Wednesday, March 23, 2011

slingshot 2011 organizer

some good infos frm slingshot collective organizer 2011

'slingshot collective'

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sister solidarity

Sister solidarity

EVEN popping into the convenience store down the road can be dangerous – if you are a transgender (Mak Nyah). That was what Muna* learnt last year when she went out to get the paper one morning.

Before she realised what was happening, she was surrounded by a group of men who claimed to be religious enforcement officers.

“They ordered me to hitch up my shirt and show them my bra. I was so shocked that I could only stare at them, so one of them pushed me face down to the ground and held my hands to my back while another pushed my shirt up and tugged my bra. The others only laughed,” Muna recalls.
‘They are who they are,’ Angela Kuga Thas says of Mak Nyahs.

Although it was not the first time she had been stopped by the authorities, it was the first time she had been groped and manhandled, on the street and in daylight. The incident rattled her, and for many months after that Muna was too frightened to step out of her house.

Violent abuses against the transgender community, specifically male-to-female transsexuals, also known as Mak Nyah, appear to be rising in Malaysia in the past few years, not only at the hands of the authorities and the religious police but also the ordinary Joe on the street.

Reported cases allege that during “raids” some errant enforcement officers often ask for bribes and sexual favours from the transgender. In custody, they are usually asked to strip in front of the authorities, while their breasts are groped and they are hurled with derogatory sexual remarks.

Like Muna, many in the transgender community suffer mental anguish from the fear of discrimination, abuse and persecution. Worried that they can be arrested at any time, they feel uneasy about going out.

Former Boom Boom Room dancer Dara Othman admits that it is a stressful way to live. “For most transgender, it is down to knowing where and what time is safe. But now, it seems like anytime and everywhere is not safe.”

Hence, some people – mainly those who have been working with PT Foundation (a community-based, voluntary non-profit organisation that provides information, education and care services relating to HIV/AIDS and sexuality in Malaysia – have banded together under Justice for Sisters to highlight issues surrounding violence and persecution against this community in Malaysia, as well as provide them support and assistance.

They had met up with a group of Mak Nyah in Negeri Sembilan, heard their stories and documented some cases. S. Thilaga, one of those behind the movement, says: “At that point, many were pretty sick of the situation and wanted to change it. So we met up with a few lawyers and were told that what we can do is to challenge the law.

“Our transgender friends are up for it but they don’t have the money to challenge the law. Some can’t even make ends meet! So we thought we should do something to help them raise funds and create public awareness on the issue.”

Thilaga adds that they work closely with the transgender community and try to involve them in all their initiatives. “Ultimately, we would like them to be in the forefront.”

Last December, Justice for Sisters was launched with a fundraiser concert at the Annexe Gallery, Kuala Lumpur. Recently, another fundraiser was held at Map KL, Dutamas – its third since the launch.

The target is to raise up to RM60,000, says Thilaga, not only to help the transgender community challenge the matter in court, but also to help those who are left in dire financial straits while pursuing their legal defence.

Unfortunately, Justice for Sisters has only managed to raise slightly more than a third of that sum.

Also Malaysian

There are an estimated 30,000 plus transgenders in the country, for whom dealing with rejection from the so-called “normal” members of society is a daily preoccupation because they don’t fit in the identity box assigned by society.

Being called names and getting dirty looks are normal occurences, Thilaga says. “Some people go to the extent of throwing bags of urine at Mak Nyahs and throwing things into their house when they are not around.”

Considered a “high-risk” group, most in the transgender community are caught in a vicious and pernicious cycle of violence and persecution for being who they are.

“Many suffer rejection by their families and some are even kicked out of their homes. They are subjected to various forms of humiliation so they stop schooling. They’re rejected for jobs and loans, and struggle to find safe shelter. They’re constantly coerced in every way and face every kind of pressure to conform (usually through violence).

“Quite a number leave their homes to look for work as early as 15 years old, but they are unable to get reasonably paid employment because people are reluctant to hire them. And if they do get hired, they are often underpaid,” says Angela Kuga Thas, another key mover of the human rights campaign.

The crux of the issue is the blatant refusal to understand and appreciate Mak Nyahs for who they are, she opines.

“They exist in every single country in this world and are as diverse as the extent and level of changes that they physically seek, yet as a community, this is their identity, this is who they are.”

In Malaysia, their identity can constitute an immoral conduct offence under civil criminal law. This is mainly used against them if they are caught in a vice-related context.

Under the Syariah criminal law, however, the Muslim transgender can be persecuted for being a man who dresses like a woman (lelaki berlagak seperti perempuan). In almost every state, this offence carries a jail term of six months (or one year in some states) or a RM1,000 fine (up to a maximum of RM5,000 in one state).

These are very hefty costs considering that Mak Nyahs are being arrested once every two months, or more frequently, says Kuga Thas.

And should one be arrested for the third time, and found guilty all three times, she can be sent to prison, Thilaga says. “It is like the three strikes rule,” she notes.

According to Justice for Sisters, there is an alleged growth of arbitrary arrests of the transgender persons, especially in certain states. One transgender activist, who declines to be named, say she was even arrested for being a woman who dressed as a man.

“I was in jeans and T-shirt and looked androgynous, I guess, so they charged me with ‘menyerupai lelaki’ (dressing as a man) instead.”

However, she is used such arbitrary charges.

“Sometimes these so-called enforcement officers have no identification, nor do they follow rules and procedure. They are like polis koboi (lawless cowboy enforcement officers) . Once when I was arrested, one of them grabbed my boobs and said, ‘Your butt looks like a man but you have boobs,’” she recalls bitterly.

Make-up artist Miss A* hits out at the authority’s common tactic of stripping them down to their underwear or asking them to flash their bra to prove that they are transgender.

“We are really confused. Who do we offend with our underwear? Whose business is it what we wear under our clothes anyway? So, what do they want us to do, let everything hang out?”

Kuga Thas, who is an advocate for women’s empowerment and non-discrimination, believes those in power and in authority need to realise that no amount of coercion and violence will change the transgender community because “Mak Nyahs are Mak Nyahs.

“They are who they are, inside and outside of their homes. They are not pretending to be women and they are certainly not impersonating women. They identify as women, not men, and many often begin to feel that way between the ages of seven and 10.

Dara concurs: “People have no right to ask us to change. I always feel that God made us the way we are for a reason, so it is not up to the people to judge.”

Kuga Thas alleges that ever since they started challenging the law by having the arrested transgender plead “not guilty” to the charge against them under Syariah law, there has been a crackdown on them.

“They are targetted for arrests as soon as they step out of their homes. . This form of persecution would have received a massive amount of protest if it were to happen to other Malaysians.”

To Thilaga it is a simple human right issue. “Just because they are transgender, and a minority group, doesn’t mean that they don’t have rights. While they are visible, they are a muted group. That is why, in solidarity, we should stand with them to fight for their rights. We should be outraged that their rights are being violated because of who they are.

Kuga Thas agrees. “As Malaysians, we should be appalled that our transgenders continue to suffer violence and persecution for their identity.

“Everyone else has the freedom to be out as late and as long as they want, to dress the way they want to, to have any hairstyle they like, to meet up with friends for food and drinks, and have a social life.

“Why not the Mak Nyahs? Why shouldn’t they have this freedom? They are fellow human beings and they are fellow Malaysians,” she adds.

* Not her real name.

Those who are interested to find out more about Justice for Sisters or contribute to the cause can e-mail

'The Star - Sister solidarity'

Saturday, February 12, 2011

justice for sisters

For one solid day of sisterly solidarity, Malaysian punk rockers, indie folks and artists band together to support the rights of the Malaysian transsexual community.

"Sis, let's reclaim our rights!" Festival @ MAPKL
Sat 12 Feb, 2011 | 2pm to 10pm

MAPKL @ Publika, Level G2-01, Block A5, Dutamas
1 Jalan Dutamas 1, Off Jalan Duta
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Entry by donation: Vary according to programme
(Please feel free to DONATE more to help with the cause!)

This full day festival features everything from post punk gigs to post avant garde arts to poetry reading, all in support of Malaysian male-to-female transsexuals, also known as Mak Nyah, who face gross abuse, persecution and discrimination regularly in this country. Let's celebrate the diversity of being in Malaysia with a diversity of music and arts!

+the amazon goddess SHELAH! will be hosting part of the show


2pm - 4pm | Entry by donation: RM10
Jeannys & The Melody
Chill please!
Corporate Youth
The Fays
Swampy Zombie Fever

5pm - 7pm | Entry by donation: RM15
Elektrikasyok (Elaine Foster)
Furious George + Operasi Sabo (George Wielgus, Faisal, Kuning)
Illya Sumanto
Krisis Halusinasi
Priya K
Think! Tadpole! Think!
and more...

8pm - 10pm | Entry by donation: RM15
Hosted by the one & only Malaysian Drag Idol, SHELAH!!!
Dara Othman
Davina Goh
Kathleen Choo
Nabila Nasir
PT's Angels (Sajad & Sharon)
Reza Salleh
Tshiung Han See

Also featuring Chi Too
& the Buka Kolektif (Fared Ayam, Rahmat Haron, Poodien, Sharon Chin)

JUSTICE FOR SISTERS is a grassroots campaign organised by concerned members of the public to raise public awareness about issues surrounding violence and persecution against the Mak Nyah (male-to-female transsexuals) community in Malaysia. The campaign also aims to raise funds amounting to RM50,000 to finance court cases that have been recently brought up against transgenders who have been charged in the Syariah court. Join us in this human right campaign to reclaim the rights of the Mak Nyah.

If you can't make it to the festival but would like to donate to the fund or help in other ways, please contact Angela [] or Thilaga [].

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


“in 1949 there have a Chinese man hit the streets in Hong Kong. he use this way to tell public that his family was the king of this island. he name himself The King of Kowloon. he used to write his family tree names and history on the street wall,Electricity box,pole. etc…
his life survive by collect scraps, also he lived in a small room which full of scraps..he was be put in an insane asylum for his graffiti on streets in the 70s,until a doctor just come back from U.S and saw graffiti there then know what he doing,the doctor set him free..

The King of Kowloon left this planet last year, but he leave many works on his streets,if you lucky, you still can see his work in Hong Kong which be protected by the government now,after he dead.

an Electricity box which have his writing on the surface can be auctioned for 150000 d by art dealer. but its nothing to do with him,even maybe he don’t know the name of Graffiti which be speculation by the business system now..cause He just the King of Kowloon.”

'the king of kowloon' via 'faith47'

'HK mourns graffiti king'

'via artcrimes'

Thursday, January 06, 2011

The Next Net

The Next Net
By Douglas Rushkoff

The moment the "net neutrality" debate began was the moment the net neutrality debate was lost. For once the fate of a network - its fairness, its rule set, its capacity for social or economic reformation - is in the hands of policymakers and the corporations funding them - that network loses its power to effect change. The mere fact that lawmakers and lobbyists now control the future of the net should be enough to turn us elsewhere.

Of course the Internet was never truly free, bottom-up, decentralized, or chaotic. Yes, it may have been designed with many nodes and redundancies for it to withstand a nuclear attack, but it has always been absolutely controlled by central authorities. From its Domain Name Servers to its IP addresses, the Internet depends on highly centralized mechanisms to send our packets from one place to another.

The ease with which a Senator can make a phone call to have a website such as Wikileaks yanked from the net mirrors the ease with which an entire top-level domain, like say .ir, can be excised. And no, even if some smart people jot down the numeric ip addresses of the websites they want to see before the names are yanked, offending addresses can still be blocked by any number of cooperating government and corporate trunks, relays, and ISPs. That's why ministers in China finally concluded (in cables released by Wikileaks, no less) that the Internet was "no threat."

I'm not trying to be a downer here, or knock the possibilities for networking. I just want to smash the fiction that the Internet is some sort of uncontrollable, decentralized free-for-all, so that we can get on with the business of creating something else that is.

That's right. I propose we abandon the Internet, or at least accept the fact that it has been surrendered to corporate control like pretty much everything else in Western society. It was bound to happen, and its flawed, centralized architecture made it ripe for conquest.

Just as the fledgling peer-to-peer economy of the Late Middle Ages was quashed by a repressive monarchy that still had the power to print money and write laws, the fledgling Internet of the 21st century is being quashed by a similarly corporatist government that has its hands on the switches through which we mean to transact and communicate. It will never truly level the playing fields of commerce, politics, and culture. And if it looks like that does stand a chance of happening, the Internet will be adjusted to prevent it.

The fiberoptic cables running through the streets of San Francisco and New York are not a commons, they are corporate-owned. The ISPs through which we connect are no longer public universities but private media companies who not only sell us access but sell us content, block the ports through which we share, and limit the applications through which we create. They are not turning the free, public net into a shopping mall. It already *is* a shopping mall. Your revolutionary YouTube video has a Google advertisement running across the bottom. Yes, that's the price of "free" when you're operating on someone else's network.

But unlike our medieval forebears, we don't have to defend our digital commons from corporate encroachment. Fighting and losing that un-winnable battle will only reinforce our sense of helplessness, anyway. Instead of pretending that the Internet was ever destined to be our social and intellectual commons, we can much more easily conspire together to build a real networked commons, intentionally. And with this priority embedded into its very architecture and functioning.

It is not rocket science. And I know there's more than a few dozen people reading this right now who could make it happen.

Back in 1984, long before the Internet even existed, many of us who wanted to network with our computers used something called FidoNet. It was a super simple way of having a network - albeit an asynchronous one.

One kid (I assume they were all kids like me, but I'm sure there were real adults doing this, too) would let his computer be used as a "server." This just meant his parents let him have his own phone line for the modem. The rest of us would call in from our computers (one at a time, of course) upload the stuff we wanted to share and download any email that had arrived for us. Once or twice a night, the server would call some other servers in the network and see if any email had arrived for anyone with an account on his machine. Super simple.

Now FidoNet employed a genuinely distributed architecture. (And if you smart hackers can say why that's wrong, and how FidoNet could have been more distributed, please continue that line of thought! You are already on your way to developing the next network.) 25 years of networking later, lessons learned, and battles fought; can you imagine how much better we could do?

So let's get on it. Shall we use telephony, ham radio, or some other part of the spectrum? Do we organize overlapping meshes of WiMax? Do we ask George Soros for some money? MacArthur Foundation? Do we even need or want them or money at all? How might the funding of our network by a central bank issued currency, or a private foundation, or a public university, bias the very architecture we are trying to build? Who gets the ability to govern or limit what may spread over our network, if anyone? Should there be ways for us to transact?

To make the sorts of choices that might actually yield our next and truly decentralized network, we must take a good look at the highly centralized real world in which we live - as well as how it got that way. Only by understanding its principles, reckoning with the forces at play, and accepting the battles we have already lost, might we begin to forge ahead to create new forms that exist beyond any authority's ability to grant them protection.

Teaser image by Glenn Zucman.
sharing frm 'The Next Net By Douglas Rushkoff'

'grow a grassroots,
citizen-owned internet'