Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pulau Batu Puteh

Last night I was invited to dinner by the minister of information Dato Ahmad Shabery Cheek at his posh office suite in Angkasapuri. Also in attendance was minister Tan Sri Muhammad M. Taib who was there for a live interview on RTM1. Other guests include fellow bloggers Datuks A. Kadir Jasin of the Scribe and Ibrahim Yahaya of Dunia Tiger, Rosli Ismail of Agenda Daily and Steven Gan of Malaysiakini. Rocky of Rocky's Bru couldn't make it for some reason.

(I must admit that I felt rather a bit out of place since I was the only non 'ex-journo' blogger invited).

The dinner was to brief us members of the 'alternative media' on the latest developments in the 28-year old dispute between Malaysia and Singapore over the sovereignty of Pulau Batu Puteh a.k.a. Pedra Blanca or simply known as Horsburgh to us mariners. We were informed that RTM will broadcast live tomorrow from the International Courts of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands where the final decision by the panel of judges will be announced.

Datuk Shabery believes that whatever the outcome, Singaporeans in general will not be overly concerned because they consider this more of a "government to government" issue. For Malaysians on the other hand, it is more of an emotive "people to people" issue. Win or lose, it may lead to some negative repercussions. He seeks our assistance to help diffuse the situation if the need arise.

I have strong feelings and have blogged on the subject before. Read it, here.

I now get the feeling that we are going to lose Pulau Batu Puteh to the kiasus down south, but sincerely hope that I am wrong here.


  1. Captain

    Take it as an honor.

    But I think the Govt is trying to soften the blow from the findings of the International Court.

    Soft landing that is.

    The Minister is still trying to do the old stuff with mainstream media... ie calling in reporters and giving a PR statement. Only in this case, it is more an appeal than giving directives.

    What the Minister forgets is that the blogging world consists more than Rocky's Bru or Dunia Tiger.

    There are only two influential alternate media in Malaysia today:

    Malaysia-Today and Malaysiakini and upand coming Malaysian Insider.

    I would be surprised if Steven Gan or RPK will play ball if the Min of Information wants to white wash news as it is the case with MSMs.

    No soft talk will change the facts or opinions if the news is bad.

    Bloggers will form their opinion based on the facts of the case.

    Meanwhile, enjoy the food proferred. No harm done. As the Jews will say, the food is still kosher.

  2. Info Minister working with bloggers to help dissemintae positive info about some issues? Hmm... :) What a positive thing to do. I like the drift.

  3. good for you capt.

    but not the last para.

  4. So, Pedra Bianca is now Palau Batu Putih!

    Can't see how M'sia can win.

    Possession is 9/10ths of the law.

    And what would we do with it if we did win? The pictures show that at high tide the island might go underwater. So, we'll probably lease it back to S'pore!!

  5. It is NOT Polite to address us[Singaporeans] as KIASUS down south-very offending.
    Never expect this trash from you.
    Always respect you as moderate and level headed in your analysis. What have Singapore and Singaporeans done to you and your family??
    Don't forget that more than 65% tourists to Malaysia are Singaporeans.

  6. loveandgratitude:

    Sorry if I offended YOU. But I believe kiasu is a... Sinkie word?

    BTW, my in-laws are all Singaporean kiasus ...

  7. The Ancient Mariner - your last paragraph is most appropriately applied to yourself in this instance. You do know what "kiasu" means, don't you. It means "afraid to lose" and your last paragraph is exactly that.

    Is this how you soothe the ground?

  8. KIASUS down south can be an endearing term if you think about it. But seriously, lighten up man. I doubt there ain't any ill intent.


  9. Captain,

    Kalau gagal, ia satu gambaran bagaimana sikap terlalu
    bermurah hati, tidak mahir (legality) dan kurang wawasan tuan
    yang punya tanah lebih 150 tahun dulu. Ini satu lagi legasi yang

    Kalau menang, sudah tentu tuan yang punya kuasa di Putrajaya
    akan memujuk hati duka nestapa di seberang dengan menawarkan
    gula-gula sebagai ganti.

    Sedangkan air, udara, pasir dan wilayah (Iskandar) boleh di urus
    inikan pula pulau berbatu. Demi ikatan setia antara keluarga pulau
    batu mudah diganti.

    Semoga hari jumaat membawa berkat Negaraku.

  10. loveandgratitude

    Even singaporeans admit that kiasu is a nickname for singaporeans (majority if not all).

    YOu may be right that Captain should not refer to "Singapore" as Kiasus in his blog, but the fact remains that kiasu is synomymous with Singaporeans.

    Kiasu is "afraid to lose". I thought that is a compliment. Singapore is what it is today is because singaporeans are afraid to lose ie kiasu.

    It would have been bad to call Singaporeans KIASI.

    You and singaporeans are either too sensitive or prefer to be called KIASI.

    Every malaysian who works in Singapore knows singaporeans are kaisu types, Even the taxi driver who brought me to Changi said so.

    Come on, liven up. Kiasu is a compliment.

  11. No matter what is the ruling from ICJ, this is a great step forward for both countries and the region, in the spirit of settling territorial dispute.

    Anyway if the ICJ decides that the small isle and the rocks should go to the Northern Kampong Kias, I am confident that Singaporeans will accept it and move on :)

  12. Hi Capt,
    BN is trying to drum up the sentiment rather lower the temperature. It is a clever way to divert from the political turmoil!
    P/S Pleased to have a cuppa with you and Gan !

  13. Sad. They know we are going to lose, and that its their fault for bungling the case, yet they do not want the bloggers to give them hell for it.

  14. We may also lose to the lazy otaks up north. That wouldn't be acceptable, would it?

  15. Salam Capt,

    The result is out. We lost Horsburgh but got Middle Rocks.

    We lost because we did nothing from 1851 when the lighthouse was built to until 1979. Dontplaypuks is right about possession being 9/10ths of the law.

    The important thing now is, do we learn anything from this episode?

  16. Bro!
    Good of you to turn up. I was told about the dinner earlier in the day and could not cancel another dinner appointment.
    Next time, perhaps.

  17. If Singaporeans are kiasu, then so are Malaysians. The only difference is that Singaporeans don't call other people names, something that they have been taught in school.

  18. Of course, singaporeans are kiasus. My Singaporean friends and relatives joked about this, although Singaporeans won't admit this.

  19. About this kiasu thing. Down south on this isle with only a few granite mine which we no longer mine, we have nothing. Only our workforce is what keeps Singapore what it is today. Work harder or risk losing out and fade away to be the backwater.

    To strive and fight aggresively. This is kiasu.

    Malaysia is where my grandparents are. I like to go to KL and do nothing, playing tourist. I like to be in Malaysia.

    There is more to life than calling each other names. Kiasu? yes I admit. The need to be one step ahead of everyone else in ASEAN. We benchmark lots of stuff with Hong Kong. that's how far we are going to seek our limits and is always expecting ourselves to exceed it. You have any idea how tiring that is?

    About the Lighthouse. There is another one, near this White Rock. build by Malaysia for navigation purpose. Ask any mariners :)

  20. Salam hormat Kapten,

    What happens to the kiasus who ran out of land?
    a) Buy it.
    b) Rent it.
    c) Conquer other land.
    d) Steal it.

    The answer is... ALL THE ABOVE.

    Land in this world is getting smaller. It is geographic facts and as Muslim, it is in my faith that one way Allah took many live in one haul is using water as a tool.

    Its look like our kiasu of the world have learned that.

    To them... get lost, in 1969 why LKY did not ask from Malaysia that tiny stone belong to them? ICJ or else I WILL NOT TOLERATE WITH THIS CONQUEST by Singapore. This govenrment who failed the people in this case will not last long.
    I'm sure, they would not as happy as DSU Rais Yatim for the rest of Singapore exist... I guess only less than a century Singapore will be Venice of the East...

    Only fools buy a rock in a sea.. oopsss did I say "buy"... the clever should buy the mountain... ha ha ha.

    I use to have friends there, if they still my friends, I advise them to get out from there, for thier generations benefit.

    Sorry Kapten, and thank you for giving me a chance to drain up my emotions.

    I bet you have a boatfull story to tell about marine and career as a mariner. Would you like to tell it in a book? Many young Malaysian would benefit from your experience.

    I'm a publisher in Pasir Gudang, Johor. You may contact me at or my hp 016 7156771.

  21. Latest news,

    Malaysian petty fisherman (small boat fisherman who fish less than 10nkm, I guess) has been complain that they were chase away by battle equipt navy boat. The Kiasu is getting greedier now. For hundreds of years they fish that seas, suddenly they been chase at by gun ship.
    THe worst intention is getting clearer now. I hope Malaysian is ready for more yet to come....


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