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THE MALAYSIA THAT COULD BE
“There is no doubt that we (Malaysia) are on a slippery slope. Intolerance is growing and there is no firm guiding hand, no leadership to lead us back to the right path.” ...so begins Dato’ Seri Kalimullah Hassan in the introduction to this compilation of columns written over the years and published in the New
Sunday Times in Malaysia.

In them, he fondly reminisces the Malaysia of yesteryear when ordinary Malaysians lived modestly and harmoniously together. He also bemoans the decline in ethnic and religious tolerance in recent times, amidst a rise of rhetoric of racism and bigotry.

Having been friends with former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi since 1980, and part of the team who helped with Abdullah’s speeches at the annual Umno General Assembly, Kalimullah also gives an insider’s view of Abdullah’s years in power and the events which led to his resignation.

The Malaysia That Could Be tells of one man’s belief in his country – and how it can be so much more than what it is today. It also reflects the stories and sentiments of many who care deeply about the country.

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UNQUIET KINGDOM - Thailand in Transition

From exuberant rallies on Bangkok’s shopping streets to tear-gasfilled alleyways echoing with gunshots, from democracy-debating farmers to kitten-fostering Buddhist nuns, Unquiet Kingdom is a gripping portrait of Thailand’s many faces, revealing the complexities of a country that is far more than its tranquil tourist-brochure stereotype. When the beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej died in October 2016, a nation united in mourning. Yet the decade or so before had been one of prolonged turmoil, with red-hot clashes at the gates of government and bloody encounters in the jungles of the south. Coinciding with a dramatic rise in online activism and social media use, the tumult spurred a new political awareness that cast a light on the country’s internal contradictions, exposing the fault lines of an essentially feudal nation in extended and halting transition to egalitarian democracy. 

The period saw the army return to power with two coups d’état. It saw five elections – two failed and three successful – and seven prime ministers. It saw street battles in Bangkok; a still ongoing armed insurgency in the deep south; and the great flood of 2011. Veteran journalist Nirmal Ghosh takes readers past the serene facade of Thailand’s steadily-cruising economy and undaunted tourism industry. He exposes the uncertainty of a country in the throes of transition, a deeply-divided land that has just lost a father. The military seems resolved to clamp the lid on a restless country – but how long it can do this remains an open question.


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