Sunday, August 06, 2006

82] Neither Half-bridge nor Oxbridge will our issue be

Not half bridge nor Oxbridge will our issue be
Azly Rahman
Jul 3, 06 6:29pm

It has been a rough month for our nation. And it is just the beginning of a turbulent year. The nation watches with anxiety what will happen between Mahathir and Abdullah, between Mahathir and Umno, and between Mahathir and his own Frankensteins he created in Umno. He created a system of blind loyalty that has a built-in self-destructing device, after 22 years. A ‘Mission Impossible III’ type of device.

This week, mediation is under way. We do not know what the intended resolution would be. Is it to ask Mahathir to stop demanding for answers, or to appease him with more? Is it to ask Abdullah to provide Mahathir the answers or to ask him more questions? The nation wants to read about the mediation process. The mainstream media, the online portals, the individual blogs will cover the chips and chops, the bare bones, the needs and wants of Mahathir and Abdullah. It is a learning process in political consciousness.

Malaysians are excited of the Balkan-isation of the political consciousness. We want to see the Berlin Walls of our psyche taken apart. We wish to see what the final act will be of this war between our Jacobins and Girondins and how we re-enact the final days of the French Revolution. It is about daggers and spears flying. It is about guillotines. The war will bring on Trojan Horses, skeletons in the closets and will grip old and new members of Umno in fear. It's going to be a fearful chess game. In the age of the Internet and citizen journalism and socially-responsible news reporting, we will be educated and enlightened. But, what is the real issue?

"Conflict of interest"

It is about greed and the insatiable urge to continue projects that would benefit the few. It is about a Vision that is no longer working and was based on a wrong premise. The Vision 2020 that was laced with nice words that masked the development of social cleavages in our society. It is about a war to replace one dynasty with another. The ancient regime of Mahathir is about to be replaced by the newer regime and in the process wealth and power are rearing their ugly heads.

As in a nuclear war, there will be no survivors. In this event, only the Internet will not be destroyed. If we look at the issue merely from the point of view of political science, we will see a conflict of interest and personalities in the drama. We need to look beyond this, using the tools of political- economy and post-structuralism for then we will understand the drama better. Mahathir is anxious about the failure of the half-bridge project, the selling of MV Agusta and the propping of a defacto prime minister-ship as claimed.

Abdullah is silently angry of Mahathir's remarks of him as an incompetent successor. This is an insult to Abdullah's intelligence, however slow and ineffective he is in making the changes he promised. But there is a larger issue of succession here as claimed by Mahathir. If indeed it is true that Abdullah's cabinet is run by a group of people interested in building their own empire, we have got a national problem.

We have a problem of dignity as a nation; one that goes to the polls every five years. It shows that we are bankrupt of intelligent leaders and we are merely harping on the idea that these individuals are 'well-educated'. This is a wrong perception of leadership that needs to be corrected. This is an insult to what I call the ‘nouveau-neo-feudalist-cybernetic-closeted-brilliant’ Malays who are beginning to wake up from a deep trance to question authority and legitimacy. We have plenty of brilliant leaders who are even wiser, mature and selfless.

People with a better perception of what good leadership means. Look at Indonesia that was run by ‘The Berkeley Mafia’ during the Suharto era. The nation ended up not just bankrupt but burned down. Look at nations run by other invisible hands of corporate-crony-capitalism through brilliant people such as those who graduated from American Ivy Leagues and top British universities. These nations are not necessarily successful.

Columbia University had brilliant scientific leaders such as Enrico Fermi who worked on the Manhattan Project (atomic bomb) to blow the world up many times over. Rockefeller-funded University of Chicago had so many economists who theorised in favour of reducing human beings to cogs in the wheels of imperialism. Oxford and Cambridge produced brilliant anthropologists who use their expertise to advice the colonials on how to destroy the lives of natives.

For that matter America's current president George Bush Jr was a graduate of America's Oxbridge-Yale University. Look at how many bridges he destroyed! America's current Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was a Stanford professor - look at what kind of advice she is giving to the Yale graduate.

"Glorified interns"

Where one gets one’s education is not a good measure and predictor of success when upholding the virtues of public office. It is the commitment to ethics and commitment to the needs of the poor, the environment and to a peaceful and sustainable future that matters. A government run like a republic of virtue, mediated through open doors of collaboration, driven by transcultural humanistic and selfless philosophy that teaches transformative leadership and self-help is better than a secret government run by spoiled rich children with expensive taste and smart toys.

If a politician builds his or her career first through the acquisition of wealth in dubious ways, buying people, places, symbols, status and, next, the entire ideological state apparatus to position oneself, the nation has got to wonder and investigate. That kind of political creature will need more money, power, and influence to maintain himself or herself. The public will have to fear this. How much will the public have to pay to prop up this type of monster?

Power-hungry Ivy League and Ox-Bridge educated leaders need not blind the public of their claim to ‘birthright’ to rule the people, especially when there are many others who are equally capable of governing with a clear sense of ethics and morality. Power-hungry Ivy League and Oxbridge educated leaders need not mystify the public with the idea of 'brilliance and intelligence'. These are merely constructs. They may know a bit more than others but they may know the least of what the poor need. They may be rich in money to buy votes but they may be poor in ethics to buy respect.

Only Ivy League and Oxbridge social, educational, cultural, and political leaders who are grounded in the day-to-day reality of the multi-cultural poor should be accorded respect. These are true men and women who will use profound theories to make radical humanistic changes that will alter the ideological and material landscape of the nation. As a citizen of sovereign Malaysia, I would be insulted to know that my country, as claimed by Mahathir, is not governed by the elected prime minister but by a bunch of over glorified interns.

It hurts my conscience to know that the time, energy, money, and dignity, the rule of law and the rule of the people is being undermined by a ‘secret government’ which the public talks about openly. This means that the prime minister is worthless. I hope we are not, as a nation, being insulted as such. But if this is case of how our politics is being played, we must demand a stop to it. We cannot allow politics to be about running the lives of the people like some investment bank. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund as the twin engines of the growth and progress of world poverty has shown us how human beings have become cattle in the field of global investment. In Malaysia the slogan ‘human capital’ (‘modal insan’) borrowed from Gary Becker, is an indicator of a ‘cattle-isation’ of Malaysia through a new language of investment banking.

"Mediation unnecessary"

Neither the half-bridge nor Oxbridge is the issue. The public wishes to see how the nation has been and continues to be governed. We wish to see a clearer picture of the nature of controlling interest, the structure of oppression, the distribution of wealth to the rich and the poor, the 22- year system of proxy-political economy, the instruments of oppression used in maintaining political stability, and the nature of how Malaysian political dynasties are built.

The poor Malays, Chinese, Indians, and all the indigenous people of Malaysia impoverished and marginalised by the myth of progress and Vision 2020 want to know how the political system has become so corrupted materially and morally that even after almost 50 years of independence we are seeing a huge gap in the ownership of wealth and a continuation of race-based economic policies.

Poverty is still not eliminated nor wealth ethnically redistributed. We need the Mahathir-Abdullah debate to continue unmediated.

It is not them who need answers. It is us the rakyat who have more questions. We also want to know how an oil-rich nation such as Malaysia is fuelling the growth of the urban poor.

1 comment:

Wintermute said...

A word to the wise, Dr Azly; the shorthand term, 'Oxbridge', is cordially hated by alumni of both institutions and is exclusively employed by people who know nothing about either one.

Lecture: Edward Said

Loading...

Lecture: Noam Chomsky

Loading...

Lecture: Jacques Derrida

Loading...

Lecture: Jean Paul Sartre

Loading...

Movie: 1984

Loading...

Movie: Animal Farm

Loading...

Movie: Chicken Run

Loading...

Poems: Rumi

Loading...

Dialogue on Religion: Karen Armstrong

Loading...

Dailogue on Religion: Huston Smith

Loading...

Islam

Loading...

Humanism

Loading...

Jainism

Loading...

Sikkhism

Loading...

Hinduism

Loading...

Bahai

Loading...

Confucianism

Loading...

Taoism

Loading...

The Bhagavad Gita

Loading...

Jesus of Nazareth

Loading...

Siddharta Gautama

Loading...

Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh)

Loading...