Monday, January 25, 2010

1. I visited Makassar in Indonesia recently to give a talk on democracy. It is where the forebears of Tun Razak and Dato Seri Najib came from. You cannot blame them for once again feeling proud that a descendant of a Bugis as the people of the Celebes are known, is once again the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

2. I felt much welcomed there although torrents of rain pured down on the city for hours. The sun came out the morning I went to the Universitas Hasanuddin for the talk. It was a coincidence of course.

3. The reception was heart warming. There were 2,000 faculty members and students in the audience. The Governor of Southern Sulawesi opened the proceedings after the introduction by the Rector of the university.

4. A choir made up of students sang beautifully. After the Question and Answer session following my speech the event was brought to an end by a recitation of the sajak “Perjuangan Yang Belum Selesai” by one of the senior professors. The choir then sang “Semalam Di Malaysia”.

5. What a difference from the recent attempts to sour up relations between our two countries. There is really much goodwill towards Malaysia in Indonesia.

6. Air Asia flies there four times a week. There are great beaches, sparkling clear waters, abundant seafood and beautiful resorts. And friendly people. Things are cheaper than here. Malaysians should find Makassar a welcome change from the frenetic life in Jakarta.
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