Archive for the 'Society' Category

It is September 15, the eve of Malaysia Day. As I walk out of the train station into the atrium of KL Sentral, I see rows of the Malaysian flags draping down from the ceiling. Those red and white stripes are unmistakable. The flag-flying fervor has not been as strong as it had been in […]

Kuala Lumpur opened the extension to its light rail transit lines late last month and I was pretty excited about it. After years of delay, the system is finally here. I am excited because I can now hop on a train to Subang with ease. Previously, I would either have to drive, get on a […]

As an individualist, I do not condemn a whole community for wrongs of the few. I do not subscribe to collective blaming for individual crimes. Each person is responsible for his or her action. In the context of terror acts frequently committed by Islamic extremists these days, I would not ask a random Muslim to […]

[2820] A god to justify us

Yet a personal God can become a grave liability. He can be a mere idol carved in our own image, a projection of our limited needs, fears and desires. We can assume that he loves what we love and hates what we hate, endorsing our prejudices instead of compelling us to transcend them. When he […]

[2818] God in the marketplace

There are times when books of different focus and field would run parallel with each other and reveal new insight on a specific idea, making that particular idea richer. I recently finished Jürgen Kocka’s Capitalism where he touched on, among others, the shift of power from feudal lords to the merchant class. I am currently […]

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 Musee 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, […]

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