Friday, April 13, 2007

Malaysian Muslim Mayhem

There are only a few things one can reclaim in life. Country. Faith. Name. Family. Property. None in any particular order. But I will only deal with two today.

Country and faith.

While Muslims - Malaysians and those outside this nation - claim their faith, religion and way of life is being hijacked by either the fundamentalists or the liberals or anything in between that spectrum, I am more concerned about Malaysia.

I want to reclaim Malaysia for what it was when it was created. A Malaysia for all people within it, won't quote any politicians on this, but you know - no distinction between genders and race, class and creed etc.

I don't care if they are the religious right, the liberal left, the over-the-top, the below-the-line, the conservative centre, those in the outskirts and those in the inner circle. They are all Malaysians under the sun and the moon and the stars that exist in day and night.

But it is galling to me to hear and read about those who speak about the faith and its impact in Malaysia.

One just have to use Google to find out about a proposal to have a rehabilitation centre for transvestites or effeminate men in Terengganu to the Lina Joy case to Muslim converts, strangely most are ethnic Indians, and the problems it causes their families.

What gives? I have asked over the past few weeks.

The icing to the cake was this morning - Friday the 13th - when venerable state television station Radio Televisyen Malaysia morning chat show Selamat Pagi Malaysia posed a question along the lines of whether trading in shares over the internet was making Muslims lazy to work?

What the fuck?

Of those who responded - quite wisely and weirdly - 58 percent said no while 42 percent said yes.

Aren't there any other questions to ask in this country? How about the environment? The state of single mothers, orphans, the poor, the disabled, corruption, economy etc? No?

Why the obsession with Islam and Muslims in Malaysia?

There is more than being religious and righteous in this world. There is that little word called respect. Not tolerance for others but respect.

That, I think, is the one thing missing in the equation in Malaysia. Respect for everyone to know and decide what they are doing instead of patronising us with stupid questions and proposals and ideas and comments.

Respect. And maybe some rhapsody.

Bismillah. I will never let it go!


Azer Mantessa said...
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Azer Mantessa said...
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Azer Mantessa said...

I apologize for my comments are lengthy and brought in sections. The idea is to break them down for a structured reading.  
Mat Merah says:
“That, I think, is the one thing missing in the equation in Malaysia. Respect for everyone to know and decide what they are doing instead of patronizing us with stupid questions and proposals and ideas and comments.”
The Missing Element – Respect
In principle, I agree with Mat Merah that RESPECT is one of the key elements that is missing among so many other elements  in the equation of building up a better Malaysia.
Underestimate the statement given by Mat Merah not. Below is a demonstration of what would happen once RESPECT is not an element in a nation building.

The Downfall of Empires:

When Rome burned it was not with the inferno of vice or materialism but with the quiet smoldering of disrespect - disrespect not just for his fellow man but for the very knowledge that brought cultivation to life. The road to ruin has awaited not just Rome but every civilization with knowledge-based prosperity. 

This however is not the real issue raised by Mat Merah. Mat Merah has raised many issues.
Mat Merah questions:
“Aren't there any other questions to ask in this country? How about the environment? The state of single mothers, orphans, the poor, the disabled, corruption, economy etc? No?”
This requires another section.

Azer Mantessa said...

Back to the questions raised by Mat Merah:

“Aren't there any other questions to ask in this country? How about the environment? The state of single mothers, orphans, the poor, the disabled, corruption, economy etc? No?”
Before I further comment on why such stupid question forwarded by RTM has becoming such norm in the media today, I would like to elaborate a situation which catalyze the scenario.
The Elite Civilization and Their New Knowledge
"Two things are infinite: The universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe." ~ Albert Einstein

Well some groups of people are smarter. Different environments challenge people in different ways. Perhaps harsh environments may require greater intelligence to survive. Once the dumber members are out, there should be a higher intelligence for the group.

Animals don’t really get any smarter though. Perhaps they lack the brain. Killer whales have brains seven times human size. So we have to conclude that bigger brains alone are not enough.

Back then, people lived in small groups in the nearby jungle, scratching larvae out of tree trunks, rather than living in air-conditioned buildings in KL and earning a living by selling bonds to fund managers.

Those days before time, things made sense in a different way. A man could see his enemies, and he knew what would happen if he didn’t fight them. He would stand and fight to the death if defend his tribe, his family, and his little clan.

When the scale and sophistication of human civilization increased, man found himself in a situation for which his brain was not prepared. He no longer had the precise, specific, and direct information he needed.

Today, the average man can barely tell the difference between a fact and a campaign. And so the new knowledge leads him into error. Modern politics turns a voter into a dumb.

Politics and modernization make monkeys of us all. We’re not equipped to deal with them. Things are getting too complicated. Too complicated that we stop thinking. Too complicated that we tend to rely on abstractions. Abstractions are complicated art made easy made by the elite in the forms of slogans.

In the end, we are bound to make mess of things. Worse, we don’t even realize ourselves what kind of mess we are creating. In many ways, we are defenseless.
This is the new knowledge understood and brought forward by the elite. Obviously, this knowledge is initiated by politicians and their elitism where politics and business are married to each other. This marriage has sparked a contradiction within itself as the main function of politics is to contribute as a whole while the main function of businesses is to profit.
The contradiction gives rise to more negative situation – corruption, nepotism, cronyism, etc (No! I am not pro-Anwar or other political entities whatsoever but this is how I see things so this is my own opinion).  In order to cover up the negative situations mentioned, media is highly exploited to deviate the public from the main issues. One of methodology applied is asking or popularize stupid questions.
These questions are direct insult to the public intelligence. Insulting the public intelligence is a show of DISRESPECT. This requires another section.

Azer Mantessa said...

Again, the questions raised by Mat Merah:

“Aren't there any other questions to ask in this country? How about the environment? The state of single mothers, orphans, the poor, the disabled, corruption, economy etc? No?”
A typical question forwarded by the media:
Whether trading in shares over the internet was making Muslims lazy to work?
Above is just a typical stupid question raised by the media among so many other stupid questions. Why does the media have to insult the public through these stupid questions again and again in the first place anyway? I believe there is a conspiracy of covering up the main issues. Anyway, whether there is a conspiracy or not, this is a scenario alarming we are at the brink of our self-destruction.
The New Entertainment Policy (NEP)
The elite always have the way to survive. They need to keep going on. They need to be in control. Controlling the media is key. As the master of crowd psychology, the media is the benchmark for the elite to keep measuring the mind of the public. Measuring the mind of the public is important as this is how the elite may position themselves strategically.

The elite are not interested in the main issues. Elitism (politics + business) itself is not about dealing with the main issues anyway. The prove is obvious – given someone 22 years as a premier, the main task as being trusted by voters was not performed.
The New Entertainment Policy (NEP) which is actually not new is set up. The idea is simple – to entertain the public up to a level where the public keep forgetting the main issues. This is not really a big problem as an elite himself once said – we tend to forget. Of course, politicians have their own political excuses. Sadly, the public is accused as the main reason for the failure.
Remember ‘The Road Runner Show’? It’s the same concept. The idea is to keep entertain the public by various ways (forwarding stupid questions for instance) to keep deviating the public. The show must go on. Here we have a coyote with various tools to catch the road runner. No matter how hard the coyote did try, it keep failing. Ironically, failures are the main objective as this is how the show is kept going. As long as the public is entertained, the elite are safe.
Our Self-Destruction
Okay, let’s say there is no conspiracy whatsoever by the elite toward the public. Forget about the NEP mentioned above as probably it does not exist. For sure, what does exist is the scenario where the public are entertained or fed by the media on small issues or sometimes the non-issues as well. However it goes, this is a very dangerous situation. Once smaller issues or worse, non-issues are being over concerned rather the main issues, any civilization will fall.
The Downfall of Baghdad:
Strangely, Baghdad (Abbasina Dynasty) fell during the height of its civilization – technology, military, knowledge, economy etc. Baghdad fell to the people considered  barbaric, the Mongols.
There were too many reasons for the downfall to be listed but the main reason proven by historians was ‘Too Much Argument On Smaller Issues’. Perhaps, people then were too intelligent that they assumed there were no big issues to argue about, so they resumed to smaller issues. The result was very catastrophic – disunity.
In the end, Baghdad was easily conquered. There is this story where a nine-month pregnant Mongol lady managed to kill two Baghdad intelligent individuals while they were arguing on something stupid – which mouse entered the Noah’s ark first, the male mouse or the female mouse?

Azer Mantessa said...

1. The elite and the media have no respect whatsoever toward the public.

2. This is obviously shown when smaller issues are being raised thus insulting the public intelligence.

3. The main issues are always be hidden and the public are made to keep forgetting them.

4. The civilization and the new knowledge forwarded by the elite propagate the scenario.

5. Once smaller issues being the norm over the main issues, the immediate result is self-destruction.
I apologize again for the lengthy comments. I do appreciate any comments from anybody towards my comments. I am not here to be right or to agree but to learn. The least I know my English sucks. Any comments against mine is highly appreciated.
I would like to take this opportunity to insult the media and the elite by asking them this question:
If you are so brilliant, how come you fail to identify the main issues?

walski69 said...

Some years back (I think it was around 2003, just before August 31), I was sitting with my nephew at a restaurant in Mid-Valley. This restaurant served fusion-ish food - crepes, noodles, nasi lemak, and the like.

An RTM reporter came up and asked me this question: "Here we have a restaurant, owned by non-Malays, being frequented by all races. With Hari Merdeka a few days away, do you think this situation (the restaurant situation) is a good thing?"

I thought at the time that this was a stupid question. And so I answered, "You are asking the wrong question. You should be asking why are there not more of such situations, where we are Malaysians first and foremost, and not put so much importance of what race of Malaysians".

Needless to say, I never appeared on RTM.

The point is that I am of the opinion that our mainstream newsgatherers, particularly those from RTM, TV3, NTV7, etc., are totally incapable of asking the right questions. It's not that there is a conspiracy, per se. It's more of playing safe, and asking safe (albeit sometimes stupid and irrelevant) questions.

The modus operandi seems to be - start with a conclusion, then go out and get soundbites to support the conclusion. And only use those sound/video bites that are "safe".

It's the dumb dumbing down the presumably dumb public. And no one's the wiser.

As for the Islam question - yes, it does boil down to respect. Or lack of it. Actually, it's a case of "respect us", and not willing to accord the same courtesy.

That, and also the premise that every perceived problem must have its solution in religion (particularly Islam).

Corruption? More religion required to overcome corruption. Nevermind that some of the very ones committing the crime probably perform all their prayers and other religious obligations.

IMHO - blind aherance to religious practice and dogma does not promote good morality. If you drive around KL next time, observe the cars of the fucking road maniacs - switching lanes without signalling (or sometimes even looking), cutting queues, etc. - in all likelihood they will have some religious statement or other (any religion) in or on their vehicle.

Has religion made them better, more conscientious (and therefore more moral) drivers?

Probably not.

Mat Merah said...

Azer, thank you for your interesting take on the matter.

Indeed, the local media take great pains to highlight the trivial and ignore the more pressing issues of the day.

Which could be a reason why some, if not most, gravitate to the Internet in search of nuggets of information and opinion, fact or fiction, opinion and hearsay, as the case may be.

We live in interesting times but I fear the local media will have to find it in themselves to address the issues of the day - sooner or later that dirt under the carpet will trip them all.

walski69, your comments, as always, offer food for thought and are most welcome.

Yes, religiosity is now the veneer of society but our souls stink with self-importance, greed and disrespect.

The more we appear to identify with a faith, the further away we are from the faith.

Pity. We just have to do good. How hard is that?

Azer Mantessa said...

thx walski69 and mat merah for your comments which are good for my self-correction. i appreciate.