Malaysia and Macedonia

Owen Bennett Jones presents personal stories, reflection and wit from BBC correspondents around the world. In this edition, Jennifer Pak ponders why so many gay Malaysians choose to stay firmly in the closet, while Mark Lowen pays tribute to his grandmother's extraordinary life force and musical talent - and explains how she survived the Holocaust.

Sometimes flamboyant ... sometimes fearful

The issue of gay rights has been especially controversial in Malaysia, at least in part due to the sodomy accusations made against the opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. He was convicted and jailed once, and is now waiting to hear the outcome of a second trial. Authorities have been clamping down: police recently banned an annual gay rights festival and two states are considering increasing the legal penalties for homosexuality.

But as Jennifer Pak knows, Kuala Lumpur has a thriving gay scene. It turns out that discretion - knowing what's appropriate, where and when - is the key.

A Chopin nocturne and an Auschwitz tattoo

One of our correspondents recently told us about a remarkable, and very personal, story of survival: about a woman who somehow saved herself and her sister from certain death.

Mark Lowen’s memories of his grandmother, renowned classical pianist Natalia Karp, were prompted by meeting one of the last remaining Macedonian Jews who managed to escape the Holocaust

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10 minutes

Last on

Sat 3 Dec 2011 04:50 GMT

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FOOC at 60: Memorable Reports

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