Hikayat Mereng Mahabesar
I am putting on hold Part II of my column on Fatwa production and writing about neo-Malaya’s tale of cultural barbarism in the case of the demolition of one of the main temples of Lembah Bujang.
As if the story of the harassment on fellow columnist Mariam Mokhtar by the Malaysian chief of police had not annoyed me enough of the nature of ridiculousness this beloved nation of ours continue to be plagued with, we have uncovered this archaeological scandal.
My support for Mariam and her writings that will always illuminate and never aggravate nor meant to instigate. I have high regard for her clear sense and understanding of freedom of expression lacking even in Malaysian academia these days.
I am still in deep anguish of the magnitude of idiocy surrounding the demolition of Candi Batu Pahat I visited in early 2012, leaving the place with so much awe and fascination. I had collected visual data to turn the site into a digital learning portal for use in my classes in Philosophy, Anthropology, or even in Globalisation.
For many days, I had been writing a series of notes of lamentation on my blog and my Facebook pages to express my disgust and to offer ideas on how best to move on beyond this painful lesson on heritage learned. I wish to share my early notes of disgust; raw notes on a tale of greed and insanity the nation saw. It is indeed a bad dream; a display of cultural barbarism, and a Hikayat Mereng Mahabesar or an Epic of Mega-Idiocy.
My message to the culprits
It is not just ruins of an ancient temple you demolished to a pulp, it is a semiotic piece of your very existence as a people; a reality constructed socially through language that defines it.
More than this, it is a monument upon which you are to preserve as an anchor of learning, and an installation of an inscription that inspires you to inquire into the ethics of authenticity; a system of belief of what the self is and how society in all its progressive strands of stability and harmony, and what salvation through the philosophy of samsara means and how these in turn , through a trajectory of transcultural evolution has defined you through the language you use daily with words such as:
jiwa, raga, sukma, anugeraha, sangsara, puji puja, sembahHyang, citrarasa, gurindam, seloka, hina dina, duka nestapa, kala, dewata, bayu, indera, purnama, suria, cakerawala, saujana, panca indera, sandiwara, astaka, shurga, neraka, dosa, pahala, alam semesta, durjana, sahaya, nescaya, kelana, mergasetua, derma, dharma, budi, bakhti, budi-daya, budaya, lakshamana, singahsana, ceritera, sutra, sengketa, jaya, cinta, negara, ayahnda, ibunda, maya, ...
All these and more are the postscripts of the reality of who you are - these and the entire spectrum and kaleidoscope of the existentialism of your and your community’s collective consciousness.
And you are ashamed of this past you failed to see the beauty of its philosophical glory? And you are waging a jihad against what you perceive at the phallo-centric object of blasphemy? What shallow understanding of what you have of the ethics of authenticity and the paranoia you have build within yourself, projects in your insecurities worse that a Freudian misinterpretation of the Oedipal and Elektra Complexes.
Destroy what you do not wish to understand?
And you destroy what you do not wish nor care to understand? And you call it the will of Man honouring the word of God?
Or it is all about money and more money in these nice words you have crafted as a prison-house of language - words that no longer have any meaning in this world of the globalisation of Nothingness, in a world of a stream of consciousness that flows violently - a world of Legolands, this and that harems for Walt Disney, of tourism economy that destroy the environment arrogantly, endlessly, unrepentingly.
And cultural barbarians you are - that should be keep outside the great wall of our kingdom of hope built upon the natural growth of the renaissance of knowledge and upon and enlightened path shone unto us, at this yuga of a festive and joyous celebration of cosmopolitanism, of cultural acceptance, of the diversity amongst us, between us, and inside of us. These are the hanging gardens we shall build to keep you and your jihad at bay.
I have said my piece. I am still in deep anguish. Let us now ask how could this have happened and what then must we do, and how do we bring these kinds of barbarism to a grinding halt.
DR AZLY RAHMAN, born in Singapore and grew up in Johor Baru, holds a Columbia University (New York City) doctorate in International Education Development and Masters degrees in four areas: Education, International Affairs, Peace Studies and Communication. He has taught more than 40 courses in six different departments and has written more than 350 analyses on Malaysia. His teaching experience in Malaysia and the United States spans over a wide range of subjects, from elementary to graduate education. He has edited and authored four books; Multiethnic Malaysia: Past, Present, Future (2009), Thesis on Cyberjaya: Hegemony and Utopianism in a Southeast Asian State (2012), The Allah Controversy and Other Essays on Malaysian Hypermodernity (2013), and the latest Dark Spring: Ideological Roots of Malaysia's GE-13 (2013). He currently resides in the United States. Twitter,