Yes, you - Malaysiakini - and my column formerly known as ILLUMINATIONS when I started writing back in February 2006; the date I chose was the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday. That’s what I am missing.

My last column was dated June 6, 2013 and that is considered a long time ago to be away from something I cherish. I am back and will be contributing regularly in 2014, I hope and as I plan to.

Yes, I have been busy completing three books in the last nine months, namely ‘Thesis on Cyberjaya’, from my dissertation on nations and cybernetic change (published 2012), ‘The Allah Controversy and Other Essays on Malaysian Hypermodernity’ (published 2013) and the latest ‘Dark Spring: Essays on the Ideological Roots of GE13' (published 2013).

These works has kept me going and away from my regular column. I want to thank my dear friends Dr Lim Teck Ghee, Dr Bakri Musa, Dr Syed Husin Ali, and Professor Murray Hunter for writing those nice forewords and endorsement for the books.

I have been reading wonderful mentions in cyberspace, in the ‘blogosphere’, of the ideas especially from my two books; mentions by fellow columnists, academicians, opinion leaders, parliamentarians, and friends here as well. I am humbled and I hope the next project of translating them especially into the Malay language will be as smooth as their publishing by SIRD/Gerakbudaya.

NONEWhat keep me going, especially writing for Malaysiakini? In 2006 my anger in reading that the office of Malaysiakini was raided and their computers taken away triggered me to want to write. Today, it is about my joy that this portal won its case to seek a publishing permit and I hope in due time to be able to be in print.

For seven years, probably I am the “oldest serving” regular columnist around and I have been happily writing with not a single sen paid, simply because my work has never been censored for content and because I feel it is my social obligation to write, albeit from afar.

I write what I feel worth sharing, with all due honesty, without fear or favour - even when a hundred-over page injunction was served on me by a governmental institution - did not stop me from writing about freedom to think and speak. It was amicably and quickly resolved.

That fuelled my writing further, as I think of the plight of the great Indonesian writer and Nobel Prize nominee Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s 14-year incarceration and solitary confinement and the harshest punishment on him: not allowed a pen and paper to write. My episode was nothing much to lament upon compared to Pak Prem’s.

But it is not so much anger that made me want to write and write but the wish to see what is clearly wrong can be made right, so that our children living in this wonderful multicultural, multireligious, and prosperous Malaysia can learn from us adults what is right and what is wrong in terms of how they are treated as Malaysians.

Motivation to write

But I have been writing a lot in-between missing Malaysiakini - a hundred over poems, philosophical, cultural, theosophical, ecological, and many other kinds of musings. And what have I been angry about? These are a few that will keep me going:

NONEOur continuingly darkening spring after GE13, the unresolved idea of the ‘Allah controversy’ that seemed to be like a manufactured one, the deterioration of tolerance in the never-ending religious issues we are confronted with, the criminalisation of children in schools by teachers and administrators by virtue they being born into a different race, colour, and class, the arrogance of ministers elected to serve people, the point-of-no-return in the evolution of the culture of corruption, the increasingly brutal cases of crime committed, and the imminent breakdown of virtually all spheres of Malaysian living.

These and many more are the motivation for me to write, as long as people appreciate what I have been sharing and will continue to share. What is even more motivating is that in all these years of writing I have drawn tremendous amount of insights and inspiration from not only Malaysiakini readers but also from those in my Facebook forums.

Malaysians and friends abroad are indeed very informed, intelligent, and inspirational in offering ideas for the improvement of society. These are thorough professionals from all walks of life, cultural background, and degrees of “craziness” when it comes to ideas and opinions generated - all of them in the most respectful yet deeply critical and constructivist ways.

This is what Malaysians are about and if we are to be a great nation again, we must continue to engage ourselves in the ways the ancient Athenians have done through their mastery of rhetoric and oral literacy. The vision of this neo-Malaysian society? Like that depicted in the great painter Raphael’s School of Athens, painted for the Vatican, to celebrate the complementarity of the ideals of Theology and Renaissance.

This is how I feel our society should evolve out of its present quagmire and the agony of reform: to draw out the best from the multiple worlds and worldviews we are being blessed with as cognitive, cultural, and spiritual offerings.

If we have loved our world-recognised food as “deliciously Malaysian”, why not let our theosophy and transculturalism flourish from the stage of Enlightenment to a Renaissance, as soon as we get out of this Dark Ages in our Darkest Spring.

I have missed you Malaysiakini and your readers. I shall return, as the American General MacArthur said as he was leaving the Phillippines. I shall build more bridges instead of, like Nero, seeing many burned down while our leaders play the fiddle.

DR AZLY RAHMAN, born in Singapore and grew up in Johor Baru, holds a Columbia University (New York City) doctorate in International Education Development and Masters degrees in four areas: Education, International Affairs, Peace Studies and Communication. He has taught more than 40 courses in six different departments and has written more than 300 analyses on Malaysia. His teaching experience in Malaysia and the United States spans over a wide range of subjects, from elementary to graduate education. He has edited and authored three books; Multiethnic Malaysia: Past, Present, Future (2009), Thesis on Cyberjaya: Hegemony and Utopianism in a Southeast Asian State (2012), The Allah Controversy and Other Essays on Malaysian Hypermodernity (2013), and the latest Dark Spring: Ideological Roots of Malaysia's GE-13. He currently resides in the United States.