Monday, December 10, 2007

148] Addressing the eternal questions (on the Malaysian Indians)

Addressing the eternal question
Azly Rahman | Dec 10, 07 11:01am

I received the following poignant but inspiring email a week ago:

“I convey my heartfelt thanks and highest appreciation for your article ‘Plea for Indian Malaysians' (which) has truly overwhelmed me - so much so, it had prompted me to send you this mail (which) I rarely do.

“The very people who were entrusted to heighten the socio-economic status of the Indians [..] have not been able to do so. Poverty, illiteracy, gangsterism and the likes are still plaguing some quarters of Indians. The situation is really cause for concern and there are many individuals like me, who are yearning and craving for a change to take place.

“We would like to see a decent Indian society who are capable to be on par with the other Malaysians. ... But in-fighting, accusations, corruption have been a hindrance thus far and it may remain so. For me personally, I just wish we Indians had capable leaders to help us attain a good standing among the other races in this country. However it has remained just that, a thoughtful wish."

Isn’t this good enough to have us postpone our plans of plotting against one another, propagandising potential conflicts, manufacturing crises, and continue to be in a state of denial of the class issue that is plaguing the Tamil community especially?

Why can't we leave our ethnic ego outside the door and look at what needs to be done for social justice - for all classes of people of ethnic groups that have not progressed much? Why label this and that group as "terrorists" when the abject poor are being perpetually terrorised by the rich whose economic design prioritise material over social capital, greed over basic needs?

I think it is time to be humbled by the sight of beggars on the streets, children with no hope for a better future, and a proud people humiliated by racial slurs and relegated to a life of hopelessness. We have racially humiliated one another by our ignorance of what economic design can do to alienate each other.

It is not the time to focus on how many of the Bersih or Hindraf protestors ought to be thrown in jail and how must we construe the demands of Indian Malaysians, but to ask ourselves this question: how can our eyes, our minds, and our souls be opened to the plight of those who have laboured for the power and glory of the few?

Let me propose a programme of action to help improve the lives of the Indians. It is partly based on what Mara has done for the Malays, through its well-funded MRSM (Mara Junior Science College) system. I think the excellent and benevolent plan should be duplicated.

Smart Schools for Tamils

First, we ask the Mara and the education ministry to go around the estates and ghettoes of the major cities and into the primary schools of these areas and search for the brightest among the children of Tamil origin and create special schools for them. Each state must build a school for Tamil children.

In other words, we create Smart Schools right there in the estates and in the depressed urban areas. We teach them how to use their environmental resources intelligently and teach them what ownership of the products of their labour means, We teach the next generation that being alienated from their labour will cause human beings to suffer in this world of cut-throat corporate crony capitalism.

We can also ask major Malaysian corporations such as Petronas to fund/provide these schools with the best and brightest of teachers, good facilities, good technology, good curriculum, and great teaching strategies. We create a model Ivy League or world-class education system for these kids. We should even bring in top-notch American Peace Corps teachers to help out.

We guide this process of human capital revolution with a sound philosophy that will create geniuses out of these Tamil children drawn from the poorest of the poor family. Better still, we ask multinational corporations operating in Malaysia - Microsoft, Shell, Sony, Exxon-Mobil, etc - to adopt the poorest of the poorest of the districts and fund the schools and the community over a decade or so.

Second, we create a good parent-student-teacher programme that will help the child be grounded in the reality of the sufferings of the parents. It is part of the process of the pedagogy of hope and love.

Third, we monitor the growth of the children and enculturalise them with the best of all methods of instruction that will not only preserve their heritage, culture, and language, but also educate them to become great leaders, thinker, doers, philosophers, and social activists.

We will help create a new and enabling culture that will create a new human being out of them. We make them avid readers, good thinkers and individual brave enough to even protest in front of the American White House, in the tradition of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.

We teach them, besides the regular highly-rigorous curriculum that meets and exceeds national and international standards, the concept and practice of service learning to help especially Tamil communities that are distressed to the brink of collective mental extinction.

Apolitical contribution

We teach them to concept of apolitical contribution to the improvement of the lives of others. We teach them to destroy all forms of political symbolism. We teach them that excessive politicking can lead to the people's susceptibility to mass deception and manipulation.

We teach the Ivy League- type Tamil youngsters that in politics, they should trust no one, as embodied in the philosophy of the sci-fi series ‘X-Files’. We teach them that politics are for opportunists. It is better to devote oneself to a post-modern reading of the purana, the Ramayana, the Mahabharatha and Bhagavad Gita than to be engaged in a Bollywood-type political saga. It is better to study radical and reflective sociology that to be engaged in calling each other "terrorists".

Next, we teach them the how to be aware of the structure of the caste and class system and how capitalism capitalises on these concepts of consciousness. We teach then the origin of these concepts and how to evolve progressively until we arrive at a Hegelian condition of existence and the elimination of constructions of reality that oppresses.

This is a challenging concept, I must say. It requires the teachers in the school to not only understand this liberating dimension of education but also requires them to embody the ideals and the possibilities of human liberation through the teaching of it.

Next, we teach them the evils of race-based politics and how this evil has been mistaken as a necessity and a virtue throughout the historical-materialistic and dialectical development of neo-feudalistic post-colonial Malaysia. We teach them how this evil has actually been tamed and used by those in power to subjugate others, materially and mentally.

We teach them how gangsters, Along, and Mat Rempit are a product of the class system and how are allowed to become natural phenomena of modernisation. In fact they have become a problem to be solved perpetually so that those in power who talk about solving these problems will become heroes of their respective people - not knowing that in a different economic ideological arrangement, these problems can be less pronounced.

Finally, the process of continuous improvement through education should help us create generations upon generations of people who will be equipped with the intellectual and cultural capital needed to mount a jihad against greed, structural violence, materialism, and militarism.

In the case of Indian Malaysians, it is a sustainable programme to make them have ownership of their economic development projects, protect their rights to worship, break the vicious cycle of abject poverty, and have enough leisure time to raise and nurture an intelligent, loving, wise, and peaceful family.

Let us solve our social ills together, rather than call one another “terrorists” - that's a strategy of the Bush regime we ought not be inspired with. Education - and education for peace and social justice alone - is the surest way to fight all forms of "terrorism".

In times that try the soul, peace and socio-economic justice are our only option.


Anonymous said...

“The very people who were entrusted to heighten the socio-economic status of the Indians [..] have not been able to do so. Poverty, illiteracy, gangsterism and the likes are still plaguing some quarters of Indians. The situation is really cause for concern and there are many individuals like me, who are yearning and craving for a change to take place…” Got it from your recent post… Addressing the eternal questions (on the Malaysian Indians)

I believe these came from deep in his heart, feeling sad, almost sorrow…crying for the so called “in justice”… but I don’t know how many indians (or educated I believe he is) have the same feeling? Very recently, as I washed my car in a car wash outlet in my kampung…as I sat down waiting, kena the tarik segelas…I came across to this sorang makcik gerai tu, sambil nyembang2 she told me about this indian people.

Her husband was Yg DiPertua PIGB sekolah…so she told me, once in a while he come across some indians who happened to sound him, bertanya khabar…very neat, professional look a like indians…who are actually coming from some estates nerby…some are lawyers...some doctors..etc…who are no more mingling with their childhood friends, who still roaming around the estates….do their livings as estate labors..

what I’m trying to say….what’ve been happening in indian society today are not totally due to failure of their so called leaders to heighten the status of indians…but partly also their own wrong-doings, who happened to be forgeting their roots…I’m not saying all of them behave like such, but a lot of them…berapa ramai kita lihat their parent merempat, but the childrens have all been grown up jadi professionals? and I’m talking this thru my own experience…I’ve met a lot of poor old indians telling the same stories…tak percaya, cuba la pergi ke rumah orang2 tua…banyak kes macam ni…

What you’ve been laying up , as ideas to elevate their society are good…but, I believe, if the ideas are to be working…the society itself must change….do not forget their root as it will always serve as reminder to them all of who they are…and what’re their obligation to their own community

TheTruthThought said...


U've been Americanise in ur mind dude!!
nobody here in Malaysia accept the way u think.

do u think American system perfect for u?

Obviously u've been illuminated by their secret society

repent dude!
Think of Allah, Always.
May Allah forgive you.

hakim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Dr. Azly,
Masaalahnya diorang nih bukan macam orang Melayu - dapat subsidi kerajaan, biasiswa, diskaun beli rumah etc. Diorang nih pun bukan banyak bukak bisnes macam orang Cina. Yang banyak dok estate.

Kalau betul nak betulkan keadaan Malaysian Indian ni, kita tutup terus sekolah Tamil. Bukak sekolah Melayu, peh tuh tambah kelas Tamil. Kalau tak reti cakap Melayu betul-betul susahlah nak cari kerja.

Tapi kan. Kalau nak senang betul, kita buang je prinsip ketuanan Melayu nih ngan hak istimewa Bumiputra OK. Peh tu, kita tolong orang yang miskin sahaja tanpa mengira bangsa atau keturunan. Kan bagus macam tuh. Barulah Malaysia Muhibbah betul. Itulah Islam Hadhari!

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