Monday, August 30, 2010

Happy 53rd Merdeka Day!

We've come 53 years since the independence of our beloved Malaysia on August 31st, 1957. We've achieved much development, physically and socially. So, this day is the day we celebrate our country's success to being a successful and peaceful country. Right?

Now, let's analyse what is the meaning of "Merdeka" or "Independence".

A definition from Wikipedia:
Independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory.[1]

A definition from TheFreeDictionary:
Not governed by a foreign power; self-governing.[2]

So, the important keyword here is "self-government". What is self government? Obviously, from the word itself, it can be clearly understood that it means to rule by itself.

How is Malaysia being ruled? The Website of The Parliament of Malaysia states that:
Malaysia practises Parliamentary Democracy with Constitutional Monarchy and His Royal Highness is the Paramount Ruler.[3]

Keywords: democracy, constitution

Democracy as defined by Democracy Building and by Wikipedia respectively:
Form of government, where a constitution guarantees basic personal and political rights, fair and free elections, and independent courts of law.[4]

Democracy is a political form of government where governing power is derived from the people, either by direct referendum (direct democracy) or by means of elected representatives of the people (representative democracy).[5]

Constitution as defined by The 'Lectric Law Library and Wikipedia respectively:
The fundamental law of the state, containing the principles upon which the government is founded and regulating the divisions of the sovereign powers, directing to what persons each of these powers is to be confided and the manner it is to be exercised.[6]

A constitution is a set of laws that a set of people have made and agreed upon for government—often codified as a written document—that enumerates and limits the powers and functions of a political entity.[7]

From the definitions presented above, a question we should be asking ourselves are:

  1. Is our government selected by the people through fair and free elections? Or are the results being tampered, manipulated or sabotaged with?

  2. Are our courts of law independent? Or being controlled to achieve certain motives?

  3. Are the people's rights protected? Or ignored and purposely misinterpreted?

  4. Is the constitution being up held? Or is it being ignored and misinterpreted (as mentioned)?

  5. Does the government that "we elect" work by the limits of their powers? Or have they gone overboard and are corrupted?

There are still many questions to be asked if we study more in detail about those definitions of words and our constitution.

In a nutshell, if you find that your answers to the above questions are similar as mine, then perhaps our Merdeka is not so worth celebrating after all, since this "independence" that we celebrate actually does not exist.

So guys, think about it, read up the news articles about our political situation (from both sides of the fence) and learn more about Malaysia in this Merdeka.

Selamat Hari Merdeka fellow Malaysians!!!

[1] Wikipedia Contributors, Independance, Retrieved 30th August 2010,
[2] TheFreeDictionary, Independent, Retrieved 30th August 2010,
[3] Website of The Parliament of Malaysia, Introduction, Retrieved 30th August 2010,
[4] Democracy Building, Definition of Democracy, Retrieved 30th August 2010,
[5] Wikipedia Contributors, Democracy, Retrieved 30th August 2010,
[6] The 'Lectric Law Library, Constitution, Retrieved 30th August 2010,
[7] Wikipedia Contributors, Constitution, Retrieved 30th August 2010,

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Majestic Mount Kinabalu - A Geological Story

Mount Kinabalu from Kundasang Town

Mount Kinabalu, the tallest mountain in the country needs no further introduction to fellow Malaysians, though it is not very well understood geologically. Aki Nabalu as the local Kadazandusuns call it, meaning "the revered place of the dead"[1] as it is believed that the spirits of the dead will reside on the mountain when one passes away. It is however, popularly translated to 神山 (pinyin: shén shān) in Chinese meaning Mountain of the Gods.

View of the peaks of Mount Kinabalu from near the Kinabalu Park's Timpohon entrance

Geography and Location
The tallest point, Low's Peak is at 4095 m above sea level[2], and is 1453 m higher than Malaysia's 2nd tallest mountain, Mount Trus Madi at 2642 m above sea level[3]. It is often touted as the tallest mountain in Southeast Asia, this is in fact disputable. Some might have heard of Puncak Jaya in the Indonesian Province of Papua (Irian Jaya) as the tallest mountain in Southeast Asia at 4884 m,[4] but the tallest mountain in Southeast Asia is actually Mount Hkakabo Razi in Myanmar, which is part of the Himalayan Mountain System, at 5881 m.[5] There are also many other mountains in Myanmar above 5000 m tall and in Papua, above 4500 m tall! See the List of Southeast Asian Mountains.

Peak of Puncak Jaya
Alfindra Primaldhi, Wikipedia

While there are 9 mountains listed on the list that are taller than Mount Kinabalu, those in Papua are geographically considered to be in the continent of Oceania and those in Myanmar are bordering southern China (but some still consider that as part of Southeast Asia). So, the claim of Mount Kinabalu as the tallest mountain in Southeast Asia might be accurate, depending on the geographical definition. Within political borders, however, that claim is far from true.

Myanmar's Hkakabo Razi

Climbing Mount Kinabalu has a good explanation of Mount Kinabalu's geology:
Mount Kinabalu is the youngest large mountain on earth today. The whole structure of the granite dome has been pushed through the sandstone in about a million years, which is exceptional young in geological terms. Mount Kinabalu thus is a huge granite dome, pluton or batholit that was pushed up from the earth’s 1-1.5 million years ago by the hardening of a mass of molten rock that rose beneath the sedimentary rocks of the older Crocker Range. The sandstone and soil that once covered the granite have been eroded to reveal the underlying bare granite rock. During the Pleistocene Period at about 100,000 years ago, the mountain was covered by ice and glaciers which flowed down its slopes, scouring its surface in the process and creating the 1800 m deep Low's Gully on its north side. The ice fields covered some 5,4 square kilometres, and projected into two glaciers with moraines. Only the sharp summit peaks projected through the ice. The ice sheets disappeared 3,000 years ago, but the glacier-smoothed slopes of the summit plateau and the jagged ice-plucked peaks still bear witness to the icy past. No snow falls on the mountain today and there are rare reports of ice forming in the little rock pool at the summit, this is the ‘Sacrifice Pool’, it was a traditional site of offerings to the mountain spirits.[6]

Low's Gully
Source: Universitas Bergensis

Mount Kinabalu is essentially a massive pluton formed from granodiorite which is intrusive. It is still pushing up at the rate of 5 mm per annum.[2] The glacier at 100,000 years ago, cuts the mountain and formed Low's Gully, a huge U shaped gorge 1.5 km large, splitting it into the "two sides of Kinabalu East and Kinabalu West".[7] This gorge led many to assume that Mount Kinabalu is an extinct volcano, which is untrue. Volcanoes, extinct and active do exist in Malaysia though in the Semporna Peninsula. See my previous post here.

Low's Gully
Source: Stoncel
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is definitely worth a visit as it's the only place in Malaysia where one can find an alpine forest, only mountain over 3000 m high, and the geological features will just blow you away! A climb up the mountain, however is becoming very unaffordable due to efforts to limit visitors in order to protect the mountains.

[1] Mount Kinabalu, The Legends of Mount Kinabalu,
[2] Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia, Mount Kinabalu
[3] Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia, Mount Trus Madi
[4] Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia, Puncak Jaya
[5] Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia, Hkakabo Razi
[7] Mount Kinabalu, The Geology of Mount Kinabalu

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Aug 21st: Revamped xPress

It has been a long time since my last post due to being busy, not having constant internet connection for some period of time and stuff, which got me off momentum in blogging. The good news is that, I suddenly got the urge to update my blog. So, yay!! I gave the blog some minor revamp in layout, hoping to achieve a better organisation and better categorised content.

If anyone noticed over the past week, the blog have been slowly evolving to include a new page and some internal and external links. Firstly, I've got my some of my posts of a certain category organised by tags in  artificial "pages". Currently there's "Geography xPress" for posts about places and geography and "Español xPress" for posts in Spanish. Secondly there's a new page, "Metro Penang xPress" which I'll update on some info and urban developments in Penang. Finally, I've included a link to my music profile in "Music xPress" which I do not decide to include it in my blog itself as serves that purpose very well in managing my music statistics and it even has its own blog in "Journal".

More pages and "artificial pages" will be created when the need arises. I'll try to keep the momentum going in blog writing, so stay tuned!