Sinatra_Z - Dikir Barat vs Ceramah

The literal meaning of "Ceramah" would be lecture, but when it is defined in the sense of Malaysian politics the word "rally" would be a better description, more like rally + lecture. Now it is quite a feature in Malaysian politics and even more in by elections as prominent national leaders would congregate to one constituency hence drawing huge crowds.

When a "ceramah" event manages to draw large crowds its a good indication for the popularity of the party or the speaker. However in the case of a by election, more often than not, crowds in "ceramah" can be quite misleading as prominent speakers tend to draw crowds not from actual voters but instead from supporters coming both from the machinery and nearby constituents.

A PAS ceramah in Bandar baru Gua Musang

As mentioned before Ceramah in Gua Musang don't really attract crowds, big speakers like Nik Aziz and even Anwar Ibrahim failed to draw much crowds with folks around here. Of course one could say that perhaps this is a sign of weakness by PAS but the reality is even BN sponsored ceramah's don't get much attention either. Which is why, early on BN by-election director Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah who has been then long time MP in Gua Musang insisted on small scale dispersed campaign and house to house visit instead of big rallies with speakers and big screens.

Note that in this ceramah, most of the listeners are the machinery itself.

"When in Rome do as the Romans do" taken from one of my favourite Dean Martin's song 'An Evening in Roma' indeed it is a good advice to consider when it comes to this election. When in gua musang, do as the musang would do! So in the spirit of an old song sang by a dead Italian Crooner, BN Machinery did exactly just that.

Sorry for the blurry picture with a bad angle, but what you saw here is actually a famous Kelantanese tradition of "Dikir Barat". At one time PAS banned dikir barat in Kelantan due to the racy laguage used in the songs but few years back they reversed it seeing how popular it was (banning created a backlash). So instead of having the usual 'ceramah' Gua Musang's Pemuda UMNO division organised a 'Dikir Barat' in which political messages are channeled through the Tukang Karut. It's like a Dikir Ceramah, you channel your message through music and songs, kind of like Bob Dylan only with Cak lempong instead of a guitar and harmonica.

And so they came....

In between the shows the local Pemuda Division organised a lucky draw giving away Red Warrior's (Kelantan Football Club) merchandise. Each of the participant that came were asked by the MC whether he or she is a Galas voter and which polling station are they supposed to cast their vote to. Surprisingly all who came are actual voters since they even know which polling station they belong to (something that only a local would know).

Indeed it is a lesson that all political parties should learn from, the fact that what we may perceive as important, our perception can be very different from those of the rakyat. I noted that some speakers tend to talk about the 100 story tower or APCO issue but truth be told, folks here can't really relate much to it. It's not that there's a large intellectual gap it's just that folks here have other issues that is more closely related to them. Things like the housing problem, land acquisition and farming policies implemented by the state government.

So remember folks, always be humble, learn the local customs and as the saying goes "When in Rome do as the Romans do"

Till Then.......

Sinatra_Z - Grassroots Politics (Pictorial Essay)

As has been mentioned before Pemuda UMNO have been taking a new route under the leadership of Khairy Jamaluddin by which it is now more focused on solving issues rather than the usual rallies and speeches. It's a cue from the Prime Minister's slogan of "People first, performance now" instead of having a bunch major programmes which would later termed to be as "syok sendiri". Combining this with Tengku Razaleigh's election strategy in Galas (localised and people centric) it's truly a grassroots politics here in Galas.

The thing I noticed in this by election is that things are awfully calm. It's not that there's anything awful about it, it's just that the heated, poster/banner wars and fiery ceramah's seemsto be missing this time around. PAS did try to play to their usual trump card by organising a gargantuan ceramah at Sungai Terah (PAS stronghold) by inviting speakers like Nik Aziz, Anwar Ibrahim and Lim Guan Eng, but it was, well, quite sombre. You can read all about it here.

As a result, so far the campaigns, or at least on BN's side, things are more dispersed, down to earth and small.

Caricature flyers are more effective rather than long boring propaganda newsletters.

Now one of the approach that UMNO took for this by election is the "Salam Sayang Sembang Petang" programme which is a joint venture between Wanita and Pemuda. Wanita UMNO's machinery will organise get together on various houses while Pemuda speakers will come and and have a little propaganda chat. Something like Multi level Marketing or a Tupperware party.

Just so happen that your's truly is one of these MLM agents :P

Local guide in blue kancil.

4WD, pfft! Kancil boleh.

Venue a small home on top of a hill.

kids having a picnic outside.

Folks here like to organise a "bacaan yasin" event, by which folks get together and recite the Surah Yasin followed by a small meal, a sort of a kampung style high tea. The usual itinery would be recital, light meal, political talk and feedback session. The feedback session is when locals would express their problems and various opinions on issues that they feel most related to.

Sirap and cakes.

Wanita UMNO volunteers.

Sembang Petang.

As the name says, Sembang Petang, instead of the usual 'ceramah' this approach is more relaxed as it's more of a conversation rather than one way marketing. It's quite an eye opener when one hear the feedback from the folks and realise that sometimes the issues that politicans play can be so far off from what is in the mind of the rural folks.

The biggest issue here would be the PPRT (Projek Perumahan Rakyat Termiskin) housing scheme and various problems in accessing government implemented policies or programmes. Seriously speaking, folks don't really car about Islamic State, 2010 budget or even the Merdeka tower, these so called big ceramah where they invite speakers from outside shouting on things slamming the opponent don't seem to work here, or at least to my observation.

View from the porch.

Perhaps one can say that this has been one of the most peaceful, relaxed and very local centric by election so far.

Then again, it's still too early to tell.

Till then.....

Sinatra_Z - Galas Campaign (a pictorial essay)

Greetings and good evening oh fellow readers, forgive me for having a brief hiatus from the online world(Facebook, twitter and nasty anonymous comments in certain blogs) for this wandering cockroach has taken a sabbatical and travel to the land of wau, budu and bench arsonist football fans, yes Kelantan. While many spend their annual leave to go on a holiday in bali, get hitched by eloping into Golok yours truly spend his annual leave for a by election. Well we all have our own hobbies.

Gua Musang which at one time was "liberated" by the Malaysian Communist Party is now the stage for the latest by election a showdown between UMNO and PAS, two hardcore Malay party fighting over a state seat in Galas which happen to be one of the constituency in Gua Musang. Kelantan the PAS stronghold is headed by none other than Nik Aziz Nik Mat the legendary Tok Guru of the east coast spiritual leader of the Islamic party should have the upper hand here since it is their home turg. Though as venerable as Nik Aziz may be PAS had never managed to penetrate nor unseat the godfather of Gua Musang - Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah. Only in 2008 did PAS managed to cause a slight dent in KuLi's armour by capturing Galas with a slim majority thus now, more than ever, UMNO headed by KuLi is determined to recapture Galas.

Godfather of Gua Musang

Though Ku Li did ruffle some feathers with his stance on the state oil royalty issue, BN leaders decided that it's best to let him run the show, after all he has been the UMNO's Division Chief for the last 50 years which speaks volume of his influence here in Gua Musang.

Note the scarf "Ambo Nok Parti Ku Li" - I support Ku Li's Party. It wasn't always UMNO you see, at one time it was Semangat 46.

Nomination day.

I came to Galas under the machinery of Pemuda UMNO, I wanted to come with Puteri but they rejected my application. If you folks think that UMNO boys have it easy with hotel rooms and fancy SUV's well guess what, I thought so too, until I got here and it seems that Proton and cheap hostel is the Pemuda roll. Well at least not when the room rates of various 1 and 2 stars hotel here skyrocketed to Hilton standard.

Unlike before, recently Pemuda has taken a rather different path, maybe it was because of the lesson we learned back in 08 but Khairy Jamaluddin is taking a different approach when it comes to campaigning. Started off with the recent launching of Jom 1 Malaysia in Gombak it seems that Pemuda nowadays are more concentrated on solving micro, daily bread and butter issues more than marches, demonstration or ceramahs. This can be seen with the various forums organised by BN Youth (MTUC minimum wage, BN Youth Lab) which are more issue centric rather than political in nature.

Caught Rembau/TwitterJaya MP chillaxing with a local.

Apart from the meetup in which Pemuda Leaders drop by coffee shops and mixing with the locals, Giat Mara under the gudance of BN Youth have been offering courses and workshops for rural folks to acquire some skills, from sewing to construction, something like a vocational school.

Kena ceramah dengan Veteran UMNO.

Of course the usual "listening to the rakyat" session, we in BN don't just give ceramah folks, we actually listen and do something about it. Betul tak tipu!

One of the first thing that we learned when arriving upon Gua Musang was that folks here are not really into Big fancy loud things, and by that the usual Ceramah dont go well (in attendance) here. I'm not exaggerating or anything it's just that even big names don't pull much crowd here, be it Nik Aziz or Anwar Ibrahim, the usual crowd puller, somehow loses their charm here where most of their ceramah was attended by fellow party workers.

Tengku Razaleigh focuses more on personal touch and small scales, he highlighted the fact that it's better to talk to say small group of 30 people, who are the real voters rather than holding a gargantuan ceramah with less than 10 percent are actual voters. So you're truly who is beginning to join the speakers unit under Pemuda often finds himself in houses talking to groups of people while trying to pass a decent Kelantan slang "kecek Kelate"

Dah macam MLM pun ada.

MC of the night. This is grassroots politics.

All in all, so far it has been quite a calm by election. Maybe it's too early and things are yet heated up but the usual clash, heated PAS vs UMNO by election is missing. Maybe it's a Gua Musang thing or maybe folks are just too tired of Politics I'm not sure but perhaps it's a good sign that Malaysians are more politically mature these days.

But the battle for Gua Musang, as I see it for now will be not on who can muster people on rallies, ceramah or the number of posters, instead on the party that can persuade voters in a more personal level. By which going to each household, solving problems one by one and focuses more on a two way discussions rather than the usual propaganda machinery. Should be quite a fight seeing that both sides are the government (PAS - State while BN - Federal) and in the end it probably boils down to which one is the better government.

More essays are coming up but before I end this there's one thing I need to do....


Till Then....

Sinatra_Z - Akar juga perlu berubah

Keutuhan sebuah pokok, rimbunan hijau dedaunya dan keteguhan dahan rantingnya semuanya bergantung kepada akar. Jika kuat akarnya mencengkam bumi, jika kena akarnya tersemat di dalam tanah yang subur maka sihatlah, tinggi lagi rendanglah pohon akan bertumbuh.

Maka begitu juga boleh diperkatakan dengan Umno, sebuah parti yang ditubuhkan untuk menentang Malayan Union dan memperjuangkan nasib orang-orang Melayu, kunci kekuatan Umno dari dahulu bukanlah kerana kehebatan pemimpinya semata-mata, akan tetapi struktur sokongan akar umbinya yang bermula dengan sekecil-kecil ahli cawangan.

Maka atas dasar inilah barangkali, dalam ucaptama Presiden Umno, Datuk Seri Najib Razak telah menekankan tentang perjuangan melayu dan hak-hak istimewa pada perhimpunan agung Umno tahun ini.

Sinatra_Z - Weary I may be

Yea I'm so weary,
from things that I worry,
for things that has happened,
and those yet begun,
so I pray to heaven,
grant me strength to not flee,
may this make me stronger,
perhaps a little wiser,
so weary I may be,
halt I shall not,
for life is a journey,
let's see what it's got.

Sinatra_Z - Malaysia's Top 5 Divas

OCT 15 — Assalamualaikum and Salam 1 Malaysia to my fellow readers, especially to those who keep reading my articles, get angry and leave highly emotional nasty comments to those who recommend my articles in their Facebook pages.

I would like to take this opportunity to say that I cherish all of you, yes all of you, especially the angry rabid ones because I like reading funny comments.

I have noticed that there is simply too much political drama going on around these days and it somehow brings people down. Of course being the biased writer that I am (I don’t pretend to be “neutral”) perhaps one might have expected that I would comment upon the glorious PKR elections that is being touted as the true form of “democracy” by their politicians and as the true form of “demokerusi” by others.

This time around I will be writing something that would enhance the Malaysian spirit amongst us, especially at a time when Indonesians are accusing us of stealing almost everything from them.

It would be great to highlight something that is truly ours, and what better way to do that than by featuring five of our most celebrated divas.

Sinatra_Z - Telur Setengah Masak

Bila tengok Lizard* punya Honda EX5 teringat aku zaman masa kat UTM dulu.

Aku jalan kaki atau naik bas kampus la tapi selalu la pinjam moto kawan untuk pergi sini sana beli makanan ke, shopping kat Jaya Jusco Taman Universiti atau pergi ke perpustakaan Sultanah Zanariah.

Dan selalunya,

bila kawan aku yang suka tuang Sembahyang Jumaat, dapatlah aku pinjam motor diorang nak pergi masjid.

Teringat kat Motor EX5 ni.

Motor honda ni tahan, enjin dia bagus empat lejang dan senang bawak.

Tempat duduk dia kusyen yang disarungkan dengan PVC warna hitam. Aku memang suka bawak.

Jadi pergi sembahayang Jumaat dengan kain pelikat,

Sembahyang jumaat tengah hari buta panas, Khutbah UTM panjang, nak pulak aku suka datang awal sebab nak cari dinding atau tiang.

Jadi lepas sejam lebih bawah matahari,dengan tembat duduk PVC warna hitam,

bila aku duduk atas motor tu nak balik dengan kain pelikat.

Oh yeah...

P/S - Dah rasa macam Refleksologi Haba lah pulak, habis terbukak segala urat-urat.

*Lizard adalah nama samaran kawan aku.

Sinatra_Z - I tried to be EMO once

So yeah there was this one time a poet friend of mine invited me to watch her rendition.

It was at this house somewhere in PJ, I think they called it Food not Bomb house. Single story, brightly coloured and have various ornaments and weird things hanging about the whole place, it's like a communal hippie home.

Kinda neat,

until I smelled shit. Probably some dog decided to leave a few scented souvenirs for these poet lovers.


all sort of people began to flock around after eight, some were dressed rather differently, some were overly dressed to get attention which is quite ironic since many tried to do that thus the uniqueness wears off. In fact the most unique person in that whole fiasco was my lovely poet friend who came wearing this dashing kebaya, probably her "baju raya", truly stood out from the hippies.

There was this chick with totoro plushie in her hand and dressed like an anime character, then there's that high drunk hippie, the ones that had to take several shots of JD before rendition.

But you know,

I did had an open mind, I had always fancied the 60s and woodstock and I love people who don't follow the norm. My initial thoughts was that this might turn out to be a very good night.

And I like poetry too.

At first it was decent, some music, some guitar strumming and what not.

Loved it.

Then of course came the real deal,

the deep angry emo against the establishment sort.

Of course there's also that girl who couldn't stop smiling and keeps saying the she loves everyone and everything then sings a song about death and 2008 general elections.


All that talk about universal love came down to 2008 general elections.

There was this one dude who passionately rendered his poetry about Felda settlers, wow Felda settlers, I bet he has never even been to one and the fact that actual felda settlers are quite groovy about the whole plantation thing (I happen to know quite a few settlers).

Later on I found out this was the "Telawi" crowd, you know the Hishamuddin Rais sort, I personally like Hishamuddin Rais, on certain times and certain situations of course.

Well the sort that smokes weed then talk about love, communism, freedom and flaming the establishment.

I mean I guess I could try to blend in,

I would love to learn more,

it's just that


I wish that some of them,

would actually......


Malaysian Emo Scene,

Ain't about nicely combed jet black hair writing poetries about heartbreaks, no sir, It's all about angry hippies quoting philosophy books.

Oh well, it was an interesting experience nonetheless.


Oh the razor cutting part, well I used to use a razor for shaving and occasionally I'd cut myself. Does that count?

Sinatra_Z - When in Putrajaya, do what the Putrajayans do

"Apa la best sangat Putrajaya ni?"

"Eh jangan kutuk Putrajaya ni tau, I really love this place, used to walk around here alot during my college days."

"Ahh yes MMU"

"Yeah it's nearby Cyber."

"What is there to see"

"Well there's that lovely lake with fishes and when I'm stressed or anything I would bring in some bread to feed them, I even saw some fishes grew as time goes by."

"Wow impressive, fishes."

"And the buildings are beautiful, plus I like to walk at this housing area where they place the high ranking civil servants and imagine I live in there."

"Okay look so it's nice, I admit, but as a tourist but to live in here"

"What's wrong with it? It's peaceful and quiet"

"Exactly it's peaceful and quiet, I seriously don't see settling down here, I mean after nine there's nothing here everything is closed, there's no nice coffee shop and places to go. Bandar macam mati, senyap sunyi, apa la kejadahnya nak buat malam kat putrajaya ni."

"Laa nak buat apa lagi MAIN lah!"

Who knew talking about Putrajaya with a girl can be so interesting. Do take note, that I don't really fancy living in Putrajaya.


Scene - Kedai Kopi Haji Tapah

"Betul bro aku pun buat macam tu jugak, bawak bini aku jalan-jalan lepas tu ye lah, ko paham je lah bila dah malam."

"Habis tu bila bini kau outstation?" (Note that his wife is working in Penang and she drops by once a week)

"Aku main game PS3 dengan XBOX aku, besok pasang UNifi, boleh main online game"

"Betul betul main ni"