December 11, 2019

Life (and death) in plastic

When I wake up every morning, I step into my bathroom and survey the shelves. There are rows of multi-coloured plastic containers: toothpaste, hair conditioners, hand soap, creams and eye lotions. Since I’m always travelling, I also have stacks of those cheap, single-usage shampoo sachets.Nowadays, (and because of the endless amounts of plastic that I seem to be using) I feel as if I’m a perpetrator and the killer of all those animals. But what is the truth about plastic?
December 5, 2019

Javanese: Of language and unity

More people speak Javanese than Malay, Burmese or even Thai. Indeed 95 million people or fully 40% of Indonesia’s 265 million strong population are Javanese speakers. However, Javanese is not the national language of the Republic. That is Bahasa Indonesia, which is a variation of the Malay language. How did Javanese, the language of Indonesia’s largest ethnic group, fail to become the national language?
December 5, 2019

An Iban in Johor

Gawing - an Iban/Christian boy - was nineteen years old when he first arrived in Johor back in 1993. He certainly never expected - just over a quarter of a century later - to be living and working in Johor Baru. Now working for an oil and gas company (a job that he enjoys immensely) and married with three children, he considers himself a true-blue, "Johorean".
December 5, 2019

The Indian elephant in the room

Back in 2014 when Narendra Modi was first elected, he was supposed to transform the perennially under-performing Indian economy. Instead, five years on and after a deeply divisive election, India - according to a National Statistical Office (NSO) survey - is facing rising poverty, especially in the rural areas as well as an unprecedented fall in consumer spending - for the first time in over four decades.