Archive for December, 2007

Muslim Governments Must Stop Playing with Fire

Monday, December 31st, 2007

The tragic and violent killing of Benazir Bhutto leaves us with many unanswered questions. The question remains as to who was really responsible, and some radical Islamist groups have claimed responsibility and credit for her assassination. There is further speculation as to whether other non-religious actors and agents were behind the killing, and of course [...]

Do Malaysian Muslims understand what ‘Allah’ means?

Tuesday, December 25th, 2007

At the time of writing this, I am in Cairo in the company of my Egyptian friends who are Muslims, Catholics and Copts. Eid has passed and I attended several dinners and celebrations where Muslims and Copts celebrated together, visiting each others' homes and ate til we could not eat any further. What is worse, [...]

Sarkozy to Ghadafi: Come to My Arms!

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

While some countries go under, others seem to be making their way back to the international mainstream. Burma’s military junta, for instance, seems to insist on doing everything possible to ensure that the country remains on the global ‘pariah list’; and long after practically every other military dictatorship on this planet has made the transition [...]

Cultural Conundrums

Monday, December 17th, 2007

‘PLEASE do not use your handphone on the bus’, the pre-recorded voice extolled. I expected the voice to add, ‘It may cause technical interference with the bus’. Instead, we were told not to use our handphones ‘because it will annoy your neighbours’. Welcome to Japan where preventing individual distress appears paramount and everything from the [...]

Its hard to listen to the people while you gas them in the face

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

Once in a blue moon, in the developing world there appears that rare sort of politician who claims that he wants to listen to the people and take them into account. Of course the sighting of these rare characters is greeted with some degree of elation and relief, a bit like witnessing a lunar eclipse [...]

A Tale of Two Temples

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

(Note: This article first appeared in the December issue of Off The Edge magazine)
While meandering about in downtown Saigon recently I chanced upon the Sri Mariaman temple close to Ben Thanh market. It was an interesting visit to say the least, for the riotous colours of the temple were matched by the riotous conjunction of [...]