The king is crowned with a black and gold silk headdress with an Islamic crescent and a 14-point diamond-studded platinum star. The throne is rotated every five years among the hereditary sultans and rajas of nine of the country's 13 states. The kings are supposed to protect the dominant Malays and act as a guardian of the Islamic faith. And in spite of recent attempts by Dr Mahathir to clip their wings, their real power is much greater.
THE people of Aarhus on the Danish peninsula of Jutland demonstrated their appreciation of a sense of humour in this week's elections: 23,211 of them elected the comedian Jacob Haugaard as their MP. Mr Haugaard promised shorter queues in supermarkets, guaranteed following winds for all Danish cyclists and said he would protect the right of men to be impotent. 'It was all a practical joke, honestly,' he said.
He spent his official campaign money on free hot dogs and beer for voters and on kettles for old- age pensioners. 'If work is so good for you then why don't we get sick people to do it,' he said during his campaign. After such sentiments won him a trip to Copenhagen's Amalienborg Palace to meet Queen Margarethe, and a place at the table wrangling over the make- up of a coalition government, he said: 'It's absurd. I guess people elected me because my promises are just as trustworthy as those of the conventional political parties.'
Would he sit in parliament for his full four-year term? He would see. 'I'm not even sure how often I have to be there,' he added.
ACCORDING to Yang Wen- chang, China's ambassador in Singapore, Hong Kong will change only superficially when it reverts to Chinese rule in 1997. 'The governor will be a yellow-faced Chinese, not a blue-eyed British. The national flag will be a red one. The uniform of the policemen and the armed forces will be changed,' he told diplomats, businessmen and journalists colours at the Singapore Press Club yesterday.
WE NOW know a bit more than we did before about Djedmaatesankh, a mysterious woman who lived in Thebes in 850BC. We knew she was a musician and a priestess, and that she was married to a doorkeeper at the temple.
Now, a team from the Royal Ontario Museum has analysed the results of a CAT-scan they gave the priestess in May. It seems she was strikingly beautiful, with captivating eyes and arresting cheekbones, but that she was cursed with a horribly abscessed tooth, and so was probably doped up with opium most of the time.