Friday, 14 November 2008

TEE Module History and Theology of the Exile con't

The recent TEE Module on History and Theology of the Exile is over. and British Museum is hosting this month an exhibition on the theme of Babylon: Myth and Reality. how I wish i was there in UK at this time and can pop over to see the treasures and exhibits of Babylon.

in class, we watched some 3D movie clips of what Babylon would have looked like as well as some historical clips. the city was an immense metropolis. if you want to watch a short movie clip from British Museum, click the link below:

better still, sign up with the British Museum like I did and received free email alerts from them.

explore their online website to look for pictures and more information on the Babylonians. TEE students, this will be a great help for your assignments.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

a new media council? for what purpose?

Editors meet Home Ministry on media council
S Pathmawathy Nov 12, 08 1:46pm

The Home Ministry, in an attempt to revive plans to set up the controversial National Media Council, hosted a meeting of 30 top editors and representatives of media interest groups yesterday.

The meeting, which was chaired by Home Ministry secretary-general Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, was to gather views from top stakeholders of the print, broadcast and Internet media in the formation of a self-regulatory body for the media industry.

The Malaysian Press Institute (MPI), a body of 35 media organisations, kicked off the debate with its 11-point draft which briefly spelled out the functions as well as the format and funding of the council.

According to Home Ministry's Che Din Yusoh, the MPI’s draft was well-received by the majority although "some editors had reservations" on the mechanisms contained in the proposal.When contacted by Malaysiakini for comments, Che Din said "everybody gave their viewpoints on the feasibility of forming the media council... the majority was in favour, but with some opined that it could be another layer of law to curtail freedom"."There is some consensus although many still expressed some anxiety... but the ball is in their (media organisations) court," he said.

Asked if the ministry would do away with laws such as the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) which is widely considered a stumbling block to a freer media, Che Din argued that "it is better to agree to form it (the media council) first before reviewing other laws".

A press, not media councilHowever, not many editors agreed with the Home Ministry.They felt that the existing proposal was nowhere near the comprehensive solution needed to move the country towards a more freer society, while some also questioned the government's involvement in the project.The MPI model comprises not just the press but also the electronic and Internet media under one single body.

"We are trying to include everything but we don't know if it is viable or not," said Che Din.Previously journalists have asked for the council to be confined to print media as electronic an Internet media are already under the jurisdiction of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).There is no existing council in the world which incorporates all the different platforms.Following are the responses of some the editors and non-governmental media representatives after the two-hour meeting.

Steven Gan, Malaysiakini editor-in-chief

Because of the government’s past track record, there is a lot of suspicion on this media council proposal. That the proposal is coming from the Home Ministry raises alarm bells.At the meeting, The Sun editor Zainon Ahmad said Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak had expressed that he wants a more open society. If Najib indeed seeks an open society, there should be comprehensive law reforms to promote press freedom.One way is to set up a parliamentary select committee, consisting of MPs from both sides of the House, to identifying the laws that need to be repealed or amended.The government should not expect the media industry to regulate itself when it insists on telling editors and journalists what to do and what not to do. As such, laws constricting media freedom should be repealed. We should also enact new laws, such as Freedom of Information Act, to increase transparency.Only then can the media industry start work on setting up the council.

Norlila Mohd Daud, National Union of Journalists (NUJ) chairperson

My doubts are whether they really want to enhance press freedom. I am quite sceptical because the proposal is being mooted by the Home Ministry and this will be brought for discussion in the cabinet. It is not a very transparent process.They want to establish the council because they have been pushing for it for more than 40 years yet I cannot see the relevance of it.The MPI proposal is similar to the Indian and Indonesian media councils, but in Indonesia there are no laws such as the Official Secrets Act (OSA), Internal Security Act (ISA) or even the PPPA. These countries have a responsible body to monitor the media.I think the council would just appear to be another layer of control but if they are sincere then the government should first amend the laws before forming the council.

Wong Chun Wai, the Star group editor-in-chief

I am keeping an open mind on the proposal and I take it positively although we need to look at it further.The meeting was just a preliminary round, and issues in terms of structure, membership, whether it is statutory or voluntarily, must also be discussed before its formation.There is also a need for parallel reforms of the 24 legislations (which restrict press freedom), most importantly, the licensing act (PPPA).Nevertheless, it is good move as it promises greater democratic reforms but if we were to agree to it then the politicians must stay out.Abdul Aziz (Home Ministry secretary-general), who chaired the meeting, also shared our opinions for greater press freedom but he also said that it (the system) cannot expect to be reformed overnight.

Azman Ujang, MPI chairperson

Personally, I'm all for it. People who have their reservations and scepticism do not understand what the media council is all about and I don't share their scepticisms.The council is good for us journalists, just like the Bar Council which monitors the lawyers.It is not another layer of control. With its existence, we can work more professionally and it promotes best practices in journalism.This has got nothing to do with (restrictive) laws, for instance, the doctors and lawyers have laws governing them but they still have a council.The government is only facilitating the talks but the council will be run by an independent body. Therefore, those are two totally different things altogether.The media council is a good platform (for the media) to fight and ask the government to roll back the (restrictive) laws and serve as an instrument for us to come together.

V Gayathry, Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) executive director

The meeting was looking for an endorsement for the proposal and from the discussion, there was no clear (government) indication to review existing laws.Without that level of commitment from the government, it is difficult to convince the people that forming a media council is a good move.Their approach is to form the council in whatever format – statutory or voluntary – now, and it may not be perfect but set it up first then fix it later.Conceptually, I also feel there is problem as it is modelled along India's press council but in India and Indonesia, it (press freedom) is a right that is constitutionally protected.There must be some commitment (from the government) that laws would be reformed and there must be political will to see it through.

Ahiruddin Attan (also known as Rocky), National Alliance of Bloggers pro-tem chairperson

I opposed to setting up of the ‘media’ council because it is not practical to lump new media with the traditional media.I oppose it also because it is an attempt to regulate new media although it has been promised that the Internet will not face censorship. Therefore, there should not be an attempt to control it.The council, as it is being proposed by the Home Ministry appears to show that this an attempt to police the press.The meeting should focus on a ‘press’ council rather than a ‘media’ council and if a press council is set up, it must be independent rather then a statutory body.Nevertheless, the press council should not be used to bargain for the repeal of laws. Instead it should be done in tandem with the formation of the council and through the council, editors should push for reform of the restrictive laws.If we bargain then we probably would not have a press council, and the press council has its advantages as it safeguards journalists and promoted greater press freedom.

Monday, 10 November 2008

police brutality, freedom at stake in malaysia

the police are at it again. instead of defending the rakyat, they manhandle them. the Selangor police chief Khalid Abu Bakar says that the FRU did not charge at the crowd when they were singing the negaraku. see the video clip below and judge for yourself. another bag of lies from our police force. the guy should step down and retire.

links from:


update from the STAR:
here is the lame excuse from the police - why sing the national anthem? why sing it three time? i think he has forgotten what is called patriotism. he says if every criminal sings the national anthem, then they can get get away. but this group of anti-ISA protesters are not criminals or involved in a crime!! well, he still denies that he did not hear the anthem being sung. in the video, one can see that the police moved in towards the end of the singing, so he must have been tone deaf or totally deaf. he should just watch the above video and see for himself. maybe he is also colour blind.


Police chief: Why sing the national anthem?

SHAH ALAM: The state police chief has questioned the rationale behind Internal Security Act (ISA) protesters singing the national anthem at their illegal gathering near the Amcorp Mall on Sunday.

“Are they expecting policemen to stand at attention each time they sing the anthem? If so, what would happen if every criminal that we confront starts singing the national anthem?” asked Deputy Comm Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar.

He questioned whether the protesters sang NegaraKu to keep the police at bay or that they (the protesters) themselves did not respect the anthem.

Protesters against the ISA were said to have sung NegaraKu at least three times at three different locations on Sunday – at the mall, Petaling Jaya Civic Centre, as well as near the police station.

“I, more than anyone else present, and that too as a police officer, respect the national anthem, contrary to allegations that we showed no respect by dispersing the crowd when they were singing the anthem,’’ he said.

DCP Khalid said that when police moved in, he did not and could not hear them singing the national anthem as he was some distance away.

He said he was informed by his officers that the crowd sang the national anthem at three different locations before being dispersed.

“I am duty-bound to carry out my job without fear or favour, and my interest was the safety and concern of the general public as well as business outlets which had voiced concern over possible trouble there.

“Nobody can deny that someone could have taken advantage of the situation to stir up trouble there,’’ he said, adding that no permit was sought for the gatherings which had been taking place for the past four weeks.

Police arrested 23 people, including Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua and assemblymen Lau Weng San and Ronnie Liu, for taking part in the candlelight vigil.

They were arrested under Section 27 of the Police Act for allegedly taking part in an illegal assembly after several warnings to disperse were ignored.

The vigil, organised by the Coali­tion for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih), started at 8pm at Dataran PJ, near Amcorp Mall.

However, the group, numbering in the hundreds, moved to the civic centre near MBPJ when police ordered them to disperse.

why study the OT?

bill hayden of inhabitatio dei asked his readers what he should blog on. the choice has been reduced to 2 by now - either 'theological exegesis and biblical theology' or 'the trinity, pneumatology and christology' (no guesses what the reb voted for!). go to the link to vote:

and a quote from phil sumpter of narrative and ontology (whom the reb follows) who commented:

Ben Myers said in one of threads that the best biblical theologians were all in Old Testament. I think there are good reasons for that. Reading the OT as a Christian forces you to deal with issues that NT scholars do not always feel too constrained to deal with: the function of Scripture as witness, the nature of referentiality, the nature of the substance of the text, the relation between community and text, the canonical process as part of revelation, the relation between the literal and spiritual senses, the relation between narrative and ontology etc. etc. A Christian specialising in the NT faces the danger of thinking that the NT has got it figured out, that when we read it we’ve somehow already arrived, that its witness to Christ is sufficient as it stands and that the OT simply serves as a hermeneutical matrix for the NT’s interpretation rather than an independent witness in its own right with its own voice - perhaps even over against the NT.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

another death

this morning the reb preached in canaan baptist church bukit jalil. after the service and lunch with the pastor and family, the reb went to cheras to the xiao en center, a modern buddhist funeral parlour in kl to pay last respects to a dear friend and mentor , the late yip kok choong.

the reb, btw, is the unofficial 'twin brother' of kok choong (if you scroll down and see kok choong's photo, you will understand why). the reb's first youth camp he attened was in 1976 in cameron highlands and kok choong was the speaker. the reb was impressed by his devotion and commitment to scripture and to teaching and training young people like the reb. hence, the reb counts him as one his early mentors in his walk and pilgrimage.

tommorrow is the funeral service at 9.00 am. shalom good friend.

a blog has been set up by family members: