Malaysia Forum

This is history
Our Past, Present and Future

On a spring afternoon in 2003, Dr. Bakri Musa gave a talk at Stanford on 'Education in Malaysia'; he was invited by Prof. Don Emmerson and a Stanford student, both of whom were to become involved with MF. After the talk, a few attendees adjourned to the Business School café to continue the discussion. From this and subsequent meetings, mostly over meals, MF was born.

Early MFers recognised the unique discussion style fostered by their academic surroundings and the importance of being able to bring this to bear on issues in Malaysian society. There was from the beginning a desire to share this with other Malaysians as well as a desire to form a network of people of good will to serve as a resource base for possible projects arising from the discussions.

On the 29th of February 2004, the first MF conference 'The Post-Mahathir Malaysia' was held at the Bechtel International Centre with Bridget Welsh, Patricia Martinez Don Emmerson and Bakri Musa as speakers. This event drew participants from outside the San Francisco Bay Area, many of whom subsequently became involved in the organisation.

These early events set the tone for how MF functions today. Our 'meat and potatoes' event is still a small discussion around a given topic --- usually with no speaker and accompanied or followed by a shared meal; occasionally we organise larger conferences or speaker events.

The second MF conference was held in the spring of 2005 at Stanford. It was at this conference that live telecasts from KL were introduced.

Over the next few years, the centre of mass of MF began to shift, as participants graduated and dispersed throughout the world.

There was some discussion in 2004 about a possible 'MF LA', with the usual accompanying makan sessions, but this did not materialise.

Starting in 2005, a number of discussions were held under the MF banner in New York and the northeastern US. Momentum built up starting in the summer of 2007 and in the following spring, MF Northeast hosted the third MF conference at Harvard.

MF Northeast hosted the subsequent three MF conferences in 2009 to 2011, entitled ???, Harapan and Cita-Cita. These conferences were held at Yale, Columbia and Boston Universities respectively. The 2010 conference was hosted on the Malaysia side at the Rumah Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia. As these conferences developed and grown bigger, participants started coming from all around the US.

Several MF participants moved to Singapore and in the spring of 2008 and the idea of an 'MF Singapore' was mooted. Starting in the summer of 2008, a number of people who had participated in MF in the US and others interested in the idea got together. This led to satellite events in Singapore for the 2009 and 2010 conferences as well as other MF Singapore events.

MF had for some time had collaborated with people based in Malaysia (especially for the technical side of the live telecasts) but for a long time there was no 'MF Malaysia'. As more people began to move back to the tanahair, the idea of a community 'at home' started to float around. Several crucial encounters occurred during the summer of 2009 leading to the first MF KL meeting, held in January 2010, and several subsequent ones.

Starting in 2008, several MF participants also passed through or moved to Western Europe. Through discussions with friends and interested parties who became friends, MF London was formed. The first meeting was held in December 2009 and several others have been held since including a very attractive one entitled 'Lepak Sambil Belajar'.

Another MF participant from the US's move to Australia also led to a discussion being held there under the MF banner. In the MF 'heartland', even as most Stanford founders graduated or moved on from Palo Alto, another generation of Stanford and Berkeley MFers in the San Francisco Bay Area are continuing discussions sparked by the 2010 'Harapan' conference.

The history of MF is still being written. Be part of MF and Malaysian history --- get involved today!