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Archive for July 12th, 2017

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Shafiqah Othman

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The term Malay Muslim is an oxymoron because if there is a Malay who is Muslim then, by extension of argument, there is a Malay who is Christian. This, though, isn’t pivotal in deflating the notion of the Malay Muslim.

More to the point, the term conflates the idea of Muslim and Malay so that anyone who is Muslim and Malaysian, resident in Malaysia, holds an identity card, subject to its laws, invariably become Malay (Zakir Naik, Ridhuan Tee), that is, speaking Malay and practices the Malay custom. But the Malay custom, like the terms Malay Muslim and Malay race, is yet another invention, that is, a fiction because if there is one, where is it? Where or what is the idea in the custom?

Malay custom by appearances has been long gone, of course. It has to happen because the more Muslim and the more Islamic is, say, Hadi Awang, the farther he is to being ‘Malay’ or to practice the Malay custom. In his entire life he conducts it like an Arab does. That, after all, is the whole idea of ‘Submission’ under Islam: it neither tolerates nor does it permit anybody to be anything else other than being Arab.

Islamic culture is the dominant Arabic culture. In the name of a God and under the power of one man’s predilection, even the Persians and the Africans have found themselves subject to not just speaking Arabic or eating dates during Ramadan or wearing towels on the head, but to the Hadith (written testaments based supposedly on utterances or acts by Mohammad) and the Quran. How could the Mohammad have possibly conducted his life in anything other than the desert culture of his time, that is, Arabic? Thinking of paddy fields and monsoon rain? Of course not.

How did descendants of Java, Sumatra and the Indonesian archipelago become subject to this Arab tyranny, but not the Indonesian? How does one become a conquered ‘race’?

It is easy to blame this state of affairs on the British but the Dutch did not hold sway on Indonesian thought. European, that is, western ideas were, of course, far more pervasive in Malaya than say Borneo. Ideas in themselves can’t do much though. If the British had taught Malays the world came into being by the zap of a magic wand from Allah, then that is just good for a laugh not serious study. Nobody is going to give a fuck.

What really change things fundamentally — and this is a hypothesis — is ways of thinking. By that, think of the creation story, that is, this God and the magic wand theory.

What underlay the mythology is the division of the world into two: the external and the internal, a creator and the created, the outside and the inside, heaven and hell, true and false, the good and the evil, and so on. Once the entire universe, indeed, once all reality is framed in this manner, anything to be discussed or talked through has to go down this pathway.

When Syed Akbar Ali at outsyedthebox doesn’t want to think along those terms, he calls it ‘thinking outside the box‘. But, that’s to presume there is even a box or a framework, so that, really, his way of thinking is still Anglophile (western).

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Shafiqah: she has an uphill task not only to debunk the mythology that there is only one kind of Muslim, the Arab kind, but after that there is even a thing or a person called Malay Muslim, such as the photo below. Because, if Allah is only for Muslims, who are Muslims for if not Allah that is Arabian? Where then is the Malay in the Allah?

Shafiqah falls into her own trap once her arguments are framed along the lines of liberal versus illiberal Malay because there never has been a Malay that is liberal. Islam, by its internal mechanics and its definition, is illiberal, however liberalism is defined. The fight she needs to address is, Malay life versus an Arab life. Doing that, you cut off the Malay from orthodoxy at its Arab roots. (Weeding, you see, is most effective from the roots up.)

The Crown Prince of Johore TMJ alluded to the gem of this idea and got that part right: ‘A country that abandons our local traditions such as our traditional clothes and chooses to adopt foreign customs, wanting to be like the Arabs.’

Therein, you know, is your ally. But, Malay versus Arab life? Yes, and think about it, Shafiqah, why? In another place, in the Arabia that Najib Razak (and Hadi Awang) wants to emulate, can you even sit behind that wheel?

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We, the Chinese, will let the Christians fight the Allah-cause. It is none of our business anyway: You guys can kill each other for all we care. But no Hudud, for the simply reason it is a bad name; it has too much Hadith in it and conquered minds are never worthy of our trust — or anyone’s else.

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Now come to Shafiqah Othman. (Shafiqah who? If anyone has to ask, that’s only because you think too much of Anwar Ibrahim. Forget him, that guy is just an ideas-parrot: gawk, gawk.) Though nothing new, there is no doubt that her charge, Malays are hypocritical, is persuasive. Indeed, it has been said that no Malay during Mahathir’s days, or even earlier, say in 1969, would dare make such an indictment.

But each time this argument is presented, the counter argument (careful there; click goes to an IS-styled Malaiyoo fascist rag sheet called ‘My Nation’) emerges and everyone is back to where they had begun: who the fuck is right?

It is as if there is no truth in anything so that Anglophiles simply return to the most convenient starting point. It is called a point of view (POV). All Anglophile journalists, without exception, are famous at invoking it, so you see this caveat all the time — This is the personal opinion of the columnist — as if there are opinions that are never personal, that is, at one with the rest of the world or the fucking editor.

Philosophers call this POV subjectivism, sometimes relativism. But there’s this problem: if a POV is subject to the person holding it, then only that person has a hold on the viewpoint. That being the case, no viewpoint ever stands independent of, or outside, a person but lasts or persists so long as it is held by the holder. That is, no POV is ever universally true or has any lasting value; and, ‘I think therefore I am’ (from Descartes) collapses into its own self-contradictory defeat.

The consequence? All political fights in Malaysia are therefore reducible to either, for one side or for the other. Ideas are only fought out from and stemming from whoever you stand with. Ideas are never fought out, for or against, because such ideas are simply bad or good, workable or unworkable, useful or not useful, just or unjust, fair or not fair. Ideas are right only when they are dependent from which side they are issued.

In such a circumstance there is no neutrality, neutrality in the sense that you hold two conflicting arguments in abeyance until you figure out the side that is right. Yet, you can never figure out which side is right because there is no thing as a right idea; only whose idea.

This sort of conflicting dichotomy as a way of thinking is at the root of much western thought, ranging from the creation of the world stories, theology and ideologies (communism, socialism) to the structuring of analytical philosophy (logic), its language and its sciences.

Dichotomy is Greek in origin. In its modern Marxist form it is called dialectics wherein history advances in an endless progression of thesis and anti-thesis. In America, it becomes pro-Life or pro-Choice; in Christianity, good or evil. Among Malays, it has become either liberal Muslim or orthodox (i.e. Arab) Muslim. There is simply no way out because everything depended not on the argument in and of themselves, but where you first stand. Are you with Najib or with Mahathir? Are you with PAS or DAP? Are you Malay or Chinese?

The result? Dedak bloggers like Ahirudin Attan or Kadir Jasin, these motherfucker editors who one day will be this and another day will be that. Another result? Lots of frogs, sometimes they are dedak politicians, sometimes they are self-righteous ones. Contrary to popular assumptions, there are no principles at stake because if the fights were over principles then problems arise: what principles, when derived, how, and especially belonging to who?

In this way, arguments never produce consensus or agreements; arguments become the basis for war. More people are today killed from war waged on the basis of principles than from the want of material need (women, grain, territory).

A third result is from Zaid Ibrahim although he is not entirely convincing as to how Malaiyoos came to be so lazy and stupid. Maybe it is the other way around.

In any case, on and on and on, this state of affairs spiral downwards.

Chinese philosophical ideas and thoughts have answers and methods to get off this merry-go-round. (Which explains why, against a robust Chinese culture and civilization, Islam and Christianity stopped at the Turkish-speaking borders, the Himalayas and the South China Sea.) How? That is for another time… maybe.

For now, face it, the Malay is no civilization: he/she is already a conquered mind. And Anglophiles (think Lim Kit Siang or Hannah Yeoh)? They are a complete write-off. The only solution to DAP politics is, wait — for them to die!

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时间都去哪儿了 A woman’s life in 33 frames.

彭丽媛 Peng Liyuan (in the days she sang professionally)

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