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VISITING a new country brings a degree of caution: regardless of how much research you do beforehand, nothing really prepares you for the actual sounds, sights and smells that await, ready to overturn assumptions. It’s particularly disorienting if a youthful imagination has taken hold before arriving: when I first visited London as a child, I was expecting to see streets paved with gold, so taken was I by the story of Dick Whittington and his cat.
IN 1851 the Great Exhibition was held in London. Organised by Prince Albert, it provided a platform for nations to show off their newest inventions, sparking creativity and ultimately fuelling scientific progress and economic growth. Over the years, these World Fairs evolved, and now come under the ambit of the Bureau international des expositions, organised into “World Expos” and “Specialised Expos”.
INVITATIONS to speak at various events have resumed in earnest after Ramadan. I am sometimes slightly puzzled by some of the requests that I receive, including on topics I know little about, so I always try and understand from the organisers how they think my words can benefit those who will be present, lest I fall into a bout of impostor syndrome.
I HAVE written enthusiastically about Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Yusof, Election Commission Chairman Azhar Harun, Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, Attorney General Tommy Thomas and Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Hamid Bador as they set out to do these important jobs.
TOWARDS the end of Ramadan, there were different views expressed about the permissibility of Muslims breaking fast in buildings in (or near) non-Muslim places of worship, about Muslims breaking fast with food cooked and distributed by non-Muslims, and about a supposed general trend of events that include people of different faiths gaining in popularity that might “threaten” the faith of Muslims.