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Archive for August 6th, 2017

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Ten Reasons Why Mahathir is Unacceptable

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1MDB is a very good reason to reject Najib Razak. But 1MDB can’t be the reason to accept Mahathir Mohamad in Najib’s place. Najib, it must be acknowledged, inherited the power and economic structures already paved in stone by Mahathir, leaving the former no room to innovate on policy ideas that won’t be self-destructive; Umno being prime example. It can’t be anything but the fascist party it was constructed to be.

A good orator by any (Malaysian only?) standard, Hew Kuan Yau is on the side of Mahathir Mohamad and Harapan. His ideas in the clip above calls for a reconfiguration of Malaysia power structure along a totally different line, with six deputies each reflecting the Malays, Chinese, Indians, Sabah, Sarawak and Women. He doesn’t say who sits on top, but that appears to be secondary.

The idea remains nebulous so needs work, which is to make Malaysia a better country, a better place than it is, and something for everyone to be proud of inside or outside the country. We’ve already wasted 60 years, along with all its natural resources wasted.

Twenty years ago, in the era of Mahathir, Hew would have been in certain trouble for saying the above. Someone like Kadir Jasin (pro-Mahathir today) or Ahirudin Attan (pro-Najib Razak) would have demanded for his head, before which they would be ten days of banner headline ‘news‘ in the New Straits Time, not to mention Utusan, denouncing him as a usurper of Malay power.

What makes the difference between then and now isn’t because a person such as Hew came out of the blue with some profound idea, which it is not, or because, as it’s popularly assumed, Najib’s influence has waned and Umno’s power is tottering at the edge of a cliff so anyone can say what he likes. If Mahathir, say, is in power today, and is confronted by similar circumstances, what might have been his reaction? History offers a good guide.

On that basis, here are 10 reasons why Mahathir cannot be counted on and, therefore to be rejected, along with Harapan if it amounts to that. The 10 reasons:

  1. Mahathir is less tolerant of political dissension than is Najib, having jailed far more people for political offenses in his first five years than in all the nine from Najib so far.
  2. Mahathir’s methods of oppression are as base and sordid as Najib’s methods are bumbling and inconsistent therefore reversible.
  3. Mahathir’s political culture strikes at the roots of a person’s humanity — instincts, fear and intimidation — whereas Najib wavers between legalism and persuasion, therefore, necessarily flexible.
  4. Mahathir’s national policies were paved on the basis of personal likes and dislikes, therefore totalitarian, whereas Najib is ad hoc and so susceptible to influences from all sides.
  5. Mahathir offers no coherent marriage of intellectual (science and culture) to progressive ideas (free market), he takes whatever fancies him; Najib is constantly exploring and so appears like he is uncertain.
  6. Mahathir is as materialistic as is Najib, differing only by outlook; Mahathir’s Vision 20/20 is a get rich scheme by another name, money for its own sake while Najib’s materialism aims to satisfy the personal.
  7. Mahathir, who once called AIDs as God’s punishment (sic) for the LGBT, interpret society values and cultures purely through the lenses of his personal biases; Najib accepts it on its own terms;
  8. Mahathir sees anyone and any society as deficient and defective primarily on material yardsticks (GDP growth, wealth, etc.) as opposed to physical necessity and advances; Najib’s view is far, far milder, you are what you make of yourself.
  9. Mahathir’s ethical values are bound to his own prejudices instead of any acceptance for natural human diversity; Najib’s laissez faire form encompasses a variety, Islam being primary for himself.
  10. Mahathir’s prejudices, mamak in quality and heavily western-influenced, are judgmental, so exacerbates his totalitarianism, therefore non-negotiable; Najib, the Malay that he is, is relaxed therefore subject to change.

From the same starting premise — the need for a new national partnership among its people — the above conclusion is entirely opposite to Hew’s who asked that the Chinese accept Mahathir. Hew argues that, at age 92, Mahathir can’t do anymore damage but Harapan needs him for the moment. Many things are wrong with the argument.

Be that as it may, Hew doesn’t see that, in post-Mahathir, there’s the thing called the Murti-Bing pill (farther below). It’s to be expected: Like Mahathir, like Umno, the rest of Harapan were never people of culture who like dancing and music for its own sake. They have only the Yeo Bee Yin doxology of politics and money that goes qing, qing, qing in Saddiq Rahman‘s pockets, yet another Mahathir fanboy.

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A National Rejuvenation Agenda

Malaysia has nothing to lose: If we trust our peoples, the ordinary, if we set in place the minimum ground rules for policy, national and individual conduct, we could beat Singapore in ten years on most measures. Such are the possibilities with the internal dynamics and the innovation of our peoples.

Over-regulation, and this includes hudud, is a clear, unmistakable sign we got the wrong answers in the source of our problems which we first misidentify then made them worse. That or we simply don’t trust ourselves. Be done with Mahathir’s Murti-Bing pills and set our peoples free.

Six times one is not six, this is where Hew (above) is wrong; his calculation is too mechanical, inflexible. The answer is 12, wherein the whole is greater, far greater than the sum of the individual parts. Only this country in the world has such a potent combination.

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https://i.ytimg.com/vi/Fx9Pu2ZYcKQ/hqdefault.jpg

If you take care of freedom, truth will take care of itself. — Richard Rorty, 1931-2007.

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Let’s Try Something Else

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In the book collection, Interviews with Richard Rorty, the American philosopher (above) was adamant in his revulsion for conventional western philosophy and thought processes:

“I do not see that we do anything called “appealing to truth.” We appeal to the statements of the tortured, the records in the archives, the monuments of the past, the slides under the microscope, the images in the lens of the telescope, and so on, but not to “truth.” Insistence on the existence or the importance of truth seems to me empty, at least by comparison to insistence on the need of freedom.”

Forever the pragmatist-philosopher, Confucius will wake in his grave to scream: At last! At last!

There is in the Rorty’s insight, a new formulation for application in Malaysia: stop chasing after the truth about 1MDB (the Americans will take care of it, like Singapore did), that after Najib Razak is gone Malaysia is saved; of chasing twin towers and towering Malaiyoos, of chasing the fiction called ‘Malacca empire’; of chasing Malay rights, that Malays are the undisputed master of Tanah Melayu. To all that, and more, so what?

Sixty years of chasing these ‘truths’ have produced only anguish and disappointments, racism and more racism, more sickness in the mind and greater impoverishment, more dead fetuses in trash bins, more god, and, meanwhile, more Umno and more Mahathir Mohamad.

It is good enough, as Rorty suggests, simply to look after freedom, including freedom from God, freedom to eat, drink, think and talk, and especially freedom to be human. The rest will simply fall into place. And that — freedom — should be the only principle of the Rukun Negara. The existing ones are just pig shit, useless to boot.

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Hope’s Murti-Bing Pill

Image result for Czesław Miłosz

Czesław Miłosz, 1911-2004:

He who has power, has it by historical logic.
Respectfully bow to that logic . . .
Learn to predict a fire with unerring precision.
Then burn the house down to fulfill the prediction.

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Mahathir & Harapan’s Pill

After the bookZniewolony umysł’ (1953) was published in the English as The Captive Mind, its Polish author Czesław Miłosz was a marked man. Poland’s Stalinist rulers made sure of that: his name would never be mentioned again, even if it is for denouncing him. (Reminds of Annie of the Valley who has banned Helen Ang’s name from her blog, prohibited even to denounce Helen. One can suppose that Annie is entitled to be the Stalin on her turf but this is arguable.)

Milosz’s book begins with a discussion of Nienasycenie, ‘Instability‘ in the English, from which the term Murti-Bing first appeared. It is the fictional name of a Chinese/Mongolian ruler who having conquered Poland distributed pills to the population to limit their ability to think. The pill has a deadening effect, and it is these effects that’s the central theme in Captive Mind where Milosz’s greatly expands on, calling it ‘enslavement through consciousness’.

Under Milosz, the pill became a metaphor for deeds or policies or combinations thereof that enslave consciousness or thought or thinking. This enslavement isn’t too far-fetched. It’s actually a precise term to characterize how Mahathir Mohamad, since his early political days, issued Murti-Bing pills to the Malay and the general population. Representative of which are, Malays can only trust Malays, Malay welfare can only be served by Malay power (i.e. Umno), Malay progress and stability is possible only my Malay materialism first, plus variants of the above positions, collectively and commonly known as Malay ketuanan.

This ketuanan is Mahathir’s Murti-Bing pill. Its effects are widely seen today in Najib Razak type of entitlement, even to steal; in government ineptitude and institutional paralysis; in one commercial disaster after the next; in unthinking education; in Malay slavery to Islamic dogma and in making Islam the primary requisite of the Malay character and so on.

In this way and through the state, Mahathir plans the economy; decides who get rich, gets the business; names his industry ‘captains’ (called cronyism today); fixes prices; determines who is Muslim authentic who is deviant; who is to judge, who not….

Is there a similar Murti-Bing pill being distributed by Harapan? The answer is, Yes, definitely.

It’s called the Harapan Murti-Bing pill. It has the function of disabling anyone from thinking any way other than to see Harapan as Malaysia’s only hope. Just as Umno once posited itself as the only Malay savior, so is Mahathir and the rest of Harapan today. Should they succeed at Putrajaya, there is only one outcome: Harapan people, since they made the present, will be the only ones who will decide the future. You need not apply because you are quite happy to surrender the entire reconstruction of Malaysia into the hands of Mahathir, et al.

This deadening effect can be seen today: Anglophiles and the urban Harapan class queue up mindlessly and daily in Malaysiakini to sing Mahathir’s praises and to denounce Umno/BN. Certain of their winner, they call for a revolution and a revolution does not entertain dissension.

Thus, if a third candidate were to contest against PKR’s Seri Muda seat, the PSM is shouted down and accused of ‘splitting’ the votes, that is, robbing them of Mahathir’s righteous mission, making look as if the PSM candidate elect Abdul Razak Ismail were an ally of Umno evil. Harapan’s Murti-Bing consumers who, on the one hand, demand for democracy never, on the other, see their hostility towards PSM as anti-democratic.

Milosz’s explanation for this sort of conduct and attitude is contained in the four line poetry above. As Harapan would burn down the citadel of democracy, the Vote, in order to be democratic, Mahathir would burn down the house of Umno to fulfill his prediction that Umno has been destroying everything about Malaysia.

The greater danger is this: from Mahathir and Lim Kit Siang down, they see no contradiction in their destruction. Like Yeo Bee Yin bragging her righteousness, the two men see themselves as saviors and so see in their totalitarian methods a necessary, remedial value. Milosz:

Learn to predict a fire with unerring precision.
Then burn the house down to fulfill the prediction.

Mahathir’s Murti-Bing maddening consequences bring out the worse in people: they steal and then cry wolf; fathers rape nieces; girls toss out infant babies like used diapers onto rail track and stations; the dead are kidnapped, killed if they are not first dead — all unprecedented acts rarely seen in the world.

In the future, ‘saved’ Malaysia, peasants, believing they can squeeze money out of husks, go nuts. Intellectuals do nothing but write for the state. Abnormality will require statistical compilation just so as to give this new sweep of events a semblance of normalcy.

So debilitating are the effects of the Murti-Bing pill that when Harapan argues against chasing happiness to replace it with the cessation of pain, the public is contented to accept. For 40, 50 years there was never much to be contented with anyway; Harapan has promised instead some future La-la land.

Mahathir acts today as if he is redistributing Murti-Bing pills left from the past. The difference between then and now is only in the packing, a matter of casting racial morality: before it was Chinese greed, now it is Bugis in nature. And to drive home this point, Mahathir sycophants like Kadir Jasin calls Najib, Datuk Seri I Mappadulung Daeng Mattimung Karaeng Sandrobone Sultan Abdul Jalil.

It would be presumptuous to argue Mahathir wants nothing else other than for Najib out of the way and thence to return to some kind of status quo. If true, he is nothing but a contract assassin and Harapan is the hirer. Realistically, it’s probably the other way around — Harapan as hired killer —  because Umno, with or without Mahathir, was the sort of despised local thug who wreck cars and lives then goes round asking for protection money. You want him dead, therefore, and Mahathir is the inside man looking to sapu all of Umno’s accumulated wealth.

The beginning of Najib’s troubles was Mahathir who never understood what it is to respect nor to live and let live. He didn’t know how. Like Ahirudin Attan, like Kadir and like other apologists, his dogma proffered the idea that, since Malays are masters of Malaysia, then Umno can bloody do whatever it likes and however it likes. When Najib’s turn came, he pretty well said to Mahathir a/l Kutty:

Who the fuck are you to say I can’t take 2.6 bn? You’re not even Melayu!

Umno drugged and held captive under Mahathir’s Murti-Bing pill does make its own life easier, much like the character Naphta in Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain who despises freedom and condones dictatorship.

Today, Harapan, Lim Kit Siang et al repeat the same experiment, and doing it all over again.

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The Najib-1MDB Combination Pill for Harapan

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https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/simgad/14355483154735635245

When you read something like this, by Terence Netto — ‘Anwar is arguably the most intellectual of politicians to have put himself up for leadership of this nation‘ — you should be able to tell right off that Terence is, even by his own definition of intellectual, drugged day and night on the Mufti-Bing pill.

The like of Terence and, long before him, Mahathir and Anwar, hogged the public spaces of Malaysia’s intellectual environment, like a pair of pliers clipped to your nose. Nobody else could breathe. Philosophical and policy ideas were not debated to improve the conditions in which life is lived but these are trolled out instead as despairing jeremiads about the fate of Malays and the entire Malaysian humanity.

We could have been such a great nation. We could have been a world showcase of Asia’s varied cultures and civilizations, the ancient coming into modernity, coming together as partners instead of enemies, so that, really, this era is now our last stab at turning around all that has gone wrong.

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