Biro Tata Negara and the price of indoctrination
written in 2009
What price indoctrination? Herein lies the question on the RM550 million spent over 10 years on a civic-consciousness programme that turned out to be a project of instilling fear into the Malays – fear of their own shadow and fear of other races.
The Biro Tatanegara (BTN) courses use Russian-styled pseudo-scientific pop psychology, drawn from the work of Bulgarian mind-bending experts in 'suggestopedia' developed by Lozanov and Barzakov with creative visualisation para-psychological techniques, into which the mind is emptied before propaganda is funnelled.
When the mind is half-asleep, subconscious wide awake, the body is relaxed, the room darkened, the voice of the propagandist-facilitator reigns supreme, suggesting anything to ensure that the doped, docile, and domesticated mind enters a game of master-slave narrative.
The BTN facilitators become the masters, the participants, mesmerised, are now the slaves - so that the idea of Ketuanan Melayu gets chiseled into the right side of the brain and urges the emotions to become reptilian, so that hate and mistrust of other races will be imprinted into the brain cells.
The directors and creators of Malaysia's now infamous indoctrination camps must be guilty of not learning enough of what culture and human progress is before promoting a dangerously divisive mental pogrom that is purposely designed to breed hatred amongst all races.
The last few months have seen a public outcry over the real intention of the bureau. The public do not want to see their children subjected to a government-sponsored programme of teaching a brand of history that is no longer appealing to a society badly in need of a better way to teach tolerance and meaningful understanding amongst the races.
Malaysia is a land for all races; a land of immigrants in which our forefathers toiled in padi fields, tin mines, rubber estates, the deep and high seas, and the jungle - both natural and urban.
BTN is a multi-million ringgit propaganda outfit that teaches history which is no longer relevant to the rakyat's need for a more inclusive and cosmopolitan view of what Malaysia is.
Malay cultural revolution
From a cultural perspective, BTN represent the thoughts of an old school - one based on the immutability of culture, and the 'classic norms' whereas culture is not static and ethnicity is fluid and ever-changing.
We live in an ever-changing present where the past merely consists of memories collected by those who believed in an imagined community - whether that community is Malay, Javanese, Bugis, Tamil, or Bengali. Globalisation erodes these and, from the point of view, chaos and complexity theory creates new cultures out of them.
Ultimately the question is - what is a 'Malay'? Hence my idea of a 'Sawojaya' as a new race to be constructed, so that we Malays migrate to newer fields, after the Malay mind have been damaged by BTN in modern times, and by feudalism and colonialism in times past. The evolution is cultural.
It is like the Africans migrating from Mali-an dance to breakdance, and Yoruba tribal drumming to Bronx hip-hop. As long as we do not evolve to become gangsta rappers, we're good. But think of a marriage between a Thai and African-American - a marriage that produced Tiger Woods who recently 'transgressed'. Think of Obama's (left) parents - one Kansas white and one Kenyan. We must search for hybridised cultures that still has ethical foundations and celebrate their evolution.
Essentially Malays must leave their cocoon of 'ultra-Malayness' and become more cosmopolitan. This initiative must include a radical restructuring and deconstructing of the very core of 'incapacitating' aspect of the Malay culture. The Hang Tuahs, the Sejarah Melayu, and the glorification of the traditional Malay sultanate and its decadence and despotism and all the myths of superiority - all these must be questioned and deconstructed by the younger generation.
Real progress can be made if we redesign our schools based on the principles of education for critical, creative, ethical, and futuristic consciousness. The old school must make way for the new school. The classical norms must give way to the newer voices of the subaltern - voices of radical and liberating multiculturalism.
The work of BTN is about making more and more Malays subservient and docile, so that the more powerful amongst them can plunder the wealth of the nation and rob even from the poor. It's all about material gain and who gets the most out of a shrinking economy these days - in a world in which the definition of race and ethnicity is merely an instrument of domination.
Malays are now feeling that they are being betrayed by the 10-year reign of BTN. They are angry. They are perceiving BTN as a traitor to the Malays; denying them a better perspective by instilling fear of themselves. Who benefits from all these? This is what the Malays are asking.
A new Malaysia requires a shut down of all BTN activities with immediate effect. The damage has been done through the dissemination of truncated history and strategies of a hidden curriculum delivered via under subconscious state of mind.
Malaysians have had a 10-year bad dream, locked in a master-slave world. For RM55 million a year, they could have seen better integrated schools, less racist teachers trained in multicultural education, and the implementation of a better curriculum that celebrates diversity and teaches us that Malaysia does not belong to this or that race, but to a land of immigrants valued for their talent and their respect for one another.
BTN destroyed that vision. It must therefore be put on trial and next, closed down. We will emerge victorious - as peace-loving Malaysians.