By Greg Sheridan
Skillfully combining journalism with go back and forth writing, a veteran reporter attracts on 30 years of reporting in Asia to make clear the speedily altering towns of Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Hanoi, and Saigon. The heritage, humans, religions, and economies of every burgeoning urban are mentioned, in addition to how the actual dynamic makeup of every coexists and clashes with the intrusions of a bigger nationwide id. additionally integrated are measured insights concerning the starting to be presence of Islamic fundamentalism in Southeastern Asia.
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Extra info for Cities of the Hot Zone: A Southeast Asian Adventure
KL, as I say, is a city that takes food pretty seriously, and the restaurants in the five-star hotels are more chic than all but a tiny handful of restaurants not in hotels. For all KL’s races the wedding is the high point of human activity. A surprisingly large number of Malaysian families can afford to hold a wedding reception (often after prodigious saving or even the liquidation of precious family assets) in a five-star hotel, or if not then a four-star or a three-star. These hotels are markers of social significance.
On a wall in the corridor is a large poster reminding students of the university’s rules: • Girls must wear head cover which does not show neck, hair or chest. • No dating or coupling or close proximity. • No smoking, smoking is a bad and unhealthy habit. • No tight pants. • No jeans. • No long hair for boys or very short hair. 00 pm. • No eating or drinking during Ramadan (the Muslim fasting month). • Students must display matriculation badges at all times. The last rule was the only one I saw breached on campus that day.
Their critics would say Malays in some measure can have a triple chip on their shoulders. Number one, even after 30 years of bumi favouritism they’re still not as succesful as the Chinese. Number two, like all Muslims they believe that Islam is the highest cultural and spiritual achievement of the human race, yet Islam does not rule the world and even in Malaysia, with its multi-racial population and guarantees of religious freedom, the position of Islam is equivocal. And number three, as Naipaul would argue, being Malay rather than Arab, they’re prone to insecurity about their Islamness, or at least some uncertainty about what constitutes authentic Islam.