Posted: 17 Sep 2013 02:23 PM PDT
"The problem with ideologies is that too often we serve them instead of humanity. Another problem is how in this country we so easily paint the ones we fear or do not understand as evil personified—as can be evidenced by our persecution of non-government sanctioned schools of Islam and our continued crusade against black metal."
Erna Mahyuni, The Malay Mail
I live in fear of being arrested every day because, you see, my cat is a communist.
She believes that equality can be achieved by empowering the downtrodden by redistributing wealth. Which, of course, is a controversial aspect of communism.
My cat considers herself downtrodden as she is deprived of any type of food outside of kibble while I, the bourgeois class, dine on her favourite substance — chicken — every day.
Obviously this is unjust! An uprising is obviously the moral thing to do.
Thus she has resorted to guerilla tactics and has taken to hiding behind doors or stalking me in the kitchen when I am cooking.
My other cat is less radical and would prefer the status quo. He has taken to smacking her around the head in defence of liberty and the right to keep getting fed kibble by the benevolent government a.k.a. me.
It is indeed very trying to live in such a household with the prevailing state of differing ideologies.
If it were up to my second cat, my communist kitty would be barred from the house unless she gave up her chicken-stealing ways and accept that chicken is not something she has any right to demand.
While I believe cooked chicken is bad for my Red Army kitty, I respect her desires though there is no way in heck I would fulfill them.
Human food is for humans, kitty.
While the situation in my house is amusing, the outside realities where we need to contend with differences in political beliefs and ideologies is far trickier than salmonella-free poultry.
I find it much less amusing that our government has placed our police on red alert to prevent the remains (in whatever form they are in) of Chin Peng from crossing the border.
What's to stop anyone from just tossing his ashes over the border? Are our security personnel going to sweep them up and toss them back into Thailand?
The problem with ideologies is that too often we serve them instead of humanity. Another problem is how in this country we so easily paint the ones we fear or do not understand as evil personified—as can be evidenced by our persecution of non-government sanctioned schools of Islam and our continued crusade against black metal.
I will not begrudge my cat from desiring chicken or from entering my house. My home is hers as it is my other more pro-establishment cat's.
But humans, alas, are not cats and our country's problems cannot be solved with a "No! Bad kitty!"
If only it were so easy.
Posted: 17 Sep 2013 02:11 PM PDT
I am all for helping the Malays but we must help them properly. By all means, give them scholarships, business loans and other incentives, but why can't such assistance be part of a holistic economic policy that doesn't identify beneficiaries according to their race?
The Umno President has once again announced a massive government initiative dedicated to helping only the Malays and the Bumiputera under the New Economic Model. This "disadvantaged group," comprising more than 70% of the population, will be getting more of the usual special treatment from the Government in the form of contracts, grants, unit trusts and loans worth more than RM30 billion. Why they are not able to help this group by having good and fair policies for all Malaysians was never explained.
Now preferential policies for the Malays are deemed as a right. It has become a huge political gimmick where the Malays are regularly told that if they want these special rights and privileges to continue, they have to vote for Umno. In fact, some Umno leaders scoff at the so-called "unfairness" of these policies and scold their colleagues for being apologetic about it.
What I find most distasteful and hard to stomach are the pretensions that go with the policy announcement. There is this condescending assurance that the rights of "others" will not be affected, and that since the economy will continue to grow, no one will lose. If that were true then the non-Malays will continue to have more than the Malays, and this is certainly untenable for the special people.
It took 40 years for Malay corporate wealth to move from 2% to 23%. Do not ask me why. But surely that means that to move from the present rate to, say, 50% will take another 50 years at least if not more. By then the non-Malays will represent only 20-23 % of the population and so the question then for Utusan Malaysia will be, why allow the Chinese to have wealth on parity or greater than those from the majority race? Equity, the new buzzword, or equitable treatment therefore requires the non-Malays to "forego or give up" what they have to allow for equitable treatment to the Malays. So why pretend that we care about fairness or act concerned about making sure others will not be "unfairly treated"? Fairness is irrelevant. The idea of special preference itself is a negation of fairness.
It's ironic that these leaders shouted Hidup Melayu to celebrate this pernicious policy, because it is actually a death knell for the Malays. The original policy of 40 years ago has become something else: it's now a repository of all that is crude, unsophisticated and unthinking. What can be simpler than the idea of grabbing as much as you can whilst you have power? The deleterious and negative effects of this can be seen in the behaviour and values of these Umno Malays.
Today, after many years of being "special", the Malays who are successful are never accepted for their ability; they must have received "special treatment" from Umno. This is particularly true if they do not support Umno's policies. The dispensation of special treatment enables Umno to pick and choose the winners and after 40 years we can see clearly how some Malays are more equal than others. The greed emanating from this group of the "NEW RICH" is shocking. The lower income groups remain untouched by new injection of financial and economic assistance; its always the Malay Contractors; members of the Malay Chambers, and of course the elite who get the bulk of the special treatment. When will the Malays realized the special treatment formula is nothing special except for some?
Short sightedness is another product of the special treatment. Malay businessmen are not encouraged to collaborate with the non Malays when such collaboration will open new supply chain and new opportunities. It's the same with education.
The Chancellor of Universiti Teknologi MARA proudly announced that the university is no place for non-Malays. He assumes that non-Malays want to go there in the first place. He also ignores the possible benefits that can come from having a more diverse student body — he is probably oblivious to the fact that we can learn valuable traits, attitudes and values from those who are different from us. It sadly does not occur to him that the presence of non-Malays might actually be useful for the Malays, the people he wants to champion.
Posted: 17 Sep 2013 02:03 PM PDT
"The rally on Thursday will go a long way in raising awareness amongst students as to just who their University is honoring," said Yasmin.
"However, the SRC's position on the University's relationship with Taib is clear. We do not feel at all comfortable with Taib using his relationship with the University of Adelaide to establish credibility on the international stage, and we will continue our campaign until that stops."
Dahlia Martin, New Mandala
Adelaide has had strong Malaysian ties from its early days – it was, after all, founded by William Light, an illegitimate son of Penang's founder Francis Light. Some speculate that William's mother was Siamese or Malay.
One South Australian Premier, Don Dunstan, had a Malaysian wife, and oversaw the establishment of Adelaide and Georgetown as sister cities.
Malaysian-born politician Senator Penny Wong calls Adelaide home.
But there is one connection between Malaysia and the South Australian capital that has increasingly attracted criticism.
The Student Representative Council (SRC) at the University of Adelaide has organized a rally for this Thursday at the institution's Taib Mahmud Court – a courtyard named after the man who has been Chief Minister of the Malaysian state of Sarawak since 1981.
The SRC is hoping to persuade the University to put more distance between itself and Taib, an alumnus of the University and a recipient of an honorary doctorate from there. He is understood to have donated over half a million dollars to the University.
The SRC, on a Facebook page it has established to promote the campaign, refers to this money as "blood money."
Taib has been accused by activists of overseeing the destruction of Sarawak's remaining rainforests. Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called this destruction "probably the biggest environmental crimes of our times."
Indigenous people whose livelihoods depend on the local environment have especially suffered under Taib's rule. In 2009, a Cabinet Task Force revealed that women and girls from the Penan tribe had been raped by loggers. It noted the particularly marginalized position of the Penan tribe, and recommended a number of reforms – including increased self-determination for the Penan people – be implemented.
Four years later, none of the rapists have been brought to justice, and little has changed in the way of the lot of the Penan people.
Meanwhile, Taib and his family have continued to amass a fortune overseas – with Adelaide being the so-called "hub" of Taib's foreign property portfolio (Taib's family owns the Adelaide Hilton through Sitehost Pty Ltd).
The SRC first passed a resolution calling for the renaming of Taib Mahmud Court in 2011. The next two years saw some behind-the-scenes negotiation on this front, but in 2013, the SRC decided it was time for a new approach, to help demonstrate to the University how unhappy students would be at learning of the University's links with Taib.
"The SRC felt it had to increase awareness of this issue amongst students first," said SRC Ethnocultural Officer Yasmin Martin.
"Taib Mahmud Court is a popular rendezvous point, but most people don't know who Taib Mahmud is – and more importantly, what he's done."
A Facebook page was swiftly created, with the assistance of student Lizzie Taylor. Lizzie had a few months earlier travelled to Tasmania, and seen firsthand the destruction that Ta Ann – a company headed by a first cousin of Taib's which has logged much of the rainforest in Sarawak – was doing there.
Yasmin authored a letter to Vice Chancellor Professor Warren Bebbington asking that Taib's honorary doctorate be revoked and that the courtyard named for Taib be renamed.
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