FROM 3RD WORLD TO FIRST WORLD MENTALITY.
The problem with UMNO is, its leadership has never expanded the raison detre for UMNO’s existence. To where are they marching? All they can say, they fought for Ketuanan Melayu. What is that? The same as the Hitler’s Aryan race?
UMNO has not gone beyond perpetrating the myth that racial eminence is obtained through might. Hence the unleashing of the keris is essentially symbolic of an assertion of the belief that one’s race is superior through might or physical aggression.
In the past, might was of course represented by military superiority which in turn was reflected through numerous battles. The western powers of old, Greece and Rome fought the eastern powers represented by Persia and the Turks for example. The battles were mostly won by the western powers of antiquity. Later on the march of western power was taken over by powers such as Holland, England, Spain and Portugal and France. These are the old world. These marched onwards to the east where they confronted and eventually demolished all the eastern powers.
It is easy to explain the continuous victories of western powers as being due to superior military technology. That is of course true. But what is even truer, is that the military technology and superiority are the product of ideals and values represented by the military technology. The march outwards by the western powers represented the march of ideas about freedom and eventually what became known as democracy. They confronted the ideas represented by eastern powers which were generally of despotism and autocracy.
History gives us the example of the Greek Battles against the Persian armies. Some lessons from the many battles can be drawn from a book Anabasis written by one Xenophon. The Greeks fought for and because of a sense of personal freedom, superior discipline, matchless weapons, egalitarian camaraderie, individual initiative. The way the Greeks fought reflected the values produced by consensual government, equality among the middling classes, politics that were free from being religion-ised freedom, or religion being politicised, individualism and rationalism.
What lessons can we learn from all these? Why is western military prowess so vastly superior than the eastern powers? Substitute successful for western and less successful for eastern. Why do the west win over the east? Or simply, winners and losers. Why do winners end up winning and losers keep on losing?
A western military power dreads going to war with another western power. Why? Because the share the same cultural heritage, they can guess each other’s strength correctly. They are motivated by the same cultural impulses. Throughout history, wars between western powers have caused more deaths than wars between western and eastern power. Alexander the Great killed more Europeans that the Persians killed Europeans. So why is it that the European ability to fight more superior that its eastern counterpart?
It seems that their ability to FIGHT and WIN, reflects larger social, economic, political and cultural practices that have little to do with war.
Conversely losers fought for the continuation of despotism, autocratic rule, anti self responsibility, indiscipline, in-egalitarian ideals.
That’s what the UMNO leadership represents. The concentration of power justified in the name of recently fabricated traditionalism. But what it actually means is acceptance of unchallenged right to control UMNO by those already in authority. Self discipline and personal initiative? UMNO represents a huge welfare organisation. Egalitarian camaraderie? UMNO leaders are there because of who they are and least likely of because what they can do.
So one can imagine the outcome of a clash between a party that represents despotic cultural ideals(repressive, mental bondage, dependence) with that which represents more democratic ideals.( egalitarian, freedom and self responsibility)
So one has to ask what has the struggle to preserve a despotic and oligarchic rule done for the Malays or for the world for that matter.?
Competition for leadership in UMNO is reduced to a struggle to gain control and monopoly over economic largesse. After that, it is followed by every attempt to create self perpetuity and concentration of power among the ruling oligarchy. To that, we ask, what kind of cultural ethos will that produce? The elite leadership will devise every possible way to keep outsiders away from their monopoly. Outsiders here mean, the UMNO leaders who have a different political outlook offering UMNO members a choice for more egalitarianism, democracy, personal responsibility, freedom of thought etc.
So what does this culture of political exclusion produce? Our leaders transferring power among themselves represents the cultural ethos of despotism, autocracy and closed door politics. To my mind such political in-breeding and incestuous politics can only lead to an emasculated political party. In the British monarchy for instance, prolonged in breeding has produced dim witted royals.
The solution? UMNO needs a new leadership that extols the cultural values that winners represent. More openness, egalitarianism, self responsibility, democracy and so forth.
A leadership that makes ITS BUSINESS to exhort the Malays to excel in every endeavours. The quest to affirm your KETUANAN translates into continuing efforts to work, do our best and make ourselves relevant to this world. How do we do that?
By being more capable, through education, through competitiveness, acquiring skills, by nurturing the cultural ethos that to work and to be clever are the answers to making oneself relevant to this world. Otherwise you are reduced to a mere cog in the wheel depending on your survival on the charitable instincts of others.
To insist on ketuanan Melayu should be a quest to acquire self mastery over one’s surroundings. This means one’s tireless and unending quest to free oneself from any vestiges of unfreedom.
To be poor is unfreedom. To be less competitive on account of language deficiency for example, is an unfreedom. To be tied up in mental bondage is unfreedom. To allow oneself to be dumb mutes by our leadership is also unfreedom.
A leadership that delivers us from all these unfreedoms- This is the kind of leadership, the majority of us UMNO members are waiting for.