Friday, June 15, 2007

124] MSC -- The corridor of imperialism

MSC - the corridor of imperialism
Azly Rahman
Jun 11, 07 3:16pm

"Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in ancient Greek republics: Freedom for slave owners. " - Vladimir Lenin

"Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal." - Albert Einstein


Where are we taking our nation with the cloning of the Malaysian Multimedia Super Corridor?

We see cloned-cities emerging from Johor to Perlis. Will these cities create a more detailed, localised, and sophisticated matrix of mass-multicultural human-cybernetic bondage system that will continue to alienate and impoverish human beings, benefitting local capitalist elites that corroborate with international corporate raiders to further transform countries such as Malaysia into anti-nationalist entities, fit to be exploited and siphoned out of its wealth?

Malaysia, with the MSC project, has become "inter-textualized". Who benefits from all these? What does it tell us about the "language of technological and economic development" we have adopted in the choice we have made to "progress in a linear fashion?" What does this tell us about the alternative choices of developmentalist philosophy that we have failed to explore?

The corridor of imperialism

Malaysia's grand project of social transformation, MSC, can be looked at not only from the point of view of the flow of idea from one realm to another i.e. from the realm of cybernetics to the physical-material realm of Cyberjaya but from a linguistic perspective as well. The digital text is inscribed onto a landscape, a process that fragments the soul of the nation and creates a hypermodern state that is authored and signatured by what is defined as "world-class companies.”

The "inter-textualized nation" is a consequence of Malaysia's developmentalist project of hypermodernity. The state becomes a neatly written subtext to a larger and more established matrix of Grand Narrative called corporate capitalist developmentalism whose ideology and sophisticated tools of empire-ing is the forte of advanced industrial nations. Malaysia becomes a periphery wanting to be part of the Center, a subtext continually being written to tell the story of the text.

Psycho-semiotician Julia Kristeva writes about intertextuality as a linguistic situation in which one idea in a text is linked to another. The self, in Kristeva's analysis, is influenced by "subtexts" outside of itself that defines its textuality and as a consequence, loses its authenticity. A similar argument about the loss of authenticity is made by many a philosopher such as Charles Taylor who writes about the consequence of modernity.

The Malaysian MSC is an example of a nation that is ideologically linked to other ideas outside of the nation itself. In this case Malaysia's development is intertextualized with the idea of Western corporate interest by way of the advisory panelship, transfer of technology, and most importantly the colonisation of corporate English Language onto the material and psychological development of the nation. The textuality of the nation is then characterised by the weaving of corporate and foreign discourses onto the developmentalist agenda of the nation, facilitating the withering of the nation-state and enhancing the role of the nation as a hypermodern Periphery of the Central capitalist nation of an equally hyper-modernised international capitalist system.

Authored by foreign hands

The "nation as text" becomes one that is continuously being co-authored by international inscribers interested in capitalising on the cheap labour offered. The international inscribers were given the best of privileges such as generous 10-year tax-breaks, freedom from being harassed by worker unions since only "in-house unions" are allowed to exist, and state-of-the-art facilities to attract them to invest in the new Malaysian economy.

The will to be "nationalistic" exists only in the form of signs and symbols that are touristic in nature, such as in the images and symbols of culture that are at the consumptive level and are merely showcases of tradition. The evidence gathered on the textuality of this nation lies in the signs and symbols in the cultural and industrial complexes; signs and symbols of predominantly American corporate business interests.

Hence, not only the nation is inter-textualized by its linkages to other forces of influence, such as of the iconoclasms of Stanford University Area, United States of America, but also these signs and symbols are transmutating and hybridising with the local hosts, as evident in the practice of street-naming on the campus of Malaysia's Multimedia University.

In this sense, the development of the state parallels the development of the United States with regard to the influence of industries and corporations and the installations of technologies to march capitalism to its triumph. In the area of social reproduction, the schooling system, from the primary to tertiary levels, is turning towards the re-using if English Language as the language of Science and Technology and inscribed into the policy-making documents of languages of instruction.

The emphasis is on the use of computer technology in schools, embalmed in the policy of creating Smart Schools to produce computer-literate workforce ("wired schools") parallels also the influence of computer giants in determining the nature of policy inscriptions on American public schools. Such is an analysis of the intertextuality of The Malaysian Multimedia Super Corridor to be replicated in much grander ways in The Iskandar Development Region.

The essential questions are: When will we write our own history? Will technology continue to alienate and dehumanise us?

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