Saturday 31 May 2008



Karl Heinrich Marx (1818 to 1883) was a 19th-century Prussian philosopher, political economist, sociologist, humanist, political theorist and revolutionary.

Karl Marx said: (emphasis added):

“Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people…

The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness….

The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo….

Criticism has plucked the imaginary flowers on the chain not in order that man shall continue to bear that chain without fantasy or consolation, but so that he shall throw off the chain and cull the living flower.”

The quote, above, could be perhaps interpreted as follows (emphasis added):

Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again.

But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man-state, society.

This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world.

Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d'honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification.

It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality.

The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion. Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.

According to Marx, religion is an expression of material realities and economic injustice.

As a consequence of this, problems in religion are ultimately problems in society.

Religion is not the disease, but merely a symptom.

Religious beliefs and blind faith is used by dictators, oppressors, politicians, and many others, to make people feel better about the distress they experience due to being exploited, downtrodden and therefore uneducated, unhealthy and poor.

This is the true origin of his comment that religion is the “opium of the masses” — but as you will see if you study Karl Marx, his thoughts are much more complex than are commonly portrayed in the often quote phrase:

‘Religion is the opium of the people’

Some references:

  • Seven Theories of Religion. Daniel L. Pals.
  • Explaining Religion: Criticism and Theory from Bodin to Freud. J. Samuel Preus.
  • Karl Marx’s Interpretation of History. M.M. Bober.
  • Manifesto of the Communist Party. Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels.
  • The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times and Ideas of the Great Economic Thinkers. Robert L. Heilbroner.
  • The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion. Peter L. Berger.
  • A History of God. Karen Armstrong.
  • Perspectives in the History of Religions. Jan de Vries.
  • Theories of Primitive Religion. E.E. Evans-Pritchard.

Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM FRS (1872 to 1970), Welsh, philosopher, historian, logician, mathematician, advocate for social reform, and pacifist.

The well know thinker Bertrand Russell had lots to say about religion; here are a few quotes:

"My own view on religion is that of Lucretius.

I regard it as a disease born of fear and as a source of untold misery to the human race.

I cannot, however, deny that it has made some contributions to civilization. It helped in early days to fix the calendar, and it caused Egyptian priests to chronicle eclipses with such care that in time they became able to predict them. These two services I am prepared to acknowledge, but I do not know of any others."

(Bertrand Russell / Has Religion Made Useful Contributions to Civilization? / 1930)

"An atheist, like a Christian, holds that we can know whether or not there is a God.

The Christian holds that we can know there is a God; the atheist, that we can know there is not.

The Agnostic suspends judgment, saying that there are not sufficient grounds either for affirmation or for denial.

At the same time, an Agnostic may hold that the existence of God, though not impossible, is very improbable; he may even hold it so improbable that it is not worth considering in practice. In that case, he is not far removed from atheism."

(Bertrand Russell)

"And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence."

(Bertrand Russell)

I agree with both Karl Marx and Bertrand Russell, but to each his own; religions are many, and in my opinion they are all the same, they teach how to live ones life well, to be harmonious, to be peaceful, to honour and respect others, to do good, and avoid evilness and wickedness.

Alas history has shown that many, if not all wars and conflicts have religion at their roots, of course it is not religion per se which has caused confrontations, but the way man has used religion as a means to an end.

Perhaps Buddhism is the only religion which has, thus far, managed to have not been polluted by wicked men, and remains a bright beacon of hope for the future of humankind.

As for me, I am an open-minded freethinker.

Race, religion, ethnicity, sex, ability, wealth, status, caste, age, intellectuality, or any other artificial barriers do not interest me.

To me, a person’s actions and behaviour are the only indicators of his character and humanity.

I recall this Christian saying:

“Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you”

If each and everyone took heed and followed that simple credo; the world would be a far far better place than it is today.

Friday 30 May 2008

Thuggery & Police Brutality

Chang Jiun Haur



Police inadequacy, conspiricy?

Deputy Minister of Home Affairs attempts to justify lack of police action at BMC clash

Deputy Home Affairs Minister Chor Chee Heung, reportedly said that the police initially did not interfere with the scuffle between Bandar Mahkota Cheras residents and alleged thugs because they were waiting for back-up.

Police Brutality?

Watch this video and decide for yourselves.

A high-ranking police officer at the Great Barricade of Bandar Mahkota Cheras (link to malaysiakini report) where 21-year-old Chang Jiun Haur was assaulted by 20 Federal Reserve Unit riot policemen, reportedly said.

“He asked for it. He ran over a policeman and he got what he deserved.”

However it appears that the car may have just run over a policeman's baton.

Another way here, to view the same video via malaysiakini tv

SUHAKAM condemns the police for use of 'excessive force'

The Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM) did not mince words when condemning the “excessive force” being used by the police against residents during the fracas at the Bandar Mahkota Cheras on the night of Tuesday 27th May 2008.

Police Cover up?

BMC four investigated for attempted murder

Now the four (including Chang Jiun Huar?) who were caught unawares in the Bandar Mahkota Cheras (BMC) scuffle on the night of 27 May 2008, are being investigated for attempted murder and rioting, said Kajang police chief ACP Shakaruddin Che Mood, a news report in Malaysiakini said

Federal government acting too late?

The federal cabinet wants BMC access road kept open

There is finally some better news for Bandar Mahkota Cheras (BMC) residents – the Federal Cabinet has decided that the controversial toll-free access road in their neighbourhood should not be barricaded.

This is as is often the case, too little too late, and clearly reflects the lackadaisical BN government’s lack of honest commitment to justice and human rights.

Amnesty International 2007 Human Rights Report

Malaysia did not come out too well in the recently published Amnesty International 2007 Report on Human Rights, link to AI Report 2007 Homepage is HERE

and the Malaysia’s reference page is HERE

Police Brutality was mentioned:

“There were continued reports of excessive use of force by police officers during peaceful demonstrations.

In March and May police armed with shields violently dispersed a series of peaceful protests in Kuala Lumpur against fuel prices, with batons and water cannon.

Several people were reported seriously injured and dozens arrested. All were subsequently released.

There was still concern over the effectiveness of safeguards to ensure the safety and wellbeing of detainees in police custody.

At least five people, including one woman, were reported to have died in custody during the year.”

Although human rights abuses in Malaysia are perhaps not as bad as in some other countries, there is still much room for human rights and freedoms.

Thugs dressed as law enforcement officers should be weeded out, prosecuted, and if found guilty should be sacked and also punished to the full extent of the law.

Whatever the circumstances, thuggery, police brutally and the excessive use of force by any law enforcement agency must be condemned in the strongest possible way.

Cover-ups are also unacceptable.

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy."

-Ernest Benn

Decking and Railways

Well knock me down!

Do It Yourself (DIY)
"I walked into a DIY mega-store one Saturday lunchtime and some old guy dressed in a black shirt with an orange apron on asked me if I wanted decking. Fortunately, I got the first punch in and sorted the bastard out - but those less suspecting might not be so lucky."

Diligentia maximum etiam mediocris ingeni subsidium

-Diligence is a very great help even to a mediocre intelligence.

decking (1)

a wooden deck or platform, (or the wood to make it) especially one in a garden for deck chairs, etc.

decking (2) Verb (slang)

to physically knock down, onto the deck

Collins Essential English Dictionary 2nd Edition 2006 © HarperCollins Publishers 2004, 2006

Johnny's and his Train Set

Little Johnny's mother is working in the kitchen, listening to little Johnny playing with his new electric train in the living room.

She hears the train stop and her son saying,

"All you bastard passengers on the train shift your arses and bugger off now, 'cos this is the last stop!"

"All you bastards waiting on the platform, you've got thirty seconds to get your arses onto the train, then we're leaving."

Horrified, his Mum goes in and scolds little Johnny,

"We don't use that kind of language in this house!"

"Go to your room and stay there for two hours."

"When you come out, you may play with your train set again, but I want you to use nice language."

Two hours later, little Johnny's allowed out of the bedroom and carries on playing with his train.

Soon the train stops and Mum hears little Johnny say,

"All customers who are leaving the train please remember to take all of your belongings with you. Thank you for travelling with us today; we hope you had a pleasant journey with us."

"For those of you just boarding, we ask you to stow your luggage in the racks at the end of each carriage and above your seats. Please note that smoking is prohibited throughout the train. We hope you will have a pleasant and relaxing journey with us today."

Mum is just beginning to smile contentedly to herself, when little Johnny adds,

"For those of you who are pissed off about the two hour delay, please see the fat cow in the kitchen."

Cave quid dicis, quando, et cui
-Beware of what you say, when, and to whom

Wednesday 28 May 2008




[click on image for larger view]

(They seem to be as proud as a ostentation of peacocks!)



OCTOBER 2, 1841.

Pride is an emotion which should be used with great caution, in small doses and in specific circumstances, it can be beneficial, however in my opinion pride is, in most cases, a negative emotion.

I append some views about 'PRIDE'.

Readers can then decide about the benefits, or otherwise, of 'pride' for themselves.

For me humility is far a far better thing, to hold dear to, than pride.

Bertrand Russell’s views on Pride

Extracts from "Unpopular Essays" by Bertrand Russell

“Another passion which gives rise to false beliefs that are politically harmful is pride - pride of nationally, race, sex, class, or creed.

When I was young France was still regarded as the traditional enemy of England, and I gathered as an unquestionable truth that one Englishman could defeat three Frenchmen.

When Germany became the enemy this belief was modified and English people ceased to mention derisively the French propensity for eating frogs. But in spite of governmental efforts, I think few Englishmen succeeded in genuinely regarding the French as their equals.

Americans and Englishmen, when they become acquainted with the Balkans, feel an astonished contempt when they study the mutual enmities of Bulgarians and Serbs, or Hungarians and Rumanians.

It is evident to them that these enmities are absurd and that the belief of each little nation in its own superiority has no objective basis. But most of them are quite unable to see that the national pride of a Great Power is essentially as unjustifiable as that of a little Balkan country.

Pride of race is even more harmful than national pride.

When I was in China I was struck by the fact that cultivated Chinese were perhaps more highly civilized than any other human beings that it has been my good fortune to meet. Nevertheless, I found numbers of gross and ignorant white men who despised even the best of the Chinese solely because their skins were yellow.

In general, the British were more to blame in this than the Americans, but there were exceptions. I was once in the company of a Chinese scholar of vast learning, not only of the traditional Chinese kind, but also of the kind taught in Western universities, a man with a breadth of culture which I scarcely hoped to equal. He and I went together into a garage to hire a motor car. The garage proprietor was a bad type of American, who treated my Chinese friend like dirt, contemptuously accused him of being Japanese, and made my blood boil by his ignorant malevole

The similar attitude of the English in India, exacerbated by their political power, was one of the main causes of the friction that arose in that country between the British and the educated Indians. The superiority of one race to another is hardly ever believed in for any good reason. Where the belief persists it is kept alive by military supremacy.

So long as the Japanese were victorious, they entertained a contempt for the white man, which was the counterpart of the contempt that the white man had felt for them while they were weak.

Sometimes, however, the feeling of superiority has nothing to do with military prowess.

The Greeks despised the barbarians, even at times when the barbarians surpassed them in warlike strength. The more enlightened among the Greeks held that slavery was justifiable so long as the masters were Greek and the slaves barbarian, but that otherwise it was contrary to nature.

The Jews had, in antiquity, a quite peculiar belief in their own racial superiority; ever since Christianity became the religion of the State Gentiles have had an equally irrational belief in their superiority to Jews.

Beliefs of this kind do infinite harm, and it should be, but is not, one of the aims of education to eradicate them.

I spoke a moment ago about the attitude of superiority that Englishmen have permitted themselves in their dealings with the inhabitants of India, which was naturally resented in that country, but the caste system arose as a result of successive invasions by 'superior' races from the North, and is every bit as objectionable as white arrogance.”

Pride & Buddhism

"One of the main obstacles is our pride.

This pride is an inflated state of mind and relies on our false view of the transitory collection, which focuses on the existent self, attributed to our body and mind, and distorts it.

When we are on top of a very high mountain, we look down on all the lower peaks.

Similarly, when we are full of pride, everyone else appears lower. We are the best and everyone else is inferior.

This pride is associated with our self-preoccupation and makes us act inappropriately and disrespectfully towards others, thereby bringing us face to face with all kinds of unpleasant and unwanted experiences.

As long as we feel and act as through we are the center of the universe, we will never develop real concern for others.

To counteract this attitude we train ourselves always to think of them as supremely important by considering their good qualities and by reviewing our own faults and weaknesses."
from 'Eight Verses for Training the Mind' by Geshe Sonam Rinchen

"Tibetans look at a person who holds himself above others, believing he is better than others and knows more, and they say that person is like someone sitting on a mountain top: it is cold there, it is hard, and nothing will grow.

But if the person puts himself in a lower position, then that person is like a fertile field."
Allan Wallace

"An authentically empowered person is humble.

This does not mean the false humility of one who stoops to be with those who are below him or her.

It is the inclusiveness of one who responds to the beauty of each soul. ... It is the harmlessness of one who treasures, honours and reveres life in all its forms."
Gary Zukav in 'The Seat of the Soul'

"What is like a smelly fart that, although invisible is obvious?

One's own faults that are precisely as obvious as the effort made to hide them."
His Holiness the 7th Dalai Lama in 'Songs of Spiritual Change' (translated by Glenn Mullin)

"If we see pride among people who have no idea about Dharma, it is understandable.

However, if afflictive emotions and haughtiness are present among Dharma practitioners, it is great disgrace to practice"
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

“How can you be proud if you are not enlightened?
How can you be proud if even the enlightened are not?”


Now, this may be something to be proud of?

"No wonder politicians love government schools.

Where do you think the dumb masses come from that can be so easily led and manipulated?"

- Neal Boortz

Sunday 25 May 2008

Pedra Branca / Batu Puteh / White Rock (the site of Horsburgh Lighthouse)

Case closed? Yes.

All done and dusted?
Not yet!

Horsburgh Lighthouse, as it is today (click on image to enlarge it)

The Foundation Stone of Horsburgh Lighthouse on Pedra Branca Island, which was laid in the presence of Governor William J. Butterworth and several distinguished guests, took place at 1:00 pm, on 24th May 1850.

Description of the Foundation Stone

Inscribed on copper plate of the Foundation Stone are the words:

“In the year of Our Lord 1850 and in the 13th year of the reign of Queen Victoria of Great Britain and Ireland:
The Most Noble James Andrew, Marquis of Dalhousie, Kt., being Governor-General of British India:
The Foundation Stone of the Light-house to be erected on Pedra Branca,
and dedicated to the Memory of the Celebrated Hyrdographer JAMES HORSBURGH, F.R.S. was laid on the 24th day of May,
the anniversary of the Birth-day of Her Most Gracious Majesty,
by the Worshipful Master M. F. Davidson, Esq.,
and the Brethren of the Lodge Zetland in the East, no. 748,
In the presence of the Governor of the Straits Settlements,
and many of the British and Foreign Residents of Singapore.

J. T. Thomson,

1962 Map showing the location of Horsburgh Lighthouse

(click on image to enlarge it)


Dated 23rd May 2008

The full 81 page Judgement can be read HERE

and in the 19 page summary HERE

ICJ Press release (3 pages) HERE


"Subject of the Litigation

The Court was requested to determine whether sovereignty over:

(a) Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh;

(b) Middle Rocks;

(c) South Ledge,

belongs to Malaysia or the Republic of Singapore.

Geographical location and characteristics

Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh

is a granite island, measuring 137 m long, with an average width of 60 m and covering an area of about 8,560 sq m at low tide. It is situated at the eastern entrance of the Straits of Singapore, at the point where the Straits open up into the South China Sea. Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh is located at 1° 19' 48" N and 104° 24' 27" E. It lies approximately 24 nautical miles to the east of Singapore, 7.7 nautical miles to the south of the Malaysian state of Johor and 7.6 nautical miles to the north of the Indonesian island of Bintan.

The names Pedra Branca and Batu Puteh mean “white rock” in Portuguese and Malay respectively. On the island stands Horsburgh lighthouse, which was erected in the middle of the nineteenth century.

Middle Rocks and South Ledge are the two maritime features closest to Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh. Middle Rocks is located 0.6 nautical miles to the south and consists of two clusters of small rocks about 250 m apart that are permanently above water and stand 0.6 to 1.2 m high. South Ledge, at 2.2 nautical miles to the south-south-west of Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh, is a rock formation only visible at low-tide.

At the eastern entrance to the Straits of Singapore there are three navigational channels, namely North Channel, Middle Channel (which is the main shipping channel) and South Channel.

Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks and South Ledge lie between Middle Channel and South Channel.

(For the general geography of the area, see sketch-map No. 1 and for the location of Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks and South Ledge, see sketch-map No. 2.)


(1) By twelve votes to four,

Finds that sovereignty over Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh belongs to the Republic of Singapore;

(2) By fifteen votes to one,

Finds that sovereignty over Middle Rocks belongs to Malaysia;

(3) By fifteen votes to one,

Finds that sovereignty over South Ledge belongs to the State in the territorial waters of which it is located."

Now that the said judgement has been made, the demarcation of the international borders and territorial waters needs to be done, this is vital at it will not only confirm the ownership of South Ledge, but will also clarify which waters can be accessed and fished by fishing vessels of Malaysia and Singapore, as well as those of Indonesia

One also needs to take into account the territorial waters of Indonesia when demarcating the territorial waters around Perdra Branca/Batu Puteh, Middle rocks and South Ledge,.

The demarcation and drawing of the boundaries of the territorial waters will no doubt be a lengthy and complex procedure, which in my opinion should be begun immediately.

Mariners transiting as well as approaching the eastern entrance to the Singapore Strait will be glad that the operation of the Horsburgh Lighthouse will not be affected in any way by the judgement.

Ad iudicium

-To judgement; to common sense

Wednesday 21 May 2008

Ain't Life a Bitch


But it certainly can be a bitch!
So I've got the holiday itch
I'll be away for a week and a day,

During that time will be making hay
Watching the sunsets from calming shores

Far away from the computer, and any political whores
Take care dear readers of this salty old blog

See you again soon when I continue my log

"Getting a lecture on morality from a politician is like getting a lecture on chastity from a whore."

-Perry de Havilland

"Scratch the surface of an endemic problem -- famine, illness, poverty and you invariably find a politician at the source."

-Simon Carr

"Politics was never meant to be a profession."

-Duane Alan Hahn

Tuesday 20 May 2008

Mahathir Moves out, Sanusi Shifts, who’s next?

Dr. M.
A wily old fox

Former Malaysian autocratic long time (22 years in power) Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad (Dr. M) has on Monday 19 May 2007, resigned from the ruling Malaysian political party UMNO Baru in an apparent protest over the inept leadership of his successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The rats are deserting the sinking UMNO Baru ship, but is there much more to this than meets to eye?

I think that there is!

Sanusi Junid

The old man has jumped overboard, followed by another old timer, Sanusi Junid, more and more are sure to bail out before the major landslide will begins.

The jostling for position will be generating tensions in the back rooms, and the plotting, scheming and counter scheming will be trying to cover every possible political permutation.

When announcing his decision to quit, Mahathir said: "I will only come back to the party when there is a change in leadership."

He also urged other senior politicians to follow him, which will only add to the already tenuous uncertainty about how long PM Abdullah can stay in power.

What will PM Abdullah and DPM Najib do now?

Let’s wait and see, however this could well be a blind lead, or diversionary tactic by Dr. M to move the focus from the incriminating V K Lingam Video and the Royal Commission’s report publication [and public availability of this report], and the potential prosecutions arising from it. Dr. M is a key figure in the judicial scandal highlighted by the V K Lingam videos.

Extract below:-

Mahathir is one of those implicated, and the wily old fox may have set all this up to try to save his own skin?

Mahathir, who is 82 years old, joined UMNO when it was formed in 1946 and he has weathered a number of storms including his expulsion from UMNO in 1969 and a 1988 crisis when UMNO was declared illegal and when UMNO Baru [New UMNO] was formed.

Wait and observe!

"There is nothing so bad that politics cannot make it worse."

"There is nothing that politicians like better than handing out benefits to be paid for by someone else."

"In politics, the truth is strictly optional and that also seems to be true in parts of the media."

"You have to have a sense of humor if you follow politics. Otherwise, the sheer fraudulence of it all will get you down."

"What is history but the story of how politicians have squandered the blood and treasure of the human race?"

Thomas Sowell