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Sakmongkol ak 47

Tuesday 16 December 2008

Malay Middle Class and Bourgeois Morality

Perhaps it may well be, that this essay is a 3rd class ridicule dressed in high-browed prose. That does not alter my perception of what Huzir Sulaiman’s essay really is. The short essay by Huzir Sulaiman, touched upon by Mat Chendana and reproduced by the blogger Omong, has one intention. It is actually a subtle indictment on the assumed political incorrectness of the thinking of the majority, meaning us. That political incorrectness demands that Malays disown and abandon what are dear to them- the bedrock fundamentals of Malay leadership. What Huzir’s writing represents is an invitation for Malays to water down their nationalism for liberalism, reject religious doctrine for permissiveness, give up economic corrections for value-free equal opportunity economic growth.

The most contentious issue I think is giving up programs of economic correction for value free equal opportunity economic growth. I am torn between total dismantling of corrective economic programs and the real need for Malays to adopt a more robust attitude. The attitude that calls for a voluntary renunciation of as-of-right privileges and perpetual handicaps. I am an advocate of achievement norms in society. In this particular instance, a Malay society characterised by achievement norms has, as its most vital principal, that one is evaluated in terms of what he has accomplished and can achieve. That is why I believe, that one cannot legislate the want to achieve. It must it generated internally and voluntarily. Unfortunately, this is not the issue I wish to write about.

As to Huzir Sulaiman’s essay, that, to my mind is the intent of his writing. His pious wish is that, actually, the voice that Malaysia must listen to, is the voice of the middle class. That middle class according to Huzir is represented by the saner views of :- Fahmi Fadzil, 27, a writer and performer., son of prominent parents; Datuk Zahim Albakri, 45, the director and actor, a son of a preeminent architect; the composer Datin Saidah Rastam who comes from a family steeped in public life, whose maternal grandfather was Perak’s 14th Datuk Panglima Kinta, who held 56 public service posts at the time of his death. Her father is Datuk Rastam Hadi, the former managing director of Petronas and former deputy governor of Bank Negara. Her uncle was Hasnul Hadi, the dyed-in the-wool socialist. Her husband is the urbane lawyer-turned-banker Datuk Charon Mokhzani (who, with exquisite politeness, declined to be interviewed for article by Huzir); Dain-Iskandar Said is a writer and film director. And Dain Iskandar says it best what the bourgeois liberals want to hear; He sees the concept of ketuanan Melayu as “outmoded, out of step with the times we live in, when the world is becoming more and more global. The world over, people are bringing down barriers of race, yet we are trying to instill and install those outmoded values.” All said they do not subscribe to the ideas of ethnic superiority and non committal to the idea that Malays are the owners of this country.

To hold such weltanshauung is very expensive. One can certainly afford to uphold such views if one has a few million Ringgits in the bank. If I have such amount, Huzir can ask me to parrot what all these people say and I will with exquisite politeness, agree for a full blown interview.

The central thesis of Huzir’s essay, is that the key to changing the mindset of the Malays, rest then, on the slender shoulders of a privileged class- in Huzir’s terminology the new middle class. No attachment to kampong life, second or 3rd generation progeny of successful parents or grandparents, urbane, cosmopolitan. In other words, a totally new subset of Malays, unschooled in the debilitating values of the ordinary Malays. The members of the class of people which I referred to as the BMW Bourgeoisie, the Café Latte crowd, the smoked- salmon sentinels, caviar-on-cracker crowd and so forth.

In other words, Huzir wants to appeal to an assumed bourgeois way of being as the politically correct ethical framework. A framework within which Malays in the kampong and cities must subscribe to. But what is the source of this framework and its constitution? What Huzir wants to accomplish is to appeal to this ethical framework and at the same time, exposed the nuttiness of the majority of the population. The implications of what Huzir wrote and countenanced further by The Star wasn’t hard to decipher; It was just sort of understood that sane, bourgeois people like Huzir, Fahmi, Zahim, Saidah Rastam and Dain Iskandar Said didn't do crazy things like what those kampong Joes and the counterculture types were doing.

The political significance of Huzir’s writing then is the need to nurture such an exclusive Malay middle class. That, society will be much better off, expending its resources and also conferment of wide ranging powers on this kind of people. That then, is undeniably, the beginning of a real master-servant relationship.


Anonymous,  16 December 2008 at 21:51  


"he members of the class of people which I referred to as the BMW Bourgeoisie, the Café Latte crowd, the smoked- salmon sentinels, caviar-on-cracker crowd and so forth. "

erm like ur children?
wat does your daughter do Fri/Sat nights in kl?
kee kee kee. bake cookies for a saturday picnic at Kiara park?

Anonymous,  16 December 2008 at 21:53  

anyway no one really takes huzir n clan seriously. they have successful play/theatre which i enjoy and good political critic and i respect them for showing the way.
anyway they are only "successful" whether they like to hear this or not 'cos of their feudal ties to the Est so erm....

Ti Lian Ker 16 December 2008 at 22:01  

so classic Ak47..i prefer to give people the benefit of doubt..are we being too judmental? i don't know these people and never dreamed of being in the latte, smoked-salmon, caviar simple kampung folk like me like to believe that people meant well and not be overly sceptical..naive n gullibel ya?

satD 16 December 2008 at 22:07  

View of 4 statistically insignificant outliers does not represent the Malay voice what ever class they are at....

Do la proper interviews and sampling in the sample size that you want to represent then only what ever "inferences" you want to derive can actually carry some weight....

this one a definite F in my book not even worth to consider what ever 'substance' there is in the article......

Anonymous,  16 December 2008 at 23:20  

Terima kasih kerana tangkis orang bourgious macam huzir.
Tapi suratkhabar dia adalah STAR yang sememang suka sangat kapada tulisan orang keturunan melayu Islam tapi acuan STAR.
Star di baca olih konon 1 juta pembaca.
STAR berbahase Ingeris.
Orang Melayu jati tak bace STAR.
Maka pendapat huzir akan di sokong olih owang yang acuan STAR saje.
Maka ta perlu ambil hati , kerana huzir bukan aliran "heartland ", cuma bangsar atau ampang atau damansara aje.
arjuna waspada.

Anonymous,  16 December 2008 at 23:29  

WOWSOME - Another one bite the dust !!!!
Hi, Jed...I wouldnt take things for granted and say "anyway no one really takes huzir n clan seriously."

Majority of us (esp. Malays) are very complacent, tend to take things for granted and are a confused lot.

Datuk, now that we have said our piece about "race", can we go back to economics.

Let the political leaders and their propaganda machinery continue with their stupid squabble on this race issues.

A Tabib 17 December 2008 at 00:07  

Well said, AK 47. Their smugness really gets to me.

Orang jenis ini jarang masuk kampung. Jalan merata dunia tapi tak singgah kampung dekat Bukit Ibam atau kampung nelayan dekat Terengganu; ataupun kawasan Felda dekat Johor (I know one of them's the son of a Felda DG); ataupun kampung dekat tanah tinggi Sarawak.

Tak pernah mandi air parit. Bila masuk kampung hendak 'scrambled eggs and sausage' untuk sarapan - mengalahkan anak raja. Bila tengok orang kampung buat unggun api sebab tak ada elektrik terperanjat.

Silap-silap jumpa padi katakan lalang.

Yeah, you could say I've met several specimens from their class - and the well travelled, well educated anak raja.

Anonymous,  18 December 2008 at 15:13  

Assamualaikum YH Dato'

Dalam perkara ini, dapatlah dilihat bahawa Huzir Sulaiman, Zahim Albakri dan lain-lain itu mewakili segolongan orang Melayu yang tidak pernah merasa sengsaranya hidup miskin di kampung, menanam padi huma, menangkap ikan di paya dan sebagainya. Mereka ini sama seperti Zaid Ibrahim yg mendapat pelbagai nikmat daripada DEB, tetapi kemudiannya menghina, memperlekeh dan membuang DEB jauh-jauh.

Persoalannya Dato', bukankah segolongan besar pemimpin Melayu masa kini juga berasal dari golongan yg sama (ini termasuklah Raja-raja Melayu). Lihat saja Najib Tun Razak, Hishammuddin Hussein, Mukhriz Mahathir, Khairy Jamaluddin dan lain-lain. Mereka juga tidak pernah merasa hidup susah di kampung. Cuba baca artikel yg ditulis oleh Arwah Tan Sri Samad Ismail mengenai Arwah Tun Razak bertajuk 'The Peasant Aristocrat', maka kita akan faham mengapa Tun Razak begitu berbeza pendekatan dan tindakannya dalam membantu membangunkan ekonomi orang Melayu.

Kebelakangan ini kita juga melihat golongan diraja begitu aktif mengeluarkan pandangan mereka tentang isu-isu ketuanan Melayu dan sebagainya. Satu hal yg saya nampak ialah mereka ini kadang-kadang sependapat dengan golongan Huzir Sulaiman ini. Masakan tidak? Mereka juga tidak pernah tahu kesusahan orang di kampung. Mereka dilahirkan dalam kemewahan. Maaf saya katakan, tetapi mereka hanya mahu ketuanan Melayu jika ia memberikan faedah kepada mereka sahaja.

Tetapi masalahnya sebahagian besar masyarakat Melayu, khususnya di luar bandar memandang tinggi kepada golongan feudal Melayu ini dan hanya sanggup menerima pimpinan mereka sahaja.

Maka apa yg patut kita buat untuk mengubah semua ini?

Mohon pandangan ikhlas dari Yang Hormat Dato'.

Terima kasih.

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