Gender segregation in Malaysia criticized

Oh this is funny, men and women sitting separating in New Year’s eve countdown celebration has been criticized.

Gender segregation bid at New Year do slammed

GEORGE TOWN: The Kedah government has come under fire for trying to impose gender segregation at its state-level New Year’s eve countdown celebration in Sungai Petani.

Kedah MCA chairman Datuk Chong Itt Chew said he received many complaints from revellers who were unhappy that men and women were “advised” to sit separately during the gathering near the clock tower at Jalan Ibrahim.

He said a large LED screen had displayed words advising couples not to sit together but to sit in the arrangement which segregated men and women.

“I don’t know what is the motive of the organisers. They should respect the sensitivity of non-Muslims,” he added.

Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak said there was nothing wrong with men and women sitting separately.

He said such a move could avoid problems such as pick-pocketing and indecent behaviour.

Azizan said the gender segregation was merely a suggestion and nobody was forced to comply with it. [Source: The Star]

How would gender segregation, particularly, pick-pocketing. Is this applying that, statistically, it is more likely to have pick-pockets targeting the opposite gender?

Fined for lighting candles

I saw this in the TODAY paper:

NEA fine overly harsh?

05:55 AM Oct 09, 2010

About two weeks ago, my sister and her group of friends gathered at the East Coast Park to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival.

They lit candles on a park table but their guileless fun cost them a fine of $500 by two officers from the National Environment Agency. In my opinion, these youngsters should have been let off with a warning as they were first-time offenders. The group cleaned the table afterwards. Was there a need for such a harsh punishment to be meted out?

Letter from Joyce Koh

[via TODAY]

While it is indeed wrong to light candles on a park table, a $500 fine is a little too much. It’s nothing to do with the offenders being youngsters, there shouldn’t be a student subsidy for fines. Lighting candles in park during Mid-Autumn Festival is no longer a common occurrence as compared to, say, ten years ago. Either people are less interested in the Festival or that they’re understanding that they are vandalizing public property.

I wouldn’t want someone to light candles on the table in my house. I would be even more offended if someone lights candles on my wooden table and leave the melted wax for me to clean. Incidentally most people do not clean up the candle wax after they are done having fun watching the candles melt in the parks. No one brings a utility knife for such occasions to scrap the wax off. Perhaps the authorities are concerned over this form of littering.

A punishment is justifiable but $500 probably isn’t. Perhaps some sort of mandatory community work would be a better punishment. As for the wax on the table, yes, get them to clean them up with a electrical iron and some paper.

History of April Fool’s Day

Here’s how April Fool’s Day begin, or to be precise, some possible reasons how April Fool’s Day come about. We pass by this day without knowing the origin of this day. Well here are some possible reasons:

When did April Fool’s Day begin?

A giddy spurt of practical joking seems to have coincided with the coming of spring since the time of the Ancient Romans and Celts, who celebrated a festival of mischief-making. The first mentions of an All Fool’s Day (as it was formerly called) came in Europe in the Middle Ages.

Some trace April Fool’s Day back to Roman mythology, particularly the story of Ceres, Goddess of the harvest, and her daughter, Proserpina. Pluto, God of the Dead, abducted Proserpina and took her to live with him in the underworld. The girl called out to her mother, but Ceres could only hear the echo of her daughter’s voice and searched for her in vain.

Such “fool’s errands,” or wild goose chases, became a popular practical joke in Europe in later centuries.

The most widespread theory of the origin of April Fool’s Day is the switch from the old Julian to the Gregorian calendar (now in use) in the late 16th century. Under the Julian calendar, the New Year was celebrated during the week between March 25 and April 1, but under the Gregorian calendar, it was moved to Jan. 1. Those who were not notified of the change, or stubbornly kept to the old tradition, were often mocked and had jokes played on them on or around the old New Year.

In France, this took the form of pranksters sticking fish on the backs of those who celebrated the old custom, earning the victims of the prank the name Poisson d’Avril, or April Fish.

But the theory can’t explain why the pranking tradition spread to other countries in Europe that did not adopt the Gregorian calendar until later.

In Scotland, the butts of April Fool’s jokes were known as April “Gowks,” another name for a cuckoo bird. The origins of the “Kick Me” sign can supposedly be traced back to the Scottish observance of the day. (Source: MSNBC)

This is the day you shouldn’t believe the news.

Did you know today is lantern festival?

Well, today is Yuan Xiao Jie (元宵节) also known as Lantern Festival. It’s something that China celebrates and Singapore doesn’t because we combined them and celebrate it on this mid-autumn festival somehow. I don’t know how that came to our traditions. Lantern festival is celebrated as it is the first night (15th on lunar calendar) of the year with a full moon.

The Lantern Festival (traditional Chinese: 元宵節; simplified Chinese: 元宵节; pinyin: Yuánxiāojié or traditional Chinese: 上元節; simplified Chinese: 上元节; pinyin: Shàngyuánjié; Vietnamese: Tết Nguyên tiêu; Hán tự: 節元宵) is a Chinese festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunar year in the Chinese calendar. It is not to be confused with the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is also sometimes known as the “Lantern Festival” in locations such as Singapore, Malaysia. During the Lantern Festival, children go out at night to temples carrying paper lanterns (simplified Chinese: 兔子灯; traditional Chinese: 兔子燈; pinyin: tùzidēng) and solve riddles on the lanterns (simplified Chinese: 猜灯谜; traditional Chinese: 猜燈謎; pinyin: cāidēngmí). It officially ends the Chinese New Year. (Source: Wikipedia)

I guess most would be having a good meal at home. This day marks the end of lunar new year, I hope my friends would have a good year ahead. Happy lunar new year, one last time!