A couple of years ago, my friend moved out to Malaysia in search of a life where a winter wardrobe isn't a thing and you don't have to worry about stuff like moronic lad culture or seeing Lee Mack's face on television. What he found was a job as a bar manager in an establishment frequented by Malay punks covered in swastikas, wearing Combat 18 (a neo-Nazi terrorist organisation) T-shirts and harping on about "Malay power".
Turns out they're a group of far-right nationalists who want to rid Malaysia of any non ethnic Malays and stop immigration into the country. Which, although pretty backwards and reductive, isn't all that surprising in the current world climate. What was surprising, and kind of confusing, is that they identify themselves as neo-Nazis, are fond of sieg-heiling and listen to Nazi bands like Skrewdriver and Angry Aryan, yet definitely aren't Aryan themselves. And adopting a worldview that specifically discriminates against your race seems a very odd thing to do.
I was told that one of the most popular Malay power bands is an act named Boot Axe, so I got in touch with band member Mr Slay to find out why exactly a group of Malaysians are going through this bizarre, neo-Nazi identity crisis.
VICE: Hi Slay. So what’s the deal with all this "Malay power" stuff then? Slay: Malay power is important because we're concerned about keeping a pure Malay community all over the Malay Archipelago [the archipelago between Australia and Southeast Asia, believed by some to be the homeland of the Malay race]. I'm a second generation fighter for Malay power. The first generation, who founded the Malay power movement, have been less active recently. Malay power stems from a point in history – the 13th of May, 1969 – where the Chinese and Malay communities fought each other. However, the punk and skinhead Malay power movement started in Kuala Lumpur in the early 90s.
As far as I understand it, the idea that there's a "Malay race" – which is supposedly indigenous to the Malay Archipelago – was proposed by German scientist Johann Blumenbach. There's a lot of contention over whether or not such a race actually exists. For a start, Blumenbach’s theory hinged around the idea that there were only five different races in the world, which is clearly pretty flawed. I take it racism features pretty heavily in your ideology?
We're extremists in regards to the Malay race, but that doesn’t mean that we're extreme racists. It’s not about racism; it’s all about being Malay.
Okay. How exactly is Nazism culturally relevant to Malaysians? Malaysia isn’t a country that most people would associate with Hitler and his Third Reich buddies.
Malaysia is home to people from China, India and foreign immigrants from Bangladesh, Africa, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Burma. The government can't control the entry of immigrants and we get so many of them. There are so many protests against the government about this issue, but they haven’t done anything tangible to improve the situation. Race has become a focus because of the inclusion of uncontrolled numbers of these people in our society.
How has immigration affected you?
Malay people have been affected in socio-economic terms. Ethnic Malays also fall prey to criminals who come from abroad and sell drugs and commit murder, rape, robbery and so on. The lesson that we can learn from Nazism is that we can take extreme racist action if the position of the Malays is affected by these factors. We won't practice overt racism if the Malay race isn't compromised, but, if threatened, we will take action.
So you aren’t openly hostile to minorities at the moment?
We don’t like minorities in Malaysia if they can’t co-exist with the Malay race. If they are good, then we are good.
What about Jews? Most Nazis aren’t too fond of them.
All Malay power punk and skinhead bands are outright anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist. Study the origins of the descendants of the Malay people from thousands of years ago and you'll see that we're connected with the Jews. According to the Jewish scriptures, a "lost tribe" of children from Israel who are divinely guided – which means they must be Muslims – will kill the Jewish Zionists in Palestine. In the beginning, Zionists thought that Native Americans were the ancestors of the lost tribe. Then an American scientist and theologist called Professor Ralph Olsen concluded that the Malay in the Malay Peninsula are the descendents of the lost tribe. This hypothesis is a half-truth. The Malays are not one hundred percent descendents of the lost tribe, but Ralph Olsen’s theory about the adventures of a lost race is an interesting one.
This is all news to me. It sounds as if there's an Islamic ideology mixed in with Nazism here, which is a little confusing.
Malay power is connected to Islam. It doesn’t have links to any pro-Islamic movements, though.
So you’re a neo-Nazi movement with elements of Islam and some Jewish scripture thrown in for good measure? I’ve noticed that your band appears to be quite fond of the slogan "Blood and Honour", which is the name of a British neo-Nazi group. Were you influenced by neo-Nazis from over here?
We weren't directly influenced by British neo-Nazis because we realise that the extremists in the UK don't like Asian people. We just took the slogan "Blood and Honour" to demonstrate our identity.
Do you listen to British and American Nazi bands?
Yes, I listen to English Rose, Skrewdriver, Brutal Attack and Angry Aryan.
That’s quite a selection. Do you think Skrewdriver would be into Boot Axe?
No, I don’t think they would listen to our songs.
Do neo-Nazi groups exist in other Asian countries?
Yes, in Indonesia, Singapore and Japan. In Singapore, there's a Nazi black metal band called As Sahar.
Is every Malay neo-Nazi a punk? Or does Nazism extend beyond the punk and skinhead subculture?
No, all Malaysian neo-Nazis listen to punk and skinhead music.
You get anti-Nazi punks in quite a few countries – do they exist in Malaysia?
Yes, they do exist, but they dare not openly oppose us. They are afraid to speak out.
How are you regarded by the general public? Are they afraid of you as well?
Speaking honestly, maybe some people don't believe that the average, ethnic Malay citizens of Malaysia agree with us. However, we are not all that violent or extreme, as I have already told you.
How successful would you say your movement has been so far?
We make minorities afraid to commit crime in Malaysia. We always warn them not to cause trouble here. Violence isn't a solution for us because we begin with discretion, tolerance and politeness when talking to these immigrants. If they insist on continuing or if they are stubborn people, we will do what is necessary. We also do charity work for the community and for Palestine, Syria, Somalia and other countries that are at war. We've also tried to have discussions with the government about how to overcome the problem of having so many immigrants, but we were ignored. We're very different when compared to European and American neo-Nazis, who state openly that they want to eliminate races other than the white race. We start off with restraint and a zero tolerance stance, but we won't keep up this position if the Malays in Malaysia are threatened.
Okay. Finally, how do you square being a Nazi with not actually being white?
Most worldwide organisations say that Nazism is just for whites. And yes, we are not members of the blue-eyed, blond-haired Aryan race – our community is brown-skinned, brown-eyed and dark-haired. We've just adopted the spirit associated with Nazism as a symbol for the Malay race’s response if it's threatened by racial issues.
Thanks for answering my questions. It’s been enlightening.
this was the number that brought the Shah of Iran down in 1979 ... a truly Malaysian Spring after a Dark one engulfing?
I don't know ... what would do if you have a rage against the machine?
this is a complex question we have come to ask ... when the end of Malaysian history, borrowing Francis Fukuyama's famus thesis, is near -- that the death of despotism is nea...r and that the people's political maturity has fiinally been greatly acquired.
to be or not to be ... in a massive street rally ... is a Shakespearean question we are asking ... a fraud is a fraud by any other name .. when something is really rotten in the State of Delirium ...
still ... we will see a violent response to a million Malaysian march, if we follow the prediction of Machievelli ... power must be maintained at all cost .. even if i means the cost are lives ...
it is no or never, as the rallyist would say .. as Elvis too would sing ... fair statement, very fair ... sometimes constructive engagment can be mere rhetoirc and a play of words, in a game using delaying tactics ...
i don't have an answer to this question ... do you ? will the unpopular government succumb to a million Malaysian march ? or .. is our Malaysian Spring finally here ... a Tahrir Square with a leader.. ? -- ar
Day and Happy May Day! May the labors of love reign supreme.
I recall an
old Malaysian radio advertisement: “May Day … May Day… I’m itching all over!” I
suppose this is the predicament we all are in when we speak of the “mother of
all issues”: culture!
Mothers give birth to babies. Babies do not know
what racism means until they learn from adults. And then they become defined
through institutionalized racism produced by the Ideological State Apparatus.
The child, is the father of Man, said a sage.
Where are we at on Mother's Day and May Day?
Are we more race-conscious now than
ever before? Are we really in the postmodern era in which politics of identity
is taking its linguistic and semiotic turn – in which the ugliness and the
beauty of race and ethnicity is surfacing and rearing their heads? Do we need a
better understanding of the word “culture”?
growing number of race-related news-stories, letters to the editors, column
writings, and opinions published by Malaysiakini, we seem to be arguing more
intensely on the issue of race and social dominance.
We argue on which
language is more superior, whose civilization originated first, to who this and
that land belong to, or if God actually has a chosen people. We even go on a
crusade and jihad based on the superiority of this and that culture and
civilization. We then hear of suicide bombings in the name of this and that
We let ourselves be shaped by theories of race and ethnicity.
These theories were developed by those who think that human beings are material
beings primarily and that race and ethnicity are constructs that must be made
real. These theories might have originated from racists themselves.
design systems of social dominance. We build our politics, schools, cultural
institutions, organizations, youth movements, and all kinds of imaginary prisons
based on notions of racial superiority. We design economic policies around these
notions. We distribute justice based on them. We define citizenship based on
these notions. We create imagined communities out of them. We then get trapped
by the attempt to redefine what race, ethnicity, and culture means.
include or exclude human beings using languages that gatekeep. We protect our
economic interest using sophisticated language of institutionalized racism. The
result: we see a manifestation of poverty based on the identification of
We then tried to correct the imbalances using the culture of
Classical/Rostowian/Friedmanian economics and developmental/pluralistic
politics. We used statistics to measure people and to argue of this and that
distribution of the economic pie. We developed the culture of communalism based
on the numbers we crunch.
As decades go by, we then see race and class
emerging. We did not realize that the seeds of destruction were planted in the
very house we inhabit based on the notions of race, ethnicity, and culture we
understand – our understanding based on old colonial theories. We charted our
future ruins. When the incorruptible becomes corrupt, we saw how some of us
design oppositional politics based on these constructs. In the end, we are still
This is a double jeopardy in our conceptualization of humanity,
as we embrace and offer ourselves the deadly kiss of the Machiavellian notion of
race, ethnicity, and culture.
At the root of these shackles of social
dominance, I think lies in how we imagine ourselves as cultural beings. This is
the cultural problematique that goes beyond merely the clever notion of the
“clash of civilizations”, as many a Huntington scholar might have us
Is tculture the culprit?
We continue to debate about
culture and religion in our public schools. We might be debating on faulty
premises. We might have to look at the issue of culture, race, and ethnicity
from a radically different perspective. Let us see what this may mean based on
the propositions I will be making which fundamentally begin like this: culture
is in the imagination and is not real.
There is no such a concept as
'original culture'. Cultures are systems of construction of realities that is
influenced by the historical-materialistic march of technology and capital, that
then develops conditions of existence and formulate human consciousness. Culture
is fluid and amorphous and is a construct rather than a constant. Culture is not
static. Cultural construction can be conveniently used and abused to lend
legitimacy to power and its concentrated self.
It is more than just the
tools we use and play but also the house that we inhabit. Its definition is
problematic; the numbers of definitions are many. The word Malay, Chinese,
Indian, American, Indonesian --- all these are cultural constructs that are
useful in some ways but useless in others.
Unfortunately it is the
uselessness of culture that is often most attractive and get translated into
sophisticated racist policies. As racist policies become further
institutionalized and as economic interests that go with these need to be
protected even more, racial tensions and consequently violence erupts. As these
further mounts, we have war and ethnic cleansing -- in the name of cultural
We are endowed by the Creator these variations in skin color
and appearances to have use solve problems of humanity; to understand what needs
and wants are, and to discern what is Good and what is Evil.
enable human thinking and it can also disable it. It can be shaped, structured,
and symbolized based on the influence of class structure of the
This will translate into "high", "low", "mass",
"popular", and "sub-culture". With all these subdefinitions of culture comes the
status symbols of the object of display, affection, work, leisure, etc, that
shape and that are shaped by the economic condition.
Hence, a goblet used
in a sultan' s palace might be worth a thousand goblets used by the sultan's
hamba sahayas. Or a Rolls Royce used by a royal family signifies a symbol of
"high culture" as opposed to a "[Proton] Rusa,” a symbol of "popular culture"
used by a family in a remote kampong.
There is a new dimension of culture
emerging. There are classes of culture and culture of classes. Classes of
culture are post-industrial tribes that are victims of producers whereas culture
of classes are the internal logic of cultures that have been eroded by the
forces of globalization and late capitalism.
Cultures have eroded, been deconstructed, synthesized, and been
redefined as capitalism continue to march in its own cultural logic. As
capitalism becomes a culture unto itself and appropriates, robs, and raped
Nature, human beings become workers and slaves to the system of cultural
Workers become human machines under the system of
indoctrination of bureaucratization, and next, Taylorism and next Fordism, and
now Total Quality Management. Those who design these gentle systems of modern
servitude can exploit the worker better; in a sublime, scientific, and
Workers are asked to adopt the culture of work of the
Japanese and to look East; not realizing that the Japanese continue to further
their East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere in a post-modern way.
tells the world that we have excellent workers that can be exported globally.
These workers, like Mercedes Benz, Jaguars, Bentleys, and Audis, are good brands
that can be exported. We take pride in producing good workers at a cheaper rate.
The Malaysian people are now embalmed as machines that have culture; not
cultural beings that can control the machines.
We are however, afraid to
tell the world that we need good citizens that can think critically and to
become agents of cultural change; workers that understand who owns the means of
production and the process of mental servitude. We are afraid the “brand name
workers” might become “brand name thinkers” and create “brand name social
changes” in a nation of “other people’s” blue chip industries.
dominance and hegemony evolved into a new name called ideology, carrying with it
the definitions of race and ethnicity.
We create classes of people in the
technological sector; those digerati we house in Cyberjaya and who we continue
to socially reproduce through an education system that is increasingly training
human beings into machines.
This is the new culture we are cultivating;
one that is “heteroglosially” global and technological; one whose members are
increasingly hypermodernised, hypertextualized, and hyperactive consumer of
wants more than needs.
We have evolved into cyber-Malays, cyber-Indians,
cyber-Chinese, cyber-Kadazans, cyber-Muruts, and cyber-Senois and cyber-Jakuns’
true to the cultural mold of cybernetic capitalism.
This is the new
phenomenon in global cultural construction – the emergence of, no longer
linguistic or cultural stocks of people, but personality types shaped by the
advancement of economic conditions.
Culture or Human
If cultures are imaginary concepts we carry as our own personal
realities, what then is human nature?
Man is a universal being that exist
in its particularity. Man is one and many all at once. The purpose of the
existence of Man is to de-evolve into Nature and to free itself from the shackle
called “culture”. The “cultured Man” has stolen Nature and has forgotten its own
Man is a being constructed out of DNA which is color-blind,
culturally insignificant, and racially blind.
Man’s evolution is
determined by the economic condition first and foremost and by the systems of
belief that condition him/her ideologically. The rise of private property and
the emergence of the concept of family is the precursor of the rise of the
system of monopoly of resources. As human knowledge advances in the hands and in
the imagination of those who owns the means of production, Man creates theories
of racial superiority that are attractive and useful to the cause of colonialism
and next, imperialism.
Better technologies and better systems of
educating for colonial dependency create more sophisticated means to define
people racially and ethnically. Nationalism, or the sense of “nationhood” became
a phenomena to rally people of the same color, the same geographical origin, the
same language into fighting for the cause of a the same imagined community that
could then be turned into the nineteenth-century concept of
Nation-states pose problems to cultural differences
What has emerged is a global class of owners, producers,
managers, technocrats, laborers, consumers, and pariahs and hamba sahayas of the
Information Age – speaking Geek.
We need to embrace the new global
definition of culture if we are to step outside of the circle of fire we have
build using the language of race, ethnicity, and culture.
Or -- we might
have built a wrong house fifty years ago!
On a more positive
Happy Mother’s Day. Let us raise our children in Peace, Love, and
Tolerance. Into transcultural citizens, preferably. We must go back to Mother
“Alif-Mim-Nun-Wau... sarkis!” - said a character in P Ramlee’s movie Pendekar Bujang Lapok. Of late I have been hit by nostalgia, reminiscing and even romanticising the 60s, 70s and the early 80s before Mahathirism took root.
My last column on Malaysia in the 70s was an enjoyable piece of journaling and from the numerous comments I read from all the blogs that carry it - my own blog Between Cybernetics and Existentialism, my Facebook page, Malaysia Today, etc - I feel that there was a time when a good Malaysian spirit was about to be forged.
This was that sense of a historical block, until May 13, 1969 came, of course; whether it was orchestrated or a victory campaign that went wrong we are beginning to find out, as alternative accounts of it continue to be written.
After languishing in sweet memories of the 70s, I next thought of the 60s; the time when I was growing up in Johor Baru and how the kampong and the city and the school I went to became my “global classrooms”.
My fond memories always go back to a “multicultural Malaysia I knew - especially how I owed my interest in learning and insatiable urge to acquire knowledge through the selfless work of my teachers - Malay, Chinese, Indians, Sikhs, and even my Peace Corps American teachers.
Without them, I would not have been able to write honestly about the need not just to “tolerate” other cultures but to learn from each one of them, embrace the dynamics of each, and to bring out the universality of the values, and next to design good learning systems and environments that will nurture these differences into commonalities and to hybridise the wisdom we will acquire.
This is what has been lacking in our education system - critical sensibility and the embracing of the idea of “cultural action for freedom”, as the Brazilian educational philosopher Paulo Freire would say.
A P Ramlee movie Of late, too, I have been watching P Ramlee movies - reminiscing my childhood days as well with my memory of the black and white television, that “machine to call upon far away vision” (tele + vision), or on a more theoretical basis, anthropologists of technology would call “a fantasy-machine in the garden” and in this case, a “TV in a peaceful kampong”.
I watched and “read closely” Malaysia’s great humanist-social-philosopher P Ramlee’s, classic of the 60s Pendekar Bujang Lapok.
I found something interesting in there worthy, in fact, of a full-blown dissertation on the anthropology of the Malays. Here is what I discovered about the first 17 minutes of it:
There is an intellectual framework in “reading” this movie; one that could be a hybrid of political-economy of development and underdevelopment (see the work of the Dependenistas/Dependency Theorists of the 70s), World-Systems Theory, Marx’s idea of “technological determinism”, i.e. technology as the shaper of social relations of production (see my dissertation Thesis on Cyberjaya, on the origin of Cyberjaya and the concluding discussion on Marx and technology and culture), semiotics of power, as in the notion of “habitus” (see Pierre Bourdieu’s work on “symbolic power”) and a study of post-colonialism emblematic in the work of Albert Memmi’s Colonizer and the Colonized, Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin White Masks, and others in the genre of psychological studies of oppression. Ramleeology as method
Syed Hussein Al Attas’s work is also instructive of a framework in looking at the idea of how the image of the native is constructed, as lazy, obedient, and imbued with “bebalism” and “tolol-ism “ (feudalistic Malay idiocy and moronism); constructed by the rich and land-owning class that drew inspiration from “divide and rule” - from the British colonials.
Indeed there is a lot to “read” in this movie; provided we deconstruct it to its minute detail (dialogue, characterisation, symbolism, plot, discourse of power, language play, irony, metaphor, etc.). Herein lies the rejuvenation of my interest in developing “Ramleeology” as a “method of cultural critique based on radical social theory that can be applied to a trajectoric landscape of history such as Malaysia of this ‘hypermodern’ era”.
In just that 17 opening minutes. I saw the entire history of the evolution of the feudal and neo-feudal Malay mentality being displayed; from pre-independence to this day as we count the days to a regime change.
P Ramlee (left in photo) showed me what authoritarianism, stupefication, Malay gangsterism, crude kampongism, corruption, and arrogance mean. These can be seen in today’s display of political idiocy, as a legacy of Mahathirism.
But at the end of that “kampong jetty scene” of Pendekar Bujang Lapok, I saw “counter-hegemony” in the form of a revolt of the Malay masses against the oppressors, as if poetic justice must always be with the alienated and humiliated Malays at different epochs of history.
The last “revolt scene”, like a storming of the Bastille, and the overthrowing of Louis Capet and Marie Antoinette, I saw rallies upon rallies such as those we have been seeing in the last few years beginning from the first Bersih rally.
The Malays these days, the enlightened ones, in collaboration with their brothers and sisters of different race, religion, national origin have all become the new “pendekars” or “warriors” such a the three “pendekars” headed by P Ramlee.
But the final scene is not here yet. The deconstructionism mart is there; Malaysians are able to “read” what has been delusioning them vis-a-viz the dread called “Mahathirism”, the idiocy called “Ketuanan Melayu”, and the rhetoric called “social contract”, framed according to a truncated Malay view and not like a vision suggested by the social philosopher of the French Revolution, Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
I had fun watching that particular P Ramlee movie. I think he is a visionary, somewhat like a modern Malay prophet speaking up truth to power for Malaysians of all races, for the oppressed, for those dehumanised by those who owns the means, methods , machinery, and media technology of oppression.
Watch the movie on YouTube - we Malaysians are all in it!
I am overwhelmed by the "Chinese-ness" of my own experience ...
- a beloved Chinese-born aunt ... who grew up with my family since she was a few weeks old ...
- Ah Lan who taught my (late) mother how to sew clothes so that she
could make me and my siblings those beautiful traditional clothes ...
- my excellent and caring primary school teachers Miss Chan, Miss Tan,
Miss Wong .. who taught me ho to be a better human being ...
- my excellent Math teacher Mr. Wong who also taught me how to write in Jawi!
- my great set of teachers in high school, Miss Yap, Ms. Chew. Mr. Wong. Mr. Ho, Mr. Liew, and of course the great Sir Peter Ng
- my Chinese literature professor, Julia Lin who got me interested in
Chinese and Japanese culture and philosophy and got me interested too in
finding out what her now famous daughter Maya Lin (American architect)
was designing ...
- for the last two decades of my teaching in
Malaysian and the United States, possibly a thousand students of Chinese
origin whom I see primarily as intelligent and wise learners I too
learned from ...
and many more experiences ... including YOU in this forum ...
and most importantly having all these experiences that has tsunami-ed me
into believing that we are all of one race: the human race ..
So, Malaysian media and racist politicians behave ... and watch your language ... -- ar
by all counts, judging by the strangeness of the process, the years of demand by BERSIH to clean up its act, the admittance by the Elections Commission that its hands are tied, its job description which states that it answers to the Prime Minister's Department, gerrymandering, the presence of millions of immigrants and immigrant workers who became citizen-voters, the multi-duplication of names, sudden black-out at the "Earth Day" moment of vote-counting, the sudden gush of a tsunami of BN winning votes, and all kinds tactics and techniques of fraud, lies, and deceit in the book used in this 13th. elections --- all these point to the reality that massive fraud has possibly helped install a government that did not win
... the country is not sitting still ... whatever that is remaining of "due process" must be used .. whatever peaceful way of potest must be exhausted.
This is possibly an election hijaked, a Malaysian Elections Fraud of the Century, in our way to elect a highest official that might be known in history as "His Fraudulency" when the results of a public inquiry is known. It is not easy to juts "move on" when the democratic culture we have been building since post-2008 is being poisoned by those who wish to hold on the power for as long as they can rob the public coffers clean and dry.
This is not an acceptable brand of democracy Malaysians wish to live by; we deserve better than this. All NGOs, political parties, and every citizen who care for the fate of this country must demand for nothing less than an explanation of every irregularity and what happened to their vote .. even if there are a million complaints lodged .. what then must BERSIH as a growing force of a Malaysian Spring do?
many Malaysians are crying in anger ... and in sadness .. thinking of the fate of their children when what they wish to have through this game called "voting" in a Malaysian democracy is being destroyed right before our very eyes .... -- ar
At the great gathering of
thousands, the new leaders emerging from the elections of 2013 speak.
Praise be to God, Lord of the Universe, Just God of
Humanity, Universal God of Humankind that knows even what is whispered in our
hearts. Praise be to Lord of the Day of Judgment; one that made possible the
change and transformation we are seeing now and we will continue to see in
Allow me to talk about our victory, our vision of a
"Constitutional State" and our vehicle of social, cultural, and economic
progress beyond the NEP: of a new economic agenda.
I stand here by His
Grace, with humility, thanking you Malaysians who have come to celebrate and to
give us the strength, the resolve, and the will to continue to march towards
This victory is already ours. We cannot underestimate our
struggle – the struggle of Malaysians of regardless of race, class, gender,
creed, religious background, and national origin. This victory will be a gift
for our children. This will be the best gift we can leave the next generation
with in a country in which "justice" is put in its proper place. This is the
concept of Adil and is what we base out
struggle on. This is the concept of bersih, cekap,
amanah in the truest sense of the word. We are winning.
We live in
an imperfect world. We live in maya, in the shadow of Plato's cave. We
constantly need to make changes to our institutions, so that democracy will have
its breathing space, will evolve, and will flourish in accordance to the laws of
Nature. As the French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau once said "Everything in
good in the hands of the Author of things, everything degenerates in the Hands
We have allowed totalitarianism, corruption,
repression, and hedonism to take root in our democratic
In an imperfect world such as Malaysia, in which
imperfection has gotten worse and making us slaves to the policies created out
of our prejudices and arrogance, out of our greed and lust for power, and out of
our ill-conceived idea of human liberation and economic development - this
imperfect world needed more than just incremental changes and compromise.
It needed radical changes and no-compromises. We have
shown that we through Fate conspiring, through the Will of God, we made that
change, sudden yet peaceful and civil, on March 8 2008. It is our Velvet
revolution, inspired by our own sense of non-violence, aided by technologies of
cybernetics. The "revolution" - our own Malaysian styled-revolution -
that ought to now be studied alongside the nature and structure of revolutions
worldwide is not without its causes.
Voices of change
Those hard long
years of battling injustices, the sacrifices of those imprisoned without trial,
of those humiliated beyond recognition stripped off their dignity, those
brutally beaten beyond mercy, those hunted down on the streets of our major
cities, those silenced and stupefied in our universities, those sprayed with
chemicals, and the voice of the little girl – a child of the Hindraf revolution
who brought roses to ask for pity for his father's release - all these violent
images of oppression we do not deserve have taught us to be stronger.
shall overcome We shall overcome. We shall overcome the tyranny of an
arrogant, ineffective, incompetent, corrupt and lazy government that does not
have any more respect for the rule of law does not have any shame in showing
its greed and lust does not have any mercy in using brutal force to silent
the voices of change does not have much respect for the principles of human
rights does not have much intelligence when it comes to parliamentary
debates does not have a clue of what good governance means does not have
any regard for the plight of the poor and their livelihood does not have any
respect for the intelligence of the faculty and students in our
universities does not have any shame in overstaying their welcome does not
have any interest in controlling crime does not have any will to fight
corruption and does not have leaders that are wide awake, and does not
have any idea that spoiled brats and greedy ones are running the country and
finally destroying not only the party but also the nation.
the price of arrogance. That's the price of corruption. That' s the price of
losing touch with reality and a government losing its mind as well. That is what
it is paying for – big time!
It has been our remarkable years of living
dangerously, swept by the tsunami of a yellow wave, under the moonlight of a
blood red sky. It has been remarkable for us and the world to witness battles
being fought by the rakyat against the
machinery of oppression— a corrupted machine run by corrupted minds of lesser
By God's grace we shall win this war against the unjust. We shall
win, by the will of the people.
We shall put justice in its proper
Hold on fast to your dreams
A few days before the Malaysian
tsunami that swept away the powerful machinery of the ruling regime, sweeping it
to the backyard of our national history, we were battling with this feeling that
the regime would still be holding power and will continue to use it to oppress,
intimidate, and to rob the rakyat – for another
The African-American poet of hope, Langston Hughes once
"Hold on fast to your dreams. For when dreams die, life is but a
W.S. Rendra the great poet of the Nusantara once said the
"world within.. the world outside must unite" in order for meaningful change to
happen; in order for leaders to be true to his or her conscience and to answer
We are at an exciting historical juncture. No longer are we being
objects of history, but we have become makers of history. Time awaits no man or
woman. History marches on; history crafted by those oppressed by their own
people intoxicated with power. No colours or barriers
Who would believe that we could have achieve such victory
in a time when skepticism still reigns. Who would believe that we would, in our
rage against the machine, overturned it and send those who owned it scrambling
in all directions bruised and still unwilling to accept the defeat orchestrated
by the rakyat. Yes, the power of the rakyat, or suara
keramat rakyat, the sacred voice of the people, that made victory possible.
From the silent and scared voices of the rakyat we now have a sacred voice that
has spoken loud and clear and will continue to speak louder.
the march of the power of the people that have begun to know no colors and
barriers of religion, class, creed, and national origin. You are the reason why
I am still standing here and not looking outward from some prison cell in Perak
or Selangor – two states tsunamied by the yellow wave.
What next after
the revolution? The celebrations are over. We need a GPS – a geo-positioning
system – to help us create a better society.
We are all economic beings
who need to see a better plan that will promise us a better life after what we
have accomplished in this General Election. We do not have faith anymore in the
New Economic Policy that has reared its ugly head in its 50 years of
We cannot have faith in the NEP that is creating robber
barons out of the hard work of the poor. We can no longer be fooled by the
argument that the NEP protects the rights of the Bumiputeras when only a few
"sons and daughters of the soil" are plundering the wealth of this land and
gradually but surely selling off our country to other robber barons from outside
of this country. Is this the kind of Bumiputera hiding behind the mask of the
NEP we want to have running this country?
These are the Bumiputeras who
make different races mistrust each other, masking the real issue of oppression
and distributive injustices that know no race, ethnicity, color, creed. These
are the culprits that were created out of our own lack of understanding of what
a "good society" is and what "radical multiculturalism" means and how these can
offer us a sound philosophy of human development that prioritizes needs versus
wants, virtue over greed, and peaceful solution versus structural violence. It
is a matter of time we depose these "traitors" who call themselves defenders of
this or that race, hiding behind the crumbling walls of the NEP.
still speaking for the New Economic Policy – one that is used for fifty years
first as a programme to help the poor but no has matured as a tool of the
powerful to plunder the nation and to rape the environment?. Who would have
thought that the NEP once designed as a strategy to alleviate poverty and
restructure society has now become an instrument to make the poor poorer and the
rich filthier. A new dawn
You have entrusted us to fight for a better future. You
have given us the trust to chart a new Malaysia. We owe you a dawn of a new
Our central economic principle is that "the right opportunities
must be made available to every single Malaysian—opportunities to learn,
opportunities to make an honest living, and opportunities to achieve our
dreams". We will defend the rights of all Malaysians as guaranteed under our
Let us go forth in the direction of change, with our brand
new economic agenda. Let us leave the abused and outdated New Economic Policy
behind. How do we do this? You and I must take charge.
Malaysian who have known truth and justice, to fight for these, and to see how
these are becoming a reality,
You continue to be the reason why this
revolution is happening. I stand before you, with humility asking you to
continue to support our struggles to be free;
You have answered the call
You have risked your lives on the streets in order to demand
You have not given up.
You will be free from the
shackles of domination
Free from being harassed by the government the moment
you want to speak up
Free from having to bear the burden of this regime's
incompetence and corrupt practices,
Free from the being treated like second
and third class citizens even though grandfather and great grandfather arrived
here earlier that the fathers and mother of many of the Cabinet
Free at last we shall be
Free at last by God's Grace
you. Thank you.
We shall work together to make our society
Thank God Almighty. We shall march on. We shall be free!
My feelings tonight... thinking of the magnitude of fraud and possible degree of destruction to my beloved nation... three days to the important day and major issues are not resolved yet. We are going to have an election and pretend that the winner will still govern our lives carrying a fraudulent mandate... sadness engulfing me - ar
2) GE13... a question.
should we let Nature take its course
and Fate to dictate Free Will?
or should we tie our camel to the olive tree
and pray that it'll not be stolen while we watch
the elections drama of the century? - ar
How do we understand our shattering hope and at the same time address our rage against the machine?
The latest allegation of the flying in of tens of thousands of dubious voters, whilst being made public and the nation now alarmed, could be a factor to shatter the hopes of Malaysian to taste a free and fair election. It is a serious allegation with far-ranging consequences. A shattering Malaysian hope? What will another win for BN entail, given its massive control of the media, men, machinery and even the minds of those it has clutched for 55 years in this grand narrative of hypermodernity, oriental despotism, hegemony, and the propping of a façade to disguise a failing state?
How will revenge and retribution look like? How will Malaysians see another period of time and energy wasted to settle scores - time ought to be used for national building and the improvement of the lives, minds, and souls of all Malaysians?
We have unresolved issues which make me wonder if we are actually ready to have an election. Project MyKad or IC in Sabah, the Sulu intrusion, postal voter ballot secrecy, alleged delibility of the indelible ink, and now the mega-issue of all, the “now-every-phantom-voter-can-fly” allegation - all these and what else are making this an election not only plagued with fraud, but one that is shaking the country at its fundamental core.
We are at a beautiful juncture in which we are seeing a genuine and heart-warming display of progressive multiculturalism and religious understanding at the grassroots and the responsive and responsible party-politics levels - something we have not seen much since the days of Mahathirism.
Yet the threat looming is the might of the machine that is pounding us to render us helpless in the face of a potentially fraudulent outcome of a most decisive election. We are seeing a no-shame display of the abuse power of a caretaker government in all aspects of campaigning.
A larger issue is our rage against the machine - one that is a marriage between the ideology, ideological apparatuses, and the corporate institutions whose interest have been to profit from the rakyat and to continue to patron a dying regime. This is an issue of political-economy.
Seriously, it is a structural and systemic political-economic issue of interlocking directorate-ships, controlling interests and a lack of basic ethics.
Knowing that companies which you support and patron for years are involved in aligning themselves with political parties that work against the interest of the people's just and peaceful demand for good governance ...
Knowing that these companies, some huge ones in telecommunications, shipping, infrastructure, entertainment and air transportation, are closely-linked with the political parties that are all out to destroy that nation in a fraudulent election that will destroy the future of our children, what then must one do?
Should these companies be fully-exposed of their link - to educate the people they profit from all these years and a public inquiry be made of the future of their operations?
It is a systemic and structural issue - an ugly aspect of the legacy of ‘Malaysia Inc.’, ‘privatisation’, and also that ‘Look East Policy’. In a country harbouring despotic inter-generational regimes such as Malaysia, for whom do these corporations serve?
What must we do?
How then must they be dismantled? Which pied piper paid for their pathological actions of bulldozing the rights of the people to have a safe and sane election for the sake of the peaceful and ethical evolution of a Malaysian nation - one in which a society is not made of phantom voters, instantly-made-legal illegal immigrants or simply those unfit to be taken in as "Malaysian citizens".
What then must we do to these corporate accomplices to the process of destruction of our beloved nation?
It is time to think of new telecommunications, infrastructural developments, and public transportation providers, etc. after this election.
It is time to seriously explore ownership and the control of companies based on the ‘cooperative system’ rather than leave everything to the ‘magic of the marketplace’ and the bulls and bears in the marketplace. There are actually no bulls nor bears, but beasts in corporate masks run by over-glorified propped-up billionaires created as ‘models of entrepreneurial excellence’.
There are only ‘great CEOs’ as inspiration to each race and religion that need a story of ‘rags-to-riches’ of our own myth of Horatio Alger - a narrative that the rakyat can salivate upon while still locked in the master-slave narrative of a Malaysian economy that is now a sinking bahtera merdeka, the great ship of Malaysian independence.
What then must we do in these remaining "three days that will shake Malaysia"? DR AZLY RAHMAN, who was born in Singapore and grew up in Johor Baru, holds a Columbia University (New York) doctorate in International Education Development and Master's degrees in the fields of Education, International Affairs, Peace Studies and Communication. He has taught more than 40 courses in six different departments and has written more than 300 analyses on Malaysia. His teaching experience spans Malaysia and the United States, over a wide range of subjects from elementary to graduate education. He currently resides in the United States. He has edited and written three books on Malaysia: Multiethnic Malaysia: Past, Present and Future (2009), Thesis on Cyberjaya: Hegemony and Utopianism in a Southeast Asian State (2012) , and the latest The 'Allah Controversy and Other Essays on Malaysian Hypermodernity (2013)