Merdeka by Petronas

The most riveting programming on Malaysian TV is the advertisements. Not the advertisements exactly, but the public service announcements put out around holiday times by the major national companies like Perodua, Telekom, and Petronas. Petronas has really outdone itself this year with a wonderfully nuanced and introspective look on nationhood here at the eve of […]

Malaysia: Muslim or Islamic?

Ali Eteraz mused recently that the key to making Islam compatible with Mosque/State separation in Muslim countries is to declare Islam as the official religion, while retaining a lawmaking process that is not subject to theological review. Great idea! That’s precisely the arrangement that exists in Malaysia. The government is predicated on a secular platform […]

Islamic Banking

Is It Really Kosher? is an interesting article by Aaron MacLean on the rise of Islamic Financing around the world. Some of the article’s better points: …“money always looks for the best deal.” if Islamic finance couldn’t provide results close to those of secular institutions, it wouldn’t exist. … The rational profit motive never lost […]

Masjid Maktab Perguruan

Kota Samarahan, Sarawak Large government institutions will often have suraus or masjids built on their grounds, particularly if the institution has a resident population. The mosque where I most often make my Friday prayers is one such mosque, built on the grounds of a nearby maktab perguruan. It’s a lovely building, a modern rendition of […]

Mysteries of the Coconut: Air kelapa

Working under the hot tropical sun can take a lot out of you. Within minutes, sweat flows freely and before long you become drenched. Taking clothes off doesn’t help at all; in fact, it just exposes you more to the sun’s rays. Laborers will work dressed from ankle to wrist, often with a balaclava over […]