Malaysia Forum: Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Boston

quick plug for Malaysia Forum before i return to the coffee-laced pages of my books!

Malaysia Forum is a small group of Malaysians who are based in KL and abroad, and every year we put together a global conference to discuss issues that are close to our hearts and home. this year, our three forums in KL, Singapore and Boston are happening simultaneously on April 8 – 10, which is this weekend! find the one closest to you:

UCSI University North Wing, Kuala Lumpur: 10 April 2011

Boston University, Massachusetts: 8 – 10 April 2011

Hackerspace, Singapore: 10 April 2011

i will be working out from the Boston forum (together with sweatlee!!), but i know most people reading this are probably closest to our KL forum, so here’s the schedule for the forum happening in KL:

9.00 AM – PANEL 1: “Aspiration Malaysia”
This panel aims to address the “bright side” of Malaysia that is little talked or thought about, and how it can augment the cita-cita that Malaysians have for their country. The name of the theme Aspiration Malaysia was inspired by the oft-cited “American Dream” — and through this panel we hope to discuss what the unifying Malaysian ethos is, or could be.

Umapagan Ampikaipakan – Freelance writer and book critic. He resides, for the most part, within the pages of the New Straits Times, where he ruminates on everything from the idiosyncrasies of Malaysian politics to his unnatural obsession with the written word. In the fall of 2008, he covered the U.S. Presidential Elections for his newspaper. He can also be found (his disembodied… voice, that is) rambling over the airwaves, on BFM 89.9.


1) Tan Sri Prof. Emeritus Dr. Khoo Kay Kim – Leading Malaysian historian and academician. He is currently Professor Emeritus at the University of Malaya’s Department of History as well as Chancellor of KDU University College. Prof. Khoo was also a co-author of the Rukunegara, which was crafted in reaction to the May 13 race riots in 1969. Click for a detailed account of a public talk given by Prof. Khoo on unity in Malaysia.

2) Malik Imtiaz Sarwar – Leading Malaysian human rights lawyer and activist and the current president of the National Human Rights Society (HAKAM). Through HAKAM and a coalition of NGOs called Article 11 (after the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion) of which HAKAM is a member, he has been actively involved in efforts to promote the rule of law and constitutionalism, particularly in the face of worrying trends of Islamization and race politics in government and wider society. He further actively promotes a civil rights discourse both in and outside court.

3) Keeran Sivarajah – Co-founder and Executive Director of Teach For Malaysia — an independent, not-for-profit organisation that is enlisting Malaysia’s most promising future leaders in a mission to end education inequity. He also serves as a member on the Institute of Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) Advisory Panel for Education. While at university, Keeran was a tutor to children of African refugees, and taught primary and secondary children at the Carlton Primary School in Melbourne.

4) Jo Kukathas – Director of the Instant Café Theatre Company, Malaysia. She is a theatre maker, writer and actor. Jo works with local as well as regional artists to create collaborative work that deals with contemporary issues.

10.30 AM – PANEL 2: “Muda-mudi Buat Kerja”
This panels is composed of young people who identified a problem that Malaysia faces and decided to fix it in the ways that they know best. Our aim for this panel is to engage the panelists in a conversation with each other and the audience on how their initiatives were borne from (or has impacted/changed) their cita-cita for the country.

Jason Lim – Co-founder of Perantauan Enterprise at age 20 to meddle in independent film, music, theatre and literary production. The enterprise exists today as Perantauan Pictures which produced and has released three feature length films screened in Malaysia, UK, US and Australia. He remains a (noisily) sleeping partner in the enterprise. Today, Jason writes a monthly column on film in The Star and is involved in developing an initiative to help address Malaysia’s brain drain challenge.


1) Johnson Oei – At age 22, John-Son Oei co-founded E.P.I.C. (Extraordinary People Impacting Community), a platform for people to be inspired, mobilized and empowered to make positive changes in their community. Currently E.P.I.C. is focused on Project E.P.I.C, their outreach program that does hands-on work in Orang Asli communities to improve the welfare of the indigenous people in Malaysia.

2) Khailee Ng – Khailee is a co-founder of Youth Asia, a group of young people who build businesses focused on social technology and the collective power of people. Youth Asia is known for launching businesses such as GroupsMore (now acquired by Groupon) and, a community of Malaysian social media users. In his students days he was part of the founding team of theCICAK, a socio-political youth magazine, and Project Bazooka, a indie music promoter.

3) Hwa Shi Hsia – Shi-Hsia and six other friends form the team at Mari Kita Membaca, whose main objective is to support the educational needs of the rural villages in Malaysia by providing books and other resources for community learning centers and village libraries. Mari Kita Membaca aims to empower children in rural Orang Asli communities to read and to learn.

12 PM – Lunch and discussion sessions

For schedules at MF Boston and MF Singapore, please click on the Facebook events linked above. If you can’t make it to any of the forums, we will be streaming the KL and Boston panels live at a publicly available link which will be provided soon. But try your best to make it to the actual forums, especially if you have questions!

we’ve been working very hard to put together these panels of great and inspiring speakers, so if you guys are free on the morning of Sunday the 10th of April, you should definitely not miss the chance to hear them speak. MF is very much based on the spirit of discussion, and we always make sure that there is a lot of time for Q&A with the public, so if you’ve always wanted to ask any of the above speakers some tough questions, this is a good time.

feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions!


I would so love to be in the streaming process. :( I’m unfortunately at down under! Tom felton is coming to melbourne !!!!


michelle, you should set up a viewing party then ^__^ two cities in the US are doing that.


That’s an interesting idea :) I’m up for a viewing party with other Malaysians in Melbourne.

I suppose those catching it over the internet won’t be able to pose questions. That’s okay, though. Looking forward to it!

Hey ricecracker! i’m in melbourne!


michelle, ricecracker – actually, yes, people viewing from abroad are able to pose questions. we have a good system for it :) there are going to be other viewing parties watching MF KL – including Singapore, Boston, and two other cities in the US, as well as many other individuals watching from their dorm rooms / apartments! best part: everyone gets to ask questions! :D

let me know if you want to start a viewing party, and i’ll assist you as far as i can!


Michelle – I’ve emailed you! :)

Su Ann – Out of curiosity…what is the scale of the viewing parties in the other cities? Is it an official event they’re having?


in singapore we are expecting about 20-30 people. in boston there’s a huge forum / viewing party of about 100 people. in two cities in the midwest there’s about 5 and 10 each. sometimes people also watch our streams alone at home, but it’s just a lot more fun when you can set up a small party, have some food and good discussion! interested? lemme know ok!


quaintly – we’ll be watching it from our respective homes in our own little groups :) thanks for the info!

hi there

how do i get in touch with u ? cause there’s a site i know that can help u get back some of your entries :) do drop me ur email add!


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