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Tracking Global Feng Shui: 15 Years of Soul Searching Columns

For 15 years (January 1997-July 2012), Imtiaz Muqbil penned a hard-hitting fortnightly column called “Soul-Searching” in the Bangkok Post. In July 2012, two editors (Paul Ruffini, Sunday Editor, and Chiratas Nivatpumin, Managing Editor) of the so-called “newspaper you can trust” censored and muzzled it, with no explanation. In defiance against that unprecedented action, and at the behest of many upset readers, a selection of the nearly 400 columns are reproduced here. More will added regularly.

The range of subjects reflect the ongoing Global Feng Shui and the inevitability of the Buddhist concept of impermanence. By challenging the conventional wisdoms of the tumultuous years since the 1997 Asian economic crisis, they underscore the importance of alternative perspectives and powerful debate in shaping the new world order, which has to be just, balanced, fair and equitable if it is to be sustainable. Policymakers, academics and researchers need to take a more sceptical, critical approach towards issues that impact on travel & tourism. As their future is at stake, the younger generation, too, needs to become more watchful.

The thought-provoking columns are Imtiaz Muqbil’s contribution to Asia-Pacific journalistic history & heritage as an Asian Century dawns.

28 Oct, 2007

A Warning About Global Warming, But Which One?

Originally Published: 28 Oct 2007 The Global Environment Outlook report released last week makes grim reading. However, upon perusing through its voluminous 572 pages, the key question that emerges is which “warming” should the global public prepare to address first? The word “war” features prominently in both global “warming” and global “warning”. While environmentalists warn […]


14 Oct, 2007

If the Burmese are entitled to freedom, aren’t the Palestinians?

Originally Published: 14 Oct 2007 It is hugely inspiring and uplifting to see the passion and energy being poured into the efforts to gain freedom for the people of Burma from the military dictatorship. There is justifiably enormous sympathy for the oppressed people of this strategically-important and resource-rich country which has produced international public figures […]


30 Sep, 2007

Does the Islamic World have a “Tolerance Threshold”?

Originally Published: 30 Sept 2007 How much further must the Islamic world be pushed, insulted, humiliated, lied to, criticised and manipulated before the silent majority of Muslim intellectuals, businessmen, diplomats and other well-educated and well-read personalities decide that enough is enough. More importantly, how much longer before they begin to exercise their democratic right to […]


2 Sep, 2007

CNN documentary paves the way for a wider global exploration of “God’s warriors”

Originally Published: 02 Sep 2007 The six-hour CNN documentary series, “God’s Warriors”, broadcast Aug 21-23 essentially proved right what Muslims have been long saying – that they are not the only “militants, extremists and zealots” in town. When a “former Jewish terrorist” talks about his role in planting a car-bomb that blew away the legs […]


19 Aug, 2007

Marking 60 years of Freedom, India and Pakistan focus on what binds rather than divides them

Originally Published: 19 Aug 2007 There was plenty of soul-searching in both India and Pakistan as the two nuclear-club South Asian neighbours celebrated the 60th year of independence from British colonialism last week. Significantly, a key message that emerged from the speeches by their respective leaders was that neither country can afford another war. Both […]


5 Aug, 2007

As Speaker Flags “Islamism”, FCCT Moderator Tries to Silence Questions On Israeli Policy

Originally Published: 5 Aug 2007 The Arab-Israeli conflict erupted by proxy in full force at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand last week as an Israeli propaganda effort to highlight the “Islamist” threat in Asia ran into some unexpectedly belligerent skepticism and opposition. In one of the stormiest meetings ever seen at the FCCT, the […]


22 Jul, 2007

Study of “Happiness” is Becoming both a Science and a Business

Originally Published: 22 July 2007 The very simple exercise of pursuing public happiness as a national development objective is moving rapidly from the leftist lunatic fringe into the sphere of mainstream thinking. Although there is general agreement that the concept is valid and well worth being elevated to the level of public policy, it is […]


19 Jul, 2007

When will Asia muster the courage to start pushing back?

Originally Published: 19 July 2007 Tarrin Nimmanhaeminda is a man who chooses his words with care. Thailand’s finance minister during the critical Asian economic crisis, which just commemorated its 10th anniversary amidst much soul-searching, is well versed in both the intricacies of global finance as well as the English language. When he recounted the crisis […]


8 Jul, 2007

Now Asia’s Turn to Demand Accountability & Transparency From the West

Originally Published: 08 July 2007 Two watershed events were marked virtually back-to-back over the last fortnight. The 10th anniversary of the 1997 Asian economic crisis and the half-way mark of the 15-year Millennium Development Goals campaign both provided an opportunity to take stock of the past and take a fresh look at the future. Looking […]


24 Jun, 2007

Gandhi’s Pursuit of Non-Violence In Reality Was a Pursuit of Justice

Originally Published: 24 June 2007 The June 15 decision by the UN General Assembly to observe the International Day of Non-Violence each year on 2 October – the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi — is intended to promote public awareness of, and deeper reflections on, the life and times of a revolutionary leader whose policies […]


10 Jun, 2007

Jewish-American Neocon Openly Prays for Bush to Bomb Iran

Originally Published: 10 Jun 2007 On May 30, an opinion piece appeared in the pages of the Wall Street Journal with a very unequivocal message: It called on President Bush to bomb Iran. The concluding line is a revelation: “As an American and as a Jew, I pray with all my heart that he (President […]


27 May, 2007

Amnesty International Reports Pinpoints Causes of Global Fear, Insecurity & Instability

Originally Published: 27 May 2007 Amnesty International’s report for 2007 was published last week. It was hugely gratifying to see that it focussed on many of the subjects explored in this column over the years — from the negative impact of globalisation to the climate of fear and insecurity created by the “war on terror”. […]


13 May, 2007

Religions akin to a confluence of rivers, all flowing in one direction

Originally Published: 13 May 2007 When Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, delivered the keynote address at the South Asian Inter-Faith Harmony Conclave last month, he said: “Nations and societies that seek to impose uniformity will give way to those who embrace and celebrate diversity. Every nation will have to learn to deal with the […]


29 Apr, 2007

Virginia Tech Massacre: Double Standards in Analysing the Root Cause of Violence

Originally Published: 29 Apr 2007 In addition to the appalling death and carnage of the Virginia Tech massacre, perhaps the most disturbing aspect was the sharp contrast in the way America and indeed the rest of the world analysed and probed its root causes, as against the way acts of violence are treated when Muslims […]


1 Apr, 2007

Indian Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen Pinpoints Why The World Has Become Unstable and Violent

Originally Published: 01 Apr 2007 Asia’s best-known economist last week used the 60th anniversary commemoration of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) to remind the people of the Asian/Arab/Islamic worlds of their rich contributions to global civilization. In a profoundly inspiring lecture, Prof Amartya Sen, the first Indian and […]


4 Mar, 2007

The world is not flat, and never will be!

Originally Published: 04 Mar 2007 The shocks that reverberated through the global stock markets last week yielded yet another example of the 21st century economic pandemics that can spread faster than bird flu, and the threats of the aptly-named “problems without passports” in an age of globalisation. Globalisation, and its economic first-cousins liberalisation, privatisation and […]


18 Feb, 2007

Is Iran trying to “wipe Israel off the map”? Take a closer look

Originally Published: 18 Feb 2007 It should be no secret by now that the United States and Israel are fishing for a reason to justify an attack on Iran. Four years after attacking Iraq based on the marketing catch-phrase “Saddam has weapons of mass destruction,” preparations are clearly being made to expand the theatre of […]


4 Feb, 2007

Holocaust Memorials Show How Easily Victims Can Become Victimisers

Originally Published: 04 Feb 2007 As always, the world marks Holocaust Day with great solemnity and remembrance. But even as they urge the world to reflect on the past, the actions of Western governments and the Jewish state of Israel prove year after year how little, if anything at all, they themselves have learnt from […]


21 Jan, 2007

Survey shows global public believes world will be less safe, has no confidence in leaders

Originally Published: 21 January 2007 As preparations are finalised for this week’s World Economic Forum (WEF) in the glitzy Swiss resort of Davos, the annual jamboree of the rich and famous, the WEF has released the results of a global public opinion survey which “shows a growing lack of confidence in leaders to improve our […]


7 Jan, 2007

10 Years After 1997 Crisis, Have Any Lessons Been Learnt?

Originally Published: 7 Jan 2007 In spite of all the prayers and hopes, 2007 has already gotten off to a less an auspicious start and promises to get worse, both at home and abroad. However, a number of important anniversaries this year offer an opportunity to reflect on the fact that many, if not all, […]


24 Dec, 2006

Nobel Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus asks: Is it globalisation, or financial imperialism?

Originally Published: 24 Dec 2006 In the light of global geopolitical developments of the past year, and economic developments in Thailand in the past week, the words of two Nobel prize winners in the past month will prove extremely insightful in pondering what awaits us all in the year ahead. On December 10, Muhammad Yunus, […]


10 Dec, 2006

Iraq Study Group report warns U.S. about dangers of staying the course

Originally Published: 10 Dec 2006 Like many Middle East watchers around the world, I carefully read through the Iraq Study Group report which, curiously enough, seemed to reflect the views of many of my columns over the past five years. And the global media reporting of its contents also seemed to reflect the same line. […]


26 Nov, 2006

Why does peace remain so elusive in the Middle East?

Originally Published: 26 Nov 2006 I often get asked why I focus so much on the Middle East. An answer came in the past fortnight from the United Nations Deputy Secretary General Mark Malloch-Brown. Speaking on Nov 20 to an audience of diplomats and students of international affairs at an event organized by Washington University’s […]


12 Nov, 2006

When you are Number One, the only place you can go next is down

Originally Published: 12 Nov 2006 “Operation Infinite Justice” continued to surge ahead in the last fortnight as both Saddam Hussein and George W Bush got their just rewards, each suffering a blowback for the suffering they have caused to hundreds of thousands of people in their own countries and worldwide. While Saddam was sentenced to […]


29 Oct, 2006

When will the American people finally tire of being lied to?

Originally Published: 29 Oct 2006 Before reading any further, please log onto this website: www.truthdig.com/report/item/200601019_after_pats_birthday/. And note the words: “Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is. “Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most […]


15 Oct, 2006

Good WILL triumph over evil, but evil will not go down without a fight

Originally Published: 15 Oct 2006 The day after my last column appeared a fortnight ago, excerpts began appearing in the US media from “State of Denial,” the newest book by Watergate sleuth Bob Woodward. The book effectively says what I have been saying for years: The Bush administration lied to the world about the reasons […]


1 Oct, 2006

Time to redefine the buzzwords that drive “wealth creation”

Originally Published: 01 October 2006 Of the many buzzwords that drive economic and corporate growth these days, three stand out: “development,” “progress” and “success.” All of these are rooted in the assumption that they must be measured in terms of monetary advancement – also known as “wealth creation.” But as deep misgivings begin to set […]


17 Sep, 2006

Flashback: How did we EVER get hoodwinked into these mindless wars?

Originally Published: 17 September 2006 While the world was looking back five years at the 9/11 memorial, I was looking ahead five years in earnest hope that we will then be able to look back 10 years and wonder how we could have been hoodwinked into these mindless wars and conflict by some of the […]


23 Jul, 2006

Israel is a law unto itself

Originally Published: 23 July 2006 Pardon my confusion, but wasn’t there a lot of hand-wringing about threats by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad to “wipe Israel off the map”? So why isn’t there any outrage now among the so-called “civilised countries”, the paragons of democracy, transparency and accountability, the upholders of rule of law, human rights, […]


9 Jul, 2006

Soccer World Cup: Looking Toward A Bigger Set of Goals

Originally Published: 9 July 2006 For the first time, several UN agencies took advantage of the global viewership of the tournament to merge the objectives of the World Cup and the United Nations in “striving for the shared goal of celebrating humanity,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan said before the tournament opened. “As the pinnacle of the […]


11 Jun, 2006

A Tribute to The Last Great Leader of This Generation

Originally published: 11 Jun 2006 The 60th anniversary of His Majesty the King’s accession to the throne has brought Thailand closer to an even more important landmark. In 2010, just four years from now, His Majesty will equal the record of the longest reigning monarch in modern history, the U.K.’s Queen Victoria who reigned for […]


30 Apr, 2006

Guide To Help Americans Dispel Stereotype of the “Ugly American”

Originally Published: 30 April 2006 A group of U.S. students has compiled a guide to help Americans travelling abroad “dispel the stereotype of the Ugly American”. In an amazingly forthright piece of market research that would apply more to the U.S. government than U.S. citizens, the guide identifies the four root causes of anti-American sentiment […]


16 Apr, 2006

Scientists Bid to Prove/Disprove the Power of Prayer

Originally Published: 16 April 2006 Religion-watchers were in tizzy last week about a study that revolved around the question: Can prayer actually help another person recover from disease? A group of prominent scientists recently sought at least part of the answer in the largest study of its kind, and concluded that prayer from strangers had […]


2 Apr, 2006

New Research Unveils the Link between “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy”

Originally Published: 02 April 2006 A research paper by political scientists from two of America’s top universities has blown the lid off one of the most taboo subjects in the field of international relations – the massive influence of the Israeli lobby in the US political establishment, colleges, think-tanks and the media, and its impact […]


5 Mar, 2006

How Conventional Wisdoms Can be Wrong, Very Wrong

Originally Published: 5 March 2006 One of the best parts of writing a topical and controversial column is the emails I get from like-minded people who, for reasons I can well understand, shy away from penning their thoughts to Postbag but do keep me pumped up enough to make it worth the effort. This week, […]


5 Feb, 2006

Shouldn’t ‘Never Again’ Apply to All?

Originally Published: 5 Feb 2006 On 27 January, the United Nations system marked its first Holocaust memorial day at a global level. Its overt objective is for present generations never to forget the genocide against the Jews and for future generations to remain vigilant against it ever occuring again. But a deeper analysis will yield […]


22 Jan, 2006

Non-Resident Indians Hear Warning About Foreign Funding of Sectarian Agendas

Originally Published:  22 Jan 2006 HYDERABAD –  Indian expatriates living abroad who believe in a secular and communally harmonious India as espoused by its founding fathers have been urged to remain “vigilant” about foreign funding of sectarian agendas back home. Speaking at a convention of the overseas Indian diaspora here earlier this month, Mr George […]


8 Jan, 2006

Beware the new colonialism

Originally Published: 08 Jan 2006 The primary challenge facing the new generation of leaders in the developing world will be to maintain national independence against the influence and reach of global multinationals which are becoming more powerful than countries. Unless one is a keen student of global history – and let’s face it, who really […]


25 Dec, 2005

Over the festive season, ponder the difference between water and oil

Originally Published: 25 December 2005 My previous column ended by volunteering a forecast on what will happen next on the global stage. So, here goes. Economic law says that whenever a commodity faces a shortage, its price goes up. Look around and see what’s in short supply these days – and try looking beyond mere […]


16 Dec, 2005

Acts of God Show the Wrath of God

Originally Published: 16 Oct 2005 Mahatma Gandhi said: “Every affliction has its own rich lesson to teach, if we would learn it.” Since December 26, the day of the devastating tsunami tragedy, the world has seen a number of so-called “natural disasters” that have afflicted hundreds of thousands of people of all castes, colours and […]


13 Nov, 2005

Treating the Symptoms and Not the Cause Is a Recipe for Death

Originally Published: 13 Nov 2005 As the war on Islam spreads both in depth and breadth, here’s a very simple question for the “international community”: At which global body/tribunal/court can the world’s Muslims seek settlement of unresolved political disputes peacefully, fairly and democratically? Certainly not the UN, where the US, Britain and France have a […]


30 Oct, 2005

Rabin’s Death Anniversary – Time for Jews to do Some Soul-Searching

Originally Published: 30 Oct 2005 November 4, 2005 will mark the 10th anniversary of the assassination of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a Jewish terrorist named Yigal Amir. The violence that it spawned effectively fulfilled the killer’s aims of ending the Middle East peace process. It continues to this day, and has expanded […]


2 Oct, 2005

Tracking Global Feng Shui: Move the UN HQ from New York to Bangkok

Originally Published: 02 Oct 2005 The Thaksin government is pursuing the goal (dream?) of having Deputy Prime Minister Surakiat Sathirathai appointed U.N. Secretary General after the end of Kofi Annan’s term in January 2007. Here’s a much better idea: Back the call made by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at the 60th General Assembly session to […]


4 Sep, 2005

On 9/11 Anniversary, Look at the Whole Picture

Originally Published: 4 Sept 2005 A week today, the arrival of yet another anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy will see the global media again reverberate with the “war on terror” rallying cry. But before rolling up the sleeves and swinging into action against Islamic ‘jihadists’ or ‘Islamofascists’ or whatever else one wishes to call them, […]


7 Aug, 2005

Vatican Shows Islamic World Where & How to Draw The Line

Originally Published: 07 Aug 2005 If the leaders of the Islamic world have been waiting for someone to show them where to draw the line in terms of how far they can be pushed around, the Vatican has just led the way. On July 29, the leaders of the world’s more than one billion Catholics […]


24 Jul, 2005

Wag The Dog Distractions: The Oldest Trick in the Book

Originally Published: 24 Jul 2005 “Soul-searching” of June 12 ended with this comment: “Today, ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ is on the wane. The real ‘Operation Infinite Justice’ has just begun. What’s likely to happen next? See the movie, ‘Wag the Dog’.” “Wag the Dog” is a Robert de Niro movie about a political distraction created by […]


26 Jun, 2005

Those Who Send Others to Die for a Lie Are all Cut from the Same Cloth

Originally Published: 26 June 2005 The editor of Sunday Perspective emailed me last week thus, “Several readers have requested that you comment on Islam’s view on killing of innocent people by Muslims. Is it OK for Muslims to kill people who kill fellow Muslims?” The answers to both those questions are short and easy, but […]


12 Jun, 2005

Courageous whistle-blowers are loyal to Constitutions, not to political leaders

Originally Published: 12 Jun 2005 The issue of ‘whistle-blowing’ regained some media attention week before last with the coming out of “Deep Throat,” the man credited with leaking the stories that ultimately led to the resignation of former President Nixon in August 1974. Whistle-blowing was the subject of this column way back on September 22, […]


15 May, 2005

‘Islamophobia’ taking hold in the US

Originally Published: 15 May 2005 Since the 9/11 attacks, the most disturbing trend in the United States is the growing disparity in how American Muslims are being treated under the law on many different levels, says a report released last week by a prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group. Called “Unequal Protection,” the […]


4 Apr, 2004

How Sole-searching can facilitate Soul-searching

Originally Published: 04 April 2004 One of the great trends of our times is the relentless pursuit of material gain, otherwise known as profits, economic growth, shareholder value, etc., etc. The ultimate goal is maximum financial enrichment which, inspite of being specifically warned against in all the religious doctrines, has become the be-all and end-all […]


14 Dec, 2003

Gathering Against Goliaths: Civil Society To Rally at World Social Forum in Mumbai

Originally Published: 14 December 2003 About 75,000 activists and non-government organisations opposing everything from imperialist globalisation to fundamentalism and militarisation are to gather in Mumbai, India, from 16 to 24 January 2004, for the fourth World Social Forum. Being held for the first time in Asia, the event will mark yet another strengthening and coming […]


2 Nov, 2003

Mahathir’s Assessment Can Be Denounced, but Not Denied

Originally Published: 2 Nov 2003 The most noticeable aspect of the so-called “anti-Semitic” attack by the then Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Muhammad at the Organisation of Islamic conference in Kuala Lumpur two weeks ago is that it has been denounced, but not denied. The reason is simple: It cannot be. Like the fundamentalist mullahs who […]


5 Oct, 2003

In UN Speeches, Leaders of Sri Lanka, Indonesia Assess the “Root Causes” of Conflict

Originally Published: 5 Oct 2003 The annual UN General Assembly session is often dismissed as a meaningless talk shop. To some extent, that is true. But the speakers are among the seniormost national leaders and, after clearing the diplomatic niceties, their statements do reflect strong views about the state of the world today. Their frustrations, […]


29 Sep, 2003

The Twin Tragedy: Those Who Lie for the Cause, and Die for the Cause

Originally Published: 29 Sept 2003 Global conflict today can be traced back to two sources —  those who are ready to die for the cause, and those who lie for the cause. The distinction between the two is that those who are willing to die for the cause, actually die for the cause, while those […]


7 Sep, 2003

NYT Journalist’s Book Questions Rationale Behind the “War on Terror”

Originally Published: 7 Sept 2003 The anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon is set to be seared in the annual calendar of memorials. As timing is everything, last week’s clockwork release of tapes recalling the panic, anguish and suffering of the victims, made sure of that. Sadly, no tapes […]


13 Jul, 2003

The Lies that Led the World to War in Iraq

Revisit the statements and speeches that were used to justify the war on Iraq and it becomes obvious that it was fought on the basis of utter fabrications, lies and deception. Worse, the leaders of the so-called “international community,” the “free world”, the “democratic countries” or whatever one wishes to call them cannot be held […]


15 Jun, 2003

Message To the American Empire: Unjust Rulers Always Fall — Always!!

Originally Published: 15 June 2003 The most basic premise of a judicial process is that a suspect is innocent until proven guilty. The second basic premise is that evidence has to be found and produced in court BEFORE a suspect can be prosecuted and convicted. Am I correct in asserting that, or not? No ifs […]


18 May, 2003

As “Holy Days” Became “Holidays”, Partying Replaces Praying

Originally Published: 18 May 2003 Somewhere through the passage of time, a small but significant change occurred in societies and communities that converted holy days into merely holidays. The original objective of a holy day was largely religious, a day of worship, meditation and prayer. Rest was designed to soothe the mind, nourish the spirit, […]


20 Apr, 2003

Orwell’s “Animal Farm” Warnings on How Totalitarianism Creeps In More Relevant Than Ever

Originally Published: 20 April 2003 No student of the history of totalitarianism can afford to ignore the monumental literary works of British author George Orwell, whose 100th birth anniversary is being commemorated this year. Well worth revisiting today are Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ (1946), a brilliant satire about the failure of communism, and ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ (1949) […]


19 Feb, 2003

Whatever happened to “There is No Justification for Killing Innocent Civilians”?

Originally published: 19 Feb 2003 Hands up those who agree: There is no justification for killing innocent civilians. That statement resounded vigorously after 9/11 and rises in volume each time Palestinian suicide bombers strike in the streets of Israeli cities. I stress the words “no justification”, free of any ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’. Now, according to […]


5 Jan, 2003

2002: The Year TIME Magazine Recognised Whistle-blowers

Originally Published:  5 Jan 2003 On Sept 22, 2002, the Soul-Searching column was headlined “Let’s Hear it for the Whistle-blowers.” In it I paid tribute to the morally correct choice whistle-blowers make, at great personal risk and doubtless after a great of soul-searching, to blow the whistle on wrongdoings in their companies and institutions. I […]


13 Oct, 2002

Karen Armstrong’s Book Traces Monotheism’s “Battle for God”

Originally Published: 10 Oct 2002 The global resurgence of Islamic, Christian and Jewish fundamentalism is the theme of the latest book by well-known religious writer Karen Armstrong. The former nun who is considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on the monotheistic religions has produced a powerful book called “The Battle for God,” which should […]


6 Oct, 2002

Double Standards of Death: How Many More Innocents Will Perish in Iraq, The Sequel?

Originally Published: 6 Oct 2002 Sifting through the mass of material available on the internet about the coming conflict in Iraq, distinctly noticeable is the nearly complete absence of any soul-searching about how many people will die. Innocent people, that is. Yes, we all know that it’s about control of global oil supplies, the upcoming […]


22 Sep, 2002

Let’s Hear It for Whistle-Blowers

Originally Published: 22 Sept 2002 At any time in any government organisation or major company, questionable decisions are being made that rattle the conscience of one of those involved in them. Behind all the public relations glitz and glamour, someone knows exactly who is trying to achieve what and why. Unable to live with the […]


8 Sep, 2002

The U.S. is becoming more like the enemy every day

Originally Published: 08 Sep 2002 Exactly a year ago, the events of 9/11 triggered a backlash against the religion of Islam. If Islam was supposed to be a religion of peace, there does not seem to be much evidence of it, went the refrain in the global media. The word ‘Islam’ was, and still is, […]


11 Aug, 2002

The Gut-Wrenching Process of Making A Fresh Start

Originally Published: 11 Aug 2003 One of the films featured at the recent film festival in Bangkok was “Wild About Harry.” Behind the relatively unceremonial title and an equally bland synopsis was a brilliant, deeply thought-provoking film of great relevance to society and humanity at large. The central character is a hard-drinking, womanising, swaggering but […]


11 Aug, 2002

The beauty of “restructuring” by making a fresh start

Originally Published: 11 Aug 2002 One of the films featured at the recent film festival in Bangkok was “Wild About Harry”. Behind the relatively unceremonial title and an equally bland synopsis was a brilliant, deeply thought-provoking film of great relevance to society and humanity at large. The central character is a hard-drinking, womanising, swaggering but […]


30 Jun, 2002

Religious leaders sign peace charter but now have to practice what they preach

Originally Published: 30 Jun 2002 Hundreds of religious leaders who met in Bangkok between June 12-14 have established a World Council of Religious Leaders and signed off on a charter reaffirming their belief that religion can serve as a positive force for achieving world peace. But, as usual, their lofty and noble words were belied […]


16 Jun, 2002

Hindu Leader Criticises Conversions: Save Us From the Saviours

Originally Published: 16 June 2002 IT did not take long for the fault-lines to emerge at the meeting of global religious leaders at Buddhamonthon last Wednesday. Within minutes of the opening bell of the World Council of Religious Leaders conference, the mainstream religions had placed their political and philosophical baggage out in full display. Amidst […]


19 May, 2002

World religious leaders to ponder whether they are a part of the solution, or the problem?

Originally published: 19 May 2002 Ministers responsible for the social and economic development of Asia Pacific countries will gather in Bangkok this week for their annual talk-fest on the never-ending range of regional problems. In the august halls of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, they will moan and groan […]


5 May, 2002

Nobel Laureate Bishop Tutu: “Oppressing another people will get Israel neither security nor safety”

Originally Published: 5 May 2002 Even the most carefully laid plans have a way of backfiring. What began as a plan to demonise and smear Muslims as terrorists in the wake of Sept 11 has now shifted to the greater truth: A focus on the brutal occupation of Palestine and Israel’s attempts to cover up, […]


18 Mar, 2001

Blowing up of Bamiyan Statues Leads to Islamic Soul-Searching

Originally Published: 18 March 2001 The destruction of the Buddhist statues in Afghanistan has led to a torrent of soul-searching in the Islamic world. The Internet has hummed with reactions and counter-reactions to this low-intelligence action by the Taleban, most of it against with the odd one or two in favour. One self-professed Muslim religious […]


18 Feb, 2001

“Brilliant” thinking of today no match for the simple and very clear wisdom of the past

Originally Published: 18 February 2001 The latest hoopla over mad-cow disease and the collapse of the European beef industry is further testimony to how the principles of global religions are being proven true, bit by painful bit, with entire industries ultimately paying the price. Beef is banned in Hinduism, primarily because of its association with […]


10 Dec, 2000

How Marketing Gurus Tap the Persuasive Power of Religious Conversion

Originally Published:  Dec 10, 2000 Research done in South Africa into why people convert from on religion to another is now being used by modern-day marketing gurus to get customers to switch from one product to another, or to remain loyal to one product. Operating on the premise that any theory which one works in […]


28 May, 2000

Why are Some Prayers Granted, and Others Not?

Originally Published: May 28, 2000 Have you ever noticed how often, when all the chips are down and none of the conventional solutions work, people turn to prayer? Even more often, if the prayer produces the desired result, it is dismissed as a “miracle”? This predilection not to give credit where it’s due has long […]


5 Mar, 2000

My mother-in-law’s last days: One woman’s misery was another’s profit

Originally Published: 05 Mar 2000 My mother-in-law died last week after an 18-month battle with cancer. That was about 12 months more than the doctors had given her after she was diagnosed. She was 73, the third elderly person in my family to move on in the last six years. Shuttling her in and out […]


20 Feb, 2000

UNCTAD Conference Shines Light on Alternative Paradigms

Originally Published: 20 Feb 2000 Last week’s UNCTAD conference was dominated by discussion of the machinations and manipulation of global players in pursuit of power and riches — and the consequences thereof. Certain global players already have both power and riches. Others are in pursuit of it. The domination of the weak by the strong […]


6 Feb, 2000

Has Thailand Lost the Virtues of the Middle Path?

Originally Published: 06 Feb 2000 There can be few better representations of a country that has long forgotten its spiritually-mandated middle-path than Thailand’s recent spats with the Burmese. In the first case last year, the alleged terrorists who took over the embassy were given a comfortable exit to the border, courtesy of our deputy foreign […]


23 Jan, 2000

Globalisation Will Make Religion Even More Relevant

Originally Published: Jan 23, 2000 When the United Nations Human Development Report for Thailand was issued in late 1999, various commentators leaped upon it with great gusto for post-mortems on the causes and consequences of the recent economic crisis. But on Page 17 of the HDR was a comment that caught my eye, one that […]


26 Dec, 1999

When Will Humanity Heed the Unseen Signs That Abound On the Road to Spirituality?

Originally Published: 26 Dec 1999 As the world stands poised on the threshold of a new millennium, numerous publications have paid tribute to the growth of human knowledge that has led to extraordinary discoveries in medicine, chemistry, physics and other sciences. But two inventions come closest to resembling the link between humanity and the message […]


12 Dec, 1999

Secrets of Success for Personal and Professional “Partnerships”

Originally Published: 12 Dec 1999 Of all the many social trends taking place in the modern world these days, perhaps the most evident is the rising rate of divorce. A friend of mine sent me some newsclips which reported that 50% of American marriages end in divorce, and many of those that don’t are mere […]


19 Sep, 1999

Warning: Beware The Consequences of Not Heeding Warnings

Originally Published: 19 Sept 1999 We live in a world full of warnings. Read any newspaper on any given day, and you will see the word “warning” at least once in a headline, especially in the business and environmental sections. Now that the Asian economic crisis is sort-of over, we are hearing warnings about the […]


19 Sep, 1999

Weighing the causes and costs of global wars and conflict

Originally Published: 19 Sept 1999 Between the lines of the inspiring rhetoric on the International Year of the Culture of Peace that rang out at the UN Conference Centre this past week, there was one sobering conclusion: There is no consensus on precisely why global peace is proving so elusive, nor how precisely to start […]


8 Aug, 1999

When Will Global Religions Show More Tolerance and Less Parochialism?

Originally Published: Aug 8, 1999 As the turn of the millennium approaches, everyone is in the midst of conference-mania. At every street-corner hotel, there is a high turnout of big brains, egos, economists, futurists, and an assortment of techno-pundits, all with a solution to the world’s problems. Each of them identifies a particular problem facing […]


25 Jul, 1999

Key Question for Globalisation Gurus: Is Life Getting Any Better?

Originally Published: 25 July 1999 Buddhist scripture suggests that before taking any action, we should listen, think, question and then act. In a world that has become almost totally mesmerised with globalisation, a growing body of social scientists, environmentalists, researchers and indeed economists themselves who have both listened to and thought about the conventional wisdom […]


21 Dec, 1998

World Faces Spectre of U.S. Dictatorship in 21st Century

Originally Published: Dec 21, 1998 The events of December 15-19, 1998, namely the bombing of Iraq and the US impeachment debate, have set the stage for an extremely dangerous final year of the 20th century. All indications are that it is going to get worse, not better. If Saddam Hussein has lied about the presence […]


29 Nov, 1998

Situation Wanted: Neutral, Trustworthy Peacemakers

Originally Published:  29 Nov 1998 I am poring through a book called ‘Who’s Who of Religions.” Edited by Professor John Hinnells, former Dean of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Manchester, the book is a detailed compilation of the lives, writings and philosophies of hundreds of prophets and popes, disciples and apostles, imams […]


12 Jul, 1998

All Religions Seek to Light the Lamps and Illuminate the Way Forward

Originally Published: 12 July 9998 The link between what the eye sees and the mind instructs is one of the central themes of every religion. Modern management’s adaptation of it is the statuette of the three monkeys who see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. Every religion instructs us in the art […]


17 May, 1998

The U.S. Will Run out of Steam Sooner or Later

Originally Published: 17 May 1998 It’s been a good past fortnight for the global religious movement. The coinciding of Easter, the Haj and the Kumbh Mela festivals brought together peoples of three of the great global faiths in a unified display of prayer and spiritual rejuvenation. They reminded us that night is always followed by […]


1 Mar, 1998

America should stop playing judge, jury and executioner

Originally Published: 1 March 1998 Though the recent diplomatic effort by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to avert the US bombing of Iraq is being touted as a victory for him and the UN, it was first and foremost a victory for the power of prayer. No doubt, millions of people world-wide, and especially within Iraq, […]