Columnist

Lim Ka Ea

Lim Ka Ea is a traveller who sees travel as the answer to all the world's woes. Writing is a grand love. Ka Ea has had NGO and legal experience.

Is freedom of expression a problem?

French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala became an instant household name in France when he was banned from performing his anti-Semitic stand-up... READ MORE

Stop feeling happier

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to feel happier about the world, I have got news for you, buddy. It is not happening. Misery is here... READ MORE

“How to stop corruption like that?”

It was an atypical night away from Bangsar, thanks to my friend Ragu who’s quite the politician, in a good way. “Can you tell which of these... READ MORE

The sickness of our private healthcare services

“If I keep this oath faithfully, may I enjoy my life and practise my art, respected by all humanity and in all times; but if I swerve from it or... READ MORE

“Don’t let your friend come. Don’t want your friend to go through all this.”

My first memory of her was how small she was.  Her pale and blemish-free skin looked as if they had not seen a day of light. Her colour-treated... READ MORE

National reconciliation or retaliation?

MAY 27 — There was no cry of jubilation. Neither were there tears of joy. If you had been in a coma during the past few weeks and were suddenly... READ MORE

To sign or not to sign

MARCH 4 — That was a decision I was forced to make one early morning at a private hospital in Kuala Lumpur. “I’m not signing. The hospital can go... READ MORE

Accidental lessons

NOV 21 ― It was 1991. My classmates and I were punished for being noisy in class. We were told to stand up and remain silent for the rest of the... READ MORE

Global Bersih: Connecting Malaysians around the world

JUNE 8 — When a work engagement required me to be in Washington DC on April 28, I decided to meet some fellow Malaysians who were involved in... READ MORE

When will we wake up?

MARCH 29 — As soon as the digital quacking of ducks pierces the morning silence, it’s time to wake up. It’s 7am on a Saturday and as usual, I wish... READ MORE

Public bath 101

FEB 12 — Japan was not at the top of my “must-see” list but when I found cheap tickets to Tokyo recently, my friend Sally and I put together a... READ MORE

Talking ‘bout evolution

DEC 12 — As a child, it was mandatory to obtain Mum and Dad’s permission before I could leave the house. It was also mandatory to inform them of my... READ MORE

Souvenirs from France

NOV 12 — They live a lifestyle where clichés seem entirely original.  Even when their arms are full, a baguette can be seen conspicuously tucked... READ MORE

The truth shall set you free

JULY 4 — Whenever I flush the toilet at home, my cat, often seen lazing on the floor would spring to her feet and run for her life. It’s obvious... READ MORE

Time is of the essence

JUNE 6 — No one valued time as much as Benjamin Franklin. As a student, we learned that Franklin was a scientist. In our history book, he was known... READ MORE

Reconnecting with one’s identity

APRIL 24 — The year was 1996. I was 15 years younger and also 15kg lighter (if only they are both inversely related). My only worries were passing... READ MORE

The message is in the song

MARCH 13 — Bob Marley once sang these famous words: Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery None but ourselves can free our minds Have no fear... READ MORE

Marginalising the non-marginalised

FEB 20 — I once had an interesting conversation with my former boss who was then the country representative of a non-governmental organisation... READ MORE

Time to walk… for change in the judiciary

FEB 4 — It was a highly-anticipated gathering of 30 or more. Some would call it an illegal gathering; I called it a group discussion. No, it wasn’t... READ MORE

When being independent is not enough

JAN 31 — When I was a child, my father would play his favourite game with me. It was a game that I would call... READ MORE

In search of Besa

JAN 23 — It is quite a fallacy to think that Malaysia is internationally famed for being a moderate Muslim country, that takes pride in its... READ MORE

It must get better

DEC 25 — I am heterosexual and if I have had more than one sexual relationship, I’d be called a shameless slut.  If I were a Muslim, heterosexual... READ MORE

Conversation with my father

DEC 19 — “I have noticed that you have a weakness. Do you want to know what it is?” “Yes, sure,” I said with a voice that quivered slightly due to... READ MORE

Why we should vote

NOV 28 — Democracy is a powerful notion. It allows an octogenarian black woman, a single-mother working on double shifts, a 40 year-old unemployed... READ MORE

Sex, drugs and HIV/AIDS

NOV 9 — It was another quintessential night in Chow Kit; hot, humid, red and reeking with the thick smell of danger. Celeste, Joanna, Samantha and... READ MORE

The world’s worst spouse

OCT 11 — If there is a competition for the world’s best spouse, I’ll be stuck at the bottom two with Ike Turner. “Why do you say that?” my husband... READ MORE

Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?

OCT 4 — There is one question that often sparks off heated arguments, and to a certain extent, discomfort among the female species rather... READ MORE

Talk to the phone!

AUG 26 — Those who know me will also know this: I don’t like talking on the phone and sometimes I even forget to bring my mobile phone with me.... READ MORE

The land of great contradiction

AUG 9 — I was at the Malaysian Law Conference recently. It was my first time stepping foot in the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre and it knocked the... READ MORE

Trying to bridge the social and communication gap

JULY 28 — Many Hong Kong citizens had at some point in time considered immigration before the island was returned to the People’s Republic of China... READ MORE

Maid in heaven

JUNE 27 — My parents just bid goodbye to their 24-year-old Indonesian maid recently. I suspect it might have been a sombre and gloomy affair at the... READ MORE

Carrot is food. So is the stick

MAY 22 — It has often been said that food unites people. But if that’s really the case, shouldn’t Malaysians be the most united people in the... READ MORE

The fight for justice

MARCH 27 — I used to work for the Presidential elections in Afghanistan and hence still have a lot of concerns and passion for the electoral... READ MORE

Humanity for all

MARCH 21 — Commemorating International Women’s Day I would like to post this essay, written on 9 June 2005. I wrote this while sitting in my... READ MORE

Do unto others quietly …

MARCH 3 — Since I started working again, it has become more difficult to meet the deadlines for this column. The luxury of having the time to... READ MORE

The beauty and the beasts of Harar, Part 2

FEB 23 — Due to negative stereotypes of hyenas conjured by cartoons and movies, I always thought that they were nasty and ugly-looking beasts.... READ MORE

The beauty and the beasts of Harar, Part 1

FEB 6 — As the sky bids farewell to the descending sun and welcomes the moonlight, Butar, Rajoo, Mimi, Kamer, Tika, Shimay, Deeish and the rest... READ MORE

LibanOne* vs OneMalaysia

JAN 20 — Lebanon is unmistakably one of the most beautiful countries I have visited. At the same time, it is achingly painful when I look at the... READ MORE

Traffic jams and human rights in Malaysia

JAN 2 — Traffic jams in Kuala Lumpur are something many would gladly live without. Surprisingly, I’m beginning to see the bright side of it.... READ MORE

Adults do get bullied. It’s called politics!

DEC 18 — Bullies are mean. Bullies think they have the natural right to make others feel bad about themselves. Bullies are cowards. Yes, so... READ MORE

Americano or cappucino?

NOV 28 — Eight years ago, I interned with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in New York. Being in... READ MORE

A different kind of spirit and intoxication

NOV 15 – These days, the right words used to describe me would be, zombie-fied and kelam-kabut. In the last month, I have been completely... READ MORE

Differentiating indifferences

OCT 31 — Zohra was 18 when she started to work as an administrative officer with the United Nations. She was bright, innocent, hopeful and... READ MORE

Constitutional Amnesia?

OCT 17 — “You’ve been selected to work as a Civic Education Officer,” a woman with Filipino accent told me on the phone. “Oh, great!... READ MORE

Paradise found… and lost?

OCT 6 — If I can describe Timor Leste in one word, it would be, “Virginal.” This small island saw very little development despite being a... READ MORE

Live an extraordinary life

SEPT 19 — As a child, I was a bit of a dreamer. Unlike most girls, I didn’t dream of meeting my knight in shiny armour. Nor did I dream about... READ MORE

Find heart in your home, you’ll have home in your heart

SEPT 6 — There is a beautiful song by Ilir Shaqiri, a Kosovar Albanian singer, that captures the immense joy and comfort of finding home in a... READ MORE

The first drop of cold water on a hot sunny day

AUG 22 — In the past few months, I find myself receiving sad news from friends living abroad. The death of a loved one, a child inflicted with... READ MORE