Debating in Malaysia: Its Shortcomings and How to Move Forward

By Farquar Haqqani

I recently watched a documentary on the great Muslim scholar, Imam al-Ghazali, and I recommend those who have 80 minutes to spare to look for “The Alchemist of Happiness” on Youtube. While generally retracing the life of al-Ghazali, there are several themes raised in the documentary which I feel resonates even in today’s climate. Among them was al-Ghazali’s take on debating. I would like to disclaim here that I am neither an expert on Imam al-Ghazali’s life nor his works, but the snippet from said documentary can and should be extrapolated to be discussed in the context of modern day Malaysia.

The documentary narrates Imam al-Ghazali’s concern with the nature and purpose of debating. In particular, he worries that individuals debate for personal gain, rather than for the pursuit of truth. Continue reading “Debating in Malaysia: Its Shortcomings and How to Move Forward”

Remembering Ben: A Tribute to Allahyarham Adlan Benan Omar (1973 – 2008)

Written by Affendy Hasni and Farquar Haqqani

Edited by Melissa Kong

Allahyarham Adlan Benan Omar was the chairman of the founding committee of the United Kingdom Executive Council for Malaysian Students (today known as the United Kingdom and Eire Council of Malaysian Students, or UKEC) in 1994.  He studied at Bukit Bintang Boys’ Secondary School in Petaling Jaya, Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) in Perak, the MARA Institute of Technology, Subang Jaya and pursued his A Levels at Abingdon School, Oxfordshire. He then read History and Law at Jesus College at the University of Cambridge, and graduated in 1997. He passed away at the age of 35 on 24 January 2008.

Larger than life, in both a metaphorical and physical sense, are words often chosen to describe Ben by those who have had the fortune of knowing him. Ben was big in practically every sense of the word. Many likened him to a shooting star, bright and brilliant, but sadly, short-lived. Continue reading “Remembering Ben: A Tribute to Allahyarham Adlan Benan Omar (1973 – 2008)”