Showing posts from 2019

500th Anniversary of Magellan-Awang Global Circumnavigation

ISTAC Special Forum: Panglima Awang@Enrique de Malacca September 2019 is a significant moment in the history of global circumnavigation. It marks the 500th anniversary of Ferdinand Magellan's first circumnavigation of the earth expedition (1519), which was also participated by his right hand man cum navigator and interpreter, Enrique@Henry the Black@Panglima Awang - the famous Malay slave taken from Melaka  (Some claimed that Awang was from Sumatra, but most authoritative sources agreed that he was a native of Melaka). Some historical context or prelude to the mission: 1492 marked the end of the Muslim rule in Spain. This soon led to the Treaty of Tordesillas which literally divided the world into two; Portuguese and Spanish (The other expedition was led by Columbus, who "founded" the "New World").  20 years later, Melaka fell to the Portuguese colonisers in 1511. A few years later Awang (his real name is unknown. Awang is regarded as a common Malay na

Indonesia Memilih: Jokowi or Prabowo?

According to latest polls by CSIS and Litbang Kompas (via Jakarta Post), Joko Widodo or "Jokowi" is currently leading Prabowo Subianto by 9 percentage points and he looks almost certain to be reelected as president - unless some miracle happens. Here's a rough guide or a simple breakdown of the voting pattern across Indonesia's major provinces and islands. This is by no means a perfect generalisation of the Indonesian election, but I just thought it would be interesting to dissect the voting pattern.  Some groups are not included as their political inclination vary according to religious identity e.g. the Muslim Moluccans overwhelmingly voted for Prabowo while the Christian Moluccans voted for Jokowi. For Jokowi: The Javanese, Balinese, Bataks, Dayaks, Papuans, Lampungese, Minahasans, Flores For Prabowo: the Acehnese, Minangs, Malays, Sundanese, Bantenese, Buginese, Banjarese, Gorontaloan . (Pic: Prabowo won in West Java) #pilpres2019

Julian Assange, Wikileaks and the War Criminals

There is a famous saying that the oldest profession in the world after prostitution is spying and espionage. The traditional idea of spying is basically to steal secret information and bring it home to your national spy agency. The internet has fundamentally changed that.  Julian Assange's Wikileaks is like James Bond but with a twist - he dumped all of the stolen secret/classified information on his Wikileaks website for a global audience. So finally, after "hiding" for nearly 7 years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Julian Assange, the self-declared "information anarchist", widely described by the media establishment as a narcissist, was arrested.  Whatever your views about Assange or Wikileaks, the fact is that he and his Wikileaks outfit have succeeded in exposing the US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, exposing gigabytes of diplomatic cables documenting thousands of reports/diplomats' conversations, which amongst others confirmed and reaf