I studied Science in English and did my MCE way back in 1976, which was the last year before History became Sejarah and Geography became Geografi...later Science became Sains and ultimately "English became Bahasa Malaysia". I was in Pure Science stream and I am sad to say the little that I can still remember of science is still much more than my children (and I dare say most of their school mates) managed to learn in their entire secondary school years! English is my main medium of communication yet I am able to communicate effectively in Bahasa Malaysia. 33 years later I look at a superstar with stellar results for SPM and I know he is less equipped than me when I was his age. We have regressed.
My point is that the majority of our children are taught too little in school and the dregs (those who cannot complete secondary level schooling or many who graduate from public universities with irrelevant degrees) do not nor will they ever know enough to be able to have independent thought. Many are part of the new generation of voters who are perhaps the new target group that is being wooed for the next GE. They are easily led by the nose with "religious and racial ropes" coupled with hubris, spin and propaganda. We see a lot of shite every day in the form of people, on TV and radio, in the newspapers and in cyberspace...this shite targets the small minds that our schools and universities are regurgitating by the thousands annually! Mind you the dregs consist of all races in the country.
Actually, I don't know why I wrote the above because I had just wanted to write about various reactions in both mainstream and alternative media to Teoh Boon Hock's still unexplained death. I recall we used the word "reaction" very often in chemistry and its spelling short-form, "rxn". Hence this blog-title.
I'd like to start with the immediate rxn (still his only one so far) of government hack turned peoples' blogger turned government hack, Rocky's Bru because I think he was the first off the mark to begin the spin; trying to damage control before the TBH death turned into a rallying cry against the government. His characteristic short post:
Tragic death, tragic reaction
The death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock, 30, at the building that housed the Anti-Corruption Commission's office in Shah Alam is most tragic.
Was there foul play? Was it accidental? Did he commit suicide?
We all want to know what happened and how Teoh fell to his death.
Amid our shock and the family's grief, we have a politician like Lim Guan Eng who reminds us that everything in life - and death - has something to do with politics and the DAP.
His letter published in mysinchew is Malaysia's political tragedy. The Chief Minister's assertion that Teoh's death was the result of the MACC's "political persecution of PR, especially DAP leaders and members" is cheap and malicious.
His blogpost was posted on the same day as this racist post which alleges murder by DAP commission triad hitmen:
KEMATIAN TEOH BERMOTIFKAN POLITIK: Teoh Saksi Paling Penting Kecelakaan Exco Cina Selangor
Lihatlah Kerajaan BN, bersangka baik kepada ahli pembangkang dan menyifatkan kematian Teoh sebagai kematian mengejut dan membiarkan polis menyisat semua ini.
Teoh Beng Hock, 30, yang dipanggil ke pejabat Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM) sejak pukul 5 petang semalam, dipercayai terjatuh dari tingkat 14 pejabat SPRM Selangor di Plaza Masalam.
Siapa Teoh dan mengapa semua ini berlaku kepada dirinya?
Ramai yang tahu Teoh ini adalah setiausaha politik dan pegawai khas kepada Ean Yong Hian Wah salah seorang exco kerajaan negeri, tapi ramai yang tak tahu yang Teo ni dulu pernah menjadi pegawai khas kepada MP Petaling Jaya Utara iaitu Tony Pua.
Yang penting Teo ni dah lama menyakitkan hati pemimpin DAP.
Masih ingat lagi pada 25 Mac lepas, Karpal Singh pernah memaki Pemuda UMNO dalam Parlimen dengan ayat "celaka" berikutan dengan kes itu, pemuda umno datang memnuntut penjelasan daripada karpal dan meminta karpal memohon maaf, tapi karpal celaka buat bodoh saje sehinggalah berlaku pertengkaran dan hampir-hampir terjadinya pergaduhan antara pemuda umno dan hero matcha gobinad singh deo.
Dikatakan terdapat 2 rakaman video ketika insiden tu berlaku, rakaman video pertama di percayai di rakam oleh salah seorang ahli DAP dari pada ipoh timur dan satu lagi rakaman video di rakam oleh seorang pegawai khas kepada ahli parlimen petaling jaya utara Tony Pua, rakaman video kedua itu kemudiannya di dowload kedalam youtube, orang yang bertanggung jawab merakam video itu ialah Teo yang baru sahaja mati petang tadi, dalam rakaman video tu, memang jelas yang pemuda umno langsung tidak mengusik karpal yang lumpuh separuh badan.
Bila kepimpinan DAP tahu Teo yang mengedarkan klip video tu, maka si Teo ni diberikan amaran oleh berberapa gangster yang di payung oleh Ronnie Liew dan Teo pula di tukar oleh kepimpinan DAP untuk bertugas di SUK dan Pejabat Adun Sri Kembangan supaya Ronnie dan Ean Yong Hian Wah supaya senang untuk memantau pergerakannya.
Menurut sumber, Teo kurang berpuas hati dengan cara pentadbiran berberapa adun DAP di selangor, cara Ronnie dan Hian Wah menggunakan kongsi gelap dalam pentadbiran kerajaan dan dengan suka-suka mengunakan peruntukan kewangan kerajaan negeri membiayai kegiatan kwong si gelap tidak di senangi oleh Teo dan memang betul apa yang di laporkan oleh ahli parlimen wangsa maju YB. Wee Choo Keong yang mana ronnie dan Hian wah menggunakan kongsi gelap, dan pejabat Exco telah digunakan sebagai tempat bermesyuarat mereka yang dikatakan mempunyai kaitan dengan peniagaan haram dan aktiviti haram.
Mungkin tidak tahan dengan kerenah kongsi gelap yang selalu turun naik pejabatnya maka Teo mula mengugut Ronnie dan Hian Wah supaya memberhentikan segera kegiatan itu tapi tidak di endahkan oleh dua ekor exco itu. sudah tidak tahan dengan keadaan itu maka Teo dengan beraninya membuat laporan kepada SPRM tentang kegiatan ronnie dan Hian Wah.
Bagaimana pula ADUN Kampung Tunku, Lau Weng San.
Selain Ean dan Lau, Teresa Kok (Kinrara), Hannah Yeoh (Subang), Elizabeth Wong (Bukit Lanjan), Dr Cheah Wing Yin (Damansara Utama) and Edward Lee (Bukit Gasing) turut terlibat?
Perlu di ingat, fail-fail kes adun-adun yang lain tu telah lama berada dalam simpanan SPRM dan hanya menunggu masa sahaja untuk di bongkar. Mungkin SPRM melihat ini lah masa yang sesuai, maka SPRM pun bertindak. Kalau diperhatikan betul-betul adun-adun cina yang kantoi tu, mereka ni berkongsi satu majlis perbandaran yang sama, sebagai contoh, Teressa dan Hannah berkongsi sama PBT iaitu Majlis Perbandaran Subang Jaya, Wing Yin, Elizabeth, Edward dan Lau Weng San pula berkongsi Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya.
Maka diatas percaturan dan sifat tamak mereka ni yang menjadi mangsa ialah Teo.
Perlu di ingat, kesemua ADUN cina di selangor menggunakan kongsi gelap untuk menjaga mereka dan Ah Long pula menjadi banker mereka.
Jadi, ADUN-ADUN ini pasti terikat dengan perjanjian bersama dengan Ah Long dan Kongsi Gelap tadi.
Satu bala besar akan menimpa ADUN Cina selepas Teoh dipanggil oleh SPRM.
Kematian Teoh pasti ada kaitan dengan Kongsi Gelap tadi maka inilah masanya Teoh perlu dihapuskan dari muka bumi ini.
Jadi Teoh telah ditolak dari tingkat 14 bangunan tersebut.
Kenapa pejabat SPRM pula dijadikan tempat pembunuhan?
Mudah sahaja, supaya SPRM boleh dituduh sebagai defenden pertama dan itulah yang menyebabkan Ronnie Liu sekarang ini menyerang SPRM. Seterusnya menjadikan kerajaan BN sebagai defenden kedua. Perarakan yang dianjurkan oleh puak Cina DAP ini adalah bukti petuduhan mereka kepada orang tidak terlibat.
Puak cina celaka ini kononya bijak, namun mereka yang selama ini suka mencipta musuh telah disepak punggung mereka oleh musuh mereka tadi dan pastinya mereka tidak dapat lari dari sebuah kebenaran.
Semoga SPRM tabah menyiasat kes ciptaan Cina pembangkang ini dan semoga kebenaran disebalik kematian orang yang mampu membongkarkan ketidaktelusan ADUN Pembangkang selangor akan terungkai.
The following is the now infamous article in Berita Harian by NST's Managing Editor (translates to PM's man?) Zainul Ariffin and it is followed by Art Harun's now famous reply:
Kematian Teoh timbulkan pelbagai spekulasi politik
Oportunisme boleh rampas kesedihan untuk jadi modal siasahADAKAH ahli dan penyokong Pakatan Rakyat saja yang berasa sedih ke atas kematian Teoh Beng Hock?
Tentu sekali jika dilihat dari muka-muka sama yang bergegas mengepalai tunjuk perasaan apabila saja ada kejadian seperti ini berlaku, beratur untuk perhatian jurugambar dan pemberita, dan di dalam kepala menghitung laba politik yang mungkin diperoleh.
Oportunisme politik boleh merampas kesedihan untuk dijadikan modal politik. Kematian boleh dijadikan pemangkin untuk naikkan kemarahan, dan juga batu hikmat menarik sokongan.
Terlalu sedikit cubaan untuk menenangkan keadaan. Di dalam kes Teoh setiap kenyataan seakan-akan berbau politik. Jika orang marah, apikan lagi. Jika bersedih, apa lagi, kenangkanlah nasib mereka dan paling penting, cari pihak yang perlu dipertanggungjawabkan.
Sudah tentulah Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM) perlu bertanggungjawab kerana mendiang Teoh kali terakhir berada di pejabat berkenaan dan mayat beliau dijumpai berhampiran. SPRM juga menemuduga Teoh hingga awal pagi.
Tanggungjawab SPRM ialah untuk menyiasat sepenuhnya kejadian itu, dan jika ada kesilapan atau kelemahan, atau kecuaian dan salah laku di pihaknya, tindakan perlu diambil. Ia mesti telus dan tegas.
Tetapi ia sepatutnya tidak perlu dipertanggungjawabkan untuk menangkis tuduhan yang tidak berasas, menjawab tohmahan, dan melayan agenda politik orang lain. Segala keraguan dan persoalan mesti dijawab, tetapi mestilah tidak yang bermotifkan politik.
Yang lebih penting, tanggungjawab SPRM ialah supaya ia tertumpu kepada tugasnya. Siasatan yang masih ada, termasuk terhadap ahli politik yang bertempik dan berkumpul di luar pejabatnya, yang cuba menimbulkan syak dan wasangka terhadap integriti agensi itu, mestilah diteruskan.
Kita faham ramai yang marah. Kita juga tahu ramai yang bersedih dengan kematian Teoh. Semua orang ada abang, adik, anak, suami, kawan dan faham serta simpati kepada pemergian orang muda seperti Teoh yang masa hadapannya nampak cerah.
Bukan orang Cina atau penyokong Pakatan Rakyat saja yang tahu marah dan mahukan keadilan. Namun, elemen perkauman dimasukkan oleh beberapa ahli Dewan Negeri Selangor apabila mereka disiasat sama ada menyalahgunakan peruntukan dan kuasa oleh SPRM, walaupun anggapan ini salah kerana ada Adun Melayu disiasat juga. Namun keraguan timbul, terutama di kalangan bukan Melayu bahawa SPRM, yang semestinya seperti agensi kerajaan lain banyak pekerja Melayu, secara selektif memilih bukan Melayu untuk disiasat.
Apabila mangsa kemalangan pula orang bukan Melayu, yang sebelumnya disiasat orang Melayu, bertambah hebatlah spekulasinya. Di alam maya internet tidak susah mencari kesimpulan berunsur perkauman.
Adakah ini politik? Peduli apa kesannya kepada negara asalkan popular. Walau dihias dengan kata-kata manis seperti hak asasi ataupun ketelusan atau keadilan, yang jelas, kadang-kadang, agenda perkauman nyata.
Kenapa perlu menanam kebencian, meniup api kemarahan terhadap agensi kerajaan yang banyak juga penyokong mereka bekerja di dalamnya? Dengar sajalah perkataan kesat yang dilemparkan kepada polis dan sebagainya? Keadilankah yang dituntut atau kebencian digalakkan?
Adakah strategi untuk menggalakkan syak terhadap agensi kerajaan. Dulunya kehakiman kemudian polis, kini SPRM? Apakah nilai kepemimpinan politik jika apa yang digalakkan ialah membenci dan menghasut? Di manakah fahaman politik atau ideologi mulia.
Apabila saja ada perkara seperti ini, bergegas-gegas muka yang sama mengeluarkan kenyataan yang pada asasnya menanam syak kepada institusi.
Cukuplah dengan membenci pimpinan kerajaan. Mereka orang politik, mereka boleh terima semua ini. Tetapi pegawai kerajaan bukan orang politik; mereka jalankan tugas dan arahan.
Sedarlah jika setiap kali institusi kita dicerca dan dihina, lama-kelamaan akan ada yang terlekat. Makin lama semakin tipis kepercayaan kita.
Pepatah Inggeris berkata: 'You reap what you sow' jika ada pihak yang mahu popular dengan menabur syak wasangka kepada orang lain, lama kelamaan dia juga akan menerima kesannya.
Katalah ditakdirkan pembangkang memerintah, tidak akan reputasi institusi dan agensi yang dipijak-pijak akan kembali pulih serta merta. Apa yang runtuh sukar dibina semula. Institusi akan terus dipandang serong, kepercayaan rakyat akan tetap menipis.
Adakah kehakiman atau polis yang sentiasa dikutuk akan jadi baik tiba-tiba dan terus diterima rakyat. Hakisan tidak boleh dipatah balik, malah ia selalu membawa kepada keruntuhan.
Kenapa, contohnya perlu kerajaan Selangor mahukan pakar bedah swasta untuk siasat kematian Teoh? Adakah pakar hospital kerajaan tidak layak? Atau tidak boleh dipercayai?
Kenapa Menteri Besar Selangor, seorang Melayu, meragui kebolehan orang sebangsanya bertindak dengan tulus dan adil?
Bukankah banyak pegawai agensi atau institusi kerajaan orang Melayu? Adakah polis, hakim, guru, penyiasat, doktor, pensyarah Melayu semuanya tidak boleh dipercayai?
Percayalah, inilah yang berlaku apabila kita sama naik menabur syak pada agensi dan institusi kerajaan. Layari sahaja laman internet untuk mengetahui apa yang dikatakan mengenai institusi-institusi yang kebanyakan diketuai dan dipenuhi oleh orang Melayu.
Bukan ahli dan penyokong parti politik saja yang mahukan keadilan. Orang lain pun begitu. Tetapi jangan semua institusi diruntuh. Janganlah termakan kata-kata orang, yang agendanya kadang-kadang hendak mempersoalkan kebolehan orang Melayu.
Art Harun's reply to Berita Harian: Macdeth Act II - an open letter to Berita Harian
I read with disbelief - and not to mention, a certain degree of disgust - your article titled "Kematian Teoh timbulkan pelbagai spekulasi politik" appearing in your newspaper yesterday.
It is a measure of the depth of the racialist pit in which you are and the extent of your warped mind that such article was published by you, a newspaper which, in your own words, "is able to stimulate the minds in pursuing information where information is the primary source of economical success" (my lose translation of "akhbar yang dapat merangsang minda dalam mengejar arus maklumat yang mana pengetahuan adalah sumber utama untuk kemakmuran ekonomi" as stated on your web site). But then again, coming from you, whose sister paper is the NST, I suppose, is not surprising. In fact, it should have been expected.
First of all, thank you for telling us that it was an "accident". You said, and I quote:
"Apabila mangsa kemalangan pula orang bukan Melayu, yang sebelumnya disiasat orang Melayu, bertambah hebatlah spekulasinya."
I thank you because earlier, we were all made to believe that it was a possible suicide. It seems that you know something which we, the stupid and gullible people of Malaysia, don't seem to know. As you have quite clearly and categorically labeled the incident as an accident, I would be grateful to death (pardon the pun) if you could fill me up as to how the accident happened; who were involved and why it happened. Did the deceased sleep walk while he was sleeping on the settee at 6.30am?You seemed to take objection that this incident has been politicised.
You also deemed it totally improper for some people to use the incident to gain political mileage. I am surprised at how shallow your journalistic power of observation is.
Allow me to tell you this. And I am going to use bold letters, just in case you miss the point. THIS IS A POLITICAL MATTER. The deceased was the political secretary of a DAP representative. DAP, the last time I checked, was a political party. And the last time I checked too, the deceased's boss was a member of the Selangor State Legislative Assembly.
So, in the first place, it was, and still is, and will be a political matter. You cannot run from that fact.
You spoke as if no other party has politicised matters which have got nothing to do with politics in the past. Your political master has even gone to town using the Royal House as a political gimmick in Bukit Gantang. And how about Anwar Ibrahim's private life? Since when has a man's behaviour in bed or on a certain mattress, become a political capital? How about the act of buying cows for sacrifice on Hari Raya Aidil 'Adha, for the obvious benefit of the poor and impoverished? Is that political? And what about the call for the ISA to be abolished? Some people even said that ISA was a "Malay right"!
So please, spare us this seeming and sudden journalistic naivete. Spare us this whole stupidity. We are not stupid.
The next thing that I wish to say is this. Why are you bemoaning the fact that this "accident" has been politicised and used to gain political ground when it is obvious that such political maneuvering and posturing would not have happened if such "accident" had not taken place at all?
It is regrettable that in this day and age that our state agency could still treat citizens like some worthless piece of flesh and bones. It is like the state is a gangland, ruled and managed by fear, where dungeons and hooded men abound, ready to interrogate in the darkness of nights.
Why have you not asked why such "accident" ( I just love that word) had to happen in 2009 in our country?
Why have you not championed the rights of the people, since you proudly proclaim that you are a newspaper which is able to stimulate the minds. Whose minds are you talking about? Your own minds? Are you stimulating the minds or the emotions? Or do you actually know the difference?
What I find most objectionable is your attempt at turning the issue into an anti-Malay leadership issue. While you bemoan the fact that this sad "accident" has turned into a political issue, it does not behoove you to shout and scream that the very same issue is a racial one. Two wrongs do not make one right.
Yes, the deceased is a Chinese man. But most and foremost is the fact that HE IS A MALAYSIAN. Every death in custody, regardless of race, creed and breed, will be a tragedy and will be treated as tragic by we, Malaysians. A. Kugan, an Indian, also died in custody, with horrific injuries or mark of injuries. Malaysians of all races denounced that. Malaysians of all races wanted the truth. When Nurin Jazlin Jazimin and Sharlinie Mohd Nashar were kidnapped, the whole Malaysia was outraged.
The whole Malaysia is outraged not because the victims are Indians, Chinese or Malays. Or are you too blinkered to know that? The outrage stems from the fact that the victims were seemingly treated in an inhuman manner, in a manner which is almost animalistic in nature. The whole Malaysia is grieving. Do you think only African American grieve the death of Michael Jackson? Or are you too busy with your racial study to notice?
And what is this about the non-Malays challenging the Malay leadership? In your own stupendous journalistic inquiry, you asked:
"Kenapa Menteri Besar Selangor, seorang Melayu, meragui kebolehan orang sebangsanya bertindak dengan tulus dan adil?"
Huh? My teenage daughter would ask, "wassup with you dude?" Or "can I have some of that thang (sic) which you are obviously smoking?"
First of all, all of us, and that includes those politicians whom you are accusing of politicising the "accident", do not have a clue on who the officers in charge were. Nobody knows their identity, let alone their races. Good God! What are you trying to do? Turn this into a Malay against the world issue? Quite obviously, no?
The truth of it all is this. If you still have no clue, let me tell you. IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT RACE THE GUILTY PARTY IS (if anybody is guilty at all). The People will still feel outraged even if the party involved is a Ghanaian who works for MACC! Get that?
It is a shame. I was pleased to note on Sunday that the PM has taken the trouble to express his regret that someone has died, that a life has been lost. He even conveyed his condolences. He even sent his political secretary to visit the family. The DPM has now not discounted the establishment of a Royal Commission. Hishamuddin Hussein has undertaken to supervise the investigation personally. SUHAKAM has said it will commence an investigation. Whatever may be the result and effects of all these promises is unknown. But I would take them all on face value. I feel pleased with the humane approach. It just shows that at least, the PM, DPM and the Home Minister actually saw a tragedy above politics.
And it is a crying shame that you, Berita Harian, have to overshadow the fresh air of humanity emanating from our leaders by the publication of that article of yours.
Shame on you!
This one by Azly Rahman is interesting:
Malaysia no longer “Tanah Melayu”
Today is July 19, 2009, 40 years after the May 13, 1969 tragedy.
I dedicate these notes to Teo Beng Hock, a young Malaysian who ought to be an inspiration to many wishing to call Malaysia home.
Because we have agreed to become a country rooted in a social contract that ought to give equality, equity, and equal opportunity to all who have given up their natural rights in exchange for “citizenship” and the rights of the State to tax them (with or without representation), we must recognize that Malaysia is for Malaysians.
This will be the most humane perspective we ought to work towards in holding. What is needed is a system of check and balance that will ensure that each generation of Malaysians will progress without the trappings of mistrust, hatred, and institutionalized racism.
But first, we must all fight for the installation of this reality. Political will that will move this agenda of ethical liberalism must be harnessed and be made the driving force for social, cultural, educational, and psychological change.
The idea of “Tanah Melayu” must be reflected upon — of its relevancy and whether it is a kind of ideological thinking that will help develop a culture of peace or help nurture inter-racial hatred.
Communal politics is an old school thinking that cannot survive the wave of cosmopolitanism; just like the any idea that could not survive the inevitability of historical change propelled by changes in material condition and consciousness.
In Malaysia, the days of communal politics are numbered, however well it is packaged and propagandized. Multiculturalism, and in fact radical multiculturalism, or better still radical marhaenism is the next wave. Institutions that promote racism must be deconstructed and abolished; institutions that are funded by the ruling regime to ensure the hegemony of this or that race. Dismantle them before they become yet another layer of complexity in our consciousness; a layer that hides the structural violence inherent in a system of racism and false consciousness called “nationalistic history”.
The only permanent thing is change, as the Chinese philosopher and mystic Lao Tzu said. Man has no nature, what he has is history, said the Spanish philosopher Ortega Gasset.
And there will be beauty in this change if we know how to destroy the beast within.
I am reproducing an essay I wrote sometime ago on “Ketuanan Melayu”
A Malay view of ‘Ketuanan Melayu’
Azly Rahman Feb 4, 08 2:51pm
‘O people! Your God is one and your forefather (Adam) is one. An Arab is not better than a non-Arab and a non-Arab is not better than an Arab, and a red (i.e. white tinged with red) person is not better than a black person and a black person is not better than a red person, except in piety. Indeed the noblest among you is the one who is deeply conscious of God.’ – a saying of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him)‘
Malaysia – to whom does it belong? To Malaysians. But who are Malaysians? I hope I am, Mr Speaker, Sir. But sometimes, sitting in this chamber, I doubt whether I am allowed to be a Malaysian. This is the doubt that hangs over many minds, and … [once] emotions are set in motion, and men pitted against men along these unspoken lines, you will have the kind of warfare that will split the nation from top to bottom and undo Malaysia.’ – Lee Kuan Yew, now Senior Minister, Republic of Singapore
Instead of defining Ketuanan Melayu as ‘Malay superiority’ which is quite meaningless, philologically inaccurate, and philosophically arrogant, I think the word ‘dictatorship’ is closer in meaning. As you read this piece, please refrain from value judgment and from bring trapped in the prison-house of language pertaining to the word ‘dictatorship’.
To dictate connotes to tell, which connotes to narrate. To narrate means to weave a story based on an ideology. To ideologise means to encapsulate. To encapsulate means to be trap. Dictatorship, here might also mean an entrapment. Instead of acknowledging one’s freedom to rule, one is acknowledging being in an entrapment – and to rule out of that condition. This is a form of false consciousness.
Words, as a literary theorist Raymond Williams might say, must also be contextualized/situated within the economic condition they emerge in. Marx’s famous dictum that human beings’ existence is defined by the economic condition they are in and that this condition is already predetermined. This is a deterministic view of human history.
I first read heard the phrase Ketuanan Melayu in the mid-1980s from a book by one Malik Munip. I was reading his work, at the same time reading Lim Kit Siang’s ‘Malaysia in the dangerous 80s’, to get a sense of the argument. I was an undergraduate reading Literature, Education and International Politics.
I also heard that Malay students were discouraged from reading Kit Siang’s work and encouraged to read ‘Ketuanan Melayu’. I love banned books and books that others tell me not to read. There is a sense of intellectual challenge to be able to read banned books.
I read Mahathir Mohamad’s ‘The Malay Dilemma’ and Syed Husin Ali’s ‘Malays: Their Problems and their Future’ and Syed Hussein Alatas’ ‘The Myth of the Lazy Native’ at the same time. Again, to get a sense of balance.
I read Malaysian official publications on economic outlook, juxtaposing them with a close reading of analyses on the political-economy of the Malaysian capitalist state.
I read the work of Freud and Marx to see where some of the major authors of the Frankfurt School of Social Research are going with their arguments on totalitarianism. I read the Quran and the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana, and the Mahabharata to see where the arguments on race superiority lie and what the fate of humankind will be.
The idea of social dominance and racial superiority might all be primarily about economics, if we are to read the history of the development of ideologies of superiority. But my question is – who has the right to claim that this or that land belongs to this or that group of people. At what point does culture and citizenship meet and negotiate the issue of egalitarianism? When does ‘the truth of one’s culture’ reach its limit and the question of ‘the truth of citizenship’ dominate?
This is a very complex question Malaysians must answer after 50 years of Independence. We must open up the dialogue on this issue.
Let us look at how the idea of ketuanan Melayu is disseminated to the young. One way is through indoctrination camps in which songs are used.
Over the decades, perhaps millions of Malay students like me were taught the dangerous propaganda song, ‘Anak Kecil Main Api’(A Child Plays with Fire). One verse concerns the power of the Malays::
… kini kita cuma tinggal kuasa
yang akan menentukan bangsa
hasil mengalir, ke tangan yang lain
pribumi merintih sendiri…
My loose translation of this 1980s propaganda song by the Biro Tata Negara reads:
… political power is what we are only left with
one that will determine the fate of our nation
wealth of this nation flows into the hands of others
sons and daughters of the soil suffer in solace…
I do not think we have a clear understanding of what the lyrics mean. I doubt if the songwriter even understand what a ‘people’s history of Malaya’ means. It is a song based on racist intents; its lyrics penned by one who does not have a good grasp of the political-economy of Malaysian history, let alone the latest advances in the field of psychology of consciousness.
The training programes that encapsulate the theme of this song are meant to instill fear of the Malays, not of others but of themselves, and to project hatred onto other ethnic groups without realising who the enemy of the Malays really are.
Using relaxation techniques to bring the brain waves in the alpha and state (conducive for suggestive and subliminal messages), trainees were put under ‘half-asleep’ conditions to get the ketuanan Melayu message to colonise the consciousness. The technique pioneered by Russian brain scientists Barzakov and Lozanov in the1970s, called ‘suggestopedia’, is used to instill the deep sense of fear for oneself and hatred of others.
History is a complex syntagmatic pattern of interplay between technology, ideology, culture, inscription and institutionalisation not easily reduced to simplistic lyrics as such sung to the tune of pre-war German-nationalistic-sounding compositions.
History is about the complex evolution of the ruling class which owns the technologies of control. As Marx would say, at every epoch it is the history of those who own the means of production that will be written and rewritten. The winners write history, the losers write poetry or study anthropology, some would lament.
Back to the lyrics. After 50 years of independence, who is suffering in Malaysia? Who has become wealthy? Who has evolved into robber barons? What has become of our judiciary system, our universities, our city streets, our sense of public safety and security, our schools, our youth, and our entire socio-economic arrangements at the eve of the 12th general election. How has the idea of ketuanan Melayu contributed to this state of affairs?
Language of power and ideology is at play in those lyrics. The definition of ‘bumiputera’ is at play. It has become a problematic word in this age of deconstructionism; an age wherein as the poet WB Yeats said, “the centre cannot hold”.
Rock musicians will recall the Scorpions’ famous song ‘Winds of Change’ to serenade the fall of the Berlin Wall and the beginning of the breakdown of the Soviet Empire. We have to face the ‘wrath’ of the word.
Put an end to Ketuanan Melayu
For Muslims in Malaysia, this saying by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is familiar: ‘Your descent is nothing to be proud of. Nor does it bring you superiority. O people! All of you are the children of Adam. You are like equal wheat grains in a bowl … No one has any superiority over anyone else, except in religion and heedfulness. In order to consider someone a wicked person, it suffices that he humiliates other people, is mean with money, bad-tempered and exceeds the limits…’
I would say that ketuanan Melayu is a dangerous concept that is threatening race relations. It is an arrogant interpretation of selective history; of a history that is largely benefiting those who profits from the ideology.
Those promoting this concept are not well-versed in the matters of philosophy of history. I do not think thinking Malays these days subscribe to the idea of ‘Malay dominance and dictatorship’. If there is a ketuanan of one race, then the rest are ‘slaves’ and ‘serfs’ and ‘sub-citizens’, if we are to analyse it from the point of view of ‘Master-Slave’ narrative?
As a Malay wishing to see the withering of and an end to the concept of ketuanan Melayu and the birth of a new consciousness that will respect the dignity of all races and the humility of all ethnic groups, I call upon Malaysians to continue to be critical of any attempt by any race to project their own sense of false superiority that would only breed dangerous ethnocentrism bordering on xenophobia.
We should work together to deconstruct all forms of race-based political arrangement and work towards establishing a new order based on a more egalitarian economic design that takes into consideration the basic needs and dignity of all races.
We should teach our schoolchildren how to deconstruct such sense of racial superiority, through the teaching of not only tolerance but social egalitarianism – via peace education strategies. We will have a lot to gain for generations to come.
Since the buck stops with Najib the PM, here is M Bakri Musa's take on his performance so far:
Priority of Packaging Over Performance
Najib Razak’s First One Hundred Days
M. Bakri Musa July 19th, 2009
I would have expected that the successor to the incompetent and do-nothing Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi has minimal difficulty shining as the bar had been lowered substantially. Yet despite that, Prime Minister Najib Razak has failed to impress us in his first 100 days. His priority is packaging over performance.
Najib may be more poised, his voice less grating, and he stays awake in meetings (Tun Mahathir gave him top marks for that!), but in content and performance, he is of the same bottom-league kayu belukar quality as Abdullah, and far from the sturdy meranti quality we long yearn in our leaders. Abdullah lasted slightly over five years; it took time to see through his vacuity. Now sensitized, voters are less tolerant and less forgiving of incompetence. Najib will have an even briefer tenure.
Najib’s two signature and high profile initiatives in his first 100 days are his 1Malaysia.com.my website and his micromanagement of Perak’s legislative politics. The first illustrates Najib’s slick packaging; the second, the empty content and inept performance.
Najib’s website is professionally designed and maintained. It makes full use of the new media including Youtube, Facebook and Twitter.
Unfortunately its contents do not reflect the man. When I surf the websites of Tun Mahathir, Lim Kit Siang or Anwar Ibrahim, I know that what is written reflects the person, right down to the tone and style of writing.
I do not get that sense with 1malaysia.com. It is written as if from a third person perspective instead of being personal, the very reason for having a blog.
Of course I do not expect Najib Razak to write his own speeches; he has other important things to do like running the country. I do expect him however, to be on top of his speechwriters, and to do the final reading and make the necessary editorial changes so those speeches would truly represent and sound as if they emanated from him. He has to leave his imprint.
At the same time I expect his speech writers to be professional enough to study their subject’s favorite expressions and writing mannerisms, as well as style of speaking, so the final product would sound and look as if it had been from the man himself.
Not only is the style and tone of 1Malaysia.com divorced from Najib, so too is the content. When someone asked him what the 1Malaysia concept meant, Najib was unable to articulate it coherently. He was unable to relate his “1Malaysia” concept with his party’s pursuit for a ‘unity government,’ for example.
If his 1Malaysia website was meant to symbolize his “One Malaysia” vision, then it has failed miserably. Little wonder that his government had to launch a massive public relations exercise just to publicize his “1Malaysia” concept. Malaysians are still fuzzy about the content. I doubt very much that Najib himself understands what ‘1Malaysia’ means.
Far from being his guiding vision, Najib’s “1Malaysia” is nothing more than the slick concoction of his highly-paid pubic relations personnel. It is just another slogan, again the triumph of packaging over performance. Expect Najib’s “1Malaysia” to have the same as if not shorter shelf life than his predecessor’s Islam Hadhari.
As for Najib’s political and leadership skills, his handling of Perak’s legislature’s politics is illustrative. There was no shortage of superlatives or praises effusive enough to describe his ‘coup’ in engineering the fall of the Pakatan government. Today, barely a few months later, Najib is desperate to distance himself from that still evolving mess. He is not in the least (or no longer) interested in trumpeting his earlier ‘triumphant’ role.
If all the Perak mess did was to soil Najib’s already mediocre reputation, I could readily overlook his central role in it. Unfortunately we are not yet even near the end of the full ramifications of that crisis.
To date the episode has exposed the ineptness of the state civil service and the Royal Malaysian Police, as well as ensnared the sultan.Commentators are now not in the least shy in criticizing the sultan, and often in very harsh and rude terms. They are also throwing the sultans’ own words uttered when he was chief justice back at him.Sultans are not used to eating their own words. That was not all. That crisis also exposed what had been obvious to many and for so long, the thinness of talent in our political class. The sight of Speaker Sivasankar being literally dragged out of the Assembly Hall has now become and will forever remain the iconic image of the country’s political leadership.
That case (or cases, as apart from the contested Chief Minister’s post, there is the Speakership that is still to be litigated) is still winding its way through the court system. Already that series has exposed the glaring inadequacies and mediocre qualities of our judges. The exception was the initial trial judge, Justice Aziz Rahim, who had his written judgment delivered within days of his decision and whose legal arguments were the model of wisdom and scholarship.
As for the Appeals Court judges who reversed Justice Aziz Rahim’s decision, we would expect them to be a class above trial judges.Instead their written judgments when finally released weeks later, were not only tardy but did not address the pertinent issues raised by the trial judge. I would expect each of the three appellate judges to outdo each other in presenting a well reasoned and erudite judgment considering that this is not only a high profile case but one that would be cited frequently in future. It is also a case that is sure to be headed for the highest court. Obviously they were not eager and perhaps embarrassed of their judicial logic and decision.
Such are the caliber of our judges, Justice Aziz Rahim excepted. How on earth were they selected, let alone promoted? Their inadequacies would have remained hidden if not for the Perak political fiasco. At least on that count, we could thank Najib.
Elsewhere I wrote that Najib’s predecessor Abdullah Badawi served a useful function as “practice Prime Minister.” His sheer ineptness emboldened citizens to speak out and criticize him specifically and other leaders generally. Previously Malaysians, like most Asians, were a dutiful bunch, hesitant to criticize their leaders, mistaking that to be an expression of disloyalty. Abdullah Badawi, not intentionally of course, changed all that. He made Malaysians more assertive. At least on that point we could thank him.
Abdullah Badawi was our ‘practice’ Prime Minister. He gave us ample opportunities to practice developing and acquiring the courage to criticize our leaders. As we would say in the kampong, Abdullah’s role was as a main-main Prime Minister.
Abdullah was a ‘play-play’ Prime Minister; Najib serves a different function. He is our ‘sacrificial zinc anode’ Prime Minister. Boat owners are aware of the importance of the sacrificial anode. By installing that you preferentially divert the corroding effects of the sea water to that anode, thus protecting the other elements on your boat, like its props.When the anode is corroded you would simply replace it. It is much easier and considerably cheaper than having to replace your eroded props.
Najib Razak is our metaphorical sacrificial zinc anode. He attracts all that is evil, brings out all that is corrupt, and exposes all the incompetence. Then when the nation has been cleansed, its evils, corrosions and incompetence accreted upon Najib, we can dispose of him.
So far Najib has served well as our sacrificial anode. The important thing about this sacrificial anode is to know when to dispose it. Keep it too long and it would spread the corrosion to other vital parts of the boat. The next general election is as good a time to get rid of Najib Razak and the party he leads, time to dispose our national sacrificial anode.
It is sad but not inappropriate to use the sacrificial anode metaphor for Najib. Like many, I would have preferred that he be the skipper of our ship of state. However, if you do not have what it takes to be the skipper, and you do not even have the weight to be ballast, then I suppose being a sacrificial anode is still better than being dead weight.
Well if the government under Najib cannot change there is only one way forward...change the government! The following is from Steadyaku47, an ex-MCKK friend of the late Capt "The Ancient Mariner" Yusof:
The Rakyat will prevail.
They just do not get it. When you have made a mistake you simply put up your hands and say “ I am sorry. It is my fault” then you try to make amends for whatever it is that you made done wrong. If you are contrite enough you will be forgiven and the people you have wronged might accept you back again into their fold and all will be forgiven.
Then there is the other way of doing things. Deny, deny deny. Go on the offensive straight away and plead innocent of all charges. Bluff your way through with enough bluster, thunderbolt and lighting..very very frightening…. and maybe though all that bluff the person wronged might be persuaded to just go away and accept that life is just not fair.
One of life’s constant memory for me is of Kirk Douglas standing up to proclaim “I’m Spartacus!” to Crassus (who had promised that the others will not be punished if they identify Spartacus or his body) only to be upstaged by Tony Curtis and all the others standing up together to proclaim “I’m Spartacus ! because they were all prepared to sacrifice themselves so that Spartacus could live.
In standing up for our rights and our dignity in our own country we all need to be Spartacus! There are too many of us for PDRM to arrest. Too many of us for them to put under ISA. Too many of us for MACC to question. Too many of us to ignore. But it would still take great courage and determination for us to stand together against the might of Barisan. Even God, it can be argued, favors those with deep pockets and large armies.
These are not difficult days for us. In time to come we will look back and know that these were our greatest days for we are part of that movement that will give our children and our children’s children a secure and decent future in Malaysia.
There are many people on the side of Barisan. They are a coalition of the willing bounded together by their own selfish sense of purpose. Even the oppressed minority within UMNO (those UMNO leaders who are not yet rich) will always display a unwavering and unquestioning loyalty to UMNO in in the hope that they too can get their snout in the trough during feeding time (read General Election time or any by elections along the way !!!!).
So what can we do.
We cannot fight the Police on the streets. In a riot situation the Police are in their elements. They have the discipline the weapons and the technical know how to control and subdued any numbers from our ranks. But we can keep the anger within us and not forget Justice for All, Respect for the rights of each citizen and leaders who are accountable and responsible in the things that they do. We must keep the anger within us my friend so that our Country, our Life, our Justice System, our Government, our Police, our Leaders will become accountable to us. Work for us. Listen to us and will look after us.
We do not have long to wait. The next General Election will put the fear of God into Barisan/UMNO. There will be desertion in droves from within their ranks to join us. If they are rats fleeing a sinking ship, then it will be for us to do what we do to rats fleeing a sinking ship – cut the rope that ties the ship to the berth and let them drown. There will be desperation from within their ranks and attempts to negotiate alliances and establish life lines with Pakatan Rakyat when all else fail for them – we must resists the temptation to do so. No jumping frogs – but we do want an orderly and dignified march to our side.
Do not concern ourselves too much with PDRM, MACC or any Government Ministries – they will take instructions from their political Masters – and after the next GE – we will be their political masters.
So my friends our path is set. Our resolve must be strong and it is for our Pakatan Rakyat leaders to lead us to the next election and victory. Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang, Tuan Guru, Karpal Singh, Khalid...and there will be others...you are our hope. Do not let us down.
"Victory at all costs and in spite of all terrors; victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival."