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Sakmongkol ak 47

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

To tell a compelling story

I propose to move from discussing how racial differences can cause disunity and conflict. We all know we have our racist quotient. The objective is to contain these to avoid translating it into institutionalized and habitual discrimination. This requires conditioning at the personal and social or public level. Personal as in inculcating family values, social as in policies carried out by government institutions. No racism at the personal level, none at the public level.
It would be more useful to discuss whether one's ethnicity has got anything to do with one's economic prosperity or otherwise. This is more interesting than to dwell on ethnic issues that create animosity and conflict. If we can dispel the belief that one's ethnicity is not a critical factor in determining economic success, we can reject ethnicity as the cause for economic backwardness.
This is important for our social cohesiveness. So that other Malaysians don't see anything inferior in Malays just because they are Malays. More so for us Malays to disbelieve our deficiencies as being the effects of our genetic makeup. Whatever shortcomings Malays have at the moment aren't genetically determined and accordingly the shortcomings caused by non genetic factors, can by definition, be alterable. Change is possible and doable.
Long ago, sociologists and other researchers have recognized that the degree and pace of economic development are the result of 2 consequences; the influence of the environment on man and of man on the environment. To a large extent that pace and degree depends on man's ability and willingness to transform his environment and his readiness and willingness to improve on what has been achieved by his forebears.
So what do the Malays like other people desire more? They want economic advancement. They want improvements on their material wellbeing. From walking to scooters to motor cars. From huts to houses to bungalows. From low income to higher incomes. From ignorance to knowledge. These can be achieved by applying their readiness to transforms their environment and willingness to improve upon what they have inherited.
This tells you that Najib and his team are better off concentrating on the Malay's ability and willingness to transform his environment and also his willingness to improve on what has been achieved by his forebears. Unfortunately these points have not been articulated well. By and large, the UMNO leadership with the exception of Najib is stuck with the habit of retreating to the old ways represented generally by shouts of Malay supremacy. Hence the majority of UMNO leadership is more comforted playing to the gallery. When Najib was presented with a memorandum at the Perkasa Economic Congress which in effect said, we don't agree with your NEM all he could do was to accept it with a nervous smile. Did anyone notice that none of his UMNO field generals came out in support of the UMNO President?
When Tun Razak transplanted thousands of settlers into FELDA schemes, it wasn't just a physical transplant and physical uprooting of people accustomed to what have been bequeathed by their forbears. The settler was willing and ready to detach himself from an environment in which he was accustomed to and comfortable with. His willingness to be transplanted also signified his readiness to mix it up with a new environment, to master it and to forge new social relationships. It was also to me, a readiness and willingness to leave behind a world darkened by myths and legends and to carve out a new bright world. The eventual interaction of people from different social backgrounds, from different cultural practices and from different language dialects made possible the exchange of ideas and sharing of experience.
That transplant was also a readiness and willingness to improve on what has been achieved by their forebears.
The Malays are therefore not impervious to change. The BN and UMNO in particular learnt it the hard way in 2008. More Malays rejected UMNO candidates. More voted for the opposition. It's like someone said- it's not a case of the Malay changing his faith, it's only a change in the medium. It's no big deal. It can happen again. Bukan tukar aqidah, hanya tukar wadah.
It has thus been proven; the Malaya are capable and ready to make changes. If they were able to detach and free themselves from what they have been familiar with, at no risks of social upheavals, they too can detach themselves to what they have been politically accustomed to. UMNO must recognize this if it wants to stay relevant. People can and will reject UMNO if UMNO is not in tune with them. the results of the 2008 elections, showed more Malays are willing to reject the old ways.
That means, provided UMNO is teachable, that UMNO cannot fall back on the old ways. What are the old ways? Solving problems using the old methods such as asserting Malayness by bellicose screaming, organized aggression, unsheathing of krises and so forth. Our Malayness isn't defined by article 153 or insisting that we must have rights here and there. We can't apply old thinking onto new political landscape where people no longer accept what we say superficially. They want to be engaged as thinking persons, be convinced by reasoning.
UMNO cant address the issues under Najib's Malaysia by offering mediocre leadership and low quality candidates. They can't or are afraid to articulate and communicate Najib's ideas of a new Malaysia- progress through competition, meritocracy and inclusiveness. They can't because most probably don't understand his thinking. He was brought up in a different environment, cosmopolitan, modern or even shielded from the harsh realities of racism. They are afraid to offend the UMNO masses by appearing to be too compromising. If not how does one explain people who have been brought up under similar environment such as Najib but aren't talking of the same things like Najib? People like Hishamudin who is his cousin and Shahrizat Jalil who we could have expected to champion Najib's thinking but are not articulating his thinking? Najib is being isolated by his own UMNO.
Najib has to make only one mistake and the herd psychology of UMNO will drown him. You fumble and the desertion starts and political re alignments take place.
Nothing exposes this disconnect between Najib and UMNO than the survey by the Merdeka Centre. Najib's personal rating reaches beyond 60 percentage points while UMNO's didn't even reach 45%. Lest Najib forget, we don't operate on the American presidential system. He is PM by virtue of being UMNO and BN President. His party loses and he goes out.
Part of the old ways is offering the old story line that UMNO is Malay and Malay means UMNO. It cannot behave as though it owns exclusive rights to fight for Agama, Bangsa dan Tanah Air without qualifying itself for that role. And by qualifying, we mean doing the grunt work never taking for granted that support from the Malays is but a foregone conclusion. Malays who are capable and willing to transform now what to know HOW? How do you defend your Agama, Bangsa dan Negara?
It is obvious that UMNO cannot go back to doing things the old school way. Imposing its will as of right and behaving in the manner of might is right. People now need a convincing story from UMNO. Belief built on conviction has more permanency than belief built on unquestioning attachment to tradition. ,
I am happy to note that this is also the new thinking by the new UMNO leadership. But unfortunately it is confined only to the PM. The rest of his team sadly hasn't understood the requirements of the new thinking. Which goes to show further- that the PM must unload this excess baggage after the next elections. If he is still in power, he must bring in new blood ( not necessarily young blood) more attuned to the new thinking.
The new thinking is economic advancement via competition not through protection. The new thinking is affirmative action through competing- you compete and strive to affirm your economic well-being. The new thinking is to disavow the thinking of groups like Perkasa but do it not through denouncing Perkasa which has managed to engage the imagination of the Malay majority, but by offering the Malays a better mousetrap. Don't just say the ideas of Ibrahim Ali are rubbish- offer us a better and compelling story.
Tell people a more convincing story. A believable and doable one. Not through sloganeering and not by contradicting your own resolve to achieve the goals that you have set.
You have zero tolerance for racism? show it and tell people exactly why you choose to act in so and so manner. Why have you been slow in acting against Siti Inshah for example- if she has been drawn into the controversy by some Malaysian Indians, say so. Why has she done what she did? If she has been portrayed as an evil racist because one Hindraf lawyer and the Indian pupil's parents saw it as an opportunity to escalate a misunderstanding issue into something bigger, tell the whole story so that the whole of Malaysia can hear and judge.
Tell the whole world that it was a misunderstanding that has been blown out of proportions by carcass hungry political scavengers. It's not a legal offence not to behave as what ideally a headmistress should behave. How exactly should a headmistress behave? Certainly not as how others read it to be. You act as the situation dictates. Instill discipline, run the school as it should be run.
It's no big deal to continue debating about this in blogosphere until we are blue in the face.
You can't compromise the school because of one indiscipline pupil just as you can't compromise the whole of TNB just because of one tiu-nia-bu fellow.
If you have zero tolerance for corruption don't contradict your resolve by compromising the decision approved earlier by the cabinet in accepting the proposal by China Railways to build the double tracking from Gemas to JB. I have written about this sometime ago. The recent revelation by RPK in Malaysia today is more daring. If Nor Yacob has anything to do with it, sack him. If your golfing buddy has anything to do with it, ostracize him as continued association with him can lead to your downfall. Sack your people who attended the meeting in China who said the money is for our PM.
Malaysians and Malays need a convincing and compelling story from you Mr. PM sir. For that you need good people to tell Malays a more convincing story. Good people as in good leadership and good people in the civil service. You don't have good people to articulate and communicate your ideas Mr. PM sir, you die.


Anonymous,  7 September 2010 at 06:31  

Well said Dato..inspiring and most erudite assessment of the challenge ahead.

People have generally condemned the "Daim Boys era".However,the unheralded success of that era are the many young guys given the opportunity to develop within a truly professional and competitive corporate environment.

Then,executives are tested on the field,exercising their skills in a pressure cooker no excuses environment.Today,many of them are in very senior positions in their respective industries.That was the Felda of the late nineties.

Unfortunately,that school of corporate hard knocks ended with Nor Mohd's GLC management of multicolored books & acronym fueled bureaucracy.

Time for Najib to conjure the next Felda.

And its not about obscenely acquired wealth but more importantly on creating the platforms for expanding skills,confidence and networking.

And please shoot the consultant who suggests another pre employment institute.Make it the real school of hard knocks.

Anonymous,  7 September 2010 at 08:31  


That, is exactly why the present leadership has no credibility.
I personally attach no weight at all to all the the (loose)talks of PM and his ministers.

Malaysians are not tribal bushmen that can be conned by small tricks. Very sad indeed.

Anonymous,  7 September 2010 at 09:24  


Is " Tell people a more convincing story. A believable and doable one " your solution for a credible gov't?

How about telling the truth for a change instead of a convincing believable and doable story.

Does dragging in "one Hindraf lawyer and the Indian pupil's parents" make a racist rant by a kebangsaan school headmistress more convincing believable and doable?

Stop with the convincing and believable stories. The public doesn't buy them anymore.

Anonymous,  7 September 2010 at 09:32  

To be honest, while there is a story to tell, there is no easy one. What we have is a situation were there are no longer any easy choices. Because there are no easy choices, no great stories but sober ones. The problem is sober stories do not sell easy, do not attract audience.

The only way to sell a sober story is using an army who are dedicated self-sacrificing to do it. How do you built an army like that? Where do you find that army? - In PR, not in UMNO.

Najib has no choice if he really mean to do something substantial. He most of all has to pay the biggest prize - he do a deal with the likes of Zaid, Khalid Ibrahim, Khalid Samad and he gets rid of the likes of Khir Toyo, Nor, Ahmad Ismail, etc He literally has to blow up UMNO to make it work.

Its far too much for him and or anyone in UMNO to do it. In addition, UMNO has no track record of doing something so radical. Its classic organisation losing its relevance.

Its why there is no possibility of reform within UMNO and it has to be PR even though its has its flaws and big ones too.

Anonymous,  7 September 2010 at 09:53  

Right on the spot. Show it to us. We want action not talk only.

Ariff Sabri 7 September 2010 at 09:58  

anon 09:24
are u against telling it as it is? if that is the cause, tell it out in the open? its not rocket science.
this is what we found out.
the headmistress of course must be punished for her insensitive term.

Anonymous,  7 September 2010 at 10:53  

Like i said earlier, our Mr.Pm just dont have that extras to be PM .If only he has a fraction of old LKW down tiny red dot country then we have hope.
The trouble is that he is becoming like sleepy old bodowi in action.Saying the wrong things at a wrong time.What do we get when this guy was parachuted to be PM at the expense of an ex PM who has no clue to run a country except to enrich himself while in office ?
He cant even reign in his boys in umno and acts like a eunach in trouble times! God please save us!
Look at Tun Hussein Onn.In history he was a cool duke not having to rely on vultures around him.He was'nt popular as he was feared but he got that job done in most aspects!

MelayuBingit,  7 September 2010 at 11:03  

UMNO sudah tidak dapat dipulihkan lagi. Ketagihannya sudah sampai penghujung.Bila hilang kuasa Putrajaya, dadah (Ringgit) sudah tiada, UMNO akan menggelupur (withdrawal symptoms).Tidak dirawat ia akan mati.Jika dirawat dlm Pusat serenti (5tahun) UMNO boleh pulih.Inilah peranan Dato dan rakan2 seangkatan boleh lakukan. Sementara itu saya dan rakan2 akan ubah undi.Kami saperti Dato juga, dah muak dengan gelagat pemimpin UMNO.Bila politik kucar kacir,ekonomi akan merudum, dan kamilah yang dulu kena hentaman. PAS dan PKR pun akan jadi macam UMNO bila dah berkuasa lama.Tapi awal2 ni diaorang segan sikit.

Anonymous,  7 September 2010 at 11:43  

Dato' whats the story between Siti Inshah and Malaysian indians? Do tell.


Anonymous,  7 September 2010 at 12:19  


I concurred with your stand on 'Cakap serupa bikin'.

Until the 'rakyat' see our PM walks the talks, then there's a compelling story to tell not only the 'rakyat' but the world too.

Anonymous,  7 September 2010 at 12:42  

dear dato,

"Sack your people who attended the meeting in China who said the money is for our PM. "

this isnt right la. should be order a public inquest to be done to clear his own name. sacking those people will make him look very guilty.

Anonymous,  7 September 2010 at 12:56  

Dato' it is time for PM to quit. despite of what you have written in your blog but he remains "macam dia, depan lain belakang lain, asyik nak main selamat je, dia ingat dia selamat..." and the nation is at risk and you know la...UMNO will be irrelevant soon....mungkin bolih buat Melayu rasa sedih kerana dapat presiden UMNO macam ni and TDM must also take the blame for screwing up UMNO.
Anyway sir, maaf zahir bathin and selamt Aidilfitri.

Anonymous,  7 September 2010 at 13:58  

Anonymous 10:53

Hello Anon.

Jangan jadi bodoh bangang lah tak habis suka buat comparison.

The reality is PM Najib is not listening well enough

No need comment like

"If only he has a fraction of old LKW down tiny red dot country then we have hope."

Too much comparing thats the reality with all you people

Makcik apa ni? Rendang Mahal?

Haiya Uncle? Balancing Tayar sudah Mahal?

Aiyo Thambi! apapasal Susu kurang?

Bila suruh register voting semua terhegeh hegeh pemalas procrastinate.

Cakap semua lebih - Armchair Critic


-Ikan Tongkol-

OneMalaysian,  7 September 2010 at 14:58  

Dear Sakmongkol

If the Malays want to go from A to B, a place that is much better than A, they may have to discard the vehicle that they are now riding in – UNMO. It is after all reaching the destination that counts; the vehicle/carriage is nothing but a means of transport. UNMO is now looking like a broken down car that cannot be repaired, or like a horse that has gone lame. Why not just discard it for another that can take you from A to B, if that is what is wanted? There is no need to be too sentimental about it, just because you had started the journey with UNMO. People have no trouble with such decisions in other aspects of their lives, and political parties are no different. Or, is it?

AJ 7 September 2010 at 17:14  

Dato....You surprise me. Sometimes you argue well but most times you contradict your own thoughts across the articles you write. In another place you seem to have your own interpretation of meritocracy and supremacy but here you seem to make a u turn. I don’t understand how any thinking sensible person can advocate to be one if he says he needs preferential treatment because of the colour of his skin or his belief in this age and time. Mahathir’s tiered citizenry should have been frowned upon, disgraced and discarded like a dirty rag. People like you seem build on it, glorify it and give it a whole new life. Then wonder from where and why racism comes from. Your defence that a headmistress could have been victimised by politicians shows you up for what you really are. This HM may teach but is no educator. She is the end result of a system fast forwarded by a crude governmental policy from being B. Malaysia subject teacher to head a whole school. So she and many like her have missed out on the many years that take forming the building blocks that is the DNA of a neutral educator. What about you Dato? You have attended schools, many I belief, how about education? UMNO should not revert to old school you. How many years are you going back? What about the times when things were done based on need? Nobody was upset then. No record of hanky panky. Everybody who wanted to put their shoulders to the grind. Everyone worked towards nation building; all were citizens of 1 Malaya. How about those times? It’s not the times we should be talking about, as you rightly pointed out; it is the lazy, low quality politician. You said the PM needs to tell a more convincing story. Really, what story would that be? Is it “We are Malays the only rightful owners of this country, there is legal document that is set in stone which is the Holy Grail to proof it. We are ‘Tuan’ and have legal right to 70% of everything here.” Isn’t that the ear candy of the masses now? Isn’t this the backdrop of which Najib is seen back paddling against? That every attempt to right a wrong is thwarted? It is because of people like you who think it would be a death wish to go up against Perkasa and leave to PM to carry the torch alone, and even he is scared to call this demon’s bluff.
God save Malaysia

Hakiman,  7 September 2010 at 20:09  

This is an interesting comment below:

Umno has shrunk the Malay mind

"Hishamuddin Rais declared that the Malay mind has been "bonsified" (shrunk and distorted, like a bonsai plant) by Umno's political agenda in order to perpetuate the culture of fear against non-Malays.The former ISA detainee said that it is typical of Umno to play on racial fears to convince the public that they are the best option for Malays to remain at the forefront of social and economic development in Malaysia.."

One typical Malay mind that got shrunk or "bonsified" is Quiet Despair.

So, Quiet Despair, Hishamuddin Rais is a "non Malay in disguise"??? From all your comments, your mind has been so shrunk by UMNO that you write like someone with a pea-brain.

Anonymous,  7 September 2010 at 22:21  

The elderly Malay lady had pushed her market trolley to her car, parked quite far away. She was putting her paid groceries into the car when she beheld a pack of batteries at a corner of the trolley. Checking her bill, she found they were unaccounted. She walked all the way back to the supermarket counter with the batteries and explained to the counter staff. She paid for them there and then. This happened two days ago in Petaling Jaya.

The Malay man had bought some fruits from the Chinese fruit-seller in a small town forty years ago. Thirty five years later, the fruit-seller narrated the matter. She remembered that the Malay man was having a difficult time, and could only pay a small part for the fruits. She said it was ok for him to hutang. Twenty years after he had walked away, he asked his son to go back to give her the balance and apologize for the delay. It happened in Teluk Intan.

Until they were demolished, you cannot miss the low-cost flats. They were near the railway station. Up on one of the floors lived a Malay family in a simple and spare apartment. The breadwinner was a Malay teacher who augmented his small salary by giving tuition. He was a wiry old man who was very enthusiastic in teaching Bahasa Malaysia. Sometimes he made teh for his students who would delve with relish into the richness of the language. Occasionally they would ask him to teach them how to write Jawi. If the flats had still been around today, you could see the royal building in the distance, framed against quite a charming sunset. The city is Johor Baru.

And shall we also remember the Malay lad who was a postman? He was knocked down from his motorbike but although prone on the road, he still clutched on responsibly to his pile of letters.

Or the Malay heart surgeon, followed closely by the visiting Japanese doctors, as he made his rounds? Tall, imposing and yet carrying a serene professional look, he spoke briefly and precisely at each bed without any hint of an upper lip.

If we want to search for malayness, presumably these would be good examples. The same examples can equally apply to chineseness or indianness or sikhness (;)) or asliness.

Anonymous,  7 September 2010 at 22:21  


So how did our fairy tale become a horror story?

If we ponder hard enough, we can dig the answer out. The change came about when the malayness was eroded the moment some called the non-Malays pendatang.

We can easily prove this is the root cause of racism in this country today.

Just ask ourselves whether in the above five cases, would they ever do so?

So if these are fine examples of Malays with malayness, then those who still think of the non-Malays as pendatang are the root source of racism.

If our Malays stay the course, and avoid thinking our non-Malay brothers as pendatang - even today - when the forefathers of all races have already moved on - then racism will not have a fertile ground to stand on. Because causes and effects will fizzle out soon enough.

The heart of all arguments by people in Perkasa and people like Ahmad Ismail and the others is based on their unshakable view of the non-Malays as pendatangs. But how can the non-Malays before us today be pendatangs?

As someone had asked, are we Malaysia or Malaysaja?

Those five examples have qualities worth supporting. No doubt they had to work it out for themselves. No less the others. Somewhere in the hard work, personal sacrifices, upholding values and principles, thinking of others first regardless of race or background, something held up to be remembered - even by simple folks.

The last census results have been completely erased from all archives. They showed population of fifty one percent attributed to bumiputra Malays. Even Raja Nazrin's speech mentioning that is gone.

It doesn't matter. We can have one hundred percent and still be wrong. We can have one percent and still be right. It is all a matter of principles. The malayness that has been cherished was one which worked by principles.

The dilemma today is how to re-grow it even when shaking off the past in order to fashion a new, more modern, more progressive and more globally inclusive mindset.

One suspects new sacrifices will have to be made. Some of the old ways will have to stand down and let the new waves of thinking doing and engaging be tried and tested.

For the sake of the young, for bridges to be rebuilt which have been washed away by the tide of acrimony, the ball is now in our court of the Malays.

Khun Pana aka johanssm 8 September 2010 at 01:12  

It is not wrong to demand equality , transparency and fair play.
From any angle be it religion and moral, it is not wrong at all.
In religion fair play and equality is a must. Ibrahim Ali and those who clamour for 30% can say what they wants as we are in a Democratic society but they disqualified themselves as Muslims.
They can be Malays but they cannot claims to be Muslims in the same breath.

The headmistress is in the education field. But she did not response like an educator should. Better to transfer her into BTN.
Maybe she will be more accepted there once inside the BTN.

The bn govt insist that we should not believe in "fictions" writen by Raja Petra.And that we have to believe news available from Utusan, BeritaH and their crony msm.
Glad to know that even people from Umno have to refer to RPK.

Selamat Hari Raya to everybody.

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