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Archive for November, 2008

cmgirl_article_narrowweb__300x4180I just noticed this article in the New Straits Times and am suddenly knocking my head against the proverbial brick wall again. Why do we even bother to take any issue to the attention of the politicians in this country? They always try to wash their hands off and pass the issue to the next idiot. If they don”t know what the hell they are talking about then why don’t they just shut up instead of spouting a whole load of crap? Doesn’t the Minister realise that the reason the NURIN Alert was first suggested was because of the way the police mishandled the initial police report and the time it took for the media to take the report seriously, enough time for the child’s life to be at risk? Who cares what they call it, the least she could have done was learn what the system is about and why the AMBER Alert came into being in the first place and not repeat something some officer must have told her. The way Nurin or any other missing child’s report was handled was not anywhere near the way the AMBER Alert-based NURIN Alert was to have been implemented. I wonder if any member of the Royal Malaysian Police Force has been assigned the task of studying the system? What do they have to say about this? Oh, I forget, they did everything they could. Why oh why do we have to go through this again and again. Parents and grandparents, you better take care of your children and grandchildren because the politicians are too busy politicking, or whatever the hell they do when they are supposed to look after the welfare of the rakyat who voted for them, to care about the little ones should some crazed predator pick on yours. As for the police, I give up!!  Watch this video posted by www.parentsagainstpredators.org and take care of your children.

 

2008/11/23

Missing children alert system ready
By : Evangeline Majawat

KUALA LUMPUR: The early alert system for missing children is already in place but it is not called Nurin Alert, after Nurin Jazlin Jazimin who was found brutally murdered last year.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said a mechanism similar to Nurin Alert was already in place.

“I’ve said it clearly that the name ‘Nurin Alert’ is not in our programme or part of our plans on child protection. But the whole mechanism and processes from A to Z have been discussed and is already in place,” she said.

The so-called “Nationwide Urgent Response Information Network” (Nurin Alert) was first mooted last year, four months after the broken body of 8-year-old Nurin was found.

She had been sexually assaulted, murdered and her body stuffed into a gym bag.

The mechanism was modelled after the United States’ Amber alert — an emergency response system that galvanises the authorities and the community to locate missing children.

Dr Ng said the yet to be named emergency response mechanism was a major component of the proposed Child Protection Policy.

“We didn’t use the name Nurin Alert. America used Amber Alert. We have not decided.”

Dr Ng stressed that numerous meetings between her ministry, the police and non-governmental organisations had been held to realise the mechanism.

However, she pointed out that it was up to the police to act first in a missing child case.

“In our intense desire to save children, we must know what is the best mechanism to do so. The first thing to do when a child goes missing is to make a police report.

“We can’t instruct the police on what to do. It is a police matter and they know how to handle it.”

Dr Ng said it was inappropriate to “splash the news of a missing child in newspapers for the first few hours”.

“This creates panic and they (kidnappers) may kill the child,” she said….

 

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sajdahsahuphp_sajdahFrankly, I don’t understand the hue and cry over the National Fatwa Council ruling over yoga. Exercise is exercise, no question about that. But what the council was talking about had nothing to do with the physical exercise moves but with the spiritual component of the ancient Hindu exercise form. There is no need for an edict on exercise surely!! Before everyone falls over themselves trying to belittle the intelligence of the Fatwa council, they should consider what if the shoe was on the other foot – would non-Muslims perform the Muslim solat (obligatory prayer) moves as an exercise form without the chanting? Would they be comfortable doing it? Do we need even to call it solat? Hey, five times a day, simple moves with prostration, ruqu’ and supplication using the ‘2,4,4,3,4’ raqaats formula….that sounds cool also what?  Hhhmmm….if someone sees a non-Muslim doing those moves, would they think that he or she was exercising or praying I wonder? What if, upon seeing that non-Muslim doing his or her “exercises,” someone decides he or she is a terrorist? Omigosh, that could prove fatal in these post-9/11 hysteria!!! Let’s face it, faith is between you and God. Nobody has any business messing with what they don’t believe in. So  you  choose, make peace with your conscience, cut the bellyaching and go figure!!

Catholics also not in favour of Yoga

Kota Kinabalu: Muslims are not the only ones who are having reservations on yoga. Sacred Heart Cathedral Youth Counsellor, George Thien, said the Catholic church’s advice to Christians is also “not to go for it.” Thien was commenting on the National Fatwa Council’s Fatwa (edict) banning Muslims from practising yoga, which is said to involve mantra (chants) and the concept of oneness with God which are based on Hindu beliefs and, thus, deviate the faith of Muslims.

George said it is not difficult to understand the reason for the Fatwa. “They believe in one God and not in any other. Meditation in yoga is like tapping into a different realm but where is the source? “We (Christians) believe in Jesus Christ and that every peace and joy only comes from the Lord. That’s why we don’t go deep into yoga.”

A yoga instructor concurred George’s view that Christians, generally, were also against yoga. However, she said there are some Christians who see the benefits of the various yoga exercises but abstain from the chants and meditation aspects. In fact, certified Yoga Society instructor Beeda Christina Gautier said there are many types of yoga that do not involve meditation or chanting but this is not helped by a misconception about the age-old practice, leading to the anxiety. She said the yoga she teaches, called Hatha yoga, does not entail chanting but physical exercise, which incorporates intricate breathing techniques. “The main objective of yoga is ultimately to have peace of mind…I tell my students that yoga is awareness of your body, a journey of health. “There are so many types of yoga but we don’t do chanting or meditation at all, just body conditioning exercise,” she said, referring to her thrice-weekly classes in Bornion Centre, Luyang.

Beeda was of the opinion that because of the way yoga was normally portrayed, especially on television, the public generally tend to perceive that everything about yoga had to involve spirituality. “Yoga originated from the Himalayas thousands of years ago, it came even before religion. But along the way, there have been many schools (of yoga), where some practice chanting, then it becomes religion-based,” she said, adding those that involve meditation are, among others, Mantra yoga, Tantra yoga and Raja yoga.

She said besides Muslims, some Christians also questioned if she practised meditation. “I show them through the Internet that Hatha yoga is not about meditation.” Nevertheless, Beeda is not worried how the Fatwa will affect her classes, saying she only has two Muslim students. Michelle, who runs the Scott Michelle fitness centre in Damai, here, also echoed Beeda’s sentiments, saying yoga was not all about closing one’s eyes and chanting to a higher being. Being a Christian, she was also against yoga meditation but as far as she is concerned the sessions at her centre did not involve chanting. “I don’t instruct the yoga session but in my centre we only stretch and tone. “Yoga for me is not a religious issue, unless it involved meditation, so I do not interfere with the sessions,” she said. With the new fatwa, Michelle said she had no problem adhering to the law. “I will obey the law É if it (yoga) is not meant for Muslims then I will not encourage it.”

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Yesterday, I received an email from Jasni, Nurin’s uncle, asking me about the proposal we sent to the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development Ministry late last year and I promptly forwarded him the email without asking what he needed it for. This morning my daughter excitedly told me NURIN Alert was in the New Straits Time. Sooo…that’s why Jasni needed to get that email.

On reading the article, I congratulate NST for highlighting this much needed system which has been sadly forgotten in the aftermath of Datuk Seri Shahrizat’s loss in the March 2008 political tsunami of a general election. She should not have lost that vote and I hold it against Nurul Izzah for challenging her when Shahrizat had done so much and had more to do. I really don’t care for this personality cult kind of politics when winning is more for personal glory than for the people or the nation. I had actually given up on the initiative seeing the light of day as there was no word on the Child Protection Policy that it was supposed to be tagged onto either. Until I read the NST article below by Tan Choe Choe that is.

However, the question Tan raised on the NURIN Alert for the incoming Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen was actually explained in the other article “A department just for children” when the Minister explained about the CPP. I’ll be happy if the Ministry adopts the AMBER Alert system of finding missing children in whatever shape or form. No matter what they name it, we need a system that can help us find those children fast.:

To kick it off, the ministry will be submitting the much-awaited Child Protection Policy (CPP) to the cabinet for endorsement.

The ministry is also drafting a comprehensive Child Policy that will look into the survival, development, protection and participation of children — the key guiding principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child that Malaysia signed in 1995.

“It’s tied in with the CPP,” added Dr Ng.

The Children’s Department will play a major role in monitoring and ensuring the proper implementation of CPP and the Child Policy once it is set up.

Dr Ng said there were five major elements in the CPP and they addressed the creation of a safe and child-friendly environment, setting-up of after-school care facilities to avoid leaving children alone at home, screening of childcare providers, adoption of appropriate protocol for dealing with children and introduction of standard operating procedures that should be taken when a child goes missing.  

2008/11/16
Authorities still sleeping: Nurin Alert remains just a proposal
By : Tan Choe Choe

KUALA LUMPUR: The much vaunted Nurin Alert is still in limbo — more than a year after the brutal murder of Nurin Jazlin Jazimin.

In fact, it is possible that the Nurin Alert may not see daylight at all. The authorities appear uncertain as to who should handle it.

The Nurin Alert was to have been a mechanism to disseminate information on missing children so that it reaches the public in the shortest time possible and ultimately help locate the children.

It was proposed after the body of Nurin, 8, was found stuffed inside a gym bag on Sept 17, 2007, slightly more than a month after she went missing.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen told the New Sunday Times that the Nurin Alert was not part of the Child Protection Policy to be submitted to the cabinet for approval.

This is in sharp contrast to the statement by her predecessor at the ministry, Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, on Jan 20, that the implementation of the Nurin Alert was just a matter of formality and that the system was already in place and working.

“We’ve decided to park the alert system under the Child Protection Policy as one of its components — it’ll be our last module because we’re first looking at more preventive measures,” Shahrizat had said.

That was about four months after the murder of Nurin. The Nurin Alert was mooted by Nurin’s uncle Jasni Abdul Jalil and his group of blogger friends following the tragedy.

Nurin means “Nationwide Urgent Response Information Network” and was modelled after the United States’ Amber Alert.

It was earlier reported that a proposal on the Nurin Alert system had been submitted to Shahrizat. However, Dr Ng said no such proposal had been received by her ministry.

When contacted, Jasni said he had emailed a copy of the proposal to the Welfare Department’s director-general sometime late last year and had subsequently received a note acknowledging receipt of the proposal on Nov 2.

Jasni had told the New Straits Times in September that he wanted the police to take ownership of the system, but the police had said that it was the ministry’s initiative.

Dr Ng, however, said the ministry was not in charge of the alert system and that such a system was related to enforcement work.

Her ministry, she said, was more involved in awareness and advocacy work.

So does this mean that the initiative is not under the ministry anymore?

“I won’t say it’s not under me, but to start the process, it should be inter-agency. It’s not an easy matter,”she said.

“But there is a section in the CPP that suggests that an early warning alert system for missing children should be developed, but with input from government agencies, non-governmental organisations, academicians and, more importantly, the police.”

Madeleine Yong, director of P.S. the Children, said she was not surprised at the state of affairs.

“Looking at the trends over the past years in child rape and murder issues, we have too many suggestions that are knee-jerk reactions.

“We have too many programmes or services created that are ad-hoc.

“We need to have a lot more discussions and strategic planning for this system to be implemented effectively,” said Yong.

“The entire system should be framed around the primary objective — to promote the wellbeing of children — rather than to meet the requirements of organisations or departments,” she added.

For Nurin Alert to be realised, there must be teamwork between the lawmakers, the Women, Dr Ng’s ministry, non-governmental organisations that deal with children, the media, law enforcement officers, social workers, hospitals and the entire community.

The Amber Alert system, Yong said, had a series of strategies to support the authorities and communities to increase the likelihood that abducted children would be recovered swiftly and safely.

One important lesson learned by Amber Alert implementers, she said, was that while it was an outstanding tool, it was ultimately only a tool to help in law enforcement.

“Training and having an investigative plan or strategy are the most important components.

“We need to start with these steps.

“We can have good ideas but the implementation, monitoring and sustainability of a programme or system needs a lot more effort.”

“So am I surprised Nurin Alert didn’t take off? Absolutely not.”

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obama1While watching news coverage of Barack Obama’s historic win, it suddenly struck me that the man they are hailing as the first Black president of the United States has one major distinction that sets him apart, he was born a free man and was never the descendant of slaves. I am thinking that his having been born the son of a black man from independent Kenya and a free thinking white mother plus his unconventional upbringing by his white grandparents had a lot to do with his being accepted by Americans from both sides of the racial divide. His connection to Indonesia by virtue of a step-father and half sister and to Kenya through his father’s relatives, gives Barack a most unusual background indeed and hopefully makes him more worldy, less xenophobic and most certainly less insular than the typical American.      

Watching a newsflash on RTM that showed Obama and his family waving to the crowd in his moment of victory as the President elect, I was moved to tears for this historic moment, not just for Americans but for the world, at the sight of a coloured man headed for the White House. I haven’t been following the US presidential campaign much until the question of Barack’s links with Islam came into heavy discussion. Indeed, so what if he is not Muslim? The fact that his father was born a Muslim, but a non-practicing one apparently, and that his middle name is Hussein (same as Saddam’s dad), suddenly puts him on the defensive about being pro-Islam. 

Islam is his Achilles heel and will continue to be so until he brings the promised change that will exorcise the demons of religious and racial prejudice in what is purportedly the most powerful nation on earth. Barack has less to fear from Islam than from the white supremacists who fear him for everything he represents, an intelligent, successful and victorious non-white man who will be the 44th President of the US of A. If Barack understands the harm racial prejudice breeds, he should feel for Muslims all over the world who have been demonised as terrorists. Can he empathise with fellow Americans who have been discriminated against for being Muslim? Can he bring back the innocence lost in the Bush era that bred fear where there never was any reason to be? Can he bring back smiles on the faces of Americans when a hijab clad foreigner visits their country as a guest to attend an international conference? Bring back the welcoming smiles and the open mindedness that was the America I knew when I was a student.

There is something in the way he speaks to Americans during his campaign, his sincerity, his earnestness, his determination and that charming charisma that is so refreshing. Obama is an orator par excellence, along the lines of Martin Luther King Junior and John F Kennedy before him. Even non Americans are caught up in his call for change, for a better America post-911, where fear does not exist. Whether he can deliver remains to be seen but what strikes me more than anything is the sheer humility with which he accepted victory. There was no jubilant arrogance nor jeering sneers that seems to have become the political culture here in this Muslim country we love, Malaysia. Just watch what happens in our parliament and you wonder what turns decent men and women into a bunch of ludicruous rabble rousers who make pre-schoolers appear better behaved. Our politicians have a lot to learn from Barack about being dignified and statesman-like and most of all about being gracious in victory. An intelligent man for once, after years of a fumbling Bush. Whoever Bush blames for the failure of his government, I don’t like the America he has left for Barack Obama to clean up. Can Barack really bring change to the US and to the world? I wish him all the best. It’s vice-president Joe Biden that I am worried about.      

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