Archive for April 16th, 2017

The black swans in Malaysian politics

By Liew Chin Tong
The Independent, Singapore
April 16, 2017

I would like to thank Mr Tan Chin Tiong, Director of Yusof Ishak – Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, for the invitation to speak at this excellent institution, of which I was a visiting research fellow in 2006.

I would also like to express my appreciation to my friends Dr. Lee Hock Guan for arranging this visit and Dr. Ooi Kee Beng for chairing the session.

I last spoke here almost nine years ago on 23rd April 2008, a month or so after the great Black Swan back then – the political tsunami on 8th March 2008.

Since then, there has never been a dull moment in Malaysian politics. We have experienced a Black Swan after a Black Swan.

For instance, just a year ago, who would have expected Dr. Mahathir Mohammad to become among Opposition leaders working hard to push UMNO to become the Opposition.

Just as I was giving the final touch for this speech yesterday, there was the news that Prime Minister Najib Razak had appointed his cousin who is also Defense Minister Hishamuddin Hussein to be the Minister with Special Functions in the Prime Minister’s Department.

This gives rise to a new Black Swan question: does this mean Najib will step down as Prime Minister before the next general election?

Should that happen, we will have to grapple with a new set of conditions and scenarios. If he doesn’t, there is already a new power equation in which Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi is being sidelined, but Zahid may not take it lying down.

To put things in context, let me bring you to late November 2007. Read the rest of this entry »

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This first generation immigrant just got into all eight Ivies

by Harry Shukman
The Tab

Read the essay about learning English that won her a place at every single Ivy

Yesterday Cassandra Hsiao heard the news that she made it into not just one but all eight schools of the Ivy League. With offers to study at Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Dartmouth, Brown, Columbia, Cornell and Penn, she now has to choose which world class institution she’ll join in the Class of 2021. A writer, journalist, and one-time rapper (in front of Lin-Manuel Miranda), Cassandra explained how she nailed her applications – and shared her common app essay that helped get her there.

How does it feel to get into every single school in the Ivy League?

I’m still processing it. It’s not something you expect when you open these college messages on your portal. I saw a yes and a yes, a congratulations after a congratulations. It’s totally surreal. It’s still sinking in. I had a moment to myself yesterday where I was just sobbing. I celebrated with my parents. This is quite the honor, to have these fantastic institutions accept me. It’s really something.

Your parents must be super proud.

Oh yeah! They’re over the moon. They’re a huge part of why I was able to accomplish this really. You can’t do it without the support of your parents. They believed in me and encouraged me to follow my passions along with my teachers, my friends, mentors, life mentors, industry mentors – these are the people who I really owe a lot to. God opened a lot of doors for me and put these people in my life who were able to see something in me and nourish me. There’s no way I would have been able to do this without them. This thing is really a group effort. So thanks to all the people in that group.

What did you focus on in your common app essay?

My parents are immigrants – my mom was born in Malaysia, my dad was born in Taiwan. When I was about five we moved here. English is not their strength and it was interesting to me growing up in a house of immigrants, how we interact with language. Words that don’t translate will seep into our own – the way I talk at home is very different from the way I talk outside of home. Sometimes when I was growing up people laughed at me for things I said that sounded completely normal to me but were not to them. So I wrote about that experience.

Read Cassandra’s essay in full Read the rest of this entry »

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The 14th general elections is going to be dirtiest in nation’s history when UMNO/BN mainstream media have unabashedly transformed themselves from newspapers into “lies-papers”

The 14th General elections is going to be dirtiest in the nation’s history when UMNO/BN owned or controlled mainstream media have unabashedly transformed themselves from newspapers into “lies-papers”.

In the past four months, UMNO/BN mainstream media like Utusan Malaysia, New Straits Times, Berita Harian and Star have become “lies-papers” as part of the UMNO/BN campaign to demonise Pakatan Harapan leaders and myself, where I am described as a devil, puaka, even jembalang; that I am anti-Malay, anti-Islam; cause of May 13, 1969 riots; a communist; a stooge of foreign powers; that I dominate Pakatan Harapan and made other leaders like Tun Mahathir, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Datuk Seri Wan Azizah, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and Mohamad Sabu as my stooges and puppets – all sorts of evil under the Malaysian sun!

This is not because I have suddenly become No. 1 national security risk, or the greatest threat to UMNO/BN government, but simply because UMNO leaders and propagandists are in a panic mood as they have realised that there is a possibility that they have lost the support of the majority of Malay voters in the country. Read the rest of this entry »

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Two ways to remember and honour Karpal – elect DAP-led government for third term in Penang as well as elect Pakatan Harapan to form Federal Government in Putrajaya to Save Malaysia from global kleptocracy, a failed and rogue state

We are here to remember and honour Sdr. Karpal Singh – a giant of a Malaysian who had dedicated his life to a more united, just, equal and democratic Malaysia.

There are two ways to remember and honour Karpal, who left us three years ago with many unfinished national business.

The first is to elect a DAP-led government for the third term in Penang and the second is to elect Pakatan Harapan to form the Federal Government in Putrajaya to Save Malaysia from global kleptocracy and from heading towards a failed and a rogue state.

This year Malaysians will be celebrating our 60th National Day to commemorate the nation’s attainment of Independence on August 31, 1957.

I was in Form III in Batu Pahat High School in 1957, I can still remember that on August 31, 1957, we gathered at the school compound where every student was given a bunting of the new national flag and a scroll setting out the Proclamation of Merdeka which was declared by the first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman at the Merdeka Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.

We were brimming with hope and confidence of a new future as a new nation. Read the rest of this entry »

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