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Cities of the Hot Zone: A Southeast Asian Adventure by Greg Sheridan

By Greg Sheridan

Skillfully combining journalism with commute writing, a veteran reporter attracts on 30 years of reporting in Asia to make clear the swiftly altering towns of Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Hanoi, and Saigon. The background, humans, religions, and economies of every burgeoning urban are mentioned, in addition to how the actual dynamic makeup of every coexists and clashes with the intrusions of a bigger nationwide id. additionally incorporated are measured insights in regards to the becoming presence of Islamic fundamentalism in Southeastern Asia.

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Punjabi suits are worn by Indian women of all religious and ethnic backgrounds because they are more practical than saris. Nonetheless a distinct minority of women are in saris. The colour here comes from the people. And their clothes. Both the Punjabi suits and the saris are extravagantly coloured, green and red and gold, even purple. There are scarves laced in gold, and much gold on wrists and necks. There are no mini-skirts here. In KL it’s mostly the Chinese who wear mini-skirts and they don’t wear them in traditional markets.

There is a creativity in this determined bureaucratic passivity which is admirable in its way. I find a public phone and ring Professor Jaafar. Where are you? he says, I am waiting for you. Didn’t you know the Islamic University has two campuses? He doesn’t apologise for not telling me this but says merely that most cab drivers should know by now that the main campus is at Gambok. It’s too late for me to get to Gambok before he leaves for the day. The good professor kindly suggests that I go back to my hotel and rest.

Is he a gifted polymath, a wellrounded generalist, or is there just a touch of the blarney about him as well? I always feel that whatever possible event I could conceive of attending in KL, from a seminar on the role of dance in opera to a technical economic discussion on capital controls or a symposium on the implications of missile defence for the proliferation of nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula, Karim would be there. As far as I can tell he is generally kind to everyone but certainly makes an effort to help outsiders seeking a way into KL.

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