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Ceritalah

The delicious melancholy of Vietnam’s Reunification Express

IN 1936, when the French first launched the “Transindochinois” railway service linking Hanoi with Saigon, there were gala celebrations, sports competitions and commemorative stamps galore – all presided over by the debonair Governor-General and the Vietnamese Emperor, Bao Dai.

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Water now more expensive than petrol

NEARLY four years ago, the south Indian city of Chennai (capital of Tamil Nadu) was under water. The worst floods in living history – the result of cyclones from the Bay of Bengal – had reduced this manufacturing and services powerhouse of eleven million to a standstill as brackish water lapped at the wheels of the planes parked at the Anna International Airport. The human tragedy was substantial, with over 500 deaths and some 1.8 million people displaced.

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Garbage in. Garbage out

Bantar Gebang is the apocalypse: the end of the world will probably look like it.

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Historians – the past, present and future

HISTORIANS deal with the past. As the architects of our collective memory; they record, document and preserve. History can never be objective because like any form of storytelling, there’s always a writer or narrator who selects, edits and crafts the source material. Biases are therefore to be expected. The best we can do is to be aware of their existence.

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Washington SyCip– a timeless figure

MANILA, Jakarta and Bangkok: Southeast Asian cities are vast, rambunctious and extremely competitive, verging on the cutthroat.

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Cool heads must prevail

“OUR freedom and our rights are fast-disappearing. This wasn’t like the ‘Occupy’ movement back in 2014. Back then, the general public weren’t so convinced. This time, it’s very different. Many people feel they have no choice; that they have to demonstrate in order to preserve our current way of life and our autonomy.”

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What Asia’s election season tells us

IN the first half of this year, four Asian giants went to the polls. Up to one billion voters were involved, all within a few weeks of one another.

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Celebrating Aidilfitri in a Muslim minority country

WHATEVER you call it: Eid al-Fitr, Hari Raya Aidilfitri or Idul Fitri (or more simply, “Lebaran”), the end of the Ramadan fasting month is a major holiday for both Malaysians and Indonesians.

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Tash Aw explores Malaysia’s dark side

TASH Aw is a successful, international prize-winning Malaysian novelist. He is also a sophisticated and well-travelled essayist with an intuitive grasp of the zeitgeist and mood of wherever he is.

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Of protests and rubber pellets

The aftermath of Indonesia’s elections saw a peaceful protest turn chaotic riot.

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Whatever may come, the Ganges flows

Kabir, spiritual rationalism and Modi’s politics at the sacred river, birthplace of India’s identity.

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Moving forward, New Malaysia needs a new narrative

THE euphoria over the surprise victory of the Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad-led Pakatan Harapan coalition last year has been swiftly replaced by a surprisingly bitter disappointment.