Solidarity Picket in Dublin

Malaysia has seen a clamp down on Human Rights. Some of those who dared to challenge have been arrested and face serious charges. Meanwhile, our friends in Dublin voiced out their support and concern towards the Malaysian Human Rights activities. They organized a solidarity Picket three days ago in Dublin together with Human Rights Activists in Malaysia. They gathered at the Malaysian Embassy at Shelbourne House and here's a photo report for you.

Check out for more photos and news comments.

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Remembering a Great Soul

"Be the change you want to see in the world."

Yes, that quote belongs to one of the great leaders the world ever had, Mahatma Gandhi. I would say he was the one and the only leader who addressed by people as Mahatma, which means a great soul. He died as the Mahatma on January 30, 1948 and today marks the 60th anniversary of his death. Gandhi practised and advocated non-violence and truth, even in the most extreme situations. He forged the priceless weapon of Satyagraha and showed the world how to use it for social change. He believed that strength does not come from physical capacity; it comes from an indomitable will.

Gandhi sought truth and the law of being through non-violence and love. His life was an open book. When asked for a message on the eve of his departure for Delhi on Sept 7, 1947 after a month stay in Calcutta, he wrote in Bengali "Amar Jeevan Amar Bani" which means "My life is my message". Today, after 6 decades, the world still remembers him simply because whenever he had truth, he gave it with love.

Remembering Gandhi, here's a beautiful picture from my archive.

A close up of Mahatma Gandhi's Samadhi at Rajghat Memorial Park, New Delhi which I snapped during my stay in India, three years ago.

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Thaipusam 2008 at Ipoh

I wanted to publish this post last week itself. But then thanks to the 'super fast Internet connection' in my room! :# I only managed to get online since Monday. Now here's why this year's Thaipusam was a little different for me. As I have told you earlier, I was in Ipoh last Wednesday.

It was evening of Thaipusam eve. I was already in Kallumalai Sri Subramaniar temple. It was my first time being in Ipoh celebrating Thaipusam next to the limestone hills. Several roads were temporarily closed for the three-day celebration. No much crowd at the temple but I can see people started to drop by the temple bringing in paal kudams (read=milk pots) to fulfill their vows as early as 4pm. As usual, food stalls were set up around the temple compound. No kavadis at that hour. I was told that devotees will start carrying kavadis after midnight. Besides all those usual scenarios, something else marked a little bit of difference in this year's celebration in Ipoh. The was a hunger strike organized by Makkal Sakthi and civil rights organization including ACID of Perak, right next to the temple. Banners were seen high up on the cave walls urging the government to abolish ISA as it is against human rights. Around 30 people hunger striked in a peaceful way against the arrest of H5 leaders recently. Also seen on the spot was YB Kulasegaran. I managed to spend some time with him and members of ACID discussing certain issues involving political agendas and the welfare of Indian community in Malaysia.

It was already late in the evening. Around 7pm I would say when I left Kallumalai temple heading towards Ipoh Mariamman temple to escort the chariot. The chariot was already outside the temple, decorated with colorful lights and ready to move. A huge crowd of people were already gathered before me to join the 7km walk escorting the chariot. Police officers seen on duty making sure of road closures and traffic controls are in order. A big FRU truck seen behind the chariot which then followed it all the way until the end of journey. I don't know if it was a routine in Ipoh but that was the first time I'm seeing an FRU truck following a chariot. The walk was a peaceful one with no unexpected incidents happened and the police officers did a wonderful job assisting the temple management in making sure there were no problems in terms of traffic. After almost four hours, the chariot reached Ipoh Kallumalai Sri Subramaniar Temple marking the end of its journey. Prayers we conducted after the chariot arrived. For now, the crowd has grown bigger than what I saw earlier in the evening.

Food stalls were pack with people trying to fit in for their late dinner. Hunger strike was still going on next to the temple. People started to gather around their tents to check out what was actually going on. I could see some of them flipping through the brochures distributed by ACID and wearing "mansuhkan ISA" badge given away by Makkal Sakthi organization. There was also a projector screen set up down the cave showing the previous parliment debates and Hindraf Rally spillovers along with some temple demolishment highlights. It attracted more and more people to gather around the area. After sometime around 50 police personals came in to monitor the crowd as it was growing bigger by minute. I would roughly quote the figure to be around 150 around half past eleven. It was sharp at midnight when I left the temple. I saw more and more devotees keep on entering the temple holding paal kudams in their hands to fulfill their vows. The queue of people carrying paal kudams waiting their turn o fulfill their vows were stretched up to 2km outside the temple when I left the place. Yeah.. that's long!

23rd January. It was 7am on Thaipusam when I stepped into Maha Mariamman Temple of Ipoh. A big number of photographers were scattered around the temple in early hours of morning not wanting to miss their chance to snap some of the colorful moments of Thaipusam. I was there to escort my friend who carried a Kavadi. After usual rituals and prayers we were set to go heading towards Kallumalai. Yes, another 7km walk early in the morning. But it was shorter in time compared to the day before. It took us two hours to reach the destination at 10am. People kept on coming to temple carrying beautiful kavadis and paal kudams without bothering the hot sun. There were a huge number of people at the temple to offer their special prayers to Lord Muruga. The crowd started to disperse around noon. I spotted YB Lim Kit Siang at the scene heading towards the temple. After some time, I could hear his voice on the speakers delivering his speech supporting the hunger strike urging the abolishment of ISA. I spent a few hours being at temple, simply enjoying beautiful dances by colorful kavadis before making a move around late afternoon. That's about this year's Thaipusam. It was actually double the fun than my previous one.

Internet connection still sucks. I couldn't upload any of my pics at the moment. :( Meanwhile, check out some of the beautiful pics of Ipoh Thaipusam, here.

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LOL Mondays 12

A wife arrived home from a shopping trip, and was horrified to find her husband in bed naked, with a lovely young thing. Just as she was about to storm out of the house, her husband stopped her and said, "Honey, before you leave, please let me explain."

The wife stopped to listen.

He continued, "I was driving along the highway, and I saw this young girl looking very tired and bedraggled, so I offered her a lift. She was also hungry, so I brought her home and made her a meal from the roast beef in the refrigerator which you didn't like". "She was wearing some very worn sandals, so I gave her a pair of your shoes which you'd discarded simply because they were out of style. She was cold, so I gave her the sweater I bought you for your birthday--the one you never wore because the colours didn't suit you". "Her slacks were torn, so I gave her a pair of yours that were perfectly good, but much too small for you now".

The wife seemed to have no problem with any of this, but still needed just one question to be answered. "That's all fine and good," she said. "But why did I find you both in our bed with NO clothes on ?"

The husband replied, "Well, that's simple......See, as she was about to leave the house, she turned to me and asked, "Is there anything else that your wife doesn't use anymore ?"

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It's Thaipusam

Tomorrow is Thaipusam and tonight you can see thousands of Hindus and devotees will gather in the wee hours at temples. It is believed that their faith, devotion and religious fervor combined with their strict and careful spiritual preparation help them through this journey of thanksgiving. It's another beautiful and colorful Hindu festival which gives a great importance to Lord Murugan.

I was in Batu Caves for last year's Thaipusam. Tomorrow I'll be celebrating it in Ipoh. Catch you there and I'll be back with more updates if possible. Wish all of you a Happy Thaipusam!

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Thaipusam declared a public holiday

Well, that gives a reason to smile a little. But not for all, only if you are living in Kuala Lumpur or Putrajaya.

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has told the Indian community earlier that he will consider declaring a national holiday on the Tamil festival Thaipusam. Then, he declared Thaipusam a holiday in Kuala Lumpur and the administrative capital Putrajaya. That makes both Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya to join Selangor, Penang, Perak, Negri Sembilan and Johor in the list of states that gives holiday for Thaipusam. I'm sure the people of Indian community welcomes the PM's decision even though it would have been much nicer if Thaipusam becomes a national holiday favoring the Hindus in Kedah, Perlis, Melaka, Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang. Better luck next election!

Meanwhile, The MIC's 'Evening with PM' gathered the largest ever number of MIC members at one location. Reuters quoted the figure as 10,000 while Malaysiakini said it was a crowd of 15,000 people and The Star reported as more than 20,000. Abdullah said he was overwhelmed by the Indian community's support for BN and further elaborated that it was the biggest MIC gathering he has attended. The premier also promised to set up a "high-powered committee" to counter hardcore poverty among all races.

In short, out of the blue, Prime Minister declared Thaipusam as a public holiday for KL and Putrajaya, after the Indian community has struggled over the years to get a national holiday for the festival. And it was announced hours ago when he attended the biggest MIC gathering he has ever seen. Those are two things that have never happened in past years!

Some say, it's an election gimmick. Some say it's a post-Hindraf pressure. What say you? And check out an excellent account of the biggest MIC gathering at The People's Parliment.

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How to get things out of your mind?

We are now less than three weeks into this brand new year. And I'm trying hard to keep my resolutions especially the particular one which I resolve not to procrastinate my work. You know, it's not easy to be on track all the time. Sometimes we need little notes and words that could help us to remind ourselves of what we suppose to do in order to make sure we have a remarkable milestones throughout the next 12 months. I guess no one wants a miserable ending at December and regrets over things that you could have done but you didn't

But over time, 2008 might just start to feel just like the old ones before. Getting the spark to list down our goals, set the priorities and get ourselves and keep on moving can be very tough at times. We tend to keep our to-do tasks only in our minds and fail to work on them most of the times. We keep focusing on problems with not finding a jet pack to overcome them with posible solutions. We stop to progress. In fact the one and only way to get things out of our mind is by making progress on them!

Challenges don't get harder if our end product is progress. Keep moving closer towards your goals and dreams. Have some motivation and strong energy within you all the time to keep yourself on your toes. And, when I said that some of you might just ask, how? Here's how motivation can be made simple!
  • Have your dreams and burning desire, set goals and get down to work.
  • Actions created motivation. Get cracking and that is it.
  • The habit of doing it now, and not wasting another minute is motivation.
And I repeat, you get things out of our mind is by making progress on them! All the best and keep rocking. May you have a blessed Friday and wish you a great weekend ahead! :)

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Ponggal : An Indian version of thanksgiving

Hinduism is a religion full of fasts, feasts and festivals. For today, there is a reason for celebration - Ponggal. Ponggal is a harvest festival which falls on 15th of January, today. Literally, it means 'boil and spillover". This festival of thanksgiving is the only festival of Hindu that follows a solar calendar and it signals the end of the traditional farming season. Named after a sweet rice dish, this major festival is celebrated for four continuous days with each of these days hold a significance of its own.

Bhogi is the starter which observed a day before Ponggal. On this day, people clean out their homes and collect all unwanted goods including household articles and clothes to burn them in fire. The second day would be the Surya Ponggal festival, which is the most important day of all. On this day, the Sun-God is given great importance. After the prayers in the morning, Ponggal rice is cooked with milk in a earthenware pot. According to the ritual, this Ponggal rice is allowed to boil and spill over symbolizing happiness and prosperity. The children and adults as well will shout out 'Ponggal-o Ponggal!'. I'm missed the fun again this year!

On the third morning, it's 'Mattu Ponggal' which is the day of Ponggal for cows. The cattle are washed; their horns are painted and tinkling bells and flower garlands are tied around their necks. It is a day of thanks giving for them, appreciating their valuable contribution in giving milk and ploughing the fileds. Mattu ponggal is only famous among farmers as we do not even get to see cows nowadays. But I do see some buffalos everyday at my campus. I shall try to celebrate with them then!

Well, the last day would be 'Kaanum Ponggal'. On this day, people travel to see other family members to share their joy and happiness. So, what are your plans for Ponggal? In case you wanna try cooking the Ponggal Rice, here's the recipe from MIndsblog. Wish all of you a Joyous Ponggal!

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Krishnasamy shot dead

I was in Johor Bahru yesterday evening when received a phone call from a friend to inform that Datuk Krishnasamy was shot dead in the late afternoon. It was a real shocking news for the people of Johor to know that the people friendly state assemblyman was shot dead by an unidentified assailant at the MIC Johor headquarters while on his way to attend a meeting. According to Bernama, Johor deputy police chief Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Sharif said Krishnasamy's body was discovered lying in a pool of blood by Johor Puteri MIC chief R Vithayamohan around 2.10pm. The Star quoted that he might be shot by a professional gunman as the gunpoint was below his left eyebrow and the bullet went through to the back of his head.

Datuk Krishnasamy known as a hardworking and a people oriented leader who never fails to help the needy. He was the ADUN for Tenggaroh for 3 terms, and was known to be a man with good reputation. He cared for people of all races. Money was always allocated to Chinese schools and temples in his constituency. He has helped financially to build places of worship regardless of religious background. His nature to keep his promises has also become one of the reason people are going to miss him deeply. He often keep his words in anything he promises to the people. Recently he has helped to rebuild SJK(T) Jalan Ismail, Mersing under his close supervision and the construction was completed within a month before the school reopens, as promised.

He was a bold and daring man who worked hard for his constituents and the Indian community. He was one of the potential leaders to lead the state MIC. His death is a great loss to the people of Johor and MIC. May his soul rest in peace.

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I signed up for PPP

PPP. What is this triple P all about? Yeah..It's PayPerPost and I think I am not the last person hearing of PPP. If you noticed, I have already had my PPP widget at my sidebar months ago and now it's time for me to give it a try. Okay, I confess I join it for money! For me, this could be the right moment to monetize my blog! I guess nothing can be as wonderful as getting paid to do what you love to do.

The idea is very simple and clear. PayPerPost is a site that allows the Advertisers to offer Bloggers opportunities to promote their service, product or website on their blogs to help create a buzz and drive traffic to their website. You advertise for them and they pay for it. It's that simple. But, the uniqueness of this system is that I get to choose about products and services I like to write about them in own way without polluting my blog and its style.

What I love most about PayPerPost or PPP is that I don’t have to wait for others to view my page or click on an ad to get paid. I can actually earn just by writing. I came across PPP through fellow bloggers and right now they are making good money. So, It's time for me and I have a big amount of study loan to pay back :P

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LOL Mondays 11

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson were going camping. They pitched their tent under the stars and went to sleep. Sometime in the middle of the night Holmes woke Watson up and said: “Watson, look up at the stars, and tell me what you see.”

Watson replied: “I see millions and millions of stars.” Holmes said: “and what do you deduce from that?” Watson replied: “Well, if there are millions of stars, and if even a few of those have planets, it’s quite likely there are some planets like earth out there. And if there are a few planets like earth out there, there might also be life.”

And Holmes said: “Watson, you idiot, it means that somebody stole our tent.”

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My 2008

Welcome to 2008. It's time for an outstanding beginning and great achievements. My new year resolutions as I promised :) All I resolve is to :

Improve on my time management, to plan and prioritize my tasks accordingly. It's time to stop procrastinanting and get things done by yesterday which can be done today;

Develop a positive mental attitude by looking at problems and difficulties as challenges. I think they become less difficult to handle that way;

Be passionate in everything that need to commit with. With such attitude I hope it would be easier for me to bring the best out of me to achieve outstanding and excellent results;

Eat more and gain some weight for goodness sake. Trying hard for it! (yeah, I know what you are thinking!) Only, if I can borrow some of your fats :(

Not to be selfish, to be compassionate and not only think about myself. Time to lend my hand to others in any ways as others too may have doubts, fears and difficulties with life, just like me;

Expand my network, meet more people, make new friends and earn some good money as well.. all with blogging of course :P

Read more books. For now, I've started reading the book, My Experimeriment with truth. My next read would be Wings of Fire and Law of Attraction along with some of my favourite Tamil books. I wish I could learn something new each and every day of 2008;

and finally, I'll be graduating this year. Hopefully 2008 will bring me golden oppurtunities whereby I could stand stable in establishing the next step in my life with a good career. I need to get the ball rolling.

Happy New Year and wish you some good times ahead. All the best with your resolutions and let's keep the momentum alive all year along.

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