Bule-Pembantu debate moves into mainstream media

The posting that sparked fierce and passionate debate on how some Western men seem to go for plebian and slutty-looking Asian girlfriends in this and several blogs has gone mainstream with the Jakarta Post carrying Thang Nguyen’s article in its Oped pages on 30 October.

Yu Phuc, whom Unspun suspects of being some kind of a publicist for Thang, has posted the full article in the comment section of Unspun’s earlier posting.

Unspun wonders how Thang’s online admirers and detractors will carry on the debate in the mainstream media.

Aussies eschew cleric’s “women-are-meat” statement

The big issue when Unspun was Down Under last week was the controversy stirred up by Australia’s top Muslim cleric Sheikh Taj el-Din-al-Hilali who said in a sermon that women who did not wear the jilbab attracted sexual assault.

His exact words:

“If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside… and the cats come and eat it… whose fault is it, the cats’ or the uncovered meat?” Sheikh Hilali is quoted as asking during the sermon.

The uncovered meat is the problem, he went on to say.

“If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab [headscarf], no problem would have occurred,” he added.

The statement aroused anger and indignation among many Australians, even women Muslim Australians. One Muslim woman leader was quoted on TVas saying that the comment was unacceptable, his subsequent half apology was unacceptable and the Sheikh should step down. But she also added thatthe Muslim women could not get rid of him because the Mosque Association had decided that while the Sheikh should shut up for the next few months until the controversy died down, he should nonetheless be allowed to keep his position.

What sort of a structure do the Australian Muslims have where a cleric can shoot off his mouth yet be able to retain his position? What sort of image of Islam would this give to the non-Islamic world who already nurture the impression, wrong thoug it is, that Islamic organizations are mysogynistic?

Perth reflections


Unspun managed to hightail it off to Perth for the Idul Fitri break. The last time Unspun was there was four or five years ago.

Perth is still a small, cozy city but there is a new buss to it. The economy is on the move, there is much building activity, lots of jobs to be found and its has reportedly become the second most expensive Australian city to live in, after Sydney. It is a beautiful city though, especiallywhen viewed from the 13th floor of an apartment in the Esplanade in South Perth, just across the Swan River from the city center (Above photo – and thank you Dr and Mrs Wong for allowing Unspun and frinds to use your wonderful apartment).
Unspun likes to travel because all sorts of questions pop up in one’s head as you see things out of the ordinary context, for example:

  1. Why is it that the half cups of water that Garuda provides, if sourced in Indonesia, have covers that are impossible to peel open? Doesn’t anyone select these cups according to user friendliness?
  2. Why can there be so much variety and quality choices at the supermarkets in a small city like Perth when you can’t have it in a big city like Jakarta?
  3. How is it that the Aussies can keep their cities clean, their roads paved and litter free when you can’t even get to do one of those in Jakarta?
  4. Why is town planning and the provision of parks possible in Perth and impossible in Jakarta?
  5. Why is the lighting in the Jakarta airport seemingly so gloomy and depressing? Did they not pay lighting consultants to do the job?
  6. Where does all the money for fiscal go to? Come to think of it what’s SBY doing about it two years after being in office?
  7. Why do residents in Indonesia have to fill in a departure card and retain the entry card when overseas? The whole world does it the other way around.

Crying in the wind

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad issued this statement on 27 October 2006 because he was afraid his words woudl be spun by his successor Badawi’s “hatchetmen.”

From what I know of Malaysian politics – the repression and the paranoid need to control the flow of information critical of the government – all that Mahathir says is probably true.

But the message is ineffective coming from Mahathir because he has little credibility left. When he was in power he was even more Machiavellian and repressive than Badawi. Now he is sore because what goes around comes around.

His support is now confined to the Malaysians who have an axe to grind against badawi and his so called “hatchetmen” Kalimullah Hassan and Brendan Periera. This does not means that there is legitimate criticism by others against Badawi and his administration though.

Mahathir’s statement in full is below, as carried in Malaysiakini: Continue reading Crying in the wind

Monte spins again!

You got to love the man’s chutzpah. Waiting to pounce on me in my mailbox as Unspun returned from the Idul Fitri break was an e-mail from the irrepresible Monte Monfore. Monte, as readers of this blog will know through previous postings (here, here, and here), is a man of some swimming talent that is eclipsed by his talent for self promotion. His skills are such that he’s able to persuade any gullible do-gooder organization to apparently sponsor him for a swim here, there or anywhere.

He’s also not above the occassional spin, as in his handout photo caption of his swim in Bali’s Lake Batur, where Monte portrayed himself as  having conquered “high winds and the frigid mountain water”. High winds?  Frigid mountain water? In Bali? And what’s Monte’s antics got to do with the Olympics? Oh Pluleze…

Here’s Monte’s note to me, who has suddenly become a friend:

Hello friends,

I’ve been living in Bali more than two years and have been very busy swimming.  If you Google: Monte Monfore, you can read much about me and see few short swim videos online.

Please click on these addresses below to see two recent swim photos:



If you click below the photos on „Email to a Friend‰ you can send it to about 10 others at once.  Would you please consider doing this, as it will help move my photo to the top of the Yahoo list?

Event footage was sent worldwide by Reuters and AP.

I hope everyone is happy and well.

Thanks very much,


P. Ramlee and the NEP

P. Ramlee might point out that a lot of people might want to portray the article below as a racial issue but it is not. really. It’s about one superclass of people, who happen to be Malays and recipients of largese, screwing the whole country.

Read the Malaysiakini article (below) why a strong proponent of Malsysia’s New Economic Policy now says it will destroy the Malays:

NEP Will Destroy the Malays
By Bede Hong and Muhammad Razif
October 2, 2006 1:17PM

Since joining Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) as its treasurer in July, Khalid Ibrahim has called for the abolishment of the New Economic Policy (NEP) – an affirmative action scheme launched in 1971 to uplift the lot of poor Malays.

The call is surprising as it comes from a person once described as an ‘industry captain’.

Khalid, 60, is the former chief executive of Kumpulan Guthrie Bhd and former group chief executive of government-linked plantations company Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB). He stepped down from Guthrie in 2003. He also set up an asset-management and counsulting firm for foreign clients.

After spending nearly two decades in fund management, most recently with Malaysia’s National Equities Board (PNB), Khalid has made an about turn.

In part one of this two-part interview, Khalid tells malaysiakini about the need for the government to cut down on its operations costs, describes the NEP as ‘the devil’ and laments the lack of successful bumiputera entrepreneurs.

Malaysiakini: What do you think of the economy?

Khalid: With the likelihood of a world economic slowdown, coupled with the possibility of another rise in oil prices, which is quite the likelihood, I think the government needs to be concerned with reducing its operations costs. It’s more important than being cautious with spending. Continue reading P. Ramlee and the NEP

P. Ramlee and the Comfortable Malay Elite

What would P. Ramlee think about this article headlined A Comfortable Malay Elite, written by Philip Bowring in the International Herald Tribune today?

HONG KONG Malaysia’s image as an exemplary pluralist Muslim nation is looking increasingly suspect. For Muslims, especially, there should be growing unease at the identification of religion with a Malay racial-enhancement program.

Recently, Malaysia’s business think tank, the Asian Strategy and Research Institute, or ASLI, released research that found Malay corporate ownership could now be vastly greater than the official 19 percent figure – and more than enough to justify ending 30 years of policy aimed at raising the ownership share of the indigenous population, mostly Malays, to 30 percent.

But rather than lead to a public- policy debate, the paper led to an immediate clampdown by a Malay elite reluctant to see a public discussion of the privileges it enjoys. ASLI’s president, Mirzan Mahathir, condemned the document and it was immediately withdrawn from circulation. Mirzan is a son of former Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad. The current prime minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, warned against making “trouble” by questioning affirmative action.


The stifled debate is not a quibble over numbers but over the future of affirmative action for Malays, who constitute the majority of the population but traditionally owned a minority of the wealth. It goes to the heart of politics in a country where politics is based on race. Continue reading P. Ramlee and the Comfortable Malay Elite