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Reflections on a sinking Bahtera Merdeka

The Biro Tata Negara (BTN) is the chief institution that disseminates the idea of Malay supremacy, makes Malays docile, wages nDoc germ warfare on Malays, breeds inter-racial hatred, destroys the possibility of inter-race dialogue, makes Malays afraid of themselves and their own shadow, and psyches Malays into believing that only UMNO is their true saviour.

Dr. Azly Rahman


Saturday, April 19, 2008 

Bonda senyum riang (Mother smiled with joy)
Menerima bahtera merdeka... (In receiving the ship of Independence)
- words from an old song of the 70s

With apologies to the late American social critic Gore Vidal, my piece this week was conceived over the weekend at a speech at Harvard University, during which I spoke about the "ambiguities of freedom" in post-March 8 revolution in Malaysia.

bahtera/jong/ship that was supposed to bring this country and its people to this mythical magical and elusive place called 'Vision 2020' is going down fast and will perhaps sink by May 13, 2008 - 50 years after it was built with confidence and with a new hope for a multi-cultural Malaysia that promised justice for all.

Titanic of Malaysia's independence is giving way. The Ides of March and April Showers that transformed into a tsunami and that will bring May Flowers of Power of the Sixties sensibility – all these will bring down the United Malays that is neither. The Malays were neither pure Malays nor united. Nor was Umno even a national organisation. Neither national nor organised, especially at the brink of its sinking.

And Johoreans - the creators of UMNO - must now be the ones crying out loud on board the UMNO sinking ship. Little did they know that they accidentally built in the seeds of contradiction and the antithesis of patriotism into foundations of the
Bahtera Merdeka.

They did not know what globalisation and radical multiculturalism meant. Nor did they anticipate that when the
bahtera travelled to the northern states and Umno changed stewards in the course of 50 years, disasters would happen. Bonda senyum riang is now weeping.

What happened? Insightful analyses continue to be made on the event of the sinking. Blogs are providing powerful and plausible interpretations and readings into the event.

My thoughts on the sinking ship revolve more on the nature of the human mind; how it is prepared for the sinking ship. I want to specifically talk about the Malay mind, one I am quite familiar with having been raised in a Malay worldview, albeit vacillatingly as I move in, out, and around multiple worlds.

Akujanji culture

It is no just greed and abuse of power that are contributing to the sinking ship. There is systematic mental genocide of Malays by the party that claims to represent them.

The mental illness that has been inflicted on the bright young Malay minds since Independence is like germ warfare by the rich and powerful Malays on the poor and the powerless, so that only the few will survive in this pseudo-Malay game of Social Darwinism and fascism combined.

In the Kennedy-era of the 1960s Modernisation theorists such as David McClelland talked about the
nAch virus, or the "need for Achievement" virus needed for people of the Third World countries to modernise.

The Malays were given the
nDoc virus to keep their mind in total obedient mode. This is the "need for Docility" or or "need to be made docile", or "need to be mentally subdued" or "need to merely follow rules and orders" or "need to keep silent even in face of oppression" and "need to sign the Surat Akujanji" and follow whatever the ketua jabatan commands them to do, even to vote for a sinking ship or to surrender their Constitutional rights.

All these are part of the spectrum of the carpet-bombing mechanism deployed in the germ warfare inflicted by the few Malays upon the many Malays, especially to those in the educational and public service institutions.

While those in power can make and break all the rules they want, those who are powerless are forced to kowtow to the demands, however ridiculous these may seem. The multitude of high profile corruption cases, unsolved, attest to the arrogance of the powerful amongst us. The record number of Constitutional amendments this country as seen since Independence too illustrate the nature of control of one branch of government over the others.

Biro Totalitarianisma Negara

The Biro Tata Negara (BTN) is the chief institution that disseminates the idea of Malay supremacy, makes Malays docile, wages
nDoc germ warfare on Malays, breeds inter-racial hatred, destroys the possibility of inter-race dialogue, makes Malays afraid of themselves and their own shadow, and psyches Malays into believing that only UMNO is their true saviour.

It is a dangerous and divisive institution that is deliberately destroying the mind of the Malays and forcing the hard-working race to perform in life based on their own merit. It is a fascist institution that is instilling the idea that the non-Malays are the ones making the Malay poor and perhaps lazy.

A successful master-slave narrative needs this brand of ideology in order for soft power to be sustained. A dependency syndrome as such is a necessary creation of the powerful to gain control over the powerless. This is also the hidden doctrine of slavery and mental servitude. The silent and docile Malay is successfully reproduced generation after generation.

The feel-good of this doctrine is akin to the "feel-good" sensation of a "freshie-ragging" session during Orientation Week in many a Malay-dominated institution of learning in which the culture of "abang/kakak - adik angkat" prevails. Both parties derive pleasure out of the structurally-violent relationship. At a deeper historical level, this is how neo-feudalistic mode of thinking gets perpetuated. The State becomes the postmodern Feudal Kingdom.

The Biro Tata Negara is not teaching ethics of patriotism but instead disseminating the virtues of xenophobia and ethnocentrism, destroying the mind of the Malays. The
rakyat must now question the very existence and perpetuation of the propaganda machine and institute ways to stop this machinery from further functioning.

I speak from my own personal experience in being forcefully and systematically injected with the nDoc virus some time in the mid-1980s at the height of the BTN's work in capturing and captivating the mind of the Malays, turning them into leaders who hate especially the Chinese. It claimed that the non-Malays have taken the wealth away from the Malays.

As an educator I want to see the immediate stop to the work of any form of government agencies that teach Malaysians to hate one another. I believe many Malaysian educators for peace and social justice share my view. I want to especially see the BTN and the National Service in their current form and mode of pedagogical operation, go down together with the sinking ship/
bahtera merdeka. I want to see more programs that foster inter-racial harmony and collaboration, in a country plagued with policies that discriminates based on race, class, creed, and national origin. I want to see children of the new immigrants as well given the opportunities to learn about inter-racial understanding. I believe many progressive Malaysian educators wish to see the two programs halted and reconstructed.

I think these two systematic programs of mass indoctrination which grew ironically out of the work of "intellectuals" of our public universities are anti-patriotic and do not create good, thinking citizens able to cooperate inter-culturally in a rapidized globalizing world. These two government programs to promote docile thinking are no longer suitable for a changing Malaysia that wants to value tolerance, respect, dignity, and peaceful resolution for all races. They are in fact part of the instruments of domination that has brought UMNO and the government down its knees.

These programs are based on a flawed philosophy of leadership and human development. They are meant to deliberately create Spartans and not Athenians in our youth. Spartans merely follow rules while Athenians create philosophies that spark revolutions and innovations celebrating humanism. Greek (and Islamic) philosophy inspired the European Renaissance movement which then sparked the Scientific Revolution. The government-indoctrination programs of the Malaysian government, perhaps funded through an unlimited budget, waste the talent of our youth and failed to inculcate creativity and multiple-intelligence capacities. They may strengthen the body but weaken the mind at a time when "brain power" is needed in world in which "information is the currency" and "brain-power industries" are the foundation of economies.

Malays not only need to reject all forms of mental domination as such but also perhaps file a class action suit against the BTN for instilling the fear in themselves, failing to relate with trust with other races, and failing to perform to the best of their mental capacity. Parents need to critically think of the value of these programs and how they affect the consciousness of their children/youngster.

If HINDRAF leaders can file for reparation for the injustices inflicted upon Indians brought over as indentured serfs, the Malays who have been forced into indoctrination programs such as those run by BTN must also seek reparation for mental damage caused by the bureau's decades of work.

We need a new ship and a brand new crew. We need a true blue Bahtera Merdeka. It is now probably docking either in Sabah or Sarawak.

[REMINDER: As usual, please leave comments that educate and that will bring our level of discussion to a higher intellectual plane. We are all learning to propose avenues to build a new republic upon the ruins of the old. Deconstruct paradigms, not people. People are as good as the politics and paradigm that produce them. Let us continue to be ethical and gentle yet deeply critical in our writings. Malaysia-Today is a privilege for what we are trying to achieve. Your contributions continue to be much appreciated.]  

Posted by Romantic Day Dreamer at 2:40 PM


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