30 Mar 2008

LIlian the Israeli

Read an interesting article by Tunku Aziz today - in the Sunday Times. He wrote mainly about corruption - international corruption but I was more interested in it because of his trip to Israel. He had been invited by an NGO to give the keynote address at this international anti -corruption conference in Israel. But because of our government's policy of not recognising Israel he had a lot of difficulty getting a visa from Israel. They gave a lot of problems and finally he had to get the NGO to endorse him or he could not attend the conference. Even then he was still given the 100% check at the Immigration department upon entry, complete with body search (imagine a middle aged man standing naked and checked by others - how humiliating!). After his speech he wasn't questioned about his views on corruption - the Israelis wanted to know instead why Malaysia refused to have any diplomatic relations with them. Our diplomatic guy's answer was that he did not represent the Malaysian government, so could not answer for them.
When I was in Singapore last December I met these two Israelis. They seemed nice people - a young man and woman selling an Israeli facial lotion. I bought a moisturiser which Rizal paid for. Anyway to get back to the Israelis, they asked me too why they were not allowed to enter Malaysia. Maybe its time out government changed this - we should have diplomatic ties with Israel, if only to protest against their treatment of the Palestinians.
As for Tengku Aziz - the Israeli guy who asked him about Malaysian relations with Israel told him that many Malaysian politicians had kept money in Israeli banks. I'm sure he's telling the truth and all Tengku Aziz could say was that maybe that guy should contact the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency. I think our politicians, with a few exceptions ,are all just empty drums - "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." I bet few realise the need to be friendly with a powerful Israel, rather than be enemies. And the Palestinians are not innocent too - not by any reckoning. In fact some of the more serious fracas have been instigated by them. Of course my sympathy is with the innocent bystander who is not even aware or involved with the war. They are the ones who are suffering!
Talking of Israeli friends, when I went to a course organised by the American Academy of Higher Learning I met an Israeli girl called Lillian. I really can't remember her last name but we became rather good friends. We talked about the Israeli war with the Palestinians although many people didn't consider it a war because it was so ongoing. She had even been in the army for two years as part of her National Service and she had taken part in some border patrols. She said that as a whole many Israelis had nothiing against the Palestinians - its just a govt or political thing. I asked her about the camp massacres that occurred in the 1960s and 1970s and she said that had not real answer to that. I think we are a tool of our govts - just as many Americans are used by the US govt, or more particularly Bush. Lilian and I shared a lot of things in common. She was married and had two daughters, she's a teacher who is now working with the Israeli Education Ministry and we both share a love for books. She sent me an Israeli textbook for High School English and I noticed that the level is pretty high. She said that the status of English is Second language. Probably its a true second language, not like in Malaysia where we only say its a second language but its actually a foreign language.

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