Life, dissent and student dramas—Johan Jaafar

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What future for our barren universities?

After attending a theatre production by university students (at a private college), John Jaafar reflects on the old days and old ways

It reminds me of my university days when students made their mark demonstrating in the streets as they were expressing their voices on stage. The early 70s were the most robust times in the annals of the University of Malaya, creativity-wise. Student [drama] productions were part and parcel of university life…

How things have changed.

Religiosity, the Universities and University Colleges Act and artistically-clueless administrators, among others, have stifled creativity in the campuses. Most campuses today are almost devoid of cultural voices. The arts were eyed with suspicion when the nation was embarking on an industrial makeover. Subjects in the humanities were frowned upon. Literature was believed to be the least commercial of scholarly disciplines.

Commercialisation of public universities is changing the dynamics of scholarly tradition. Universities are not supposed to be a snake temple but a breeding ground for leadership, creativity and innovation. We haven’t woken up to the reality that creativity is the key to the future success of the nation. We are losing our creative edge, which can have catastrophic consequences in the long run. As we are in dire need of moral leadership, we need students to learn more about humanity in a creative way.

» In the limelight, on stage (New Straits Times online)

literary man, writer, farmer and press lord
formerly chief editor Utusan Malaysia, sacked by Mahahir Mohamed,
formerly chairman of Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka,
currently chairman of Media Prima and NSTP

» The Student Movement In Malaysia, 1967-74 (Idealis Mahasiswa)

Syed Hamid Ali, student leader (UMSU 1967-1970) and film-maker Fahmi Reza
» Leading the student movement in the 1960s (The Nut



Student leader Safwan Anang leaves hospital, describes assault

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Student leader Muhammad Safwan Anang, who was taken unconscious to hospital when police broke up a demonstration for academic freedom on New Year’s Eve in Tanjung Malim, was discharged earlier today, reports MalaysiaKini. He said he was beaten up while trying to help a friend being dragged off by the police.

Yesterday, Safwan had told another student activist and his lawyer that police had asked him to lie about his injuries by asking him to sign a form which read, in words to that effect, ‘Mangsa jatuh semasa kejadian (the victim fell during the incident)’.
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Safwan awake [hospital bed photo], all students out on bail

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Student leader Mohd Safwan Anang, said to have been severely injured when police broke up a rally by university students in Tanjong Malim last night, was reported to have recovered consciousness earlier this afternoon and was speaking to human rights lawyer N Surendran (centre), who posted this photo. Safwan was reportedly assaulted by police and taken unconscious to hospital, first at Tanjung Malim and later to Slim River.

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UPSI student rally – on the scene video

Scenes of the police assault on the protesters begin at 3:58

On the scene video by AntaraPos
» Dua Siswa Cedera, Adam Adli, 20 Lagi Ditahan Kerana Demo AUKU

UPSI midnight student rally photos

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Vodpod videos no longer available.


Photos: Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia, Adam Adli and Chris Kooi
Posted at Twitter and Flickr

Adam’s attacker a KL traffic cop?

The man who tried to punch student activist Adam Adli could be a Kuala Lumpur traffic policeman, according to unconfirmed information received by this blog on Thursday. No further details were made available. Earlier this week, the attacker was reported to have identified himself as Ruslan Mokhtar according to online news site AntaraPos.

Yesterday, Adam Adli gave a statement to police about the report he made after the attack, which took place outside Bukit Aman federal police headquarters on Monday. He had gone to Bukit Aman to seek advice on intimidation and threats made against him following his action last Saturday in lowering a banner with the image of Umno president Najib Tun Razak, replacing it with a protest banner for five minutes.

Earlier this week, Adam had told the press: “I believe that he was a plain-clothes police officer as he was present in the meeting room in Bukit Aman. But when he attempted to punch me at the press conference, no one tried to stop him. There were other uniformed officers but I noticed that they didn’t take any action.”

The statement he made yesterday was in relation to the attack and not about the flag incident. Adam has been issued a show cause letter by ahthorities at Universiti Pengajian Sultan Idris for allegedly having tarnished the institution’s good name, Bernama reports.

Sex, fashion, and KJ the genius joker

Did someone say Ho, Ho, Ho?

Khairy Jamaluddin, the Umno Youth leader, no stranger to controversy or being in the public eye, cuts a dashing figure as poster boy in this image of a Maskulin magazine cover. Tongues are bound to wag at the sight of KJ and a blurb that says “Seks Lesu & Layu”, at a time when homosexuality and male marriages are a hot issue. Some will take issue with KJ being described as a genius who can crack a joke, at a time when Umno might be the biggest joke in town. Others won’t be able to reconcile the suave sophisticated elegance of KJ, the fashion icon and man about town, with the boorish yobs from Umno Youth of PJ Utara. Not all his doing of course. No one gets ahead in Umno by being a shrinking violet, notably shown by the sight of Panglima Ludah Mahasiswa turning purple in the face. The need for Umno to project a good image has been a constant refrain of the current leadership. Style maketh the man, it seems.

Maskulin image: Beautiful

Where's the beef: image, style and substance in Umno

Did you say Ho, Ho, Ho?

Spitting War: Panglima Myspace Nak Ludah Mahasiswa [video]

The infamous video of PJ Utara Umno Youth making threats against university student activists quickly sparked parodies on YouTube. Jumping on the spitting wagon were Myspace users making threatening noises at university students for mainly using Twitter and Facebook for their campaign.

Who tried to punch student protester Adam? [video]

• AntaraPos names him as Ruslan Mokhtar
• Student activist Adam says it’s a policeman
• Bukit Aman police say dunno

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UPDATE: Attacker a KL traffic cop?

The man identified himself as Ruslan Mokhtar, said AntaraPos, an online news site. The student in the flag protest at Umno headquarters, Adam Adli, said the man could be a policeman. He was present at the meeting room in Bukit Aman when Adam was questioned about the flag-lowering. But Bukit Aman could not even confirm if the attack (“the alleged incident”) had taken place.

What Adam Adli said

I believe that he was a plain-clothes police officer as he was present in the meeting room in Bukit Aman when I had consulted another officer over the threats and intimidations following the flag incident. When he attempted to punch me at the press conference, no one tried to stop him. There were other uniformed officers but I noticed that they didn’t take any action. » Student protester faces threats, harassment (Free Malaysia Today)

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One law, two systems: It’s about university freedom say student protesters

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The flag is not the issue. The issue is
academic freedom and university autonomy
Lowering the flag is symbolic of our loss of faith in the current leadership of the government and its political rhetoric about change, especially since Sept 16 with the announcement of the repeal of the Internal Security Act followed by detention of more people under the ISA, the introduction of the Peaceful Assembly Bill, the government’s legal challenge to overturn a court ruling on the Universities and University Colleges Act. The flag-lowering is not an issue. It was over in five minutes and the Umno flag restored. The issue is about repealing the UUCA. If the government does not repeal the Act, students will rise to vote in another government that will stand for freedom.
Student leader Syukri Abdul Razab
» Free Malaysia Today