Browsing All posts tagged under »Istanbul«

This Thing They Call ‘Islamist’

February 3, 2011

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Sometimes a word just creeps up on you and you don’t even know where it came from. That was how I felt upon hearing the word ‘Islamist’, a term which has suddenly become the word du jour in international politics and the world media, in light of the popular revoutions in Tunisia and Egypt. The […]

A Rare Encounter on the Zeytinburnu tram

January 31, 2011

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I looked around me and noticed a pretty Turkish girl standing about 1 or 2 metres away, in a red top and a yellow jacket. At the next stop, Beyazıt, an old woman, small and hunched and fragile, got on the tram and I quickly offered my seat. The girl seemed to smile, I’m not sure if giving up seats was a rare gesture in Istanbul, but I always appreciate a beautiful smile

The Mosques of Istanbul

January 24, 2011

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One of the highlights of my trip to Istanbul is visiting the many mosques that dot the city and dominate the skyline. The imperial mosques were built during the illustrious period of the Ottoman Empire, when the Sultan and members of his family – in particular the wives and daughters – would build mosques as […]

Turkish Confidence and ‘Malaysia Boleh!’

January 16, 2011

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One of the reasons for my fascination with Turkey is that I believe they are at a very important crossroads in their modern nation’s history. I remember reading a news article a few years ago, about the quiet revitalisation of Turkey’s economy, spearheaded by the devoutly Muslim mercantile class in the Turkish heartland of Anatolia. […]

Of the East and of the West

December 28, 2010

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Crossing the Bosphorus, which separates the European and Asian parts of Istanbul, is one of the best and cheapest ways of absorbing the panoramic views of the city. Taking the ferry from Eminonu in the European side to Uskudar, I could see in the distance the silhouette of Topkapi Palace, Aya Sofya and the Blue […]

Notes on Istanbul

December 27, 2010

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Last month I had the pleasure of realising one of my dreams, to visit the ancient yet thoroughly modern city of Istanbul. My first taste of this city was both innocent and grand – a few long years ago I stumbled across a photo of the Aya Sofya in a tourism ad announcing Malaysia Airlines’ […]