Copyright Notice

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the author, at the address below.

Sakmongkol ak 47

ariff.sabri@gmail.com

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Lets talk about 1Malaysia

Let's us talk about OneMalaysia. Without a comprehensive exposition of what it means, save for maybe its launching with much fanfare and its 'reduction' into a song by the heart-warming and assuring voice of singer Roy, it is up to us to translate it.

Then there is a possibility of 1001 interpretations. Certainly it is not this kind of let a thousand flowers bloom scenario that the PM wishes to see. Our personalised interpretations must be based on certain principles. Otherwise, that concept is not operational and therefore meaningless.

There must be a starting point though. The first must be a preparedness to disown all these combustible ethnic approach and ethnic centric way of looking at things. It all comes back to a question of balance. It's a balance between the valid emotional links of the Malays against the equally legitimate attachment of hopes by non Malays for a COMMON FUTURE. It's a balance grounded on awareness that we are all in this together or we are not in at all.

In order to make this awareness crystallise in the hearts and minds of the rakyat, the political and other leaders of the community must make this awareness into a mass awareness. The awareness of a common future grounded on sense of balance mustn't be allowed to become a luxury playable only among the exclusive players. It mustn't be the subject or object of conversations at dinner or cocktail parties, among the heterogeneous elite merrymaking at Bukit Tunku or at watering holes in Bangsar alone.

Otherwise as the young politician who spoke at The Bankers Club has rightly pointed out, there will be two understood meanings about what 1Malaysia is all about. One- that as understood by the cafe latte crowd and smoked salmon society, and two- that understood by the masses. The one misunderstood by the masses, is grounded on zero sum game mentality. It is one where one society is impoverished because the other gains. The irony is this 'misunderstanding' is allowed to grow unabated because leaders from BOTH DIVIDES allowed it to grow because they want to use it as political capital.

An approach to politics that preaches inclusivity and makes it a virtue to be practised by all is necessary. The affirmation of this approach does not entertain the shenanigans of any hawkish elements within all and any groups. The leadership of all groups must stay vigilant to overwhelm any attempts to undermining our common resolve to forge a common future. Not to just take note, but to overwhelm suggests a proactive stance. Anyone speaking or suggesting racial pogroms must be dealt with decisively. Community leaders must not countenance and sometimes even abet socially incendiary behaviour.

The Prime Minister must realise that the greatest threat to his vision of 1Malaysia comes from extremist elements within his own circle. That same qualification must be made of the leadership of opposition parties. They mustn't countenance or keep quiet over their own extremism.

The recent publication of the article by Mohd Nor Azam typifies the ambivalent behaviour of this leadership. Asking Malays to do more than just making reports and shouts means what? That we all take to streets, brandish our krises and kill any non Malay in sight? The opposition leadership are also guilty in the sense of not making awareness that a desirable common future demands an ability to balance things must be understood by many. Hence the bigoted opinion of one Noor Azam is met with pretentious horror-struck dismay while all the while they themselves have been feeding their mass followers, disinformation and outright duplicity.

The young politician who spoke at the Bankers Club worried that

Malaysia will never achieve its potential without all elements working in tandem; that we cannot be all we can be without all of us. The only future that we can have, the only future that will ensure that this ideal that is Malaysia survives, is one in which we value each and every one of us. It's a Malaysia where no group is left behind, where meritocracy is as important as social justice and compassion, where the poor and the rich are not identified by certain ethnic groups. It is a Malaysia where we if one of us falls, all of us picks him up. This is the only way we're going to make this ideal work.

It would be a grave mistake however if we assume that 1Malaysia will trickle down like the supply side economists expect. The PM mustn't behave like someone making an offer believing acceptance is competed once the letter is posted. The PM has only posted the letter of 1Malaysia when he launched it, had songs serenading it. It has not been accepted until the letter reaches its intended recipient- the rakyat.

Making acceptance a reality requires a particular brand of leadership. We require leaders who speak the language of moderation and reason to cut across ethnic boundaries. We require dynamic leaders serving as vehicles for the message to take hold. We want a leadership which speaks the language of moderation which can confront the many forces that pull our country in sometimes differing directions and hold them all together to produce Malaysia's 'Third Way', instead of one who stubbornly ignores realities that may contradict his ideology, singing away to his choir.

Our hopes of a common future rest more and more on the shoulders of the younger generation. By and large this generation wants a more progressive Malaysia, but it is still not completely disengaged from cultural and communal backgrounds or sensitivities, either. These ironies are visible in simple, everyday observations. The same voices who call for an end to racial profiling in the name of national unity aren't ready to let go of vernacular schools that teach students in their mother tongues instead of the national language.

Clearly this is not the voice of moderation and reason to exploit these paradoxes to create instability by engaging in an old exclusivist politics to gain mileage on the cheap. Instead, moderates need to argue that progress must happen within the hardened realities of today, and not through a juggernaut of change shoved down Malaysians' throats, workable or not. True and positive change cannot just serve the interests of some, it must work for all.

Why is it much simpler to score political points operating from a very partisan and 'clear 'side? For example, standing up against the establishment and shouting revolution or
"Reformasi" isn't the most difficult position to take in Malaysian politics. It is the voice of reason and moderation that have toughest, partly because if you don't play it right, you may end up pleasing nobody.

The answer to this paradox is what Milton Friedman wrote a long time ago and which I am now writing with some modifications:-

Bigoted views "require only emotion and self praise- easy to come by and satisfying as well. On the other hand to understand why reason and moderation can offer a way out " requires analysis and thought, subordinating the emotions to the rational faculty. The argument extolling racial supremacy for example is simple if false; it is an immediate emotional argument. The argument for reason and moderation is subtle and sophisticated; it is an indirect rational argument. And the emotional faculties are more highly developed in most men than the rational, paradoxically or especially even in those who regard themselves as intellectuals.

Because of that, as pointed out by the young politician who spoke at the Bankers Club,

our country demands for leaders to make that sacrifice; it is hungry for those who can step up to the plate and advocate change, whilst firmly placing it on a continuum of past Malaysian struggles – appreciating and internalising the contributions of our past leaders; from the fight for Independence by Tunku Abdul Rahman to Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's bold steps towards greater democratic space. Granted, these men, and the decisions they made weren't perfect, but today calls for leaders who understand that whilst change
is necessary, it does not entail a rupture from the past – ripping away at the social fabric, sensitivities, institutions and the recipe that has served us relatively well for 50-odd years.

Now, if we are intellectually honest, can we simply sweep such thinking under the carpet?

18 comments:

Anonymous,  5 August 2009 at 10:46  


The one misunderstood by the masses, is grounded on zero sum game mentality. It is one where one society is impoverished because the other gains. The irony is this 'misunderstanding' is allowed to grow unabated because leaders from BOTH DIVIDES allowed it to grow because they want to use it as political capital


Imagine if for example, Peabody Software launches a new Operating System called Peabody Visteon with much fanfare. The CEO of Peabody makes it the focus point of his new leadership, touting Visteon to all and making sure everybody pays lip service to the concept of Visteon.

And for a while, people buy into it. However very soon Visteon is proven to be nothing more than a concept, with many defects and crashes.

How will the market react to the next ad they see on Visteon. Existing customers who call their helpline have to wait ages to hear a human on the other side, get no offer of technical advice and frequently hang up. How will this segment react to the next Visteon commercial?

Anonymous,  5 August 2009 at 11:20  

Dato,

How do one reconcile Muhyiddin’s rhetoric;

“It is the media’s right to do so, maybe because other parties have started challenging Malay supremacy, Malay rights, Malay rulers, and things that have already been enshrined in the Constitution, definitely the various statements made by those parties cannot be forgotten, and they are more dangerous, the media only responded to the situation."

against yr take of;

‘The leadership of all groups must stay vigilant to overwhelm any attempts to undermining our common resolve to forge a common future. Not to just take note, but to overwhelm suggests a proactive stance. Anyone speaking or suggesting racial pogroms must be dealt with decisively.’

More so a 'dumb' reply by the DPM!!!

& yet the PM has been surprisingly silence based on yr take of;

‘They mustn't countenance or keep quiet over their own extremism.’

Leadership? Or more likely sowing the seed for the next Machiavellian moves?

Everyone can see that if DPM’s word is taken & follow literately & with the silent consent of the PM, this spark can be easily fanned & to become a bonfire!

Shadows of operasi lalang, anyone??? Is the student well-taught???

BTW, taken out of context wrt the young intellect’s speech - ‘..vernacular schools that teach students in their mother tongues instead of the national language’ is a VERY swapping statement.

Do vernacular schools REALLY teaching mother tongues instead of the national language??? That statement SIMPLY implies that ONLY mother tongue is used for teaching in vernacular schools!!!! How wrong can that be!! & there r enough morons, educated one for that matter, do buy into THAT statement wholeheartedly!

How true – ‘progress must happen within the hardened realities of today, and not through a juggernaut of change shoved down Malaysians' throats, workable or not.’ Just sincerely hope that the speaker is as intellectually honest as he has spoken.

Too many wayang kulit - just to entice the on-lookers & confuse yr enemies???

Indeed, ‘Malaysia's 'Third Way', instead of one who stubbornly ignores realities that may contradict his ideology, singing away to his choir.

Dato, that’s the heart of the matter!!!!!

anomie

Anonymous,  5 August 2009 at 11:45  

Dato

Thank you for the brave words that advocate balance. I say "brave' because we are all afraid call a spade a spade because we dont want to step on ethnic toes! Its time to cast away our ethnicities and embrace only our 1Malaysia new clothing. But the dress must be made to fit and our political tailors must cut the cloth to fit the person, is, the new 1Malaysian. You have defined the issues succinctly and Icant add more to it.

Anonymous,  5 August 2009 at 23:28  

Ultra conservatives will drag Najib down the same way they did with Pak Lah. 1Malaysia, but see what DPM is saying?

At east KJ has some idea.

Anonymous,  6 August 2009 at 00:11  

i am still trying to understand 1 malaysia...

i hv always thot there was never a doubt about that..for most people we have lived and worked with all races.We even share the sames buses,pays instalments to the same finance company and drink the same tehtarik..

And,seriously we are too busy trying to survive to worry about wat benefits are showered to some people..we are not beneficiaries for any of that for last 30 years

and similarly..rakyat di dahulukan>>who else if not the rakyat?..do we in the past gv preference for foreigners?animals?..or rakyat is a generic term for the non ruling class or the elite?

still confused but praying that someone will get it right and we will hv more money in our pockets

msleepyhead,  6 August 2009 at 09:33  

Dato Sak,

The DPM has made it known through the reversal of teaching of Maths and Science in English, that the benchmark for any decision will be based on the 'slowest/lowest' performer. In this case, rural students, but it can also be broadly applied to almost everything else in the country.

It's not so different from a three-legged race - how fast the two person advances depends on the slower one. So, I really like the line 'It is a Malaysia where we if one of us falls, all of us picks him up. This is the only way we're going to make this ideal work.'

One of the ways things will change here is when the new generation takes over, the changing of guards, when Generation X takes over from the TunM tutored/mentored ones.

Anonymous,  6 August 2009 at 13:44  

Exports down 20 plus %..FDIs only about 10% of last year's to date..

Why are we focusing on 1Malaysia?

Why do we have 1Malaysia campaigns,songs,advertorials,makan2 and WORSE>>a GLC ..PLUS actually took a full page advert linked to 1Malaysia ?????
Don't anybody knows that all these cost money?Money that can be better used to provide longer term benefits...

The only sane voice is Husni..who hv the courage to say that tax collection is lower thus the govt will work on reducing OPEX..anyone with any sense would have noted that OPEX ballooned under Badawi's regime.

There is no clear vision and direction..its all overhyped branding exercises.

Lets talk hard numbers.

KC Leong,  6 August 2009 at 14:03  

anomie (05 August 2009 11:20), WHY you suddenly go ballistic in defense of vernacular schools?

What is wrong with the young man's statement? Apart from BM and English as language subjects, the other lessons are thought in what language? Bahasa Malaysia? English?

NO. It is Mandarin or Tamil.

So what again was your problem? Isn't that THE truth? Everything taught in Mandarin or Tamil and NOT BM?

Folks, how can we have 1 Malaysia when we still have people like this anomie here who JUMPS and go berzerk whenever issues "dear" to his/her race-centric heart gets mentioned in our quest to unravel the intricacies of Najib's 1 Malaysia?

And pls tell us, WHY we still need Mandarin and Tamil schools 52 years after Merdeka?

Like this susahlah!

Anonymous,  6 August 2009 at 14:14  

mssleepyhead, what about the Lim Kit Siang tutored/mentored ones?


Raju

ben,  6 August 2009 at 17:21  

My version of 1Malaysia is our most talented movie producer, Yasmin Ahmad, and not politician's. Unfortunately, we'll never get to see more of her 1Malaysia creation.

Watch Yasmin Ahmad, the Storyteller

Anonymous,  6 August 2009 at 18:33  

Dato,

Allow me this & for one reply only.

KC Leong,

‘WHY you suddenly go ballistic’ should be applied on u!

Read my takes & re-read yrs – aint u repeat what I said????

Artists like to look into the mirror – as superficial representation is one of the main play element.

Writers should reflect twice what they wrote, before pushing the print button!!

Need a mirror?

Shut down the computer & u have a black mirror in front of u! Need some external light for detail, too????

Talk about the Huhhaha & the Wakakak crowd…..

anomie

Anonymous,  6 August 2009 at 20:05  

How can we think as one when MACC is firing cannons on few thousands ringgit and water pistols at the billion dollar cases?And the public info channels are so tuned towards dividing the country...It just emphasize the US and THEM mentality.
Latest episodes includes the kelantan oil royalties,the TIA flipflop,the buahpala dagger in the back,the public transport hikes n toll discounts(punish the poor to help the rich)..Words never maketh the man.And better to spend money on a proper tourism website then PM's wife.Rebranding is not abt the emperors new clothes...

msleepyhead,  7 August 2009 at 09:04  

Dear Raju,

Thanks for pointing that one out.

mssleepyhead, what about the Lim Kit Siang tutored/mentored ones?

When the whole gang of ancient politicians go, then there will hopefully be a change.

TunM was specifically mentioned because BN has been on the seat of power all this time and will most likely still do so in the next GE, what with PR's implosion.

LKS will not matter in the equation unless they make it to Putrajaya but then there's PKR and PAS to hold them back.

TunM has been great and will always be remembered for his contributions no doubt, but he comes from a different era together with the whole baggage, KJ and the likes, in terms of youth alone, on the other hand is the way forward on both sides of the fence.

KC Leong,  7 August 2009 at 11:33  

Y.Bhg. Dato',

I'm disappointed in your censorship of my rebuttal to "Anomie."

How to have a two way discourse like this?

How to have 1 Malaysia when we cannot even have a 1-on-1 dialogue?


文学家
Leong Kok Chuan
Sg Ramal, Sel.

sakmongkol AK47 7 August 2009 at 21:20  

KC Leong,

my apologies. i wanted to avoid ceaseless and emotional arguments. pls feel free to send in yr rebuttal. keep your debates civil please.
regards/sakmongkol

Navi 8 August 2009 at 11:59  

he first must be a preparedness to disown all these combustible ethnic approach and ethnic centric way of looking at things. It all comes back to a question of balance. It's a balance between the valid emotional links of the Malays against the equally legitimate attachment of hopes by non Malays for a COMMON FUTURE. It's a balance grounded on awareness that we are all in this together or we are not in at all.

Spot on Dato'. What is it that we want for the future of our nation that should matter foremost. To achieve this balance requires the putting aside of individual aspirations and working towards a common goal. We have seen the nation regress economically and in moral, spiritual and social values.
Until and unless those who walk the corridors of power and those who voraciously oppose for the sake of opposing, speak out to the masses on the need to inculcate these values,and the need to LIVE together, rather than divided by race and religion, we will be be off track.

Anonymous,  10 August 2009 at 19:31  

dear KC Leong,
u said:

"And pls tell us, WHY we still need Mandarin and Tamil schools 52 years after Merdeka?"

simply because people wants it. its not for me or u to decide whether to have mandarin or tamil in schools. if u don't like them u don't attend vernacular schools.but u have a problem with vernacular schools or a problem with mandarin or tamil??you need to sort this out on your side before making comments. right now im assuming u have problems with both the schools and the languages.

u are probably thinking these languages/schools are a hinder to national unity and understanding. yes, many such as the DN knights has said it's a problem caused by the people who speak these languages but they conveniently fail to say it's also a problem caused by those who did not speak them. well, we are left with 3 choices actually. one is to keep the status quo, second is to abolish venacular schools and lastly is to make everyone learn at least 1 extra language be it tamil or mandarin. the last option seemed most sensible as it really helps in national unity.

kc, u are a chinese coming from sg ramal which is a predominantly malay area. im currently making a lot of assumptions why u dislike mandarin or tamil. so can u let us know why we don't need mandarin or tamil after 52 years of merdeka?

to me after 52 years it's about time all malaysians are able to speak and write at least 3 languages. after all english tamil n mandarin are just about the most spoken languages in the world.

peace

Anonymous,  18 August 2009 at 15:09  

Dato',

Why can't we just make Mandarin and Tamil as an elective subject in all National school? Perhaps, as early as primary school. Some people would argue there are too many subjects already at school. But it's not about grade. It's about communication and understanding too. Is it not?

If Chinese understand Malay and English, Indian mastered Malay and English, how many Malays understand Mandarin or Tamil other than English?

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP