Democracy in debt

I’M in Washington DC, and here the government shutdown is more noticeable – all the Smithsonian museums are closed, and there is less traffic than I remember from living here in 2006, which is a good thing given the crammed... more »

Shutting down divisions

“DUE to the federal government shutdown, this facility is closed.” I have arrived in the world’s declining superpower when, for the first time in 17 years, ‘non-essential’ government services have been suspended and more than 800,000 government employees have been... more »

Moderate optimism in party democracy?

UMNO supreme council member Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah was quoted in the media on Wednesday with the headline ‘to recapture middle Malaysia, Umno needs Najib’. Specifically, he went on to say “he is primarily very progressive. He is a democrat. He... more »

The battle for democracy continues

THE death of a polarising figure can harden opinions held while the person was alive. When Baroness Thatcher passed away earlier this year, some Britons celebrated in the streets with the ditty ‘Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead’, while others... more »

Our institutions at 50 (per cent?)

SEPTEMBER 16 is the birthday of former Bank Negara Governor the late Tun Ismail Mohd Ali, former Chief Justice Tun Dzaiddin Abdullah, former Chief Secretary to the Government Tun Ahmad Sarji and former Chief Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew.... more »

Democratising foreign policy

SOME time ago I was amused by a North Korean official confused about US foreign policy: it seemed to change just because the people would occasionally elect a different president. To dictatorial regimes, the idea that foreign policy reflects the... more »

Languages of Merdeka

LAST week my elder brother and I visited Sekolah Tuanku Abdul Rahman (STAR) in Ipoh as Yayasan Munarah was making a contribution to its wind orchestra. It is inspirational to visit places that are proud of their institutional history, where... more »

Welcoming new ideas

THE reaction to Ideas’ announcement last week of our new advisors and strategy has ranged from congratulatory messages to befuddlement and condemnation. Of the latter, some are genuine but some have also been generated by those who make a (rather... more »
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