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COMMENT | Some of us left Malaysia in the late 1970s and 1980s to study overseas. When we returned a decade later, Malaysia was a different country.

The changes were subtle, but they were there. It’s easier to notice them when one has been away for an appreciable amount of time.

Decades later, our warnings about the increasing tide of conservatism went unheeded.

Friends and family thought my imagination had run wild. A few thought I was being too dramatic when I said we may one day become like Iran or Saudi Arabia.

Afghanistan didn’t really figure in our thoughts at the time. The country was experiencing unimaginable violence in the civil and the Soviet-Afghan wars.

Much has happened since then but, today...

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