Our Ambassador to Malaysia, Christopher LaFleur, has called Malaysia a success story for democracy. (Shouldn't we ask American diplomats named after French flowers to adopt a nomme de guerre for the duration of their tenure? How about we call you "Chris Eastwood" just for the length of your appointment?)

Is it true? Well, there's one leading indicator to watch. Lim Kit Siang, the leader of the Democratic Action Party, has a blog. Lim is a fun character to watch. You can count on him to cause a near-brawl in the Malaysian parliament at least twice a year, usually by making some "insensitive" statement about the proper role of Islam in Malaysian politics. DAP is a secular party, and likes to remind the less-secular parties that the Malaysian constitution declares Malaysia to be a secular state. Malaysian politicians, somewhat like a certain brand of US politician, often like to call Malaysia an "Islamic nation," which is true in the sense that belongs to the OIC. The DAP can always be counted on to stand up and fight the idea, to the amusement of all.

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