Friday, June 06, 2014

Beyond those super dodol in varsities

by azly rahman


 
 
WORLD CAMPUS 2020: Monday (Blues) BREAKING NEWS:

(This just came in ... through the national wire-tapping agency)


A Malaysian university which has its branch campuses in the middle of the Indian Ocean and another one at the edge of the Antarctica bordering Sarah Palin’s Backyard Russia is planning to get into the Guinness Stout Book of the Universe Records.

The students are planning to collect all the petai (a great healthy-green-power- Malay-veggie-salad-crunchy-snack-delicacy) in the country and align them one by one from Johor to Kelantan and to Sabah and Sarawak (across the sea, too) and back and forth 20 times - not just to get into the book of marvelous intellectual feats but also to study philosophically what it means to get from point A to point B.

It is reported that student bodies from major world universities will be invited to learn from Malaysia the new direction in global, and also world-class, student activities.

Meanwhile, as the Malaysians are collaborating with all the Orang Asli who own the petai monopoly, the North-East Koreans are planning to do the most impossible feat of all as a compulsory, world-class too, student initiation rite - at exactly 12 midnight and armed with the technology of Korean selfie, all students will bathe in perfumed-kimchi and dance the Gangnam style marathonly while the president will write a national curriculum on North-East Korean Nationalism and the Rise of the Post-Capitalist National Kimchi Identity.
 
Details at Eleven.

Stay tuned and stay buried in sand dunes...

I should hope that we will not read news as such above. We can do better than this.

First, a few years back, a Malaysian university pride itself in students making the world’s biggest doughnut, and now a logo out of dodol. Very cute. And a world-class act, if it gets into some book of world records.

But what exactly is the purpose of the Malaysian public university? When left to a one-race university of one dominant ideology, what will happen to students entrusted to rejuvenate society?

How do we reconstruct the consciousness of our higher education institution, so that its body politics can create a holistic sense of beingness - a Ying Yang of intellectual longevity? How do we remove the structures that are caging the mind and soul of the university? What do we need to do to create this ‘apex’ university in perhaps a hundred years to come?

Seriously, my note to university students and the process of educating itself: better to produce new writings on logocentrism of Derrida than making logos out of dodol or doughnut

What do we need to do in our universities then?

Critical theory of society

We have a lot to do to put this nation on a path to meaningful progress; beginning constantly engaging students to think about the future of Malaysia. We need to have then engage in what the German philosopher Jurgen Habermas called ideologiekritik, or the critique of ideology

Our developmentalist ideology needs a critical analysis. This ideology has become a shibboleth in itself and one we are trapped in, and one that has driven our nation to the brink of political, economic, social, and cultural chaos after 50 years of Merdeka. Our Independence needs a radical critique.

If we can step outside of this ideology of race-based, hypermodernised system of evolution of a corporate-nation-state and put this worldview in a crystal ball, we will be able to see something different. We will be able to see a world of alternatives to the one that is falling apart. But what do we need to critique this ideology we are trapped in?

A critical theory of society - that’s what we need in this post-half-a-century of the nation's independence. We need a new paradigm of looking at ideology and how to deconstruct it.

What is a critical theory of society? Where do we begin to germinate the seed of this kind of education?

Many of our university leaders still cannot and will not understand the difference between the concept of hegemony and totalitarianism as opposed to education and liberation. To them, it is a place for exercise total control of the mind, body and the soul.

Critical thinking, which is supposed to be made to permeate all disciplines, all curriculum, all written and spoken discourse is flushed down the drain of academia, replaced with the structures of mental oppression, making human beings merely cogs in the wheels of Kapital at these serve the weakening a and failing corporatist Malaysian nation-state. Whether a university is run via a ‘faculty’ or ‘college’ system, does not matter.

What is key is the manner critical discourse is made to permeate all the disciplines and into the minds of the faculty and the students. What is important is to celebrate critical thinking and to honor radical minds that can help construct, deconstruct, and reconstruct society so that any government that no longer serves the needs of the people and the environment can be replaced by the work of the thinking university. Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky.

What is the value of this mode of thinking?

Critical thinking will help in the process of removing the structures that are shackling the nation; structures that are making us unable to clearly see the issue of race, class, ethnicity, political-economy, controlling interests, and ideological domination in a newer light. These structures will continue to help facilitate the role of the universities as instrumentally-relevant institutions useful to the survival of the deteriorating Asian-Despotic corporate-nation state.

This fundamental aspect of a reflective university should be our foundation, instead of doughnuts and dodols. We need to take this idea seriously. There is still time to change course. Our graduates are as good as what the curriculum - formal, informal, and hidden - has shaped their mind, body, spirit, and soul.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Dr Azly,What do you think of this :http://www.medic.usm.my/neurosciences/

Have we briken the dodol ideology?

Anonymous said...

At last, a breadth of fresh air and rational thought. Kudos!

Anonymous said...

Hey Dr.Azly,
Just recently, a young clever Malay
graduate introduced himself and said he's from Malaysia to a young western university gal, equally smart, who exclaimed , " OMG !! " Harapan berkecai, malu sungguh, Prof.. Totally disinterested to pursue further.

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