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Rained Out: When correspondent Simon Montlake arrived in Malaysia's Penang state, he headed out to see parliamentary candidate Anwar Ibrahim in action (see story). He planned to catch a rally, grab a few words backstage with Anwar, and see how crowds responded. That was the plan, anyway.

"The first place I went, I missed him. Then I went to a town center where a stage was set up. I was assured he would be along. Then it started to pour rain, and I hunkered down with Anwar supporters for spicy noodles. We talked. And talked."

Simon says he looked outside at the stage where silent videos of Anwar speaking were playing. Speakers took to the stage to talk up their hero or play pop music. It was nearly midnight when we were finally told, sorry, he was caught in a nearby village and the road was flooded, so no Anwar. I felt bummed, but I looked around and saw people buoyant, smiling, ready for the next's day voting. "

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Good Old Hard-Line Days: Correspondent Mian Ridge enjoyed listening to Pakistanis' relaxed social chat about political news of recent days. "At a dinner party in Lahore, when the conversation turned, as it quickly did, to [former President] Musharraf's demise, there was a faint note of nostalgia," she says. "These sophisticated Lahories agreed he had to go, but there was a sense that his rule, amid so much current uncertainty, had a certain solidity."

The party was at a club that used to have a license to serve alcohol because, ostensibly, foreigners liked to go there (there's a pretense that it is only foreigners who drink in Pakistan). "But the license was recently taken away by Punjab's chief minister, who is Nawaz Sharif's brother, who is known to disapprove of drinking. My friends said that it was really taken away because the management was friendly with members of Musharraf's PML-Q party."

– Amelia Newcomb

Deputy World editor

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