Archive for July, 2009

Unity. Again.

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

(Note: This article first appeared in the July 2009 issue of Off The Edge)
Sultan Abdullah of the Kingdom of Kedah was rather miffed that day. He had just realised that in the somewhat dodgy financial transaction he had made with Francis Light – that seafaring buccaneer-bureaucrat in the pay of the East India Company – [...]

Politics, Power and the Violence of History

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

The guillotine, it ought to be remembered, was originally conceived of as a safe, clean, efficient and ironically ‘humane’ method of murdering people when it was first introduced. Dubbed the ‘revolutionary razor’ when it was first used to execute the enemies of the state at the outset of the French revolution, it was seen as [...]

Does Progressive Islam Need a Genealogy?

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

(Note: This is a summary of the paper I gave at the Conference on Progressive Islam and its Global Challenges organised by the Sharif Hidayatullah Islamic University (UIN) in Jakarta over the weekend. – Farish)
History has the curious effect of rendering permanent, firm and stable things that are contingent and even radically so. More often [...]

A devil’s life

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

(Note: This article first appeared in the august comic, The Malaysian Insider. It’s part of a series of seemingly irreverent articles, written for a misunderstanding audience. Used by kind permission – Yusseri)
We live in hard times. Hard times, indeed. What with the tanking economy and a political arena seemingly occupied by idiots[1] on one side [...]

Arresting the Slide in Our Public Institutions - Part II

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

The scholar of comparative politics is often struck by how so many postcolonial nation-states have managed to degenerate into neo-feudal societies where power and politics have become so personalised that state power and the use of force/violence is monopolised in the hands of a few, who nonetheless claim mandate to govern over their respective populations. [...]

Arresting the Slide in Our Public Institutions

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

The term ‘Asubhabhavana’ is familiar with many historians of Buddhist theology by now, for it refers to a meditative mode of introspection that has become ritual practice over the centuries. In layman’s terms, Asubhabhavana refers to the simple process of self-reflection and mental back-tracking where one contemplates the manifold paths, steps and mis-steps that were [...]

Governance between Idealism and Realism

Monday, July 20th, 2009

Malaysia-watchers would have noticed by now that cracks have begun to appear in the opposition People’s Alliance (Pakatan Rakyat) and that recent events have given some cause for worry. Notably, public spats and open rows among PR leaders in state assemblies have not given us any reason to be confident about the coalition’s future, and [...]

The Uighur Massacre: We don’t need your solidarity Al-Qaeda!

Friday, July 17th, 2009

(Note: This is not an article written by Farish. It’s just a link to an ABIM piece, written by Azril Mohd Amin. Should have noted this earlier. Sorry for the confusion — Yusseri)

The Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia aligns itself with the rest of the world in condemning the recent unrest in the Xinjiang Uighur [...]

The Two-Sided Implications of Manek Urai

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

No amount of spin can alter the implications of the by-election results at Manek Urai. No matter how one looks at it, a victory by a margin of 65 votes hardly counts as a triumph by any stretch of the imagination; and though the seat has fallen once again into the hands of the Pan-Malaysian [...]

Empathy and Myopia: How Malaysians No Longer Understand One Another

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Malaysia is once again landed with yet another predictable mini-controversy (as there are too many controversies at the moment, this one has been relegated somewhat) involving a report that was purported written by two Muslims for the magazine al-Islam. The report was written by the two Muslims who claimed that their intention was to investigate [...]