Mayan Apocalypse 21 Dec 2012? Doomsday is Nearer Than You Think (Part 1)

How strange can it be? Everybody is excited about the Mayan ‘prophecy’ regarding the end of the world on 21 Dec 2012. Mankind has only 7 days left but nobody seems to be panicking. People are more worried about having only 11 days left for Christmas shopping.

Can it be that the world is really coming to an end? Indeed, Doomsday is nearer than you think! Continue reading “Mayan Apocalypse 21 Dec 2012? Doomsday is Nearer Than You Think (Part 1)”

Persecution and Destruction of Eastern Christianity Under Islam

The Glory of Eastern Christianity
The story of the triumph of the early church over the Roman Empire continues to inspire Christians today. How can we not marvel at the courage of the martyrs who calmly faced the lions? The religion of the weak and poor literally conquered the empire – symbolized by the conversion of none other than Emperor Constantine himself.  Surely Tertullian was right when he declared that the martyrs’ blood is the seed of the church. Continue reading “Persecution and Destruction of Eastern Christianity Under Islam”

Kitab Salat as-Sawai (1514) was the First Printed Arabic (Not Jawi Malay) Book

Kitab Salat as-Sawai (1514) was the First Printed Arabic  (Not Jawi Malay) Book

The Error
In one of my earlier posts, I mentioned that the earliest Malay printed prayer book was the Kitab Salat as-Sawai which was printed in 1514. I was wrong. Why? Continue reading “Kitab Salat as-Sawai (1514) was the First Printed Arabic (Not Jawi Malay) Book”

Social Contract and the Special Position of the Malays: Some Observations on the Historical Context

SOCIAL CONTRACT AND THE SPECIAL POSITION OF THE MALAYS

Some observations on the Historical Context

Excerpt
Malay ethnic nationalists (UMNO politicians in particular) in the past usually avoided making reference to the Social Contract. But recently, these UMNO politicians seem to have overcome their reservations and are urging Malaysians to respect the Social Contract. What is the reason behind this new openness and acknowledgement of the Social Contract? A closer analysis of their speeches would reveal a not-so-subtle attempt to reinterpret the terms of the Social Contract to conform to their ideology of Malay dominance and supremacy. That is to say, these ethnic nationalists are attempting to hijack the Social Contract and disregard for the original intent of the Founding Fathers of the nation. In this case, citing a text without respecting the historical context becomes merely a pretext for ideological manipulation of history.

Continue reading “Social Contract and the Special Position of the Malays: Some Observations on the Historical Context”

Malaysia Social Contract (Part 2): Excerpts from Historical Documents

The Reid Commission (1957)(Download PDF File)

I) Report of the Federation of Malaya Constitutional Commission 1957

(London: Her Majesty’s Stationary Office)

Colonial No. 330 Continue reading “Malaysia Social Contract (Part 2): Excerpts from Historical Documents”

Malaysia Social Contract (Part 1): Religion and Equal Citizenship

Whoever seeks to redefine our past seeks to hijack our future. In this regard, recent attempts to rewrite the history of the Social-Legal Contract created at the founding of Malaya/Malaysia in 1957 and our Constitutional history are troubling. These attempts at rewriting of history include two goals: 1) legitimize the transformation of Malaysian politics premised on equal citizenship of all Malaysians to one based on Malay dominance (supremacy) since 1969 (one may call it subversion of Malaysian democracy), and 2) to strengthen demands for implementation of Shariah law in all sectors of society.

Social Contract (Part 1): Religion and Equal Citizenship

Whoever seeks to redefine our past seeks to hijack our future. In this regard, recent attempts to rewrite the history of the Social-Legal Contract created at the founding of Malaya/Malaysia in 1957 and our Constitutional history are troubling. These attempts at rewriting of history include two goals: 1) legitimize the transformation of Malaysian politics premised on equal citizenship of all Malaysians to one based on Malay dominance (supremacy) since 1969 (one may call it subversion of Malaysian democracy), and 2) to strengthen demands for implementation of Shariah law in all sectors of society. Continue reading “Malaysia Social Contract (Part 1): Religion and Equal Citizenship”

Book Review:Hitler’s Willing Executioners by Daniel J. Goldhagen

The Holocaust has become a symbol of absolute evil among Western historians. This is because the Holocaust was perpetrated by what was arguably the most technologically and culturally advanced country of Europe at that time. That Germany then could systematically execute six million innocent and helpless Jews is both horrifying and incomprehensible. To be sure, scholars researching this episode have made considerable progress with increasing access to hitherto forbidden archives. We now know in great details the whole machinery of death deployed by the Third Reich that implemented the program of genocide. It is strange though, that despite all these new details, scholars are not any nearer in agreeing on an explanation for the causes of the genocide.

BOOK REVIEW: HITLER’S WILLING EXECUTIONERS
AUTHOR: DANIEL J. GOLDHAGEN

The Holocaust has become a symbol of absolute evil among Western historians. This is because the Holocaust was perpetrated by what was arguably the most technologically and culturally advanced country of Europe at that time. That Germany then could systematically execute six million innocent and helpless Jews is both horrifying and incomprehensible. To be sure, scholars researching this episode have made considerable progress with increasing access to hitherto forbidden archives. We now know in great details the whole machinery of death deployed by the Third Reich that implemented the program of genocide. It is strange though, that despite all these new details, scholars are not any nearer in agreeing on an explanation for the causes of the genocide. Continue reading “Book Review:Hitler’s Willing Executioners by Daniel J. Goldhagen”

The Life of Thomas More by Peter Ackroyd

The public often receives seductive calls coming from religious ideologues who promise us spiritual peace if only we submit to a power alliance between religion and government: Public order will prosper if the unchanging laws of God are implemented, if not imposed, by a central sovereign. Law, politics and religion form a threefold cable that cannot be easily broken and offers itself as a well nigh irresistible seduction to citizens who are disturbed by the breakdown of morality in modern society.

Political power is often legitimized by sophisticated ideological rhetoric. The difficult and delicate task of exposing the damaging consequences resulting from the entanglement between religion and politics requires a close analysis of the dynamics of power struggle between the protagonists. Social conflict is guaranteed precisely because the clerics are rigidly imbued with a sense of righteousness that must impose their religious vision upon pluralistic civil society without compromise and without any regard for citizens of different convictions. What is conflict but a disregard for compromise in the public sphere?

Book Review: The Life of Thomas More by Peter Ackroyd

Ng Kam Weng
Thomas Hobbes once described the life of natural man as solitary, poor, brutish and short. This vivid image becomes palpable when society degenerates into chaos and violence in the absence of strong political leadership. In such times, politicians as such are quick to exploit the fearful scenario and counsel that it would be wise for frail citizens like us to surrender our precious freedom into the hands of a strong government.

Even more seductive are calls coming from religious ideologues who promise us spiritual peace if only we submit to a power alliance between religion and government: Public order will prosper if the unchanging laws of God are implemented, if not imposed, by a central sovereign. Law, politics and religion form a threefold cable that cannot be easily broken and offers itself as a well nigh irresistible seduction to citizens who are disturbed by the breakdown of morality in modern society. Continue reading “The Life of Thomas More by Peter Ackroyd”

Review: Hitler’s Willing Executioners

Hitler’s Willing Executioners by Daniel J. Goldhagen

Reviewed by Ng Kam Weng

The Holocaust has become an symbol of absolute evil among Western historians. This is because the Holocaust was perpetrated by what was arguably the most technologically and culturally advanced country of Europe at that time. That Germany then could systematically execute six million innocent and helpless Jews is both horrifying and incomprehensible. To be sure, scholars researching this episode have made considerable progress with increasing access to hitherto forbidden archives. We now know in great details the whole machinery of death deployed by the Third Reich that implemented the program of genocide. It is strange though, that despite all these new details, scholars are not any nearer in agreeing on an explanation for the causes of the genocide. Continue reading “Review: Hitler’s Willing Executioners”