Friday, July 17, 2009

A Few Good Men

Felicita Fedelis, in her letter to Malaysiakini published on 16 July, entitled "Harsh punishment for those stoking 'religious disharmony'", said:

"It was even more interesting to see the responses of police force and media to this issue. It was reported in The Star that the two journalists charged with 'causing disharmony' may face two to five years of jail sentence. Such 'seriousness' to the offence. I feel that if a different party had committed such an act to a different community, without question they would have been arrested under the ISA and yet we see a different reaction to this situation.

Most of the times, we do not really know what actions of the arrested persons could have threatened national security and yet in this case, where the offence committed by the Al-Islam reporters are clearly capable of causing racial or religious disharmony, the offenders are simply facing a possibility of two to five years in jail."

To try to understand the response of the government and the police so far, you have to look at how each of the offended community is expected to behave upon such violation visited upon them.

The Catholic and Christian attitude at best is a forgiving one. This has already been said by one of the Bishops. Of course they make known the violation that has happened. Even those who had made the police report, beyond that, wait for their religious elders to guide them towards closure. And most of us achieve closure by forgiving these two ignorant journos.

At worst, we make the police report and for a few, they may just hold a prayer of protest and even worse still would be an out-door candle light vigil to let known to the indignant and indifferent that this is unacceptable behaviour.

Now, the response by the Catholic and Christian community in no way undermines national security. I cannot see the use of the ISA in this instance. Honestly, I think the Catholics and Christian community have already by their response so far have shown them our disapproval and we can leave any further action to the divine.

Now, how would a violation of an equal magnitude visited upon a mosque or any Islamic rituals or practice be responded to? I don't even want to contemplate what it might turn out to be. But within the context of the laws that are there, you will see that this could trigger off a response that could very easily threaten national security within the definitions provided for under the Internal Security Act. Not that I support the ISA, but as for the various tools available to the authorities to bring calm and peace, the ISA might just be appropriate.

As to how the authorities will deal with this matter, there are several factors that will come to play.

1. The police report itself which is an expression of disapproval over a violation of self and which might be covered by some criminal act or other.

2. The attitude of the authorities of their responsibility to non-Muslims especially when the authority responsible for the outcome is insensitive towards the feelings of the non-Muslim.

3. The weight given to the justification of the actions of these two journos if this justification can be found within their own religious calling. An attempt has been made by a blogger, Mahaguru58, where he quotes one religious leader and he quotes the Quran. If you are inclined towards religious justifications, then really these two journos have done no wrong as the only thing that matter is if their actions have necessarily violated any Islamic edicts or fatwas. Since in the Catholic Eucharist it is only the bread that is consumed and it is neither dipped in wine nor is wine served, it would appear to some that their only concern for theses two journos was if they might have consumed the wine. And now that we know that wine was not consumed, and that they may have not, in their religious calling violated anything, they actually are heroes.

Now, put in that position, how then are the police going to act? There is no real harm done. The Christians have had their opportunity to put on display their very charitable Christian forgiving attitude. (Remember, Jesus said, "turn the other cheek"?) If the Christians feel that they need to let it be known that this is unacceptable behaviour...yes, go have that candle light vigil. But more importantly don't forget to pray for the tormentor and the "enemy"! Do we want reprieve? For what?

I would advocate that having made known that what was done was unacceptable behaviour, the Christian thing to do would be to withdraw. There is no need to further contribute towards retribution or punishing these two journos. That is for the laws to take their course and for human decency to prevail. If nothing happens you know if there was any decency to begin with. I do not think it is even necessary to contribute to convicting these two journos.

Maybe if it comes to trial, and if I was to stand as the prosecuting witness, the only thing I would do is to explain what the Eucharist means to me and the Christian community, then to look at these two journos in their eyes and tell them, it is not necessary for them to ask for forgiveness as it may just be beyond them to understand, but to tell them that we forgive them nevertheless. I really would not want these two to be punished for something where their own point of reference might be telling them that they may have pursued a religious calling and did no wrong. The Tom Cruise and Demi Moore movie, "A Few Good Men" comes to mind!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


If UMNO was perceived to be the right, PAS conservatives would have been between the far right and right. the 'Erdogans' on the other-hand would, in my reckoning be left of right with a dose of the far right.

Far right of course in the Malaysian context is hard to explain within the context of fight and left as liberally used in Western Democracies.

The far right in the Malaysian instance would appear to have surrendered its fate and future to what is perceived to be "righteous and holy". This is determined by whoever in PAS has gained for himself the honour of being recognised as the righteous. As it is, it would seem like for the moment Tok Nik Aziz might have a problem claiming exclusivity to that title. Though not spoken, surely PAS President, Hadi Awang as well as his deputy Nasharuddin, by their actions and words sound rather dismissive of Nik Aziz's claim.

That being said the results of Manek Urai are going to be telling on holding PAS together. Each side is going to blame the other. Certainly the far right in PAS is going to find comfort in believing and telling themselves that this is a punishment from God for parting from his ways by working closely with PKR and DAP. The "sacrifices" made to accommodate PKR and DAP are unacceptable to God!!

The "Erdogans" can alternatively support their position by saying that the people have spoken. When you want to have "unity talks" with UMNO then what you are saying is you want to equalise things with UMNO. Then what difference does that make for the people, whether they vote PAS or UMNO? People of Manek Urai probably don't see the non-Malays as a factor or perceived enemies or competitors for their prosperity.

I reckon the Manek Urai results are going to drive the wedge further dividing the two clearly distinct wings in PAS. Any attempts to bring these two wings together will probably only result in a very damaging fight that might bring out the extremes to clash in a way no one has pondered. To keep quiet will only eat away at them and not achieve for PAS any clear goals for themselves.

Managing the fall out is whats' going to make PAS make or break. Is Nik Aziz the recommended arbiter? I don't think he is. He has already clearly stated his position as to where he is. I wonder who!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Malaysian Education-All Screwd Up Until Truth is Acknowledged

This is what I posted in Farish Noor's posting on Linguistic Nationalism and the Realities of the Global Age We Live In


You said, "advocates of mother-tongue education," and then I was looking forward to reading you demolish these so called advocates. But you did not.

It would seem like when dealing with language, especially, mother tongue, what we all fail to see is the hypocrisy that drives the argument. Even more the lie told by every advocate of mother tongue education as well as those who submit to these advocates and seemingly endorse their argument.

And how come in this sense it is only Malay, Tamil and Chinese that are considered mother tongue when even Mahathir's father would have told you that Tamil was not his mother tongue and yet Mahathir never for once tried to include the teaching in Malayalam for those Malayalee Malaysians? And amongst them are Hindus, Christians as well as Muslims and possibly in almost equal numbers. And what about the Kadazans, Muruts and Ibans? Surely theirs is not Malay as taught in our schools? I forgot, even the Kelantanese would object if one were to suggest that Bahasa Malaysia was their mother tongue. And if I am not mistaken Khir Toyo's mother tongue is Javanese!!

But when an MCA or MIC man was to talk in terms of protecting his mother tongue, somehow that call would appear to sound so sacred that both bureaucrats as well as politicians find themselves unable to dismiss the claim or to tell him to shut up.

Fact is, only in Tamil Nadu in India is Tamil spoken. And even then if I were to go back to the rural village that my ancestors come from the only education I can enroll in at the school nearest to me would be in an English school. Also, right now, all over Tamil Nadu, even the taxi driver would tell you that his kids study in an English School. But, mind you, if the government of India was to force Hindi Education, they'd fail miserably. Many decades ago Tamil Nadu alone stood aloof from the rest of India's transformation to Hindi. and you will see that traveling by train when you cross into Tamil Nadu you suddenly don't see any more signboards in Hindi. It will be English and Tamil.

Anyway, coming back to Malaysia, that same MCA guy who "fights" for vernacular education probably already has his kids in an International school or maybe in some Western country studying in English anyway. And so are the kids of most of our UMNO leaders I would presume.

No sir, it is not for the preservation of language and culture that our race based political leaders, and this includes our Opposition leaders as well, advocate Vernacular schools. Its basically a political icon. Somehow it is supposed to be a reflection of your commitment to your constituents. How can you be a leader of a Chinese or Indian Political party if the only things closest to identifying with your own race is language? As for culture it is shocking for me to see the Chinese leaders trying to suggest that a lot of what they do, wear and eat is Chinese culture. For heaven's sake, Bak Kut Teh, Laksa and Yee Sang are not Chinese as from China. Only Malaysian and Singaporean Chinese know what these are.

And all you need to do to change the minds of all these guys is just to give them a one way ticket to any western country and enough money for them to live a comfortable life, suddenly you will see all their "love" for language and culture go out the window! Mind you amongst immigrant communities in Australia and New Zealand the Malaysian Chinese will refuse to be identified as Chinese lest they be thought of as having come from mainland China. In Malaysia you hardly hear anyone referring to "mainland" China. In Australian and New Zealand Malaysian Chinese most definitely make that distinction. Indeed many would rather that they and their children are referred to as Malaysian. I just got affirmation of that from my daughter!!

But when the political powers shove a language that certainly does not match up to the languages of these other ancient cultures because they can, and also possibly for showing who is boss, and maybe, as a way to undermine any lingual advantage in any other language (well this is how many of us saw it when the changes were introduced in the 1970s), then you can imagine that the new lingual putsch will only be accepted under protest. And very soon they also realised that, like the tortoise does with its shell, going under the cover of "mother tongue" the people found refuge from the thrust of the might of the Malay politicians. And politicians in MCA and MIC found themselves a platform from which they could "lead" their flock.

But despite this, until the early 1980s I would not be too far wrong to say that the people did not make a quick switch. Vernacular schools continued on their downward spiral in admissions. But very soon things started changing. The demographics of the teachers being hired changed. When I was in school, a mission school, the only Malay teachers were the language teachers. You never had Malays teaching the sciences, maths, geography or history or for that matter PE. But this should not have mattered. I have myself hired Malays to teach at post secondary level and they did just as good a job.

Syllabuses started changing. I was talking to a 23 year old the other day and she told me that in Form 2 History, the entire year was spent on studying Islamic History. And of course when the teachers are Malays, there is the added spicing of the aura and awe!

We all started hearing of how after Standard 5 or 6 reasonably good Malay students were taken away to boarding schools. In a mixed classroom the teacher talks about scholarships and residential schools, exciting all the kids. but when the application forms were given out the Chinese and Indian kids saw to their disappointment that they were missed out. And then in Standard 3 or 4 when the Muslim kids started attending agama classes all of a sudden the Chinese and Indian kids find out that their Malay friends would avoid them. And very often they would also tell that it was their Uztaz who would have advised them so.

Then of course you had the uncertainty of gaining tertiary education within Malaysia which saw many of the non-Malays turning to private sector education and qualifications. And then the foreign tertiary institutions got wind of the Senior Middle 3 qualifications which 60 Chinese Private School students were gaining which never got recognised in Malaysia. But in the 1980s, it probably started with their recognition by Professional Institutes in the UK, and soon you could use that for University in foreign countries. Until then these Chinese School students could only go to Hong Kong and to Taiwan. Today you hardly hear of any, becaue they all go off to America and the UK or Australia.

With that opening, that is the ability to continue with further education,Chinese schools prospered. Tamil schools still floundered. But today, I see that Tamil schools in the city rejuvenated and overflowing in admissions. What gives?


I would like to suggest that the education dished out by the National School system as managed and administered by the Ministry of Education has been rejected. Not only that, given the opportunity, they all want to run away from the curriculum of the MOE and the influence of the MOE and the the teaching pool of the MOE. When my friends who are Chinese but English speaking and who cannot read or write Chinese, and every way very much western in their thinking and orientation send their kids to a Chinese School knowing they will not receive any help home, that shows what they think. They all walk.

Until and unless everyone, o.k. anyone from amongst the politicians, BN or opposition, is willing to say it as it is, we will always keep missing the turn we have to take. We will never make the correct decision as the politicians on both sides of the house dare not make the statement that needs to be made lest they be branded betrayers of their own race. That, no politician in Malaysia is brave enough to make. Sorry to say, I just cannot see us getting out of this cess pool that we are in.

Unfortunately we have NGOs for everything. Saving the trees, the environment, religion, the sick, freedom, police, but can anyone direct me to an NGO that is working towards Education for the future of our children in Malaysia?

Thursday, July 09, 2009


"Najib said that Malaysians must stop tolerating and begin accepting each other because only through acceptance can the nation prosper and become developed.

“We must begin to accept and not only tolerate because tolerance is a concept of not wholeheartedly accepting or grudgingly accepting. Acceptance is a better concept and we must begin to accept that we are a plural and multi racial country,” he said.


And I thougt I will never ever hear that coming from any UMNO member, let alone leader. Even the so called Pak Lah, our former Prime Minister could only utter that rubbish abot tolerating. I recall writing about it. Telling him stop tolerating me, because I too cannot tolerate you. But accept me as I accept you.

With this statement, is Najib putting a nail to the head of "ketuanan Melayu"? After all if you advocate "ketuanan Melayu" there is no need to accept. You only need to tolerate to maintain the peace. You don't need to tolerate even if you don't like it.

The crazy thing was, everytime these political leaders uttered that word tolerate and urging their constituents to tolerate the other races or the other cultures they did not even bother to think about the ramifications of such attitudes. Did they not think that it was that kind of thinking that probably gave birth to the "ketuanan Melayu" concept itself?

I can't fault the Malay leaders alone for uttering this most horrible word. I have even seen MCA leaders use it. Is that why there is this chavunistic attitude amongst the MCA types that we often see them coming off very patronising in their ways?

Well, Najib is certainly bringing down a lot of walls. I have said it before, and I will say it again. I don't support him. But he is captain of the ship that we are all aboard in. We need to get to shore. Like him or hate him he is controlling the rudder. Whether or not he succeeds very much depends on the social order and the assumptions about one another that has to be dealt with. Do we replace tolerance with acceptance? Do we replace suspicion with trust? Do we replace bias with indifference?

Well Najib, as much as I disagree with the latest change in the education policy over the use of English in the teaching of Maths and Scence, I think it is within your bearings to see that the solution to the education quagmire that we are in is not to be found within the political arena. Whats good for the country is not necessarily what is good for the politicians. It takes a brave effort to recognise and acknowledge the failure of the last 30 odd years of educational reform. It needs you, Najib, to come out to say what needs to be said. It is not like as if the people cherish Chinese or Tamil education. The people have rejected the Natioal Education that is rendered by the Ministry of Education. Also acknowledge, the policy to terminate the system that was in place in the 1960s was tainted by a thinking that by these means those seen to be advantaged would be denied that advantage as they would be "brought down" by forcing upon them Bahasa Malaysia, like as if this was all that was needed. Well, it would now seem like our children have all mastered the language and it is no more a barrier to educational excellence. It is just plain rejection of what the Ministry of Education is dishing out through its ministrations.

I have a possible way out of this. Let communities who can. Communities who have the will. Communities who meet certain crieteria to take on the running of the schools. By communities I do not mean race based. It should be other than race based. It could be local communities coming together. It could be the Mission schools getting back to what they used to do, minus the proselytising. Lets do something like that first

Anyway, Najib, for what it is worth, I want to congratulate you for introducing the change from tolerate to accept. I just hope this concept is not over the heads of our political leaders.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Malays are not ready for PM Najib’s liberalisation policies

The Malays are not ready for PM Najib’s liberalisation policies

Well, that is how Bigdog heads off his post. And why does he believe so? Well, Mahathir too says so.

Well, I guess if you are one of the beneficiaries of UMNO's policies than of course you got to be weary about anything that undermines the assumptions upon which those policies are sustained. I can understand that Mahathir is forever on the watch for anyone who might call his lie and I can understand why he would not want liberalisation of the kind Najib appears to be introducing because it may soon actually begin to reveal to the Malays that they may have been living a lie after all from Merdeka and more so since the early 1970s.

It is not so UMNO. After all there are many wannabes in UMNO who have not gained anything at all. But there are the lot of the hangers on whose entire being is sustained on the perpetuation of that myth about the Malays. and if there are any successful Malays they have to be able to show their success to UMNO's intervention in their lives.

How wrong and how false. No sir. Its no compliment to all the Malays I have come across. Certainly not true of the honest taxi driver or the honest businessman who has made it thanks to his own honesty and acumen. Certainly it is not true of he many medical specialists that many of us have referred to. Yes, me too, for a repiratory problem that I had I saw a specialist. A Malay specialist. And when my Cardiologist friend from Sweden needed to see such a doctor for his son's ailment, I took him there too. to this Malay specialist. And my Swedish friend whose wife is a paedetrician, came out praising him.

Well, the rest below is what I commented in Bigdog's posting! I don't normally do this, but I have copy pasted from that post here because if it is cleverly edited I can be made to sound rather racist. So, I might as well have it posted here as well in my blog which they will not be able to do anything about. Woof!! woof!!:

This comment posted in Bigdog's blog.

Yes! I agree with you the Malays will never be ready for the kind of liberalization that Najib appears to have unleashed on the Malays. This is certainly going to mean the little that they have come out of the shell, has gone to waste as they will now all recede right back to where they feel very safe. Just like tortoises and all those shell fish.

Yes the Malays have got to be repeatedly told that they need the handicap that they possess otherwise the non-Malays like this writer will only take easy advantage of them. It is just not possible for the Malays to move up life's social and economic ladder without all that they have had over the last 51 years!

The Malays have to ask, what were they before Merdeka. Better still, what were they before 1970? Yes, they were Javanese, Sumatrans, Bugis, Minagkabaus, Tamils, Malayalees, Siamese, Yunanites, Kelatanese, Patanese and what have you.

Yes, it was the constitution that brings them all together as one. Its not because they are of any common genetic stock. No sir. Its not biological. It is a political notion and an idea. And the Malays owe it to this idea and they owe their existence and their privileges and handicaps to that idea. If it had been biological, then Malays would have had wings, and they'd have bionic limbs and eyes and ears and they'd all be singing and dancing like Michael Jackson as wished so for them by UMNO!!

Yes, that is what UMNO would like you all to think. UMNO would like all Malays to think and to believe that they are indeed handicapped. That it is UMNO that equalises for them the unfair advantage that the others are supposed to have because of some God manufactured distortion that just happened to them.

Yes, that is what UMNO assumes when making its position known. It is the position that UMNO takes of its flock. It is the position that UMNO sees as the only justification for its existence.

This is the position and the assumption that has to exist in order to validate Mahathir and his thinking and his policies. Remove these assumptions about Malays and everyone would see Mahathir's lie. Mahathir himself will see how valueless he really was over his 22 years as the premier. Does that explain for you why Mahathir is aghast about this liberalisation of Najib's?

Not too long ago I gave Mahathir till the year end before he begins demonising Najib like he did Badawi. It now looks like at least Badawi had more than a 100 day honeymoon before he saw Mahathir's venom. Can someone tell the old man to just go to hell?

Hey, I am not anti-Malay. I am more sympathetic really. Sympathetic because there are a lot of them out there who actually believes the bullshit that UMNO espouses to them about them. I cannot believe any of the attributes that arise out of the assumptions about Malays apply to people like the host of this blog or Rocky or any number of my Malay friends whose personality, and whose individuality I can only envy and be proud that they would count me as a friend.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Khairy!! The Oxford Education Is Wasted On You

Khairy, I've been hearing you keep saying struggle of the Malays. O.k. maybe I am dumb. But can you explain to me in not so many words, what that struggle is? After that, can you then tell me how different that struggle is from the struggle of the Chinese or the Indians or the Ibans and the Kadazans or the Sikhs and the Bidayuhs or the Orang Asli in the Peninsula?

Honestly I am done with the Malay struggle. Give me one good reason why anyone should give way to the so called Malay struggle that you talk about?

Maybe you don't know this. But you and your Malay struggle agenda is what keeps Malays stuck in such low self esteem. They don't need enemies from amongst the other races. Their biggest enemies are you, Khairy, and UMNO itself. You keep reminding them that they are constantly in a state of struggle. Handicapped. Of diminished capacity.

Malays need to be all of that so that you, Khairy, and the rest of the UMNO leaders can justify your presence and your dominion over the Malays. It is no use to UMNO if the Malays overcome whatever it is their struggle is as then UMNO would not be prepared for the new realities. Can you imagine UMNO ruling over the likes of its own leaders? Not the Khir Toyo kind whose ill gotten gains that he has been able to accumulate since he became Menteri Besar of Selangor can only be enjoyed provided he remains true to UMNO.

If really there is such a thing as a Malay struggle, why is it that so many reject it? If the struggle referred to has any traction at all should it not be identified with by all Malays? Should not all Malays want to be with UMNO? I know that if I am in a struggle, I would reach out to the hand of even an enemy to get out of that struggle. Yet by the day more and more Malays are moving away from the hand extended to them by UMNO.

Maybe many Malays have discovered that this struggle is just a word applied to whatever it is your demons are. Sure I too can identify with struggle if you were to say that until I have the next million I am in a state of struggle. Sounds no different from when you are sitting through a sermon and the preacher man says we are all sinners. Sure, I am, but I always think the guy next to me is probably a greater sinner than me!!

Finally it would seem like, as Najib has been quoted as having said, he is the biggest UMNO war lord and so he can, the war lords in UMNO have been silenced into acceding to the policy changes recently announced by Najib. It probably required the biggest war lord to do this maybe.

It used to be that when a non-Malay based company wished to have itself listed on Bursa Malaysia they would first have to have a 30% Bumiputra shareholding. And even then not any Bumiputra. It had to be an approved Bumiputra. It simply meant that if you had gotten your favourite Bumiputra teacher as your 30% shareholder and he also happens to be either a nobody or a member of PAS, he could be invalidated. 15 years ago many founders of companies who had their companies listed would have had the inenviable task of having to go Bumiputra shopping! Yes, you see one Datuk after another and one Tan Sri after another. Nearly all of them, especially if they were a former civil servant or an official of a GLC, without fail will tell you why the shares have to be sold to them at a discount. Of course before their commitment they will need to ask their "saudara". Anwar's name was mentioned and so was Mahathir's. Whether real or not was another matter altogether. And of course runners and political secretaries and os on had to be taken care of. And of course when the Datuks and Tan Sris say this you just get so awed. the worse are the slime balls who tell you that if the listing application fails, you will be required to buy back the shares from them. Honestly talking to them they would have seemed so pathetic. But sure they put on this air of importance and grandeur even. I guess, I now know where it comes from. UMNO of course. Maybe that is why UMNO leaders today hate, more than the Chinese and the opposition party members, Malay businessmen who are their own men and who would not give a toss to UMNO!

As fellow human beings I feel sorry for the Malays who have bought into UMNO's propaganda. It only confirms for them that they are lesser human beings needing the crutches proffered by UMNO. They start life feeling handicapped. Many more lose life's battles even before they can even start as they are told that they deserve those handicaps. And whether you like it or not handicaps don't and cannot stand on their own. A handicap is against or over another person, choice or option. Like in a race you can have a handicap when you start ahead of the others. And you accept that handicap and are pleased about it only because you accept the fact that you deserve it. And you deserve it because you think that is the only way you have an even chance against your "antagonist." And you accept it because you think lesser of yourself and not an equal. This is a lie and UMNO leaders know it. But it is a useful lie as it gets for them the support they need to maintain their power and access to all that wealth.