were 30,000 Malaysians who had overstayed in Britain and its government would like to see as many illegal immigrants possible from that country leave.

“In July, United Kingdom gave Malaysia a six months grace period before deciding whether to impose visa on citizens of this country. “The period is used to gauge whether there is an increase in the number of overstayers or those who go in on a social visa but find employment there.

He said the British Government would decide after December whether to impose a visa on Malaysians traveling to the country but hoped that “this will not be necessary”, urging citizens to respect and abide by the laws of the country they were in.

Britain is mulling whether to impose visa on visiting Malaysians following high incidents of overstaying and illegal workers of late.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Tamil film fraternity fasts for immediate solution to the suffering of SL Tamils!

Packed with performance and punch lines, the entire Tamil film fraternity staged a powerful show of strength at a one-day fast in Chennai Saturday to express solidarity with the Eezham Tamils. The actors demanded the Tamil Nadu state and the Indian Union Government to immediately find a peaceful and permanent solution to the Sri Lankan problem.

Serbia expels Malaysia's ambassador!

Serbia's Foreign Ministry says the government has expelled Malaysia's ambassador after his country recognized the independence of Kosovo.

The ministry says the Malaysian envoy Saw Ching Hong has 48 hours to leave the country.

The move follows the expulsion earlier this month of Montenegrin and Macedonian ambassadors over their countries' recognition of Kosovo.

The former Serbian province declared independence in February with the support from the United States and most EU nations.

But Serbia refuses to endorse the split. It has asked for a U.N. court's opinion on whether the secession was legal.

Associated Press

Just a thought.....

Will the world ever recognise Tamil Eelam? If Kosovo can be recognised then surely the Tamil struggle should also be recognised? Unfortunately the U S of A has branded the Rebellion and Freedom struggle in Eelam as Terrorism while on the other hand given support to the Kosovans.

Double standards?

If thats the case then Russia is right in Recognising the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia as an independant region.