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Malaise in Malaysia

Hui Mei Liew Kaiser in Foreign Policy: “On March 24, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak appeared before the press to announce that missing flight MH370 ‘ended in the Southern Indian Ocean.’ Najib’s statement finally gave the families of the passengers an ‘answer’ on the fate of their loved ones. But it comes after weeks of spectacular obfuscation by Malaysian government officials, who repeatedly fudged details, contradicted each other or used the tragedy to score points against the political opposition.

“Just to add insult to injury, Malaysian Airlines informed the families of the sad news by sending them a text message. Small wonder that some of the relatives are now accusing Malaysian officialdom of orchestrating a ‘cover-up’ and demanding to see concrete evidence such as the plane’s black box.

“The rest of the world has reacted to the half-truths of the Malaysian authorities with bewilderment. But to us Malaysians it’s nothing new: We’ve been putting up with this sort of crap our entire lives. Our officials are incapable of communicating because they’ve never felt the need to. Our corrupt and incompetent bureaucracy regards its own citizens with such top-down contempt that its dialogue muscles have simply atrophied.”

Feminist flak unwarranted

Charlotte Allen at The Los Angeles Times defends the controversial headlines about the death of fashion designer L’Wren Scott: “When L’Wren Scott, 49, was discovered to have apparently committed suicide on March 17, the main thing that her death made headlines for was the fact that she had been Mick Jagger’s girlfriend for 13 years. News outlets have been catching feminist flak ever since.

“But you know what? The main thing that most people, whether inside or outside the media, know about L’Wren Scott is that she had been Mick Jagger’s girlfriend for 13 years. … Yes, L’Wren Scott’s apparent suicide at a relatively young age was a sad affair: an elegant and talented woman who was fighting demons, financial or otherwise, that we’ll neverreally know about. But she wasn’t Coco Chanel. On her own, L’Wren Scott was almost famous. She wasn’t famous.”

Who needs the G-8?

Satire from The Borowitz Report: “MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin made history today by scheduling the first-ever summit of the newly formed group of nations called the G-1. The summit, which Putin has set for June in Sochi, is expected to be attended by the G-1 member nation Russia.

“Putin pronounced himself delighted by Russia’s attendance, telling reporters, ‘It is an auspicious start for the G-1 to have the participation of all its member nations.’ In addition to what he called ‘a free exchange of ideas on issues of importance to the G-1,’ the summit is expected to elect the first president of the G-1, a position for which Putin is widely considered the frontrunner.”

Leave alums alone

Alexander Aciman writes in The New Republic on why colleges must stop hassling alums for money:

“In addition to the calls, I also sometimes get as many as two or three fundraising emails a day from my school. Needless to say, I have stopped answering calls from a 773 area code, but like a brokenhearted ex-lover, the alumni house can’t quite seem to get the hint,” Mr. Aciman writes.

“The email spam and inconvenient phone calls, however, aren’t the problem. It is the fundamental unseemliness of universities’ relentless solicitation of donations from recent alumni in a country where the current balance of outstanding student loans is one-15th of the nation’s entire GDP. Universities must realize that many of us cannot spare the donation required to get a mug with our class year on it.”

Ode to trucks

L.V. Anderson at Slate considers the proliferation of food trucks and noted recent books such as “The Food Truck Handbook” and “Running a Food Truck for Dummies.” She suggests other types of trucks we need, including:

• The umbrella truck: “There are few things worse than leaving the office without realizing that it’s pouring rain.”

• The tampon truck: “This is so obvious I cannot believe no one has done it yet.”

• The cellphone-charging truck: “A truck for the truly desperate: Those whose cell-phone batteries are about to run out of power.”

Compiled by Greg Victor (gvictor@post-gazette.com).


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