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Sakmongkol ak 47

Friday 20 February 2009

Past the Debate: The Bigger Issues

Reading the comments and analyses ex post on the debate between the 3 contenders for Ketua Pemuda, I have a feeling of déjà vu. It seems to me, we are going backwards instead of pushing outwards. It also seems to me, we haven’t gone beyond our values-trap. By values –trap I mean a situation where, while we advocate adoption of newer values for self propulsion, we are in practice allowing ourselves to be held back by the very values we wished to escape from. Hence, we are trapped by the old values. This is just my adaptation from the economics concept of liquidity trap.

I see the operation of this values-trap in the ketua pemuda debate the other night. The tenor of a majority of the comments that appeared on my blog after the articles I wrote, confirmed my suspicions that actually, we Malays are holding ourselves back.

The notion of modern Malay actually offends and disturbs us. The man or boy, who is admired in a Malay community, is the person with the social graces, good mannerisms, inscrutable facial expressions, and never the intense individual.

Apa lah you KJ, you are so intense, ill mannered, you offend the Malay sensibilities. We, the majority actually like to mire ourselves in the marshes of self pity.

Thus if you look at KT and MM at the debate, your mind can easily be transported back to the 1950’s and looking at the typical good Malay. At that time, the Good Malay is not basically a money-conscious man in the sense, that he does not seek gold as tenaciously as the economically gregarious fellow. The Good Malay is the well behaved Malay, contented with his lot, comforted in his protected world. We still have the attitude it’s ok to move along at a slower pace by not placing a high premium on education and performance. The Malay who is intense, ever pushing outwards is frowned upon. He is chastised as being not a Good Malay.

The audience listening to the debate was not conscious of these qualities when assessing the three contenders. In my mind, they should have directed their minds to detect who among the 3 represent the purveyor of progressive values. Instead they lend themselves to believe that the contenders representing old Malay values are the ones who can lead this country/UMNO into the new realities. They are wrong.

Let us ignore for the moment, my own preference for Ketua Pemuda. Analyse them in terms of modernizing and enabling values. Listen to KT with his singular clarion call to revert to preserve Malay power come what may and MM with his don’t-know-what pleasing to the ears conservatism. At best we described him as the consummate gentleman. Again, the good Malay. Aren’t these actually calls for the preservation of the old values that hold the Malays back in the first place?.

Where will KT’s clarion calls lead us (the Malays) to? They will lead us nicely back to our dependence mode- investing our unquestioning trust, hopes and faith with a leadership elite. In the end, following KT’s calls, we come back to square one where we accept the role of an elite leadership is to treat us as its wards, they our guardian and we their charges. We allow ourselves to become the passive pliable putty shaped into whatever form the leaders like the Khir Toyos fancy to. The Malays must reject this sleight of hand political trick. What Khir Toyo does by invoking the emotions loaded rhetoric of Tumbang politik Melayu, maka tumbang lah Melayu is really leading us into a political quicksand. This is KT’s political intimidation game. Nothing feeds into the Malay psyche best than stoking his fears.

Once you hold such position, you self contradict. So what reforms of UMNO are there left to work on? Once you hold such a position, your advocacy for reforms seem shallow doesn’t it?


satD 20 February 2009 at 01:43  

Ability may not necessarily translate to political will....

Politicians being parasitic self preserving beings may not have the guts to go again the undercurrents..

What are we left with then if not just omong kosong?

let them choose...and lets revisit the matter say a year in a half after...if any of the candidates got the balls just resign if they are unable to deliver all the crap they promised and make way for a fresh selection.

To be able to do so....proper indicators must be defined from the outset and be continuously monitored and disseminated to the people whom they are leading...

Looks like your're running a marathon on this topic Dato'

I wonder how long you can last?

Anonymous,  20 February 2009 at 01:56  

It’s not whether to believe or agree with what KJ said or regarding his smirking face, its about walk the talk, will there be sincerity in the progress he’s promoting or is it just another chance for him to control the power that comes with being a KP. With power comes money etc..

Its about matter of the heart, the feel good factor when dealing with KJ or any other person. For the last 5 years, people in the business world especially bumiputra entrepreneurs hit a KJ wall in their pursuit to get any business going. Some might think this is only a perception but some had actually faced this reality. Proposals being hijacked or job that should be given to 100 companies being monopolized by 1 company that had a KJ connection. People understand that to be in politics you need lots of money and KJ need to make his money too but why so tamak.. Or maybe he made his money already and now he is ready to serve all and love all. MM has his family money to back him and KT made his money during his tenure as Selangor MB.

I guess they are all on a level playing field more money to be made but just to serve the people…I hope so.

Anonymous,  20 February 2009 at 02:10  

None of the 3 contenders gives me the confidence that they are in it for the betterment of country aside from working for the Malays. Even the claim to work for the Malays seem rather shallow nowadays. I would respect a Malay leader who is truly nationlistic and who would defer from wearing RM5000 suits. The way things are at the moment, its even doubtful if KT is truly Malay, is he or isn't he?

Anonymous,  20 February 2009 at 03:01  

From what I have seen during the debate...MM is the most intelligent deep thinking person. KJ was only defending his father in law and wanna show the world he is indeed as clever as his oxford degree suggest, lots of IQ but less EQ. KT was trying very hard to impress.

MM can see the the whole forest not just the trees... he is my choice.

Anonymous,  20 February 2009 at 07:21  

You are practically screaming listen to my way of thinking coz my way of thinking is forward looking, analytical, dan advance.

I would believe you are a nice person. But the attitude to whack others for not thinking in line with you is patronising and arrogant.

That is a very close minded 1950s colonised and feudel Malaya.

Are old fashion value like civility, humility and good manners no more relevant? Doing and being seen as corrupt is that not relevent in politics.

Seriously can we convince people that Khairy is not corrupt that is enough to clean the image of UMNo and win votes.

The problem is you are no more non partisan. You have something to champion ie Khairy.

Furthermore you are the only lone blogger with the intelligence and credibility sorely needed by the Setiakwan team that they cut and paste your articles.

By the set of criteria you demand on others to follow, you are assuming others are not equipped with the mental facility to think, make proper asssessment, and determine the criteria for the leaders of Ketua Pemuda.

The three are going for the post of Ketua Pemuda UMNO. Not President UMNO, not Perdana Menteri Malaysia.

It is still along way to go with those esoteric criteria and mindset.

Other Hussein Onn and Najib, no Ketua Pemuda UMNO never make it to the top. Isn't that too ambitous?

Ariff Sabri 20 February 2009 at 07:35  

i expect this kind of crticism. when reasoning fails, attack the person as arrogant and patronsing.
i have stated my position. i therefore argue to my position and shall remain true during the remainder of this duration, until 27th march.
i am not going to behave like many UMNO people behave- main lawa until the end. not fair to the candidates who depend on hoping that you state yr intentions clearly. forceful yes, but dont think arrogant or patronisning.
whether alone or otherwise, doesnt matter. this is the last lap.

Nasirudin Anjud 20 February 2009 at 10:29  


I respect that you have set up your tent long before the hunting season started.
I only hope that you have rationed enough to withstand the strident onslaughts by the other camp.
As you are aware, the arguments on the other side of blogosphere are becoming more and more vicious.
More disappointing was the inability of Mr. Khairy to own up to the liability tag. He should have looked Agus right in the eye, admit it and mend it.
Tell you the truth Dato', I can't see any light at the end of the tunnel for "Mr. Liability up to the delegates to the decide".
Such a pity.

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