Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Postcript: Déjà vu at MU’s Speaker’s Corner

Quoting the Star of Jan 27, 2010, ‘The reintroduction of the corner has a sense of déjà vu for UM, as the university housed Malaysia’s first corner for students in the 1970s.’

I had in my previous posting related on the day that I witnessed the launch of the original Speaker’s Corner of MU in the 65/66? session. (the acronym of University of Malaya is invariably written as ‘UM’ but students then fondly referred to it as ‘MU’. I’m not sure now, has it changed? )

The Speaker’s Corner at MU was reintroduced/relaunched/reestablished/reinstated, what-have-you, yesterday Jan 26, 2010. How you state it is not important. The point is, it is back and not anywhere too soon!

It was officiated through the gracious presence of the Dy Minister of Higher Education YB Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah (who lamented the fact that he did not get a chance to participate before as it was then under wraps, with compliments of the University and University Colleges Act (UUCA) 1971).

Interestingly enough, Ms Shah Rizul Ayuni Zulkiply 23, took to the mike so to speak (mega-phone in this instance) minutes after when it was ‘open to the floor’ expounding ‘women’s power’ – 'on the role of female student leaders and the need to acknowledge their leadership qualities’

A former secretary of the MU’s Students’ Union, she said ‘the Speakers’ Corner was a good avenue for her to explain how female student leaders could complement their male counterparts.’ – good for her! Certainly this would not be the last we hear of her.

This a far cry from before when lady students were largely spectators to be ogled at and not heard! Times have changed, certainly for the better.

P.P.S (submitted Feb 02,2010) The Sunday Star of Jan 31, featured a news item and picture of Tan Sri Dr. Adam Kadir (ex-Senate President) leafing through past issues of Mingguan Malaysia where he had written in his column about the launching which was confirmed as June 15, 1966.


abdulhalimshah said...

Dear Hank,
Everything has changed since our time! Now the ratio of male to females in all public university campuses is already lop-sided, more in favour of the females.
So, that's why they are asserting themselves more than their male counterparts.

kaykuala said...

Dear Hal,
Are we guys intimidated? Not really. it works well for our motivation, naturally.

Fahmi Reza said...

I thought the actual date for the launch of the old Speakers' Corner in MU was 27th May 1966?

Maybe i should check with it's founder Ravee, for the correct date.

kaykuala said...

Dear Fahmi Reza,
As I had mentioned in my earlier posting of Jan 20th 'The Speaker's Corner is Back', I was not even certain of the session. Kindly check with Ravi, yes. Is he around? We were together in V.I. before.

Ravee said...

Hello All;

This is RAVEE. Yes the same one who started Speakers Corner(SC) some time in May...1966. That was 44 years ago and all written records are in Malaysia and so even I dont remember that fateful date when what became an institution was born (I clearly remember saying on that first day,"some day you are going to tell your kids/grandkids proudly-I was there when the Revolution was born"). I only learnt a week ago from Fahmi Reza seeking info that SC was "reborn" albeit with govt. "sponsorship". From a land afar,I must applaud the Ministers involved for this gesture,Saiffudin Abdullah et al. I have carried the spirit of SC through all these years to far away places whenever I found myself in front of a crowd that needed convincing, which has included a talk in Spanish at the Federal University of the Brazilian Amazonas (2007)and at the oldest University of the Western Hemisphere (circa 1538)in the Dominican Republic (UASD-Universidad Autonomo de Santo Domingo-the official and principal federal university of this country). Before I went on stage in these far away places of the Hispanic world, I always took deep breaths and visualized myself blasting away as a "fearless" young man in Speakers Corner, every Saturday at 10am during term and more often when there were issues of grave concern such as the Vietnam War,Rural Poverty. Before I left "MU" in Feb.1968 and hitch-hiked all the way to France from India, I remember making some juniors promise to continue the SC Sessions, especially Choong Lye Huat and Syed Hamid. I never got to thank them for keeping the "promise". Yes many future leaders got their "toilet-training" in public speaking at that simple podium-Anwar Ibrahim,Rahim Noor etc etc. I never met the "new ones" after my time, but THANK YOU ALL for keeping that spirit alive.SC had such an impact at that time gone by that it merely lay dormant not dead, to be reborn after 44 years, thanks to some progessive thinking leadership.I only wish, the concrete podium that served as Speakers Corner was not physically destroyed (cost us poor students Ringgit $400 at that time).

No I never taught the US Army karate etc, but I did become coach of team USA for the 6th World Championships in Taiwan in 1982. Between 1990-1995 I was also head-coach of the karate team of Puerto Rico which has autonomy from the US in sports representation. It is in tropical Puerto Rico that I live now (since 2000)and from here I "roam the world in search of adventure" and causes of social justice to fight for. A special concern of mine these last few years is the corruption of organized sports, especially my sport of Olympic/IOC sports karate. To expose the "mafia" that runs the official World Karate Federation(WKF)I recently published the first book on this org. which quickly became a bombshell( or just Google/Yahoo Ravee Raghavan karate book). So I am alive and well and still "fighting" with a strength I developed at Speakers Corner 44 years ago.Thank you all(Thilli the Greek-toga man,Ghazali Yusof/Hati,Stephen Chang,Rahim Noor,Lim Yin Kiat,Ganesan,Pani, Jallaluddin,Shamsuddin Dubi,Yoong Suan,Choong Lye Huat,Hyacinth Gaudard, Khong Kim Hoong etc etc etc)for your "blood,sweat and tears",when we set the campus and beyond "on fire", because we were young people who refused to ingest official versions of right and wrong, especially on matters of socio-economic and political justice. Kaykuala, please introduce yourself to me. Were you my batch in VI? Write to me YOU ALL, at

kaykuala said...

Dear Dr Ravee,
My,oh my! How refreshing! U could bring us back to nearly half a century in time, as though it was just like yesterday. And u could rattle away with those names!
I'll try to locate one or two to hopefully start a chain reaction.
It is great to be connected again.
Thanks to Fahmi Reza.

Now 1)I have to revamp the 'unsubstantiated' reports of you with your factual inputs and

2)I will relate thru email on our V.I. days (whatever I can muster from my now fading memory).

kaykuala aka Hank