Archive for the 'Society' Category

About six years ago, I found myself working for a senator in Kuala Lumpur. I would go through parliamentary Bills and highlight my concerns about any proposed laws to him. He had an unhealthy preoccupation with traffic violation issues. Speeding, running the red lights, illegal parking, stopping in the yellow box, Mat Rempits, you name […]

Powder kegs that are too close to the fire. That is the situation in Kuantan right now. Local residents frustrated by the rampant bauxite pollution are beginning to take matters into their own hands. Threats have been made and carried out. Trucks carrying the mineral burned by the angry mob. Vigilantism is on the rise. […]

The Musée d’Orsay sits by the Seine in Paris. On one of the museum walls is hung a large painting by Thomas Couture. Named Romans during the Decadence, the work demands anybody passing by it to stop, decipher and contemplate Couture’s message for a minute or two. Decadence has statues representing the better Roman spirit […]

Race politics dominates Malaysia and our deplorable politics have us Malaysians as Bumiputras, Chinese, Indians and others. At the center of it all is Malay politics. Yet, public statistics on Malay welfare are imprecise. This is true for household income and expenditure surveys conducted and published by the Department of Statistics. The surveys are the most […]

This was back in 2011 in Paris. I was there at the height of the Arab Spring and also interestingly, during the emergence of French far-right parties in mainstream politics. I do not have much or anything new to say. It is late here in Kuala Lumpur, six or seven hours ahead of Paris. Yet, […]

I had a short consulting stint once long ago with a small firm. I think I can say that a lot of consultants like sexy terms but the one phrase that comes to my mind today is “analysis paralysis”: the analysis goes on and on in an infinite loop, leaving no space for action at […]

I am not a stylish person and my sensibility gets offended if I have to pay more than RM10 for a haircut. And so I typically go to an old barbershop within the Kampung Datuk Keramat wet market for a simple one for just six. It is a quaint little utilitarian establishment with no pictures […]

Before UMNO shares its voting intention on hudud with the public tomorrow, I would like to point out what I think are the two assumptions behind hudud politics, as pushed by PAS. One, all non-Muslim MPs would/must refrain from voting in the Parliament. Two, all Muslim MPs would/must vote yes. These assumptions are the very reasons […]

Hearing voices announcing something over the loudspeakers in public spaces makes me uncomfortable. It gives me the feeling that somebody is watching me and worse, the unknown person is giving me an order. The automatic reaction by the libertarian in me is to question and resist, even if the announcement makes sense. Most announcements in […]

My two fears are distortion and inaccuracy, or rather the kind of inaccuracy produced by too dogmatic a generality and too positivistic a localized focus. In trying to deal with these problems I have tried to deal with three main aspects of my own contemporary reality that seem to me to point the way out […]

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