Dato’ Dr. Anwar Fazal

Remember we are all one

“The new born baby cries the same
The laughter of children is universal
Everyone’s blood is red
And our hearts beat the same song:

:- Dato’ (Dr.) Anwar Fazal

The stanza above from one of Dato’ (Dr.) Anwar’s poems shows just one of the many facets of this multi-gifted personality. Penang Trails is honored to have recently engaged with Dato’ (Dr,) Anwar, a Penangite, whom we now welcome into our Hall of Fame.

Penang Trails proudly presents “The Multiversity” – Dato’ (Dr.) Anwar Fazal.


Dato' Dr. Anwar Fazal

There are very few people who have such a diversity of skills that they are endeared with the term: “The Multiversity”. One such person is a Penangite: Dato’ (Dr.) Anwar Fazal.

Someone once read 21 dimensions of this personality; Athlete, Student Activist, Teacher, Librarian, Consumer Activist, Health Activist, Environment Activist, UN Official, Private Secretary, Peace Activist, Anti Corruption Crusader, Poet, Global Days of Action Creator, Meteorologist, Professor, Foreword Writer, Swimmer, Book Rescuer, Walker, Logoist and Visionary.

No wonder people often refer to Dato’ (DR.) Anwar Fazal as a walking encyclopedia – he is even launching a project called Penangpedia – a portal or gateway to get to know Penang deeper and better (see http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/searching-for-info-on-penang-soon-there-will-be-penangpedia).

Anwar was born in 1941 and recently celebrated his three quarters of a century by giving away 75 items to people he is working with which included a book called “How to Disagree Without Being Disagreeable” to someone significant who he says “badly needed the advice”. The person replied with the words “sometimes you have to be disagreeable” and Anwar with his charming sense of humour said “Really? I think you should really read the book”.

Dato' Dr. Anwar Fazal

Anwar fishing at the Taiping Lake Garden (1955).


Anwar was born in a very small village, Sungei Bayor, in Perak before World War II, moved three years later to a beautiful small town, Taiping, which means “everlasting peace” in the Chinese language. Both the experiences shaped him. In the kampong, his family lived in a small wooden shop-house which they shared with a Chinese family. “We had to take water from a well which we shared”. Anwar’s first skill was how to take water out of a well using a bucket and a string – “Not easy at first” he explained “until you learn the trick to get the bucket to fall in the water sideways”.



In 1943, during the war, the family moved to the beautiful small town of Taiping with its enchanting lake gardens (transformed from old tin mining pools), the wonder of Larut Hill (then known as Maxwell Hills), the amazing mangroves of Port Weld, the first railway and the first dedicated museum. Anwar had his practical lessons in many fields – camping, swimming in the rivers, climbing mountains, playing “Achilot” (hide and seek) in the streets of the town including its monsoon drains. Yes drains! Anwar said “they were the cleanest in the country as Taiping was among the rainiest towns in the world. The most beautiful umbrella-like “Rain Trees” around the lake spoke about the wonder of this place. The dedicated Museum was an unbelievable story – custom-built in 1883 and later became the National Museum for a while. Taiping was then the Tin Capital of the whole world so the people who were very rich wanted to be at the top of the world. I learnt about ecology, history, multiculturalism, the joy of street games and traditional toys that you make yourself – a pop gun out of bamboo, for example” said Anwar.

The town was as multicultural as could be and because it was also an important military garrison, there were soldiers from all over the British Commonwealth – Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, India and many other places.

“I grew up in a really global place and it made me not only a kampong boy, but also a global person. I grew up in both worlds intertwined” added Anwar. “Playing rugby and cricket with Australian, Fijians and Rhodesians really challenged and strengthened you. Taiping, most people didn’t know, had an “Aerodrome” (nowadays called “Airport”) and believe it or not, there were direct flights from Taiping to Kota Bahru, Kelantan twice a week. I took one of them in 1953. I was 12 and my father sent me to Kota Bahru to represent him at his sister’s first daughter’s wedding – the first wedding of our second generation of migrants from Jalandhar in Northern India to Malaya (as it was then known)”.


Dato' Dr. Anwar Fazal

Anwar Fazal at the Penang Free School (1960). The Penang Free School, founded in 1816 recently celebrated its 200th anniversary.

Anwar moved to George Town, Penang at the end of the Year of Independence, 1957. His father, Fazal Mohammed and his two brothers in-law, Atta Mohamed and Mohammed Ismail, joined him to strengthen their textile business. The business in a historic shop-house still is operating as ever – visit Fazal Mohammed Brothers, 111 Chulia Street, next to the Teo Chew Kongsi near the junction of Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling. The City Council bus used to stop nearby and using public transport, trishaws, riding bicycles and a lot of walking – became the way. “I even walked back from Penang Free School to Chulia Street very often. It was great exercise”.

Anwar enrolled at the Penang Free School, the oldest and most eminent English language school in South East Asia. Tunku Abdul Rahman, our first Prime Minister, P. Ramlee, the cinema icon, and Tun Lim Chong Eu, the 2nd Chief Minister of Penang, studied there. The education there with outstanding teachers from all over the world was excellent, even awesome. The students were outstanding too and could take on scholars from any global school. The three-year experience at PFS gave Anwar, what he says, “the best all round education anywhere in the world. I learnt about ‘Excellence’, a thing so important if we are to progress and I grew up in a rich and multiracial and multi-religious setting”.

Anwar also had a painful learning experience. He got among the best Form 6 results in the state of Penang but was not given a government scholarship. Anwar learnt about how the world can be unfair and even cruel. Anwar’s father decided to still make sure his eldest son goes to university and even borrowed money for this. “His faith for education and me was unforgettable. Without his support and sacrifice, I could not have been what I am”.


Dato' Dr. Anwar Fazal

Anwar receiving his Universiti Malaya degree scroll from the first Prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman (1964).

Anwar moved to the University of Malaya in 1961. He won the University’s Senior Scholarship for the best result in the Arts Faculty in the first year. “It restored my faith that justice did exist” said Anwar. “The lesson I learnt was just do your best anyway and it will reward you one day. That credo had become part of my life”. Anwar played four games – cricket, hockey, athletics and rugby – for the University, a rare feat. He was elected President of the Students’ Union and awarded the “Best All Round Gold Medal” by the University in 1964. Anwar studied and majored in the pioneering programme in Business Administration, taught by Professors of the University of British Columbia, Canada. This was one of the first joint collaborations with a foreign university in Malaysia. Anwar says “I got the best learning about Business Administration you could get anywhere in this world”. Anwar continued with postgraduate studies in Education and he again says was so important in life “being exposed to excellence in Administration and

Dato' Dr. Anwar Fazal

Anwar speaking at the National Students’ Conference. Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, listening (1964).

Education. These two areas were so central for the rest of my life. Lifelong learning and good management skills helped me always do things well – efficiently and effectively”.

As President of the Students’ Union, he got an opportunity to travel around the world in 1962. He attended the International Student Conference in Quebec, Canada. That opened up the world of activism, global issues like war, peace, human rights, justice and universalism for Anwar and prepared him to be a global change-maker for civil society. After graduation, he taught at the Victoria Institution in Kuala Lumpur and the Royal Military College in Sungei Besi. Teaching at these schools also with excellent students and teachers was a great start for his working life.


Anwar as the eldest from a family of seven children decided he should go back home to Penang so he can support his ageing parents and his many siblings. In 1965, he saw an advertisement in the papers for an Assistant City Secretary in the City Council of George Town. “I applied, was interviewed and selected. I only found out later I was replacing Abdullah Majid, who later became Special Assistant to Tun Abdul Razak, our second Prime Minister”. The City Council was run by elected councilors. The Socialist Front, consisting of the Labour Party and Party Rakyat, were leading the Council. The place was hyperactive in serving the peoples’ interests – pro-hawker, pro-public housing, pro-planting trees and really pro-people. “I learnt about genuinely serving the people”. The City Council was suspended in 1966 and taken over by the Alliance, which was later defeated by Gerakan Party. Gerakan joined the Barisan Nasional, which was set up after the terrible racial riots of 1969. In 1976, Anwar experienced the “Hartal” riots in Penang when the Labour Party organised a shutdown of businesses as a protest against the Federal Government’s handling of Malaya’s currency values after the devaluation of the British Pound. “Riots broke out in the streets of George Town and I spent day and night over a week handling the nightmare. The City Council was in charge of electricity, water, fire service, transport and even veterinary service. There was chaos. I went round in a small fire engine giving out curfew passes to staff manning essential services. It was an unforgettable experience about danger, disaster and handling diversity” said Anwar.

Anwar had another great experience. He was seconded in 1969 to be the private secretary to Dr. Lim Chong Eu, the Chief Minister who was also at that time administrating the City Council directly. “Working with a dynamo and visionary like Dr. Lim was such an enriching experience. To see someone who would not suffer fools but having to accommodate them politically was a lesson in managing diversity”.

“I was thrust onto a new paradigm – longest bridge, tallest building, silicon valley of Asia – it was just an amazing leap forward. Penang transformed from a dying port to a vibrant global centre. To me, it all was a joy to use my skills and energy in a period of great innovations and action” said Anwar.


In 1972, Anwar was blessed with a break. He received the prestigious Eisenhower Fellowship to spend nine months in studying urban problems in the United States. The Fellowship paid for my dear wife, Mahmuda, to whom I had married in 1969. We were based in the historic city of Philadelphia.

Together, we travelled some 25,000 miles around the US, exploring cities, parks, universities, libraries, museums, attending workshops and conferences, making speeches, even teaching them some Malay words – orangutan, amok. ‘Wow’, people said, ‘you call those apes ‘people of the forests! How rich and caring your culture.’ And ‘amok’, I said in Malaysia, we are very kind and patient but when it is not appreciated, some do run wild!” Anwar also spent three weeks studying the new town movement in the United Kingdom under a British Council Fellowship. He attended the World Conference on the International Playground Association in Vienna which gave him a great passion for parks and inspired him to make things happen.

Dato' Dr. Anwar Fazal

This book explains Anwar Fazal’s global activism.

Anwar played a key role in initiating and developing the Youth Park in Penang, the first creative multiverse alternative playground for all. It was the first of its kind in Asia and is today one of Penang’s most unique assets, admired by everyone who has been there – jungle walks, world class gym, art, swimming, abseiling, archery, huts in trees (no more), aerobics and now a world class skating and skateboard ring and many other wonders. “My international friends say they haven’t seen anything like this anywhere” said Anwar who gives his lectures to international students under a large unique tree near the camping site.

“The students learn about the world and the environment in a natural setting and then we will walk to the Gandhi Ashram nearby for a banana leaf meal and a coconut drink. It was, for the international students, a unique experience” says Anwar.

In 1973, Anwar joined the Penang Development Corporation (PDC) as its first Director of Promotion and Investment. He was also responsible for a portfolio on Tourism. He was key in getting Motorola to locate in Penang.


All these years of public service saw Anwar still active in civil society and community action. He is the initiator of the Consumer Association of Penang (CAP) and was its Secretary from 1969 to 1974. Because he was a civil servant, he took a low profile and invited Haji SM Mohd. Idris to be the President. “Uncle Idris, as we call him, was a champion of the greening program in the city and also pioneered the Pesta Pulau Pinang which later moved to a permanent place in Sungai Nibong. Uncle Idris was at first reluctant as he thought consumers meant shopping and looked like a women’s job! He found out later it was about everything that mattered in making a better world. In 2019, he would have served CAP for 50 years! The first office of CAP was in my house. Then we moved to the Balai Rakyat in Pulau Tikus, a few other places and now it is settled in the magnificent mansion cum amazing organic garden along Jalan Masjid Negeri next to the YWCA. It became the most active consumer group in the third-world and still is until today, one of the world’s best”. It also changed Anwar’s life and future. He decided that to make change, he had to be independently active. He also began to see the reality of problems relating to bad development, environment destruction and market injustices.


In October 1974, Anwar left PDC to start and lead the new Asia Pacific office of the International Organisation of Consumers Union (IOCU). Anwar developed it so well that he was elected the world President of the consumer movement in 1978, the youngest

Dato' Dr. Anwar Fazal

Anwar led The Sustainable Penang Initiative.

and also the first ever from the developing countries. Penang became the world headquarters of the consumer movement which, through Anwar’s creative and boundless energy, gave birth to various global movements – The International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), Health Action International (HAI), Pesticide Action Network (PAN) and the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA). The office was located on Air Itam Road in the City Council bungalow next to Suffolk House and the Methodist Boys School. It now houses the Penang Hospice Society and has a beautiful garden of trees. Anwar had a policy of every new staff planting a tree on their confirmation!
A new era in Penang as a global centre for civil society began. Now we have the Third World Network, Friends of the Earth International (SAM), Aliran, Women’s Centre for Change (WCC) and many others including Penang Forum. Penang became known worldwide as “an island with an activist attitude” said a world leading journalist, Kunda Dixit of the Inter Press Service. Dozens of global conferences of civil society were held in Penang.


On retirement for the International Organisation of Consumers Union (IOCU) in 1991 after 17 years, Anwar was then invited to take a position of Head of an Urban Governance Programme for Asia Pacific of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) where one of the primary aims was to link government and community to deal with rapid urbanisation. He was based in the United Nations office in Kuala Lumpur.

While Anwar was with UNDP, he worked on three key initiatives, which were the Asia Pacific 2000 initiative to support the work of the communities; the Urban Management Program to improve the urban environment and to make it more livable; and the Urban Governance Initiative to promote good governance.

Anwar was very passionate about The Urban Governance Initiative (TUGI) which was initiated by the UNDP in 1998, and during that time, he introduced the Sustainable Penang Initiative (SPI) in Penang, emulating the Sustainable Seattle Initiative. It was an amazing one and a half year participatory engagement initiative developing visions, programs and actions. The Initiative was the first of its kind in the whole of Asia. With the introduction of SPI in Penang, Penangites witnessed the birth of several community-based initiatives – Sustainable Independent Living Access (SILA) with the objective to improve accessibility to amenities for people with disabilities; Sustainable Transport Environment Penang (STEP) which saw the mushrooming of bicycle lanes within George Town and its suburbs; Bureau of Learning Difficulties (BOLD) that serves as a resource center for parents and teachers while trying to raise awareness about learning difficulties; Promoting Activities in Continuing Education (PACE) (as its name suggests) and Water Watch Penang (WWP) that promotes awareness, conservation and practice of water saving towards the sustainable development of water resources. When he was still at UNDP, he traveled back and forth between Penang and Kuala Lumpur regularly to oversee the SPI program. All these initiatives were pioneering and active for over a decade. Many are still active.


In 1991, Anwar also made Penang the global headquarters of the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA). Penang is also described as the Breastfeeding Capital of the World. Anwar says that breastfeeding is the first food and the first right of a baby. He says this about breastfeeding, “The natural power of breastfeeding is one of the greatest wonders of the world. It is about caring and celebrating one of the wondrous joys of nurturing a new life. It is good medicine, sound nutrition, good for the environment (no waste), good economics (it’s free) and creates a wonderful bond between mother and child”. Anwar himself was breastfed for two years by his mother.

Dato' Dr. Anwar Fazal

Anwar speaking about the Breastfeeding issue (2014).

WABA recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. It links with over 150 countries (see www.waba.org). Anwar was the Director and Chairman for many years. Now he is the Chairperson Emeritus.


Anwar is active in the Heritage movement and is also a trustee of the Penang Heritage Trust. He grew up in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, living on the first floor of a shop house – his father ran his business below. He was also asked by the present state government of Penang, when it came to power, to chair a committee on strengthening local government. This was done under the auspices of the Socio-Economic & Environmental Research Institute (SERI), which is now the Penang Institute. He was also asked to chair a committee for improving the Botanic Gardens. The reports were done with a range of good ideas. “Much much more still needs to be done in both the areas” says Anwar.

Dato' Dr. Anwar Fazal

One of Anwar’s designs using the Mandela concept to support his work on International Migration.

Among his most recent innovative engagements, Anwar has been asked to chair Think City, a subsidiary of Khazanah, one of the most outstanding government linked companies. Think City was primarily a social enterprise for urban rejuvenation. It has over 250 projects in Penang and was so successful that Khazanah asked Think City to go nationwide. It now has offices in Butterworth, Kuala Lumpur (Wow! Penang helping KL!) and Johor Bahru. “We are working with some of the most outstanding urban experts in the world – the Getty Foundation, the Creative Cities Network, the Place Making Institute, the Aga Khan Foundation, World Streets, World Future Studies Foundation, the United Nations University – International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH) and many others. Think City is a joy to work with – full of creativity, passion, transparency and effectiveness – and Khazanah has been great in insisting in its professionalism and excellence” said Anwar.


Anwar is unstoppable. More recently, he led the setting up of five more platforms:

  • The Right Livelihood College (RLC), which is a global capacity building initiative of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation. Founded in 2009, the RLC aims to make the knowledge of the Right Livelihood laureates accessible to all. By linking young scholars, academics and civil society organisations with the Laureates, RLC hopes to make their “winning ideas” succeed and multiply. RLC does this though promotion of education, research, public understanding and practical activities which:
    • Contribute to a global ecological balance.
    • Are aimed at eliminating material and spiritual poverty.
    • Contribute to lasting peace and justice in the world.RLC had its inauguration in Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) in Penang, Malaysia, on 8th January 2009 thanks to the support of its visionary Vice-Chancellor, Tan Sri Dzulkifli Razak, who later became the President of the International Association of Universities (IAU). USM served as the inaugural Global Secretariat from 2009 to 2014 and was the incubator and global multiplier of this initiative. Currently, the Global Secretariat is based at the Centre for Development Research (ZEF) at the University of Bonn, Germany (www.rlc-bonn.de) and Anwar continues to be the Director working out of Penang. Today, RLC has eight campuses, in order of establishment, as follows; Lund University (Sweden), University of Bonn (Germany), Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia), University of Port Harcourt (Nigeria), Universidad Austral de Chile (Chile), University of California Santa Cruz (USA), Tata Institute of Social Sciences (India), and National University of Cordoba (Argentina). For more information, see http://www.rightlivelihoodaward.org/educate/right-livelihood-college/.

    Dato' Dr. Anwar Fazal

    The symbol of the Right Livelihood College (RLC), a global university-activist initiative for change-making.

  • The Dr. Wu Lien-Teh Society, Penang (see http://wulientehsociety.org), which celebrates through action the life and legacy of a great medical legend from Penang.

Dato' Dr. Anwar Fazal

Dato' Dr. Anwar Fazal

Anwar taking a team from the World Peace Movement Trust, India, for a tour of the “Street of Harmony” in Penang (2015).

  • The International People’s Agroecology Multiversity (IPAM) (see http://ipamglobal.org) which is a global gateway to information and capacity building on sound ecological food growing and security. It also challenges the misuse of chemicals which harm the body and the environment.

Dato' Dr. Anwar Fazal

  • Penangpedia – an attempt to build an E-gateway about everything you need to share about Penang from the community, school associations, archives, family histories, etc. It will be an open-ended venture which Anwar hopes will be another leap forward. He said” memory is important for civilization” and Anwar will be spending time to make this happen sooner than later.


When asked what he wants to share with the future generation, he said these five things:

  • “The future is not some set up final place. You can make and must make the future. Get engaged and make the change you want”.
  • “Little people doing little things in little places can change the world”.
  • “Remember we are all one – I say this in a poem that reads:

We all drink from one water
We all breathe from one air
We rise from one ocean
And we live under one sky

We are one

The new born baby cries the same
The laughter of children is universal
Everyone’s blood is red
And our hearts beat the same song

We are one

We are all brothers and sisters
Only one family, only one earth
Together we live
And together we die

We are one

We are one

Peace be on you
Brothers and Sisters
Peace be on you”.

  • “Remember the ‘11 Sins Against Humanity’. The first seven were suggested by Mahatma Gandhi and the last four, added by me: (1) Politics without Principles, (2) Wealth without Work, (3) Enjoyment without Conscience, (4) Knowledge without Character, (5) Business without Morality, (6) Science without Humanity, (7) Religion without Compassion, (8) Rights without Responsibilities, (9) Power without Accountability, (10) Development without Sustainability, and (11) Laws without Justice”.
  • “Never forget that ‘The Spirit of Penang’ is a great inspiration to the world. Penang’s civil society is creative, vibrant, challenging and action oriented. Don’t be afraid to challenge the system when it is corrupted, self-serving, inefficient and ineffective! The people of Penang must never be afraid to speak up. You can make a difference. We have done it before and we can do it again and again!

Dato' Dr. Anwar Fazal

A write-up of Anwar Fazal in a global website (http://www.betterworld.net/heroes/fazal.htm).







Anwar has received man accolades from various agencies and organisations. Interestingly, he got many outstanding global awards before he got local ones. His recognitions include:
• The Right Livelihood Award (popularly called the Alternative Nobel Prize) for promoting and protecting public interest (1982).
• Activist of the Year (Ralph Nader’s magazine, Multinational Monitor, 1983).
• Elected to the Environmental Hall of Fame (Mother Earth News, 1983).
• Global 500 Award by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) for his work on consumers and the environment (1988).
• Appointed a Justice of Peace (JP) (1988).
• Consumer Activist of the Year Award (by Government of Penang, (1993).
• Darjah Johan Negeri (DJN) (Penang, 1993).
• International Health Award by the La Leche League (1995) for his work in promoting the welfare of mothers and children the world over.
• Honorary Doctorate in Law from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (1997).
• Honorary Doctorate in Philosophy from Universiti Sains Malaysia (1999).
• Consumer Activist of the Year Award (by Government of Malaysia, 2000).
• Darjah Yang Mulia Pangkuan Negeri (DMPN) which carries the title Dato’ (Penang, 2000).
• Gandhi-King-Ikeda Community Builders Prize by the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, USA (2006).
• Langkawi Environmental Award 2007 in conjunction with World Environmental Day (by the Government of Malaysia, 2008).
• 2013 International Tower Person Award for Consumer Education by Technische Universität Berlin, Germany (2013).
• Served on the jury of the Goldman Environmental Prize from 1992 to 2010, which is among the largest awards for grassroots environmental activists. Currently serves on the Jury of the Right Livelihood Award (The Alternative Nobel Prize).
• United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Award for his work on movements that he set up supporting maternal and child health.


Anwar played a key role in several local and global citizens’ movements:
• Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) (1969).
• International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) (1979).
• Health Action International (HAI) (1981).
• Pesticide Action Network (PAN) (1982).
• Consumer Interpol (1981).
• World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) (1991).
• Sustainable Transport Action Network (SUSTRAN) (1990s).
• Waste Wise Asia (1990s).
• Asian Partnership on International Migration (APIM) (1990s).
• Malaysian Society for Transparency and Integrity (1990s).
• The Dr. Wu Lien-The Society (WLTS) (2014).
• The Penang Gandhi Peace Centre (PGPC) (2014).


Anwar initiated several popular mobilization programs:
• World Consumer Rights Day (March 15).
• World Wetlands Day (February 1).
• World Breastfeeding Week (August 1 – 7).
• World Migrants Day (December 18).
• The Taiping Peace Initiative to promote the culture of peace with the environment.
• The Sustainable Penang Initiative (SPI) which is a participatory community exercise for a just, ecological, productive and cultural vibrant society.


He is now actively serving in the following capacities:
• Director of the Right Livelihood College – brings together all the Recipients of the Right Livelihood Award, popularly known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize”.
• Chairman of Think City.
• Chairman Emeritus of the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) – an umbrella network of networks working on breastfeeding issues.
• Board of Citizens International.
• Vice Chairperson of Sahabat Alam Malaysia.
• Vice Chairperson of Pesticides Action Network (PAN).
• Trustee of Penang Free School (PFS).
• Trustee of the Penang Heritage Trust.
• Chairman of The Dr. Wu Lien-The Society.
• Chairman of the Penang Gandhi Peace Centre.
• Board of Advisors, Centre for Dialogue, Wawasan Open University (WOU).


Dato' Dr. Anwar Fazal

Caricature of Anwar Fazal at his lecture on the “Spirit of Penang: Informing, Inspiring & Igniting Change” as part of The Penang Story Initiative of Think City.

Anwar’s ideas (he calls them Friday ideas) continue to proliferate and he is listing out 75 more things he would like to see happen to celebrate his seventy fifth birthday. In the meantime, we like to share 21 things about Anwar Fazal, demonstrating the multiversity that he is:

1. Athlete – He held the Penang State Record for the 1500 metres for many years and represented the University of Malaya (UM) in 4 games – athletics, cricket, hockey and rugby and got “colours” for all of them.
2. Student Activist – He was the President of the University of Malaya’s Students Union (UMSU) and the National Union of Malaysian Students and received the University’s distinguished “Best All Round Student Gold Medal” in 1964.
3. Teacher – He taught Economics at the Victoria Institution (1964) and the Royal Military College (1965).
4. Librarian – He headed the Penang Library for seven years from 1966 to 1972.
5. Consumer Activist – He founded the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) and later became the first third-world President of Consumer International, devoting 17 years in a formal leadership position cause in the world consumer movement.
6. Health Activist – He was a key player in founding Health Action International (HAI), International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) and the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA).
7. Environment Activist – He was a key player in founding Pesticide Action Network (PAN) and was Chairperson of the Environment Liaison Centre International (ELCI) based in Nairobi (1985 – 1987)
8. UN Official – He led the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Urban Governance for Asia and the Pacific for 12 years, from 1992, working out of Kuala Lumpur.
9. Private Secretary – He served as Private Secretary to the then Chief Minister of Penang, Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu (1969 – 1971).

Dato' Dr. Anwar Fazal

Anwar speaking at Transparency International Malaysia’s event as Vice President (1998).

10. Peace Activist – He was a key player in setting up the Malaysia Interfaith Network (MIN), Taiping Peace Initiative (TPI) and the Penang Gandhi Peace Centre (PGPC). Anwar is the one who suggested Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling (formerly Pitt Street) be referred to as the “STREET OF HARMONY”.
11. Anti Corruption Crusader – He was a key player in setting up Transparency International Malaysia and served for six years on the Malaysia Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) Advisory Council.
12. Poet – He has written several poems, one of which, “Remember We Are One”, has gone global into a song, written by Ysase Barnwell, member of the group, “Sweet Honey in the Rock”. It has been made into greeting cards and featured in books such as “Liberating Faith”, “Prayers for a Thousand Years” and a book on common prayers.
13. Global Days of Action Creator – He has been a key figure in creating these Days of Action which are now celebrated globally: World Consumer Rights Day (March 15), World Wetlands Day (February 1), World Breastfeeding Week (1-7 August), World Migrants Day (18 December).
14. Meteorologist – He ran, for several years, the schools’ meteorological stations in Taiping, the rainiest town in the country, and is a cloud watcher.
15. Professor – He served as a Professor at the School of Public Research and International Studies (CenPRIS) from 2009 from where he incubated and multiplied the Right Livelihood College (RLC) which now has campuses in eight universities and covering every continent (see http://www.rightlivelihoodaward.org/educate/right-livelihood-college/).
16. Foreword Writer – He has written some 50 forewords for books of diverse topics – this includes a book that compiled them called “Moving Forewords”, the only one of its kind.
17. Swimmer – He has swam the length of Gurney Drive in 1959 but currently swims in club or hotel pools, mostly underwater – quiet and calming.
18. Book Rescuer – He has set up the International Book Rescue Mission that tries to find homes for thrown-away books (He has a poem called “Litter-ature” as the anthem of that mission).
19. Walker – There is not a street in George Town that he has not walked on. He is usually seen with a walking stick that doubles as an umbrella.
20. Logoist – He loves designing symbols and enjoys graphics. His personal logo is based on the “tangram”, a two thousand year old unique Chinese jigsaw puzzle – it represents creativity, energy and movement.
21. Visionary – Over the years, he has written and launched several global visionary statements including “Charter of Consumer Rights”, “11 Sins Against Humanity”, “Panchasila of Good Governance”, “The Power of Five” and “Seven Chakras of Simple Living”.

Personal logo of Anwar FazalThis is the personal logo of Anwar Fazal. It was created by him based on an ancient Chinese puzzle called “tangram”. The puzzle is based on a square cut into seven pieces which can be combined into various shapes. It has been assembled by Anwar into a soaring kite – depicting creativity, organization and energy required for the success of social movements.

For further information, you can go to these websites; http://anwarfazal.net, http://www.rightlivelihoodaward.org/laureates/anwar-fazal/ and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anwar_Fazal.

You can also read the following books by him; “Moving Forewords”, First Food, First Right” and “Consumer Power: Anywhere, Anytime, Anyone”. His most recent publication “The Right Livelihood Way: A Sourcebook for Changemakers: is available for download at http://www.zef.de/fileadmin/webfiles/downloads/projects/rlc_campus/The_Right_Livelihood_Way_-_A_Sourcebook_for_Changemakers.pdf

by R. Valen Raj Kumaran
February 02, 2017