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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

When drunken Wall Street vomits

There is nothing mysterious about the collapse of casino capitalism. As familiar as John Reed's Ten Days that Shook the World. It is simply following the logic of the Rostowian stages of growth – and of the Social Darwinism of greed. The question is: what then must we do as we spiral down in a world of socialism for the filthy rich? Must we go back to the barter system and create communes and live a life of basic needs without our large screen TVs, iPHONES, designer clothes, and the toys and tools and technologies that are amusing us all to death?

"This American system of ours, call it Americanism, call it what you will, gives each and every one of us a great opportunity if we only seize it with both hands and make the most of it."

-- Al Capone, American gangster 1920s


Must we stop consuming all those brand name luxuries produced by those 12-15 year olds in sweatshops in Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Mexico, etc – those kids do not go to school but worked for an American dollar a day so that Sean "Puff Daddy", Michael Jordon, and the rappers and the hip hoppers in the Bronx can have their fame and fortune?

Must we stop visiting all those malls that sell junk of the hypermodern world? Must we stop going to all those malls in Malaysia too? Why not stay home and not watch TV to cleanse our minds of the split second commercials that numb our brain cells to have us buy and buy and buy things we do not need? Why not switch off the TV and have the family read good books?

Malaysians, think of what the TV channels have done to you and your children? Think of what kind of ideology has shaped your mind and those of your children. Why do we need 100 channels? What is the worth of the news channels when we are being stoned glued to propaganda? Why do we need those soap operas?

Through those million Ringgit per thirty second commercials in-between news and views on Prima Media channels, we are fed with hours of junk per day – from informational to infotainmental to soap opera and political sandiwara junk after junk.

What do we do with a government that is taking the EPF (Employees Provident Fund) money and not telling us how our life savings (like the 401Ks) are going to be gambled away? It is difficult for depositors to withdraw money for their children's education but easy for the government to take our 5 billion Ringgit without permission? What kind of government is this? What guarantees do we have when Americans too continue to lose a large chunk of their own Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja?

That's the effect of the drunken Wall Street we in Malaysia too are feeling; because like the New York Times Square, we too have Berjaya Times Square. Like American Idol, we too have Malaysian Idol. Like anything many things America has. Like America, we too are losing our souls, lost in the dance of the drunken monkey in the tiger's eyes.

Let us go back to the village and start reflecting upon the beauty of Nature; Nature that has not been turned into Capital through the culture of materialism that transformed all of us into Labor. Let us de-evolve. Switch off the TV, stop visiting the malls -- those warehouses of cultural imperialism -- and start reading books and closely reading ourselves as a creature of signs and symbols yearning to evolve into higher beings.

While we now watch the KLSE get drunk and vomit as well, let us enjoy what the Beat poet of the 1960s Allen Ginsburg said about Wall Street. Aaahh.. the world is too much for us.

I'm delighted by the velocity of money as it whistles through the windows
of Lower East Side
Delighted by skyscrapers rising the old grungy apartments falling on
84th Street
Delighted by inflation that drives me out on the street
After all what good's the family farm, why eat turkey by thousands every
Thanksgiving?
Why not have Star Wars? Why have the same old America?!?
George Washington wasn't good enough! Tom Paine pain in the neck,
Whitman what a jerk!
I'm delighted by double digit interest rates in the Capitalist world
I always was a communist, now we'll win
an usury makes the walls thinner, books thicker & dumber
Usury makes my poetry more valuable
my manuscripts worth their weight in useless gold -
Now everybody's atheist like me, nothing's sacred
buy and sell your grandmother, eat up old age homes,
Peddle babies on the street, pretty boys for sale on Times Square -
You can shoot heroin, I can sniff cocaine,
macho men can fite on the Nicaraguan border and get paid with paper!
The velocity's what counts as the National Debt gets higher
Everybody running after the rising dollar
Crowds of joggers down broadway past City Hall on the way to the Fed
Nobody reads Dostoyevsky books so they'll have to give a passing ear
to my fragmented ravings in between President's speeches
Nothing's happening but the collapse of the Economy
so I can go back to sleep till the landlord wins his eviction suit in court.

by Allen Ginsberg



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