Showing posts from August, 2021

Timeo Sabri et Dona Ferentes

  In Post-Apartheid South Africa, the new Mandela government established Truth and Reconciliation Committees – executors of a complicated, oft painful process that had people of the black, coloured, and otherwise-discriminated-against communities describe and share the harms and pains they suffered individually and as communities; and people of communities that apartheid favoured (to be clear and explicit, white South Africans) explained the ways in which they benefitted, how they felt about Apartheid, and their fears for the future. It was important that, whilst it was clear one group of people was far more harmed than the other; there was an understanding that the underlyingly unjust system of Apartheid had caused a great deal of social and ethical harm, both to its victims as well as to its perpetrators. Whilst individuals no doubt had their hands dirtied – and bloodied – with complicity, the problem was bigger than any one individual had the power to change. You had might as well h

Historical Lessons for the Inauguration of PM9

The Malaysian nation is young and vibrant. And yet, around the neck of our public life hangs heavy the millstone of history. We have still never had a Prime Minister born after this nation became independent – is it any wonder that we have not developed the level of our discourse for almost seven decades? As such, on the eve of our third prime minister in as many years, it might be - if not a source of some parable wisdom - at least of intellectual interest to consider some historical anecdotes; to compare symbolism and consequence. John Adams wrote that he lived in a nation ruled by laws, not men. An odd specificity in the turn of phrase to recall on this particular Saturday morning; indoors as I have been for a year-and-a-half, waiting to see our future PM9 embark to the Palace to attend the summons of HM the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. If Sabri is obliged to accede to Mahiaddin’s conditions for parliamentary support, the possible permutations for the former’s new Cabinet will be much l