Friday, February 08, 2013

Archaeology of metaphysics, anyone?: A required Chinese New Year reading

Archaeology of metaphysics, anyone?
by Azly Rahman
 
 
Let not the topic fool you, folks... that came to my mind as I woke up from a slumber on a day of blizzard outside and the snow-whitening of Eastern Standard America; one that brought flu to be tangoed like a dance with depression, of which one is slowly triumphing, hopefully with the help of the power of the mind.

“Archaeology of metaphysics” perhaps conjures the image of excavation; of digging out the sense of beingness beyond sense-awareness and perception... akin to the German philosopher Frederick Nietzsche’s idea of the the genealogy of morals or French philosopher Michel Foucault’s reflections on the birth of the prison, of sexuality, and how to excavate the truth about disciplining and punishing.

NONEAll right, I am not going to go into all these yet, though tempting they are as an antidote to the “seasonal affective disorder” (SAD) that may have plagued many buried even under the thought of a New York city blanketed by a post-Sandy blizzard.

I shall reserve these tempting musings for my lectures. Let my students be warmed, cozied, and comforted by the serenity of the questions on the self, salvation, and which door to take into eternity when one dies... and is resurrected... we may all find some new answers in our often intense classroom dialogues.

No, I want to write about something else... apropos of our celebration of Chinese New Year. When I say “our” I am obviously being influenced by the unending debate on the claim to the universality of the connotative-denotative word ‘Allah’ which simply means ‘The/That God’, politicised beyond sensibility.

I hope Malaysians will be able to resolve this linguistic problematique in a generation or so without resorting to violence and resorting to an Emergency Rule, popular when a ruling regime loses power big time.

‘Ang Pow-Kau Kau-Mai Mai-Yam Seng’ society

What has Malaysia turned into as we celebrate the Year of the Snake? With unending reports about the government dishing out cash to those voting folk young and old without rhyme or reason, as if we are now in possession of Zimbabwe dollars or play-money Monopoly-game money - what have we fallen into as we see bribery in broad daylight becoming a culture of might is right?

Are we all living in Trump towers of the famed New York City real estate gambler?

While in the word of Malay politics and Malay society we have seen the rise of the ‘Tongkat Ali’ society - of libidinal politics of material pursuit of living a life of lesser-dignity. We are seeing now in the Year of the Snake the evolution of yet another form of life – the rise of the ‘Ang Pow-Kau-Kau-Mai Mai-Yam Seng’ society.

We are seeing voters being bought over by the ‘Hijau ka-Merah ka-Ungu ka’ materiality of mad money dished out to kampong and town folks desperately in need of these in order to keep afloat and alive in the Master-Slave society.

‘Ang Pow’ or packets of gifts of money replacing the traditional gift baskets called ‘hampers’ are dangled or even sent out via post service in tune with the last hurrah and hoopla of the infamously styled Malaysian postal voting.

‘Kau kau’ or ‘the best of the best’ of offers a la The Godfather movies’ quote of “I-will-make-you-an-offer-you-can’t refuse” type of sensibility is the genre of is what the ruling regime is promising as ‘you-help-me-I-help-you’ type of gifts are being dished out.

NONE“Mai mai” or “come one come all...” (in Kedah dialect to connote alluring) type of announcement is being sent to voters dangled with money, money, money... so the culture of not having to work hard but gaining nonetheless through gifts from “the hands that feed and shan’t be bitten” shall be initiated and shall take root in a society increasingly drowned in materialism.

“Yam Seng” or loosely translated as “let’s toast-to that” will be the ultimate triumphant cry of the winners of this years’ general elections that promises slithering, scheming, and sickening politics to date.

We have perfected the art and science of creating a culture of shameless venomous election campaigning since the end of the 1990s when the public space and social discourse have been smeared with pus and blood and deadly-viralled mucus of ‘pornographic politics’ enabled by the Fourth Estate controlled by those who owns the means of dirtifying consciousness and corrupting spirituality.

Children now learn words denoting and connotating vulgarism; that have been all the while reserved for adults to be used in all wee-hours of “Yam Seng” drunked-ness in country clubs, nights clubs, and all-men and womens’ clubs.

I don’t know if all these make sense to you readers out there. I have been accused many times of writing incomprehensible essays under the influence of my own way of looking at things that might have been simpler than they should.

Or perhaps, we all should take things as they are and wait for Divine Justice to show its beautiful face amidst this ugly world plagued by snakes slithering all over and all levels of society.

I don’t know. Such is what I am thinking - in thinking about the archaeology of metaphysics as this phrase suddenly proposed its hand in marriage with a society that has become an ‘Ang Pow-Kau Kau-Mai Mai-Yam Seng’ entity, apropos to the Year of the Snake we celebrate in good health and prosperity.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well said. Corrupt has its own evolution in Malaysia. It was a practice, turned into a habit, a culture, an institution and now the official religion followed by by people from all walks of life.

Dominique said...

Dear Dr. Rahman
Sometimes I am just amazed how easy you put across your thought about the issues and problems facing Malaysia. Why you and another prominent blogger, Dr. M. Bakri Musa can identify the issues and even provide solutions for Malaysia while our leaders in Malaysia atill NATO (No Action Talk Only)? Perhaps the quality of education you receive in overseas. Are we short of talents in Malaysia? Perhaps not as most of our leaders are also educated overseas. Perhaps one explanation is that greed over 'bangsa dan negara'.

Dominique said...

Sometimes I am amazed of how easy you put across your thought of the issues and problems facing Malaysia. Why can you analyze the problem and even provide solution whereas our leaders continue cakap and cakap and do nothing (NATO)? I learn a phrase saying if you are not improving you are not standing still but you are moving backward actually.
Perhaps education is the best solution to move our country forward.

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