Beg Your Pardon: When governments, leaders & individuals say sorry


"FOR THE PAIN, suffering and hurt of these stolen generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry." — Australian PM Kevin Rudd’s apology for mistreatment of aboriginal Australians, 13 Feb 2008

"We participated in things that were clearly wrong and have reason to regret and we apologize for them." — Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein’s apology for the 2009 financial crisis, 17 Nov 2009

"And I felt sorry, and I have felt bad about what happened." — Monica Lewinsky, 2002

Beg Your Pardon
When governments, leaders & individuals say sorry
Fri 3 Sep, 8.30pm
The Annexe Gallery, 2nd Flr, Central Market Annexe
Admission: Free of charge

1. WHEN GOVERNMENTS SAY SORRY: by Ambiga Sreenevasan
2. WHEN CORPORATIONS SAY SORRY: by Sreedhar Subramaniam
3. WHEN COMMUNITIES SAY SORRY: by Edry Faizal Eddy Yusof

SAYING SORRY is first and foremost a personal act to initiate a journey of reconciliation and healing between two individuals. However, it is an act that also has implications beyond two private individuals. When leaders of communities, corporations and even countries apologize for the wrongs of the past, they also begin putting things right in the present in order to have a brighter future together.

The apologies quoted above have become historical milestones of recent history. We remember them because public apologies from leaders are so few and far between. So few in fact they often shock us into catharsis and tears, allowing many of us to move on from our hurt. But yet, we are aware of many more wrongs yet unaccounted for. Are there things for which our government, community leaders and public individuals have yet to apologise, thus preventing us from healing as a nation?

This forum aims to explore both the personal and public dimension of the act of saying sorry to facilitate greater thought in the respective spheres, and hopefully inspire individuals and larger groups to cultivate a culture of the willingness to make amends.


AMBIGA SREENEVASAN served as the Malaysian Bar Council chairperson from 2007 to 2009. In March 2009, she became one of the eight recipients for the 2009 Secretary of State’s Award for International Women of Courage Awards. She is currently leading the Bersih Version 2.0 campaign and is a vocal activist on human rights.

EDRY FAIZAL EDDY YUSOF is a research fellow at Islamic Renaissance Front, an NGO that strides to engage in social debates and promote freedom of expression and religion, democracy and liberty. He has held a few key positions in the University’s Islamic society and actively writes for blog, tabloid and MMU’s "Risalah Jumaat".

SREEDHAR SUBRAMANIAM has almost 25 years of experience in consulting and senior management, about half of which was with a major international management consulting group. The remaining half has been in senior management positions within the media, business process outsourcing and information services industries. He is founder of The Malaysian Insider, currently the CEO of Good Times and a consultant with Character First!.

LEOW PUAY TIN is one of Malaysia’s finest theatre practitioners. She has written and performed 5 monologues – in Malaysia as well as in Egypt and Australia. She has also written a number of plays, including the popular "Ang Tau Mui", which have been performed in Malaysia, Singapore and Japan.

SAY SORRY DAY: Sun 5 Sep 2010
This forum is held in conjunction with the Say Sorry Day campaign. A collective of individuals and organisations are coming together to declare Sept 5, 2010, as Say Sorry Day. Everyone – in Malaysia and beyond – is encouraged on this day to seek forgiveness from and grant it to each other.

The inspiration for Say Sorry Day is a young Malaysian, Yong Vui Kong, who was only 18 when he was arrested for drug trafficking in Singapore. He is currently appealing for clemency, but he may still be hanged and not get a chance to redeem his wrongs.
His situation is extreme, and many people may not find themselves in the same situation. However, we all need forgiveness because we all do wrong; as the saying goes, “to err is human, to forgive, divine”.

To find out more about Say Sorry Day:

About Sivin Kit

man of one wife, father of four kids
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