Aliran Monthly 30: 7 editor’s note

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Chong Eng on cover of Aliran Monthly Vol 30: No 7This issue focuses on women, the gender gap and the quest for gender equality. Francis Loh reports on a landmark conference in Penang on ‘Gender mainstreaming: Justice for all’.

Gender equality is about both women and men. It is not a women’s agenda but a social justice agenda, says Chong Eng, adding that political solutions are needed to narrow the gender gap. Prema Devaraj warns that gender mainstreaming alone will not bring about gender equality as oppression manifests itself in many ways. Gender equality has to be in the larger context of justice for all.

At the end of the conference, a declaration calling for a comprehensive policy and action plan on gender was presented to the Penang Chief Minister.

The 50th anniversary of the enactment of the ISA on 1 August was observed in dramatic fashion with Abolish ISA vigils in major cities across the country. Anil Netto reports on an impromptu vigil near the Jelutong police station after police blocked a gathering at the Esplanade. The lop-sided nature of the face off is reflected in Ms Batik’s poem, which contrasts the baton-toting police with the candle-bearing protesters. Poor P Ramakrishnan never got to deliver his address; so we are now carrying it here in full. Rama can’t help wondering if the police are sabotaging the BN by blocking such vigils – which only erodes public support for the government.

The legendary D R Seenivasagam foresaw the repressive nature of the ISA back in 1960, recalls Tan Pek Leng. Who was this courageous politician? Andrew Lin provides a fascinating impression of the little-known ‘man who fought for justice’.

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