by azly rahman
We are in a huge mess, as a nation, aren’t we? How do we make sense of what is happening? Is there a way out of this political-economic, and cultural-spiritual quagmire? How did we get here? Our story is looking like that of Mario Puzo’s ‘Godfather’ and Vyasa’s ‘Mahabharatta’ combined. Back in the day it was ‘The Malay Dilemma’. Today it is one for all of us - a neo-Malaysian Dilemma.
Einstein once said that you can’t solve a problem if you look at it from the plane the problem was created, to that effect. You can’t be switching actors and leaders just because you mastered the plot of the Godfather movies; looking at political leadership via the lens of ‘Omerta’ (code of silence) and loyalty to family and wishing to create more Corleones in this war between the Tattaglias and the Barzinis.
It is a mess is it not? An all-out war over resources and territories - the classic gangland war and slayings albeit no bloodshed but egos blown to pieces by C4 explosives and “you take my men - I take yours” kind of warfare, coupled with a Mahabharatta-like spiced-up plot wherein students and band of brothers go against their gurus, aunts and uncles, and pandithas and good men become Duryodhanas (the Durjanas) and there is no Lord Krishna to guide a hero - the true hero is missing from this Mario-Puzo-Vyasa plot.
This is the new Malaysian dilemma. The ruling party is feeling the aftermath of too-much partying and the opposition has declared itself that three is a crowd. The economy's ill-stricken, the Ringgit is sliding like an unhappy kid in a village playground pushed forth by a kampong bully, and one after the other those running the government-linked companies (GLCs) are accused of stealing money.
Everybody seem to be fighting with somebody over something and leaders seems to not care of what is happening to the country any more as long as they can stash as much money as they can before this Merdeka ship sinks.
But we are going to have 1.5 million Bangladeshis within the next few years. The more the merrier, as some would see it.
Who cares if there will be more gangs amongst the dispossessed youth already here when then discover that even the jobs available in the plantations are no longer available. Who cares about urban decay and children of illegal immigrants are not properly Malaysianised - because there is not much understanding of what a ‘Malaysian is these days’ anyway.
Politicians have been busy for 50 years developing networks of gangland influences and guarding their territories and perfecting the art of lying and robbing the national coffers that not much time have been spent mastering the art of educating the citizens for good citizenship and nurturing the much-needed and highly-prized sense of multiculturalism.
Forget about national integration through education. The Education Ministry is not too keen in making the next generation think and feel and act and behave and live together like Malaysians.
That is not in the vocabulary of the current regime - keep designing systems of schooling that continue to ensure monoculturalism reigns -- keep the Mara Junior Science Colleges (MRSMs) almost all Malays, Universiti Teknologi Maras (UiTMs) too, and get more and more race-based policies to dictate the terms of schooling as social reproduction.
Feudal myth of the ‘daulat’
Keep the Biro Totalitarianisma Negara and keep the Malays fearful not only of other races but primarily of their own shadow. This is good to keep the current leaders in power. Neo-feudalism at work. Thanks to the feudal myth of the ‘daulat’. Supernaturalism as ideology still works, in its reconstructed systemic form; with proper use of the Ideological State Apparatuses. Hegemony, hegemony, hegemony - as Antonio Gramsci would yell in Italian, from his prison cell.
I love watching butterflies in my garden these days... watching them land on my ‘butterfly bushes’. That one butterfly that flapped its wings in the Amazon a century ago, not ‘contributing to the ripples created today’ - notion of change. That Mandelbrott pattern created of society. That seed planted by Mahathir and those before him - now germinating and creating our darkest Spring.
That system of neo-liberal economic system installed that as led to a strange Asian-despotic styled hyper-modernity in which one can regularly put millions of ringgit in one’s account abroad and still talk about Islam and Nationalism.
I feel this is always a reminder that to look at society I must take heed of the Einsteinian notion of studying phenomena; through the lens of Complex and Chaos Theory foundationed upon Critical Theory and perspectives that are kaleidoscopic.
Okay - done with my writing. Back to meditating and levitating.
But welcome to the Bolehland Matrix. We have all been made to swallow the Red Pill. We are awaiting a Messiah to give us our Pil Chi Kit Teck Aun. Pray hard for his coming.
Again - how do we get out of this mess and not turn Greek?