Imperial Command of the Raccoon General

Thoughts and Memoirs of a Ring-tailed and Masked Dominator of the World

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General of the mighty Raccoon Army

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Journey to Maturity

The world said that yesterday was a momentous day when the Presidency of the most powerful nation on Earth was finally held by an African American. With the promise of change, and with so many hopefuls and support, Barack Obama could very well be the most famous African American on Earth, eclipsing the likes of Muhammad Ali or Michael Jackson (if he still counts).

I have no direct standing towards Mr. Obama, considering he just started his term, it will be a while before we can see how he handles things. I am hoping he could deliver the promise of change, to the world especially, because whether you like America or not, you got to know that being that dominant power in the world, they can affect us all over the globe one way or the other. I would understand if his focus is to fix America first, but nevertheless, I'm sure we all want to see something positive out of his term in the office.

That said, we have loads on our hands to fix in Malaysia as well. And I hope that eventually when our leadership changes, we can get one that can affect change for the country as well, and not simply make another scheme to polarize powers into the hands of the select few.

I have not much else to say, I merely posted because I think that whilst not jumping around or screaming out loud for Obama, I do think it is a momentous event nevertheless. I think some people might think that there's no big deal about it because we're not Americans, so what if they finally have an African American as President. I personally think there are things that matter about it, if not the least the example that the whole deal provides.

I'm not saying we should immediately have a Chinese or Indian PM in Malaysia, though I would not object to that coming in the future. I only think that being from the minority, a lot of people have these precedence to do right by their race if they get into power. It's not all a bad thing, but as leader of a country, the job is to manage everyone in it fairly, and not promote those of your kin only. And I am also without a doubt that there are the people who will aspire to make everyone equally prosper, but handling multi racial issues require delicate touch of wisdom, one I think we all need to mature towards it more. I think non-whites in America have come a long way and their time has come. After all America is over 200 years old.

Malaysia is just over half a century old. I think we are still a young nation with lots of unexplored potential. But like some people I know, rushing into big things too early in our lives makes for a bad character. Somethings we have to go slow and steady and prepare a good foundation for it first before we start reaching for the stars. We should not be too eager to prove ourselves. That's why I can't agree with some of my friends who suggested the lot of us start our own production company. I don't think we're ready. I do think we can make good work, I do think we can be smart and charming enough to secure support or funding, and I do think some of us at least are commited enough to do it. But I do NOT think that some of us have the proper mindset or character to bear such a venture.

With great power comes great responsibility, some would say. I would add my twist to such a saying, with great achievements require great humility. I say that because some of those people I know who are so eager to break free from being employee to being employer are so full of themselves that, metaphorically speaking, to hand them a prize would only give them an image of self infallibility. And whats probably scary to me is that, I think if I were given thus, I would fall for that trap too.

What I am saying is that we need to mature our thoughts. Like Mr Obama's rise, the journey to get there was a long and hard one, with many hard earned wisdoms, that began long before Mr Obama himself was born. That is the kind of journey many among us need, most especially among us Malaysians.

We need to know sadness, before we can fully appreciate happiness.
We need to be poor, to appreciate wealth.

We need to be led, before we can lead.

That's all I'm saying.

And I do hope Mr Barack Obama can bring about the change he promised.

Friday, January 16, 2009

What kind of GARBAGE are you watching today?

There is something... wrong...perhaps... with some of us, Malaysians.

I recently watched 2 films (one at the cinema, and the other on TV) that if memory serves, both were films that I hear that the local public dismisses as uninteresting, or boring, or to put it as we Malaysians would, "Tak best!"

A year or more ago, there came out a movie that seemed to place itself alongside the likes of Harry Potter, The Golden Compass and such other movies with features of fantasy and kids; the ingredients of what we would say as a nice family movie. I thought of watching it, but I overheard conversations between some acquaintances that the movie was not nice. I guess it may have also been a result of not having much cash or time that moment, so after hearing that rumor I listed it off my "to-watch" list.

Recently, another movie came out, and an office collegue said that I should watch it, if I like films that aren't too...normal. It was more experimental he said, but warned that when he went, he noticed that almost half the audience left before it was finished. This time around, I was determined to find out for myself, so I went and saw the movie. It was awesome. Funny and full of character. I found myself laughing and enjoying the movie till the very end, but I also noticed that whilst my friend and I were laughing at many points, many in the audience did not seem to laugh along. Either they can and choose to conceal their laughter, or they just didn't get it.

The movie was "the Spirit", an adaptation of Will Eisners graphic novel.

On Astro yesterday, or rather early morning, I stayed up late and watched TV. The Bridge to Terabithia was on, and it just started coincidentally as soon as i switched to the channel. This was the movie I had written off a year or so ago, and so I figured, since there's not much else of stuff to watch that is of my interest, I might as well sit through this one.

Bridge to Terabithia was not another Harry Potter scheme; I would say, referring to kids going through magical fantasy setups as part of real life. Others of these category are like the aforementioned Golden Compass and of course the Narnia movies. Terabithia is not something in line with those after all, so it's false to compare it to those. In the movie, the fantasy elements were all made up as simply a view into the kids' imagination. We clearly were told it wasn't real, but it did made me feel that I really was wishing it was real, despite clearly knowing otherwise.

The story was less about fantasy and more on to themes related to children and growing up, and all the life lessons that I think we as Malaysians would be well to heed. And it wasn't a happily ever after kind of tale. The twist of the story was something that really made me feel sad, so much that I dare admit there were tears. Indeed, there was death. But more than that, I think it also underlines on dealing with death, to cope with losing those dear to us.

Forgive me for talking more on Terabithia than Spirit, as much as I enjoyed the latter, the characters of Bridge to Terabithia was something more akin to my own. The protagonist is a kid, a quiet boy who loves to draw and fantasize. Some who know me well enough can see the connection. He met a girl who later became as close to him as a bestfriend, and she being an outcast too, made them a special pair. These are elements that touch my own life as well. So maybe that's why when the bad news came, I was really struck by it.

The point in the end of watching both movies however was simply... why?

I know people have different tastes and all, but if a majority can find themselves unable to appreciate what seems like an interesting art form, as if they totally don't get it, than I wonder, what kind of garbage have we fed ourselves with here, that we only want to see a certain set of things and neglect the others. Whats worse, if I dare say so, is that stuff the public here would watch are just..sometimes.. downright... rubbish.

P/s- I went to surf the net about reviews on Bridge to Terabithia, and fortunately it seems for the most part, the reviews were good.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The 51st Post

According to the blog count, this should be the 51st post. Sounds kind of nice, like the 51st state, which is I think some fiction in regards to the 50 states in America or something of the like.

I'd like to share a jolly good mood for this, but something I read just now made me feel foul. As is customary, I spend several minutes of my free time reading up the thoughts of Tun Dr Mahathir on his blog. Clearly I felt he is one of sharp and keen mind, a great influence to me. Normally I'd leave the site feeling much admiration for him and inspired by his words, which is still the case.

But I see replies to his posts, and while there are many, some good and some bad, a particular few by what would seem like foreigners or Americans in particular (I think) really made me feel quite upset. I dare say it was likened to a nationalistic righteous anger, but I allowed myself to calm down and read point by point of what's been said.

It didn't work. I still feel pissed, but now because of the facts as I understand them.

1. I am to lazy to put proper quotes and acknowledgements so I'll mention the points in general. One states about the use of advanced weapons to defend against attacks, terrorist attacks and such. In other parts of it there were comments about how such measures as suggested by Dr M weakens the United States. Perhaps I might not be fully backing our former PM by saying this, but I suppose having advanced weaponry is crucial. But only because advance weaponry in itself must be designed so as to minimize, and if possible, eliminate collateral and innocents. That said, I don't think advance weaponry is a justification for any state to attack others. So the question is not about posessing them, but how we use them or who we gave them to.

2. This leads to a second point. The argument was that we, Malaysia, our people, support anti-Israel ideals and that its always an issue of Christian, Jewish and such vs Islam. I say this point is invalid, because it seems to be on the assumption that both sides are equal and we seek to tip that equality in our favored side. But consider the fact that a book I read (written by an American author I think) states that Radical Islamic groups adopted terror tactics because conventional warfare has failed, that would mean so long as the other side keeps flaunting their military power, the terrorists would continue to march on, and in even greater zeal. The one sided nature of the conflict (look at the casualty counts and you would see that there's always one side with less, the facts will tell who) fuels the terrorist movements. So as to the previous point, in a way those advanced weapons used by the west, Israelis (I loathe to use such labels but..) are indirectly the root of such terrorist tactics.

3. We hate the US. Or so it would seem to them. Except when the US is beneficial to us. Or so it would seem. Do I really need to say more on these? Well just to be clear, I don't hate the US in general but I am appalled at their ethics in many issues. I don't mind capitalism, but I hate people who would screw anyone for profits. If people hate the US it's not because of jealousy, or core principles, but because of behaviour or actions that is seemingly unfair and ethically wrong. If I feel a country is so far progressed greatly, that it's advancements and society are almost utopian, I'd rather want to move there myself, not have it destroyed. It is how we conduct ourselves with others that influence their reactions.

I don't get it. How come a lot of people can think that terrorist and the like hates the US because they hate "freedom" or "liberty"? It makes no sense. One can argue though that extremist factions that exist in some states might seem like a possible evidence, but I think, like Hitler and his NSDAP or commonly referred to as Nazis, they can only exist to counter an extreme condition that has been imposed on a people or state by the other side. If post World War I Germany hadn't been given such harsh terms, Nazism couldn't really take root.

I hate talking about or making my blog political. But somethings just annoy me so much that I have to write about it. It's my flaw and my way of venting it out.

Some people out there belittle us. They criticize our 'meagre' accomplishments, and put all sorts of heat on the flaws that we have yet to correct. The prevailing attitude seems that you can't criticize other people until you are perfect yourself. Like what I've read, it would seem that it is not our place to criticize about a state killing thousands of people or in support of such things when we can't even fix our own roads? Well, I don't think just because our roads are bad, it would also mean we are a dispicable race of people who is likened to a butcher of thousands of innocents.

Anyhow, the big news is... NOBODY'S PERFECT! So does that mean we cannot criticize? Of course not, as we have all different flaws and weaknesses, commenting each other to advising to fix that flaw should be something very much... encouraged.

If I have to be an idealist about such things, then I have to say we have to stop killing people. That said, of two sides are bent on killing each other, one side has to start first. But which one? I know! The side who uses rusted rifles and suicide bombers of course! They are the biggest threat ever! After all, they have little technology and come from back water areas of the world. What could be more dangerous than that? If you can't detect the sarcasm there, then something is wrong. It's not about muslims vs christians or others, mind you. I'm saying that coz I imagined some people out there wanting to go "oh here we go again, muslims vs christians/others".

To be serious and direct though, I think it's only fair that the technologically superior ones stop first and show positive example. After all, I think they are more capable of a defensive stance without the need to resort to "pre-emptive" strikes or offensive operations to keep as much of themselves safe as compared to the other, which with such advanced array of weapons against them, they're likely to be steamrolled over if they stop resisting.

Anyhow, 51st post. Woot.

Now... back to work.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Fighting on the Wrong Field

"Wars are won in the will; perhaps you've been fighting in the wrong field"

-quote from "13th Warrior"

The biggest buzz right now is the Israeli invasion into the Gaza area, which has resulted into a sizable number of civilian casualties. There are many dissenting voices criticizing the action, and pressure on Israel to withdraw from the area is mounting.

Let's take slight look back.

They started the offensive after Hamas allegedly launched rockets into their territory, resulting in some damage and casualties as well. Therefore they are in effect, retaliating against strikes directed at them from a foreign aggressor. Thus would that make their actions justified?

No, I don't think so. If the prior action against them is terror attacks, so are their current actions. Terror attacks differ from real war in that the armed aggressor strikes at the helpless civilian population instead of a well matched opponent. If anything, I would say that the Israeli seems just looking for an excuse to shed the blood of others. And I'll tell you why.

If you are really seeking a solution to a problem, you will find the cause of it, and not attack the symptoms. Terror attacks are the symptoms of an even bigger issue. Other symptoms of it includes riots, protests, hatred and many more. The fact of the matter is people in the are do not agree to the very existence of Israel. It is made of land taken from the Palestinians against their wishes, to create a country which it would seem, is made out of foreigners. Nevermind that yes, once upon a time in ancient times that's where Jewish people came from. History progressed, and we move on. If everyone thinks just because their people came from a particular land in ancient times would make them having legitimate claims to the lands TODAY, then by all means, the US should give back the lands to the native Americans, and let them make a country of their own there. Australians should pack up their bags too. And we malays probably have to return back to the Indonesian islands, where Parameswara was supposedly from.

But we won't do that. And neither will the US or Australians. And I can accept that. But with Israel we made an exception. Why? I don't know. Maybe because of the holocaust and their suffering means we should now let them do as they please. I don't know. But correct me if I am wrong is saying that many other people of varying origins and ethnicity have suffered as well in the course of history, dying in the thousands, maybe even millions. Should we now let these people do whatever they damn well please as well? I don't know. You tell me.

All I see is that the Israeli seems to be relishing the opportunity to flex their military might.

So instead of finding ways to make themselves acceptable to their neighbors, Israel chose to continually shed more of their neighbor's civilian blood at the slightest act of provocation, and in some instances in the past, grab even more land from their Arab neighbors. Brilliant don't you think? Now everybody there wants to invite them to parties, I think.

People tend to blame the US too, and for good reason. It seems that the US has signed some form of blank cheque to Israel, supporting everything the little terrorist country would like to do, supplying them with weapons and the like. US weapons are indeed among the most state of the art the world has seen, bravo to them for that. Now, instead of using it for peace keeping and fighting off tyrants and aggressors, lets use those weapons to support vile states like the fore mentioned, or be aggressors ourselves. Another brilliant idea, don't you think?

To be honest I kind of hate seeing America vilified so much. What happened? In the past, they fought, bled and died for the cause of liberty, true liberty, and they saved many from tyranny. They joined the fight reluctantly but pursued it to the bitter end with great determination. And then, after they have achieved their goals, they went home and not staking much claim to what they have fought.

They were like heroes, selfless and courageous, using their might for good. And I admired them.


Today though, many people know them as supporters of rogue states like Israel or foreign invaders themselves, seeking to forcefully convert any state they choose to adopt their ideals. They are no longer the heroes, but the villains.

Tun Dr. Mahathir, former prime minister of Malaysia, did mention in his own blog that Americans should stop forcing democratization on other people. I think that is quite true, and quite ironic when you think further on the matter. Democracy should be the ideal where the people had the right to choose their government and leaders, right? So how come Americans see the need to FORCE people into democracy, when the very idea is about giving choice to people instead of being forced into it?

As the quote I mentioned at the start of this entry states, 'wars are won in the will'. The battle here is of ideals. This is not some business that is solved by killing the perpetrators. Do that, and others will just take their place eventually. The heart of the issue remains the same. People feel violated, oppressed and treated unjustly.

There is a war going on. But the battles are fought on the wrong field.

Monday, January 05, 2009

The New Year

First post of the new year.

2008 ended with some feeling that they have achieved little of significance. Given the comparison of my life and theirs, I would likely share the sentiment. After all, being animators the lot of us, our timetable and work schedule and amount of chores is a constant worrisome thing.

But I feel otherwise.

I spent my 7 months of 2008 in Inspidea, and having done 1 particular project in that duration, I am generally happy with the result. It had been a loose dream of mine, but I never imagined that I would have a work of mine being shown on Disney Channel of all places, in just a matter of a year or two. That said, I feel that accomplishment is a bright start, not an end result of my own superiority. I feel at times blessed to be among people who keep me humble and open to criticism and comment. I have a big ego to be sure, and it hurts sometimes to hear others criticize something I had invested great amount of effort in. But being with the people I am with, it helps lessen down the resentment and enables me to ponder upon their views. I only pray it would lead to myself being better at what I do.

Far too many times I've known of people who are so full of themselves and view their accomplishments in an over inflated perception that they view any negative comments towards them as a hostile action, thinking themselves infallible and dismissing commentors alike as nuisance or villains. Being in the Malaysian entertainment industry, there's lots of examples. You don't believe me ask anyone in the broadcasting line. Even some of our top local artistes have been said to be such arrogant folks, though I have no personal experience with them to support the rumor.

Aside from the obvious accomplishments, I have many other things I count as successes for 2008, inclusive of matters relating to life views, plans for the future and of course, most significantly, relations with friends. I have fewer friends I hand out with these days, but those I do spend time with, I found them to be more than what I had earlier seen them as, and for all the busy schedules and personal business going around, I find myself appreciating their presence more.

2009 brings about nothing new technically, though I try to set aims and goals so as not to remain stagnant for the year. That said, it is a monday today, and I didn't expect to see the nerdy-pretty bus stop chick, as she typically is around on tuesdays to thursdays, but she is around today. And that was a surprise.

I suppose what I am saying here is that we can and should prepare and plan for things. But surprises are part of life and quite a number of times surprises makes life all the more worth living. And even bad things has its worth too. The good is not as good without the bad, I once hear. Take heart the lessons of our bad experiences, so we can further cheerish the good times we are given.


I don't know what 2009 brings. I don't know what kind of opening the new year would have seemed. All I do know is that we each make our own choices of what we make for the new year. I wish for myself and all of you that we make choices we will look back later in life and appreciate it. Choices are always ours to make after all, so choose well.

Happy New Year to all of you.