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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

THE TRUTH ABOUT ACADEMIC FREEDOM IN MALAYSIA

by azly rahman

 

the truth is -- there is none ... no truth ...

there is only instrumental truth, for the purpose of disabling utilitarianism and the evolution of meaningless and saneless technocratic, and opportunistically crafted theocratic institutions -- those half-baked truths parroting propaganda ...

what is the government interested in? not freedom of thought, not academic advancement: just to control and to suppress and to humiliate and to ensure the universities are at the service of politics ...

how is this done?

by constant monitoring so that faculty and students don't think much, only memorize and go through the conveyor belt called "university education". why? it is not because the leaders are not interested in academic freedom but they don't know what academics means let alone what freedom means; these are strange concepts, as strange as deviant teachings from their point of view.

that is why there is a need "to fight for academic freedom" and the endless complaints by society of the lack of it ... we do not have a culture of freedom in fact, we only have feudalism as basis; one that has evolved into neo-feudalism run by those in academia who will use the ideological state apparatuses to ensure subservience.

albert memmi the algerian thinker/psychologist/nationalist said it well in the colonizer and the colonizer ... in that the oppressed had not become the oppressor and to be is to be like the colonizer ... that little brown brothers and sisters ... those black skins white masks ... and therefore thinking and to teach humans how to think becomes a dangerous act in public universities and must be stopped ... only thinking how to make the powerful stay in power and how corporations will stay longer to make the poor suffer is allowed ... if you start talking about the poor and the powerless of all races and how they ought to be empowered, you will be silenced.

if you want to promote multiculturalism and as a force for change and that all should be given equal rights as Malaysians and that no one should be discriminated based on race and ethnicity or religious belief, you can be in trouble. if you speak up against the abuses of the politicians, of dominant political parties, and the monarchy you will not last long in the universities ...

because the universities are not built to encourage such talks ... you can't allow alternative viewpoints to be discussed in universities, you can't allow opinion leaders with different views to give talks in universities, let alone be allowed to keep their job and lecture these things ... you'll be thrown out by hook or by crook ... and by crooks carrying books ...

no-- the classroom is not the place to cultivate critical thinking but a place to mute the mind and destroy critical sensibility ... there are modules on how to teach multi-ethnic studies based on what the government wants you to teach and that's the only history you will know ...when you lecture strange things, you will have strange people calling you to the office to explain your strangeness ... you will be monitored and followed all over campus .., and your lectures will be attended by strange people taking strange notes for strange reasons

and what is even worse is this: even in countries where there are Malaysian students abroad in the land-of-the-free-USA included, there is also constant monitoring of what lectures the students are attending and who will be speaking and what the students need to be thinking about what to think ... these will be monitored not only by the embassies and educational attaches but also by the special branch of the police flown from home ... so -- these are the ingredients of making the Malaysian mind a world-class entity.

and therefore -- there is no short cut way we can "solve the problem of academic freedom and allowing students and faculty to think freely" because simply put: there is not much to begin with in the culture of freedom of inquiry. and do people read philosophy or even have interest in philosophical questions and humanistic inquiries?

and one more thing: does the doctrine of today's islam encourage thinking? judging from what is happening in islamic societies and in malaysian universities the answer is a resounding NO ... would you agree? -- ar

having said all these: we must make radical changes to all these ... for the betterment of society and for the love of our children ... but where do we even begin?
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