Penang and the Patani problem

30/4 – 2/5/11 AFTER the book launch at the Park Hotel, we sell out of Surfing behind the Wall. It’s an encouraging sign. My friend Iskander takes me to visit the tomb of Habib Nuh al-‘Attas, the famous saint of Singapore. His tomb, once atop a hill, now nestles against[…]

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Launch of Surfing behind the Wall: Singapore 1

Saturday 27th April: Cape Malay book found in Singapore On Saturday morning I meet with Dr Chandra Muzaffer, director of the NGO JUST (the International Movement for a Just World). He’s a softly-spoken man in a wheel-chair. Once in the opposition political frame, he’s since beaten a retreat from the[…]

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Syria: the new Cold War

ROBERT FISK of The Independent is not known for mincing his words. Having lived in Lebanon for most of his adult life, and having covered almost every Middle East conflict for the last 40 years, Syria’s complex role in the region is well-known to him. Ruled with an iron fist[…]

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The Blessed Tree: the Prophet's last surviving Companion

THE 10,000 year-old centre of Amman – modernised by the Makkan Sharif, King ‘Abdullah I, after the colonial dissection of the Middle East in 1917 – is Jordan’s bustling capital. Once straddling seven hills, it now encompasses more than 20 as its grey urban sprawl envelops the countryside. It’s only[…]

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The Way Things Are

IT is a truism that earlier generations were more sensitive than us to their natural environment. A cloudburst, for example, was a much weightier event than a whorl on a satellite image, or the opening of an umbrella on a wet pavement. It is a truism too, that 21st century[…]

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