Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Malaysia’s General Election

April 20, 2013 Leave a comment

Malaysia is facing its 13th general election. Although I do not follow Malaysian politics much, my good friend and former classmate Zairil K. Johari is running for office. The interesting part that got the nation talking is the fact that Zairil, a Muslim, joined the Democratic Action Party, a party predominantly associated with Chinese Malaysians. Zairil’s father, the late Tan Sri Khir Johari, was an UMNO (United Malays National Organisation) stalwart. UMNO is Malaysia’s largest political party and has ruled the country (as part of the National Front) since independence. The late Khir Johari was instrumental in helping Malaya achieve independence from the British in 1957, having previously fought the communists in Malaya after Japan surrendered to the Allied forces – a true freedom fighter. Zairil’s message is that ‘the ruling coalition has lost its way and is no longer the same party that his father helped build’. Zairil’s story is unique as he appeals to both the Malay, Chinese and Indian population. In a multicultured country where decades of affirmative action has stymied the country’s growth, Zairil’s ability to reach out to voters across the racial divide at the grass-root level forms part of his appeal. A Malaysian first and a Malay second, his eloquence and elocution in Bahasa, English and Chinese could easily pass him as a native speaker in all three languages. Zairil is probably the first Malaysian politician with the charisma, intelligence and virtue to have the ability to reach out to all ethnic groups. After all, his vision of a country where one’s religion or race should have no bearing on one’s success resonates well with a growing population of young voters disenfranchised with the government.  I have known Zairil for a long time and he is a man of true integrity. Someone who is not afraid to do what is ‘right’ as opposed to what is popular. He could have an easy ride by joining the ruling coalition and would have quickly worked his way up the ladder. Yet, he chose to join the opposition for what he believes in. Zairil is also one of the brightest yet most humble people I know. It is my sincere belief that he will go far in politics and make a significant contribution to Malaysia. Good Luck Zairil.


To follow Zairil’s campaign….

UPDATE 05/05/2013: Zairil won his Parliamentary seat, defeating the incumbent – a 54-year-old veteran politician with a landslide victory of 45,591 to 12,813 votes. A majority of 32,778. The future is bright for this rising star. Congratulations to The Rt. Hon Zairil Khir Johari, MP (or in Malay Y.B Zairil Khir Johari, MP)

Sovereign Debt Crisis 101

December 3, 2011 2 comments

Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech.

December 10, 2009 2 comments

I am writing this post while watching a live stream of Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech.

Despite the controversy surrounding his award, Obama, known for his oratory skills, gave a virtuoso performance for his acceptance speech. Not once in his 35-minute speech did he appear lost for words, which I suspect is the credit of the teleprompter. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t take anything away from his speech. His enunciation: crystal clear, intonation: pitch perfect and pauses: timed accurately. His style is backed by substance as he cleverly drew examples from the Second World War and other major conflicts to juxtapose his recent order of a 30,000-troop surge in Afghanistan whilst treading the issue of a “just war” carefully.

Obama started his speech with the usual pleasantries and added “I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the considerable controversy that your generous decision has generated” which drew some audible ‘laughter of acknowledgement’ from the crowd.

The occasion was sombre if not serious as he became the only person to receive the Peace Prize as a wartime president.  His only applause from his speech came midway when he spoke about the Geneva Convention:

Where force is necessary, we have a moral and strategic interest in binding ourselves to certain rules of conduct. And even as we confront a vicious adversary that abides by no rules, I believe that the United States of America must remain a standard bearer in the conduct of war. That is what makes us different from those whom we fight. That is a source of our strength. That is why I prohibited torture. That is why I ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed. And that is why I have reaffirmed America’s commitment to abide by the Geneva Conventions. We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals that we fight to defend.

Obama then added, “And we honor those ideals by upholding them not just when it is easy, but when it is hard.” Which sounds like a touch of JFK magic.

Hollywood actor Will Smith and his family were among a couple of celebrities I noticed in the crowd.

The full transcript of his speech is available here at ABC news website

DWTC says: Regardless of what many may say (that Obama has yet to accomplish much), history will look back and place him alongside the greats such as Mandela, MLK and JFK as long as he does not ‘screw up’. The reason I say this is because he has already gained more recognition in much less time compared to his predecessors, irrespective of what he may or may not have actually accomplished.

Personally, I think he should have declined the award; not just out of respect to those honored before him or those who deserve it more, but as a strategy to raise his profile even higher, as it would make a good media story that would show his commitment and prove that he is not just a ‘talker’. After all, Obama already writes history with every step that he takes, so he does not need the Peace Prize to cement his legacy – the Peace Prize needs him. 


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