Friday, April 28, 2006

READER RESPONSE: Anti-Hadis

Ignore not prophetic wisdom
MZHApr 25,
06 4:12pm


With respect to Umran Kadir's criticism towards Azly Rahman on his article, I did not see Azly's alleged labeling and generalisation of people of various interests and agenda to the extent where he ‘conveniently lump artists, feminists and musicians into one group and then proceeded to accuse this group of a plethora of ills’.

The usage of the adjectives 'reformed', 'pseudo', 'wayward' and 'extremely' proves well that it is not Azly's intention to categorise the mainstream artists and intellectuals together with those who ignore the prophetic wisdom as source of Islamic jurisprudence. I have to appreciate Azly's effort to highlight the true light of Islam with his exposure of the anti-hadeeth subculture.

It is the job of excellent 'independent' status-quo challengers like Umran to develop an internal radar in order not to fall to the trap of either truth-relativism or blind- adherence, instead of being sensitive to superficial semantic interpretations. Due to these one-way criticisms, people around the world have taken them out of context in their effort to ridicule Islam's role in maintaining social justice.

The public, especially non-Muslims, who are generally well-versed with the principles established within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, will not have the expertise, time and space to refer to the divine texts and thus will treat Islam as a mere non-sociological belief system. Wild scrutiny of the divine revelations in the absence of contextual understanding laid down by the prophetic tradition is similar to denying the Messengerhood of the Prophet, as it ignores the role of the prophetic wisdom in constructing the Islamic worldview.

Being balanced does not mean being a bland conformist, and it prevents the dichotomy of conservatives and liberals which have been severely reinforced by self-interested politicians. There are great ideas flaunted by several Muslim feminists and social activists, but most of them have gone straight into the dustbin, sadly, due to their pick-and-choose ‘mazhab’. The silent Muslim majority will definitely not be perturbed by writings which not only highlight errors in un-Islamic practices, but offer solid remedies to current failings in the syariah implementation fully backed up by the Quran under the light of the prophetic wisdom.

The gatekeepers of both the mainstream and alternative media may not like balanced views like Azly’s (and to a certain extent, Umran’s, if he wishes to be critical of both the conformists and non-conformists), but the silent Muslim majority will quietly scissor out your content, laminate it and hang it on their small, humble cubicle cells.

On the other hand, the only benefit of publishing ‘tip-toey’ articles which lack critical insight of the extremity of both truth-relativism and blind- adherence is fewer trees to be cut, and more free bandwidth to be shared.


Time to correct gender imbalance04:17pm Mon Apr 24, 2006
Azly Rahman’s paroxysm troubling04:08pm Fri Apr 21, 2006
Azly out to bamboozle04:05pm Fri Apr 21, 2006
Feminism is about humanity03:05pm Fri Apr 14, 2006
Unfair to keep women ‘down on the farm’04:31pm Tue Apr 11, 2006
Feminism: What is he afraid of?04:01pm Mon Apr 10, 2006
We know what feminism is, thank you03:33pm Thu Mar 30, 2006
Don’t deny women equal rights07:58pm Wed Mar 29, 2006
Malaysian feminists and still proud of it!04:45pm Mon Mar 27, 2006
Muslim feminists and reality levels03:18pm Wed Mar 22, 2006

READER RESPONSE: FEMINISM

Feminism a social re-engineering toolAbd Rahman Abd TalibApr 25, 06 4:07pm


Many in the world believed that feminism represent empowerment and the struggle for justice and equality for women. This is the image projected by women’s group around the world. The truth, unfortunately, is far from this. Many are unaware of the basic premise behind the feminist ideology. If one were to read the bible of feminism, The Feminist Mystique by Betty Friedan, one cannot but notice one thing.

Feminism is about struggle for women, but not necessarily all women. Mothers and wives are especially exceptions. Freidan, in the book, makes this obscene comparison between concentration camp inmates and motherhood. ‘They were reduced to childlike preoccupation with food, elimination, the satisfaction of primitive bodily needs; they had no privacy, and no stimulation from the outside world. But above all, they were forced to spend their days in work which produced great fatigue ... required no mental concentration, gave no hope of advancement or recognition, was sometimes senseless, and was controlled by the needs of others... ‘(pg 306)

Freidan’s above statement is the basis for feminists’ paradigm all over the world. Motherhood is a form of slavery, in which a mother is forced to enslave herself to her husband and children. In response, the feminist ideology is then pronounced to the entire world. It is meant to bring women out of their homes and into workplaces as a way from rescuing them from ‘concentration camps’. The feminist ideology assumes that being a wife and mother is a form of oppression against women.

The feminist mindset simply assumes that fulfillment in life is attained only by success in careers and not by caring and nurturing their young ones. Amazingly, Betty Friedan’s paradigm is reflected also by so-called Malaysian women’s rights groups in Malaysia. The International Herald Tribune quoted Zainah Anwar, president of Sisters Of Islam as saying of her unmarried status: ‘I don’t want to be a slave to a man’. From what I see, some so-called ‘women’s group’ in Malaysia are doing nothing more than espousing feminist ideology under the disguise of Islam.

Although I do admit that there are women’s groups in Malaysia and elsewhere in the Islamic world that genuinely exist for the betterment of women, but they are rarely given media space or allocated resources. Sadly, ask anyone about feminism, almost all of them would say it’s about fighting for the rights of women. The question now is, were women deliberately denied of their rights? Were women discriminated against simply because they are women? In the olden days, when 90 percent of women were married and divorces were rare, discriminating in favour of men was actually discriminating in favour of their wives at home.

Now, since men and women are paid equally, it seems that women who decide to become full-time mothers end up being discriminated against. In short, feminism is not about the empowerment of women. It is about making it socially acceptable for women to abandon their duties as mothers and housewives for a career resulting in discrimination and oppression of mothers. Feminism survives and thrives on the assumption that all women are oppressed. The public is conditioned to accept this particular feminist notion. In fact, it is their modus operandi to further strengthen this notion so as to enable them to advance their social re-engineering agenda. In Malaysia, the ‘feminists’ are not much different from their American counterparts. They go to town about religious laws being discriminatory to women.

The Syariah Court was attacked time and time again for being discriminatory towards women. Yet, to date no evidence was ever presented by these so-called women’s group. In truth, it’s not about fighting for women’s rights. It’s about destroying the Syariah Court’s credibility. Since syariah courts enforce Islamic family laws and Islamic family laws all over the world are the most ‘politically incorrect’s laws as they are contradictory to the feminist ideology.

As a result, feminism only leads to the destruction of the family institution, the rise of homosexuality, the lowering of birth rates, the rise in divorces and not to mention producing more and more lonely men and women in a society at large.


Time to correct gender imbalance04:17pm Mon Apr 24, 2006
Azly Rahman’s paroxysm troubling04:08pm Fri Apr 21, 2006
Ill-defined feminism is anti-humanism03:04pm Thu Apr 20, 2006
Feminism is about humanity03:05pm Fri Apr 14, 2006
Separating state and religion, a polytheism03:49pm Thu Apr 13, 2006
Unfair to keep women ‘down on the farm’04:31pm Tue Apr 11, 2006
Feminism: What is he afraid of?04:01pm Mon Apr 10, 2006
Embrace ‘kampong-ism’ not ‘feminism’04:26pm Thu Apr 06, 2006
We know what feminism is, thank you03:33pm Thu Mar 30, 2006
Don’t deny women equal rights07:58pm Wed Mar 29, 2006
Malaysian feminists and still proud of it!04:45pm Mon Mar 27, 2006
Feminist movement akin to separatist movement04:39pm Thu Mar 23, 2006
Equality shouldn’t be just gender-based03:43pm Mon Mar 20, 2006
Malaysian feminist and proud of it04:41pm Thu Mar 16, 2006

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

69] 19 Codes for Code 19 Cult

19 codes for Code 19 cult
Azly Rahman
Apr 24, 06 2:19pm

I would like to propose the following statement as a proposition concerning an inquiry into the ‘bamboozling of the paroxysm of the Anti-Hadis cult’ as recently mentioned in two letters (Azly Rahman’s paroxysm troubling) and (Azly out to bamboozle) concerning my article on the roaming of this idea in cyberspace.

I am sure many may wish to comment on it:

While Muhammad the prophet of Islam build and empire of faith and opened doors to human liberation, members of the post-modern industrial tribe of the McDonaldising Anti-Sunnah cultish group build a windowless prison house of linguistic incoherencies, locked themselves in the glass-bubble and argued endlessly who should swallow the key”.

I invite scholars in this field to contribute intellectually in whatever forum they wish to engage in, concerning the debate on the ‘pro-Hadis versus anti-Hadis, pro-Quran versus anti-Quran’ problematique. I think it will be a great exercise in dialogical thinking. Only a kaleidoscopic view of this issue will help the younger generation of Muslims to understand some of the major fundamental flaws of the work of the Anti-Hadis cult, which has mutated like a Mandelbrott set.

Much of the arguments that have been produced by this cult revolved around an internal critique of the authenticity of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), without a clear understanding of the theories that inform what linguists might call, “orality and literacy” and a cluster of major paradigms of thinking about religion, philosophy, and science as these attempt to explain human spiritual experience.

I maintain, as in my previous article that members of this cult are actually “a band of careless touch-and-go thinkers” who do not yet have a comprehensive view of the complexity of the relationship between the Quraan and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) let alone have a good grasp of the latest theories surrounding new areas of understanding of the religion of Islam."

19 codes to explore

I suggest those interested in the debate look “grand theorizing” and “codes” in order to have a sustained dialogue not only on the internal complexities of the debate but also, to look at the semiotic dimension of the debate. These are, I maintained, not merely big words to bamboozle the readers, nor are they “tongue twisters” or tsunamical terms” but current perspectives into looking at a particular phenomena.

Twenty years after the phenomena of the emergence of the “Code 19 Anti-Hadis” cult, transplanted from an obscure masjid in Arizona, bodies of knowledge to crack this DaVinci-like code have emerged, aiding Muslims in understanding why Malaysian intellectuals studying the Quran remain good followers of this sub-altern cult. This cult is first obsessed with “mathematical truths” and next with “calling each other “messengers of Allah” when Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had completed his task for humanity and warned against “false prophets”.

I hope the themes below will stimulate the brain cells of the members of this cult that is keen in exploring merely a post-Cartesian and cybernetic view of “truth verification”.

They can be conveniently tailored to needs of weekly study sessions of the highly intelligent members of this cult group:

• Orality and literacy problematique
• Genealogy of the Cult
• Psychological problematique
• Epistemological problematique
• Pattern of Existentialist thought of the Code 19 Regime of truth
• Paradigmatic poverty of this cultish movement
• Politics of identity of the cultish meovement
• Dialectics and the Mind of the Cult Members• The Structure of Mental Colonialism of the Cult
• Transcultural Flow of Anti-Hadisism and the Nature of Altered Consciousness
• Cult members as Homo Economicus and Homo Cybernetic-Spiritus
• Benchmarks of Spirituality and its relationship to the Cult of Code 19
• Muhammad (PBUH) and the Inner Journey of Humanity
• Utopianism of the Muslims the nature of the “Ummah”
• Grand Narratives versus Sub-altern problematique in the conceptualization of the debate
• The Disacknowledgement of the Possibility of Imamite Rule by the cult
• Notions of Self in Society and the quest for Spiritual Beingness
• A Vision of the Tauhidic Self Reconstructed
• Anti-Hadisism: A Recantation"

50 essay questions to answer

• What are the tenets of the Code 19 cult?
• How do they pray?
• How do they acquire their understanding of God?
• Do they know how to pray as how the majority of Muslims does?
• Where would “Muhammad” be in their prayers?
• What would be the nature of their shahadah
• How do they fast in the month of Ramadhan, give the zakat, and perform the Hajj?
• Is believing in this cult a good excuse not to follow the way the majority of Muslims perform their obligations?
• Is the belief system of this cult foundationed upon misinformed perspective altogether masked as a modern “revelation”? Why or why not?
• What is troubling with their belief system?
• What is troubling the mind of the believers of this cult?
• What is their issue with the authority of the Ulama?
• Why must we take this cult seriously if they ado not take prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH) seriously?
• Is this a ploy to erode one’s reverie for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)?
• Is this a conspiracy to put the best Quranic interpreter on the spiritual pedestal, amongst the cult members?
• Can a good Muslim be a believer in the Quraan only and not in the Sunnah/Hadis of the prophet?
• Where would the source of practice and ethics as Muslim be derived from if they are not from the Sunnah too - would they be freewheelingly invented by the members of this cult?
• Who help their potentially feeble mind interpret the Quraan?
• What research methodologies inspire the way members of this banned cult understand the Quran?
• Do they believe in Muhammad as the last prophet? Why or why not?
• What problems do they have in honoring the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)?
• Are the Grand Teachers (Mahagurus) of this cult more superior to Prophet Muhammad?
• Is the life of the prophet of Islam too difficult for the cultish group to learn from?
• Why are members of this cult group shying away from honoring the prophet? Do they believe in prophets that came after Muhammad (PBUH)?
• Do they really understand the struggles of Prophet Muhammad?
• Are members of this cultish group clear-headed enough to understand the concepts of the “historical” and “symbolic” Muhammad?
• Is the mind of this cult group controlled by the cult of blind reasoning?
• Can reason alone be trusted as a source of knowledge? • Are they rejecting the Hadis merely as a reason to be blind deviants?
• Are they trapped in their own logic bubble or in the language game created by others?• Do their interpretations make sense?
• Are grand masters and interpretation workers of this cult massaging their data to fit their “boxed-set” worldview?
• By rejecting the Hadis, are they actually mentally fatigue to venture into other realms of creativity?
• Are they merely followers of the teachings of a Hungarian Jewish scholar?
• Are they believers of the Islamic numerology of Rashad Khalifa (Code 19).
• Is Code 19 that profound of a revelation - or is it merely a good yet disputable conclusion to a finding of years of data crunching job? Will a better computer yield or speak a “better truth”?
• Can this group be classified as a similar genre to that of Ayah Pinn-ism or any other cult groups that do not make much spiritual sense?
• Is their poor understanding of the science hermeneutics and heuristics a reason to be cultish?
• Is there a spiritual dimension in the doctrine of this Anti-Hadis cult group?
• Who invented the word “Quranist”? Is there a Quranist-Muslim and a non-Quranist Muslim then? Or a Quranist and non-Hadis Muslim as opposed to say, a Quranist-Hadiist Muslim? What does all these mean?
• How many permutations does a believer need in order to view the spiritual world as a “shopping mall”?
• If this cult thinks that the Quran is for everyone and anyone can interpret the Quraan, then and an agnostic and an atheist and a Communist can interpret the Quraan and have it used by the Anti-Hadis cult?
• How many versions of the Quraan will the Anti-Hadis Quranist cult have then, say a hundred years from now?
• In 300 years time, who will these “Quranist” scholars deploy worldwide as scribes to collect the sayings/sunnah/hadis of the Grand Master/Maha Guru of the Anti-Hadis cult, whoever he/she may be?
• Will there still be an issue of authenticity in the chain of narrations (isnad) of he body of work produced by this cult?• How will the Internet, with its possibility to ‘cut and paste verses’ impact the authenticity of the texts produced by Grand Masters of this Code 19 cult?
• How is the emergence of this cult a phenomena of urban-religious myth making and how is it a result of the impact of cybernetic philosophy on the mind of the struggling soul searcher?
• Cui bono? Or ‘who benefits’ from the existence of this cult?
• How is this cult another form of “post-industrial” tribalism?"

My hope as a student

As a student of transcultural philosophies, I am very interested in reading what the programme of study is for I have outlined above would yield. I hope to read the responses in forums in cyberspace.

Friday, April 21, 2006

READER RESPONSE Feminism

Malaysian feminists and still proud of it!
JS Shaari
Mar 27, 06 4:45pm


I refer to the letter Feminist movement akin to separatist movement by Dr Azly Rahman.

The writer has accused me of misunderstanding him due to my lack of careful reading. ‘Mintak maaf ya encik, saya ni budak Melayu, belajar pun tak lah sampai ke luar negara, jadi nak baca Bahasa Inggeris yang terror-terror ni, saya tak pandai lah encik...’.

I may not hold as many Masters as the writer nor be able to write long, convoluted and rambling articles on the metaphysical aspects and the ideology of feminism. The writer must think himself very clever in his ‘clever’ dissertation of Malaysian feminists, spewing forth words along the lines of post-modernist/post-structuralist, bourgeois-type, subtle neo-colonialist and the fact that the Malaysian feminists of today seem only to be an echo of the Western feminism struggle.

Unfortunately, in his vehement and determined struggle to trivialise the growing awareness and emergence of Malaysian feminists, he comes across as an elitist intellectual, encased in his comfy armchair and so out of touch with the reality of what is happening in Malaysia today.

While the writer contends himself with his textbook definitions and his intellectual, high- handed, misogynist take on why we Malaysian feminists should first read and study the genealogy, historicity and post-structuralism of (what is that darned thing called?) feminism before we can even say a word on that subject; the rest of us Malaysian females, older generation as well as the emerging young, upper, middle and lower class are more interested in actually living in the real world.

And through our experience and our voices and our beliefs and our knowledge make a stand for ourselves and our rights in all realms of our lives. And we will not be silenced.


Feminist movement akin to separatist movement04:39pm Thu Mar 23, 2006
Equality shouldn’t be just gender-based03:43pm Mon Mar 20, 2006
Malaysian feminist and proud of it04:41pm Thu Mar 16, 2006
IFL doesn’t violate syariah law principles03:38pm Tue Mar 14, 2006
Women’s rights: Action, not lip service, needed12:33pm Mon May 16, 2005
Women’s breasts: Let it all hang out, I say01:41pm Fri Apr 15, 2005
Struggle for women’s rights not about recognition02:51pm Thu Mar 17, 2005

READER RESPONSE: Anti-Hadis

Azly Rahman’s paroxysm troubling
Umran Kadir
Apr 21, 06 4:08pm


I was hoping Azly Rahman would actually take up the task of critiquing ‘anti-hadis’ or ‘Quran-only’ ideas for that would have been an interesting and meaningful piece.

Instead, what Azly has chosen to do is to conveniently lump artists, feminists and musicians into one group and then proceeded to accuse this group of a plethora of ills. According to him, not only is this group guilty of being zealous, ignorant and lazy but their disparate ideas also promote apostasy. Moreover, he derives the substance of his claims from bizarre and cryptic ramblings contained in anonymous emails.

Thus after stripping away flowery tongue twisters such as ‘syntagmatic’ and ‘eschatological’ it would appear that his piece is merely baseless ad hominem leveled at a diverse group of people with varied interests and agendas which he has chosen to simplistically dub ‘anti-hadis cults’. As a reader interested in religion and related subjects, I thought it was disingenuous of Azly to adopt the crude approach that he did.

In order for meaningful discussions on contentious issues to be had, we need to move beyond shallow labeling and generalisations.

The truth, I believe, is far more complex.


Feminism is about humanity03:05pm Fri Apr 14, 2006
Unfair to keep women ‘down on the farm’04:31pm Tue Apr 11, 2006
Feminism: What is he afraid of?04:01pm Mon Apr 10, 2006
We know what feminism is, thank you03:33pm Thu Mar 30, 2006
Don’t deny women equal rights07:58pm Wed Mar 29, 2006
Malaysian feminists and still proud of it!04:45pm Mon Mar 27, 2006
Muslim feminists and reality levels03:18pm Wed Mar 22, 2006
Cartoons: How about Western demands?04:16pm Tue Feb 28, 2006
All is fair game in the West 01:54pm Fri Feb 17, 2006
Black Metal not relatively harmless02:07pm Fri Feb 10, 2006
Tarring all metal followers black 04:10pm Thu Feb 09, 2006
Separation of powers Utopian?02:20pm Fri Mar 11, 2005

READER RESPONSE: Anti-Hadis

Azly out to bamboozle
Mr Subang
Apr 21, 06 4:05pm


Azly Rahman has recently written an article denouncing Muslims whom he describes as anti- Hadis.

He quotes two extended passages purportedly from one such anti-Hadis cult-member and goes on to say that these arguments in support of anti-Hadis groups merely reflect the weakness of the mind of those who refuse to read more than just the Quran. From what Azly provides, there is no evidence to suggest that the passages were written by an anti-Hadis Muslim. In fact, they seem anti anti-Hadis. Neither do the passages, for that matter, contain arguments as such. They merely describe the behaviour of anti-Hadis Muslims in Internet forums, albeit in a rather battlefield idiom.

Azly goes on to deride Quranist Muslims - as they might be more respectfully referred to - by asking, ‘If reading the Quran itself is too burdensome and too mentally-taxing for the docile mind, how might one expect these lazy thinkers to read the Hadis?’

Azly presumes that Quranist Muslims are anti-Hadis because they a) are lazy and b) have not read Hadis. I think that the lazy person here is Azly because it is apparent to me that it is he who is wantonly denouncing something about which he has not bothered to investigate. Quranists, in my experience, actually have a very good acquaintance with the Hadis and have, as a result of their sincere conviction, surmised that their faith shall be guided wholly by the holy Quran (just as one might have a very good acquaintance with creation science and remain a fervent evolutionist, for example).

Azly suggests that the anti-Hadis cult results from several deficits in understanding. These include of the ‘philosophy of history, of dialectical materialism, of Marxist theory of knowledge, of eschatological dimension of historical progress, ecclesiastical dimension of the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and a range of other bases of knowledge in Islam, pragmatism, and continental philosophy’.

I cannot help but feel that Azly demands a lot from his majority of Muslims. I am surprised to find that they can find the time to acquaint themselves with so many fields of knowledge amidst their rigorous study of the Quran and Hadis as well as have full working and family lives.

I also feel that the plethora of multiple-syllabic words that Azly deploys in his article is an attempt to bamboozle his readers into misapprehending the quality of his erudition. But, of course, it may well be that he has such a thoroughgoing knowledge of the various fields he demands of others, a knowledge that I would have thought would take at least four PhDs to acquire.

If so, he must be a scholar of frightening intellect.

It is then a great pity that it should be wasted in firstly, casting epithets like pseudo-intellectual, lazy, wayward, extremely radical, docile at those whose views he does not share and secondly, in drawing illogical conclusions such as that Quranist Muslims might one day target the Quran for de-legitimisation.

As an author who derides laziness, pseudo-intellectualism and scholarly in-erudition, I find Azly Rahman quite the hypocrite.


Islam: Back up arguments with empirical evidence04:20pm Thu Apr 06, 2006
Separation of state, religion against Islam04:29pm Mon Mar 27, 2006
Muslim women do not need saving from Islam04:11pm Tue Feb 28, 2006
Muhammad mountain saying anti-Islam06:11pm Mon Feb 27, 2006
Islam and democracy04:00pm Mon Feb 06, 2006
Cinta orang Hindu, cinta orang Islam05:55pm Thu Jan 26, 2006
Islam itu ehsan dan hikmah05:28pm Fri Jan 06, 2006

READER RESPONSE: Cartooning

Students mustn’t learn about the Prophet
Billy Ong
Apr 19, 06 2:45pm


I refer to the article Non Sequitur and the absurd media theatre.

I started learning the life of the great Prophet when I was in standard five (1959) including the lives of other saintly figures such as Jesus Christ, Guru Nanak and Gautama Buddha. These were taught as part of our history studies and they were sensitively delivered by the teachers without any bias or prejudice on any religion, unlike what is happening today in our schools.

Since Islam is now becoming such a highly sensitive issue these days, I guess it will no longer be appropriate to teach non-Muslim students the times and life of Prophet Mohammad anymore as we do not want these students to misconstrue the text thus creating more problems, which we can do without.

There is now such a gray area on what can be said and what cannot be said on such a topic that it would be best that it be left out of the school syllabus.


Islam: Nothing in constitution about leaving03:18pm Wed Apr 12, 2006
Islam: Back up arguments with empirical evidence04:20pm Thu Apr 06, 2006
Leave Islam to Muslims, yes, but ... 02:43pm Mon Apr 03, 2006
Non-Muslims have not interfered in Islam03:41pm Thu Mar 30, 2006
Separation of state, religion against Islam04:29pm Mon Mar 27, 2006
Muslim women do not need saving from Islam04:11pm Tue Feb 28, 2006
Muhammad mountain saying anti-Islam06:11pm Mon Feb 27, 2006
Islam and democracy04:00pm Mon Feb 06, 2006
Cinta orang Hindu, cinta orang Islam05:55pm Thu Jan 26, 2006
Stop politicising Islam to end debate03:25pm Mon Jan 23, 2006
Islam is one above others, not first among equals05:26pm Wed Jan 11, 2006
Thailand’s gentle Islam03:16pm Wed Jan 04, 2006

READER RESPONSE Feminism

Feminism is about humanity
Axxrose
Apr 14, 06 3:05pm



I refer to the letter Embrace ‘kampung-ism’, not feminism by Dr Azly Rahman.

Feminism, semantics aside, is not about religion, family laws, anyone's kampung values, protecting people or economic interests - it’s about humanity and that’s all. Azly as a male (I am presuming at least from his somewhat chauvinistic rhetoric) would see things differently and yes, females may see things differently too.

But ultimately, going to the baseline, human beings would all prefer to have a choice of what we want to do, who we want to be without condescending or patronising behaviour at the bare minimum and at worst, legal restrictions. All this within the context of not harming anyone else in the venture, of course. It’s not about Western, Islamic or Christian or extremist motives - it’s just fundamental humanity.

And the only reason why feminism came about is because of people like Azly (in earlier times circa the Middle Ages) managed the bring the whole system to a boiling point with absolutely brilliant societal theories on ‘kampong-ism’.


Unfair to keep women ‘down on the farm’04:31pm Tue Apr 11, 2006
Feminism: What is he afraid of?04:01pm Mon Apr 10, 2006
Embrace ‘kampong-ism’ not ‘feminism’04:26pm Thu Apr 06, 2006
Don’t deny women equal rights07:58pm Wed Mar 29, 2006
Malaysian feminists and still proud of it!04:45pm Mon Mar 27, 2006
Feminist movement akin to separatist movement04:39pm Thu Mar 23, 2006
Equality shouldn’t be just gender-based03:43pm Mon Mar 20, 2006
Malaysian feminist and proud of it04:41pm Thu Mar 16, 2006

READER RESPONSE Feminism

Don’t deny women equal rights
Malaysian Woman
Mar 29, 06 7:58pm



I refer to Azly Rahman's letter Feminist movement akin to separatist movement. Who is this guy anyway? Why is malaysiakini giving him space to air his views, particularly on women's issues? He is apparently very ignorant about a lot of things that have to do with women.

I cannot believe the rubbish he writes. Hello? A PhD in something else doesn't make you an automatic expert on the issues facing Malaysian women.

But certainly, being a Malaysian woman alone makes me an expert of the issues facing Malaysian women. We live and breathe as Malaysian women every second of our lives. What is this guy thinking? Is he thinking that we Malaysian women or Malaysians in general are idiots and awed by his writing? He makes so many statements that are absolutely baseless and fictional. Let me just tackle a few of them.

He says that in the West, a variant of feminism is same sex marriage. What? The issue of same sex marriage that is hotly debated in many Western countries currently has absolutely nothing to do with the feminist movement. If anything, it originates from the gay community's desire for rights such as inheritance of properties and health insurance coverage through a spouse - rights under law that only married couples can have. He alludes that Malaysian feminists are trying to copy Western feminists.

Is he saying that only women in Western countries should be allowed equal rights? What is so Western about the universal human desire to be treated equally as any other human being? Malaysian women, whether they label themselves feminists or not, most certainly, want the same opportunities as Malaysian men. He says that girls ‘will grow up confused’ in relation to their knowledge about their human rights as females. Well, as a woman who was formerly a girl myself, I was extremely confused when I learned that my male friends have it easier than me - they get more inheritance (in some cultures), they can have more than one spouse at any one time (Muslims only), and they have more access to sports while girls were relegated to home chores.

There are so many things society says a girl can't have, can't do, or can't be, but for a boy, the world is limitless. Mind you, little girls do notice the difference in treatment even if they cannot articulate it. When I realised that in God's view I was not inferior to boys despite what society has done to treat me unfairly, my mind became clearer, not more confused.

Azly Rahman writes that feminism is a ‘dangerous trend that will retard the development of ethical civilisation’. Excuse me? What is his definition of feminism? The fact is, feminism is nothing more and nothing less than the struggle to get women the same rights and opportunities that are already accorded men. What is so unethical about pursuing justice? In fact, not doing something when one sees that a group is treated favourably to the detriment of another group is unethical, and to systematically subjugate someone or a group of people in order to gain advantages over them is plainly criminal.

Citing a few examples, he says that women are already highly respected and valued as Mother in Malaysian society. And since women are already given a high status in society as Mother, what more could they want, right? Goodness!

A man isn't satisfied with his role as a father only; his worth as a human being is also about the work the does, his contribution to society, etc. Why should women be relegated to their sacred role of Mother only? And mind you, some women cannot become mothers even after going through extensive fertilisation treatments. Would Azly say that those childless women aren't worthy, then? Lastly, it is an absolute fiction to say that Malaysian women's struggle for equal opportunity and rights is the realm of the ‘elite or country club feminists’.

It just so happens that the voices of the powerful and well-connected women are the only ones that are being published or listened to. No one hears the aspirations of the vast majority of the lower class and unconnected women.

And thank God, we have brave prime ministers’ daughters who are compelled to take a stand. Yes, there is a need for Malaysian women (Muslims, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, etc) to exist and participate fully in Malaysian society at all levels - family, social, financial, political and religious.

To deny us our equal rights and opportunities would be immoral and criminal.

READER RESPONSE Feminism

We know what feminism is, thank you
Julie Chin
Mar 30, 06 3:33pm



Dr Azly Rahman seems to miss the point in his letter Feminist movement akin to separatist movement and his article Malaysian feminism in an 'apartheid nation'.

As a Malaysian female working and living in Malaysia, I found his writing to be offensive and off the point. So much so that one wonders if this is just another male wanting to hold down women and not being able to see their point of view and feels threatened because we wish to change our traditional roles of womanhood in our country which is not in tandem with how males want our roles to be here.

Men the world over regard it their right to determine how a women’s body should be used either for sexual relations inside a marriage and even on abortion. Malaysia is a country that is not fair to women on many levels - a wife has a hard time saying no to her husband in Malaysia to sex with the government not making marital rape a crime. Being married does not give a man the right to another person’s body. Period.

It is her body and she has the right even in a marriage to say no. We need protection for this but have never got it. As with the right for women to decide what they will wear without fear of their husbands or bosses. The right to equal pay and chances in the workplace and government. The right to be able to work in an office without hearing cruel jokes about another women’s body, the right to be able to walk down a street and not be gawked at, cat whistled or jeered at. The right to decide to work or stay home with no penalties. In certain states in the east there are certain leaders whom have said pretty women can always find a husband thus there is no need for them to work. The right to decide on their child’s education and religion. The right to get married to a non- Malaysian male and he be allowed permanent status here as in the case of Malaysian men who marry non-Malaysian women.

This list can go on and on and Azly calls it an import from the West. It seems funny to me and my friends that whenever people here want to assert things for themselves, there are people who claim this is ‘the importing of Western culture’.

This is not the case by far. Perhaps there was a time once ago where being submissive was an Asian cultural attitude but as we progress, and technology develops, we become more educated and experienced. And we begin to realise there are injustices.

READER RESPONSE: Feminism

Feminism: What is he afraid of?
JS Shaari
Apr 10, 06 4:01pm



I refer to the Dr Azly Rahman's letter Embrace 'kampong-ism' not 'feminism'.
Allow me to echo a fellow reader's mail: ‘Who is this guy?’. Well, whoever he is, he has the audacity to call people, excuse me, women who dare to air their opinions as 'theoretically shallow' and what we write about an 'embarrassment' as we cannot mount philosophical propositions. And then he goes one step further by proposing to us to go back to kampungs and lead the kampung life.

You know, if anybody is confused and emotional here, it can only be you, sir. You seem to view the rising awareness and the struggle for balance by women as a threat. You seem to live in some far away place where life is ideal and man and woman live in a win-win situation where men are the traditional breadwinners, 'feminism' an alien notion, etc. And you reiterate your argument that this Malaysian feminism is an upper-class concept which is out of touch with the kampung folks, for example.

Dr Azly, for your information, I have set foot and worked in some of the poorest districts in both West and East Malaysia. And for your information too, the kampung girls, as you call them, are not only aware of what Malaysian women face but they, too, are vocal in their own way. Maybe it's because they live through it everyday?

We women live, experience and survive daily in our capacity as daughters, mothers, workers, wives, kampung girls, ‘Minah Karans’, Muslims, Christians, Malays, Indians, Ibans, Kadazans, etc. So yes, even if we are not able to grasp the fundamentals of chaos and critical theory, we still know what we are talking about.

And I invite you sir, to come live in the real world.

Response to READER: Feminism

Ill-defined feminism is anti-humanism
Azly Rahman
Apr 20, 06 3:04pm


The growing responses by writers such as JS Shaari and SAB to my article and letter on the serious limitation of the Malaysian feminist paradigm are interesting. But at least the arguments are now less ‘emotional’ and more intellectual and academic.

But still, there are serious foundational flaws as I will point out. These flaws are perhaps derived by the weak foundations of the Malaysian feminists’ understanding of what “humanism” as well as “Westernism” connotes. I must, however, congratulate the writers for moving from the “illogical” to the “logical”, purely from the “right brain” to the “left brain” of the brain-hemispheric mode of this complex issue of “feminism”.

The inability to come to terms with these serious theoretical errors unfortunately most often forces the Malaysian feminist, especially the “Malay-Muslim feminist” (a contradictory and oxymoronic term itself) to resort to calling her critic a “male chauvinist”, a term in itself poorly understood by these so-called brigade of feminists. The letter writers who offer critiques to my idea of “kampong-ism” as opposed to feminism missed the point.

I wrote:

‘Kampong-ism is not race-based, ethnicity-based, gender-based, greed-based, sexual-preference- based or ideology-based philosophy of human liberation and organisation. It has the potential of reorganising societies based on the themes Rousseau, Reason, and Revolution in Human Consciousness.’ I had suspected that these writers who do not read social theory would not be able to understand what I mean by “kampong-ism”.

I am not suggesting the feminists as a disgruntled and theoretically-barren interest group seek refuge in a ‘kampung’ or hide under a coconut shell. In fact it is the opposite, if the feminist themselves understand the meaning of pastoralism in activism. I suspect the writers failed to comprehend this metaphor, and hence have argued wrongly. Malay-Muslim feminists in particular, and Malaysian feminists in general are a construction and almost an “invention” of the excessive “illiberal strand” of Western democracy. Such is evident from the inability to understand the difference between “feminism” and “apartheid”

There are other stands of illiberal democratic ideas that are fast mutating, metastizing, and destroying the ethical fabric of our society, among them corporate-crony-capitalism, degenerative music such as Black Metallism, ill-conceived alternative religio-paradigmatic inventions such as “Ayah Pinn-ism and Anti-Hadis-ism, and race-based economic designs derived from Malaysian-styled plutocracy.

Let us go back to this Malay-Muslim feminist mystique-problematique.

In a capsule, Malaysian feminists analyse, collect data, argue, conclude, and advocate using the paradigm of Western theoretical fancy and get support from their theoretical colonisers from the West too. The language of Malay-Muslim feminist is also a transplantation of the discourse of neo-colonialism derived from the Western feminist movement. Western feminism is ideologically controlling the direction Malay-Muslim feminism. The latter is like a Malaysian branch of McDonald’s and Starbucks. Language structures and reconfigures reality.

There is this argument that feminism is about humanity. But what brand of “humanism” are we talking about? Does “humanism” mean advocating for “equal rights” without clarifying or even clearly understanding what “equality”. “equity” or “equal opportunity” means”? There is also the argument that Malaysian feminism is about “Western humanism”. I am not sure what this word means.

Are there variants of “humanism” – Eastern, Mid-Eastern, Continental, Oriental, Occidental, Aboriginal humanism? Malaysian Muslim feminists are trapped in their own “logic bubble”, “prison-house of language”, and “paradigm of limitations” derived from the “cultural logic of the dangerous stand of Western illiberalism”.

To contract the strand of Western illiberalism means to subject oneself to a range of other “ills” that have pervaded Western democracy itself. Radical feminism is one, consumerism is another, and militarism is yet another.

I hope readers will understand better the range of thoughts I presented on feminism and do justice to my idea of “kampong-ism” by analysing the propositions concerning its base and superstructure.

The writer can be reached at: aar26@columbia.edu.


Feminism is about humanity03:05pm Fri Apr 14, 2006
Unfair to keep women ‘down on the farm’04:31pm Tue Apr 11, 2006
Feminism: What is he afraid of?04:01pm Mon Apr 10, 2006
Embrace ‘kampong-ism’ not ‘feminism’04:26pm Thu Apr 06, 2006
We know what feminism is, thank you03:33pm Thu Mar 30, 2006
Don’t deny women equal rights07:58pm Wed Mar 29, 2006
Malaysian feminists and still proud of it!04:45pm Mon Mar 27, 2006
Feminist movement akin to separatist movement04:39pm Thu Mar 23, 2006
Equality shouldn’t be just gender-based03:43pm Mon Mar 20, 2006
Malaysian feminist and proud of it04:41pm Thu Mar 16, 2006

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

68] Anti-Hadis Cult Roaming Cyberspace?

Anti-hadis cult roams cyberspace?
Azly Rahman
Apr 17, 06 12:49pm


Of late my peaceful coexistence in cyberspace has been periodically disturbed by ‘provocative articles’ forwarded from individuals/groups that are seemingly attempting to push the agenda of the Malaysian ‘Anti-Hadis’ group to the point of irritation. Muslims believe in the Quran and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that guides their lives.

I do not mind reading alternative viewpoints on issues of the day but not ones that are provocative and damaging to any religious faith. In this case of which war is declared in cyberspace, Islam becomes the target for zealots of the Anti-Hadis cult.

Interesting emails

Let me analyse an interesting and funny one. Consider the following unsolicited emails I receive:

“I’m sure you know there are thousands of forums, email groups of Muslim’s cyber community on the net worldwide. In time, some of these usually turned into battlegrounds for Sunnis and Antihadis. Prior to joining such groups, 'antihadis' will usually do some intelligence gathering. They will look up for groups that are un-moderated with high number of membership. The more the merrier. These 'antihadis' are special forces commandoes. They slip-in in small numbers or some would prefer to be lone rangers. They will survey the area and do target analysis. Upon the first strike of the clashes, you could see the formation of the Sunni Brigade. Sunni brigade in general can be classified into four groups. I classify them as: 1. Sideliners 2. True followers 3. Replacement killers and 4. Crusaders.” The one below looks like an email describing what the Anti-Hadis cult is about: Ambush – As I had mentioned in the profiling I did on Sunni Brigade, antihadis favorite ambush are on ‘rubbish convoys’. But don’t be surprised that sometimes, antihadis themselves are the ones who pose as the ‘rubbish forwarder’. They intentionally collect religious rubbish on the net for the purpose of using it against the Sunni. Sometimes they would pose as a pious, uncorrupted sunni with intention to get ‘ilmu’. They would then ask leading questions and set a trap for the sunni.

Lure – Antihadis would post controversial articles or writing with the hope to get responses from the Sunnis. They set these to lure the Sunnis. The war will rage on as soon as the first response comes. Assassination – This type of warfare is done by hunters. They are the antihadis elite and they are after specific target, especially the sunni crusaders or any well known figure. They never get into any ongoing clashes but they do monitor the crusaders/target closely. Once a crusader goes out of line, they will move in for a kill. They are also known as ‘Israel’ because when they make a move it will be short, precise and decisive. Their mission – to demoralise the sunni brigades. But to some sunni brigade they are known as ‘The Devil’. From the segments above, I hope to furnish you with the understanding of antihadis in a general sense. Hopefully you will be able to see that debating/confrontation as one of the learning methods where you put your own understanding to a test, which in turn will further strengthen your own belief and gain understanding and tolerance. If you wish to engage in one, I suggest that you don’t get emotional if you find yourself on the losing end. Make some adjustments, readjust and reinvent yourself and get on with it again. Perhaps you might opt for a more challenging battle – climb to the peak and confront those atheist and those agnostics, where the Quran is no longer a relevant book of reference.”

The problem with this cult

The contents are actually quite hilarious. They might have been written by one who has been playing too much of the video game ‘Mortal Combat II’. There is some sense of seriousness in those passages though.

These arguments in support of Anti-Hadis groups merely reflect the weakness of the mind of those who refuse to read more than just the Quran. If reading the Quran itself is too burdensome and too mentally-taxing for the docile mind, how might one expect these lazy thinkers to read the Hadis? How might one expect them to venture beyond Hadis and move on to philosophy and next onto praxis (marriage of theory and practice)? How might we expect them to venture into the study of the scriptures of other faiths?

The lame excuse of not being able to understand even the 40 Hadis (Hadis Qudsi) make them decide to form the Anti-Hadis groups and next form a "brigade" that will then disturb the peace of others, especially in cyberspace. I suspect the failure of this cult to propagate their ideas have made them resort to the Internet to deconstruct the belief system of Muslims. These Anti-Hadis groups think that it is imperative for the majority of Muslims to think outside of the box and to produce treatises and pronouncements that are actually making them retreat into the box and stay there as a clan to inbreed amongst each other guided by their Anti-Hadis philosophy.

The Anti-Hadis followers in due time, breed their own zealots that thrive on aggravating the general Muslim population who hold a better truth that the one who hold the ‘ill-conceived, ill-defined, ideologically-bankrupted’ Anti-Hadis group. The lack of understanding of the philosophy of history, of dialectical materialism, of Marxist theory of knowledge, of eschatological dimension of historical progress, ecclesiastical dimension of the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and a range of other bases of knowledge in Islam, pragmatism, and continental philosophy contribute to the emergence of this cultist group of Anti-Hadis true believers.

While the majority of the Muslims are keen in progressing with their rigorous study of the Quran and Hadis, the Anti-Hadis are moving intellectually backwards, holding on to their notion of poorly understood syntagmatic patterns of history, designing their poorly-conceived paradigm based on their revisionist theory of progress whose axioms are historical-materialistically weak. I suspect the gung-ho anti-Hadis deconstructionists are feeling a sense of power going into Malay Muslim newsgroups engaging others in arguments that they hope will “make Islam more liberal”. This might also be essentially a contributing factor to the growing case of apostasy. This is also a classic example of the abuse of power to spread ignorance.

Perhaps the younger followers of the Anti-Hadis groups consist of reformed Black and Death Metallists, pseudo-intellectuals, wayward artists and poets, extremely radical Malay Muslim feminists, and Malaysian gangsta rappers and hip hoppers who need the shortest way possible to understand Islam by skipping the Hadis and reading only selected passages of the Quraan. Such is the cult created by this new breed of revisionists of the already well-foundationed and finely preserved Islam.

The purpose of this group's existence is to question the authority the Imams by first questioning the legitimacy of the Hadis and the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH). The next target might be the Quran itself.

Language games

Creeping into public discourse, over this decade or so are terms to subdivide and destroy Islam as a religion of peace. I find the words such as ‘Islamofascists’, ‘Political Islam’, ‘Islamic terrorists’ and ‘Islamic Fundamentalists’ as very good inventions of the Western-corporate-hegemonising-fascistic-profiteering Western media with the intention of weakening people of the Islamic faith.

It is also a good way to create dichotomies such as ‘Moderate Islam’, ‘Liberal Islam’ or even ‘Muslim feminists’. Christianity and Judaism suffered form these forms of subdivisions.

Once the ‘enemy is named’ it easier to deal with it – or to even sell weapons to nations fighting over confusing issues.

We must provide the anti-thesis, even to the cult of the Anti-Hadis.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

67] Who Does Makyong Serve?

Who does Mak Yong serve?
Azly Rahman
Apr 10, 06 12:10pm


I have always wondered why the traditional highbrow art form called Mak Yong was banned in the Islamic state of Kelantan. I have also asked this: who do the court dances or tarian istana serve? The dichotomy is obvious: the dancers dance and the king and the queen get entertained. There is a class relationship forged, harmoniously.

But there is a deep structure of inert insensibility, imprisonment, and inequality underneath - one that characterises the world of the dominator and the dominated, of the powerful and the powerless. Beneath this lies the structural violence to be preserved. It is about power, knowledge, and ideology. There is a class and caste dichotomy at play. The one seated owns the means of intellectual, cultural, and economic production the one serenading are the cultural workers enslaved by the system build as a ‘culture’. The one performing the act is preserving this complex structure of domination.

I had one vivid cultural experience.

Growing up as a child in Johor Bahru I was always mesmerised by the kuda kepang dance and marvelled at the fact that, through dance and mantras, thinking and feeling human beings can evolve into horses. I actually saw the dancer, in trance, fed with what looked like flower petals-salad for Malaysian horses, perhaps. The enslaved mind is the one of the kuda kepang dancer, the owner of the enslaved mind is the guru/bomoh/shaman who owns the mantra (know-how) of domination. The pieces of flower petals become the opium.

Now that I am deeply involved in the study and the teaching of some aspects of the theories of mind control, state-inspired totalitarianism, and structures of hegemony, I think I have some answers to the question I posed on the Mak Yong. My search for answers on Mak Yong and the tarian istana brought me to the terrains of post-structuralist theories of language and symbolic power and the role of art in the development or retardation of human consciousness.

Whether one watches Mak Yong, Mawi (photo) or M Daud Kilau, or listens to Led Zeppelin or Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, the impact of mental colonisation can be explained. What is the perfect state of human liberation? How must one walk as a free person individually and culturally? How do cultures control those enculturalised? Through what means are the human mind controlled? Who does ‘cultural transmission’ serve?

"Culture of mind control"

The cybernetics and poetics of mind control is not difficult to understand. Research findings in the neurolinguistic programming aspect of brain functioning tell us how the human mind can be conditioned to alter perception. This is done through the process of numbing of the senses and by the manipulating the alpha-beta-delta-theta waves. This process contributes to the setting the stage for the production of the conditions of mental domination.

Step outside of ourselves. Watch a 30-second television commercial and observe how we get gladly glued to the mind-controlling machine and analyse how much the brain cells get excited and bombarded by the split-second messages and images. These images will be imprinted into the consciousness that will help the mind become conditioned to be reconfigured to suit the needs of those who attempt to dominate.

Look at the advertising billboards around us - on our streets and in the physical and mental landscapes of the world surrounding us. Why are they there? What and who do they glorify? What impact on the human consciousness are the producers of these images trying to create? Elements of culture are like synapses that bind the message linking the producer and the consumer. One becomes addicted to the junk produced on Malaysian television, be they entertainment, infotainment, talk shows, or cleverly biased documentaries.

Cultural artifacts are the markers of identification that demarcates the classes of people. They become manifestations of the structure of economic dominance created in society. They amplify the idea of feudalism. The ancient feudal state continues to be transformed into the modern state and next into the post-industrial neo-colonialist state that witness the collaboration between state and international actors conveniently called ‘glocalists’ (global-local entrepreneurial matrix).

"High culture and hegemony"

Mak Yong mesmerises the masses into thinking that this is the reality of culture of their spiritual lives they are constructed by. It is entertainment for the masses, like wayang kulit or the plays based on the Ramayana and Mahabharatha, that has been enculturalised and Malayanised as medium of spreading the ‘propaganda’ of those who owns the means of producing propaganda.

In Southeast Asia, we see for example, the enculturalisation of the Ramayana - in the shadow and non-shadow puppet plays of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Kampuchea. They preserve the cultural tradition of the epic, preserving the cultural contradiction built into the complex matrix of supernatural-ideological informational code of cultural continuity. In other words, they preserve the life-force of mental domination.

Propaganda is produced by institutions build to create what the Italian thinker Antonio Gramsci called "hegemony" or the intellectual leadership that makes cultural and class oppression seems natural and pleasurable Those who owns the means to mentally oppress will produced modern versions of artifacts of high culture in the form of the "preservation of tradition", without realising that it is this transformation of ancient fetishism into post-modern fetishism that facilitates the imprisonment of the docile mind of the masses and makes them happily indoctrinated into the ideology of submission.

Aristotle banished the poets. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) warned against the hegemony produced by the poets. Mao ZeDong created a counter-revolutionary plan of action to educate the masses of the continuing dangers of sublime influence of counter-revolutionary movement in the form of ancient Chinese culture that particularly glorifies Confucianism and promotes filial piety. One needs to read the work of French existentialists and the debates of the function of art to understand the nature of cultural domination and how they create the ‘authoritarian self’.

Our nation needs such a debate.

"Cultural revolution needed"

Paulo Freire, the Brazilian educator writes about "cultural action for freedom" and to ask people to think of how language structures our reality and creates the structure of domination. Education for critical consciousness is needed. We need to teach people how culture is produced and how artifacts, rituals, and reproduction of these imprison or liberate the human mind. We need to deconstruct the inner working of the minds of those in ‘state-sponsored cultural institutions’ that continue to push ‘preferred cultural ideologies’ onto the masses so that the latter will continue to support institutions and maintain hegemony, power, ideology and control in the subtlest of all ways.

In this age of Malaysian mentally-damaging reality television shows, we need to teach our children how the broadcast and digital revolution has helped speed up the process of transmission of ‘decadent cultures’ that ‘numbs the human mind’ so that the children of this generation will not be able to critically reflect upon the forces that are carpet-bombing their senses.

Today's television is pervasive in the way it colonises the Malay, Chinese, Indian, Bangladeshi and the mind of any nation. One can see for example in the way old Malay movies are produced; how myths are turned into award-seeking motion pictures.

The character of the unthinking and unethical feudal slave-warrior Hang Tuah is now played by pan-Asian looking actors that "mystify and mask" the mentally-paralysing feudal culture and produce yet another artifactual-cultural-dynamics trajectoried in the age of digital broadcast - all with the intention of transforming mental colonisation into its highest art-nouveau-est form. This is a complex phenomena of what perhaps cultural critic Walter Benjamin would call, culture of domination in the "age of mechanical reproduction".

It is an absurd situation but can be explained to the masses in simple terms - that propagandists of high culture conspire to reproduce domination so that the docile mind will continue to be docile and will fail to reflect upon the crisis of the subject and the object inherent in the field/habitus of cultural contradiction. A docile mind is also good for the state and modern Malaysian media corporation to funnel useless information.

Culture is never static. A dynamic culture is one that is always undergoing evolution or even revolution. Must we remain in the superstitious and violent-subconscious realm when our mind needs to be freed to evolve into the greater Spiritual Heights - beyond those of the libidinal and cerebral.

Cultural preservers of Malaysia I ask you this: Who does Mak Yong and all forms of tarian istana really serve? Must we let these genre survive?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

66] Embrace "Kampongism" not "Feminism"

Embrace ‘kampong-ism’ not ‘feminism’
Dr Azly Rahman
Apr 6, 06 4:26pm


I hope the run amuck-styled personal attacks that opened all the letters of JS Shaari, Malaysian Woman, and Julie Chin are not a typical “feminist-response” to an argument. That will be stereotypical of an unfair label radical feminists have earned – blindly aggressive and theoretically shallow. I hope we cannot conclude those Malaysian feminists are emotional, illogical, and fragmented in their thinking. Such opening statements of those letters might have stunned readers, especially the one that is interspersed with colloquial Malay.

I assure international readers that this is certainly not a typical Malaysian response to a humanistic proposition. This anomaly is in fact an embarrassment to the ability of the Malaysian to mount or to counter philosophical propositions. I shall however propose an alternative ideology especially for Malay-Muslim feminists to consider as a viable platform for their struggle. It is called “kampong-ism”.

Consider the following principles of ethical living we have established as a civilisation; one that is based on the preservation of traditions handed down from generation to generation to preserve the pristine-ness of our culture so that our children will not grow up dazed and confused: These principles govern the protection of women that is of which the Malaysian feminist movement confusingly try to reiterate and call them their own.

These come from Islam:

1. Women are not inferior to men; they exist in “smart-partnership” in a “win-win” situation to men, both in practical living and in religion. Only biologically and in social function there may be slight variations,

2. In general, men and women in Islam enjoy protected statuses and the misconceptions may arise out of ‘high profile case highlighted by the profit-driven, ideologically-conspiratory Western media inspired by the ideologies of Hollywood and Disneyland.

3. The suffering of women are due to poverty and illiteracy and not due to religion. The notion that Islam pushes women backwards is a clever invention of the Western illiberal democratic ideology. Malaysian Muslim feminists unknowingly and confusingly adopt this misconception and use this perception as the basis of their ideology.

4. The norm in the Muslim world is monogamy as it is not only economically sensible but also metaphysically apt if Muslims are to understand the principle of Ying and Yang in the happy symbiosis between man, Woman, and nature. In this sense, homosexuality does not fit in the ecclesiastical, ontological, and cosmological doctrine of Ying and Yang in Islam, especially when one situates this discussion within the poetic and literary context of Laila and Majnun.

5. In Islamic Family Law, the financial burden falls heavily on men as the traditional breadwinner.

6. Domestic violence cannot be solely attributed to the alleged aggressive nature of men; they arise out of economic condition and cuts across all cultures, nations, and civilizations across time and space. Women inflict emotional damage onto men all the same. Islam, as well as other religions protect women and men from abusing each other.

Of course one can inquire further into the traditions of excellence in Islamic practices that the misguided feminists imagine to be oppressive.

Let me inquire into the fundamental character of feminism in general and Malaysian feminism in particular. Feminism is an alien notion of humanity and to Islam and as such, Islamic feminism is an oxymoron and a contradiction of the highest religious order. If we apply Chaos and Complexity theory to the possible direction of movement to the two terms, we will see each of these oxymoronic terms branching out in radically different direction; one ethical, one unethical.

Feminism might be religiously taken as “radical concept that women are human beings” but I think this is not even the issue if we look at what each and every religion say about men and women. Malaysian feminism is a poorly invented concept of a struggle initiated by upper-class bourgeoisie armchair thinkers who have misunderstood the nature of Islamic cosmological doctrine itself.

I doubt the activists are in tune with the realities of the sufferings of the kampong people, the Minah Karan, the prostitutes in Chow Kit, the bohsia and bohjan, and those marginalised by the New Economic Policy. I doubt if these feminists are able to relate to the kampong of all kampong folks. I doubt if these Malaysian feminists have ever set foot in the bendangs/paddy fields of Changlun or Tambun Tulang.

I doubt if the kampong girls understand the language of feminism itself let alone to contemplate upon this the notion that Malaysia is an apartheid nation. Malaysian feminists derive their pleasure from the constant “pat on the back” by dubious international human rights groups wishing to further orchestrate their “civilising mission” through benevolent organisations that patronise the female natives.

Trapped in the prison-house of language, I foresee the following variants of Malaysian feminism that will require them to define themselves more precisely. My concerns will be the following:

Will we see the emergence of not only “Malay-Muslim feminists” but also “Chinese-Christian feminists”, “Indian-Malaysian feminists”, “Buddhist-feminists” or “Kadazan-feminists” or even “Pan-Asian Malaysian feminists” – all these will require a certain degree of discrimination in terms of their dedication to their respective politics of identity?

In other words, how many permutations of the word “feminism” will we see that will try to subvert the ethical foundations of civilization that have already built-in mechanism of protection for both men and women? I would assume that when all these variants develop, we will see a more clearly-defined Malaysian feminist that will have evolved into some form of “post-industrial tribalism” that will then problematically challenge the grand narratives of timeless ethical traditions namely Islam, Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism, Jainism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Sikhism. Malaysian feminism, spearheaded by the over-publicised under-subscribed Malay-Muslim feminists, will pose challenges to the patriarchic hegemony of these religious traditions. This will be a historical problematique.

I suggest Malaysian feminists, especially those who reside in the wind and in the Malaysian towers of Babel, embrace a more pastoral and liberating philosophy of struggle. I call it “kampong-ism” or “mental re-villagisation”.

Kampong-ism brings the human mind away from complex theories, complex systems, competitive and cutthroat economic philosophies, and combative male-female relationships.

Kampong-ism is driven by the philosophy of Eastern existentialism, sound metaphysical construct, harmonious conception of kinship, a good balance of patriarchy and matriarchy, and an economic production system based on the good old farming system that is not “bio- technologically” driven. It is not a philosophy that kow-tows to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Kampong-ism is not race-based, ethnicity-based, gender-based, greed-based, sexual-preference- based or ideology-based philosophy of human liberation and organisation. It has the potential of reorganising societies based on the themes Rousseau, Reason, and Revolution in Human Consciousness.

I invite Malaysian feminists to abandon their unarmed struggles and embrace “kampong-ism”

But first, the Malaysian feminist must study chaos and critical theory. And for some, to learn how to present opinions less emotionally.

The writer can be contacted at aar26@columbia.edu.


We know what feminism is, thank you03:33pm Thu Mar 30, 2006
Don’t deny women equal rights07:58pm Wed Mar 29, 2006
Malaysian feminists and still proud of it!04:45pm Mon Mar 27, 2006
Feminist movement akin to separatist movement04:39pm Thu Mar 23, 2006
Muslim feminists and reality levels03:18pm Wed Mar 22, 2006
Equality shouldn’t be just gender-based03:43pm Mon Mar 20, 2006
Malaysian feminist and proud of it04:41pm Thu Mar 16, 2006
Is this just treatment to Muslim women?06:25pm Fri Dec 30, 2005
Muslim women as ‘gatekeepers of morality’07:09am Fri Jul 26, 2002

65] New Economic Plutocracy?

New Economic Plutocracy?
Azly Rahman
Apr 3, 06 2:48pm

We have authored yet another Malaysia Plan. This is one is based on plutocracy, or the rule of the wealthy. Race-based political-economy will still guide us till 2020, the year we achieve clear vision in a world of the blind in which many one-eyed men want to become king.

Robust growth, inspired by Sun Tze’s maxim of the art of war, guided by economic liberalism of a newer version of race-based policy, synthesised with a new keris-wielding philosophy of globalisation, and finally graced with the language of love and care and benevolence of a religiously-puritanic government - this is the new Malaysian deal of which Roosevelt’s America of the 1950s would have envied. The global economy is a mahabharatha or the great war into which we want to be sucked.

What are the assumptions of human nature on which the new deal of the 9th Malaysia Plan are based? How is race crystallised as a newer dynamics? Where is this government taking us in this turbulent economic waves of an oligopolic-capitalistic globalised world? Will we become happier and more sophisticated slaves in the global economy? Will we be able to get out of this new madness of a new economic piracy?

Will this nation - in its race to compete globally with the global economic giants - speed up the throttle of the human conveyer belt so that its citizen-slaves will work harder and faster until it suffers a massive heart attack borne out of the stresses of wanting to emerge triumphant as a global player?

Who will benefit from all this then? Is this the final solution to the pain we have inflicted upon ourselves from the liberal economic polices base on race-based ideology not longer in synchrony with the refreshing view of the anti-globalisation movement?

"Utilitarian view"

The newly unveiled NEP is such as case in point - it is still based on a utilitarian view of human nature and still crunches humanity by the numbers. Our ‘developmental' path continues to head in the wrong direction. We need to gostan as the old Johoreans would say - ‘go as you turn’ to de-evolve. Our notion of progress continue to be uni-linear and emphasises this poorly-misunderstood notion of human capital.

See...we cannot even escape from using the word ‘capital’ to stay in tune and in perpetual confusion of what ‘capitalism’ entails. Like our misconstrued notion of ‘feminism’, it is all a linguistic game. We will be continually trapped in this prison-house of language. It is a mélange and microbe of confusion based on a poor understanding of the philology of developmentalism. We have been so bought over by the shibboleth of developmentalism that we now only speak the language of cut-throat competition laced ‘confusingly’ with terminology such as Islam Hadhari.

Must we compete, among ethnic groups, among nations? Or is there a better lens we can use to craft a more liberating philosophy of development; one based on the development of the people, by the people, for the people, and one based on social-democratic principles of co-operation? This is our national dilemma which will continue to plague us as long as those who speak the language of national development have the mind of a parochialism unable to see the larger picture of dehumanisation unfolding. Cui bono - who benefits? - will be the guiding question in this NEP as a philosophy we borrow perhaps from Stalinism.

"Counter-ideology needed"

What a pity that the academicians in the nation cannot even agree to get together to craft a comprehensive counter-ideology of developmentalism or to even mount a good philosophical argument to guide us through this ‘feel-good-for-the-good-life guaranteed national philosophy of economic development’ crafted by our own mind’s enshacklement of neo-Rostowian ideology; one that is married to a McClelland notion of human development and achievement.

Perhaps our academics have turned into the much scorned intelligentsia and have become a post-modern caste and have been impoverished by the closing of the Malaysian mind that have undergone a systematic process of natural selection of what to teach and what to hide. We are too much schooled in ‘the developmentalist agenda’ borrowed from perhaps Adam Smith-Friedmanian economics borrowed from classical liberal theories of economic development that bury human beings alive under mountain of numbers.

Hence we still see words like ‘30 percent ownership’, ‘competitive economy’, ‘robust economy’, and ‘engines of growth’ that string the manifesto of Malaysian national development that will guide the construction and installation of institution that will further cleverly discriminate and devastate human beings into race and classes and the modern caste system.

Our philosophy of economic is this: Produce and keep on producing for the world market until we become slaves in this precarious international system. Produce and keep on producing things that human beings don't need. Create needs out of the things that people do not want - more televisions, satellites, cell phones, luxury cars, highways, multimedia products or whatever informational capitalism dictates. Or better still for us - create a bio-tech nation, even if we do not understand what this means. As long as policy makers profit from the creation of these ‘needs’ that will also spell ‘progress’.

Aren't we all now doomed and have we long ago planted the seeds of destruction? De-evolve or be destroyed Who owns the machinery of production that is linking us to the oppressive global and technocratic production system couched under the addictive ideology called ‘globalisation’?

In all sectors of our economy, we continue to reply upon the advice of the International Advisory panel who have become another addiction itself for a neo-colonialist nation like ours. What we need is a stronger system of check and balance. In other words, we need a strong Opposition/Alternative/Social-Democratic/Socialistic front that will mediate the contradiction of our economic growth. We have 9MP that is still authored, inscribed, installed and institutionalised by the very ruling coalition front that is becoming more and more totalitarian. We can never know the hidden curriculum behind the scope and sequence of our developmentalist agenda.

We have somewhat a parallel government running; one carrying our the agenda with perceived benevolence, and one working behind closed doors strategising the perfection of the instruments of domination. We need to de-evolve from our philosophy of hyper-modernity that is bringing us into a Formula One track of unchecked capitalist expansion, using the technical, manual, and intellectual labour of the nation to further enrich the few mandarins and kshatriya and the bangsawan of Malaysia’s newer economic piracy.

We must look back and if we are all going to be subjected to a massive national heart attack if we continue to speed up the inner workings of a cut-throat, competitive economy that continues to sell junk to the citizens.

Slow down - we’re moving too fast dancing with giants. We will have a heart attack right here on our Formula One track to a ‘developed status’. We need a counter-philosophy of development - one based on aristocracy of the many.

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...