Sunday, 19 May 2024
Kampung Pictures Tale in Ten We're off: The Penang Roadshow
We're off: The Penang Roadshow PDF Print E-mail
Written by straits-mongrel   
Saturday, 21 November 2009 01:38

It was humbling that SABM kicked off its very first roadshow at a venue with deep historic roots. The Hu Yew Seah complex on Madras Lane, Penang has a storied record that many Penangites themselves may not be aware of.


Apart from the main clubhouse built in 1914 and 1928, the compound also hosts a primary school and kindergarten complete with a badminton hall. Back in the '60s, when the government launched the national language campaign, this was one of the main centres teaching Bahasa Malaysia to the locals.


But the best-kept secret lies in a small marble plaque mounted on a wall of the hall in the main building.



Yup, the Nobel poet Rabrindranath Tagore officiated the opening of the building. (Of course, 'twas back in the days when people of real calibre were given such honours rather than the token Menteri or Datuk these days.) Now, that got us pretty excited.


KOMAS, a smart partner of SABM, conducted an energetic and educational workshop for about a dozen youths. There were lots of running, scribbling, debate, and a newfound appreciation of the neat diversity of this land.



The afternoon section, the forum proper, wasn't exactly brimming with people - about 70 people registered. But the show kicked off all the same, headed by Fahmi Reza who delved into the history of this country. His documentary, Sepuluh Tahun Sebelum Merdeka, was played as the curtain-raiser to the event. Never fails to bring a lump to the throat.



Al-Mustaqeem of the Middle Eastern Graduates Centre touched on the hotspots of Islamic sensitivities, or rather the enchanting absence of it. By his reading of the Holy Quran, Islam is at peace with all who believe, regardless of denomination. As for ethnic discrimination, class separation, and other twisted oneupmanship, sorry, but there's no place in there for a Muslim.



From another view, but on a similar chord, Goh Keat Peng of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MMCCBCHST) espoused oneness in the basic tenets of all religions.



Law professor Dr Azmi Sharom came down hard on misreadings of the Federal Constitution. Ketuanan Melayu and the claim that Malaysia is an Islamic State are mere myths to be dispelled.



SABM core group member Haris Ibrahim asked: Are we a nation in distress? His answer - after squaring up the many injustices, the divide-and-rule nature which reaches down to the roots of scoiety - is an emphatic yes. And only the Rakyat can help itself.


"We must. We have turned a blind eye for too long."



Stand up, said Jaya. The SABM core member urged the audience to take an active stand to recover lost ground. "It is for our children that we do this," he said. "We probably won't see this in our lifetime, but the seed has to be sown."



These were followed by presentations on No to ISA, Yes to ATA (Robert Foo, SABM) and Voters' Education (Danny Chua, SABM). An engaging question-and-answer took place after the various talks proving that while the audience was small, it was keen on a better Malaysia.

Gadoh, a movie produced by KOMAS, fittingly capped the evening's forum.


Penang's the first; there will be more in the months to come. SABM is already working on its next Roadshow even as this is published. And we'll get better, this much we promise.


Stay tuned because we'll be coming your way.


Search RSS
Only registered users can write comments!
Kuan Yew Yong  - Mr |2009-11-23 23:31:53
Must have been an eye-opening experience. When will the workshop come to KL?

By the way, there's an interfaith forum of sorts happening at Hospital UKM, Cheras come January the 9th. It is included as an event in an environmental carnival.

It goes by the title
A Meaty Issue : Halal food and Vegetarian Food
With the panelists--

1. A Representative from JAKIM - Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia

2. Dr Chan Kah Yein, a practising Buddhist and a "flexible vegetarian". She teaches mathematics at a private college and is founder-coordinator of AnimalCare, a group dedicated to promoting the wellbeing of stray animals. She is a public speaker and author of four well-loved books, ie. Pawprints on My Heart, Indy Jones and the 4 Pillars of Kindness, A Kite in the Wind and Little Steps, Joyful Steps

3. Associate Professor Dr Poh Bee Koon.the honorary secretary of the Nutrition Society of Malaysia, A Nutritionist as well as a Lecturer with National University of Malaysia,

4. A moderator for the forum, tentatively, Associate Prof Dr Harlina Halizah Hj Siraj

Suggested topics to be covered in the forum, respectively.

JAKIM: (Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia)
• What is Halal Food? In the Quran, In Malaysia?
• What laws are there governing Halal Food?
• What is the consequence of consumption of non Halal Food, according to the
• Can vegetables or fruits be non-halal?
• How does JAKIM certify a product/ a restaurant to be halal?
• What are the requirements for an establishment to get an approval? How much
would it cost?

• What is Vegetarian food?
• Why does Buddhism/ Hinduism Encourage its disciples to not take lives,
• whether in the form of killing or eating? Does Buddhism condemn those who eat meat?
• What is a typical Monks life like? What are their food?
• How many types of Vegetarians are there? How is a Vegetarian different from a Vegan?
• What happens in a situation where a vegetarian finds himself without any vegetarian food?
• What does a hindu/ taoist disciple do when he finds that stalls that sell chicken meat also cook beef, and the utensils are shared?

• What constitutes a healthy and balanced diet?
• What is Red meat and what is White Meat?
• What is contained in chicken meat and beef nowadays? Are the Beta-agonists, steroids, antibiotics claims unfounded? What is the effect of consuming such toxins to humans?
• Can a Vegetarian eat a healthy and well balanced diet? They are prone to Megaloblastic Anemia; how can that be solved? (What is megaloblastic anemia)
• How do we gradually phase out the red meat and white meat content in our food?

If anyone is interested in increasing their understanding the concept of Halal food and the reasons behind vegetarianism, you are invited to the event!
Kamal Zukhairi |2009-12-05 10:21:29
Dear all,
Congratulations on your first road show. I can only hope and pray that more will come along.
I have always advocated the spirit of unity, and have always stressed its importance above economic and political achievements.

Nothing matters if we're not united.

Together we stand, and divided we fall.

I'd love to be a part of your team and assist in anyway I can. My email add is

All the best, and good luck in all your undertakings.
Ruddy Hartonno  - Sdr. |2010-02-06 15:43:30


I salute ALL of you who are True Malaysians at heart at mind and heart. You have my full support
Angela |2010-05-19 03:48:51
Thank you for the information about Tagore and the Hu Yew Seah building, and the photo of the foundation stone. Fascinating!
Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 November 2009 21:31

Your are currently browsing this site with Internet Explorer 6 (IE6).

Your current web browser must be updated to version 7 of Internet Explorer (IE7) to take advantage of all of template's capabilities.

Why should I upgrade to Internet Explorer 7? Microsoft has redesigned Internet Explorer from the ground up, with better security, new capabilities, and a whole new interface. Many changes resulted from the feedback of millions of users who tested prerelease versions of the new browser. The most compelling reason to upgrade is the improved security. The Internet of today is not the Internet of five years ago. There are dangers that simply didn't exist back in 2001, when Internet Explorer 6 was released to the world. Internet Explorer 7 makes surfing the web fundamentally safer by offering greater protection against viruses, spyware, and other online risks.

Get free downloads for Internet Explorer 7, including recommended updates as they become available. To download Internet Explorer 7 in the language of your choice, please visit the Internet Explorer 7 worldwide page.