Sympathetic expectations

LAST week, writing about politicians’ salaries, I touched upon how expectations voters have of their elected representatives have evolved over time. One expectation that has become standard is the portrayal of sympathy, in particular upon the death of an inspirational... more »

Paying for service

WHEN Westminister parliamentary democracy was in its infancy, Members of Parliament received no salaries at all. The logic was that representing the people was entirely altruistic: it was a voluntary role and you were expected to have other sources of... more »

Administrative assessment

TWO weeks ago it was reported that Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) would be revaluing property in the capital, causing increases in assessment rates for the first time in 21 years, effective Jan 1, 2014. Of course there was an... more »

More needed in the Philippines

“IT’S more fun in the Philippines,” proclaim adverts punchier than “Malaysia, Truly Asia”. It makes more tragic the images of devastation caused by super typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban, the capital of Leyte province. While comparisons between natural disasters can be... more »

A parallel race?

IF Americans know more than average about Malaysia, they know it is multi-ethnic, and because I have an Arabic name and look Chinese, they will diplomatically wonder what I am. I am now good at pre-empting this. Our constitutional definition... more »

Grand canyon of perception

IT is gratifying when one’s country does well in respected international rankings. It provides an opportunity to let out one’s patriotism a little bit, or “my country is better than yours!” This week Malaysia ranked an impressive sixth out of... more »

Restoring the moderate middle

THERE was once an old political party that began life as a party of freedom, championing justice and liberty for people who were previously disenfranchised. For years, the party offered leaders of honour and integrity: not just in its top... more »

History of courageous tolerance

I’M fortunate to have visited Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and other former Ottoman lands in recent years, and a decade ago I went from the ancient university town of Fez and crossed the Strait of Gibraltar into Cordoba, whose Mezquita fascinated... more »
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