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Was at the Malaysian Student Leaders Summit. Highlights:

  • The Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Ahmad Abdul Badawi, didn’t know the topic of his speech. Instead, he gave a long, 40-minute rambling speech Malaysiakini charitably described as, “off-the-cuff address to the students on a wide range of topics”. It was pointed out by a brave chap during Q&A.
  • Much like the PM, only without the benefit of Q&A, the Higher Education Minister Dato’ Seri Khalid Nordin similarly like the sound of his own voice. Key points of his speech: what is leadership? Ground shattering discoveries were revealed, such as leadership involves *gasp* responsibilities.
  • The Education Minister, Dato’ Seri Hishamuddin Tun Hussein, was a breath of fresh air. His speech was interesting and short (and notably, keris-free), and he didn’t seem to avoid answering most of the question. Favourite answer, to the question on why there is a bumper crop of straight A’s during election year, “Well, that didn’t really helped us in the last election”.
  • Dato’ Seri Hishamuddin’s ability to answer questions didn’t seem shared by panelists of other forums. I posed a question in the forum on national unity to Royal Professor Dr Ungku Aziz, on the need of a single, national language (I cited Switzerland), and why Malay ought to be that single, national language when it is seen as the language of the Malays, not a neutral language.

    The professor in fact only prescription for national unity is the ability to converse in one language. Most, if not all, Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish speak English yet there is a glaring lack of national (or in this case, erm, inter-national?) unity in the United Kingdom.

  • The MC, Sarah Chian (spelling?) is extremely fluent in both English and Malay but seems confused when to use either (such as English to wrap up a predominantly-Malay speech and vice-versa).
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