Autonomous imbalances

THE issue of secession is once again trending, triggered by what is happening in Catalonia: the north-eastern region of Spain that has long possessed its own language and culture, but has not been an independent sovereign country. While it is... more »

Moderating polarisation

MEETINGS with politicians, civil servants and others on the public payroll, as well as diplomats representing countries near and far, seem to have taken on a familiar and repetitive format of late. The first part of the conversation will centre... more »

Culture at warp

RECENTLY, the Japanese Ambassador hosted a special performance of Noh, a form of classical musical drama with origins in the 14th century, which is inscribed in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by Unesco. I was... more »

More than twice a king

WRITING on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee of the Sultan of Kedah in July 1983, former Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman referred to the ancient history of the sultanate, including the legend of Marong Mahawangsa and his apparently Mongul... more »

Patriotic musical notes

ALTHOUGH the buzz right now is sport because of the SEA Games (and perhaps more on that properly next week), it’s also been an incredibly busy month for many in the musical world. Certainly, I’ve never played so many concerts... more »

Yakking on Yunnan

CHINA has been featuring in our consciousness every week of late: whether it is concern about that country’s role in our economy or national infrastructure [as exemplified by the ground-breaking of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project last week],... more »

Monarchy at our nation’s foundations

THE title of this session – monarchy as the nation’s pasak (a word that literally means ‘peg’ or in architecture ‘fastener’, but more broadly connotes ‘foundations’) – reminds me of Istana Lama Seri Menanti, a palace famously constructed without nails.... more »
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