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TOPIC: malaysia

In The News

Kyiv In The Dark, China’s COVID Record, Stuttgart Christmas Market

👋 Goedemorgen!*

Welcome to Thursday, where 25% of Kyiv remains without power after heavy Russian air strikes on energy infrastructure, China sees record COVID cases, and sorry Thanksgiving, t’is the season for German Christmas markets. Meanwhile, Portuguese news website Mensagem reports from the city of Sintra, in western Portugal, where single parents have banded together to create a new model of joint child care.

[*Flemish]

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Putin In Tehran, Record Heat Across Europe, Dinosaurs In The City

👋 Demat!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Vladimir Putin heads to Tehran to meet with the Iranian and Turkish leaders for his first trip abroad since the start of the Ukraine war, the UK records all-time-high temperatures and dinosaur footprints are found in a Chinese restaurant courtyard. Meanwhile, a Japanese ice-skating legend retires and a new Australian report quantifies the dire state of the environment.

[*Breton, France]

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With Boom In Senior Drivers, 5 New Safety Solutions Around The World

As life expectancy continues to rise, the question of road safety for older drivers has become a priority for governments and carmakers. From AI and deep-learning tech to voluntary retirement, here are some of the innovative solutions being explored to ensure older people can drive safely.

Living longer means driving older. This demographic is pushing governments around the world to look for new ways to ensure the safety of their citizens on the road by introducing specific policies targeting people over 65. Compulsory medical assessment, voluntary retirement, financial incentives, as well as tapping into technologies like AI, VR and deep-learning tech.

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The Indian Diaspora's Lack Of Empathy For COVID Horror Back Home

From Malaysia, where she now lives, writer Mythily Nair laments the cold attitutes of some fellow diaspora members toward the catastrophic second wave washing over India right now.

-Essay-

KUALA LUMPUR — As I surf through international news channels, very little has captivated global attention like India's COVID-19 crisis. Calling it "a catastrophe" and "human rights crisis," anchors from across the world try to draw links and connections as to how a tragedy of this scale unfolded. Foreign journalists are flocking to India to report from hospitals and cremation grounds to report the grim reality at hand.

As the images and reports continue to pour in, our leaders are complaining that such news paints a negative image of India that is detrimental to us being seen as a global powerhouse. But why is the truth detrimental? Is it because it's a glaring reminder of the abject failure of the administrative body?

I was born in India but grew up in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. My family and I still live in Kuala Lumpur. I moved back to India for my undergraduate studies, and over the last three years, I've made friends like family, and had a lifetime's worth of kaleidoscopic experiences that cannot be reduced to just a few words.

I find myself so dumbfounded at the lack of empathy and the hypocrisy.

After a while, I can't watch the news any more. I think of the frantic calls from college friends — some worried and some inconsolable — as they struggled to get oxygen for their parents and plasma for their siblings. As I sit in quarantine in a hotel in Kuala Lumpur, waiting to test negative (for the third time), my friends are running around cities like Delhi and Bangalore, looking for hospital beds.

Unlike friends and family back home, I have the luxury of switching my TV off and escaping what is happening in India. My identity as a Non Residential Indian (NRI) gives me the privilege of "switching off" what is reality for half of my identity, and pretending like everything is fine even as my heart bleeds for home.

With the TV off, I scroll through Instagram and see friends in India requesting plasma right next to videos of Corgis doing tricks, and Indian-origin influencers abroad rallying for donations to be sent home to various foundations while Indian celebrities continue to post mindless vacation photos.

I speak to friends here and around the world with fractured identities like mine — people from India but who grew up abroad — and tell them about how I am struggling to come to terms with myself. How that while I'm grateful for all that I have, I wish I could do more to help.

Mass cremations in Guwahati, India, on May 19 — Photo: Dasarath Deka/ZUMA

Not infrequently do I get responses like: "But they had it coming, the dirty people they are."

I've heard from adults that I respect, expatriates in high-profile roles across South East Asia and further, active members of their local Bharat Clubs (an NRI/Indian origin community group that meet for major festivals) who disdainfully say that "at the risk of sounding too harsh, this is nature's way of cleansing" and that "the only sad part is that there is a lot of collateral."

I try my best to argue only to be rebuked. When I say the government has failed its citizens, I'm told, "No, they're trying their best but it's just gotten out of hand."

I find myself so dumbfounded at the lack of empathy and the hypocrisy at a time when my news feeds show the reality of what is taking place in India.

The "Brown Diaspora" that stood up for #BlackLivesMatter last June, where are you now?

This is my collective response to those who see a major humanitarian crisis as just another way to push a Darwinian evolutionary lens — where countries with poorer infrastructure and less resources seemingly deserve to die; amputated like a diseased limb from the wealthier image we have of the 21st century:

When India and Indian culture serves to your needs — of having cultural tokenism, of chai tea, Yoga and turmeric — you relied upon your heritage and cultural knowledge of being South Asian to propel yourself further in those conversations. But now, as your nation of origin burns, you disassociate for your own benefit, because you know your hyphenated identity will no longer serve you any brownie points amongst members of your newly upwardly-mobile social strata.

What have you gained by trying to hide the truth of systemic failures in India, I ask? What have you done to make things better for those living through the nightmare back home?

The "Brown Diaspora" that stood up for #BlackLivesMatter last June, where are you now? How did your call for activism arise when inequalities arose in developed nations, but not when those same developed nations created inequalities in access to vaccinations on their own?

Maybe you no longer have any connection to your country of origin. For the longest time, I didn't either. I actively tried to disassociate myself from my hyphenated identity in a quest to be seen as better than by an authority that knew nothing about the cultural nuances and intricacies of my heritage.

Reclaim your heritage, one step at a time. If ever you hear someone say that this was meant to happen, read up and point out the facts. Rally up other members in your community, donate whatever you can to any authentic sources who are working on the ground to help those in need.

I'm not asking for much. I'm asking you to refrain from being insensitive, and to help the world heal. Because without India doing better, the world will never fully recover from COVID-19 to even be able to start limping back to some semblance of normalcy.

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Japan
Yann Rousseau

Regional Immunity? Why Asia Has Avoided The Worst Of COVID-19

East Asia is home to 30% of the world's population but has recorded only 2.4% of the COVID-19 global death toll. Scientists are looking at possible immunity from past epidemics or even genetics.

TOKYO — This is one of the great mysteries of the COVID-19 pandemic. Countries in East Asia were affected by the spread of the virus several weeks before Europe and the United States and yet they were notably able to get through the health crisis and to disclose, despite several waves of infection, much lower death tolls than those in the West.

Cumulatively, the ten members of ASEAN (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia) and the developed countries of North-East Asia (China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan) have recorded only 44,000 deaths linked to COVID-19 since January 2020, i.e. barely ... 2.4% of the 1.8 million fatalities worldwide. This is fewer than the 65,000 deaths recorded in France. To put this in perspective, with 2.3 billion inhabitants, East Asia is home to 30% of the entire world population.

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Geopolitics
Betsy Joles

In Malaysia, Asylum Seekers And Trauma As Currency

Refugees in Malaysia explain how the resettlement process creates a perverse incentive to tailor their past experiences.

KUALA LUMPUR — Muddasir Ahmed Rajput didn't know what to expect from his asylum interview with the United Nations in Kuala Lumpur. He worried he might have to take a lie detector test. He thought there might be a hidden camera in the room. When the UN resettlement officer asked why he left Pakistan, Rajput answered in the simplest way he could: "I told her the problem: There's no future there."

Rajput, 21, left his home in the Pakistani province of Punjab and requested asylum in Malaysia in 2013. He is part of the Ahmadiyya sect, a Sunni minority group deemed non-Muslim by Pakistani law. Members of the sect can be punished for blasphemy under the country's penal code for practicing their religion in public.

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Geopolitics
Paul Conge

Kelantan, A Laboratory For Sharia Law In Malaysia

KOTA BHARU On Sultan Zaineb street, congregants leave the mosque one by one in Kota Bharu, the capital of the rural Kelantan state, in northeastern Malaysia. After Friday prayers, the loudspeakers are put on standby.

Some men wearing the traditional kufi turban cross a square at the heart of which stands a white arrow-shaped building. Padang Merdeka, an open-sky memorial that commemorates the place where the country's independence was declared in 1957, now faces a grim future.

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Sources
Jillian Deutsch

Hijabs, From Main Street To Malaysian Shampoo

The hijab still makes Western societies squirm. Passing someone wearing the Islamic headscarf is too often seen as proof that Muslim women are "docile, oppressed, silenced," notes Hend Amry, a practicing Muslim and activist who writes about why she wears a hijab.

But, for better or worse, things are changing.

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blog

Leonardo DiCaprio Questioned In Wolf Of Wall Street Money Scandal

Oscar-winning Hollywood hunk Leonardo DiCaprio pulled out of hosting a fundraiser for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton last week, saying there was a problem with the timing.

Well, kind of. The FBI needed to question DiCaprio about his apparent links to two suspects accused of embezzling a sovereign fund in Malaysia, Swiss newspaper Le Temps reports.

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