Lamb Chop!!


Probably the best lamb chops I've had in years! Spices were just right, meat was tender and they served it with crispy potato wedges! Simply delicious! PERMATA's dining hall does offer some pretty good "pay" food I must say. Yum yum!

Battle of the Lotuses

I've always admired judges and the "wisdom" the exude. Sadly as for what I've been hearing from my lawyer friends, here in Malaysia proceedings are extremely slow and inefficient. Cases may take years to resolve. Fast forward to 2010 and we were shocked with the news of Group Lotus filing a law suit against Tony Fernandes' 1Malaysia Racing team. I've been following the case and have blogged about it before here. Recently the British courts have set a date for the full settlement of this case to the 21st of March. This is very, very quick by Malaysian standards. Of course there's a media battle going between the two Lotuses right after the judge's decision, both claiming the judge's decision a "moral victory" in their favour. The transcript of the hearing has however made it's way to my possession (it's on paul tan's blog). Now we can all see for ourselves what actually happened during the hearing. Very insightful for us non-lawyers. I'm quite impressed by Justice Peter Smith, even if he is a Smith... =P. Anyways, jokes aside, knock yourselves out with the transcript below:



Both parties painted their own interpretation of whatever transpired at the hearing when it was decided that the trial between Group Lotus and Team Lotus be brought to a full trial in March 2011. We’ve obtained the full transcript of the proceedings – so now for whoever’s interested, you can read what actually happened after the jump, between Mr Morpuss for Group Lotus Plc, Mr Silverleaf for Team Lotus and Justice Peter Smith.

Claimant:
GROUP LOTUS PLC
Defendants:
1MALAYSIA RACING TEAM SDN BHD
TEAM LOTUS VENTURES LIMITED
TUNE GROUP SDN BHD
ANTHONY FRANCIS FERNANDES
1MALAYSIA RACING TEAM (UK) LIMITED
MR. MICHAEL SILVERLEAF QC and MR. BRIAN KENNELLY (instructed by SNR Denton UK LLP) appeared for the Claimant (GROUP LOTUS PLC).
MR. GUY MORPUSS QC and MS. PATRICIA EDWARDS (instructed by MacFarlanes LLP) appeared for the 1st Defendant (1MALAYSIA RACING TEAM SDN BHD).
MR. SILVERLEAF: May it please you, my Lord. In this matter I appear with my learned friend Mr. Kennelly for the claimant and my learned friends MR. MORPUSS and Ms. Edwards appear for the defendants.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: Do you appear for all the defendants today or are you just doing one?
MR. MORPUSS: Only 1MRT and that is the only defendant to this application, although MacFarlanes and I and my learned junior do represent the other defendants as well.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: Yes.
MR. SILVERLEAF: My Lord, this application today before the court is for summary judgment on a single isolated issue arising under the trade mark licence granted by Group Lotus to 1Malaysia Racing (whom I will call “1MRT” for short, if I may) in 2009 to race in Formula One under the name LOTUS RACING. Your Lordship has had a rather voluminous set of papers —-
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: But no reading list.
MR. SILVERLEAF: I am very sorry, my Lord. Have you had the opportunity to read at least the skeleton arguments?
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: I have read the skeleton arguments, I have read the pleadings and I have glanced at the witness statements and I have read most of the historical agreements and the 2009 —-
MR. SILVERLEAF: I am very grateful, my Lord. That should speed things up enormously.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: I think things could be sped up enormously another way. When are you proposing to have the trial of the rest of the action?
MR. SILVERLEAF: We have, I think, been given a trial window of early next year.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: How long do you estimate the trial?
MR. SILVERLEAF: I think it is 10 days, my Lord. There are two problems. One is, obviously the 2011 racing season is about to start.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: It starts in Bahrain, 17th March?
MR. SILVERLEAF: The middle of March, yes. The other is that I think the parties are agreed we need to ask the court to expedite the full trial in any event so that it takes place before the 2012 season.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: No. I think we should expedite it so that it starts before the 2011 season. I think we should have a speedy trial of the whole action before, certainly, the end of March. I think we should set a timetable to hear the whole action then. There are no resource issues in this case, given the schedules of costs that have been provided to me. Let us get it all sorted in one go.
MR. SILVERLEAF: My Lord, obviously I will have to take instructions on that. I suspect my learned friend will as well.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: We have had the pleadings. There has not been a reply and defence to the counterclaim yet, has there?
MR. SILVERLEAF: The pleadings are closed. I believe there is still outstanding a request for further information from us to the defendants which has not been answered. Apart from that, I suspect the pleadings are terminated.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: I think both ought to take instructions. I am sure we can get this trial on. I have already made inquiries of the Listing Officer and we can get a 10 day trial on this term. It is a shame you did not apply for this back in front of Briggs J in November, but the parties can do it, so far as I can see. There are no resource issues — just for lots of people. That is it.
MR. SILVERLEAF: My Lord, in that case —-
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: I will rise if you like and you can both —-
MR. SILVERLEAF: I do not think I can take instructions without your Lordship rising.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: No. It is best I do not hear what you say — good or bad.
MR. SILVERLEAF: Indeed, my Lord. Can we have 10 minutes?
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: Have as long as you like.
(A short adjournment)
MR. SILVERLEAF: My Lord, thank you very much for the opportunity to take instructions. Our position is that it is a tough call to do a trial that quickly but we think we can do it and if your Lordship wishes to direct a speedy trial we would be delighted. Obviously, we would like to dispose of this dispute before the season begins and, frankly, if we can dispose of it early in the season that is almost as good. I have to tell your Lordship that the only reason we did not ask for a speedy trial at the outset is that we did not think the other side would agree. I wait to hear what my learned friend says.
MR. MORPUSS: My Lord, much as we would like to see this resolved, with the best will in the world we do not see that it is going to be capable of being resolved by March or even the end of March as a trial.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: Why not?
MR. MORPUSS: It is all very well, my Lord, to just throw resources at a case, and your Lordship is right that there are plenty of solicitors and there are plenty of funds on both sides. But we have all seen cases where solicitors simply throw trainees and resources at cases. Unless those are well managed and well directed what one ends up with is people simply running round like headless chickens and it does not get one anywhere.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: That is a matter of getting resource sorted out.
MR. MORPUSS: It is, my Lord, but simply saying there are endless resources is not the answer. The question is what we can actually achieve in six to eight weeks. The concern —-
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: You ought to look at my decision in Re Crowson Fabrics where I directed a trial on the Friday to start on the following Wednesday.
MR. MORPUSS: Yes, but of course —-
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: And it did. That was a lot shorter than this, obviously, but I see no reason why this cannot be put in in six weeks.
MR. MORPUSS: That is what I was going to say to your Lordship. Of course, it depends very much on the case. There are a couple of concerns that we have. One is that this application was made on 20th October last year. If we had been approached then for an expedited trial it could have been approached with a view to seeing whether we could get it on in February or March before the season started — an expedited trial properly arranged and managed. It is the claimant who chose to make this application for summary judgment which we submit, if we get to it, is a hopeless application and the only way of resolving this is a trial. Because of their application everyone has been focused for the last few months on that. As far as the other four defendants go that I act for, we have not been focusing at all on the rest of the case beyond pleading out the issues in the pleadings. It has all been focused on dealing with this and we have not been off exploring the evidence that we need to produce. My learned friends have turned up with Mr. Monk, the Group Lotus employee from 1978. He criticises my side for not having an equivalent. We have approached some other witnesses may be able to call but we are at a very early stage in those inquiries. We can get on with those but trying to do it in a matter of weeks is going to be pretty difficult, my Lord.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: The history is very interesting but the history involves examining the chains of devolution of the various marks through various companies and through various agreements, does it not? That is the primary issue as to whether or not the defendants have an independent right to use TEAM LOTUS, is it not?
MR. MORPUSS: There are two limbs to it, my Lord. Your Lordship has rightly identified one of them, which is whether the chain of agreements passes through Mr. Hunt to my clients. But there is another limb to it which is the one that my learned friend takes in his skeleton on this application, which is whether the goodwill in TEAM LOTUS and Group Lotus is divisible or indivisible. That is a central question on the historic relationship between the two companies. No one has bottomed that out yet. Your Lordship has looked at the 1985 agreement and one of the things that appears in the 1985 agreement is a reference to a 1986 agreement. There is some suggestion in the papers that things changed after 1968, in the same agreement, that after 1968 there was a clear separation of the companies.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: Mr. Hunt is still around, presumably, is he not?
MR. MORPUSS: I believe so, my Lord, yes.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: And Mr. Hunt has been around during the whole of the period of these operations. You will be able to speak to Mr. Hunt. He has sold his interest in the companies, presumably for some money, and he will, no doubt, co-operate with Mr. Fernandes. Given Mr. Hunt’s stated belief that since 1995 he has been trying to get TEAM LOTUS back on to the Formula One front, he would be very keen to see this happen, would he not?
MR. MORPUSS: One would have thought so, my Lord, and it is likely he can give some helpful evidence from that period onwards.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: My view with these things is that if we pick a date and we say the trial will start then and we set a timetable and we police what goes on between now and then — it is no good looking backwards and saying, “But the claimant could have made an application earlier.” That is gone now — if there are any difficulties what I do with cases like this is I police the operation of the order to ensure that it happens.
MR. MORPUSS: Of course, my Lord.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: It is very difficult for parties, in my view, to come to court and say, “We have got this big point to be decided before the commitment of the Formula One season” and then, when they are offered a chance to have the case heard, say, “Ah but we want to kick it into the long grass for another year”.
MR. MORPUSS: My Lord, it is certainly not our desire to kick it into the long grass but we didn’t come to court saying, “We want to have this resolved”. It is my learned friend’s application for expedition which Briggs J granted. I am not trying to be difficult, but I am simply looking at the practicalities of —-
MR. SILVERLEAF: With your consent.
MR. MORPUSS: No, without our objection. We did not consent to it, if it matters. But, my Lord, there is also the question of disclosure. What is going to happen is that there are a lot of documents to come out of Group Lotus. If disclosure is going to be done in a matter of a few weeks, inevitably there will be arguments about what is proportionate to do in the disclosure exercise and, given how important the history is and how important it is to dig out documents where there are not witnesses —-
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: I had the same arguments in the Candy Bros. litigation last year when they told me in March they could not possibly meet a trial timetable in May. I rejected that, I set a timetable and the trial was heard in May. Their arguments there were the same point: thousands of pounds of documents hidden away in various places and disclosure cannot take place. My view is that we set a timetable, the parties approach it with their best endeavours and if there are any difficulties then you come back to me on a liberty to apply provision and we will see where we are going. I firmly believe the parties should make an attempt to have this issue resolved before the Formula One season starts this year or has gone too far.
MR. MORPUSS: My Lord, could I just pick up on that last point which is getting it resolved before the Formula One season starts. The season, I am told, starts on 11th March in Bahrain and then it moves on to Melbourne at the end of March.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: And then there is a bit of gap.
MR. MORPUSS: On 8th April they are in Malaysia and then, on 15th April, in Shanghai. The concern we have is that from early March onwards, when the team have all gone out there, everyone is going to have disappeared and in terms of witnesses that we need from the clients or witnesses from Formula One, they are all out in the Far East for a couple of months.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: The only area where you are likely to have witnesses is over the allegations concerning the 2009 agreement as to whether or not it was broken by your clients or not and whether the claimant broke it.
MR. MORPUSS: Yes, my Lord.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: Once again, we can always adapt, in the modern world, to the hearing of evidence in the modern world to the hearing of evidence by video link or an appropriate timetabling of the case. I firmly believe that parties have a right, and, of course, have a duty to have their dispute resolved quickly and, given the importance of this case, I think it ought to be heard, if possible, sometime in March. You might lose two. It may slip into April. But the vast bulk, subject, of course, to anybody’s right to appeal (but that is a different story, that is not my concern), of the Formula One 2011 ought to take place with at least a first instance decision as to the rights between the parties. That of course, also assumes that the parties do not become sensible in the meantime and negotiate a settlement. Speedy trials concentrate people’s minds in that regard as well.
MR. MORPUSS: Of course they do, my Lord. May I add one other point, then, my Lord, which is this. An application of this sort is not going to resolve the use of TEAM LOTUS by my learned friend in the 2011 season. It is not the purpose of this application that his team can use the name TEAM LOTUS. All the entries have been made for the Formula One championships. They are sponsoring the Renault Team who have to use the word “Renault” in their name because that is their chassis name. So even if there is a speedy trial it is not going to result in my learned friend being able to use the name TEAM LOTUS this season.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: Has he got an application to do that?
MR. MORPUSS: No. That was my point, my Lord.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: No. The whole point is stopping you using it, is it not?
MR. MORPUSS: Yes. That is what they want to do. It is a dog in the manger application. They do not want to use it themselves. They want to stop us using it.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: It is a commercial dispute between two commercial organisations as to their respective rights. This regularly happens. No doubt there will be the prospect of money changing hands one way or another as leading to an inducement to resolve the dispute. If they have a right to stop you using TEAM LOTUS, they are entitled to seek to exercise it. Equally, if you have a right to use TEAM LOTUS, you should be able to do that free from them.
MR. MORPUSS: Yes.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: I am giving both sides an opportunity to have this resolved now rather than later.
MR. MORPUSS: My Lord, as I say, we are keen to have it —-
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: If you do not have that and it goes off to another year and there is no application by the claimant for interim relief, you will then have, hanging over the 2011 season, the question as whether or not your clients, legitimately, are entitled to use TEAM LOTUS. If, at the end of next year, the court determines you were not, then there are going to be all manner of arguments about the relief, is there not?
MR. MORPUSS: My Lord, as I said, we are enthusiastic about getting it resolved early.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: Good. I am glad to hear it.
MR. MORPUSS: But we would like it to be done in an orderly way and we feel that March is too soon. From our point of view, if we win the trial, we want to stop them, for example, using the black and gold livery of TEAM LOTUS which they use —-
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: Have you claimed that in your counterclaim?
MR. MORPUSS: That is something that we need to amend, my Lord, because it has only happened after our last round of pleadings was served. If we get into a discussion about directions, that is a direction I would ask, for leave to amend the defence and counterclaim to bring that claim. My Lord, the reality is that if you order this we will work towards it with the best will in the world but we may be coming back in a few weeks and saying it is just not possible. But, obviously, if your Lordship wants to have a trial in March we will do what we can.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: I will, of course, entertain applications, by either side if they come and tell me, “The timetable is so strict that I cannot fairly present my client’s case”. I will not force a trial if it is going to an injustice in that way, but I do believe the parties ought, at least, to make a serious attempt to have a trial as early as possible in March.
MR. MORPUSS: The final point, I would say, my Lord, is we have not been able to take any instructions from the clients and the points I have been putting to your Lordship are simply the considerations that the legal team has come up with. Our clients are out in the Far East, obviously.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: I understand that. They are all probably safely in bed now.
MR. MORPUSS: Yes.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: I would, in any event, give you liberty to apply on 24 hours’ notice back to me on any issue. That is my standard case management direction anyway. Given that, we need a timetable for a speedy trial, do we not?
MR. SILVERLEAF: It would appear so, my Lord, yes.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: If we look at March and you want 10 days, a start on either the 14th or 21st March would be a good idea, I would have thought. I think it is probably optimistic to say that we can start it for 10 days before that first Formula One in Bahrain.
MR. MORPUSS: In the interests of having the extra week, I would go for the 21st, my Lord.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: What do you say, MR. SILVERLEAF, 21st start?
MR. SILVERLEAF: Would your Lordship just give me one moment. (Counsel took instructions) Yes, my Lord.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: 21st March?
MR. SILVERLEAF: 21st March.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: 21st March for 10 days. Do you want to attempt to agree a timetable between yourselves first?
MR. MORPUSS: I think that would be more sensible, my Lord, yes.
MR. SILVERLEAF: I am sure we can, my Lord.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: Yes, adding a clause, my standard clause, which is: “Liberty to apply to me at ten o’clock on any day, subject to my availability, for 30 minutes on two business days’ notice or less if urgent on any matter arising out of this order”. I am not suggesting the case comes before me at trial. I suspect it will probably go before a different judge given the IP issues, but there is no reason why I should not at least drive through the case management to trial. That is a very important provision. My experience over the years has been that that stops people taking silly stances because they come in front of me and I shout at them.
MR. MORPUSS: I am not sure we have time to take silly stances on this timetable, my Lord, anyway.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: I believe in this timetable but it is when things disappear into correspondence. Do not get involved in correspondence about issues. Come and see me informally on that liberty to apply. Take as long as you need over the directions. I will notify listing that that is the time you are aiming for.
(A short adjournment)
MR. SILVERLEAF: My Lord, we have a provisional timetable subject to your Lordship’s approval. Unless you want to, you do not need to write it down. We will prepare one.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: Yes. I am just listening.
MR. SILVERLEAF: The defendants should have leave to amend their counterclaim by 28th January. We would have liberty to amend the reply and defence to counterclaim in response by 4th February. Disclosure on the 14th. Inspection on the 16th. Witness statements on 7th March. Trial on the 21st. If your Lordship is happy with that, the parties are.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: Is no expert evidence going to be called?
MR. SILVERLEAF: Not as far as I can see. This is a case which turns entirely on fact.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: The only areas possible — No, I am not going to encourage you to think of expert evidence.
MR. SILVERLEAF: I am very pleased to hear that, my Lord. Subject to your Lordship’s approval —-
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: Yes. The only add-on I would have is that skeleton arguments, reading lists, bundles, lists of authorities should be lodged by, shall we say, Wednesday the 16th and make Monday the 21st a reading day for the judge. And put my liberty to apply provision in.
MR. SILVERLEAF: I am sorry, my Lord. I was taking that as read. I do apologise.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: I have spoken to listing and Mr. Bell is very happy to have you in on that day.
MR. SILVERLEAF: Excellent.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: Costs reserved?
MR. MORPUSS: My Lord, the effect of this is that the summary judgment application is not going to be heard and was a mistake to have been brought.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: No. You can have that argument at the end of the trial.
MR. MORPUSS: Okay, my Lord.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: If you ever reach that stage. The only other thing is that dreadful word “mediation”. Is there any prospect of a mediated settlement in this case? I would suspect that the only possible time for mediation is after you have had your disclosure and exchange of witness statements. My experience is mediation does not take place when everything is still inchoate. Maybe I do not need to say to such an experienced team of lawyers that they should think about settlement before they spend 10 days in court.
MR. SILVERLEAF: We have and we are, my Lord.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: What, you are experienced and you have discussed it?
MR. SILVERLEAF: We have thought about settlement and we are thinking about it.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: Right.
MR. SILVERLEAF: One always does.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: Not always. We sometimes have lengthy cases which attract comments about tanks and things. Very well. If the order can be e-mailed to my associate and my clerk, I will sign it off.
MR. SILVERLEAF: Thank you very much indeed, my Lord. We are very grateful to your Lordship for both suggesting and directing —-
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: The other thing that occurred to me is this. You are going to maintain the status quo in the sense that the defendants are going to be able to enter the existing Grand Prix that will take place before the trial as they have registered, presumably, and with all rights reserved in respect of that?
MR. SILVERLEAF: Yes, my Lord, subject, obviously, to an agreement to the contrary between the parties, whether temporary or permanent. Also, we are both subject to the rule of Formula One management. If Formula One management say we can or cannot do something, either of us, then we are not able to gainsay that because they are in control.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: They are not going to stop the defendants because the defendants are already registered to participate, are they not?
MR. SILVERLEAF: I think that is right, my Lord.
MR. MORPUSS: Yes, that is right, my Lord. We are already registered. It is too late —-
?MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: And not calling yourself “Lotus Renault” are you, or anything like that?
MR. MORPUSS: We are not, my Lord, no.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: The claimant is not calling itself Lotus Renault?
MR. MORPUSS: It is, yes.
MR. SILVERLEAF: We are.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: You are?
MR. SILVERLEAF: Yes.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: There are going to be two Lotus ones there.
MR. SILVERLEAF: That is why we are here, my Lord.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: Both wearing the same logo?
MR. MORPUSS: Slightly different colours, my Lord.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: There will be some very valuable memorabilia available, will there not, if some of these come out in the first part of the season? I had a case like that concerning football cards. I had stopped a rival football cards case and they left an original one because I granted an injunction stopping them selling any more. Unreasonably, they asked for the original back.
MR. SILVERLEAF: Suddenly acquired added value.
MR. JUSTICE PETER SMITH: My former clerk’s son looked interested Very well. Thank you very much.

Introducing The Palestine Papers

This is the new storm that has been brewing up in the middle east and has cause a lot of debate. For more on this please go to the Al-Jazeera english website....


Over the last several months, Al Jazeera has been given unhindered access to the largest-ever leak of confidential documents related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There are nearly 1,700 files, thousands of pages of diplomatic correspondence detailing the inner workings of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. These documents – memos, e-mails, maps, minutes from private meetings, accounts of high level exchanges, strategy papers and even power point presentations – date from 1999 to 2010.
The material is voluminous and detailed; it provides an unprecedented look inside the continuing negotiations involving high-level American, Israeli, and Palestinian Authority officials.
Al Jazeera will release the documents between January 23-26th, 2011. They will reveal new details about:
  • the Palestinian Authority’s willingness to concede illegal Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem, and to be “creative” about the status of the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount;
  • the compromises the Palestinian Authority was prepared to make on refugees and the right of return;
  • details of the PA’s security cooperation with Israel;
  • and private exchanges between Palestinian and American negotiators in late 2009, when the Goldstone Report was being discussed at the United Nations.
Because of the sensitive nature of these documents, Al Jazeera will not reveal the source(s) or detail how they came into our possession. We have taken great care over an extended period of time to assure ourselves of their authenticity.
We believe this material will prove to be of inestimable value to journalists, scholars, historians, policymakers and the general public.
We know that some of what is presented here will prove controversial, but it is our intention to inform, not harm, to spark debate and reflection – not dampen it. Our readers and viewers will note that we have provided a comments section in which to express opinions. In keeping with our editorial policies, we reserve the right to excise comments that we deem inappropriate, but all civil voices will be heard, all opinions respected.
We present these papers as a service to our viewers and readers as a reflection of our fundamental belief – that public debate and public policies grow, flourish and endure when given air and light.

365 AM Documentary

Just doing my part to spread the word.... For more info please visit their website here.

About this project

Help Us Make a Difference!
We are currently in the final stages of the film "365 AM". But we need your help – we’re running low on funds to complete the film and show the world a story that was never meant to be told.
Every bit helps.

Overview:

In the winter of 2008, two days after Christmas, Israel launched one of it’s deadliest and most controversial wars. Whilst preventing the people of Gaza from fleeing the territory it proceeded to rain missiles down on them using some of the most sophisticated weaponry available. Trapped with them, were the only two foreign reporters inside Gaza at the time. They found themselves locked inside a war zone as the only voices able to reach the English-speaking world. This is their incredible, and as yet untold, story.

Ayman Mohyeldin, a 30-year old American citizen and Sherine Tadros, a 29-year old British national lived through the war – for three weeks reporting for Al Jazeera English amidst an international media blackout.
Now, they want to tell others what they witnessed – raw and uncut. 365 AM will stimulate audiences with exclusive footage and images captured in different formats from professional cameras to mobile phones. The film draws on powerful images from over 100 hours of footage, mostly from Al Jazeera English, and never-before-seen personal video of Ayman and Sherine during the war.

The project has an important meaning in the United States where the Gaza story is so often obscured. At the same time, this is a gripping story about journalistic heroism in the face of unprecedented challenges. This film is not a movie about the Israeli-Palestinian issue but a human story set against the conflict's backdrop.
Since the end of the war, major international newspapers including the Financial Times, the International Herald Tribune, Le Monde, the LA Times and others have recognized the incredible story of these two journalists and have written about them extensively. Their work has been nominated for prestigious awards in Europe and the US and the two have lectured at universities and events across Europe, the US and the Middle East.

This movie is a continuation of their story and Al Jazeera's. Al Jazeera English, through its reporting, is breaking ground in the US. Everyday viewers are tuning in to the channel.
This documentary will also shed light on Al Jazeera English's most defining moment, showing viewers the story behind the story.

But to ensure this film is made at the highest level of production and makes an impact, it will require the help and support of people who believe in its objective, message and importance at this time.
We hope you will find this project worthy of your consideration and resources. Any help and financial support you can provide will go a long way in making this vision a reality.

*** The funds will help us with costs of editing, music, web site, sound design, festivals submission, color correction, office space, etc...

SO WE ASK YOU TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE TODAY.

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." 
Martin Luther King Jr.
Please Spread the word.... and every dollar helps.

Project location: Los Angeles, CA

Meet Ahmad Zikri

I am at my uncle's house to meet the most recent addition to our family. Meet my youngest cousin Ahmad Zikri...Born 11.1.11. He has the most un-annoying baby cry I've ever heard! The problem with that I can see that he risks not being attended to at night with a cry like that. He's the cutest thing on earth! =)
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Denver...

Another of my old fav cartoons from my childhood. Aptly reflects the period of time when dinosaurs were the in thing and environmental protection, pollution, green house effect etc were popular public concerns. Nowadays people seem to be more concerned about terrorists and the recent wars... =( The world isn't getting much better huh? I loved the representation of the characters which represented American society in miami at that time. The cool guys were rockers back then. No hip hop of indie music or whatever young people follow nowadays. Back then it was good ol rock and roll. The theme song below was very catchy too. How I wish modern cartoons were as educational as the ones of my childhood...



Denver, the Last Dinosaur is a U.S.-French cartoon for children originally released in 1988 by World Events Productions (the same company responsible for the English dubs of Voltron and for Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs). It was nationally syndicated throughout the United States in 1988 with reruns airing until 1990. Episodes often focused on issues of conservation, ecology, and friendship.
The show ran for two seasons, as the dinosaur boom that had followed The Land Before Time waned, causing viewership to drop. The series received a recommendation from the National Educational Association.

Plot

The show revolved around the adventures of Denver, the last dinosaur, who was released from his egg by a group of interracial modern California teens: Jeremy, Mario, Shades, Wally, and Casey, along with tag-along older sister, Heather. The kids taught Denver the finer points of skateboarding and other pastimes while protecting him from concert promoter Morton Fizzback who wanted to use the dinosaur to make money.
The series begins when Jeremy, while preparing for a knowledge test about nature, and his friends visit the farm of the "Labrea Tar Pit" - A place in Los Angeles (which is spread over a large area and contains a large collection of extinct animal and plant fossils) and go to the Museum. At the farm the friends encounter a gang of bullies. The friends escape the bullies by hiding behind a fence on the farm. Behind the fence they find a pit that contains a prehistoric egg. As the friends are playing with the egg it suddenly cracks and a green friendly dinosaur emerges who, surprisingly, understands English. The kids name him Denver after they spot an advertisement for the city of Denver on a passing bus.
The children decide to keep Denver and to keep his existence a secret. Denver is first hidden in a pool house at Wally's home. After Wally's sister discovers Denver they move Denver to the old school gym. After a while Denver gets kidnapped by the manager Morton Fizback. Morton puts Denver on a stage in front of an audience in order to become rich.
At the end Denver is almost sold to scientists that want to examine and experiment on him. Eventually everything turns out fine and Denver gets to return to the gang and rescue them from Nick and his thugs.
In addition to his natural skills and abilities Denver can also, with the help of a piece from the shell of his egg, take the gang with him back to the time whence he came.

Characters

Main characters

  • Denver the Last Dinosaur - The title character. Voiced by Pat Fraley.
  • Wally - Boy who takes Denver in, Denver's closest friend. Voiced by Adam Carl.
  • Jeremy - the intelligent guy amongst the gang who is able to provide information about dinosaurs. Voiced by Adam Carl.
  • Mario - A kid with an enormous ego. Voiced by Cam Clarke.
  • Shades - A cool kid who always wears sunglasses (where his name is derived from). Voiced by Cam Clarke.
  • Casey - Girl with a crush on Mario. She is also the machinist of the gang. Voiced by Kath Soucie. Youngest of the gang.
  • Heather - Wally's older sister, voiced by Kath Soucie.

Minor characters

  • Rocky - Wally's pup.
  • Chet - Heather's boyfriend, voiced by Rob Paulsen.
  • Freddy - A teenage genius who is also a fan of comic books, and has a strong, though somewhat comical sense of justice. He was originally hired by Morton Fizzback to conduct an experiment on Denver's tar egg shell, but later helps out Denver and the gang, and provides technical support.

Villains

  • Morton Fizzback - Evil concert promoter, voiced by Brian Cummings.
  • Professor Funt - Evil scientist, sometimes works with Morton, voiced by Brian Cummings.
  • Nick - Leader of two other bullies, Scott and Rod, who cause trouble for the boys, voiced by Rob Paulsen.

Raising funds

Have you ever participated in a thing called "hari kantin" at your school when you were young? If you haven't you must be 1) very young, 2) Not schooled in Malaysia or 3) Your school has a very wealthy PIBG (PTA). I still remember selling ice cream at our SM Lembah Keramat canteen day. Some schools use it as an avenue to collect funds for school projects, some just to instil entrepreneurship amongst it's students. I have been lucky to have always been acquainted with entrepreneurial friends at every stage of my life. Though I don't consider myself entrepreneurial, I've always loved to be part of a money making event - probably just me being able to meet more people and see the fruits of my labour at the end of the day.

During my lower secondary years, I was close to this guy called Syed Anwar. I knew him since I first joined school and we were the best of friends. He was very entrepreneurial. When we were 14 at our hari kantin, we sold ice cream with a host of toppings. We even sold our own "special" at that time which was our banana split. At this point I could see his business eye for things as he was the one who suggest to add the toppings to the ice cream, enabling us to charge more for the ice cream. The toppings were simple chocolate rice, ground nuts and chocolate syrup. We made the two latter ourselves to save money. 16 years ago this type of ice cream was not yet widely available in Malaysia, esp the toppings which were not available to the masses yet. This made our sale quite a commercial success. It was hard work but very fun. I like this type of hard work where at the end of the day you feel satisfied with what you've achieved for the day. Later in my schooling and Uni life I have made money for my Taekwondo clubs by selling T-Shirts I designed to members. It was all good fun back then. Anyways, that is only the opening remark. This is the main story.

As you may or may not know, I spent the Friday and the weekend in lovely Bangkok. I went with my schoolmate Fedtri and his housemate Meor Malek. Fedtri had a muslim Thai friend, Tasneem who with her father at the wheel fetched us at the airport. This is where the connection with the story above is.

A stall outside Tasneem's house selling some sort of desert.

After stopping by her house and meeting her family, Tasneem and her younger brother Furqan took us to a mosque for a "special event". At that time I was clueless as to what on earth can be happening at a mosque at night time other than a religious talk or something. I was half right, well maybe just a third right... We hailed a taxi hopped on for a 15 minute ride through the busy roads of Bangkok and this was the sight that greeted us:


 I took these photos before I was told off by a shop keeper who was worried I was stealing his designs! So sorry brother! I didn't take any photos at any of the stalls along that row after that

Yes, we were greeted with a pasar malam like experience. The entrance leading to the mosque was full of stalls selling Abayas, Jilabas, tudungs, niqabs, songkoks - almost everything muslim clothing u can think of. Fedtri was ever so eager to "help the muslim economy" he bought an arab robe and just wore it for the night. There Thais were very creative with their clothing lines, though my taking photos did anger one shop owner. I guess he thought I was going to steal his designs. Understandable, but we explained that we were Malaysian and said sorry.

He just couldn't wait to wear it...

After a good half an hour or so just going through the stalls we finally made it to the entrance of the mosque compound. The mosque sits on a large patch of wakaf land that now houses a full fledged religious school. I imagine this would be simmilar to what my great grandad's school would've been had it existed till today. Too bad in Malaysia parents favoured the national schooling systems more.

 

Inside we were greeted by some of the school students. Except for the Salam, I could not understand what they were saying... 

Inside there were more stalls. This time selling arts and crafts, books, modern islamic clothing and others. There was also a booth for donations for the mosque. communication was not very easy as most Bangkok Thai Muslims cannot speak any Malay. We needed Tasneem to translate for us. There was this stall selling Islamic themed t-shirts. There were many designs, short sleeved and long sleeved. One caught my eye because of its colours. It reads, in Thai "Your mother, your mother, your mother, your father" referring to the prophet's answer when asked about who should we respect and honour after Allah and Rasulullah. That sold it for me and I bought it. It was the last piece, if not I would've bought more..."helping the muslim economy" as Fedtri would've put it.

 "Your mother, your mother, your mother, your father"

Opposite the stalls was a huge square where a religious talk was going on. The talk was in Thai so I didn't understand a word of it except for some of the arabic terms they used. I totally forgot to take any photos of the talk! That was because, next to the square with the talk, there was another square with this:

The atmosphere was nice, food good.

Yes, there was food! Lots of it!! It reminded me of the hari kantin we had when I was young. Vendors would set up stalls around the square selling all kinds of food from stuff I've never seen before to our familiar kebabs and nasi biriyani. You could either buy stuff with coupons or cash. I asked Tasneem and she said that all the proceeds from the sale of food go directly to the Mosque for the use of the school and also for the welfare of the orphans who live there at the school/mosque compound. The sellers are not charged any rent for the space they do business at. The clothing and other stuff though are not compelled to give their proceeds to the mosque so are charged a rental fee for the space they set up their stalls at. I am confident though that they still give part of their proceeds to the mosque. These are some of the stuff we had. I only managed to snap a few pics before getting engrossed with the food...;)


The atmosphere was a good atmosphere, with the sound of people talking all around and in the background, the ceramah agama was still going on. We could see the various faces of Thai muslims ranging from Malay looking to turkish/middle eastern looking. From fair skinned to dark skinned. All united under the banner of Islam. Not many spoke Malay, and if they did it would most probably be Kelantanese malay. The tables were sturdy metal tables so eating there was a nice experience. The cleanliness of the eating area was managed by the school with the school children quickly re-ordering the chairs and clearing the tables once people left the tables. the kids also did all the washing up behind the scenes. I would say that this event was very well managed. If it weren't a mosque event you would've thought it was a well run food court! Kudos to the mosque management, the kids and all that help organise the event. It was a really excellent event!

Some desert thingy on the left. On the right is "agar-agar" but it was very sweet and creamy. Thai dishes, if not spicy are very sweet.

The Thais also love their "ulam"(leaves/herbs) and their "pulut" (glutenous rice) is very sweet and soft. Excellent! I can't remember what the names of the food we had were...

The actual mosque was at the far-end of the compound. It was rectangular in shape, with 3 floors which probably bears more resemblance to other mosques in non-muslim majority countries where space is at a premium. The inside of the mosque was very simple but quite nice - how a mosque should be without all the extravagance but used frequently. The marble floor is nice and the mimbar simple. Very nice.  

The mosque prayer hall
After performing our prayers and sampling the food there, we decided to head back to Tasneem's house. We haven't checked into our hotel yet so we didn't want to arrive there too late. Bangkok is an hour behind KL time so 10pm there was actually 11pm in KL so we started feeling sleepy earlier.

All in all, the first day in Thailand reminded me about how cool it is to experience Islam in a non-muslim majority country. The mosque always becomes the community centre and the sense of "brotherhood" amongst Muslims is felt more in those type of countries. Reminds me of my time in the UK, Japan and Spain where the mosque was a central part of the community, not an exclusive club for the old and pious.I would love to come to another mosque fund raiser and spend more money there! =)

Scrapbook

I was going through my old stuff, trying to clear some space in my already very cluttered room. Guess what I found? I'm not sure about you lot, but as a teenager I used to keep a scrapbook and a sketchbook. I can't find my sketchbook anywhere but today I came accross my old scrapbook! I guess this was my collection of stuff that I was in to during my lower secondary years as I didn't have much time to do stuff like this in boarding school. Or did I? I don't know... I can't remember. Anyways, so what interested little 13-15 year old Afif?

I think the yellow folder came later when I started to realise that I lost some of my paper clippings

Back in the 90's the in thing with boys was MotoGP. Back then the bikes were still 500cc two stroke bikes. My hero back then was Kevin Schwantz. He still is my biking hero... hahaha... I just loved his flair when he rode. Back then there was a genuine rivalry between the riding greats, Wayne Gardener, Wayne Rainey, Schwantz and later Mick Doohan. When all the former retired there were no great rivalries in Moto GP and Mick Doohan kept on winning and I lost interest in MotoGP.



 The big sponsors in Malaysia were promoting MotoGP just as vigourously as how they are promoting F1 nowadays. Back then the Malaysian Moto GP was at the batu 3 racing track. That track is no longer there. I wonder what happened to it? I guess it's probably some expensive housing area now. Anyways, nowadays the MotoGP passes by every with relatively little fanfare.


 Adverts were quite technical to get people in the hype of motorcycle racing

 (Below left) The first two big bikes to be assembled in Malaysia (i think the Virago 535 on the top and the EN250 below, my guess) thus making biking a little bit in the reach of the average Joe. Sketches like the one on the right, below got me doing sketches of my own. At the end of my SPM exams I contemplated taking industrial design at UTM. My dad advised me otherwise. Choices choices...


In the 90's my dad had a working stint in the USA for about 3 months. One of the things he gave me when he got back was post cards of CAD designed objects, just to whet my computer design appetite. Computer design never really took off with me. At university I prefered to draw my designs and fabricate them myself.

Titan bikes fascinated me back then. I still have a soft spot for custom bikes but my head always rules and these custom bikes are technologically rather backwards. Their value is in the creativity and custom nature. Might be a nice little project to custom a Japanese cruiser. At least the japanese cruisers have technology a little more up to date.


F1 fever came to our shores a little towards the end of the 90s. Petronas started their sponsorship of the Sauber F1 team in 1995 for the 1996 season. I was in my PMR year back then and a Malaysian back team really did inspire me to become an engineer with hopes of getting into F1. Alas, God had other plans for me...


I followed the World Rally Championship (WRC) a little. The car below is the Toyota Celica WRC as driven by Juha Kankunen, the world champion at that time. Another hero of mine in WRC was Collin McRae. Too bad he died in a helicopter crash a few years back....


And who can forget the "flying sikh", our own local hero Karamjit Singh. This guy really had the tallent. I still baffled as to why his international career didn't take off. He's still racing now but unfortunately he is a bit past his prime. what a shame...


Sometime around this period Proton also purchased Lotus Cars. Here you can see our Tun Dr Mahathir (TDM) albeit a much younger TDM climbing into a first generation Lotus Elise. It was an exciting period for auto enthusiasts and automotive engineers to be back then.


They also stuck a big V8 engine into the iconic Lotus Esprit. If you were at KLIMS 2010 you would've got to catch a glimps of this car's successor. The new Esprit will have a V10 engine taken off a Lexus LFA super car. Projected performance figures are simmilar to the latter's figures. Supercar stuff.


I was already into mountainbikes since form . I've always loved the freedom of cycling. I only took the school bus until standard 4. Remember that I was only in Malaysia abit more than a year before that. Waiting for school buses annoyed me. I hate waiting. Bicycles freed me from the constraints of bus schedules. In secondary school my school was slightly further and after getting good results in my exams in form 1, I can't remember if it was mid year or final year exams, I managed to persuade my dad to buy me a mountain bike! It wasn't an expensive one but it was good enough for me. I would save up my pocket money and duit raya to upgrade the parts. A habbit I carried forward to my car and also my current mountain bike. but at that time I could only afford upgrading the minor components. The bike below was one of the bikes I dreamt to own. I still haven't bought me a dual suspension bike yet... Maybe I'll get one in the future...


Hahaha... guess what was on the final page of my scrapbook?! It was the famous 25 January 1995 Eric Cantona "Kungfu Kick". This incident made headlines that year. I was never a real football fan but back in my lower secondary school years I used to play football quite regularly and had a team that played friendly matches from time to time. When I moved to boarding school, my school didn't have a proper field so I stopped playing football and concentrated on my tennis and basketball.


So there you have it. My old scrapbook, long before the time of Google and the internet. Magazines and newspapers were the source of information. Nowadays alot more info is available just at the tips of our fingertips through the wonders of the internet. I know It makes me feel old, but boy has the world changed. Suddenly the thought of the new challenges of parenting comes to mind... Gosh... What a start to the new year by reminiscing the years gone by....