Ioannis Gatsiounis

Archive for January, 2010|Monthly archive page

Shaken Into Further Silence

In Uncategorized on January 14, 2010 at 1:42 am

January 14, 2010

Most Malaysians are relying on a faithful old friend, reticence, to get them through the spate of church attacks, which rose to 11 on Thursday when a church in Johor was splashed with red paint. That may be helping to prevent a mass outbreak of violence. And yet, left uncorrected, the pernicious habit will ensure the country further regresses socially and ethnically, if not economically. Read the rest of this entry »

A Brush with Reality

In Uncategorized on January 13, 2010 at 2:28 am

January 13, 2010

As any honest observer of Malaysia will tell you, the country suffers an extraordinary gap – arguably the largest in Asia – between the appearance of modernity and the substance of it.

The disparity has been manufactured through holiday ads, school curriculum, the nationalistic media, and mega projects. It has helped attract tourists and boost pride at home. It has also fostered a dangerous level of denial and neglect: while race relations have simmered, Malaysia has clung to cosmetic evidence that it is both modern and harmonious.

The spate of church attacks over the last few days were thus to a degree inevitable. But with the face-saving myth now laid bare, Malaysia has a golden chance to trade in its self-defeating approach to development for a more empowering, holistic form. Read the rest of this entry »

The Perils of Caving In

In Uncategorized on January 13, 2010 at 1:56 am

January 12, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysians non-confrontational approach to race matters has been instrumental in nation building. And so it would seem the appropriate response to Muslim anger over a court ruling allowing a Catholic newspaper to use the word “Allah” to refer to the Christian god in its Bahasa Malaysia edition would be for the country’s non-Muslims to “give Allah back” to the Muslims. After all, nine churches have been attacked since Friday, apparently in response to the court decision.

Forfeiting the right, in fact, would push the nation closer to the brink by communicating in effect that intolerance will be rewarded. Read the rest of this entry »

Terrorism Arrives in Malaysia

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2010 at 8:59 pm

January 11, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR – With much of the Islamic world beset by violence, majority Muslim Malaysia had prided itself on its “clean” record, with no major episode of terrorism on home soil.

That badge of distinction was forfeited early on Friday when three Kuala Lumpur-based Christian churches were firebombed in apparent response to a New Year’s Eve court ruling that allowed a local Catholic newspaper to use the word “Allah” to refer to the Christian god. Read the rest of this entry »