For that’s what it is, right? Exerting to preserve one’s ethnicity as a matter of principle, and in the final analysis, our identity, is regarded as counterculture.
That’s what Huzir’s article was meant to achieve. The mocking of the principles held by the majority and its place, Huzir and his gang are appealing to some implicit authority contained in an attitude and way of being. The attitude and way of life exemplified by the individuals referred reverently to by Huzir. The scions of the upper class, the detached minority.
I have a problem with this thesis; which is, does the middle class like the one mentioned by Huzir or which he hopes will emerge in sizeable mass, sufficient to unleash revolutionary changes? Indeed, do they qualify as middle class? The individuals which he mentioned as paragons of the unheard voices of the middle class, which he opines can usher in a partial correction, are actually representatives of the very upper class of Malay society. What ‘s wrong with such disparate group? They are I am afraid, very narcissistic by nature believing that their achievements in life are the result of certain specific as opposed to universal values they adopted and practiced. I have no quarrel with the idea and proposition that values do shape our destiny, but I question the credibility of the assumption, that a narcissistic class of Malays can perform the revolutionary role of changing the Malays. Charon Mokhzani the son of the late economics professor Dato Mokhzani, may have declined to be interviewed by doing so politely- but his polite refusal may be an indication, that the bourgeois class with their own deep-seated sense of special values and bourgeois exclusivity , does not want to have anything to do with the greasy proletariat.
The social principles subscribed to by the majority of Malays, no doubt in part derived from their religion, culture and ethnicity are, to Huzir and his gang, a species of traditional morality. Huzir and his gang, mostly stage actors( I like Jo Kukathas by the way) believe in some kind of bourgeois morality.
What troubles me is, the morality being sold by Huzir does not have a source other than exquisite politeness which Huzir finds orgasmic and has no articulation. And that bourgeois morality that is not based on higher truth is a house built on sand.
What Huzir is trying to sell is that bourgeois values of family and work could operate in complete harmony with the politics of the majority, with a bohemian lifestyle, and regular visits to sado-masochism clubs and partaking in fine dining and wines. Only that he forgets, the setting on which the values are shaped is vastly different. One is the moneyed setting, the other, setting of deprivation.
It always seemed to me they believed in a morality that's generated by the capitalist system, or by freedom and opportunity but which, if not for the current politics, unfortunately perpetrated by an elitist Malay leadership, seem to be monopolized by the people mentioned by Huzir. They look back at their own family history, which involved arriving here and landing in a situation with lots of opportunities but demanding particular habits and attitudes. So they emphasized those habits and attitudes--family cohesion, education, hard work, ambition, persistence, etc.--and did wonderfully well. What worked for them could work for everyone. Or at least that seems to be the idea. The bourgeois morality holds that if people put themselves in a certain situation, with education, hard work, marriage and family, then all the necessary virtues arise more or less automatically out of that. No higher principle, whether God or C.S. Lewis's Tao of Living, is necessary.
But why do we get away feeling, such entreaties are just hollow words? So its not our personal attacks on Huzir that is the point here. The heart of our argument here, is the idea that his writings and validation by the named individuals represent. They wont hold water with the majority.
Finally, will our criticisms of Huzir’s line of thinking be taken as, in the words of one commentator in my blog, Sir Tong Kol, a caveat for the leadership to ensure that they ‘ The Malay leadership will have to keep making sense and not be distracted by sniping and third-grade ridicule dressed in high-browed prose’.? But then I also remember, the usual strategy by white middleclass