Infuriated by an article of IKIM (AKA Intellectual Branch of UMNO)
Posted by jingoisticbuthornydesperado on July 28, 2008
Institut Kefahaman Islam Malaysia or Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM), quite often I find it to be a dangerous branch of UMNO. It wears Islam as a veil to convey subtle threats to the populace. In a recent article – A Malaysian nation: still elusive? (The Star, 8th of July, 2008), it defines a nation to have at least three of the four similar characteristics shared by its population which are religion, ethnicity, language and historical destiny. By IKIM’s notion, religion is out of the question because Malays are Muslims, Chinese are mostly Buddhist and Indians are mostly Hindus. Same goes for ethnicity, historical destiny and language. To sum it up, he thinks we are a nation only because of the existent of government, otherwise we do not have the characteristics of a nation.
For a pious scholar like him from IKIM to present such a shallow view of how Malaysia functions is clearly one who is isolated from reality and globalisation. It is ironic that globalisation brought about the prominence of Islam into the global arena, yet this Muslim scholar is ignoring the fact of globalisation. As he correctly pointed out, Switzerland is not a country constituted of similar races, but they are bound together by their European identity. Is he that short-sighted? Can’t he see that Malaysians, whatever race they come from, are bound together by their Asian identity? Are the races in Malaysia really that different as he would like to believe? Isn’t filial piety or respect for the elders and/ or parents a typical Asian identity?
A multicultural Malaysia to him is not part of the glue that makes a nation, again a very ignorant view of the strands of reality. Multiculturalism is a culture itself rather than a Frankenstein’s abomination. Europeans that I have met told me Malaysia has unique brand of multiculturalism that is lacking in Europe. If only people like him and those in power share the same enthusiasm these Europeans have about our culture of multiculturalism, which in itself is part of the backbone of the nation. Let’s get trivial, juxtaposing Peranakan culture with multiculturalism. Are Malaysians that stupid to say that they aren’t a fan of (Peranakan food) Rojak, Asam Laksa, Cendol or Kapitan Chicken? This is what I call the beautiful child conceived by multiculturalism that you don’t get anywhere else. Are we that different as a nation that the whole lot of us don’t appreciate Peranakan food? No, I am not being histrionic; I am stating a fact that is viewed from different perspective.
I find it even more infuriating that he denied the fact that we have similar historical destiny!!! What was the function of BN in the 1950s? It is an alliance of people from different races to gain independence from the British. Isn’t that something in common? What about Bersih or the recent general election that many Malaysians regardless of race share in common? How dare does he accuse us of not sharing similar historical destiny? And to my recollection, the climb to Mount Everest summit is our common historical destiny too! Unless he is a bumptious racist who views that the Mount Everest expedition was a failure because it was an Indian achievement!
Let me quote from him
“Other races can certainly contribute to this ‘hybrid’ culture so long as their contributions do not contravene any moral or religious principle, especially that of Islam, the backbone of Malay culture and tradition for centuries.”
This is what I call a self-centred nature, the incapacity to even bother to comprehend people that are different from him. Globalisation has rendered his form of orthodoxy obsolete. He has conveniently ignored the fact that the backbone of Malay culture has been fluidic not stagnant. Buddhism and Hinduism was once the backbone of Malay culture for centuries as well. Some Bugis Malays had the tradition of sea-farers which is no longer the case. So what is different now, why the sudden impetus for stagnation? Can’t the culture and tradition of the Malays evolve to that of the Malaysians? Mother nature isn’t that forgiving with evolutionary and priviliged induced dead ends and mind you, humans are no masters of nature, not yet anyway
Has he forgotten too about common ideological beliefs that bind a nation like libertarian France? It is their common belief in power of the people that overthrew King Louis as a united nation. All the Malaysians I know believe that Malaysia as a country has matured and are in favour of stronger democracy and freedom of speech.
Rather than bamboozling us to learn to accept misconstrued historical ‘facts’, he should learn how to see things beyond his protective egg shell and not view anyything outside his egg shell as hostile. Clear the senses before starting to blast away the mother of the egg she is trying to hatch.
Let me quote further
“The concept of a Malaysian nation should not be demonised and demolished. The rope which binds us however, i.e. the ruling government at any given time, must be strong and wise enough, and have support from all segments of the public.”
That is a self-preservation, oxymoronic paragraph. To give FULL undivided support (otherwise there is no such thing as a nation) to a ruling government means corrupted leadership is part of the equation too that deserves our ‘worship’. Ahh, but he said any government at the time, so he can easily worm his way out by saying, ‘I wasn’t referring to bad government was I?’. So it is back to square one, how to change governorship when it is FULL undivided support to ANY government (even bad one)? See the self-preservation, oxymoronic mode he has dug himself into?