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Sakmongkol ak 47

Wednesday 17 December 2008

Melayu: A cultural Blueprint for prosperity(1)

One of the leaders I enjoy reading, is APJ Abdul Kalam. Full name: Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam. He is a scientist by training. Still a bachelor I think, sporting long hair. He looked the typical absent minded professor.

I particularly liked the narrative that after delivering a speech on the role of technology on India’s development, a 10 year old girl came up to Mr Kalam for his autograph. Abdul Kalam asked her: what is your ambition? The girl answered: I would like to live in a developed India.

The answer given by the 10 year old girl resonates well throughout the world, especially with those living in less developed countries. A developed India depends on leadership and the role played by Indians, typified by the 10 year old girl. Will we get the same response from our kampong folks? The typical answer- we would like the government give us more this and that? Our role? just to vote you in.

The reason I began this article by mentioning APJ Abdul Kalam is I have been re-reading his India 2020- A Vision For The New Millennium and also because, last month he came to deliver a lecture in the Khazanah Global Lectures. Unfortunately the gangsters at Khazanah did not extend their invitations to kampong bloggers like me.

That aside, it is his observation about the role of the individual in relation to the government regarding economic prosperity that is of particular interest. It is a shared responsibility. Both the typical Malay and the Malay led government must be responsible.

It is the typical answer by the typical Malay that I find troublesome. The typical answer given by the typical Malay lies at the root of the problem about Malay economics. To the Malays, the government is everything. If the government manages its economy superbly and becomes rich, this paternalistic role of the government is all right. It can provide for the individual what in normal circumstances is the responsibility of the family. This to my mind, is a counterproductive role. Whatever the government does, it cannot replace the responsibility and role of the family. It is the family that holds the primary responsibility to nurture the individual member.

This behaviour by the Malays is atypical of an eastern society. That may surprised many including me. Because I would have thought that the Malay family is a microcosm of eastern values- which emphasised the primacy of the family. But the way the government performs it role and indeed profiting from such dependence as a form of pork barrel politics( you support us, we provide you wit everything), can be self-defeating. Because soon it is the government that is responsible and therefore blameable for the decline of the Malay family. That and with the unsolicited assistance from the bohemian middle class ensconced in the various watering holes in KL( ha ha- cant resist cattle prodding the Malay middle class).


Anonymous,  17 December 2008 at 11:13  

Yes, family empowering itself to inspire generations of success stories which cannot conceivably lead to U vs Non U. Will snobbery (need to define this properly) manifest itself in our society at some point? That is going to be, sorry, conceited given the extent of engineering and endless tweaking that we do around here. We need to elevate more into the Middle Income Group and begin to define Malaysian Middle Class traditions so that we pass on some shared virtues. Pedigree gives one a head start. A Malay is born with crutches. No shame there. But the crutches should not be weaponised. The overriding issue is this - Should the crutches be passed on to our children? No straightforward poser this. UiTM is a big safety net. Many of us went there. Now our children are there. It is a gentle reminder that at some point all Malays were generously aided. Aristocracy in our midst? Well, the Royalties are elitist. We can live with that. Otherwise egalitarian qualities need to be perpetuated, with a distinctly Malaysian flavour

Anonymous,  17 December 2008 at 11:54  

Khazanah + co aren't even REALLY the class that Huzir + co are in, children of the est, based in KL
Khazanah + co are like imports from KJ's pals from UK, etc into the highest stratosphere of Msian social, economic life.
I think not all the Malays are as you mentioned. Many that I've met outside KL or those who come from outside to KL are quite independent, dun think much of Barisan, IT savvy, etc.
For instance, you a self professed kg "boy" is like any other malay datuk in KL but much more down to earth and din ride a Harley?
ha ha ha ha ha a

de minimis 17 December 2008 at 12:12  

Hey! Those "gangsters" didn't invite me either! Must be the company I keep nowadays :D

Small Talk 17 December 2008 at 13:47  

Can I come to KL with my govt supplied Perdana and invite you for prosperity burger at McD but don't blog on it as eating burger is not part of Malay Culture? No Mercs or Camry for Pahang!

Bro Sak,
Was it you with Mamasita last night at Teluk Chempedak McD? If you don't want to lose your Malay identity, speak Malay! If you insist on writing in English, go on. Its constitutional!

mamasita 17 December 2008 at 14:24  

Tok DSN,I am not sure whats happening?Are we so popular sampai orang nak impersonate us?
Last night at 12.30am, an Umno friend called.He thought he saw us at kopitiam and asked whether he can join us and pick our bill.
Now, you kata you nampak we all kat MacD at TC.When we buy MacDs,its always takeaway punya type Tok!Unless our children go there and lepak with their friends,we prefer to just buy and makan depan TV..hahahaha..salah orang lah Tok!

Anonymous,  17 December 2008 at 15:48  

Sakmongkol berjaya mengerakkan wacana terbuka, berilmiah tanpa prejudis. Jarang sekali kelihatan serangan peribadi atau serkap jarang. Syabas juga kepada mereka yang memberi komen membina. Saya sering bercakap mengenai Sakmongkol bila berjumpa kawan-kawan yang sekarang ni sama belajar dengan saya.

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