December 26, 2006

Holiday Material

Posted in Reflections at 12:09 am by egalitaria

Holiday material for digestion this season:

1. Gubra – Sequel to Yasmin Ahmad’s Sepet. In the continuation of the fiesty Orked’s life, she discovers her husband is having an affair. She meets up with the brother of Chinese ex-boyfriend and eventually turns to him for comfort. Parallel story runs, of an imam who lives next to a prostitute’s home. Controversial scenes include the imam touching the dog, a butt-naked man in hospital. Movie explores inter-racial relationships in the Malaysian context. Excellent movie, highly recommended. Gubra means anxiety.

2. The Message – Made in 1976, Anthony Quinn stars in the movie which depicts the rising of Islam in Mekkah and Madina. Interesting way of presenting Muhammad’s story, something more people should watch to get a clearer picture of what Islam was in its original form and essence.

3. World on Fire – book by Amy Chua, Yale Law professor. Exploring her thesis of how exporting free market democracy around the world has actually resulted in ethnic conflict. This is because in most cases, globalisation and free markets have benefitted only the ethnic minority in developing countries, making them the economically powerful group. For example, although the Chinese represent between 1-5% of the population in Burma and Philippines, they own up to 60-70% of the economy. The book argues that the Western term of globalisation and free market democracy has not translated into the same meaning in the developing world. Extremely interesting, and something that chimes with my heart. I read Friedman’s books and articles and something seemed to be missing. Amy Chua’s explanations seem to fit perfectly into the abysmal gap that economists tend to ignore. Highly recommended as well.



  1. alwyn said,

    So the issue becomes *why* certain groups benefit whilst others don’t, right? I don’t think Friedman was ignoring power and politics in his book which was – as usual – a kind of semi-idealistic “way forward”.

    But, my non-reading of Chua notwithstanding, I’m curious to see what Chua proposes. The review does mention that more institutionalised controls are required at the start of any democratization exercise (and extols Singapore as an example) but I guess we all know this gets us into murky water as well (e.g. S’pore’s case can’t replicated so easily elsewhere, is culture the main problem here? etc.)

  2. journalynne said,

    I would like to watch both movies and read that book. Thanks for recommending.

  3. LeonKJ said,

    Well the whole first world and third world divide is a very complex issue. I dont know if either Capitalism or Globalization is the sole factor you can pin point as the bourgeoisie vs. the proletariat, there are always complex issues, like corruption, innovation, productivity, etc. The Chinese even caused a stir in Spain 2 years ago, by staying open during Siesta, but the Spanish fought back, skipped their naps and there is no Chinese monopoly there. I know there are monopolies and other ufair distribution issues, but they are always complex and economics needs to learn from anthropology many times to uncover the mysterious reasons why some cultures thrive and others starve.

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  5. Mark said,

    Thank You

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