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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Gerry Rafferty - Baker Street

ECGMA says: This sure brings back memories of my time when I lived in the UK for 6 years. It was uncanny at the time, around 1979/80, I was in a long queue in front of Madame Tussauds when someone near me in the same queue had a portable radio (iPods or walkman then!), this song cme on. What an coincident it was coz if you know where Madame Tussauds is in London, you know why!
Madame Tussaud was born in Strasbourg in 1761 and after inheriting a wax museum from Philippe Curtius in 1794, moved to London to set up an exhibition on London’s Baker Street. Following her death in 1850, her grandsons moved the display to its present location on Marylebone Road. To get there by Underground train, the station is Baker St. station.
By the way, it took me nearly a hour before I got in to MT.
As for the song, great one, awesome lead guitaring and the saxaphone, blew me away!

1978) In his early years, Gerry Rafferty earned money by the formerly illegal practice of busking on the London Underground. Poetically, his biggest hit "Baker Street" was about busking at a tube station. After working with Billy Connolly (now better known as a comedian) in a band called the Humblebums, he recorded a first solo album, Can I Have My Money Back. In 1972 Rafferty and his old school friend Joe Egan formed Stealers Wheel, a group beset by legal wranglings but which did have a huge hit "Stuck in the Middle With You" (made famous for a new generation in the movie Reservoir Dogs) and the smaller top 40 hit "Star" ten months later. The duo disbanded in 1975.
In 1978, Rafferty cut a solo album, City to City, which included the song with which he remains most identified, "Baker Street". The single reached No. 3 in the UK and No. 2 in the U.S. The album sold over 5.5 million copies, toppling the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack in the U.S. on 8 July 1978, while "Baker Street" remains a mainstay of radio airplay. A cover version by Undercover also made the Top 3 in the UK singles chart in 1992. Another song from the City to City album, "Right Down the Line", also continues to receive copious radio airplay. "Home and Dry" managed a top 30 spot. One of the more obscure tracks from that time is "Big Change in the Weather" (the B-side of "Baker Street").
His next album, Night Owl, also did well, and the title track was a UK No. 5 hit in 1979. "Days Gone Down" reached #17 in the U.S. The follow-up single "Get It Right Next Time" made the UK and US Top 40.
Subsequent albums, such as Snakes and Ladders (1980), Sleepwalking (1982), and North and South (1988), all fared less well, due partly to Rafferty's general reluctance to perform live. "Don't Give Up On Me", from his 1992 collection On A Wing and a Prayer, is a much-featured oldie on BBC Radio 2. That album reunited him with Stealers Wheel partner Joe Egan on several tracks. Rafferty redid his own "Her Father Didn't Like Me Anyway" on the album Over My Head (1994). His latest effort was Another World, released in 2000 and was originally available only through direct order from his no longer active website, but is now on general release through the Hypertension label. Another World featured an album cover painting by J. Patrick Byrne, who also painted the covers for City to City, Night Owl, and Snakes and Ladders.
Rafferty also sings on the soundtrack to the film, Local Hero - "The Way it Always Starts" (1983), and co-produced The Proclaimers first UK hit single Letter From America in 1987 along with Hugh Murphy.
He also has a niece called Kirsty Featherstone who is in love with Ross Fellows of Roker, Sunderland. He is noted to be the only person in Roker with a ginger beard, a lip ring and an arm full of freckles. So far.


How Long does it take to go from Marylebone to Baker Street?
1 minute, apparently.

Pre-takeoff Announcement on a China Southern Airlines Flight

This is a true account of what was heard on a recent flight from Shenzhen to Qingtao by China Southern Airlines:

"Good afternoon, Ladies and the German,

This is your cheap purser Wang Lui speaking. On behalf of China Sudden Airlines, I would like to welcome you on board our Bowling 737 from Shenzhen to Qingtao. Members of my crew speak Chinese and other languages that you do not know.

It is a great pressure serving you to-die. Should you need any resistance
during the fright, peace do pest the call button. I and my gals are available
to make you feel comfortable.

Meanwhile, the airkwaft is going to fry. Peace sit upright and keep you belt tightly fastened until dinner is served at five dirty p.m.

Hope you would enjoy your fright with us.
Funk kill."

Microsoft - Keyboards/Mice will be obsolete

New UK Flag


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The Good Ol' Days


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Seven Dwarves of Menopause


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Orange better than Viagra


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"Dear Miriam" will solve your problem


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Sexual Calorie Counter


Click on image to enlagre

"Forever Young" by Alphaville

by Alphaville


Music Video from Australian band "Youth Group". Footage is from 1975 skateboard championships. check out www.youthgroupmusic.com

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Google... The truth.

ECGMA says: Gevil?!?! Is there also a Yevil (Yahoo) or Hevil (Hotmail)?

One of the founding ideals of Google is supposed to be "do no evil".

Oh yeah? You should really read <
http://gevil.org/>.

Start deleting your cookies folks. And for Pete's sake do NOT use the Google toolbar if you value your privacy.

Better yet, use Opera!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Marriage before & after

Before the marriage:

He: Yes. At last. It was so hard to wait.

She: Do you want me to leave?

He: NO! Don't even think about it.

She: Do you love me?

He: Of course!

She: Have you ever cheated on me?

He: NO! Why you even asking?

She: Will you kiss me?

He: Yes!

She: Will you hit me?

He: No way! I'm not such kind of person!

She: Can I trust you?

Now after the marriage you can read it from bottom to the top !!!!


Friday, June 22, 2007

Gregory Rivers - Aussie speaking/singing Cantonese

ECGMA says: I hear you ask "Greg who?!?!". Well, you can check him out here,
河國榮, An Aussie in Hong Kong
Gregory Rivers = Ho Kwok Wing
Singing in Cantonese

Speaking in Cantonese

Learn how to speak hokkien (Lesson 1 & 2)

ECGMA says: If you are easily offended, don't view the clips otherwise, enjoy!

Lesson 1


Lesson 2

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Andy Mckee - Harp Guitar

www.candyrat.com

Andy Mckee - Into the Ocean

Andy Mckee - The Friend I never met

Andy Mckee - Africa - Toto

"Ana" Music Video - Vieux Farka Toure

Scenes from Vieux Farka Toure's home in Bamako, Mali, set to his single "Ana."
http://www.vieuxfarkatoure.com
Shot and directed by Andrea Wozny
Edited by Salvatore Fullmore
Produced by Modiba Productions (c)2006

Anastasia Bardina, classical guitar

Russian female guitar virtuoso A. Bardina performing in Tartu (Estonia) on August 12, 2005 NB! This is a Russian 7-string guitar!

Jim Greeninger - The Girl From Ipanema / Recuerdos de la Alhambra

The Girl From Ipanema, Jim Greeninger

Jim Greeninger, Recuerdos de la Alhambra, Ver. 1

PC/Internet Tips & Tricks

Tips and Tricks:
Don’t get caught in phishing scams.
Don’t click on links within e-mails or instant messages that ask you to provide personal information. Always go directly to the official website by typing the address yourself, or by using a bookmark.

Only open e-mail attachments if you’re expecting them and know what they contain. To be especially safe, use a good antispam filter to limit your exposure to spam e-mail from phishers.

Be sure of the sender’s identity before you provide any personal information. Legitimate credit card issuers and other companies will never ask for your personal information in an e-mail. Don’t be afraid to make a phone call instead of answering an e-mail.

Watch out for job seekers pretending to be potential employers, especially if they ask for your social security number or other personal information.

If you think you’ve provided account numbers, PINs, or passwords to a phisher, notify the companies with whom you have these accounts immediately.

To find out how to place a fraud alert, contact the Federal Trade Commission’s ID Theft Clearinghouse, www.consumer.gov/idtheft

Teens—Get Savvy about Social Networking. Five tips
Don’t get into flame wars! Don't respond to email, chat comments or any other messages that are hostile, belligerent, inappropriate, or that make you feel uncomfortable in any way. Just ignore them, or report the more disturbing ones.

Keep away from revealing anything incriminating about yourself, your family or your friends, which could possibly get you or someone you care about into trouble.

Avoid giving out personal information: predators look for this kind of thing to identify you in real-life.

Never get together with someone you meet online. Doing so represents a major danger to your safety.

By downloading information from other kids’ profiles, you may open your computer to hackers. To protect yourself, be vigilant about what you download and install an Internet security program which has a firewall and an antispyware tool that work with the other parts of your security system.

Keeping your identity and information virus-free: six tips
Knowledge is power! Stay informed about the latest security threats and their vector of infection (IM, email, browsing the web with an out-of-date browser, etc.). Install browser and operating system security patches as soon as they become available. Better yet: configure your system to check for and install the critical security patches automatically.

To protect your privacy and identity, use a strong password and change it often. Don’t use the same password for your (main) online identities.

Turn off your browser's scripting, Java and ActiveX capabilities. If you need them to make something work on a site you trust, just turn them back on (or you can specify which sites can use those technologies within your browser).

If a suspicious email contains a link to a web page, don’t click it. Instead, and only if you really need to visit the site, navigate to the website by typing the purported company’s URL into the address bar of your browser.

Make sure your family's IM profiles don't contain personal information—especially phone numbers, addresses, photos, or anything that could connect you or your children with your IM identities.

Use a personal firewall, antivirus software and an antispyware tool to protect your data from hackers, phishers, viruses, worms and Trojan horses. Make sure your antivirus solution automatically scans email and IM attachments.

Your Macintosh—What Threats Exist? How Can You Protect against Them? Five Tips
File sharing is turned off by default in the Mac OS X. Activate file sharing only when necessary. This includes Rendez-Vous (Apple’s File Sharing protocol) as well as the built-in FTP server and even the Apache web server. And remember that applications, like iTunes, can also share data. Turn this off in their preferences if you don’t need these functionalities.

Install a good quality antivirus solution that updates itself automatically. Make sure that it can scan inbound email and Instant Messenger attachments before they are able to infect your computer.

Never open an email or Instant Messenger attachment unless you know who sent it and exactly what’s inside. Ask your contact if they actually typed the message and really meant to send it. IM worms spread by sending themselves as fake messages.

Turn off Safari’s option to automatically open “known safe files”. This has already been used several times to execute malicious code on OS X. And disable your email program’s HTML and scripting functionality to close vulnerabilities that are open to viruses.

Be selective about what you download and where you download it from.

Learn how to spot phishing scams. Never submit your confidential data through a mail or web form.

Five Tips on How to Fight Splogging
If you have your own blog, you might want to subscribe to news feeds designed to track blogs: they could help you track splogs that usurp your contents. Type in search terms that are similar to your name, your site's name or your site's URL. You'll recognize a splog by the unusual number of buzzwords in the main contents area. What's more splogs often redirect visitors to an entirely different site.

On some blogging sites, there is a flag or button where you can click to report a splog to blogger administrators, alerting them to objectionable contents and stating that the blog site should be investigated or removed. If there is no button, flag or link, you may have to contact the blog host directly.

If the splog contains Google ads, the site can be reported to Google's AdSense program, who may decide to revoke the account.

Make sure you have installed a reliable firewall and a reputable anti-virus to protect your data from hackers, viruses, worms and Trojan horses.

Internet users should be just as vigilant as they are about emails and all web sites in general. Don’t click on suspicious links or objects, and make sure to update your anti-virus and other software.

Protect Your Stuff: six tips to make sure you never lose data again
Ask yourself what files you cannot live without. At the very least, you’ll want to include everything that does not come on an installation CD: your music, videos, photos and financial documents, along with any emergency files you may need to recover your operating system.

Plan to back up your system and data at least once a month. Create two backups each time, storing them in separate places, both away from your computer, with one of the copies to be kept outside your home. And make sure you have an emergency recovery disk as well in case you should have to reinstall your system from scratch without having access to the Internet.

Decide where to store your backups. If you don't have a lot of data to back up, you may want to consider backing up to a pen drive. If you need to back up a large number of files, you might want to buy a large capacity external hard drive. Or you might even want to rent storage space from an Internet service provider (ISP) or use a dedicated Internet backup service.

Make sure the backup solution ensures that your pictures, movies, and important files remain in excellent condition, and that it can verify the integrity of your files.

Plan for recovery. Note where you've stored all the files you last backed up. Make sure the recovery tools can restore your system and files to a pre-disaster state, even if you are unable to reboot your computer (and thus need to reinstall the system).

Norton Save & Restore from Symantec can help protect your important documents and most cherished memories.

Tips to protect yourself against pharming attacks
Your ISP is potentially your best friend in defending against pharming. They can discover pharming attacks and block them before they manage to hit you. Be sure to use a trusted, competent ISP.

Pharming is today’s hot topic but don’t think for a moment that phishing has gone away. Phishing is still around because it still works for the criminal. For instance you may be trying to go to http://www.mybank.com by clicking a link in an email, but if you look closely at the address bar, you might actually be on http://www.nsmybank.com , which is a spoofed site. Be sure to check the spelling!

Look for a padlock or key at the bottom of your browser or your computer task bar. A locked padlock, or a key, indicates a secure, encrypted connection whereas an unlocked padlock, or a broken key, indicates an unsecured connection. But just because a connection is “encrypted”, this does not mean that it is secure. You have to make sure you’re on the right website, as shown in the next tip.

Pharming can be hard to detect. The only 100% safe way to identify pharming is to check for the website’s certificate. To do this on many Web browsers, just go to "File" in the main menu and select "Properties," or right-click your mouse anywhere on the browser screen. From the menu that pops up, click "Properties." When the "Properties" box opens, click "Certificates," and check to make sure that the certificate’s name matches the name of site.

Download the latest security updates (or patches) for your Web browser and operating system.

Stay on Top of Security Flaws: Six Tips
Don't be caught off guard: apply patches, monitor updates and make any necessary upgrades to operating systems, software, email clients and web browsers as soon as they become available. Remember that the automatic update notifications from your operating system usually do not cover other important software!

Run your antivirus software and keep virus definitions up to date. Set it up to check for downloads every few hours and make sure it installs new signature sets automatically. Besides the signature definitions, make sure your antivirus software itself is up-to-date.

Subscribe to advisory and alert lists. These will inform you of any new software updates or patches that are released. Sign up for independent bug-tracking sources, such as the CERT Coordination Center's Advisory List or the BugTraq mailing list, or visit Security Focus regularly.

When identifying vulnerabilities, make sure you don't overlook systems that are perceived as "less critical." Many intrusions enter through seemingly less-critical holes. After the intruders gain access, they use that entry as a springboard to move into more critical applications. Remember, anything that is exposed is mission-critical, even if not right away. Any foothold that a pirate can get in your network is a disaster waiting to happen, either in terms of damages to the system or in terms of data theft.

As a preventive measure, back up your system and data at least once a month. Create two backups each time, storing them in separate places; one of these should be kept outside your home or office. Make sure you have an emergency recovery disk as well and know how to get the system back up and running from scratch.

Norton Internet Security from Symantec can help protect you against cyber criminals as well as a multitude of other Internet threats.

Can spyware be used for digital identity theft?
Most spyware collect information for commercial purposes: they track Internet users’ behavior in order to display targeted adverts. But some spyware currently doing the rounds have more malevolent intentions, such as obtaining passwords, digital identity theft, spying on key strokes or even hijacking instant-messaging software. So the threat posed by spyware should not be underestimated.

I want to save photos and other personal documents on a removable media. What is the most suitable media for the job?
For optimum security, it is recommended that you save important files on several media. So, a student writing an essay should save their work on a rewriteable CD-ROM and, where possible, on another media such as a removable hard drive. USB memory sticks are fragile tools designed for transporting, not storing, files and don’t offer the best storage conditions.

What is a "hijacker"? How can I protect myself from them?
Hijackers are spy software that change a browser’s homepage and sometimes make it impossible to access certain sites. The best-know of these is CoolWebSearch, which is particularly difficult to get rid of because it modifies your computer’s registry. These malicious codes exploit software flaws in order to infiltrate your computer. Update all your programs and use anti-spy software to avoid them.

How can I tell whether an email that seems to come from a bank or another institution isn’t a fake message (phishing) aimed at extracting confidential information from me?
Firstly, no bank, Internet service provider or other online service provider will ask you to confirm your bank details or password by email! So delete any emails which ask for confidential information without even opening them. If you’re unsure, don’t click on links given in the message; instead go to the relevant service provider’s site by typing out the URL address yourself and checking if such a procedure exists. Don’t hesitate to email the service provider to check on the authenticity of the message.

I’ve heard that the number of viruses for Linux is on the increase. What is the true extent of this threat?
For now, the number of viruses targeting users of Linux remains minimal with respect to threats to other software environments, but the authors of malcodes are increasingly targeting web servers, an area in which Linux heads the field. Discovered at the beginning of November, the Lupper virus exploits three flaws found in the software components of most Linux distributions for servers. They may be less of a target than others, but Linux users aren’t completely free from attack!

Are the cookies installed by some sites a risk to my PC? Should I delete them?
The majority of sites install cookies on an Internet user’s computer in order to compile statistics, define visitor profiles, or to prevent having the Internet user from having to enter their password at every visit. But other, less scrupulous, sites can use cookies to display unwanted adverts or to act as spy software by making a record of web pages visited. You can delete these cookies with the help of your anti-spyware.

I don’t yet have an antivirus installed on my computer. How will I know if it’s infected with a virus?
Log on to Symantec’s web site and launch an analysis of your computer. If the online analysis reveals the presence of a virus, check if the site has a tool to automatically delete that particular threat, download it, delete the virus and then install Norton Antivirus. If the deletion tool isn’t available, directly install Norton Antivirus and follow the instructions given by the software. In some cases, installing the software before deleting the virus isn’t recommended. If so, follow the steps given on the Symantec site to manually delete the virus. Then install Norton AntiVirus and update the definitions.

Is it true that MMS can spread viruses?
The first virus spread by MMS was discovered in March 2005. However Commwarrior is rarely encountered and does not at the moment pose a serious threat. It causes no real damage, as it settles instead for sending itself to all the numbers stored on your phone, which could nevertheless result in a rather nasty phone bill for you!

What is the registry and how can I modify it?
The registry contains critical data for the system - such as start-up actions and data required programs to function - and must only be modified by a user who knows what they are doing. You can access it by typing "regedit" in the Windows "Run" menu. When you use registry edit, you can see the list of software that is programmed to start every time you start up your computer. Some software programs do this legitimately, but others, such as viruses or Spyware, become even more harmful. They often modify these registry keys:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

But be careful - do not delete a key if your do not know what its function is. Only use registry editor when you know which line you need to modify.

I use my PC with an administrator account. What are the risks, if any?
It is inadvisable to use your PC with an administrator account if your operating system allows you (like Windows XP) to use other types of accounts. A computer running under an administrative account is a blessing for hackers and viruses, which then have full rights when they manage to infiltrate the system. It can modify the registry as it likes and access several critical functions. To avoid these dangers, have user accounts with limited rights.

I have not opened any suspect files and yet my computer is full of spyware. How can I avoid it?
Spyware does not spread like viruses through attached files. It often downloads itself without your being aware of it when you visit certain web pages. Other spyware is included in free software, the most well known being Kazaa exchange files. To avoid Spyware, check out the Web for free programs that contain Spyware so as to avoid downloading it. For Spyware that installs itself when you browse certain sites, use anti-spyware software.

My task manager seems to be blocked and I cannot open certain websites, nor can I update my software programs. What is causing this problem?
Several recent viruses use these processes to prevent the user from detecting or deleting them. To counteract this problem, connect up to the Symantec site from a non-infected computer. If you know the name of the virus, download the appropriate deletion tool directly. If it is a virus that exploits faults in programs, also download the latest updates for the most common programs, such as Windows and Internet Explorer. Download these files onto a healthy medium (such as a USB key or a CD-ROM) and then transfer them onto your computer.

Can viruses spread via instant messages?
Not only do they spread in this way, but recently they have actually been targeting these programs in particular. Bropia, Kelvir or Serflog are just a few examples of these viruses, which have deceived their victims with email messages containing an infected link or attached file. To protect yourself against this type of threat, configure your antivirus system to scan the files received by email.

I would like to select the ads that I want to block on the Internet. How is this possible?
Using the "Ad Blocking" feature of Norton AntiSpam, you can select the ads that you particularly want to block. For users who use Internet Explorer as their browser, it's as easy as childs play. All they have to do is slide the unwanted ad into the "Ad Blocking" window. Netscape users need to right-click on the ad and select the "copy image address" option. They then paste this address in the "Ad Blocking" dialog box.

Several of us use the same family computer. How can we protect the younger users whilst not hindering the browsing of adults in the house?
With Norton Internet Security, you can set up user accounts for each member of the family. Each member is ranked according to his/her access rights: "restricted" accounts only provide a limited access to the Internet. The "standard" account holder can modify his/her access. The "supervisor" account is able to modify any of the user accounts on the computer. There is also a default account, known as "unconnected", which, when a user closes a session, blocks all access to the Internet until another user connects to the web on the computer.

I have heard that the sudden appearance of pop-up windows can indicate a fraudulent site. Is this true?

Pop-up windows, when used for legitimate ends, can be a very useful way of displaying information without closing the original page. But a weakness recently discovered in the majority of web browsers has shown that they can be used as a tool in carrying out "phishing" attacks. Hackers can take control of a pop-up window, even when you are on your bank's legitimate website for example. To avoid this type of risk, be sure to check the address of the pop-ups that appear (if the address is not visible, simply right-click on the window and select "Properties" from the context menu - the address will then be displayed). In any case, it is recommended that you not give out confidential personal information on a webpage that you are unsure of.

I have received an email from a friend saying that his computer has been infected by a virus and that, because I am in his address book, I should also run a check on my computer. Should I be concerned?
This does not necessarily mean that your computer is infected, but there is a risk nonetheless. First, carry out a full scan of your hard disk using your anti-virus software. If your software is not up-to-date or if it has been deactivated by the virus, go to the Symantec website and have your computer analysed using the Symantec Security Check by clicking on the following link:
http://security.symantec.com/default.asp?productid=symhome&amp;langid=en&venid=sym

I would like to recover a lost file by installing Norton UnErase, included with Norton SystemWorks. How do I go about it?
If you are using Windows 98/Me, the installation of new software may erase the file you wish to recover. You need to therefore act before the installation, by launching the software from the CD. This technique however is not possible with Windows 2000 or XP: the files deleted prior to the installation are not recoverable with these operating systems.

My computer will not start up and I think a virus infection is the cause. What should I do?
You can start up your computer using the installation CD of Norton AntiVirus, Norton Internet Security or Norton SystemWorks. The tool on the CD will then allow you to search for and remove viruses. If you are using Windows 98/Me, you can also use the emergency disks that you may have created beforehand. Note, however, that your installation CD may not include the most recent virus definitions. After having started up your computer (either with an emergency disk or the installation CD), you will need to reinstall the operating system and update your antivirus software.

Ever since I downloaded some free software from the Internet, pop-up ad windows appear constantly and get in the way of browsing. Does a virus cause this? How can I stop this from happening?
The software you have downloaded more than likely contains an "adware" program, spy software sent by certain advertising agencies that is designed to run alongside your browser and display advertisements. The software that is most well known for carrying adware (the term spyware is also used) is the downloading platform, Kazaa. Apart from slowing down your connection and gathering information without your knowledge, these undesirable programs can also be a nuisance with regard to content. This content is often adult in nature and is displayed in pop-up windows. If you should decide to get rid of these programs, note that once the spyware/adware has been eliminated, it is likely that you will no longer be able to use the "parent-software" as it is this adware that usually allows this software to be distributed for free...

My computer was recently infected by a virus. I disinfected it but I am still experiencing functioning errors. How can this be possible?

Your computer may have been infected by a virus such as Sasser or Korgo, which exploit weaknesses in your software. If you ran a delete tool but did not update your software, the virus may infect your computer again. Correct the weakness that was exploited by the virus (see the Symantec website for relevant information: http://securityresponse.symantec.com/) and update your antivirus also.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Honey I am Home

Narnia: Remembering You - Steven Curtis Chapman

http://www.NarniaFans.com The official music video of "Remembering You", performed by Steven Curtis Chapman in his contribution to "Music Inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia".
"Remembering You" is a song from the perspective of a lot of the characters at the end of the story saying, 'whenever I see the first signs of spring, I'll be remembering you, Aslan, the story and what is to come.'

Monday, June 18, 2007

As The Deer (Psalms 42:1)

"As The Deer" Written by Martin Nystrom

Psalm 42:1
"As the hart panteth after the water brooks,
so panteth my soul after thee, O God."

(lyrics below)

As The Deer by Jim Greeninger


As The Deer


As the deer panteth for the water,
So my soul longs after you.
You alone are my hearts desire,
And I long to worship You.

Chorus
You alone are my strength, my shield;
To You alone may my spirit yield.
You alone are my hearts desire,
and I long to worship You.

I want you more than gold or silver,
Only You can satisfy.
You alone are the real joy giver
And the apple of my eye.

Chorus
You alone are my strength, my shield;
To You alone may my spirit yield.
You alone are my hearts desire,
and I long to worship You.

You're my friend and You're my brother,
Even though you are a King.
I love You more than any other
So much more than anything.

Chorus
You alone are my strength, my shield;
To You alone may my spirit yield.
You alone are my hearts desire,
and I long to worship You.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Circle Game

ECGMA says : the 1st time I heard this song was in my teens watched an Agnes Chan movie which she sang this song. Gosh! I am old!
Sing-along lyrics at the bottom of the page

Circle Game (電影: 年輕人) 陳美齡 Agnes Chan


The Circle Game by Steven Curtis Chapman from the China released Album Musical Blessings.


Just a fantasy video of the passage of time using pictures of faeries. Set to the song "The Circle Game" by Joni Mitchell.


Lyrics : The Circle Game

Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star
Then the child moved ten times round the seasons
Skated over ten clear frozen streams
Words like, when you're older, must appease him
And promises of someday make his dreams
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
Were captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

Sixteen springs and sixteen summers gone now
Cartwheels turn to car wheels thru the town
And they tell him,
Take your time, it won't be long now
Till you drag your feet to slow the circles down
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty
Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
Therell be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return, we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

2 Yue 30 Hao Jian MV

Fei Lun Hai

Shadow Performance

ECGMA says : if only Malaysia's wayang kulit (shadow puppet theater ) was this innovative and interesting.....hmmmm.....

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Interview with Michael Backman


Exclusive Interview with Michael Backman

1. What was the initial thought that prompted you to write about your "Boleh or Bodoh column"? What was and has been your intention in writing the article?

Malaysia has good people, good resources and a legal system that ought to function. It depresses me that Malaysia hasn't been more successful than it has and that it is still fighting the old fights of the 1960s. Malaysia's Chinese have accepted the NEP and its successor policies. They define themselves as Malaysians first and foremost and are among the proudest Malaysians. They have learned Malay. Essentially, they have done everything that has been required of them and yet still there is this endless preoccupation with race in Malaysia.

Meanwhile the rest of the world is just so unbelievably dynamic now. Malaysia is looking more and more like a sleepy backwater relative to what's going on elsewhere in the world. Many Malaysians don't seem to understand this. Many like to travel overseas but when they do, too many look but they don't see. They don't see how things in Malaysia could be improved. They don't want to learn from anywhere else. They think Malaysia is a special case. They should be bringing back new ideas to Malaysia. Instead they just want to bring back duty free.

2. Have you ever considered the impact the column might have upon your relationship with Malaysian government and its people? We understand Rafidah Aziz, Malaysia's Minister for Trade and Industry,
criticised your column by saying you probably know nothing about Malaysia. Has there been any (positive or negative) impact/response from publishing the column?

I write to be read and I write to have an impact, otherwise there is no point in writing. I criticised the space program for Malaysia's first astronaut the making of teh tarik and so on and the Malaysian Government
changed its mind on that and announced that the astronaut would be doing sensible scientific experiments after all. Perhaps I had an impact there.

In any event, more than a thousand Malaysians e-mailed me to say that they agreed with my views. If I am giving a voice to those Malaysians who share the same views but feel that they can't express them then I'm happy to have been of some help. But then why should I as a non-Malaysian comment about Malaysia?

As far as I am concerned, strict notions of nationality are breaking down. We are all involved in each other's countries now. Malaysians have a lot of investments in Australia. Australians invest in Asia and so on. We all have stakes in other countries and so all should be able to comment on how they are run. The free flow of ideas and openness are good things. The only people who do not like this are politicians in Malaysia and Singapore. You will never hear Australian or UK politicians complaining about those things. So you should ask yourself, why do Malaysian and Singaporean politicians dislike public debate and openness?

As for Rafidah, I know quite a lot about Malaysia. And I know quite a lot about Rafidah, which is why I wrote about the corruption allegations against her in my second column. Rafidah understands her trade brief very well, but she is dictatorial. Look at how she rules UMNO Wanita. Sadly, I suspect I know more about Malaysia than many Malaysians. One reason for this is because Malaysia's media is so poor and many things cannot be discussed openly. Ministers like Rafidah would prefer that Malaysians are not told things. Perhaps they have something to hide.

There is an idea among Malaysians that their country is particularly special and unique and that non-Malaysians simply cannot know much about Malaysia. That simply isn't true. All countries are complex and have their nuances. You can be expert in a country without being from that country. Indeed, sometimes it helps not to be from that country. If more Malaysians sent more time away from Malaysia, they would gain a far clearer picture of what Malaysia is and what it is not.

I have met many Malaysian politicians and business people, spent time in almost every Malaysian state, sat through sessions of the Malaysian parliament and even attended an UMNO general assembly, stayed in kampongs, visited rubber plantations, and so on - that's more than most Malaysians. I have stayed with Malaysian friends in Damansara, in Ampang and in Pandan Jaya. But Rafidah only stays in Damansara.

3. We understand you're an expert on Asia's political and economical affairs. But you seem to have taken an extra interest in Malaysia (like having a special column for Malaysia's articles on your webpage (
http://www.michaelbackman.com/ ). Why Malaysia?

I studied at an Australian university. Many of my classmates were Malaysian students Chinese, Malay and Indians. I became very interested in Malaysia from that time on.

4. After reading the column, one can hardly not to think that Malaysia is a somewhat badly "managed" country. We know it might be a big question, but what do you think has contributed to the "mismanagement" of the country?

It is not all bad news. Malaysia has handled race relations well. The NEP with all its imperfections was good for Malaysia. But Malaysia is rich in resources and there is a lot of squandering of those resources. Education is big part of the problem. Malaysian schools are not nearly good enough. There are Malaysians who are now very regretful and resentful that they attended school in Malaysia. Some have told me that they have spent a lot of their adult lives trying to undo the damage of rote learning and 'follow the leader'-type training that they were given in Malaysia. Malaysian schools are a long, long way behind schooling in the West in which emphasis is very much on learning how to question, be creative and not being afraid to publicly voice your opinions.

When I was at school in Australia I was encouraged to write essays in which I took the opposite view to my teachers. And the more I argued against my teachers' positions on things such as social and political issues, the higher the grades that I received. Malaysian schools need to become like this.

5. From the top of your head, what would you rank as the most wasteful projects/policies ever implemented by Malaysia Government in the past 10 years, and why?

Proton Malaysia should NOT have a national car. You cannot get sufficient economies of scale with a population as small as Malaysia's when it comes to car manufacturing Putrajaya removing civil servants from ordinary society does not make for good government

KLIA all that infrastructure, very little air traffic and it still takes forever for your luggage to come though it is ridiculous Petronas Towers the lower floors are mostly full of lift shafts you can't rent out a lift shaft

Mason Williams - Classical Gas

The Pastor's Ass

The pastor entered his donkey in a race and it won. The pastor was so pleased with the donkey that he entered it in the race again, and it won again.

The local paper read:

PASTOR'S ASS OUT FRONT

The Bishop was so upset with this kind of publicity that he ordered the pastor not to enter the donkey in another race.

The next day, the local paper headline read:

BISHOP SCRATCHES PASTOR'S ASS.

This was too much for the bishop, so he ordered the pastor to get rid of the donkey. The pastor decided to give it to a nun in a nearby convent.

The local paper, hearing of the news, posted the following headline the next day:

NUN HAS BEST ASS IN TOWN.

The bishop fainted. He informed the nun that she would have to get rid of the donkey, so she sold it to a farmer for $10.

The next day the paper read

NUN SELLS ASS FOR $10

This was too much for the bishop, so he ordered the nun to buy back the donkey and lead it to the plains where it could run wild.

The next day the headlines read

NUN ANNOUNCES HER ASS IS WILD AND FREE

The bishop was buried the next day.

The moral of the story is....being concerned about public opinion can bring you much grief and misery...and even shorten your life. So be yourself and enjoy life... Stop worrying about everyone else's ass and you'll be a lot happier and live.

5 Valuable lessons

Five (5) lessons about the way we treat people.

1 - First Important Lesson - Cleaning Lady.

During my second month of college, our professor
gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student
and had breezed through the questions until I read
the last one:

"What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?"
Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the
cleaning woman several times. She was tall,
dark-haired and in her 50's, but how would I know her name?

I handed in my paper, leaving the last question
blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if
the last question would count toward our quiz grade.

"Absolutely, " said the professor. "In your careers,
you will meet many people. All are significant. They
deserve your attention and care, even if all you do
is smile and say "hello."

I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her
name was Dorothy.


2. - Second Important Lesson - Pickup in the Rain


One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American
woman was standing on the side of anAlabama highway
trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had
broken down and she desperately needed a ride.
Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.
A young white man stopped to help her, generally
unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960's. The man
took her to safety, helped her get assistance and
put her into a taxicab.

She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his
address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a
knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a
giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A
special note was attached.

It read:
"Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway
the other night. The rain drenched not only my
clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along.
Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying
husband's bedside just before he passed away... God
bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving
others."

Sincerely,
Mrs. Nat King Cole.


3 - Third Important Lesson - Always remember those
who serve.


In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less,
a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and
sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in
front of him.

"How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked.
"Fifty cents," replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and
studied the coins in it.

"Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired.

By now more people were waiting for a table and the
waitress was growing impatient.

"Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied.

The little boy again counted his coins.

"I'll have the plain ice cream," he said.

The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on
the table and walked away The boy finished the ice
cream, paid the cashier and left. When the waitress
came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the
table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish,
were two nickels and five pennies..

You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had
to have enough left to leave her a tip.


4 - Fourth Important Lesson. - The obstacle in Our Path.


In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a
roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if
anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the
king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by
and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the
King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did
anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of
vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the
peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the
stone to the side of the road. After much pushing
and straining, he finally succeeded. After the
peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed
a purse lying in the road where the boulder had
been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note
from the King indicating that the gold was for the
person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The
peasant learned what many of us never understand!

Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve
our condition.


5 - Fifth Important Lesson - Giving When it Counts...


Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a
hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who
was suffering from a rare & serious disease. Her only
chance of recovery appeared to be a blood
transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had
miraculously survived the same disease and had
developed the antibodies needed to combat the
illness. The doctor explained the situation to her
little brother, and asked the little boy if he would
be willing to give his blood to his sister.

I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a
deep breath and saying, "Yes I'll do it if it will save
her." As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed
next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing
the color returning to her cheek. Then his face
grew pale and his smile faded.

He looked up at the doctor and asked with a
trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away".

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the
doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his
sister all of his blood in order to save her.


Now you have 2 choices.


1 Delete this email, or

2. Forward it other people.

I hope that you will choose No. 2 and remember.


Most importantly................... "Work like you
don't need the money, love like you've never been
hurt, and dance like you do when nobody's watching."


NOW more than ever -
Peace... Pass It On...

Medical Terms

Benign - What you be after you be eight.
Artery - The study of paintings.
Bacteria - Back door to cafeteria
Barium - What doctors do when patients die.
Cesarean Section - A neighborhood in Rome
Catscan - Searching for Kitty
Cauterize - Make eye contact with her
Colic - A sheep dog
Coma - A punctuation mark
D&C - Where Washington is
Dilate - To live long
Enema - Not a friend
Fester - Quicker than someone else
Fibula - A small lie
G.I.Series - World series of military baseball
Hangnail - What you hang your coat on
Impotent - Distinguished, well known
Labor Pains - Getting hurt at work
Medical Staff - A Doctor's cane
Morbid - A higher offer than I did
Nitrates - Cheaper than day rates
Node - I knew it
Outpatient - A person who has fainted
Pelvis - Second cousin to Elvis
Post Operative - A letter carrier
Recovery Room - Place to do upholstery
Rectum - nearly killed him
Secretion - Hiding something
Seizure - Roman emperor
Tablet - A small table
Terminal Illness - Getting sick at the airport
Tumor - More than one
Urine - Opposite of you're out
Varicose - Near by/close by

How To Annoy Your Bathroom Neighbour

  1. Stick your palm open under the stall wall and ask your neighbour, ''May I borrow a highlighter?''
  2. ''Uh-oh, I knew I shouldn't put my lips on that.''
  3. Cheer and clap loudly every time somebody breaks the silence with a bodily function noise.
  4. ''Hmmm, I've never seen that colour before.''
  5. ''Damn, this water is cold.''
  6. Grunt and strain real loud for 30 seconds and then drop a cantaloupe into the toilet bowl from a high place and sigh relaxing.
  7. ''Now how did that get there?''
  8. ''Hummus. Reminds me of hummus.''
  9. Fill up a large flask with Mountain Dew. Squirt it erratically under the stall walls of your neighbours while yelling,''Whoa! Easy boy!!''
  10. '' Interesting....more sinkers than floaters''
  11. Using a small squeeze tube, spread peanut butter on a wad of toilet paper and drop under the stall wall of your neighbour. Then say,''Whoops, could you kick that back over here, please?"
  12. ''C'mon Mr. Happy! Don't fall asleep on me!!"
  13. ''Boy, that sure looks like a maggot''
  14. ''Damn, I knew that drain hole was a little too small. Now what am I gonna do?''
  15. Play a well-known drum cadence over and over again on your butt cheeks.
  16. Before you unroll toilet paper, conspicuity lay down your ''Cross-Dressers Anonymous'' newsletter on the floor visitable to the adjacent stall.
  17. Lower a small mirror underneath the stall wall and adjust it so you can see your neighbour and say, ''Peek-a-boo!''
  18. Drop a D-cup bra on the floor under the stall wall and sing ''Born Free.''

Bugatti Veyron vs. The Road

Bugatti Veyron vs. The Road

Thursday, June 7, 2007

How to recruit the right person for the job?

Put about 100 bricks in some particular order in a closed room with an open window. Then send 2 or 3 candidates in the room and close the door. Leave them alone and come back after 6 hours and then analyze the situation.

If they are counting the bricks.
Put them in the accounts department.

If they are recounting them..
Put them in auditing.

If they have messed up the whole place with the bricks.
Put them in engineering.

If they are arranging the bricks in some strange order.
Put them in planning.

If they are throwing the bricks at each other.
Put them in operations.

If they are sleeping.
Put them in security.

If they have broken the bricks into pieces.
Put them in information technology.

If they are sitting idle.
Put them in human resources.

If they say they have tried different combinations, yet not a brick has been moved.
Put them in sales.

If they have already left for the day.
Put them in marketing.

If they are staring out of the window.
Put them on strategic planning.

And then last but not least.


If they are talking to each other and not a single brick has been moved.
Congratulate them and put them in top management.

Polish Divorce

A Polish man moved to the USA and married an American girl.
Although his English was far from perfect, they got along very well until one day he Rushed into a lawyer's office and asked him if he could arrange a divorce for him "very quick."
The lawyer said that the speed for getting a divorce would depend on the circumstances, and asked him the following questions:
LAWYER: "Have you any grounds?"
POLE: "JA, JA, acre and half and nice little home."
LAWYER: "No," I mean what is the foundation of this case?"
POLE: "It made of concrete."
LAWYER: Does either of you have a real grudge?"
POLE: "No, we have carport, and not need one."
LAWYER: "I mean, What are your relations like?"
POLE: "All my relations still in Poland ."
LAWYER: "Is there any infidelity in your marriage?"
POLE: "Ja, we have hi-fidelity stereo set and good DVD player."
LAWYER: Does your wife beat you up?"
POLE: "No, I always up before her."
LAWYER: "Is your wife a nagger?"
POLE: "No, she white."
LAWYER: "WHY do you want this divorce?"
POLE: "She going to kill me."
LAWYER: "What makes you think that?"
POLE: "I got proof.
LAWYER: "What kind of proof?"
POLE: "She going to poison me She buy a bottle at drugstore and put on shelf in bathroom.I can read, and it say, 'Polish Remover'."

Ali-G Interviews Posh Spice and David Beckham

Ali-G Interviews Posh Spice and David Beckham for a fund raise in England. Hilarious!

The Proclaimers - Letter from America

The 2 little Colins from Edinburgh perform The Proclaimers Letter from America

Comic Relief 2007 - Peter Kay, Matt Lucas & The Proclaimers

500 Miles

The Proclaimers - 500 Miles

500 Miles

The Proclaimers - (I'm gonna be) 500 miles! Live Acoustic

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Moods of the Week - Friday and Saturday/Sunday

Click on the image to enlarge
Friday (left), Saturday/Sunday (right)

Moods of the Week - Wednesday/Thursday


Click on image to enlarge
Wednesday (left), Thursday (right)

Moods of the Week - Monday/Tuesday


Click on the image to enlarge

Monday (left), Tuesday (right)
























Magic Gopher

Just click on the Magic Gopher.


If you figure out how it works let me KNOW!!!! It is right every time ??? How?

Magic Gopher <<<<<Click here


Marital Bliss

Sent: Wednesday, June 6, 2007 9:39:26 AM
Subject: FW: Marital Bliss

A man and a woman who had never met before, but were both married to other people, found themselves assigned to the same sleeping room on a transcontinental train.
Though initially embarrassed and uneasy over sharing a room, they were both very tired and fell asleep quickly.... him in the upper bunk and she in the lower.
At 1:00 AM, the man leaned over and gently woke the woman saying, "Ma'am, I'm sorry to bother you, but would you be willing to reach into the closet to get me a second blanket? I'm awfully cold. "
"I have a better idea, " she replied." Just for tonight, let's just pretend that we're married. "
"Wow! That's a great idea! " he exclaimed!
"Good, " she replied... "Get your own f .ing blanket."
After a stunned moment of silence, he farted.

Help us put an end to whaling.

ECGMA says : my petition # is 357577
Hi,
www.whalesrevenge.com is trying to get a million people to sign a petition to stop whaling.

If you could tell as many people as you can about our website, that would be a great help.

Thanks for your support and remember to sign the petition.

How lucky can this rider be?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Hee Ah Lee - the amazing 4-fingered pianist

ECGMA says: Watch her clips below and this one too.
Disabled Pianist Lee Hee-ah to Release Her First Album
Lee Hee-ah, 20, a disabled pianist who is making a deep impression on many people around the world by playing the piano despite having only four fingers, will release her first album.
Her album entitled "Hee-ah, a Pianist with Four Fingers" will hit the market around June 20.
The album will feature Lee's favorite classical numbers, such as "Fantaisie Impromptu in C sharp minor, op. 66" and "Waltz No. 10" by Frederic Francois Chopin, "Hungarian Dance" by Johannes Brahms, "Plaisir d'Amour" by Giovanni Battista Martini, "Serenade" by Franz Peter Schubert, and "Piano Concerto No. 21 -- the Second Movement" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
The album also features "Amazing Grace," sung by Lee, and "Hee-ah's Song" written by Stephen Moon (Korean name Moon So-yon), a graduate of Seoul National University's Department of Composition who was in charge of producing the album. The recording began three years ago. Only "Hee-ah's Song" was recorded recently, but most of the other numbers, including "Fantaisie Impromptu in C sharp minor, op. 66," were recorded around 2002.
Lee's mother, Woo Kap-sun, 50, said she had originally intended to record her daughter's music in an album not to be sold, but to be kept in Lee's personal archive.
"In fact, I was concerned very much about the sales of the album, because Hee-ah's performing skills naturally fall behind those of normal professional pianists. The album was not designed for my daughter to play music for somebody else, but to represent her inner spiritual world," said Lee's mother.
Lee played with the Thames Philharmonic Orchestra in Britain on June 12. According to her mother, Lee received a standing ovation after playing "Hee-ah's Song" as an encore performance in Britain.





More Islamic bashing following Lina Joy verdict

Datuk Rejal Arbee: More Islamic bashing following Lina Joy verdict
Contributed by rejal on Friday, June 01 @ 20:37:28 MYT
Topic:
RENCANA

Looks like the season for Islam bashing is here again. You cannot but help come to this conclusion after going through the endless comments denouncing Islam arising from the Federal Court's majority decision over the Lina Joy case. One website, Malaysia Today which gets about 2 million hits a day posted more than 10 threads discussing the verdict.

The picture given in the more vicious comments posted in those threads is that the Muslims are intolerant. The verdict has compromised the constitutional provision of guaranteeing freedom of worship and that the fundamental rights of a person was denied. Some even describing it as a dark day for human rights and religious freedom in Malaysia.

Some of the postings even pontificate that Islam advocates the death sentence against Muslims who renounced the religion attributing it to the Quran. One posting even claimed that Saudi Arabia periodically beheaded Muslims who converted to other religions. If this is so then how do you explain another posting claiming a Saudi girl had converted to Christianity to marry an Austrian working in the Kingdom. These postings show that some of the comments made in the various threads are very irresponsible.

The fact is there is nothing in the Quran which prescribes death to any Muslim who converts to another religion. Mohammad Hashim Kamali a Syariah Scholar at the International Islamic University quoted verse 137 of Surah An Nisa (Chapter 4 of the Quran) to debunk arguments that the Quran indeed prescribes the death penalty for apostasy.

"Those who believe, then disbelieve, then believe again, then disbelieve and then increase in their disbelief – God will never forgive them nor guide them to the path". Kamali explained: "The implication is unmistakable. The text would hardly entertain the prospect of repeated belief and disbelief if death were to be the prescribed punishment for the initial act."

No one has been sentenced to death solely for renunciation of faith unless accompanied by hostility and treason or was linked to an act of political betrayal of the community.

Nonetheless arising from this verdict there is paranoia among the non-Muslims including the western press accusing Malaysia of succumbing to Muslim extremists' pressures. Their conclusion: religious freedom has taken a beating in this country and that Islam is indeed intolerant.

But what are the facts.

The Federal Constitution do indeed guarantee freedom of worship to everyone in this country. However this landmark case gives a distinction in such freedom accorded to Muslims and non-Muslims. For the non-Muslims the freedom is unquestionable. That is he can profess whatever religion that he wants including changing his religion to another. So what is there for the non-Muslims to complain?

But for the Muslims freedom of worship is not given in the absolute. A Muslim who wants to convert needed to follow certain procedures set out by the various Syariah Enactments in operation in the various states. What the Federal Court sets out then was that a Muslim wanting to relinquish his religion needed to apply to the Syariah court for a declaration. He should not try to get recourse from the Civil Court.

Not many know that before this case became a cause celebre there had been Muslims who had converted to other religions and allowed by the Syariah Court without any fanfare. Lawyer Pawancheek Merican who heads Defenders of Islam, a coalition of 80 Muslim non-governmental organisations, set up following a spate of religious disputes that have strained race relations in Malaysia believed that some 15 to 20 Muslims have been allowed to leave Islam officially through the Syariah Court. Thus rightly Lina Joy still have some recourse.

One posting quoted the Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement (Abim) President, Yusri Mohamad, as providing good advice to those who are "aggrieved in any way" with any part of the existing (Islamic/Muslim) arrangement to "choose other less confrontational and controversial approach towards change and reform".

He said: "We believe the court procedure is an unhealthy one because such issues should be avoided (at the courts) as all confrontational approaches should be shunned."

"We also plead that those hoping for an opposite outcome to reconsider their position and to consider modifying their expectations to suit what is good and more sustainable considering our realities. It is our belief that it is wrong for us as Muslims and Muslim associations to tolerate any injustice in the name of Islam."

But the problem is that for one reason or another people behind Lina Joy had seen fit to take a confrontationist stance in so far as her conversion is concerned by bringing it to the Civil Court.

A posting by a Voice in the Malaysia Today website summed up what some Muslims believe: If these are private issues, why is the American based Beckett's funding her defense and expensive legal team? Why are certain deviant Muslim groups getting Konrad Adreneur Foundation's funding and assistance? Why is Singapore sympathiser New Straits Times and Sun giving much voice to those super liberal Muslims and refuse the right of replies by progressive and more authoritative Muslim groups?

(This I can vouch as several letters I sent to the NST and the Sun in response to certain views and accusations made against the Malays had on a number of occasions been spiked, never seeing the light of the day.)

Malaysia Today also carried a posting from Time saying the Lina Joy verdict, which will likely become a precedent for several other pending conversion cases involving Muslims, is seen by many in Malaysia as evidence of how religious politics are cleaving the nation, with a creeping Islamisation undermining the rights of both non-Muslims and more moderate adherents to Islam.

The writer says that Islam is so often partnered with extremism and autocratic governance, with Malaysia held up as a model of a moderate Muslim nation committed to safeguarding the rights of its diverse population. That verdict could now undercut that reputation, so the writer says

"To some non-Muslims, Wednesday's judgment spelt a setback for religious freedom in Malaysia. 'I think it's a major blow,' opposition politician Lim Kit Siang was quoted as saying by Reuters. 'It casts a large shadow on civil liberties and the constitutional rights of Malaysians.'

Unfortunately such characters continued with their bigoted views even though the reality is quite different. There is no question that freedom of worship is well and truly functional among all Malaysians.

But the question is what is the objective of Lina Joy or those behind her to test the case right up to the Federal Court, the highest court of the country. And what is the agenda of the group funding the case? Why are these groups so intent in trying to embarrass the country and the practice of Islam here?

Arising from the verdict, Malaysia is now labeled as being intolerant and not practicing freedom of worship. And the rights activists has now accused the court of failing to address concerns over religious freedom in the country.

Thus foreign reports gleefully said the court's verdict comes amid mounting racial and religious tensions in multiracial Malaysia, where minority religious groups fear their rights are being undermined, even though the country is traditionally seen as moderate. But the reports steer clear of how the rights of non-Muslims are being undermined when they can profess whatever faith they desire.

Looking at it from another perspective what is the position of Lina Joy herself? Everybody knows she has renounced Islam and is thus no longer a Muslim but her IC still states her to be so. What then is the implication? If during fasting month she eats in public, would she be so charged as a Muslim even if she has renounced the religion and is not required to fast?

The fact is not many of those who are born Muslims want to renounce Islam. Most of the problem comes from people who convert because they want to get married to a Muslim. When the marriage failed and ends in divorce the convert then wants to return to his former faith. And this result in problems.

A lawyer in a letter to cyber newspaper, Malaysiakini said he has on his hands, a few cases of Muslim converts who wish to return to their previous religion. What does this show? A lot of those who convert to marry a Muslim is not given enough education and guidance to strengthen his faith in the religion so that even when the marriage ends in a divorce, the convert should faithfully remain a Muslim because of his belief. Relinquishing of the faith is an indictment of the failure of the various bodies entrusted with this responsibility not shouldering their duties well.

This should also be a reminder that converting to Islam is a serious thing. It is not just something of a whim. Even if the conversion was done out of necessity because of marriage, the convert's belief in the religion should be strengthened with stronger faith in time. So that even when a marriage ends in failure the convert will remain a true Muslim and not revert back to his former religion.

For the Malays there is another dimension to the problem. Constitutionally a Malay is also a Muslim. Once he ceased to be a Muslim he is not longer recognised as a Malay under the provisions of the Constitution.

Rejal Arbee
1 June 2007