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Wednesday, 29 February 2012

BINGKASAN ON CHRISTMAS

Was googling my name, and wow, this article by Roy Goh of the New Straits Times. Tks abuiiii...

Home is where the heart is during Christmas.

KOTA KINABALU, 25 Dec 2011: Shopping for new clothes, presents and merry-making aside, Albert Bingkasan, who works in Kuala Lumpur, believes the joy of Christmas is at home.
"We tend to forget what life really means to us in our everyday life but during Christmas it renews our purpose," said the devout Catholic.
Bingkasan, from Inanam here, believes the event remains relevant for Christians just as it was 2,000 years ago.
"We are reminded of the joys of life when we pray in church and when we celebrate with our loved ones at home."
The midnight mass would be the most popular for most, but for Bingkasan, the 7pm service at the Good Shepherd church in Menggatal here, was his pick last night.
There was no harm though in buying new things, exchanging gifts and gathering with friends to celebrate the event, he said.
Ronie George, 38, and her cousin Natasha Tasius, 21, from Tuaran here, were among those who did some last-minute shopping here.
"Christmas would not be complete without presents for the family," said Ronie.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, in his Christmas message, said the exchange of greetings in the true spirit of harmony had made the country a success story.
"Our country continues to be a fine example of how people of different religions and ethnic groups live side by side, and united in their stand to make Malaysia a success story. We continue to see strength in diversity, a feature that we can be proud of." (By ROY GOH, New Straits Times)

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

TAN Sri Bernard Dompok, the Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, was a member of a top level Malaysian delegation headed by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, for an audience with His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI on July 18, 2011. Several media organisations had since asked Dompok, who is also Upko president, to share his thoughts about the trip. Due to a tight schedule, he spoke instead with former journalist, Albert Bingkasan , who is now his Special Officer in the ministry in Putrajaya. (This article was published in all the mainstream newspapers and online portals. This particular one was in the Catholic Herald, KL. Yes, its been six months or so after visit, but better late to blog than never... good for file purposes)

Bingkasan: Good morning Tan Sri. Please kindly walk us through the Vatican programme?


Dompok: Bingkasan, good morning. The July 18 audience was at the Pope’s summer residence at the Apostolic Palace in
Castel Gendolfo, outside Rome, which is about 45 minutes drive from our accommodation, the Westin Exclesior Hotel. We arrived there at about 11.00am, and soon after, Pope Benedict granted the Prime Minister a private meeting.

After that, Datuk Seri introduced his entourage, namely his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Ministers in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon and Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, National Fatwa Council chairman Prof Tan Sri Dr Abdul Shukor Husin, Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese Archbishop Tan Sri Murphy Nicholas Xavier Pakiam and myself.


Najib then presented the Pope with gifts in the form of a book titled Najib and a framed songket embroidery, followed by a group photograph. Later they ushered us into a separate room for a delegation meeting with Secretary of State of the Holy See, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. We left Castel Gondolfo at about 12.30pm.


It has been reported that the audience’s main agenda was to formalise diplomatic relations between Malaysia and the Holy See. Could you elaborate?


Dompok: July 18 will be remembered as the day when diplomatic ties between Malaysia and the Holy See materialised. The journey however started about nine years ago. It was 2002, and the then Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir Mohamad led a delegation for an audience with the late Pope John Paul II. I was there, and diplomatic relations was top of the agenda.

At that time, personally, I was hoping the ties would be formalised sooner rather than later. I was very sad when Pope Paul II passed away in 2005, partly because what we had discussed three years earlier remained just that, a discussion.


What was the problem?

Dompok:
I suppose the “delay” if any, was due to a mixture of reasons. I do know, however, that our top leadership had always been very positive to the idea. And Malaysia actually had been very friendly with the Vatican.

That was why, the then Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi asked me to head a Malaysian delegation to represent the country for the funeral of Pope John Paul II. The event itself was an experience of a lifetime, but that’s a story for another day.

It must be a real joy for you, sir, to see the completion of the 2002 efforts?


Dompok: Yes, I am indeed very happy. Being Catholic, I am more than hopeful that the significant event will spur further progress for our country and the world. On a personal basis, it is kind of sentimental for me, there is a sense of fulfilment.

I was there when it was first mooted officially, and now, it is complete. It is a mission accomplished, so to speak. I thank Datuk Seri Najib and his predecessors for keeping alive all these while the dreams and wishes of the Christian communities and the Catholics in particular.


For the Prime Minister it is a foreign policy shift just as his father steered the country to recognise China.

Hopeful? The issues that come to mind include solution to the ban for non-Muslims to use the name Allah, the confiscation of Alkitab and apostasy.

Dompok: First of all, we have to take note that the “Allah” and Alkitab issues are still in court. We all know the story. Suffice here for me to reiterate my stand, my party’s resolution in calling for the court to resolve the issues soon. It has been dragging too long.

Secondly, while we hail the diplomatic ties, we must also be pragmatic. Such relations do not have magical powers. But I am confident, the ties is a move in the right direction in our efforts to mould and come up with a real One Malaysia community. Problems concerning ethnic relations, religious freedom and the likes could from now onwards be seen in a broader perspective.

We must also remember that our country is still maturing. There will be hiccups here and there. What matters is for us to continue learning, strengthen our unity, work hard and be focussed in what we have all agreed to achieve.

We have the Rukun Negara as our guide, and many other pointers, the latest being the diplomatic ties with Vatican. If we are sincere enough, we will get the desired result for the betterment of all.

Tan Sri, you had the privilege of meeting two Popes. How was it?


Dompok: I am indeed blessed with the opportunity to have met with the head of the Catholic Church. Meeting them, two of them, was a dream come true. It is an experience of a life time.

When I met Pope John Paul II nine years ago, I was filled with joy. You are before holiness itself. And when I left, I felt exhilarated.

That’s also how I felt on July 18. It is hard to express in words. But the feeling is real. In both encounters, I also asked the Holy Father to bless me and the Rosaries I had with me. It was very touching, and one that I will always treasure in my life.

The Internet had been abuzz with the visit, Tan Sri. Many were hoping the audience will somehow also transform the Malaysian leaders for the better. Is that a fair comment?

Dompok:
I cannot possibly speak on their behalf. I do know that the Prime Minister was very happy with the audience. He was able to bring forward his agenda for the moderates to claim ownership of the middle ground in a world where conflicts abound.

He was also captivated by the scenery, particularly the lake fronting the Castel Gondolfo. It is summer time there now.

On hindsight, the visit brought together leaders from different religious beliefs. Archbishop Pakiam had a good chat with Datuk Seri Jamil and Prof Tan Sri Dr Abdul Shukor. Such meeting would not have happened easily if not for the visit. That in itself is an achievement, a blessing.

Thank you. Thank you, Tan Sri. (THE CATHOLIC HERALD, KL)

Thursday, 9 February 2012

NAJIB AGREES TO SET UP RCI

DOMPOK: "All I can say is that it (RCI) has been discussed at the Cabinet, the rest we leave it to the Prime Minister to say." And yes, I am smiling from ear to ear. Who would not? After a consistent stand on the RCI since Upko inception in 1994, we now see the result. Upko takes credit. Yes. And yes, other parties too. It is a perjuangan embraced by all the parties, BN or otherwise in Sabah. Perjuangan belum selesai. Bravo to you sir...

NOD FOR RCI INTO SABAH ILLEGALS 

By MUGUNTAN VANAR

KOTA KINABALU, 8 Feb 2012: The Federal Government is said to have approved the setting up of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Sabah's long-standing illegal immigrants problem.
While senior Sabah leaders in the Cabinet declined to disclose the decision concerning the setting up of the RCI, they indicated that there were some positive developments on the issue.
The RCI - which has been called for by all Sabah Barisan Nasional parties and the Opposition - has become a key issue as Sabahans perceived that many foreigners had gained Malaysian citizenship through dubious means and were on the voter rolls.
Parti UPKO president Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said: “All I can say is that it (RCI) has been discussed at the Cabinet, the rest we leave it to the Prime Minister to say.”
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk V.K. Liew in a Facebook posting said: “Confirmed guys, RCI is on, now working on the terms and conditions.''
When contacted, Liew, who is Liberal Democratic Party president, said his ministry that oversees Law and Parliamentary Affairs, would look into the terms and reference and other related matters with the Attorney-General's chambers.
All eight Sabah Barisan parties, including Sabah Umno, Parti Upko and Parti Bersatu Sabah, have supported the setting up of the RCI to help examine and resolve the illegal immigrant problem that has been dubbed as the “mother of all problems'' facing Sabah.
Among the issues about the illegal immigrant problem was abnormal growth of Sabah's population over the last two decades. THE STAR

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

FRIENDS OR FOE

THIS sounds familiar. Anyway, first post this year. It is the year of the Water Dragon. Time will tell...

Anelka tells of Chelsea woe

February 8, 2012: Former Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka has spoken of his exile at Stamford Bridge, stating there are "no friends in football".
Anelka, 32, was deemed not in manager Andre Villas-Boas' plans and played his final game for Chelsea in November before having a transfer request accepted.
Alongside defender Alex, who has since joined PSG, the Frenchman trained away from the first-team, and ultimately sealed a move to Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua.
Reflecting on the finals weeks of his time at Stamford Bridge, having joined from Bolton for £15 million in 2008, Anelka told The Sun: "Ever since I was punished they put me with the youngsters.
"I've got all the kit and equipment that professionals have but they put me in a separate changing room - that's football for you.
"One day, you can be there scoring goals and doing all you have to do for your club but the day you leave there is no pity.
"That's why the day you do decide to leave you have to do what you have to do and have no sadness either, because there are no friends in football.
"That's the truth. It's sad to say but that's the truth. It's a collective sport but it's also very individual.
"It's true that I could have had a better career but I know I've succeeded and I'm proud of that when I go back to France, back to the suburbs I came from, the guys there are proud of me.
"They know I never gave up. I took plenty of knocks but I'm still here. Shanghai is Asia's New York. I love the way they live here. I often come here on holiday. This is my last contract." - ESPN