Sunday, May 9, 2010

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20100507_MaranInterview.avi.s.mp4


20100507_MaranInterview.avi.s.mp4

Posted: 09 May 2010 10:29 AM PDT

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Time: 09:15 More in News & Politics


Is Britain proof that democracy is failing?

Posted: 09 May 2010 03:26 PM PDT

Britain is an open democracy, everyone including the Monster Raving Looney Party can take part...

But such is the confusion in modern politics that Britons are unable to decide who should govern the country...

Labour was decimated in the post-Bush&Blair era while the Tories can't quite muster the simple majority they need to fulfill their election manifesto

The Liberal Democrats, which seemed so ready to take over as the new face of British Government stumbled so terribly at the end that NIck Clegg looked like a startled deer when the results were announced...

Perhaps the title of this posting is a trifle over dramatic but the fact is, democracy is many developed countries where there are more than two parties are forced to rely on weak coalitions for Governments while in countries with two party systems the people are usually asked to choose between two very similar shades of grey.

This is happening because most political parties take whatever centrist line that the population seems to support, in some countries it swings slightly to the right while in others the line veers to the left and the result is  very confusing politics.

The result is politics that offers just one shade and this will cause the illusion of choice and options to break up...

Democracy thrives on splitting people and confrontational politics but in the long run, this can lead to deep rifts within society, just look at the level of protest that the Republicans mustered when going against Healthcare Reform in the United States and how deeply divided the country has become over their first black president and he is barely a year in office...

What we have to remember is that democracy is just a way to choose a Government, it does not guarantee anything because at the end of the day, a country full of pirates will elect a pirate as their leader, a nation of gamblers will appoint a gambler to lord over them and a country of liars will have the best liar as their leader

This is God's law... from the human perspective we can say that people elect from who they are, from a spiritual point of view, we can say that God always give a people a leader that they deserve.

Keep your heart tuned to God and ask him for guidance, don't ask for a particular politician to win or lose, but ask for clear cut guidance, unhindered by your own personal agenda or opinions and I believe that he will give it to you...

the next trick is of course to listen to your conscience which will tell you which way the guidance wants to take you... listening to one's conscience is a particularly useful spiritual skill and Malaysia would do well if we all listened to our conscience

My conscience wants a better Government but Anwar & Co is definitely not going to provide me with it...


Ratio of Johor Police to Potential Male Criminals

Posted: 09 May 2010 07:49 AM PDT

          JohorPoliceRatio

In the news report I covered in this post, the BN representative for Pengkalan Rinting (Johor) Low Teh Hian said that the Johor police force's quoted ratio of 1 cop to every 3000 Johoreans was ridiculous.

To quote: "Logically, after senior citizens, children and the disabled are excluded, police only have to monitor a few but there are still a lot of snatch theft cases."

Mic asked if I could verify the statistics above. So I went and found some. Go to the United Nation Development Programme site to download the full PDF file (732 kb).

The year 2000 statistics for Johor showed that there were 2.59 million people residing in Johor. Of these, Bumiputera made up 57.1%, Chinese 35.4%, Indian 6.9% and Others 0.6%. Not relevant to my calculations, but for your viewing below anyway.

JohorPop2000

The next chart shows the employed and unemployed population of Johor by age, year 2000.

JohorAge2000

Now, the definition of 'senior citizen' usually follows the retirement age (56 in Malaysia), but what I think Mr. Low meant was that the police don't need to consider old folk, kids and the disabled as potential criminals.

So going by my own logical definition, males younger than 15 or older than 49 are unlikely to be the prime suspects for serial killings, armed robberies and gang rapes. (Notice I'm assuming that in the society of our fallen world, even teenage boys can partake in vicious crimes.)

All females are also exempted – being an accomplice doesn't count for this post.

Having discounted those demographics, that leaves roughly 792,360 males as potential violent criminals. Yes, I spent quite some time and effort measuring and calculating that number.

Now the statistics from that PDF file are quite dated, more than 7 years old. So I'm factoring in the time difference.

The population of Malaysia in 2000 was 23.27 million (according to Department of Statistics Malaysia), and it will be 24.82 million by July 2007 (according to the CIA World Factbook). That's an increase of 6.661%.

Assuming that the Johorean male population increased by a similar percentage, that means as of July 2007 there are about 845,139 males between the ages 15-49. Now for the payoff for all these data mining calculations.

According to Wong Chun Wai's article , the Johor police force is 3000 strong and recruiting 2000 more.

Now at 3000 police to 845,139 males who have the potential to be violent criminals (including yours truly), that is a ratio of 1 : 282. If you add in the new recruits, bolstering the police force to 5000 members, the ratio becomes 1 : 169.

          JohorPoliceRatio

Definitely nowhere near the ratio of 1 : 3000 as mocked by Mr. Low. But remember, a large number of the police force will be tied up issuing traffic summons, directing traffic and sorting out paperwork. And the police personnel have shifts, further reducing the man-hours available to continuously watch the streets.

Now let's instead assume that the police watch over the safety of innocent civilians, rather than keep an eye on potential crooks. Assume also that all kids below 15 and senior citizens above 49 stay at home, and assume a roughly 1 to 1 ratio between males and females.

If the Johor police were to keep a protective watch over these out-and-about people, that would still be a ratio of 1 : 564 (or 1 : 338 when the 2000 new recurits are factored in).

The criminals, however, seem fond of breaking and entering, thus nullifying the safety advantage of staying indoors.

Therefore, if the police keep watch on just the males who have the potential to rob, rape and murder, it would be a lot easier on them than to take care of every innconet citizen. Easy to say, not easy to do at all!

So what I suggest is frequent, randomly moving patrols at night – a simple measure that makes it much more likely potential criminals will be caught in the act and have to abandon their nefarious plans halfway.

Hope I've been helpful.


DAP Assemblyman Utters Incredibly Rude Remark That Shocks the Entire Nation to the Core

Posted: 17 May 2007 07:21 PM PDT

A DAP assemblyman was immediately ordered out of the assembly after he made a horribly, horribly disrespectful remark against a fellow assemblyman!

Yes folks, in the interest of politeness and class, the DAP assemblyman's disgraceful request to "jangan kurang ajar" when the BN assemblyman interrupted his speech was rightly shown no leniency at all. This should serve as a lesson to the Opposition to know their proper place!

After all, such as remark was FAR WORSE and MUCH MORE DEMEANING than intuitive observations about the menstrual cycle to female MPs - which, by the way, was not punished during session because it was obviously so mild and inoffensive. Or any number of other not-that-rude things uttered before.

So, obviously again, the strict retribution for grossly and obscenely disrespecting a BN assemblyman was completely justified. After all, we wouldn't want the public to start thinking the whole system is biased towards the Opposition, now would we?

Meanwhile, the whiny women and Opposition members should quit moping over objective and intelligently thought-out factoids about human biology. The fact that they might have been having those pre-bocor mood swings is no excuse!

(And anyway, most clear cut and inarguable of all, the bocor comments were directed at non-BN, female people. That's a double case of undeservingness of respect! Why, they ought to be exceedingly grateful that they weren't given the verbal lashing they truly deserve, all thanks to the big and easily-melted hearts of the BN reps.)

—————-

From The Star 18 May 2007:

DAP rep told to leave assembly over remark

KUCHING: DAP Kota Sentosa assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen was ordered out of the state assembly after he failed to withdraw a "jangan kurang ajar" (don't be rude) remark levelled at a Barisan Nasional backbencher. 

Chong directed the phrase at Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (BN – Asajaya) when the latter tried to interrupt his speech during the debate on the motion of thanks on the Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Abang Muhammad Salahuddin's address yesterday. 

Speaker Datuk Mohd Asfia Awang Nasar ordered Chong to withdraw the remarks three times but the opposition member did not budge. 

He then ordered Chong out of the House, and the latter walked out. 

The incident was the first for a DAP member in the state assembly. 

Later, five other DAP assemblymen staged a walkout from the House in support of Chong, who said that he had uttered the remarks in a gentle way. 

Asfia had allowed the use of the phrase "jangan kurang ajar" in previous assembly sittings.  


P212 Sibu: How far adrift is PAS from Islam?

Posted: 09 May 2010 07:09 AM PDT



I am not known to be a religious man and I am not an Ustaz either but I do remember that Aqidah is at the core of Islam, faith in Allah ALMIGHTY is the central tenet of Islam.

If you do not believe that Allah is Almighty then the faith makes no sense.... it makes no sense to believe in a fallible God, in a God that has limitations, a creator that has boundaries...at least that was what my Ustaz taught me in school

and yet we have here someone who is likely to be a non Muslim since he refers to Tu(h)an Allah... Muslims simpley refer to God by his proper Name ...

This person states that If Allah came down to earth, even He cannot save Malaysia if BN is still in power... that is a breathtaking departure from the central tenet that Allah is ALMIGHTY...

This is a serious breach of Aqidah and it is even more shocking to hear  Malay Muslim PAS adherents cheering this grave departure from their faith or are they just blond to such matters these days as long as it makes a few political miles for them?

PErhaps PAS thinks this is petty and needs no correcting... I cannto wait to hear how thier 'ex-salted' spiritual leader explains this away...


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We believe in the power of ONE...

Posted: 09 May 2010 03:21 AM PDT



VOICE YOUR CHOICE

We want to believe that the power of 'one
' is not simply overrated, it's just rarely challenged. We want positive action not negative reactions. We want to integrate not tolerate. We want to stop complaining, and start acting. We want our friends to stop migrating overseas and our parents to stop telling us to do so. We want to be colour blind to our neighbours. We want to stand up to be responsible for our collective future and believe that others want to as well.
Your action today can change the way the nation is shaped tomorrow. But before change can happen, you need to vote. Without your vote, your voice can't be heard. Join us in this EPIC movement to register 2 Million new voters by the end of 2010.


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P212..”Eight Months (8) Later..??”

Posted: 09 May 2010 03:03 AM PDT

Jam! Jam! Jam! The due date is only a few days away and to be precise according to the JKR board 13th may 2010. In the P212 Sibu by elections a lot of developement funds will be given and allocated by the government. No matter what, the Government is always blamed for all projects not being completed on time.

Have we ever blame the Contractors/Sub contractors on not meeting the due date and the issuse that will follow? Now Pakatan also has governments in Selangor,Penang,Kedah and Kelantan while BN has the rests of the states in Malaysia.  

What needs to be done and this pictures taken today 9th May 2010 doesnt lie. Audie61 has been receiving a number of complaints from irate residents and voters of the constituencies. They ask Will JKR penalise the contractor? Can anyone i.'e. any resident affected sue the agency JKR for false implementation of completion date ?

The government is trying to solve the jam woes and if the amount of $$$$$$ allocated is mismanaged this will happen. Don't blame the people for not voting for the candidates of the ruling government be it Pakatan or BN but blame it on the IMPLEMENTORS/GOVERNING BODY OF EACH PROJECT

THE PEOPLE/RAKYAT/VOTERS  ARE NOT FOOLS ALL THE TIME AND NOW THEY KNOW WHERE/WHO TO TURN TO WHEN THEIR NEEDS ARE NOT FULFILLED…….……….



ALLAH Will Defeat Evil Zionist BN in Sibu!

Posted: 09 May 2010 02:15 AM PDT

"The Chinese Christians together with their staunchly Christian Iban brethren hold the key to victory in Sibu."

By Admin

The Malaysian Insider reported that DAP candidate for the Sibu By Election, Wong Ho Leng made solving the "Allah" issue as his major campaign message in the Sibu by-election. Wong said that if elected, he will call upon the prime minister and home minister to immediately cease the legal dispute with the Christian churches over these matters to protect the freedom of religion in Malaysia for non-Muslims.

The Sarawak DAP chairman reiterated his party's stand for Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Robert Lau to make his stand about the ban on non-Muslims using the word "Allah". Wong added that Lau cannot take an ambiguous stance on the Allah issue anymore, otherwise the people of Sibu, especially the non-Muslims will not trust Lau to speak up for them in Parliament.

About 53 per cent of the 55,000 voters in the Sibu constituency are Christians. The Chinese form about 66.6 per cent of the voters, the Christian Ibans 16.3 per cent, and the Malay/Melanau approximately 16.2 per cent. So far, political analysts from both sides of the political dived have been pointing to the ethnic Chinese voters in Sibu as holding the key to who wins the By Election. However, The Scribe feels that the real King Makers in Sibu are the Christians. A large majority of the 66.6% Chinese voters in Sibu are Christians. The Chinese Christians together with their staunchly Christian Iban brethren hold the key to victory in Sibu.

The Scribe has always maintained that whosoever professes that Jesus Christ is his or her personal Lord and Savior, they will, by the prompting of the Paraclete within them will leave BN and will not have anything to do with it, as the Evil Zionist BN Regime with Racist Umno as it's lynch pin is by definition an abomination before Allah Almighty. So it is just wishful thinking to expect Robert Lau or any other Christian BN member to stand up for their Faith. In short, any Christian who is a member of BN or a supporter of it are in essence Judas'. Only true Christians like Dr. Toh Kin Woon, formerly of Gerakan/BN would leave BN.

It is no secret that BN/Umno's 'Fixed Deposit' in maintaining their grip on power is to secure Malay/Muslim votes. In Sarawak as in Sabah, we have seen how Indonesian and Filipino Muslims were given citizenship's and were automatically considered as Malays. It is an open secret that many young Sarawakian and Sabahan Christian Bumiputera's are brainwashed, bribed, enticed or coerced in institutions of higher learning, MRSM, residential schools, Teacher Training Colleges, Nursing Schools, the Armed Forces, the Police and in the civil service to convert to Islam. This is rather sad as there is no compulsion in Islam for anyone to convert. Unfortunately, the Evil BN/Umno regime has tarnished the sanctity of Islam by hijacking the religion in ensuring that it's 'Fixed Deposits' keep on increasing.

The reason for this is that whenever someone converts to Islam, they become Malays. Just like when a Chinese or an Indian converts to Islam, they become Malays and deny their race. One good example is Chinese Muslim convert Ridhuan Tee Abdullah. Coming back to the conversion of Christian Bumiputera's to Islam, as in Sabah, in Sarawak especially under the Umno proxy PBB led Taib Mahmud Regime, countless Bumiputera Christian Villages have been converted to Islam in return for land, money and infrastructure facilities. There's nothing wrong in spreading the 'Nur' of Islam but the intention must be sincere and not otherwise as in the case of what Taib Mahmud's PBB has been doing.

The Christian voters in Sibu, especially the Ibans are fully aware of this and also among others the ban on the use of 'Allah' by their Christian brethren in West Malaysia, the difficulty in getting approvals to build Churches and the confiscation and banning of Christian Literature in Malay. The Pakatan Rakyat on it's part has mobilised its church-going leaders to convince Sibu Christians to back their candidate with at least two high profile meetings with the community involving DAP national leaders.

This By Election will also be a barometer in terms of the Faith of the Christian voters in Sibu. Don't be surprised that at the end of the day, it is ALLAH who will defeat BN in Sibu.


SIBU P212: Third candidate is an opposition plant?

Posted: 08 May 2010 09:21 PM PDT



It sure seems like it, Narawi Haron is unemployed and his main source of income is direct selling.


I am not trying to run down direct sellers but from the way he is dressed, I don't think Narawi is one of those MLM millionaires with thousands to burn contesting in a by election.


In the past he has stood against Barisan Nasional candidate Robert Lau so he is clearly an Opposition lackey who is used to draw votes away from the popular SUPP.


According to blogger Unspinners Narawi was handed a wad of cash about RM20,000 for standing in and playing third candidate. for this amount, and more may come  later, Narawi is expected to draw as many as 900 votes away from Barisan Nasional.


The theory is that he would draw Malay and Iban votes, which are the votes that BN rely on to give them an unshakeable majority.


I also heard that the rather tame campaigning in Hulu Selangor will not be repeated, instead they return to the aggressive style last seen in Bagan Pinang, complete with fake injuries and stoning of a police driver.


However the authorities are ready for such antics and will not put up with them, more importantly the constituents have been alerted and they are on guard against PAS , DAP and PKR campaigners.


If the numbers at the polling station is anything to go by, and this time few outsiders can afford to make it for nomination, it looks like BN is the more sensible choice in the minds of the people in Sibu.


I certainly hope that people will realise that the business of Government is tedious and boring and slow. It is about the nitty gritty, about providing people with basic amenities and fulfilling their aspirations of a better life.


I hope they realise that Government is not about making sky high promises that no one can fulfill


I hope they realise that peace and prosperity should be their priority because we are still an underdeveloped country and what we need are simple ideals of buts and bolts development.


Maybe in another 50 years time when we are fully developed and MORE IMPORTANTLY when our Opposition politician have matured and can offer sensible policies and goals we should give them another serious look.


Let's let 2008 be strongest signal we have sent to the Government that we need them to step up efforts and make Malaysia a better place for everyone


LET'S RECOLOR MAY 13

Posted: 08 May 2010 08:40 PM PDT


Dear Brother and Sister Malaysians,

I would like to re-color May 13, to breathe new spirit into the date, to dilute and eventually erase the negative thoughts and replace them with positive meanings and values. We are placing a full page advertisement in The Star this May 13 , with a call to re-color the day.

When reflecting on May 13, 1969, we can blame others for what happened, blame the situation, or we can choose to transform things for the better, to be change agents and constructively fill our hearts and minds with what needs to be done so May 13 does not ever happen again, and that no one uses the day to bring about fear and negativity.

What thoughts can we cultivate to make a difference to how May 13th is viewed? What actions can we take to shine a light on this day so it will forever be a day we learn from mistakes, a day we strengthen unity in our diversity and recommit to respecting one another and working together?

At zubedy we believe in re-coloring May 13 with all our brilliant hues, the many diverse peoples that we are, under this one great nation called Malaysia. We believe it is a day to reaffirm our shared values and traditions and rejoice in what unites us. A day for young and old to constructively talk about what makes us one people and how we can remain strong together.

This May 13 we are launching two unity books available at major bookstores to commemorate the day.

1. A Plea for Empathy, A Quest for Malaysian Unity by Chandra Muzaffar, is a collection of twenty-three articles on Malaysian national unity that appeared in newspapers, magazines and academic journals between 1974 and 2008. Dr. Chandra looks at language, culture, religion, the economy, politics, human rights, education, ethnic accommodation, ethnic conflict and trends in ethnic relations over the decades. The writing embodies the essence of his thoughts on the causes of disunity and the solutions that are possible. ( Retail price at RM 39.20 WM)

2. The Quran and I by Anas Zubedy is a collection of reflections and childhood memoirs featuring among others, inter-faith and inter-racial friendships and depictions of how the multi-cultural Malaysian setting is fertile ground for personal growth. The book highlights universal values found in the Quran through daily life experiences and serves as a simple introduction to the Quran. (Retail price RM 36.40 WM)
Please join us and make May 13 a day of Unity. Find ways to understand each other better, bring to light our Unity in diversity and share your stories with children and young people. Organize gatherings and discussions, Unity parties and kenduris. Or simply take a moment and reflect on where we are today and give thanks; we have much to be grateful for.

Peace and Let us add value,

anas zubedy

NOTE : FEEL FREE TO POST THE RECOLOR MAY 13 LOGO IN YOUR BLOG AND USE IT WHENEVER IT CAN HELP THE CAUSE, TQ


General duties Police personnel are NOT trained to shoot to kill!

Posted: 08 May 2010 08:07 PM PDT


By Khun Pana aka Johanssm

Now that the police shot a 17 year old MALAY mat rempit i wonder what that Teoh will say.

Maybe he will say that the 17 y.o. mat rempit was high on glue , it was dark , high speed chase , riding dangerously,without bike license , suspected riding a stolen bike and deserves to be shot from the back.
Is dr.Teoh hoping to get a datukship or it is his frank opinion? Time will tell.
Just like that whore Hee , she got her datukship for her services rendered.

KJ better defend his mat rempit/mat cemerlang boys by issuing bullet proof vest.Or his boys will dies like flies.

In my frank opinion , all mat rempits deserve to be shot in the face not from the back.
But , shooting them is against the law and KJ will be hoping mad if there is such a law to shoot his boys.

Aminul is just a boy. Of course he will panic.That is normal.
Even adults panic.
Dr. Tai Eng Teck panicked and the police shot him dead in his car.
What about Batu Burok incident?
All the victims are without weapons not even an ice cream stick.

Note to the dr.Teoh.
General duties Police personnel are NOT trained to shoot to kill.


MCA, MIC, Gerakkan etc are the UMNO "kapos"

Posted: 08 May 2010 07:55 PM PDT


By Harcharan Singh

A Kapo was a prisoner who worked inside German Nazi concentration camps during World War II in certain lower administrative positions (prisoner functionary). The German word also means "foreman" and "non-commissioned officer", and is derived from French for "Corporal" (fr:Caporal) or the Italian word capo'. Kapos received more privileges than normal prisoners, towards whom they were often brutal. They were often convicts who were offered this work in exchange for a reduced sentence or parole.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kapo_(concentration_camp)


Aliran Singers to perform at Klang Valley dinner

Posted: 07 May 2010 02:55 AM PDT

The Aliran Singers are coming to the Klang Valley for a "People First, Democracy Now" dinner! Join them for a night filled with music and dance performances and meet old friends and new in the struggle for a just society.


Stop refoulement of Afghan refugee!

Posted: 08 May 2010 07:07 AM PDT

A 22-year-old Afghan refugee who was arrested for alleged human smuggling faces deportation. Suaram reminds the government that it is obliged to respect the international customary law not to deport people to places where they may face persecution.


1Press Freedom Malaysia to start from Pakatan Rakyat states?

Posted: 05 May 2010 09:00 AM PDT

As there is no evidence that the BN government is interested in guaranteeing us our basic rights, the Selangor, Penang, Kedah and Kelantan state governments should take the lead in showing us what sort of changes can and should be made, says Ong Jing Cheng.


Living remnants of an intangible heritage

Posted: 06 May 2010 09:00 AM PDT

While the homes of labouring class may have been replaced by elevated highways, luxurious condominiums and monumental buildings, modest temples remain as the living remnants of an intangible heritage, observes Yeoh Seng Guan.


Will local govt elections result in electocracy or democracy?

Posted: 05 May 2010 09:00 AM PDT

Before local government can be revived, there should be some kind of campaign finance reform and a regulatory framework on campaigning, says our correspondent


If you thought men’s sexual response is quite simple and their needs can be met easily , revise your knowledge of the “birds and bees,” ,

Posted: 08 May 2010 05:55 PM PDT


If you thought men's sexual response is quite simple and their needs can be met easily, then you certainly need to revise your knowledge of the "birds and bees," for men aren't as simple as they are made out to be.

According to Fox News, here are 10 things that you didn't know about men and sex:

1. Trapped Sperm
Not all sperm go racing for the egg at once. Once sperm has been deposited into the vaginal canal, some of them are temporarily trapped in a semen coagulate or clot. Eventually, they are decoagulated by enzymes, which set them free to swim about a female"s reproductive system. This clotting, according to scientists, is meant to pace the release of sperm into the uterus, increasing the chance that one of these sperms will reach the egg and fertilise it.

2. Oxytocin affects males too
It is believed that oxytocin affects females during sex (and breast-feeding). But this cuddle hormone, released by both sexes during intimacy, is also found to influence males. Research from Switzerland found that oxytocin is associated with increased feelings of trust in males.

3. High testosterone = Less sex
While higher testosterone levels is typically considered a good thing for men when it comes to their sex drive, still researchers continually found that males with higher testosterone levels marry less often, are more abusive in their marriages and divorce more regularly. In fact, married men see more action than single men.

4. Death during sex has a prototype
While examining the incidence of death during sex, a 1975 study discovered a unique pattern in males: the "deceased is usually married; he is not with a spouse and in unfamiliar surroundings," and death usually occurs after "a big meal with alcohol." Another study in 1989 found further evidence supporting the extramarital sex bit. Fourteen of the 20 cases of "la mort d"amour," or coital death, happened during an affair.


The woman in your life may give you her heart, soul and, of course, her body, but still there's a part of her being that she'll never share with you stuff that makes her a mystery .

Yes, your woman is a den of mysteries hinted to you in her sly smile, enigmatic laughter or that sudden silence. She just pretends to be one, but is never an open book to you. Her deepest secrets are what add to her charm … but render you an outsider in her own 'Secret Garden'. Secrets of her unshared yearnings, cherished fantasies or for that matter, a secret lover from the past …


Rihanna performed in Oberhausen, Germany last week and got a little touchy-feely with herself and does the mound rube in fishnet. And I am not going go lie, I can get to really enjoy this shit. Does she pleasure herself during every show or what? Whatever the case, she could at least mix up the wardrobe to keep things fresh for groupie fanatics who follow her from one city to the next… Even though Rihanna's "Last Girl On Earth" tour is going a little rough from the standpoint of her health (she fainted) and her inability to stay on her feet (she slipped and fell in France), her tour is still going on well. And I would certainly pay to see this awesome shit live in concert. I hope no one mind me having my penis out and in my hand while standing in the front row to fully appreciate her onstage performance. Freaking whore…why don't she just finger yourself on stage while she is at it? I think we can all agree; sex sells, when you have nothing else to offer. Anyway, I am off to buy some Rihanna concert tickets and some lube. Click on pictures to enlarge.



——————————————————-

Rihanna (pronounced /riːˈɑːnə/; born Robyn Rihanna Fenty on February 20, 1988 in Saint Michael, Barbados) is a Bajan singer-songwriter, model, music video director,fashion designer and philanthropist. She is the second artist, and first female, from Barbados to have received a Grammy Award (the first being Jimmy Senya Haynes). Rihanna is currently signed to the Def Jam Recordings label.www.GutterUncensored.com



Here's a peep into those hidden secrets dig into them at your own risk!

- I might just hate it when you sleep in that office shirt, but when you are away, I love to snuggle up in your shirt because it smells of you.

- Though I insist on paying the bill or sharing it in our initial dates, I'll find you cheap and so non-chivalrous in case you don't insist on making the payment.

- Long before we explored each other's bodies, I had been fantasizing about being with you. That inhibition was only to get assured that you are all mine.

- I do think about my ex-es and compare them to you. Mostly you win, but you are not all perfect.

- 'I don't care you call or not' is pure pretence. In fact, I start waiting for your next call the moment one ends. Not just this, I eagerly want you to plan our next date even before the current one ends. I might not show it. So, don't fret about looking desperate just call! The gap looks like a lifetime to me.

- During the initial days of our relationship, I used to save all our chat histories and your SMSes and read them again and again. Sometimes, made my friends read them, too.

- The day you shared your password with me, digging into your chat records and mails was the first thing I did.

- I would love to know what turns you on. Though, I know it's going to be hilarious as I've seen your frequently-visited porn sites.

- You don't have to be a 'good boy' with me all the time. I don't mind talking a little dirty.

- You are my soul mate, but my 'best friend' is my confidante. From the size of your pay cheque, bank account to the size of your other assets…she knows it all. So, till you are telling her how much you love me all's fine. Remember she's my best friend and never yours.

- You rightly blame me for bombarding you with so many questions. But, that's my way of testing you. I judge and analyse you on every word, expression, action, e-mail or SMS you write to me or someone else. So, when I ask "Do you fantasize about other women?," the answer has to be "Why would I when I am with you?" So, better watch out!

- I love to make you a little jealous as it makes me feel wanted. So the next time you spot me flirting with your friend, know that I'm actually flirting with you through her.

- Every time I fight with you is because I feel ignored. Don't get into your cocoon when I'm bad. Just give me what I'm fighting for – a little attention and I'll be all yours.

- I love to get constant reminders of the much known fact that – you need me. So, what's the harm in dropping liners saying 'You complete me' or 'Don't ever leave me alone' ?

- Last but not the least, irrespective of how independent and self-driven I am, how ever much I may say that I don't need a man to be happy, but still I want you to take charge when we are in bed.



What did Playboy model Jenna Bentley do on a shoot in Hawaii yesterday? Whatever comes natural to a fame whore, baby… Here is Jenna on a photo shoot on a beach when one of her gigantic left tit pop out. And then that boob popped out some more for good measure. Now you might ask yourself why does she keep um…popping out? While I ask why not? This is what attention whores do with thei tits. And by the way, a woman does inject that much cubic centimeters of silicone in her chest without being an attention whore. Anyway, Jenna is way too much plastic for my taste. Her boobs look like the creation of a mad scientific who has never seen a set of tits on a real live woman before. This is how airbags look after an auto accident. Maybe if they at least looked natural or maybe a little less like someone shoved honeydews down her shirt I wouldn't mind. I don't like plastic. And then there is the horsey thing! Click on pictures to enlarge.




THE MOST COMFORTABLE PLACE FOR YOU IS TO BE IS IN YOUR MOTHER’S WOMBTHAT IS WHY IN HINDU TEMPLES, THE SANCTUM SANCTORUM IS CALLED GARBHAGUDI .

Posted: 08 May 2010 05:31 PM PDT

HOW OFTEN HAVE WE HEARD SOMEONE ASK: 'WHY IS GOD PLAYING CRUEL GAMES WITH US?' IT IS PERHAPS A QUESTION THAT COMES TO MIND WHEN ONE FAILS TO FIND A SATISFACTORY EXPLANATION OF THE INEXPLICABLE. BUT THE QUESTION ITSELF IS NOT A SATISFACTORY APPROACH TO UNDERSTANDING.
WE CAN GIVE EXPLANATIONS, BUT EXPLANATIONS NEED NOT BE ANSWERS.
RELATED ARTICLE
Altantuya Shaariibuu case Zulkifly Noordin version the way to distract Malaysians Beneath the veil of ZIONIST APCO'S public relations
WHAT IS LIFE AND WHAT IS DEATH? YOU ARE LOOKING AT DEATH AS THE OPPOSITE OF LIFE. SO, OUR ENCOUNTER WITH DEATH IS CONDITIONED BY OUR DEFINITION OF DEATH AS BEING OPPOSED TO LIFE. LOOK AT IT ANOTHER WAY: DEATH IS ONE MORE EXPRESSION OF LIFE. LIFE SCIENTISTS DECLARE THAT DEATH IS THE MOST CRITICAL DEFINING FEATURE OF LIFE. ALL AND ONLY LIVING THINGS DIE. WHEN YOU DIE, YOU ARE MAKING THE ULTIMATE UNDENIABLE ASSERTION THAT YOU HAVE BEEN ALIVE. IN FACT, DEATH IS EVEN A PRECONDITION TO LIFE. THE HOLY BIBLE SAYS, "UNLESS A SEED FALLS INTO EARTH AND DIES, IT CANNOT PRODUCE ANY GRAINS". THAT IS, A SEED HAS TO CEASE TO BE ITSELF IN ORDER TO BE A SOURCE OF LIFE TO SEVERAL OTHERS LIKE IT.
THE MOST COMFORTABLE PLACE FOR YOU IS TO BE IS IN YOUR MOTHER'S WOMB. AFTER BIRTH, MANY TIMES YOU SEARCH FOR THAT SAME COMFORT. THAT IS WHY IN HINDU TEMPLES, THE SANCTUM SANCTORUM IS CALLED GARBHAGUDI – REPRESENTING A MOTHER'S WOMB. AT THE TIME OF DELIVERY, THE BODY OF THE MOTHER PUSHES THE CHILD OUT. WHEN IT IS PUSHED OUT, EVERY CHILD GOES THROUGH WHAT IS CALLED BIRTH TRAUMA, EXPERIENCING A FORM OF DEATH. TAGORE ASKS, "IS IT DEATH OR IS IT LIFE?" WHAT DO WE EXPERIENCE? BIRTH, EXIT FROM THE WOMB WHERE LIFE ORIGINATED AND WAS SUSTAINED FOR ABOUT NINE MONTHS AND INTO THE WORLD OUTSIDE – IS A FORM OF DEATH THAT LEADS TO LIFE ALTHOUGH IN DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENTS. SIMILARLY, DEATH – EXIT FROM THE WORLD – COULD BE A DOOR TO SOME OTHER FORM OF LIFE OR LIFE AT YET ANOTHER PLANE.
DON'T WE CAST OFF WORN-OUT CLOTHES IN ORDER TO WEAR NEW ONES? WHY GET SO ATTACHED TO PHYSICAL PHENOMENA? DURING THE GREAT DOTCOM BUST OF THE POST-MILLENNIUM YEARS, A LOT OF PEOPLE WENT THROUGH DEPRESSION ALL OVER THE WORLD, BUT ESPECIALLY SO IN CALIFORNIA, THE HUB OF ALL THAT DOTCOM ACTIVITY. LET US THINK OF WHAT REALLY HAPPENED. NOTHING MORE THAN THE FACT THAT WHAT HAD BEEN HYPED SKY-HIGH WAS BROUGHT DOWN TO EARTH. THE SAME THING HAD HAPPENED IN BANGALORE REAL ESTATE. IT HAPPENS CYCLICALLY IN STOCK MARKETS ACROSS THE GLOBE. YOU BUILD THE BUBBLE, AND, WHEN THE BUBBLE BREAKS, YOU FEEL DEPRESSED. THOSE WHO KNOW THAT THE RISE IS ARTIFICIAL MAKE ALL THE PROFIT WHILE GULLIBLE BELIEVERS IN THE LONGEVITY OF THE BUBBLE LOSE EVERYTHING.
THE VALUE WE ATTACH TO OBJECTS OF SPECULATION LIKE STOCKS, SHARES, LAND, AND COMMODITIES IS PURELY PSYCHOLOGICAL; THEY ARE ILLUSORY OR INSUBSTANTIAL. LIKEWISE, ALL SORROWS ARE CHIEFLY CREATED BY THE MIND. YOU INVEST 10 MILLION RUPEES ON A PIECE OF LAND EXPECTING TO MAKE A PROFIT OF 10 MILLION, BUT THE PROFIT IS ONLY NOTIONAL IN THE SENSE THAT IT IS BASED ON YOUR EXPECTATION THAT THE VALUE OF YOUR PURCHASE WILL DOUBLE WITHIN THE TIME FRAME OF YOUR EXPECTATION. IF YOUR EXPECTATIONS ARE DEFEATED, YOU START SUFFERING. IT'S ALL IN YOUR MIND, ISN'T IT?
THEREFORE THE TRAUMA THAT YOU FEEL AT EVENTS LIKE ACCIDENT OR DEATH IS ALSO MAINLY PSYCHOLOGICAL, AND SO DEATH IS SOMETHING YOU CAN OVERCOME THROUGH SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE.
AUTHOR ELIF SHAFAK

"Even the worldliest love has a spiritual side"

BY ASMA T. UDDIN, MAY 5, 2010

In her poetic new novel, Elif Shafak explores two parallel journeys toward Love – one set in modern times and another in the thirteenth century, between Sufi masters Rumi and Shams of Tabriz. The intersection between these two narratives reveals important lessons about self, selflessness, and Divine submission. Altmuslimah's Asma Uddin spoke with the author about the deeper messages behind her lyrical prose.
There was an underlying commentary on the peaceful, loving essence of Islam – and the waywardness of zealots who misuse Islam to cause divisions and inspire terrorists like Baybars. How much of this novel was inspired by a post-9/11 desire to explain the "real" Islam?

Elif Shafak: As writers we are the children of this world, and the spirit of the age affects us profoundly. We do not live in a vacuum, especially if we care about the world and humanity. I, too, put thought into how to make post 9/11 world a better place – a place where there is coexistence and harmony. The age we live in harbors two opposite tendencies.

On the one hand there is a growing interest in Rumi's philosophy and poetry, and perhaps to a lesser degree in Sufism. On the other hand there is also a deeply-rooted ignorance with regards to Islam and too many cliches and generalizations out there. These two tendencies flow side-by-side in the modern world. The Forty Rules of Love came out against this kind of background. It makes me sad to see how the Love that lies at the center of Islam, and every spiritual quest worldwide, is sometimes lost or misunderstood in today's world. We live in an age in which many people are biased and angry, and words divide more than they unite. At times like these I find it essential to rethink the essence of spiritualities, which in my opinion is One.

I loved the way you wrote from many different perspectives, filling the book with short, compelling narratives told by a whole host of characters. Why did you choose to write the book that way?

Both as a novelist and someone who has a lot of respect for Sufism, this method seemed to be the best in telling this story. I wanted to show how "reality" is not absolute or monolithic. It tends to change as we move from one person to the next. As a fiction writer and a story teller it was essential for me to bring these multiple voices together. I believe at the heart of storytelling lies the concept of "empathy". To put yourself in the shoes of another person.

I do not believe in heroes. In my novels you cannot find characters that are absolutely good or absolutely bad. I believe that in each of us there is a certain degree of goodness and a certain degree of badness. It is all a matter of degree. And we need to make an inner journey to see the complexity within. Every person is a tapestry of conflicting voices. I like to explore the dialectics of life.

Why did you include Ella's story – was it in order to make the story more relatable to the average, modern reader, familiar with stories of love lost?

I guess in all of my novels I like to bring together characters from very different backgrounds and see the energy that comes out of that. I am someone who believes in the depth of cosmopolitan, mutlciultural societies. I think in this world if we are ever going to leran anything we will learn it from people who are different than us. In a way, Shams and Rumi were like that. They were so very different. Shams was fire, Rumi was water. Their personalities were so different, and they learned from each other. So I wanted to have characters from different backgrounds.

I should also add that in my opinion Sufism is not a monolithic bloc. I see it as many brooks, rivers, waterways… all of which flow in the same direction, towards the same ocean. What I have done in my novel was to illustrate my own waterway. In my novel, Sufism is not presented as a theoretical bulk of information. It is a living, breathing, moving story. In that sense I am interested in what Sufism means for the modern human being today. I wanted to bring out how Rumi's philosophy appeals to us today, even when we seem to be miles and centuries and cultures away from it.

There was an obvious parallel drawn between Rumi and Shams' relationship and that of Ella and Aziz. Yet, in many ways, this parallel confused rather than elucidated matters, especially since the latter was a romantic relationship and the former presumably wasn't – or was it? There seem to be insinuations throughout the book that there was a romantic element to Rumi and Shams' relationship, such as Shams spurning Kimya. Were those insinuations intentional?

In my novel I wanted to connect different pieces of love to one big Love. I wrote about love in the East and the West, love in the past and the present, mundane love and spiritual love…. You know, all these pieces that seem to be different, I took them and connected them in one story. As for insinuations, there aren't any really. I see the bond between Rumi and Shams as a spiritual connection. In my eyes they were companions of the Path, and that is all. Aziz and Ella have a different connection, of course, a more mundane, a modern love. Yet even the "worldliest" love, if experienced beautifully, has a spiritual side.

Speaking of Kimya: Shams' willingness to marry her only to later spurn her and refuse to consummate the marriage seemed strangely immature, even immoral, not to mention that it contradicted Shams' ability to know himself. To the extent this is based on a true story, how do you explain Shams' actions?

I like to think of my novels as buildings with many doors, many rooms and halls, and floors. Every reader spends time in different rooms, enters through a different door and leaves through a different exit. Sometimes two readers who might be very good friends in real life and think alike can read the same book but derive different interpretations. So my text is fluid, like water. I like that flexibility. And I like to leave room to the reader to bring his or her own interpretation. For me one of the biggest challenges while writing this novel was this: On the one hand I have a lot of respect and love for both Rumi and Shams. On the other hand I am a novelist and I do not believe in putting anyone on a pedestal or in creating absolutely perfect heroes. I think every human being has many inner conflicts, even Shams might have had some. This is not a bad thing. This is what makes him a human being. But of course this is my standpoint. Someone else will tell the story differently.

Ella's decision to leave her family and run away with Aziz was also morally questionable – and yet apparently was in line with the Forty Rules of Love. How do you reconcile abandoning one's children with the apparent purpose of the Forty Rules, that is, submitting oneself to the Divine through moral action?

I don't think Ella really abandoned her children. How can she? She loves them. There is no question about that in my mind. But all I am saying is that as a woman who has dedicated her whole life and full existence to her husband, children and family, she had to make her inner journey alone. On her own. This was a stage she had to go through. Then the rest of the story will be written by every reader separately. Many readers believe she will get back together with her kids and perhaps bring them over to Amsterdam and raise them as a single mother. Why not? I think the text is open to various endings.

I can't help but wondering – did Shams actually die? Or did he manage to escape his killers?

You know, this is one of the biggest puzzles in the story and perhaps it should remain unanswered. The vagueness, the ambiguity is part of the story. In my novel Shams is killed but there is always a possibility, however slight, that he might have survived. The door is ajar, not closed on that possibility.

Asma T. Uddin is Editor-in-Chief of Altmuslimah.


SEXUALITY

Body-talk and the limits of Islamic erotica (Part 1: The fans)

BY MICHAEL VICENTE PEREZ, MAY 7, 2010

Last week, two popular blogs featured articles concerning a body of particular concern these days: the female Muslim body. Although the subject of discussion was "Islamic Erotica," it was nevertheless the Muslim body that was speaking. Writing in The Daily Beast, for example, Betwa Sharma described how Muslim women's bodies are talking about resistance. Exploring the prohibition of nudity in Muslim art, Sharma introduced her readers to a few aspiring artists whose representations of naked bodies have been branded as artistic acts of defiance against religious restrictions.
For Sharma, these young and daring Muslim artists are breaking ground with the loud voice of nude, specifically Muslim, bodies. Menachem Wecker takes a similar (albeit less researched) tack in Houston Belief highlighting the work of Islamic Erotica's creator, Makan Emadi. In his piece, Wecker celebrates Emadi's artistic representations of popular American actresses including Angelina Jolie and Marilyn Monroe wearing long black veils. In an interview with the Irani-American artist, Wecker provides a polemical pulpit from which Emadi lays siege on the "civilizational" divide between a freer, monolithic "West" and an oppressive "East." Wecker describes Islamic Erotica as "an aesthetic representation of religious reductio ad absurdum – of extending aggressive censorship and modesty to absurd conclusions."

The birth and apparent celebration of Islamic Erotica underscores a broad pattern in which the Muslim female body is doing an awful lot of talking. Immediately after 9/11, for example, Afghan women's fully-covered bodies spoke loudly to the American public via Laura Bush, who attempted to justify her husband's invasion of Afghanistan on their behalf. In this case, the burqa-covered bodies of Afghani Muslims represented all that was wrong with Afghanistan and all that was right with America. Since then, there has been no shortage of tasteless and dubious critiques of Islam and Muslims that use Muslim women's bodies as their soap box.

But all of this body-talk relies on one basic dichotomy: freedom and oppression. Whether Laura Bush, Bill Maher, or Makan Emadi, all agree on the central idea that Muslim women's bodies tell us a great story about who's truly oppressed and who's truly free. Indeed, it seems that the female Muslim body has almost come to stand for oppression: scarcely an image exists in which a veil says anything but women's inferiority. Islamic Erotica is no exception in this regard; central to all the artists discussed is the basic tension between freedom/nudity and oppression/veil. Tempting as it may be (Muslims included), reliance on this age-old approach fails to account for the complexity of women's lives and severely limits our understanding of the experience of freedom.

If one takes the artists behind Islamic Erotica and their fans seriously, the answer appears to be "yes." In their world, one sharply divided along Oriental/Occidental lines, the veiled female Muslim body speaks oppression. Conversely, where women are permitted to expose their bodies, the language expressed is one of freedom. According to this logic, Islamic Erotica represents a critical challenge to the veiled body in which freedom is the privilege of the exposed.

One of the basic problems with such a narrow reading of Islamic Erotica is that it is grossly ethnocentric. According to the dichotomous interpretation of writers like Wecker, everything "good" with the art reflects all that is "good" in the West. Indeed, the only contribution provided by the East is its distinctively oppressive culture depicted by the veiled portion of Western women's bodies. Islamic Erotica thus offers a unique opportunity for Western spectators to applaud their own civilizational values and engage in inconspicuous acts of cultural narcissism. Western audiences have few reasons not to support it given that it allows them to both condemn the injustice of the East (represented by the oppressive veil) and celebrate the freedom of the West (represented by all that is unveiled).

Then there's the problem of audience. Assuming that these artistic acts of rebellion are speaking to Muslims about religious prohibitions, many supporters fail to appreciate the fact that the bodies of Islamic Erotica are also speaking to them. Given women's long and difficult struggle in the U.S. for equality (voting rights, economic rights, etc.), it seems cheapening to celebrate Angelina Jolie's exposed leg as a symbol of freedom. Even if we stick to the idea that Islamic Erotica concerns freedom of expression, are the bare bodies of pop stars and models – women who hardly represent the experience of most women in the U.S. – our best representatives? This, to me, suggests an interpretive blind spot in which the logical flipside of the veiled body – the unveiled body—goes under-analyzed. Freedom is taken for granted.

There is another interpretive lapse among Islamic Erotica's supporters – despite their focus on the veil as an object of oppression, writers like Sharma and Wecker fail to recognize that in the creation of the "erotic," the veil is still in the picture. Throughout Emadi's gallery, the veil provides its own unique sensuality and is constitutive of a voyeuristic experience in which women's bodies speak the language of erotica. By ignoring the role of the veiled body in the production of eroticism, Islamic Erotica's supporters are failing to see the complexity of an experience that ironically defies the freedom/oppression dichotomy they suppose it promotes. Veiling is oppressive. Veiling is liberating. Veiling is sexy. Veiling, in short, is much more than we think it is.

(Photo: Hassnal Sulaiman)

Michael Vicente Perez is a PhD candidate in anthropology at Michigan State University. His research concerns questions of displacement, nationalism, and human rights among Palestinian refugees. Michael is the former senior editor for Islamica Magazine and is currently teaching at Lansing Community College in Michigan.



THE MOST COMFORTABLE PLACE FOR YOU IS TO BE IS IN YOUR MOTHER’S WOMBTHAT IS WHY IN HINDU TEMPLES, THE SANCTUM SANCTORUM IS CALLED GARBHAGUDI .

Posted: 08 May 2010 05:26 PM PDT

HOW OFTEN HAVE WE HEARD SOMEONE ASK: 'WHY IS GOD PLAYING CRUEL GAMES WITH US?' IT IS PERHAPS A QUESTION THAT COMES TO MIND WHEN ONE FAILS TO FIND A SATISFACTORY EXPLANATION OF THE INEXPLICABLE. BUT THE QUESTION ITSELF IS NOT A SATISFACTORY APPROACH TO UNDERSTANDING.
WE CAN GIVE EXPLANATIONS, BUT EXPLANATIONS NEED NOT BE ANSWERS.
RELATED ARTICLE
Altantuya Shaariibuu case Zulkifly Noordin version the way to distract Malaysians Beneath the veil of ZIONIST APCO'S public relations
WHAT IS LIFE AND WHAT IS DEATH? YOU ARE LOOKING AT DEATH AS THE OPPOSITE OF LIFE. SO, OUR ENCOUNTER WITH DEATH IS CONDITIONED BY OUR DEFINITION OF DEATH AS BEING OPPOSED TO LIFE. LOOK AT IT ANOTHER WAY: DEATH IS ONE MORE EXPRESSION OF LIFE. LIFE SCIENTISTS DECLARE THAT DEATH IS THE MOST CRITICAL DEFINING FEATURE OF LIFE. ALL AND ONLY LIVING THINGS DIE. WHEN YOU DIE, YOU ARE MAKING THE ULTIMATE UNDENIABLE ASSERTION THAT YOU HAVE BEEN ALIVE. IN FACT, DEATH IS EVEN A PRECONDITION TO LIFE. THE HOLY BIBLE SAYS, "UNLESS A SEED FALLS INTO EARTH AND DIES, IT CANNOT PRODUCE ANY GRAINS". THAT IS, A SEED HAS TO CEASE TO BE ITSELF IN ORDER TO BE A SOURCE OF LIFE TO SEVERAL OTHERS LIKE IT.
THE MOST COMFORTABLE PLACE FOR YOU IS TO BE IS IN YOUR MOTHER'S WOMB. AFTER BIRTH, MANY TIMES YOU SEARCH FOR THAT SAME COMFORT. THAT IS WHY IN HINDU TEMPLES, THE SANCTUM SANCTORUM IS CALLED GARBHAGUDI – REPRESENTING A MOTHER'S WOMB. AT THE TIME OF DELIVERY, THE BODY OF THE MOTHER PUSHES THE CHILD OUT. WHEN IT IS PUSHED OUT, EVERY CHILD GOES THROUGH WHAT IS CALLED BIRTH TRAUMA, EXPERIENCING A FORM OF DEATH. TAGORE ASKS, "IS IT DEATH OR IS IT LIFE?" WHAT DO WE EXPERIENCE? BIRTH, EXIT FROM THE WOMB WHERE LIFE ORIGINATED AND WAS SUSTAINED FOR ABOUT NINE MONTHS AND INTO THE WORLD OUTSIDE – IS A FORM OF DEATH THAT LEADS TO LIFE ALTHOUGH IN DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENTS. SIMILARLY, DEATH – EXIT FROM THE WORLD – COULD BE A DOOR TO SOME OTHER FORM OF LIFE OR LIFE AT YET ANOTHER PLANE.
DON'T WE CAST OFF WORN-OUT CLOTHES IN ORDER TO WEAR NEW ONES? WHY GET SO ATTACHED TO PHYSICAL PHENOMENA? DURING THE GREAT DOTCOM BUST OF THE POST-MILLENNIUM YEARS, A LOT OF PEOPLE WENT THROUGH DEPRESSION ALL OVER THE WORLD, BUT ESPECIALLY SO IN CALIFORNIA, THE HUB OF ALL THAT DOTCOM ACTIVITY. LET US THINK OF WHAT REALLY HAPPENED. NOTHING MORE THAN THE FACT THAT WHAT HAD BEEN HYPED SKY-HIGH WAS BROUGHT DOWN TO EARTH. THE SAME THING HAD HAPPENED IN BANGALORE REAL ESTATE. IT HAPPENS CYCLICALLY IN STOCK MARKETS ACROSS THE GLOBE. YOU BUILD THE BUBBLE, AND, WHEN THE BUBBLE BREAKS, YOU FEEL DEPRESSED. THOSE WHO KNOW THAT THE RISE IS ARTIFICIAL MAKE ALL THE PROFIT WHILE GULLIBLE BELIEVERS IN THE LONGEVITY OF THE BUBBLE LOSE EVERYTHING.
THE VALUE WE ATTACH TO OBJECTS OF SPECULATION LIKE STOCKS, SHARES, LAND, AND COMMODITIES IS PURELY PSYCHOLOGICAL; THEY ARE ILLUSORY OR INSUBSTANTIAL. LIKEWISE, ALL SORROWS ARE CHIEFLY CREATED BY THE MIND. YOU INVEST 10 MILLION RUPEES ON A PIECE OF LAND EXPECTING TO MAKE A PROFIT OF 10 MILLION, BUT THE PROFIT IS ONLY NOTIONAL IN THE SENSE THAT IT IS BASED ON YOUR EXPECTATION THAT THE VALUE OF YOUR PURCHASE WILL DOUBLE WITHIN THE TIME FRAME OF YOUR EXPECTATION. IF YOUR EXPECTATIONS ARE DEFEATED, YOU START SUFFERING. IT'S ALL IN YOUR MIND, ISN'T IT?
THEREFORE THE TRAUMA THAT YOU FEEL AT EVENTS LIKE ACCIDENT OR DEATH IS ALSO MAINLY PSYCHOLOGICAL, AND SO DEATH IS SOMETHING YOU CAN OVERCOME THROUGH SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE.
AUTHOR ELIF SHAFAK

"Even the worldliest love has a spiritual side"

BY ASMA T. UDDIN, MAY 5, 2010

In her poetic new novel, Elif Shafak explores two parallel journeys toward Love – one set in modern times and another in the thirteenth century, between Sufi masters Rumi and Shams of Tabriz. The intersection between these two narratives reveals important lessons about self, selflessness, and Divine submission. Altmuslimah's Asma Uddin spoke with the author about the deeper messages behind her lyrical prose.
There was an underlying commentary on the peaceful, loving essence of Islam – and the waywardness of zealots who misuse Islam to cause divisions and inspire terrorists like Baybars. How much of this novel was inspired by a post-9/11 desire to explain the "real" Islam?

Elif Shafak: As writers we are the children of this world, and the spirit of the age affects us profoundly. We do not live in a vacuum, especially if we care about the world and humanity. I, too, put thought into how to make post 9/11 world a better place – a place where there is coexistence and harmony. The age we live in harbors two opposite tendencies.

On the one hand there is a growing interest in Rumi's philosophy and poetry, and perhaps to a lesser degree in Sufism. On the other hand there is also a deeply-rooted ignorance with regards to Islam and too many cliches and generalizations out there. These two tendencies flow side-by-side in the modern world. The Forty Rules of Love came out against this kind of background. It makes me sad to see how the Love that lies at the center of Islam, and every spiritual quest worldwide, is sometimes lost or misunderstood in today's world. We live in an age in which many people are biased and angry, and words divide more than they unite. At times like these I find it essential to rethink the essence of spiritualities, which in my opinion is One.

I loved the way you wrote from many different perspectives, filling the book with short, compelling narratives told by a whole host of characters. Why did you choose to write the book that way?

Both as a novelist and someone who has a lot of respect for Sufism, this method seemed to be the best in telling this story. I wanted to show how "reality" is not absolute or monolithic. It tends to change as we move from one person to the next. As a fiction writer and a story teller it was essential for me to bring these multiple voices together. I believe at the heart of storytelling lies the concept of "empathy". To put yourself in the shoes of another person.

I do not believe in heroes. In my novels you cannot find characters that are absolutely good or absolutely bad. I believe that in each of us there is a certain degree of goodness and a certain degree of badness. It is all a matter of degree. And we need to make an inner journey to see the complexity within. Every person is a tapestry of conflicting voices. I like to explore the dialectics of life.

Why did you include Ella's story – was it in order to make the story more relatable to the average, modern reader, familiar with stories of love lost?

I guess in all of my novels I like to bring together characters from very different backgrounds and see the energy that comes out of that. I am someone who believes in the depth of cosmopolitan, mutlciultural societies. I think in this world if we are ever going to leran anything we will learn it from people who are different than us. In a way, Shams and Rumi were like that. They were so very different. Shams was fire, Rumi was water. Their personalities were so different, and they learned from each other. So I wanted to have characters from different backgrounds.

I should also add that in my opinion Sufism is not a monolithic bloc. I see it as many brooks, rivers, waterways… all of which flow in the same direction, towards the same ocean. What I have done in my novel was to illustrate my own waterway. In my novel, Sufism is not presented as a theoretical bulk of information. It is a living, breathing, moving story. In that sense I am interested in what Sufism means for the modern human being today. I wanted to bring out how Rumi's philosophy appeals to us today, even when we seem to be miles and centuries and cultures away from it.

There was an obvious parallel drawn between Rumi and Shams' relationship and that of Ella and Aziz. Yet, in many ways, this parallel confused rather than elucidated matters, especially since the latter was a romantic relationship and the former presumably wasn't – or was it? There seem to be insinuations throughout the book that there was a romantic element to Rumi and Shams' relationship, such as Shams spurning Kimya. Were those insinuations intentional?

In my novel I wanted to connect different pieces of love to one big Love. I wrote about love in the East and the West, love in the past and the present, mundane love and spiritual love…. You know, all these pieces that seem to be different, I took them and connected them in one story. As for insinuations, there aren't any really. I see the bond between Rumi and Shams as a spiritual connection. In my eyes they were companions of the Path, and that is all. Aziz and Ella have a different connection, of course, a more mundane, a modern love. Yet even the "worldliest" love, if experienced beautifully, has a spiritual side.

Speaking of Kimya: Shams' willingness to marry her only to later spurn her and refuse to consummate the marriage seemed strangely immature, even immoral, not to mention that it contradicted Shams' ability to know himself. To the extent this is based on a true story, how do you explain Shams' actions?

I like to think of my novels as buildings with many doors, many rooms and halls, and floors. Every reader spends time in different rooms, enters through a different door and leaves through a different exit. Sometimes two readers who might be very good friends in real life and think alike can read the same book but derive different interpretations. So my text is fluid, like water. I like that flexibility. And I like to leave room to the reader to bring his or her own interpretation. For me one of the biggest challenges while writing this novel was this: On the one hand I have a lot of respect and love for both Rumi and Shams. On the other hand I am a novelist and I do not believe in putting anyone on a pedestal or in creating absolutely perfect heroes. I think every human being has many inner conflicts, even Shams might have had some. This is not a bad thing. This is what makes him a human being. But of course this is my standpoint. Someone else will tell the story differently.

Ella's decision to leave her family and run away with Aziz was also morally questionable – and yet apparently was in line with the Forty Rules of Love. How do you reconcile abandoning one's children with the apparent purpose of the Forty Rules, that is, submitting oneself to the Divine through moral action?

I don't think Ella really abandoned her children. How can she? She loves them. There is no question about that in my mind. But all I am saying is that as a woman who has dedicated her whole life and full existence to her husband, children and family, she had to make her inner journey alone. On her own. This was a stage she had to go through. Then the rest of the story will be written by every reader separately. Many readers believe she will get back together with her kids and perhaps bring them over to Amsterdam and raise them as a single mother. Why not? I think the text is open to various endings.

I can't help but wondering – did Shams actually die? Or did he manage to escape his killers?

You know, this is one of the biggest puzzles in the story and perhaps it should remain unanswered. The vagueness, the ambiguity is part of the story. In my novel Shams is killed but there is always a possibility, however slight, that he might have survived. The door is ajar, not closed on that possibility.

Asma T. Uddin is Editor-in-Chief of Altmuslimah.


SEXUALITY

Body-talk and the limits of Islamic erotica (Part 1: The fans)

BY MICHAEL VICENTE PEREZ, MAY 7, 2010

Last week, two popular blogs featured articles concerning a body of particular concern these days: the female Muslim body. Although the subject of discussion was "Islamic Erotica," it was nevertheless the Muslim body that was speaking. Writing in The Daily Beast, for example, Betwa Sharma described how Muslim women's bodies are talking about resistance. Exploring the prohibition of nudity in Muslim art, Sharma introduced her readers to a few aspiring artists whose representations of naked bodies have been branded as artistic acts of defiance against religious restrictions.
For Sharma, these young and daring Muslim artists are breaking ground with the loud voice of nude, specifically Muslim, bodies. Menachem Wecker takes a similar (albeit less researched) tack in Houston Belief highlighting the work of Islamic Erotica's creator, Makan Emadi. In his piece, Wecker celebrates Emadi's artistic representations of popular American actresses including Angelina Jolie and Marilyn Monroe wearing long black veils. In an interview with the Irani-American artist, Wecker provides a polemical pulpit from which Emadi lays siege on the "civilizational" divide between a freer, monolithic "West" and an oppressive "East." Wecker describes Islamic Erotica as "an aesthetic representation of religious reductio ad absurdum – of extending aggressive censorship and modesty to absurd conclusions."

The birth and apparent celebration of Islamic Erotica underscores a broad pattern in which the Muslim female body is doing an awful lot of talking. Immediately after 9/11, for example, Afghan women's fully-covered bodies spoke loudly to the American public via Laura Bush, who attempted to justify her husband's invasion of Afghanistan on their behalf. In this case, the burqa-covered bodies of Afghani Muslims represented all that was wrong with Afghanistan and all that was right with America. Since then, there has been no shortage of tasteless and dubious critiques of Islam and Muslims that use Muslim women's bodies as their soap box.

But all of this body-talk relies on one basic dichotomy: freedom and oppression. Whether Laura Bush, Bill Maher, or Makan Emadi, all agree on the central idea that Muslim women's bodies tell us a great story about who's truly oppressed and who's truly free. Indeed, it seems that the female Muslim body has almost come to stand for oppression: scarcely an image exists in which a veil says anything but women's inferiority. Islamic Erotica is no exception in this regard; central to all the artists discussed is the basic tension between freedom/nudity and oppression/veil. Tempting as it may be (Muslims included), reliance on this age-old approach fails to account for the complexity of women's lives and severely limits our understanding of the experience of freedom.

If one takes the artists behind Islamic Erotica and their fans seriously, the answer appears to be "yes." In their world, one sharply divided along Oriental/Occidental lines, the veiled female Muslim body speaks oppression. Conversely, where women are permitted to expose their bodies, the language expressed is one of freedom. According to this logic, Islamic Erotica represents a critical challenge to the veiled body in which freedom is the privilege of the exposed.

One of the basic problems with such a narrow reading of Islamic Erotica is that it is grossly ethnocentric. According to the dichotomous interpretation of writers like Wecker, everything "good" with the art reflects all that is "good" in the West. Indeed, the only contribution provided by the East is its distinctively oppressive culture depicted by the veiled portion of Western women's bodies. Islamic Erotica thus offers a unique opportunity for Western spectators to applaud their own civilizational values and engage in inconspicuous acts of cultural narcissism. Western audiences have few reasons not to support it given that it allows them to both condemn the injustice of the East (represented by the oppressive veil) and celebrate the freedom of the West (represented by all that is unveiled).

Then there's the problem of audience. Assuming that these artistic acts of rebellion are speaking to Muslims about religious prohibitions, many supporters fail to appreciate the fact that the bodies of Islamic Erotica are also speaking to them. Given women's long and difficult struggle in the U.S. for equality (voting rights, economic rights, etc.), it seems cheapening to celebrate Angelina Jolie's exposed leg as a symbol of freedom. Even if we stick to the idea that Islamic Erotica concerns freedom of expression, are the bare bodies of pop stars and models – women who hardly represent the experience of most women in the U.S. – our best representatives? This, to me, suggests an interpretive blind spot in which the logical flipside of the veiled body – the unveiled body—goes under-analyzed. Freedom is taken for granted.

There is another interpretive lapse among Islamic Erotica's supporters – despite their focus on the veil as an object of oppression, writers like Sharma and Wecker fail to recognize that in the creation of the "erotic," the veil is still in the picture. Throughout Emadi's gallery, the veil provides its own unique sensuality and is constitutive of a voyeuristic experience in which women's bodies speak the language of erotica. By ignoring the role of the veiled body in the production of eroticism, Islamic Erotica's supporters are failing to see the complexity of an experience that ironically defies the freedom/oppression dichotomy they suppose it promotes. Veiling is oppressive. Veiling is liberating. Veiling is sexy. Veiling, in short, is much more than we think it is.

(Photo: Hassnal Sulaiman)

Michael Vicente Perez is a PhD candidate in anthropology at Michigan State University. His research concerns questions of displacement, nationalism, and human rights among Palestinian refugees. Michael is the former senior editor for Islamica Magazine and is currently teaching at Lansing Community College in Michigan.



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