Undilah

SULTANMUZAFFAR (26 Februari 2002 - sekarang)

Seorang blogger, pelayar internet, penyelam scuba dan penagih tegar televisyen dan Wii. Melihat seluruh dunia di laman blog menerusi kamera DSLR dan kacamata tebalnya (kadang-kadang kanta lekap).

Mengkritik tidak bererti menentang, menyetujui tidak semestinya menyokong, menegur tidak bermakna membenci, dan berbeza pendapat adalah kawan berfikir yang baik.
Entri oleh sultanmuzaffar 24 January 2003 0 komen

Istana Budaya

Istana Budaya

Laman internet ini baru diberi wajah baru dan dilancarkan kelmarin. Pertama kali masuk ke laman internet ini ianya nampak gah. Designnya menarik dan nampak unsur-unsur spectacular. Sesuai dengan namanya Istana Budaya. Dengan berlatarbelakangkan hitam, laman ini nampak begitu eksklusif. Panggung ini juga begitu eksklusif sifatnya. Nampak grand !

Matlamat utama Istana Budaya adalah untuk menjadi mercutanda bagi seni pementasan yang berkualiti tinggi dan bertaraf dunia. Selain daripada menganjurkan pementasan dari karya-karya tempatan, mereka juga membawa masuk persembahan dari luar untuk memberi peluang karyawan-karyawan tempatan mempelajari ilmu dari mereka. Serta menjadikan Kuala Lumpur sebagai salah sebuah destinasi seni pentas bukan sahaja di rantau Asia tetapi juga di dunia.

Berbalik kepada laman internet tersebut, ia memaparkan banyak maklumat penting yang perlu diketahui oleh para pengunjung. Pengunjung boleh mendapatkan maklumat sejarah Istana Budaya, kemudahan-kemudahan yang disediakan, jadual pementasan terkini, pementasan-pementasan terdahulu, dan beberapa maklumat penting yang perlu diketahui oleh pengunjung.

Pengunjung juga boleh mendaftarkan diri untuk dimasukkan ke dalam mailing list terus ke email masing-masing dan mengisi Guest Book yang ada. Soalan Lazim yang sering ditanya juga disediakan untuk kemudahan pengunjung. Dalam sedar atau tidak, Istana Budaya juga sebenarnya merupakan satu muzium pakaian-pakaian tradisional. Kostum-kostum dari pementasan terdahulu dipamerkan untuk tontonan orang awam. Kod Etika berpakaian juga diperincikan dengan lengkap agar tiada pengunjung yang dihalang dari memasuki Panggung Sari. Jika di Barat, para pengunjung yang tidak mengikut etika berpakaian akan dihalang dari memasuki dewan, berbeza dengan di Istana Budaya, mereka akan diarahkan ke tempat duduk Aras 3.

Salah satu maklumat yang paling penting pada saya dan saya tidak pernah dapat dalam mana-mana artikel ialah maklumat berkenaan pentas hidraulik yang ada di Istana Budaya. Umum mengetahui bahawa, kemudahan pentas di Istana Budaya merupakan yang terbaik di rantau ini, tetapi umum tidak mengetahui akan kelebihan yang ada padanya. Pentas hidraulik Istana Budaya boleh memuatkan satu helikopter untuk pementasan Miss Saigon (jika berpeluang dipentaskan di sini), set berek polis dan Balai Polis Bukit Kepong serta sebuah Istana Maharaja China sewaktu pementasan Siti Zubaidah. Itu kelebihan pentas di Istana Budaya. Besar dan hidraulik. Semuanya digerakkan dengan menggunakan butang.

Kekurangan laman ini mungkin pada tiadanya kemudahan membeli tiket pementasan secara online. Jika kita melihat trend kini lebih terjurus ke arah e-commerce dan sewajarnya Istana Budaya sebagai sebuah panggung pementasan bertaraf dunia mewujudkan kemudakan e-commerce. Para pengunjung boleh memilih untuk membeli tiket secara online ataupun secara konvensional. Banyak contoh laman yang bersifat e-commerce sekarang, seperti 111flowers.com atau Blooming.com.

Selain daripada itu, untuk lebih membuatkan pengunjung melawat laman ini untuk kali kedua, adalah lebih baik sekiranya dapat dipertontonkan klip video pementasan-pementasan yang terdahulu. Mungkin dengan adanya klip video tersebut akan lebih mendorong minat mereka untuk merasainya sendiri bukan sekadar menonton di klip video. Cara ini sebenarnya telah lama dijanakan oleh pengusaha-pengusaha filem antarabangsa. Setahun sebelum filem mereka ditontonkan, mereka akan membelanjakan sebahagian dari peruntukan untuk tujuan promosi. Maka, terhasillah klip video promo untuk tontonan pengunjung laman web. Ada macam-macam contoh seperti file Spiderman, Star Wars dan lain-lain. Ini nyata berbeza dengan cara produk Melayu dipromosikan. Sewajarnya, Istana Budaya mengorak langkah ke arah pembaharuan ini. Untuk lebih memberi peluang kepada para pengunjung merasai ruang dalam Istana Budaya, adalah lebih baik jika ada "online webcam" seperti yang dibuat oleh pengurusan pelancongan di Perancis untuk Menara Eifel mereka di Paris Live. Untuk Istana Budaya, janganlah on "online webcam" tersebut 24 jam. Hanya disiar-langsungkansebagai teaser kepada setiap persembahan sewaktu latihan sudah memadai.

Saya tidak pernah ketinggalan untuk menonton setiap pementasan yang dipentaskan di Istana Budaya. Ya, setiap pementasan ! Saya begitu berbangga kerana Malaysia mempunyai sebuah panggung yang bertaraf dunia ini. Secara keseluruhan ini merupakan laman internet yang bagus dan dapat memberi maklumat dengan berkesan untuk para pengungjung laman ini.

Entri oleh sultanmuzaffar 23 January 2003 0 komen

Ultimate Wedding Guide


Tiba-tiba hati tergerak untuk mengulas-nilai laman internet yang telah saya lawati ini. Laman utama ini berpangkalan di Encino, California. Laman Ultimate Wedding Guide merupakan satu laman penerangan khususnya kepada bakal-bakal pengantin.

Terdapat banyak maklumat yang boleh diperoleh di dalam laman tersebut. Antara maklumat yang menarik ialah senarai semakan (checklist), artikel perancangan (planning article) dan aturcara majlis. Saya lebih tertarik dengan senarai semakan. Namakan apa sahaja senarai yang diperlukan, ianya ada di dalam laman ini. Salah satu contoh ialah "Wedding Timetable".

SIXTEEN TO NINE MONTHS BEFORE WEDDING
* Determine type of wedding (formal or information) and choose a date
* Visit the clergy and review synagogue/church requirements
* Determine size of the guest list
* Determine your budget and division of expenses
* Find a reception location and make reservations early
* Select a wedding consultant
* Select Wedding Gown

NINE TO SIX MONTHS BEFORE WEDDING
* Choose your attendants
* Choose a color theme
* Choose attendant's dresses
* Book your caterer
* Book your photographer
* Book your videographer
* Plan ceremony and reception music
* Compile names and addresses for guest list

SIX TO FOUR MONTHS BEFORE WEDDING
* Select a florist
* Book your dj or band
* Order invitations and party favors
* Shop for bridal party tuxedos
* Finalize arrangement for the church and ceremony
* Make transportation arrangements
* Plan honeymoon; visit travel agencies, make reservations
* All deposits should be made and contracts signed
* Put together ideas for bridal registry
* Plan wedding decorations

THREE MONTHS BEFORE WEDDING
* Choose gifts for attendants, parents, helpers
* Buy wedding rings
* Order the wedding cake
* Buy cake knife, toasting glasses, guest book & garter

TWO MONTHS BEFORE WEDDING
* Make plans & reservations for wedding rehearsal & dinner
* Reserve rooms for out-of-town guests
* Address invitations/announcements
Invitations should be sent 4-6 weeks prior to wedding; announcements after wedding

ONE MONTH BEFORE WEDDING
* Finalize details of every aspect of your wedding
* Confirm honeymoon reservations
* Have final fittings for you and your attendant's dresses
* Get marriage license
* Ask a friend or relative to take charge of guest book at reception
* Pick up wedding rings
* Purchas gift for fiance (not mandatory!)

TWO WEEKS BEFORE WEDDING
* Complete your trousseau
* Prepare wedding announcement to send to newspapers
* Contact guests who have not responded

ONE WEEK BEFORE WEDDING
* Pick up your gown, attendants' dresses & accessories
* Confirm details with all participants and inform them of any changes
* Pack for honeymoon
* Make sure you have all wedding attire, rings & marriage license
* Have rehearsal and dinner
* Have nails done
* Give final guest count to reception facility or caterer
* Get a massage

WEDDING DAY
* Have hair & make-up done
* Take marriage license and rings to ceremony site
* Begin dressing two hours before ceremony is to begin
* Mail wedding announcements

Tidak lengkap suatu perkahwinan itu tanpa belanjawan. Ringkasan belanjawan juga disenaraikan secara terperinci di sini. Secara tidak langsung memudahkan bakal pengantin atau pun keluarga pengantin untuk menguruskan majlis perkahwinan yang dirancang. Walaupun laman ini lebih menjurus ke arah gaya perkahwinan orang Barat, tetapi ia boleh disesuaikan dengan adat dan tatasusila orang Timur. Kebanyakan maklumat yang ada masih boleh diguna-pakai oleh kita orang Timur.

Sebagai pelengkap kepada laman ini, pengunjung boleh membeli-belah secara online jika ada di antara barangan yang diingini oleh mereka. Pengunjung laman internet ini boleh berinteraksi dengan pengunjung yang lain di dalam bahagian Community. Terdapat Forum yang membincangkan pelbagai topik tentang perkahwinan. Berbincang tentang apa sahaja, dari apa pakaian yang perlu dipakai untuk majlis tersebut, bunga warna yang akan dibawa oleh Flowergirl, tempat-tempat menarik untuk berbulan madu dan mengenali karenah tetamu yang bakal hadir ke majlis yang kita rancangkan itu. Itulah, apa sahaja....semuanya ada di sini ! Jangan terkejut jika anda satu ketika akan terbaca berkenaan topik "Life After Marriage". Juga disediakan. Family Planning juga ada ! Itu cara Barat.

Saya mencadangkan laman ini sebagai rujukan utama kepada bakal pengantin.

Entri oleh sultanmuzaffar 21 January 2003 0 komen

The Young Professionals Chamber Malaysia

Nation Building : The Road Ahead merupakan tajuk ucaptama Timbalan Perdana Menteri sewaktu Upacara Penutupan "Perspectives from the Past, Paradigms for the Future" Lecture Series semalam di Mandarin Oriental. Ucapan disampaikan agak inspiring. Isi utama yang mahu beliau sampaikan boleh saya ringkaskan kepada 3 perkara pokok iaitu :-

1. Cemerlang
2. Gemilang
3. Terbilang

Pertamanya setiap apa yang kita buat haruslah bersifat cemerlang. Lakukan dengan cemerlang. Barulah kita mendapat gemilang dan dari gemilang barulah kita menjadi yang Terbilang.

Entri oleh sultanmuzaffar 17 January 2003 0 komen

Saya berpeluang menonton Ada Apa Dengan Cinta (A2DC) semalam, sebuah filem yang menjadi kegilaan remaja Indonesia. Teratur arahannya, menarik jalan ceritanya, suntingannya kemas dan sinematografinya mampu berbicara dengan sendiri. Itulah kelebihan yang ada dalam filem ini. Filem ini bakal mengembalikan mengangkat martabat kegemilangan filem Indonesia satu ketika dahulu.

Saya benar-benar kagum dengan filem ini. Sebuah filem yang ringan tetapi berjaya membuatkan saya terpaku pada kerusi menontonnya sehingga habis. Saya memang menggemari filem-filem Melayu(filem-filem Melayu yang berkualiti sahaja). Jika ada waktu terluang pasti saya akan menonton. Filem-filem arahan pengarah ternama Malaysia seperti Datuk Rahim Razali(sudah terlalu lama beliau tidak mengarah filem), Aziz M. Osman dan beberapa pengarah filem yang lain. Saya tidak perlu menghabiskan wang untuk menonton filem-filem picisan pengarah jutawan Datuk Yusof Haslam. Saya hanya perlu bersabar sewaktu bulan puasa kerana pastinya filem beliau akan ditayangkan sewaktu perayaan Hari Raya. Percuma !

Ada Apa Dengan Cinta begitu memberi kesan kepada saya. Lihat bagaimana utuhnya persahabatan Cinta dan rakan-rakannya mengingatkan aku kepada shabat-sahabat aku. Pengorbanan dan penderhakaan Cinta terhadap Alya dilayarkan dengan begitu menarik dan berkesan. Sewaktu panggilan telefon dari Alya yang sedang menghadapi masalah dan ingin bertemu Cinta, saya benar-benar mengharapkan agar Cinta membatalkan niatnya untuk bertemu Rangga. Walaupun apa yang saya impikan itu tidak terjadi ! Itukah sahabat kata saya ! Ya, manusia adakalanya membuat kesilapan dan acapkali kesilapan itu tidak dapat dimaafkan. Cinta bertuah kerana Alya tidak mati dan mempunyai kesempatan untuk memohon maaf. Kadangkala dalam persahabatan kita keliru untuk membezakan prioritinya. Siapa yang harus didahulukan atau dikemudiankan ? Mungkin wajar bagi Cinta untuk mendahulukan Rangga dan mungkin juga bagi Cinta untuk membelakangkan Rangga. Itu yang dilakukan sebagai protes kesilapannya terhadap Alya. Adakah itu jalan yang terbaik ? Persahabatan ada batasnya. Saya semakin sedar.

Setiap saat dalam filem ini adalah permata. Watak walau sekecil mana sekalipun tetap memainkan peranan yang penting dalam menggerakkan mood filem ini. Persis watak Mamet (pemuda nerd yang sering menjadi bahan buli 5 sahabat Cinta), pemuda rambut afro dan Pak Wardiman tetap penting. Watak yang paling mengesankan pada saya tentunya watak Alya, gadis yang menjadi mangsa keruntuhan keluarga. Wajahnya mampu berkata-kata dengan sendiri dalam mengekspresikan jiwanya yang kocak.

Bahasa yang digunakan dalam filem ini terlalu pekat Indonesianya. Jika tanpa subtitle agak sukar untuk memahami dialog filem ini. Tetapi bukankah rakyat Malaysia terlalu mengagungkan karya-karya asing ?

Filem ringan seperti ini mampu mendidik remaja menghargai erti sebuah persahabatan. Saya beri 4.5 bintang untuk filem Ada Apa Dengan Cinta. Saya termasuk dalam masyarakat Malaysia yang terlalu mengagungkan karya-karya asing.

Entri oleh sultanmuzaffar 15 January 2003 1 komen

Keliru menang berdasar jumlah agregat
Oleh Akmal Abdullah

KUALA LUMPUR: Pemilihan lagu Keliru sebagai pemenang utama Anugerah Juara Lagu Ke-17 (JL17) dibuat berdasarkan jumlah agregat terendah mengikut ranking daripada pilihan 10 juri walaupun tiada juri yang memilih lagu itu sebagai pilihan nombor satu.

Ketua Juri AJL17, Datuk Johari Salleh, berkata semua juri diberikan kuasa untuk menentukan kedudukan lagu pilihan masing-masing daripada posisi pertama hingga ke-12, iaitu mengikut jumlah 12 lagu yang bertanding.

Juri memilih lagu mengikut budi bicara masing-masing dari tangga 1 hingga ke-12 dan lagu yang dipilih itu dikumpulkan mengikut posisi secara keseluruhan. Bilangan posisi setiap lagu dijumlahkan daripada semua juri.

“Contohnya, saya memilih lagu A untuk posisi keenam, manakala juri lain pilih lagu A untuk posisi kedua dan seterusnya begitulah. Maka, kedudukan semua posisi itu dikira untuk mengambil jumlah keseluruhan mata posisi lagu berkenaan untuk menentukan jumlah agregatnya.

“Apabila sistem ini dibuat, maka agregat pada lagu Keliru didapati paling rendah, maka Keliru dipilih sebagai juara keseluruhan. Saya sendiri tidak pilih lagu Keliru pada posisi pertama tetapi keputusannya, jumlah agregat untuk Keliru adalah paling rendah, sekali gus kedudukannya paling atas berbanding lagu lain,” katanya.

Beliau mengulas kontroversi berhubung lagu Keliru ciptaan Aidit Alfian sebagai Juara Lagu dalam AJL17, malam Ahad lalu.

Kontroversi tercetus apabila banyak pihak terkejut dengan keputusan AJL17, selain Berita Harian turut menerima banyak panggilan serta e-mel daripada pembaca yang hairan dan tidak puas hati mengenai keputusan AJL17.

Dalam pertandingan itu, Keliru dendangan pasangan suami isteri, Ajai dan Nurul muncul juara keseluruhan dengan gelaran Juara Lagu dan juara bagi kategori Pop Rock. Lagu Menadah Gerimis nyanyian Ziana Zain menjuarai kategori Balada dan Nirmala alunan Siti Nurhaliza muncul juara kategori Irama Malaysia.

Johari berkata, keputusan dicapai setelah semua mata posisi setiap juri untuk 12 lagu terbabit dikira.

“Tidak ada kesilapan atau unsur bias dibuat sebab setiap juri adalah profesional dan mengikut bidang masing-masing.

“Sistem ranking ini adalah format penjurian bertaraf antarabangsa dan digunakan kebanyakan negara dalam pertandingan lagu termasuk di Festival Lagu Asia. Sistem ini juga dipakai dalam pertandingan Juara Lagu anjuran TV3 sebelum ini,” katanya.

Beliau berkata, juri menggunakan budi bicara dan pengetahuan mereka dalam bidang masing-masing.

“Jadi apabila sudah diberitahu bahawa Keliru adalah paling tinggi kedudukannya kerana agregatnya paling rendah, maka ia adalah pemenang keseluruhan. Keputusan juri adalah muktamad,” kata Johari

Kelmarin, Johari serta beberapa juri AJL17 yang lain mengadakan pertemuan tergempar di Sri Pentas bagi meleraikan kekeliruan berikutan isu itu. Ia berlaku kerana masalah teknikal dan ada beberapa juri yang dikatakan tidak jelas dengan format penjurian disediakan penganjur.

“Saya akui ada juri yang salah tafsir dengan corak penjurian TV3.

“Apabila kita adakan mesyuarat semalam, kita dapati ia memang benar dan disahkan juruaudit.

“Ada juri yang silap dengar sebelum ini dan TV3 juga meminta maaf kerana kurang jelas. Tidak ada kesilapan berlaku,” katanya.

Johari mengakui bahawa juri mengadili lagu yang bertanding terlebih awal iaitu dengan mendengar cakera padat (CD) beberapa hari sebelum AJL17 berlangsung.

“Saya akui penjurian dibuat berdasarkan pendengaran menerusi CD. Ini cara yang terbaik sebab lagu yang bertanding ini adalah juara bulanan dan bertanding sepanjang tahun.

“Ini wajar kerana mungkin kesilapan dalam persembahan pada malam pertandingan boleh merosakkan lagu itu sedangkan lagu itu adalah lagu bagus. Malah, Anugerah Industri Muzik Malaysia (AIM) juga membuat penjurian menerusi CD.

“Malam pertandingan itu, kita hanya mengadili dari segi persembahan dan vokal,” katanya.

Entri oleh sultanmuzaffar 14 January 2003 0 komen

A truly ‘Keliru’ night from NST Jan 14,2003

THE title says it all. Keliru which means "confused" was not only the winning song at TV3's 17th Anugerah Juara Lagu; it also aptly described the scene at the annual song competition when the results were announced. Murmurs of dissatisfaction were heard at the Dewan Merdeka, Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday night when hosts Intan Suraya and Ary Malik read out the winner.

Keliru? The best song? Well, it seems this was also "news" to the judges. The jury included Datuk Johari Salleh (head of the jury), Sharifah Aini, M. Nasir, Freddie Fernandez, Habsah Hassan, Khairil Johari Johar, Ahmad Izham Omar, Aishah and Khadijah Hashim.

The song, written by Aidit Alfian, was apparently not the panel's choice, giving rise to suggestions there could have been "invisible hands" at work.

Johari says: "The winning song was a surprise. I personally did not choose that song. And I believe I was not alone. The other judges were equally shocked.

"My personal picks were Menadah Gerimis (written by Azmeer, performed by Ziana Zain) and Bicara Manis Menghiris Kalbu (Aiman, Lukhman S, Siti Nurhaliza)," he adds.

Fernandez was equally puzzled. Determined to clear his conscience, he says he immediately asked other jury members after the show — and was surprised that none of them had picked Keliru! "All of us are shocked. This was not our choice," he said, adding that "we do not want to retract Aidit's credibility as a composer but we strongly feel that a post-mortem is required. We are now waiting for Johari to get in touch with TV3 to find out whether the results were tabulated accurately." According to Fernandez, a pre-judging process for lyrics and composition was done a week before the show. "We submitted the results on Jan 10 and naturally, none of us got to see which song the others had chosen. But when Keliru was announced the best song, we were stunned. We got together to discuss it and unanimously agreed that the result is not ours." Sharifah Aini adds: "I certainly did not choose that song. Our task for the night was only to choose winners for the Best Vocal and Best Performance categories. We are in a sticky spot right now because our integrity is being questioned and our credibility is at stake." For the veteran songstress, Nirmala (composed by Pak Ngah and Ce' Kem, performed by Siti), Syair Si Pari Pari (by Aidit Alfian and Ad Samad, performed by Zamani) and Julia (by G. Nola and Loloq, performed by Exists) were her personal picks, while another panellist said the lyrics in Cinta (by Fatullah and Baby, performed by Flop Poppy) and Julia were much "stronger" than the winning song.

According to TV3, "the result was strictly derived from the collective input of all the judges. Although this may not have been reflected in the judges' individual scoring sheets, the points collated showed that Keliru emerged in the top-ranking position. TV3 merely facilitates the judging process by ensuring that all inputs by the judges are accurately tabulated to derive the final ranking. There has never been any interference on TV3's part to override or otherwise change the results." At Press time it is understood that the judges have been called for a meeting at Sri Pentas.

Meanwhile, the overall event was a smooth-sailing affair. Production-wise, TV3 put up a straight-forward, no-nonsense show that was its best so far — yes, even better than the much-celebrated retrospective event it held a few years earlier.

From the beginning, the audience was spellbound. The a capella performance by vocal groups V.E, Ruffedge and Swara to introduce the finalists was deftly planned and executed. The harmonising was tight, suggesting the night held promise.

Of course, when there are hits, you get misses too.

The closing segment, entitled Inspirasi, was out of place and stuck out like a sore thumb. Combining music, movements and voice, this theatrical act a la Cirque du Soleil — yes, complete with abseiling acts, failed to make an impact to trace man's historical journey into music. Featuring tribal, traditional and modern tunes, it only came across as a mish-mash of stunts and dance styles.

For the first time ever, the hosts for the show were not full of themselves. Ary Malik and Intan Suraya came across as witty and charming with their lines. Intan's bold remark about Siti's standing in the industry ("if she wins people will say, "oh, no, not her again" and if she loses they go "oh, her popularity is waning") was timely.

Performances by the artistes also saw a variety of themes with entertaining results. There were Nurul and Ajai as cabaret performers, Amy Mastura with her Vegas "girls" gone wrong, Noraniza Idris (yes, with her usual troupe of dancers) giving a cross of Dikir Barat and Menora and Zamani's Victorian look, to name a few.

Siti's unique blend of Bollywood and Endang dance was spellbinding, rivalled only, perhaps, by Syzliana's rendition of Joget Langkah Delapan, accompanied by cute child dancers from Swatari. Nonetheless, Siti bagged the Best Performance Award much to the delight of the audience.

At a Press conference held later, Siti said the award meant a lot to her as it had been her birthday a day before.

Ziana Zain, who came out tops in the Balada category with Menadah Gerimis, was in tears when she accepted her award. She said: "After all these years, it is very heartening to know that I am still accepted. People have lot of expectations of me and the song and it was not an easy task." For Liza, who bagged the Best Vocal Performance — introduced for the first time — the award was a recognition after years of hard work. "I wouldn't have won if not for the beautiful composition by Aiman and Alam Maya." Speaking on behalf of the winning song, Ajai said he has always had faith in Aidit's compositions. "I don't normally sing other people's songs, but I trust Aidit's effort because his songs have a distinctive melody."

Entri oleh sultanmuzaffar 1 komen

Ada Apa Dengan Cinta ?

Lagu Ada Apa Dengan Cinta

Satu masa tlah terlewati
Benci dan rindu merasuk di kalbu
Ada apa dengan cintaku
Sulit untuk aku ungkap semua

Jangan pernah bibir tertutup
Bicarakan semua yang kau rasakan
Cinta itu kita yang rasa
Bila sengsara hati kan merana

Wahai pujangga cinta
Biar membelai indah
Telaga di kalbuku
Jujurlah pada hatimu

Ada apa dengan cinta
Perbedaan aku dan engkau
Biar menjadi bait
Dalam puisi cinta terindah

Andai bumi terbelah dua
Biar kita tetap saling berpeluk

Puisi Rangga

Kulari ke hutan kemudian teriakku
Kulari ke pantai kemudian menyanyiku
Sepi…sepi..dan sendiri aku benci
Aku mau bingar…aku mau di pasar
Bosan aku dengan penat
Dan enyah saja kau pekat
Seperti berjelaga jika kusendiri…
…Pecahkan saja gelasnya biar ramai…
Biar mengaduh sampai gaduh…
Aih…ada malaikat menyulam
Jarring laba laba belang di tembok
Keraton putih
Kenapa tak goyangkan saja…
Loncengnya…
Biar terdera
Atau aku harus lari ke pantai
Belok ke hutan….


Puisi Cinta

Satu nafas terhembus adalah kata
Angan, debur, dan emosi tercampur
Dalam jubah terpautan
Tangan kita terikat... bibir kita menyatu
Maka setiap apa yang terucap
Adalah sabda pandita ratu
Di luar itu pasir
Di luar itu debu
Hanya pasir meniup saja lalu hilang
Terbang tak ada
Tapi kita tetap menari
Tarian cuma kita yang tahu
Jiwa ini adalah tandu
Duduk saja...maka akan kita bawa semua
Karena kita adalah satu

Aku tidak sabar menunggu filem cereka ini ditayangkan di pawagam.

Entri oleh sultanmuzaffar 13 January 2003 1 komen

Aku masih mengiktiraf lagu ini sebagai yang terbaik. Tunggu AIM 2003 !

Nirmala

Diciptakan seorang insan Lembut hati bak redup pandangan Pabila berkata Seluruh alam menyaksikan kesyahduan Bagai tersentuh rasa percaya Tika terdengarkan Aduhai... * ( 1 ) Telah jauh berkelana entah di mana Ada rasa hanya kuntum kasihnya Khabar itu merelakan perjalanannya Ada jiwa hanya kuntum kasihnya * Biar panas membakar Biar ranjau mencabar Telah mekar hati seindah purnama * Dipujuk segala rajuk Sepi rindu adakala Meracun imannya * Biar panas membakar Biar ranjau mencabar Hati mekar seindah purnama * ( 2 ) Siapa menyapa bagai pelita Arah yang menghilang tika gelita Duhai kasih bulan saksi * Tatap tidak ditatap Kotakan di dada yang terdetik Temukan sang cinta * Angin pun mula bercerita Semesta nyata terpedaya Kekasih tak berbahasa Getir fikir derita mengharap Suara... * Tangis bagai gerimis Hati bak tasik pedih Cuba cari hakikat Temukan azimat * Kasih gundah gerhana Diam tak berirama Gusar tambah gementar Tak tertanggung rasa * Nun dari sana Telah turun berbicara Sang kesuma bidadari syurgawi * Sesungguhnya berkasihlah Di antara manusia Perindah segala kata-kata Bahagia itu janjinya * Mengapa kita sengketa Rentaslah jalan terbuka Tanpa dusta Telah teguh di garis... Karma! * Telah jauh berkelana entah di mana Ada rasa hanya kuntum kasihnya Khabar itu merelakan perjalanannya Ada jiwa hanya kuntum kasihnya * Biar panas membakar Biar ranjau mencabar Telah mekar hati seindah purnama * Dipujuk segala rajuk Sepi rindu adakala Meracun imannya * Biar panas membakar Biar ranjau mencabar Hati mekar seindah purnama * ( 3 ) Tangis bagai gerimis Hati bak tasik pedih Cuba cari hakikat Temukan azimat * Kasih gundah gerhana Diam tak berirama Gusar tambah gementar Tak tertanggung rasa (ulang dari 3)

Entri oleh sultanmuzaffar 0 komen

Anugerah Juara Lagu ke-17

Inilah kali pertama aku menonton persembahan secara langsung Juara Lagu. Aku dapat tiket persembahan dan cocktail party malam itu. Persembahan pembukaan menonjolkan kekuatan vokal di tambah dengan adanya anugerah baru yang diperkenalkan iaitu Anugerah Persembahan Vokal Terbaik. Satu usaha yang patut diberi pujian. Kerana tanpa vokal yang mantap, satu lagu nampak tidak bermaya. Itu yang terjadi pada Hala Timur nyanyian Noraniza Idris.

Aku puji persembahan Siti Nurhaliza. Begitu bertenaga dan beliau semakin matang dan berkebolehan untuk menarikan tarian tersebut dengan bersemangat dan begitu harmoni. Tampak serasi gabungan Siti Nurhaliza dan penari-penarinya. Siti banyak belajar dengan menonton persembahan-persembahan Noraniza yang terdahulu. Aku akui agak sukar untuk mencari keserasian dalam mempersembahkan tarian dari bangsa Indonesia itu. Di Malaysia ia dikenali sebagai Tarian Endang. Semasa menonton persembahan tarian tersebut di Medan oleh sekumpulan pelajar Universitas Sumatera Utara, Medan aku kagum dan tergamam dengan seia sekata dan berharmoninya persembahan mereka. Rentak, irama, gerak kena serentak, kena serasi. Koreografi tarian tersebut dibuat dengan begitu teliti dan menarik. Tidak salah jika aku bangun memberi standing ovation untuk beliau malam itu. Tepukan penonton jugak tidak berhenti sehingga kesemua penari masuk ke dalam.

Bagai ada yang tidak kena dengan calon pilihan Persembahan Terbaik iaitu Noraniza Idris. Persembahan beliau semacam tidak seriring dengan maksud lagu yang disampaikan. Aku amat mengharapkan beliau tampil dengan kelainan. Angkat, julang, api, penari yang ramai sudah seakan sinonim dengan beliau. Jika tidak terkawal, persembahannya akan jadi persembahan sarkis yang kabut riuhnya. Aku masih memikirkan apakah alasan beliau dijulang ibarat Superman dan api memercik keluar ibarat menonton filem James Bond pada akhir persembahan anti-climax itu ? Hala Timur kaya dengan unsur bunyi-bunyian etniknya. Lagu ini boleh berbangga dengan kualiti dalam kelas yang tersendiri. Tetapi mutu vokal yang kurang mantap sekaligus menghancurkan lagu tersebut di persembahan malam tadi.

Persembahan Ziana Zain juga biasa saja. Aku lebih suka menonton aksi beliau semasa peringkat Separuh Akhir. Kekuatan lagu ini terletak pada melodi dan liriknya. Jika kekuatan vokal seimbang, sudah pasti lagu ini mampu menggondol Anugerah Juara Lagu kali ini. Berbeza dengan lagu Gelisah Mimpi nyanyian Liza Hanim. Kekuatan lagu ini terletak pada vokal yang mantap oleh beliau. Sebutan satu persatu dan lontaran vokal yang terkawal oleh beliau membuahkan hasil apabila beliau menggondol Anugerah Persembahan Vokal Terbaik. (Walaupun markah tahun lepas mungkin dicampurkan semula untuk membolehkan beliau menang tahun ini)

Menonton persembahan kekasih awal dan akhir Siti Nurhaliza iaitu Zamani dengan lagu Syair Si Pari-Pari aku teringat persembahan Amy Mastura dengan lagu Bintang Hati beberapa tahun terdahulu. Tiada banyak bezanya. Kanak-kanak sering dieksploitasi untuk meraih perhatian juri. Begitu juga dengan persembahan klon Siti Nurhaliza iaitu Syazliana. Persembahannya adalah gabungan idea-idea lapuk Siti Nurhaliza dan Noraniza Idris dalam Juara Lagu yang terdahulu. Tiada originaliti.

Menonton persembahan Exist dengan lagu Julia aku teringat persembahan pancaragam bagpipe Victoria Institution. Aku lebih yakin dengan Exist jika lagu Jesnita yang berjaya ke Juara Lagu. Ajai dan Nurul dengan lagu Keliru tampak serasi dengan keharmonian vokal mereka. Lagu tersebut mantap dengan irama yang catchy dan cukup friendly serta senang diingati. Lagu ini merupakan trend irama sekarang. Yang mana iramanya lebih terserap keIndonesiaannya, hasil import idea dari Sheila on 7, Padi dan Gigi. Begitu juga lagu Flop Poppy, Cinta. Tiada originaliti keMelayuannya.Lagu-lagu lain sekadar melengkapkan kuota Juara Lagu kali ini.

Sementara menantikan keputusan aku menjadi keliru mencari maksud Inspirasi. Persembahan sedemikian hanya akan dimanafaatkan oleh golongan yang mengiktiraf seni tari kontemporari. Khalayaknya bukan di Juara Lagu. Juara Lagu perlu satu persembahan yang mengihiburkan seperti yang pernah dikoreografkan oleh Tiara Jacquelina, mengisahkan evolusi muzik di Malaysia atau pun persembahan oleh Panca Sitara beberapa tahun terdahulu sementara menanti keputusan dan bukan satu persembahan yang menyendatkan otak.

Aku lebih mengharapkan Siti Nurhaliza menjadi Juara kali ini kerana tidak puas menonton persembahan Nirmala beliau. Aku kempunan. Yang dapat aku saksikan hanyalah persembahan sepasang badut bermain tongkat akhirnya.

Selepas tamat siaran langsung, kami beredar ke Majlis Cocktail. Bagai anti-climax kerana aku harus menerima berita kekalahan Siti Nurhaliza. Aku hadir memenuhi undangan. Bosan dengan gelagat para artis yang memualkan. Ditambah dengan aksi berlagak Ajai dan Nurul yang baru dinobatkan sebagai pemenang Juara Lagu sebentar tadi. Noraniza Idris tidak kelihatan atau aku yang tidak nampak kelibat beliau. Kecewa mungkin aksi Superman beliau tidak mendapat pengiktirafan juri. Para wartawan banyak mengerumuni pemenang sulung Anugerah Vokal Terbaik, Liza Hanim. Aku menghampiri Siti Nurhaliza, sambil-sambil mata melilau mencari Zamani. Kang jealous pulak dia. Aku ucapkan "Tahniah kerana tarian tersebut memang sukar dibawa jika tiada latihan yang cukup. Anda juara sebenarnya." Siti Nurhaliza senyum. Aku beredar apabila abangnya datang menghampiri. Jangan risau Ayie ! Matlamat aku sudah tercapai malam itu. Aku bosan dan aku pulang.

Itulah semalam bersama Juara Lagu. Semalam bersama......

Entri oleh sultanmuzaffar 06 January 2003 0 komen

DECEMBER 27, 2002
NEWS ANALYSIS
Business Week Online
By Michael Shari in Singapore

Mahathir's Succession Map
What will happen when Malaysia's Prime Minister -- Asia's longest-serving
ruler -- steps down late in 2003? Here's the likely scenario

When Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad announced in June that he
would step down in 2003, the Southeast Asian nation of 22 million people
was unprepared. Asia's longest-serving ruler, Mahathir has been in office
21 years -- and he has made an indelible imprint on Malaysia's society and
economy. And after his announcement, Mahathir would let slip only the
vaguest hints about his plans for retirement and succession.

In recent months, however, Mahathir and senior officials of the ruling
United Malays National Organization Party (UMNO) have dropped enough hints
for diplomats and economists in Kuala Lumpur to sketch a reasonably clear
scenario for succession. Also clear are the 76-year-old Prime Minister's
plans for the next general election, the makeup of the next Cabinet, and
even a sense of how the next government will manage the economy. While the
overall flavor of Malaysian politics isn't expected to change much, the
impact on Malaysian business -- which Mahathir has shaped through personal
relationships with the country's tycoons since taking office in 1981 --
could be profound.

The moguls whose businesses grew during Mahathir's reign -- and who managed
to survived the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98 -- appear to be
scrambling to prepare for a more competitive business environment.
Infrastructure kingpin Ananda Krishnan, who has investments in industries
that require government licenses, such as cell-phone networks and gaming,
raised $1.2 billion in asset sales in 2002. Securities analysts in Kuala
Lumpur claim that Krishnan is preparing to reinvest the funds outside the
country -- which his aides vigorously deny.

MORE OF THE SAME. And then there's Tengku Mahaleel, CEO of national
carmaker Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional (Proton). The auto company will
remain protected until 2005, when tariffs on cars manufactured in Southeast
Asia will drop to 20% from current levels of as high as 300%. Twelve months
ago, Mahaleel embarked on a three-year project to invest nearly $1 billion
in developing a new engine and models, as well as building a modern
assembly plant on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. "We're preparing for a
worst-case scenario," says a Proton spokesman.

Some diplomats and economists, who spoke on condition of anonymity, see
Mahathir's succession and the general election unfolding in the fourth
quarter of 2003, probably in November or December. First, Mahathir will
chair the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) summit in October as
planned, marking his final act as Prime Minister and allowing him to "go
out on a high note," says one diplomat. Then Mahathir would step down, with
current Home Affairs Minister Abdullah Badawi, his handpicked successor,
replacing him as Prime Minister.

Malaysia's politics are not expected to change a great deal under Badawi.
"I cannot imitate Dr. Mahathir's style," Badawi said in an interview with a
state-controlled TV station on Nov. 19, "but the objectives will be the
same." Badawi is expected to continue to distance the government from
business leaders whose influence grew through relationships with former
Cabinet members. He's also expected to scale down affirmative-action
policies that some say have been hijacked by the politically connected
elite at the expense of the intended beneficiaries -- poverty-stricken
rural Malays.

THE COMMON TOUCH. In the interview, which diplomats and economists
consider Badawi's most significant public performance as heir apparent thus
far, he emphasized poverty reduction and denounced Islamic extremists as
"spelling a lot of problems for a multiracial country like Malaysia."

The catch is that Badawi's leadership is expected to be temporary. Mahathir
has indicated privately that he's sensitive to widespread criticism of
Badawi as being politically indecisive and of weak character. That's why
Mahathir has put forward current Defense Minister Najib Abdul Razak, who
has a commanding personal presence and is considered polished by Western
diplomats, as Badawi's Deputy Prime Minister. The younger Najib is already
being groomed to succeed Badawi after one or two terms.

The British-educated Najib has spent the last two years rediscovering his
Malay roots in the remote rural constituency of Pahang. He has been
repairing the image problems that gave him only a narrow win in the 1999
general election. "His Oxford accent doesn't play well on the stump," says
another diplomat in Kuala Lumpur. Badawi has not publicly endorsed Najib,
but he's expected to play along with Mahathir's succession plans.

GAME PLAN. In the interim, Badawi hopes to leave his mark on the
government by filling his staff with technocrats rather than politicians,
forming Malaysia's most professional Cabinet to date. One of his first
moves is expected to be appointing a technocrat as Finance Minister. Such a
move would depoliticize a post that the ruling party's power brokers have
used to build up the empires of business cronies.

Already, on Nov. 19, Mahathir appointed Jamaludin Mohamed Jarjis, an
associate of Najib, to be Second Finance Minister. Jamaludin, chairman of
the state-owned electrical power utility and a member of Parliament, is
expected to remain in the next Cabinet under Badawi's handpicked Finance
Minister, and his appointment is seen as a prelude to Najib's appointment
as Deputy Prime Minister.

As Mahathir has suggested in recent public statements, general elections
are expected to be held by the end of 2003. This would allow Badawi to
demonstrate that he's capable of leading UMNO through an electoral victory.
In this scenario, the ruling UMNO Party would hold off on its internal
election until early 2004, at which point Badawi and Najib would be elected
President and Vice-President of UMNO, respectively.

PARTY LINE. That would leave Najib, who at 49 is 14 years younger than
Badawi, in a position to gain support from other party leaders to replace
Badawi after one or two terms. Mahathir -- whose office did not respond to
a request for an interview -- would deviate from this game plan only by
holding the internal party vote before the general election, suggests one
diplomat, and that would be "to avoid an UMNO food fight."

Now that Malaysia's economy is improving and its currency appears to be
undervalued, Mahathir should be able to maintain enough support to keep his
succession plans on course. In September, exports grew 13.5%
year-over-year, thanks largely to higher prices for palm oil and
stronger-than-expected electronics exports to the U.S.

Economists say the ringgit is 7% undervalued, and in the run-up to the
elections Mahathir may decide he has nothing to lose -- and some political
points to gain -- by freeing it from the peg that has held it at 3.8 to the
U.S. dollar for four years. "If we depeg the ringgit, it will become
stronger, not weaker," says Mohamed Ariff, executive director of the
Malaysian Institute of Economic Research. "But the timing is very
important. We need to go back in a position of strength, not weakness."

That's precisely the attitude with which Mahathir appears to be viewing --
and playing out -- his endgame.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------\


FEER(26/12/2002)Malaysian PM Backing Initiatives Against Extremism
By S. Jayasankaran in Kuala Lumpur

MALAYSIAN PRIME MINISTER Mahathir Mohamad is not going quietly. He has said
he will retire from his post in October, but as he approaches his final
months in office, he is backing several inevitably controversial
initiatives. Taken together, these will address the roots of what he sees
as the greatest threats to Malaysia today: the growth of Islamic extremism
and the racial polarization of the nation's youth.

DR. MAHATHIR'S PRESCRIPTION FOR EXTREMISM

THE SYMPTOMS
-- Creeping Islamicization that could breed extremism
-- Growing ethnic polarization in Malaysian schools

THE MEDICINE
-- Regulating private Islamic education; folding students into the
national system
-- Revamping education to bring back non-Malays to national schools
-- Ultimately taking religion out of education's mainstream but making it
compulsory for Muslims after school hours
-- National service for some 300,000 male Malaysians a year

In pursuing these goals, the 77-year-old leader will be making a concerted
effort to steer young Malaysian Muslims away from political Islam and
extremism and into the arms of the ruling coalition.

In order to do so, he would roll back some programmes that were put in
place years ago to elevate the status of the ethnic Malays who account for
most of the country's Muslim majority. His mission would entail an
ambitious overhaul of education in Malaysia that, if taken to its
conclusion, would effectively purge Islamic instruction from Malaysia's
daily curriculum.

Most parents in Malaysia enrol their children in a national school system
in which the Malay language is the main medium of instruction and Islam is
part of the curriculum for all Muslims. If they wish, they can instead send
their children to an Islamic religious school, a Chinese school (in which
Mandarin is the medium of instruction), a Tamil school or any one of a
variety of private schools. All nonprivate schools are supported to some
degree by government funding; private Islamic schools also receive some
funding. Mahathir made his priority clear in late November: "National
schools should be the preferred choice," he said. "Besides, mixing with
children from other races would help in national unity."

He has already put a temporary halt to government funding of private
Islamic schools. The next step, according to a top educational adviser to
the prime minister, will be to closely regulate the content of private
Islamic education, which Mahathir says engages in brainwashing."

The plans don't stop there. In early December, Hamid Othman, religious
adviser to the prime minister, said the government had decided to absorb
the estimated 126,000 students studying in private Islamic schools into
national schools to ensure they received "quality education."

Then, on December 12, in an as-yet-unreported meeting convened by Mahathir,
a high-level committee of officials and educational advisers agreed to
begin pushing for a new programme to deal with religion in the national
school system. The plan would relocate religious instruction to special
after-school classes with no political content.

To top off this careful restructuring of the lives of Malaysian youth, the
prime minister seeks to institute compulsory national service for
18-year-old men in an effort to break down racial barriers and keep youth
committed to national ideals.

In the light of revelations in the past year, it shouldn't be difficult to
convince Malaysians they face an Islamic threat. Over the past year
Malaysia has used its Internal Security Act, which permits indefinite
imprisonment without trial, to arrest over 60 people it says are suspected
terrorists. Among those detained are members of the Islamic group Jemaah
Islamiah, which has been accused of a series of terror attacks including
the devastating bombing in Bali on October 12.

The perceived extremist threat is great enough that Mahathir raised it in
his speech to the nation on the Id-ul-Fitri holiday on December 6, marking
the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. He spoke of Jemaah Islamiah's
goal of forcibly creating a pan-Islamic state in Southeast Asia. "They go
to Pakistan . . . purportedly to learn Islam . . . but in fact they want to
learn how to make bombs and rob banks, commit murder and terrorism in
preparation to seize power in this country."

The educational and national service projects could strengthen the status
of Malaysia -- and its image abroad -- as a moderate, progressive Islamic
nation. But any change to the Malaysian educational system is extremely
controversial, and sensitive even to Mahathir's own party, the United
Malays National Organization, or Umno. The party is the pivot of the ruling
coalition, the National Front, which has built its support base on a
multi-ethnic doctrine and depends heavily on the support of the 40% of the
population that is not Muslim.

But Umno has its own, specific Islamic threat to deal with: its
increasingly powerful opposition from the Islamic Party of Malaysia, or
Pas. The party has gained ground in recent elections, and has introduced
Islamic legislation in the two states it governs out of Malaysia's 13
states. It is Umno's strongest competitor for the votes of the majority
Malays. Malaysia has had Islamic private education for more than 100
years. Schools range from prestigious institutions to dilapidated huts with
poor facilities and worse standards. Their actual number and enrolment
figures are uncertain as they are loosely regulated: No licence is required
to open one.

Some government officials say that some schools are breeding grounds for
militant Islam. One highly placed official charges that the "brainwashing"
of students begins at a young age with children taking morning oaths to the
virtues of jihad and martyrdom.

The more likely result of an Islamic education, and its greatest threat in
the view of ruling-party politicians, is that it could breed support for
Pas. The government has accused Pas of "politicizing" Malaysia's Islamic
schools. Pas officials have denied this, and denounced proposals to close
the religious schools.

Mahathir has said that members of his party who sent their children to such
schools had complained that their children had come home asking their
parents "to bring down pictures of the Pharaoh," a derogatory reference to
the prime minister and the photos of him that families of Umno members keep
in their homes.

In October, the government stopped funding for all private Islamic schools
pending an appraisal, Mahathir said, "to find out which are religious
schools and which are political ones."

He has also said that the government does not want to see Muslims
knowledgeable in religious matters only. There are certainly more people
trained in religion than there are jobs for them: When the government
recently advertised for 100 religious teachers for the national school
system, 4,000 people applied.

"It is not necessary for all Muslims to become religious teachers, so there
is no necessity for parents to clamour to send their children for religious
education," Mahathir said in November.

But Islamic schools continue to be popular, in part because they serve a
desire among Muslim parents to give just such an education to their
children. The government estimates that at least 15,000 of the Muslim
children who are pursuing private Islamic education do so because their
parents find the national curriculum "too secular."

According to a senior government official, Mahathir's top education
committee on December 12 tentatively approved a plan to adopt on a national
level what southern Johor state has done for decades: There, all pupils go
to school in the morning for "secular" education, and in the afternoon all
Muslims attend at least two hours of closely supervised and regulated
Islamic education. The state spends at least 80 million ringgit ($21
million) a year on Islamic education.

Moving Islamic instruction to special after-school classes may be just one
part of a process of overhauling the national education system. A radical
plan called the Brain Trust Report, commissioned by Mahathir and completed
in October, is meant to redress the divisive impact education has had on
Malaysian youth of different races.

An indication of the growing ethnic divide: In 1964, 98% of ethnic Chinese
children went to Malaysia's national schools; today the number is 5%, the
remainder opting for Chinese or private education. The shift was due in
part to a perceived decline in the quality of national education, and in
part to the switch to the Malay language as a medium of instruction, from
English.

The disappearance of Chinese from national schools has created a cleaving
of the races that begins in primary school. National schools have now
become overwhelmingly Malay. (Of Malaysia's population, 60% are Malay, 32%
Chinese, 7% Indians and 1% others.)

The Brain Trust Report, according to government officials, recommends
sweeping change, from more rigorous qualifications for teachers to a return
to meritocracy and the creation of "elite" schools, which had been
de-emphasized to accommodate a decades-long affirmative action plan for
Malays, who had previously found it difficult to get into top schools.

As national schools became overtly Malay, Islamic studies became part of
the school curriculum -- albeit a small one, comprising four sessions a
week.

The Brain Trust Report "seeks to Malaysian-ize education from its present
Malay-ized status," says a person familiar with the report. He adds that a
high government official told him that over 50% of the plan is likely to be
implemented.

The report only skimmed the issue of religion. Mahathir's educational
committee could also take religion out of the curriculum altogether. Under
the December 12 plan, normal school hours would have no religious material,
but all Muslim students would be required to attend two hours of religious
education each afternoon, either at the school itself or in another
location. Non-Muslims would be offered a choice to study their own mother
tongue or their religion.

And if any youngsters have been led astray or "brainwashed" by a misguided
education, Mahathir wants to introduce mandatory national service for the
300,000 Malaysians who turn 18 every year. "It's the best way to force the
races to mix," says an Umno official. "And it's a good way to shape young
minds." Umno has in the past rejected any proposals for required military
service.

The Defence Ministry will soon begin evaluating plans and getting public
feedback before drawing up proposals for the cabinet to consider. It has
not yet been decided what form military service would take. However it is
done, it will be certainly be very expensive.

With Mahathir's continued dominance of Malaysian politics, he may be the
one man who can push through such controversial plans. "Dr. Mahathir may be
prepared to take on some of Umno's sacred cows," says Michael Yeoh, who
heads a Kuala Lumpur think-tank, the Asian Strategic Leadership Institute.
"He may be the only one who can."

Many Umno members can be expected to oppose the plans for an educational
overhaul on the grounds that they will undo some affirmative-action
measures that have benefited Malays. Pas will likely oppose them on the
grounds that they are un-Islamic.

But some officials seem confident. "These things should have been done more
than 10 years ago," says the person familiar with the Brain Trust Report.
And if Mahathir doesn't get it all done by October, there's always his
successor, Deputy Premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Abdullah has said Umno is
"committed to the projection of Islam in a positive light," and to
preventing extremism from taking root. Whether he can carry Mahathir's
torch remains to be seen. ---

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