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 […]

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 […]

When I think of the terms “coup d’état”, “overthrow”, “topple” and the like, I would think of a violent change in government. The revolutions in Egypt and Ukraine would come to my mind. Closer to home, having tanks rolling through the streets of Bangkok is another excellent example. In contrast, when I think of the […]

Some dystopian science fictions rest on absurd premises. Terry Gilliam’s Brazil is a statist world of paperwork. There is a form to fill up for everything you do. The story begins with a naming mistake in a government ministry. Instead of Tuttle printed on the warrant, it was Buttle. That leads to the arrest and the eventual […]

I lament the end of Pakatan Rakyat. I truly believe the next most significant thing Malaysia needs to get to the next level is better institutions instead of more fluffy investment into malls, hotels and expensive condominiums on some reclaimed waterfront. At the top of the institution list is a sustainable two-party system to keep everybody […]

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 […]

When Najib Razak first became the prime minister, he introduced us to his transformation programs in 2010. It was the Government and the Economic Transformation Programs, easier called the GTP and the ETP if anybody cares to remember anymore. On the eve of the 2011 Malaysia Day, the prime minister announced another one and called […]

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 […]

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