Monday, September 10, 2007

King of the High Cs Is Dead at 71

The music world lost one of its greats last week. Italian singer Luciano Pavarotti whose vibrant high C's and ebullient showmanship made him one the world's most beloved tenors, died early Thursday Sept. 6, 2007, at his home near Modena, in northern Italy. He was 71. His extraordinary talent, coupled with a larger-than-life persona, transcended the opera stage. His ringing and pristine sound set a standard for operatic tenors of the postwar era. His voice and smile was a fixture in soccer stadiums, concert halls and Olympic ceremonies for a generation.

The Three Tenors

‘I think it's an enjoyment; I don't think it's a job. It's not a profession; it is an enjoyment. I'm telling you the truth’
-Luciano Pavarotti

‘I always admired the God-given glory of his voice - that unmistakable special timbre from the bottom up to the very top of the tenor range’
-Placido Domingo

‘The best memories are the ones in intimacy. We have to remember him as the great artist he was, a man with such a wonderful charismatic personality’
-Jose Carreras

Monday, August 27, 2007

Giant Living Paintings Made of People

Big Horn Sky, Bishop, CA 2005 - 950 Kids and Teachers.
This rock art version of the endangered Sierra Big Horn sheep was photographed
from a hot air balloon.

750 students and teachers form a 160ft loon floating in "Lake Goodwill" made from
900 square feet of blue jeans from local thrift shops.See story by 8th graders.
"I've been at John.T.Tuck School for 17 years and have never seen anything capture the
hearts of the school like this!" - Helen Beare, 5th Grade Teacher

"Art for the Sky encourages the un-seen through subtle clues like sky sight and having us
imagine seeing through an animal's eyes. This definitely encouraged me to think outside
the box and will do so for a long time." Alex F. Sixth Grade

S K Y B O N E S - Dry Hollow Elementary, The Dalles, OR. 2004 (450 kids and teachers).

In April, 2007, the Community Independent School in Pittsboro, North Carolina formed this nearly extinct bird in a pasture near their school with 100 participants and lots of clothes. Hear a beautiful song about the Ivory Billed called The Great God Bird, by singer songwriter, Sufjan Stevens. Read about the remarkable tale of this bird's recent emergence from the realms of extinction.
Cuddling in white to form the Ivory Billed Woodpecker above . . .

Human Eruption!

Tree of Life, Ashland, Oregon - April, 2003
On the school basketball court, 250 kids and teachers form "the tree of life" modeled after a 100 year old cypress in front of Briscoe Elementary School planted when the school was built. As with each sky art project, participants bodily experience their interconnection with one another as many leaves on a single tree, each one equally important to the whole.

700 students and staff from Liberty Middel School in Camas, WA took the shape
of the head of the very endangered White Lion. The title, Lion Eyes, is at the heart of the
teachings of Art For the Sky . . . we need to evolve into beings who know how to see through the eyes of all beings. As we are learning these days, since everything on Earth is interconnected, the best way to care for ourselves, is to take care of the needs of lions, salmon, whales, etc.. February, 2007.

450 children and teachers gather during the Telluride Mt. Film Festival
in 2005 and take the form of a 150 ft. golden eagle.

850 students and teachers pay tribute to the world's largest freshwater fish.
Gresham, Orgeon.

"Art for the Sky' has enlightened our students to a magnificent kind of art that can only
be achieved by the coming together of many individuals to make one. We have been truly
inspired by your vision!" -Sue Carter, Principal, Gardner School, Vancouver, WA.

January 2007. 450 students and teachers help form the design of the
endangered California condor in a celebration of it's hopeful return to the skys of Oregon. Children learned about the power of awakening their "SkySight" . . . using
our imaginations to see not only from above, but through the eyes of all beings.

If only it were this easy to awaken our sky sight!

Manatee Elementary School, Port St. Lucie, Florida 2007
1400 students and teachers form a 250 ft tall Manatee
with it's head above the water.

Manatee Elementary School, Port St. Lucie, Florida 2007
1400 students and teachers form a 250 ft tall Manatee
with it's head above the water.

500 kids formed a fire breathing dragon. On cue . . . the yellow tail
students ran through the neck and out the mouth breathing fire!

900 students and teachers form a cougar running across Des Moines, Iowa in
February 2006.The weather for the event was 20 degrees with 20 mph winds!

A sun was added to this Columbia Gorge petroglyph of a deer (140 students
and teachers) to celebrate the fact that Mosier School is 20% solar powered.
Below, kids have fun with their thrift shop clothing finds used to make the antlers.

A sun was added to this Columbia Gorge petroglyph of a deer (140 students
and teachers) to celebrate the fact that Mosier School is 20% solar powered.
Below, kids have fun with their thrift shop clothing finds used to make the antlers.

The clouds parted just in time for the sun to shine on 400 students,
teachers and parents in the shape of a dove bearing cherries during
McKinley School's celebration of International Peace Week.

650 kids and teachers form the Sky Salmon at the Knight
Elementary School in Oregon in November, 2000.

When participants leave an image, one is reminded of extinction . . .
in this case, what happens to salmon runs when we don't take care of rivers,
mountains and forests.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Dangers of Lead in Lipstick

Even lipstick isn't safe anymore...what's next? Brands don't mean everything. Recently a brand called "Red Earth" decreased their prices from $67 to $9.90. It contained lead. Lead is a chemical which cause cancer.

The Brands which contain lead are:

4. Y.S.L (Yves St. Laurent)
7. RED EARTH (Lip Gloss)
8. CHANEL (Lip Conditioner)

The higher the lead content, the greater the chance of causing cancer.

After doing a test on lipstick! s, it was found that the Yves St. Laurent (YSL) lipstick contained the most amount of lead. Watch out for those lipsticks which are supposed to stay longer. If your lipstick stays longer, it is because of the higher content of lead.

Here is the test you can do yourself:

1. Put some lipstick on your hand.
2. Use a Gold ring to scratch on the lipstick.
3. If the lipstick color changes to black then you know the lipstick contains lead. Please send this information to all your girlfriends, wives and female family members

This information is being circulated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Dioxin Carcinogens causes cancer. Especially breast cancer.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Everyone should see this movie

(Rachid Bouchareb)

By Harold Hyman

PARIS, 10 January 2007— Americans have the Marines hoisting the Stars and Stripes at Iwo Jima. Now the French have a film poster, of Black African and Arab-Berber soldiers planting the Tricolore on a rocky Italian hill. Italy because the reconstituted French Army of 1943 was essentially "l'Armée d'Afrique", in other words, the colonial branch of the armed forces which escaped the dismantlement of the French Army on the Continent by Hitler. The movie, Indigènes—which means "natives"—was released this summer, and the President, Jacques Chirac, attended the inaugural screening with the cast. The movie showed in Algiers, to positive reviews. The King of Morocco had lent his country and army to the shoot. It is now released in America under the title Days of Glory. It is a world phenomenon of sorts.

A Soldier's Story, and More

De Gaulle’s Free French are raising an army in 1943, in all non-occupied French territorial possessions, essentially in Africa. The movie begins with a tribal chieftain in the Atlas mountains of Algeria calling the men of his village to come to the aid of France. Four young men are among the volunteers, and they remain the stars throughout the film. The four get trained, and face battle in Southern Italy against the Wehrmacht. The characters have diverse motivations: one impish young fellow wants to prove himself. Another is patriotically pro French, but falls in love with a white French girl and has doubts about her sincerety—maybe she has used him for sex and then forgotten about him because he was Arab. (The woman turns out to be faithful, and it is the military administration that keeps "native" soldiers from corresponding with local white French women). A third is interested in loot. A last one is an idealist, demanding equal promotion and food and respect from a white French military. Three of them die in battle, and the fourth one, the one who demands equality, alone survives close combat in Alsace. But he is passed over by the French military film crews in favor of white soldiers as a "liberator of Alsace". We then see him in his public housing project room, in Alsace, awaiting death, a forgotten hero. This is a reminder of French ingratitude. The dominant image of Indigènes is nonetheless the military valor, and the selflessness, of these native recruits fighting for what they themselves tend to see as their mother country.

The Actors: All Arab, All French

Our four are already established actors, but this is the first "all French Arab cast" for a French feature. All four born in France. The famous comedian and actor Jamel Debbouze is the impish one. Roschdy Zem the patriot who falls in love, is now starring in a movie released after Indigenes called In Bad Faith in which he is the Muslim marrying a Jewish woman. Samy Naceri, the loot seeker, is famous for his main role in Taxi, a late 90s franchise in which he is a Marseille taxi driver, but sign of those times, he carries a Spanish name, as if the director did not dare give him an Arab name even though Marseille is a quarter Arab! The survivor, an activist for equality, is Sami Bouajila, with an impressive filmography in French B movies and a few intellectual pearls. The director is Rachid Bouchareb, who has been shooting "immigration" films for 20 years. The life of immigrants in France, the passage from one side of the Mediterranean to the other, generally with humor. Bouchareb is a French national born around Paris in 1959 of Algerian Arab immigrant workers.

Chirac is Moved, The Veterans Are Paid

The screening of Indigènes in early fall, also made political French history. Chirac, under the celluloid spell, instructed his government to hike the "native" veterans' pensions, which meant aligning them on those of French veterans. Commentators, always eager to cut down Chirac, derided his "sentimental governance", but recognized the correctness of his decision. Public opinion certainly followed Chirac. More concretely, a few tens of thousands of very old foreign veterans of French wars will get more Euros in Africa, North and West, and Madagascar—no small matter in the Third World. This pension problem started off this way: these Black, Arab, Berber, Malgache, and even Indochinese veterans were pensioned in a special and unfair way. Those who, when the colonies gained independence in the 50s and 60s, gained a new nationality and lost their French one, saw their pensions frozen at its level of the moment, and dissociated from all subsequent revisions pertaining to ordinary French citizens' veterans pensions. The French Treasury paid these foreign natives, but at the date of independence rate. This differentiation was not strictly racist because natives retaining full French citizenship got full French pensions. The gap in pension levels, however, began a gulf over the years. Even though in the early 90s, some "purchasing power" adjustments were made by the French government, the unjust differentiation remained, in its form.

Be that as it may, the presidential decision is curious: Chirac, who has long cultivated extremely close links to Africa and to other far away places like Lebanon, Japan, China, India and Russia, was well aware of this imbalance. François Mitterrand before him as well. So why the sudden change of heart? The best answer was that the public mood was favorable. Justice for the former colonies has become a mature and trendy issue. There are now plenty of respectable Franco-Arabs and Franco-Africans in show biz, the mainstream economy, and on the social and political scene. The liberal "bobo" (bourgeois Bohemian) Parisian establishment is well disposed towards these Franco-Maghrebians (the Maghreb is ex-French North Africa). The bobos are given to romantic visions of the Third World, and to ethnic exoticism… the old French Orientalisme is still well alive with the bobos and the conservative bourgeois alike. And the bobo film establishment provided funding and support for the director, Rachid Bouchareb.

Breaking Down the Ethnic Wall of Silence

Beyond Bouchareb, it is the whole of French society that is in a search of its "roots". As a quarter of the 60 million French citizens are foreign in origin (just take Nicolas Sarkozy, presidential contender of the conservative right, whose father is a Hungarian nobleman and whose mother traces back to Ottoman Jews), the legitimacy of Bouchareb's quest has become mainstream. For decades it was very uncool to speak of one’s foreign ancestors for more than ten seconds. Yet this new roots mania has a limit: roots are for personal enjoyment and not for political use. No one should seek to create an ethnic or religious identity, as this would supposedly tear the Republic asunder. Bouchareb agrees with this. Moreover, he believes he has a mission: giving historic dignity to Arabs, Berbers, Senegalese, Ivoirians. These natives volunteered in French Colonial Africa, fought in Italy, in Provence, in Alsace, contributing massively to the French military’s resumption of war against the Reich. They numbered about 150,000 men in arms. Young Franco-Maghrebians and Franco-Senegalese etc. should be proud of their grandfathers.

This play on feelings is fruitful. All French feel sympathy for these colonial native soldiers in Indigènes. Same feeling even for their younger brothers who worked in French factories after the war, as did Bouchareb’s parents. On the other hand, this magic ceases to work for today’s young Arabs—the Beurs, their nickname. Most French feel some kind of fear of the children of the immigrant workers. From the midst of these maladjusted children has come massive vandalism in November 2005: burning of cars, buses and schools, pillaging frenzies and other acts of gratuitous and grievous violence. Then in March 2006 these same vandal and hooligan elements attacked middle-class white protesters involved in traditional style demonstrations against the government’s wage policies. This was a paradoxical mass mugging within a peaceful antigovernment demonstration. These nihilistic muggings and batterings were widely televised, and the left of center newspaper of reference Le Monde revolutionized its traditional progressiveness with the banner headline "Antiwhite Racism Rears Its Head". For the record: the hooligan car burners and muggers were mostly Beurs, and children of Black Africans. A few French Portuguese, some French West Indians, a tiny number of classical French too. Practically no Chinese. These realities suffice to generate class, race and religion fear and discrimination.

The Limits of Historical Films

So here we have Beur Days of Rage while ethnic reconciliation is at work on the screen. Why the contradiction? Any quick explanation is lame, but unavoidable. Therefore, these first generation French are probably seeking revenge against an inaccessible French society. The elitism and the hush-hush white racism of this French society; there truly was a glass ceiling for non-whites. Bouchareb—whose Indigènes was of course in the making years before the disturbances—is overtly trying to intervene in French social life, and he tells Le Monde : "There are bad feelings out there, in France, and it's been going on too long. Something has to be done quickly for these immigrants' children, who are fully French, to feel at home in this country and get their share of the wealth on a par with other citizens. ... I lived in the suburban slums, and the gap is economic first and foremost. But something must bridge this gap immediately, or else the rot of American communitarianism will grip this country".

Let us forget Bouchareb’s barb at Americans acceptances of ethnic communities: the barb functions as an attack on presumed enemies of the French assimilationist model and is never intended to show hostility to the US. What counts is that Bouchareb has offered the French public a feel-good movie, full of historical justice, and he thinks he can recast the young vandal rioters as something else than ethnic enemies: economic victims of French society. Implicitly, Bouchareb is telling the ordinary Frenchman: nothing to fear from ethnic and religious differences, no war against Islam, the problem is all economic! An obviously expeditious explanation. But it shows that in France the problem of Beur violence is no longer kept out of the hands of French Arabs.

From a didactic point of view, Indigènes is infinitely more intelligent than the nostalgic all-white fantasy Amélie Poulain (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001) – which paradoxically casted Jamel Debbouze of Indigènes — but gives him a white non-Arab name and identity! Indigènes is simply a step in the process of French soul-searching and issue solving. Americans have some experience at race relations, Bouchareb and the French establishment should look at all examples including the French one which has not been a total failure. Bouchareb is not wrong about economic discrimination, but there are less palatable aspects to the riots, of which the "hatred of whites". Bouchareb must make other films to pass from an Alex Haley to a Spike Lee—or a whole new type.

The whole issue of France and its former colonies is still a massive cinematographic taboo. For all his talent, Bouchareb or any one else has yet to touch two hot potatoes: Firstly, the Arab uprising in Algeria, which lead to independence in 1962 after a frightful colonial war. The only movies on that topic are intimiste portraits of disillusioned French soldiers. One big exception is the 1966 Battle of Algiers by Gillo Pontecorvo, squarely anticolonialist, but still only a cult film, unlike Indigènes. There are a few made for TV movies, and many documentaries, that deal with these topics head on. No features.

Secondly, French cinema has stayed away from films about Al Qaida and their predecessors in Algeria, the FIS (Islamic Salvation Front), the GIA (ultraviolent offshoot of the FIS which conducted terrorist attacks in France in the 1990s) and the GSPC (which recently proclaimed itself the Algerian Al Qaida). A touchy topic, as several French Muslims trained with these groups, or went to Afghanistan. Not even made for TV has touched this. Only documentaries.


Indigènes was long overdue. But as a social catharsis, it is incomplete. France needs a series of these. Yet the next ones will be much more touchy. Finally, to add to the confusion: one of the actors of Indigènes, Samy Naceri who played the loot-crazed character, was recently arrested for multiple-offense violence, this time on a black policeman whom he called "dirty Negro" (sale nègre). Samy Naceri has a wild temper and has insulted, manhandled, or struck many ordinary people: motorists (struck) he took for paparazzi, fashion workers (struck and wounded with glass), stewardess (jostled and insulted), policeman (insulted). Naceri grew up in a rough neighborhood, and is no stranger to the bottle of whisky. A remnant of his rough immigrant bakground in a suburban project? Possibly. But as an actor he will be forgiven, as always. At least equality has reached the Franco-Arab; they too are protected by the impunity afforded all bona fide French actors.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Pelakon Baru Menggantikan Maya Karin

Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam 3 (PHSM3) telah mengambil pelakon baru.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Cajun Town Bans Saggy Pants

The Associated Press
Wednesday, June 13, 2007; 5:01 PM

DELCAMBRE, La. -- Sag your britches somewhere else, this Cajun-country town has decided. Mayor Carol Broussard said he would sign an ordinance the town council approved this week setting penalties of up to six months in jail and a $500 fine for being caught in pants that show undergarments or certain parts of the body.

Broussard said he has nothing against saggy pants but thinks people who wear them should use discretion. "It's gotten way out of hand out here," he said.

Albert Roy, the councilman who introduced the ordinance, said he thought the fine was a little steep and should be more in the $25 range, but he still favored the measure.

"I don't know if it will do any good, but it won't hurt," Roy said. "It's obvious, and anybody with common sense can see your parts when you wear sagging pants."

Broussard's advice for people who like their pants to hang low: "Just wear it properly. Cover your vital parts. I mean, if you expose your private parts, you'll get a fine. If you walk up and your pants drop, you get a fine. They're better off taking the pants off and just wearing a dress."

# When are we going to impose that? Only God knows

Monday, June 25, 2007

Berebut imam, ketua kampung (Isnin, 25 Jun 2007, Harian Metro)

SEREMBAN: Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan menegur segelintir individu di sesetengah perkampungan di negeri ini yang berebut jawatan imam dan ketua kampung sehingga menimbulkan rasa tidak puas hati serta kekecohan di kalangan mereka.

Beliau berkata, perkara itu berlaku sejak kerajaan negeri memberikan elaun khas kepada imam dan ketua kampung yang menyebabkan ramai yang berminat dengan jawatan itu.

“Mereka yang inginkan jawatan berkenaan sanggup berbuat apa saja termasuk memfitnah imam sedia ada dengan mengatakan imam terbabit tidak menjalankan tugas dengan betul atau bacaan ayat al-Quran imam itu tidak jelas,” katanya.

“Tidak kurang yang sanggup berdebat mengenai agama bagi tujuan kepentingan peribadi. Walaupun kes seumpama ini masih dianggap terpencil dan dapat dikawal, namun ia tidak harus berlaku kerana membabitkan martabat agama Islam dan institusi masjid,” katanya.

Beliau berkata demikian ketika merasmikan Majlis Tilawah dan Pertandingan Nasyid anjuran Pergerakan Wanita Umno Negeri Sembilan di Bangunan Badan Perhubungan Umno negeri, di sini, petang kelmarin.

Hadir sama Setiausaha Umno negeri, Datuk Azman Hasan; Ketua Pergerakan Wanita Umno negeri, Datuk Norhayati Omar dan Bendahari Umno negeri, Datuk Ismail Lasim.

Mohamad berkata, kerajaan negeri menerusi Majlis Agama Islam Negeri Sembilan (Mains) sentiasa memantau terhadap pelantikan imam dan ketua kampung dan ia tidak akan dibuat sewenang-wenangnya sebaliknya sudah dikenal pasti ayak serta menepati syarat ditetapkan.

Menurutnya, Mains sudah menetapkan untuk melantik imam pelapis atau imam dua yang berusia kurang 60 tahun di setiap masjid di negeri ini, yang akan meneruskan tugas apabila imam satu sudah tidak mampu melakukan tugas berkenaan.

“Tindakan ini untuk memastikan usaha memakmurkan institusi masjid terus subur demi kepentingan masyarakat Islam setempat,” katanya.

Malah katanya, menerusi penyusunan semula struktur pentadbir masjid yang kini diletakkan di bawah pengawasan Pegawai Daerah, diyakini institusi masjid akan terus mantap dalam memakmurkan syiar Islam.

“Kerajaan negeri mahu melihat masjid bukan saja setakat untuk dijadikan tempat sembahyang dan aktiviti bercorak keagamaan, tetapi sebagai pusat pentadbiran dan kemajuan masyarakat. Saya juga kesal ada di kalangan penduduk yang lebih mementingkan balai raya daripada masjid,” katanya.

- komen sikit,
ada gaji barulah nak berebut,
jujur dan ikhlas tiada nilai,
kalau tidak masjid pun reput,
habis di makan anai-anai.

Friday, June 22, 2007


Kalau sampai waktuku
'Ku mau tak seorang kan merayu
Tidak juga kau

Tak perlu sedu sedan itu

Aku ini binatang jalang
Dari kumpulannya terbuang

Biar peluru menembus kulitku
Aku tetap meradang menerjang

Luka dan bisa kubawa berlari
Hingga hilang pedih peri

Dan aku akan lebih tidak perduli

Aku mau hidup seribu tahun lagi

Chairil Anwar (July 22, 1922 - April 28, 1949) was probably one of the most famous Indonesian poets. Chairil died at the relatively young age of 27 of syphilis.

Notably, one of his most famous poems was "Aku". It is a poem that comes from the wound of having to leave his father who cheated on his mother. But Chairil's expression of personal pain and rebellion was interpreted by many Indonesians as a call to arms. His poem "Aku" is mostly used in rally and protest as a declaration of rebellion.

Chairil was indeed a rebellious person. He lived in the streets of Jakarta and befriended many of the upper class and also many prostitutes. That is how he contracted the syphilis that eventually claimed his life. His uncle was Indonesia's Prime Minister, but he never took advantage of that position. Instead, Chairil stayed in the streets or at the hut his mother built.

Chairil, together with Asrul Sani and Rivai Apin, were the poets behind Generation 45 ("Angkatan '45"). That movement signified a change in Indonesian literature. Smart, short and "unflowerful" words were to be the height of "Angkatan '45". This defied the previous generation of poets such as Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana, whose poems still mostly used "traditional" lyrics, rhyme and structured form (derived from the Pantun).

Noah's Ark

ONE: Don't miss the boat.
TWO: Remember that we are all in the same boat.
THREE: Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark.
FOUR: Stay fit. When you're 60 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.
FIVE: Don't listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.
SIX: Build your future on high ground.
SEVEN: For safety's sake, travel in pairs.
EIGHT: Speed isn't always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.
NINE: When you're stressed, float a while.
TEN: Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.
ELEVEN: No matter the storm, when you are with God, there's always a rainbow waiting.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Minggu Bahasa (13 - 20 Jun)

- foto sumbangan Encik Wan Kamaruddin