Archive for the 'Politics & government' Category

The crowd shouted “Reformasi!” last night as they gathered on the edge of Dataran Merdeka to demand the release of Maria Chin. About 20 years ago, the term was so full of anti-Mahathir context. “Not today however,” History said, smirking as she played a joke on all of us. Having the crowd crying out reformasi on Monday evening made the atmosphere […]

This edition of Bersih, felt less carnival-like unlike last year. Nevertheless, Bangsar still had the fun crowd, with all the banners and masks and flags and songs. I love the fight songs. But well, the protest is not about having fun. It is about exercising political rights. And it is never really courageous to take […]

New York has the Empire State Building. Think of Paris and the Eiffel Tower comes to mind. Cairo is inseparable from the Pyramids. Singapore has the smaller but not less iconic Merlion. George Town has the Penang Bridge, if you take a liberal view of the city’s boundary and ignore the unpleasant monolith towering over […]

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 […]

I was in Sarawak during the 2011 election. I campaigned for the opposition in Kuching and its surrounding. I helped run a group of volunteers; run is probably an exaggeration but I will use run nonetheless. We were active in several seats but spent most of our time in Batu Kawa, about 10 miles to the […]

Who will replace Najib Razak if he goes away? Those skeptical of attempts to legally push him out of office raise the question out of fear nothing will change. They are afraid it would achieve nothing and switch for yet another Prime Minister from Najib’s camp. As a result, the alternative they seem to be […]

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 […]

Text to the Transpacific Partnership came out today. I have yet to go through it fully. It is massive and it can be technical. It is worse than Sejarah Melayu. It will take time. Nevertheless, I attended a briefing at the trade ministry earlier today and I think I understand the gist of the most important chapters. My somewhat […]

I think I am well-exposed to foreigners’ opinions about Malaysia beyond the editorial stance of various foreign newspapers. I have friends of diverse national origins and I work for a global organization where many of my colleagues are not Malaysians. I keep in touch with them regularly and so I get to learn of their […]

PAP’s better-than-expected victory in Singapore has gotten BN supporters in Malaysia excited. It tickles me to no end watching BN people looking into the Singaporean mirror and seeing men in white instead of their own reflection. They see the Singaporean reality and confuse it for a Malaysian one. Perhaps there is something wrong with the lens they wear for BN is […]

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