Category: Poverty

Romero’s shadow haunts Obama

President Obama has had to face up to memories of the US-backed repression in Central America during a visit that coincided with the anniversary of the assassination of the legendary Archbishop of El Salvador, Oscar Romero, on 24 March 1980.

Protesters in El Salvador also demanded that Obama rework or scrap the Central American Free Trade Agreement, which has crippled agriculture in the country. (more…)


Mounting household debt in Malaysia

The other day, I was at the ATM when I noticed a middle-aged couple in front of me in the queue. They tried a few times to withdraw funds. As I waited a few minutes, I overheard them saying they were trying to withdraw RM20, but the machine responded “insufficient funds”. They looked stressed and worried.

All is not well among Malaysians. The level of household debt has been rising over the years at the rate of 11.1 per cent annually. (more…)


Spirit of Along Sega’s struggle lives on

Few Malaysians may have heard of him but that in no way takes anything away from the towering stature of the legendary Penan leader, Along Sega, who passed away on 2 February 2011.

Along Sega and his grandson, perched on a tree stump, witnessing logging activities - Photo courtesy of Ngo/Greenpeace

He was an outspoken leader of the Penan’s struggle against the timber firms that encroached into native customary rights lands from the 1980s. (more…)


Radio Free Sarawak: Who’s behind it

Who is responsible for Taib Mahmud’s worst nightmare? Clare Rewcastle Brown, sister-in-law of Gordon Brown, and Peter John Jaban aka ‘Papa Orang Utan’, the grandson of a Dayak headhunter, are the driving force behind the mysterious Radio Free Sarawak.

Clare and Papa - Photo credit: London Evening Standard

The report in the London Evening Standard

Clare, a former BBC investigative journalist, is also the author of the Sarawak Report website. (more…)


Egypt: A memo to dictators everywhere

After what’s been happening in Egypt, I thought I would draft a memo to dictators and authoritarian leaders around the world to give them some free and unsolicited advice.

Inspiring photo of the day: Egyptian Christians protecting fellow Muslim protesters who were praying at Tahrir Square earlier today - Photo credit: ShawkattRaghib via twitter

Dear Mr Dictator/Authoritarian Leader

Recent events in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and elsewhere must be giving you sleepless nights or making you feel terribly uneasy.

May I offer a few tips so that you don’t see similar eruptions in your own countries:

Do not suppress dissent

Allow your people sufficient avenues and outlets to express their frustrations, anger, complaints and criticism. You don’t want their anger and frustration to be pent up. Think of these avenues as built-in safety valves. In this respect, free media and a functioning Parliament have a big role to play. Don’t forget to free up the state-run media as well. Get rid of all repressive laws, especially detention without trial, and bring back democracy quickly before it’s too late. Liberate your people! (more…)