5 June, 2005

a new pas?

Jeff Ooi reports that the Malaysian Islamic opposition party PAS may be changing.

It has at its leadership convention picked three vice-presidents who are not :

This means all three vice presidents are elected from the rank of non-ulama, while four new faces have been voted into the central working committee, namely Mujahid, Amiruddin, Dr Mahfuz and Dr Rosli.

He is also impressed that the Pas president (who is still ulama) uses a touchpad and not a mouse.

Furthermore, the PAS has given up wearing Taliban-style clothing (which may put them a little behind most of Afghanistan in terms of fashion trends, but is still welcome).:

They have all discarded their Afghanistani jubah and replaced it with full suit of baju Melayu minus the songkok. They, however, retained the unmistakable white skull-caps.

by @ 11:48 pm. Filed under Malaysia, Southeast Asia

cambodia’s blogging king

Wired serves up a worth-reading Associated press report on Cambodia’s blogging former monarch.:

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — "I thank you for insulting me." Thus blogged
former King Norodom Sihanouk to a critic of his support of gay
marriage. He didn’t share any of the insulting e-mails with his
readers, but noted: "My country, Cambodia, has chosen to be a liberal
democracy since 1993. Every Cambodian … including the King has the
right to express freely their view."
It was one of thousands of commentaries that fill the website
of the world’s most colorful and pugnacious royal blogger, offering
Sihanouk’s views on anything from environmental rape through Hollywood
stars and killer spouses to the rough-and-tumble of Cambodian politics.

On the support for gay marriage mentioned in the first paragraph, it’s worth noting that this has added to speculation about Shianouk’s son, the current king Norodom Sihamoni. Shiamoni is a 52-year old bachelor and a Prague-trained ballet dancer, so such rumors are natural.

Rumors about the sexual orientation of members of royal families are common everywhere, so its no surprise that such talk exists about Sihamoni.

No, the weird thing about Sihamoni is that he’s also a Pyongyang-trained filmmaker.

by @ 2:08 pm. Filed under Blogs, Cambodia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, North Korea

is india free?

India is sovereign and democratic, but Gaurav at Vantage Point notes that this does not mean it is a truly free country.:

What does "freedom" mean in India? I am afraid most people think of
freedom as "sovereignty". For most Indians, we became free on 15th
August 1947, because the state apparatus was run by our own people from
that day onwards, as opposed to some foreigners. However, we have never
really had a "freedom movement". For us, freedom meant the freedom to
sing Vande Mataram, instead of God Save the King. Freedom meant being
able to fly a tricolour instead of a union jack.

All these
things are expressions of sovereignty and NOT freedom. In India, we
take our sovereignty very very seriously, because it is something we
struggled for, and like anything hard-earned, we value it. But we never
really fought hard for our freedom. There has been no satyagraha in
front of the Sena Chief’s house demanding that he not infringe on our
right to celebrate Valentine’s Day. There has been no protest rally
against banning of books, though there have been several rallies
demanding bans. There hasn’t been widespread protest against some
Draconian laws, like the ones which make holding hands on marine drive
an offence.

(via India Uncut)

by @ 1:00 pm. Filed under India, South Asia, Censorship

from the vigil

Jonathan Stanley was at yesterday’s candle-light vigil in Hong Kong, and was pleased to see flying of the flag of Taiwan (or Republic of China, as he would prefer). He notes that the mainland Communist’s refusal to accept responsibility for 4 June 1989 remains an obstacle in its relations with the rest of the world (and no doubt also to its goal of unification).:

China is going to have to face up to it’s outstanding issues if it wants to be percieved as a legitimate authority both at home and with the International community at large. Admitting how things went wrong in the past need not undermine authority. Indeed it could strengthen it, particularly with the people it governs as it expresses humility and able to tackle the not so illustrious things of the past.

Also visit Hong Kong Digital for great photo-blogging of the event.

China Digital Times cites the BBC reporting that tens of thousands attended.

Andrea at T-Salon has more, including links to podcasts and a compendium of thoughts from Hong Kong bloggers.

by @ 10:19 am. Filed under China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Northeast Asia, Censorship

malaria in palawan

Torn and frayed in Manila: an expat living in the Philippines, points out government economy with the truth in reporting cases of Malaria in Palawan province:

The implication is that visitors should not expect to be able to take just the “nice” aspects of Palawan’s wilderness without the downside, and I agree with him there.  You want nature lite, watch Discovery Channel.  Still, if Reyes, Mitra and the Palawan tourist industry are so keen on taking the tourist dollar, they have a responsibility at least to provide accurate information on the risks tourists face and at the moment they do not.


by @ 9:02 am. Filed under Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Manuel Quezon III, Philippines, Media

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