Archive for January, 2008

Lessons from the rise and fall of Suharto

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

The verdict of history is still not out yet following the demise of General-turned-President Suharto. For all his achievements in putting his country on the map and leading Indonesia towards industrial development, Suharto’s human rights record remains one of the bloodiest in the post-colonial history of Southeast Asia, matched only by that of Ferdinand Marcos, [...]

Obituary: The ‘Father’of Indonesia

Monday, January 28th, 2008

Former General and President Suharto

(b. 1921 - d. 2008)

A
couple of years ago, during a visit to the Central Javanese city of
Jogjakarta that had been devastated by a major earthquake which had
laid waste to many parts of the special province, I overheard a
conversation between two Indonesians who were lamenting the fate of
their country with its ruined [...]

Suharto’s Exit: The End of the Era of Asia’s Strongmen?

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

There are strongmen, and then again there are really strong strongmen. Indonesia's former President Suharto falls into the latter category and though the man was finally deposed after waves of student demonstrations that rocked Indonesia in May 1998, he remains - despite his ailing health - firmly planted on the map of Indonesian and Southeast [...]

What’s in a word?

Friday, January 11th, 2008

“YOU mean ‘Allah’ has become like Nike or Coke?”
a friend queried as we chatted about Malaysia. “Like a brand name that
only Muslims can use?” She’s not the only one puzzled by the government’s
insistence that the restrictions on the use of the word “Allah” is still
enforceable and will be upheld against non-Muslim communities.

A Muslim friend who [...]

The A, B, C of God

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

It has been a month now since Malaysia has been gripped in one of the most obscure and arcane of controversies over the use of the word 'Allah' by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. This must seem odd to foreigners for elsewhere in the world Muslims (such as the Muslims of Egypt) have no problem with [...]