Friday, May 18, 2007

120] Was May 13 Naturally Orchestrated?

Was May 13 naturally orchestrated?
Azly Rahman
May 17, 07 12:24pm

Perhaps it was. That would be the answer to the event that has become embalmed as a semiotic of racial conflict. Perhaps it wasn't planned. We need more interpretations of this event. If we ban more books on this, we are afraid of holding a mirror to our history and ourselves.

If we encourage our youth to explore the roots of the bloody conflict, we will have a better generation of thinkers. No more "Ketuanan Melayu, China, India," or whatsoever notions of self-aggrandisement. Just the simple act of opening the dialogues of peace.

But was May 13 planned? I have some thoughts.

It has to happen when and because the lid of authoritarianism was lifted. It was the British lid that brought some kind of stability to the lowest of the lower class of Chinese, Indians and Malays.

Root of the conflict

May 13 was naturally orchestrated as a rude conclusion to the violence brought about by the system of capitalist exploitation; a system that operated successfully at various levels. At the top of the pyramid is the British ruling class, next came the Malay aristocrats and feudal lords or the sultans who collaborated unwillingly with the British robber-barons, The Sultans played the role of obedient tax collectors and managers of the industrial age capitalist system of production, run on the ideology of Oriental Despotism. At the lowest rung, true to the feudal production system, are the indentured serfs and the local padi cultivators.

The traditional/hereditary rulers were successful in making sure the rakyat in each state produces cheaply and sell their labour at dirt-cheap price in order for the feudal production system to continue to survive - so that the system could continue to fill the coffers of the British Empire and at the same time help enrich the local chieftains.

May 13 was a symbolic breakdown of this system of oppression – a radical protest against a feudalist-turned-aristocrat-prime minister who served the British well, after being educated in the ways and mannerism of the colonialists. British ideology of imperialism and race superiority/white supremacy couched in "scientific language of Oxford and Cambridge and royal academies this and that" were taught to the natives who would be rulers, so that the panopticon-synopticon matrix of colonialism may prevail.

May 13 was not merely a natural occurrence in the matrix of international capitalist production but a phenomena that occurred in many a society that undergo the stages of economic growth on the one hand and the stages of political conflict on the other. Combining these two, the race riots is a semiotic – political economic phenomena of deconstruction of socio-economic illusioned-stability – a contradiction in the capitalist mode of production. It was a coup d'etat of society against its own internal notion of progress.

It has a similar fundamental character of the pre-Roosevelt Socialist revolt of the 1930s, Paris Uprising of the 1960s, Iranian Bloodless Revolt and Revolution of the late 1970s, the Los Angeles Riots of the 1990s, the Jakarta burn-down of 1998, and the Paris Riots of 2005. In all these, the roots lie in the growth of the underclass and the problem of economic injustices and criminalisation brought about by neo-colonialist strategies of the ruling elite. Dehumanization is a fertie ground for inner repression.

May 13 may have the manifestation of a race conflict, but essentially it is one whose underlying force of mass anger lies in the clash of suppressed classes of varied ethnic origin.

Interpretation of the incident has merely been few. Tunku Abdul Rahman wrote about it to explain why it occurred and how he was part of the problem and solution in one. That was an official historical narrative – a government's view of what transpired. Dr Mahathir Mohamad's Malay Dilemma offered another interpretation from his point of view, explaining why it happened and what transpired between the Tunku and him. That was another official explanation.

But again, I reiterate, the more interpretations of the incident the better – so that we may have many explanations and find patterns in the meaning of these explanations. One must however be equipped in the understanding of the complex interplay between technologies of control, the economics of oppression, the sociology of mass anger, and cybernetics of conflicts, the archaeology of mass cultural repression, the genealogy of the feudal-oppressive-matrix, and the ideology and power/knowledge dimension of communicative and propagandistic systems – all these – in order to understand the "Butterfly Effect" of May 13 1969.

May 13, 2009?

Maybe it is too early to predict or too dangerous to be Nostradamus-ising or soothsaying or be playing the numerology game of anticipatory politics. Or maybe there will not be a race riots as we are now glued to our television sets and sucked into the abyss and black hole of the Internet, unable to plan for a revolution nor be ready for any natural occurrence ala May 13, 1969.

Maybe our brain cells have died a natural death out of decades of being fed with the "feel-good" ideology broadcast through radio and television. Or maybe we have been systematically programmed to amuse ourselves to death through a system of mass consciousness and euphoria that has been telling us to be happy with what we have, while the super rich and powerful amongst us continue to rob the nation in broad daylight through a conspiracy with outside forces in the form of investment arms and tentacles.

I still think that the bloody riots of May 13 was an orchestrated natural disaster – something our forefathers of Merdeka/Independence crafted as part of the cultural logic of late capitalism.

We can only know the answers through books we do not ban. Let us stop this pathetic policy of book banning.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

A book has been written on the cause of May 13, and it concluded that it was a coup d’etat.

Many who experienced the days of May 13 are not around to tell the story. I am lucky to be able to follow the election campaigns prior to the 1969 elections.

Article 153 provided the Alliance government the basis to be partial to the treatments accorded to Malays, though it should be considered minor compared to the way UMNO-led government has implemented its racist policies. But even without making use of NEP, the late Razak had started his racist schemes to only resettle Malays into FELDA schemes. That proved that non-Malays were the second class citizens.

The non-Malays were smarting the pains of article 153, and were waiting for the sunset clause of 15 years to kick in, to review article 153 and to remove it 1972. For those who were too young to know, in the pre-1969 days, Malay students in secondary schools were provided with monthly allowances, and my classmates were able to live in school dormitory free and with pocket money, whereas non-Malays were not provided assistance, however poor they were. My Malay classmates easily obtained federal scholarships and bursaries to study abroad or in KL, when non-Malays with much better results had to borrow or give up the opportunity of further education; though very few non-Malays who had excellent results were also provided with scholarships. The University of Malaysia adopted a lower entry qualification for Malays students, but they had to attain the required standards to be awarded degrees. There was no special tutorial to Malay students for exams preparations then. So, it is obvious that non-Malays were waiting for 1972, 15 years after independence to have article 153 terminated, and they voted for the opposition for that eventuality.

The economy of Malaysia in 1969 was a tiny fraction of what it is now. The country then was agricultural based, and for that land ownership was the prerequisite. Of the organized sector, the rubber and later palm oil estates were mostly owned by foreign companies, or branches of foreign companies. There might have been a handful of estates owned by non-Malays, but they could not have accounted for a tenth of the total estate acreage. However, the total estate acreage created by the government for the Malay settlers which were run like an organized sector was as large as those estates owned by foreigners. So on the organized agricultural sector, the Malay settlers had as much participation as foreign estates.

In the industrial sector the Chinese manufacturers were involved in the small and medium size industries, such as in rice milling, sawn timber mills, biscuit factories, and furniture. Other larger factories and trading houses were mainly foreign owned. Yes, there were a few banks which were owned by a few Chinese families. There were a few wealthy Chinese tycoons, but the other Chinese families cannot be said to have dominated the economy in the country. Hence it is inaccurate to say that the Malays felt deprived because the Chinese prevented them from being involved in business. The branches of foreign companies were controlling the economy more than the locals. It is imaginative of the UMNO controlled government to blame the May 13 on the spontaneous action of Malays who revolted out of jealousy against non-Malays. It was UMNO which guided the Malays to have that mindset. That was why UMNO leaders threatened non-Malays of another May 13 taking it as their landmark achievement rather than an unwelcome blemish of the national history.


Tunku in his interview on the May 13 incident said that Razak negated on his promise to Tunku and gave Harun Idris the MB of Selangor the approval to allow processions on 9th May, a day before the election, which laid the groundwork ending up as May 13. Tunku lamented that he would have left the scene happily has he been told to do so, rather than having to witness the show orchestrated by Razak and his cohorts. The opposition parties misbehaved after winning the results beyond their expectation, but they were not in power. The procession organized under the leadership of Harun on 13 May in Selangor ended up with bloodshed, and the rest was history. Without Harun organizing the UMNO procession, there would not be an incident which provided an opportunity for UMNO to say that the Malays rioted because they were aggrieved by economic disparity.

The riots and the justification of the incident was a convenient excuse to push out Tunku, to blame him for not doing enough for Malays; when the non-Malays were actually waiting patiently for the unfair practice under article 153 to stop. Having discredited Tunku, Razak conveniently took over the power as the PM. It must be said for the benefit of those who did not witness the event that a day after may 13 Tunku declared the State of Emergency and he later announced over RTM on TV the appointment of Tun Razak as Director of Operation and that Razak was to answer to Tunku. It was reported that Tunku had to undergo eye operation in a hospital. Two days after Tunku’s announcement, Razak announced over RTM that as Director of Operation, he answered to the King. So Tunku was PM in name, and the coup d’etat was complete.

Razak got some opposition parties to be part of the government so that he could amend the constitution at will. He threatened the opposition parties that he would not return to parliament democracy, if they did not acquiesce to his demand for amendments to the constitution. That began the rule of UMNO in the name of Barisan National; the other component parties were only allowed to vote with UMNO, not against it.

Razak had the full power during Tunku’s watch to handle FELDA scheme, to improve the living standard of the people; but he chose Malays only to be the beneficiaries. It was thus convenient for him to blame Tunku for not doing enough for Malays which resulted in May 13, and as a remedy to that fairy tale, he created NEP, to justify the action he had taken on FELDA, and to extend it in other areas as well.

NEP was said to break the linkage between race and occupation, but when Malays had a larger proportion than its national ratio employed as civil servants in 1969, the number of Malays have actually increased; non-Malays stay on as decorations only. So, it was never the intention to correct the imbalance, but it was an excuse to introduce race as a deciding factor in government policies.

Razak rationalized the justification of NEP as the outcome of expanding cake so that Malays could increase their participation in the economy. That is baloney. If the government planned to expand the economy so that people are free to participate, then those who did not have the opportunity might be involved for the first time. However, when the infamous 30% of Malays corporate equity ownership was set as government policies, it set a ceiling to non-Malays’ achievement. It meant also that non-Malays were not allowed to attain its full potential. It is an unfair policy to non-Malays, and it initiated the sense of entitlement by race, developing into the call for Ketuanan Melayu which spawns the ill of Malaysian society.

NEP was supposed to be implemented for 20 years, with the objective of attaining 30% Malay ownership in corporate sector as its main objective. The government justifies its NEP through the so-called ownership surveys, but it has now perfected the art of lying with statistics.

Three years ago, ASLI presented a report that Malays have in fact attained the target of 30% ownership and beyond. The PM and DPM were quick to refute the accuracy of the data, and declared that it would reveal the methodology adopted by EPU on the computation of the statistics, within a month. Some 24 months have passed, and the government has maintained its elegant silence. What was more telling was that some UMNO leaders now say that the 30% was not sufficient. In other words, the target has moved, which implies that NEP as the way the government implements it will not stop, whatever the actual situation on the ground. So, the government has no interest to find the truth about May 13 which has made it possible for the policies which ensure that UMNO leaders are wealthy, and remain in power.

It is clear to all and sundries that NEP was not only bad for the country, but for Malays as well if promotion of core decent human values as expected of all religious teachings including that of Islam is taken into consideration. But UMNO leaders care only for themselves, and when the country is doomed, they can always choose to reside in a developed society with their funds. Alan Greenspan said he did not expect the CEOs of companies would not care for the well beings of the companies they control, that culminated into the present economic crisis. In Malaysia we have politicians who are not patriotic and who do not care about the well being of the nation. That is why NEP will remain forever.

Loh

Anonymous said...

I know what Anonymous says here is the Truth of what happened in 1969.

UMNO orchestrated the whole bloody riot and killings of innocent Malaysian citizens for the cold-blooded purpose of holding on to ruling power.

Every Malaysian who was there as a witness to what really happened on May 13 1969 and immediately afterwards must come forth and tell all Malaysians the TRUTH of their experiences. They owe it to Malaysia and her future generations so that UMNO is one day brought to book and held to account for those grotesque murders of innocent Malaysian civilians.

"Imagine Power To The People" John Lennon.

komando said...

The truth will be hidden, they are waiting for that generation who endured it to die off.
Yes they think so, why does the Chinese?Indians still do not get equal rights in every thing.

Are we forever been punished?
Are we not a citizen?
Why are asked to serve the government and obey its orders?
Why are we asked to become soldiers and policeman to defend this country, yet treated differently, is our blood cheaper then a MALAY?

So are we not citizens, we cannot enter UNIVERSITY even with good grades..?

How long more can the others tolerate this bullshit stories!

Why does the chinese rather be a hawker then work in the government?

They FEEL CHEATED, THAT IS THE ANSWER, BECOS THEY WONT GET PROMOTED....STUCK!

ARE INDIANS AND CHINESE BRAINS INFERIOR?
WHY THEN FOREIGN FIRMS AND COMPANIES EMPLOY THEM?

LETS GET REAL!

THE ANIMOSITY IS HIDDEN NOT FORGOTTEN...WHY DOES A CHINAMAN BUY CHEAPER GOODS IF HE WALKS INTO A CHINESE SHOP, AS COMPARED TO A MALAY?

A MALAY WILL HAVE TO PAY A HIGHER PRICE FOR THE SAME GOODS?

ANSWER WHY?
IT IS PAYBACK, THERE WAY TO SAY YOU TREAT ME BAD I CAN ALSO TREAT YOU EQUALLY BAD !

SO MAY 13TH IS A HISTORY OF LIES AND DECEIT !

THE PM WANTED TO SEE PEACE, BUT OTHERS DID NOT WANT, THEY BETRAYED HIM, ROBBED HIM OFF DAYLIGHT...HIS SON IS DOING THE SAME...HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF....NOTHING NEW..

SO DON'T BOTHER...THE LIVING ANGERED SOULS WILL TELL THEIR KIDS THE REAL STORY...NO NEED FOR WHITE PAPERS AND TRUTH TELLING SESSIONS!

WE SHALL SEE WHEN THE TIME BOMB EXPLODES...BOSNIA WAITED FOR 50 PLUS YEARS...WE ARE JUST PAST 40 ONLY..

ANOTHER 10 YEARS AND GOOD LUCK MALAYSIA!

mae said...

Keep barking mates !!

Anonymous said...

Do we need the third force based on Merit?
http://azlyrahman-illuminations.blogspot.com/2008/02/157-mandate-of-heaven-malaysia-awaits.html

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