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Showing posts from January, 2012

He's heavy, he's the camp commandant!

Mohamed, my 17-year-old nephew, came home for a few days from National Service camp during the Chinese New Year holidays. He had been at the camp (somewhere in Malaysia) for three weeks then and the boyish enthusiasm bubbling up inside him was apparent. He shared his experiences -- good and bad -- with relatives who were curious to see how he had got on at the camp with other "wira (heroes) and wirawati (heroines), as the participants are called.

Mohamed was positive about his time there expect for one thing: he could not understand why the camp commandant -- a Major in the Malaysian army -- is overweight and unfit.

Mohamed and his mates had expected to see a military man with the physique of an athlete ala "Will Smith". Instead, they saw a fatty who seemed a likely candidate for The Biggest Loser programme. And the two officers who came together with the commandant were similarly heavy and seriously in need of regular hard workouts. Mohamed and his friends exchanged gl…

Without money, food and other things

The homeless are everywhere. Sometimes I see them walking the sidewalks of the less glamorous parts of Kuala Lumpur city. I caught two sleeping on a pavement opposite the bus station at Puduraya. I don't think about them all the time but they are on my radar screen.

I saw them again recently at the area behind Tune Hotel at Medan Tuanku. I had accompanied a photojournalist friend who wanted to take pictures for a magazine of members of PERTIWI Soup Kitchen serving meals to the homeless and hungry. The NGO does this on a regular basis and visit various locations around Kuala Lumpur distributing food and drink to the needy.







A long queue of homeless people built up as soon as PERTIWI volunteers set up tables for the soup kitchen. Women and men quietly waited for their turn to take their food and drink. Those who have received theirs smiled in appreciation and disappeared to their favourite spots in the immediate vicinity to enjoy their rations.

They were also given hygiene packs, co…

Guest Post: Moderate or Wasatiyyah: Can we make up our mind?

The New Straits Times published an article entitled "Malaysia has a gift for the world" on 16 December 2011. It was written by Distinguished Professor Dato' Shamsul Amri Baharuddin, Founding Director of the Institute of Ethnic Studies (KITA) at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), and Deputy Chair, National Professors Council of Malaysia (MPN).
He has allowed me to reproduce the full text of his paper from which the newspaper article was pruned. Please see below.
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By Shamsul Amri Baharuddin


Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak introduced his idea of a “Global Movement of the Moderates” (GMM) in his speech at the UN General Assembly, New York on 27 September 2010.


As he put it:
“…Across all religions we have inadvertently allowed the ugly voices of the periphery to drown out the many voices of reason and common sense. I therefore urge us to embark on building a ‘Global Movement of the …