Thursday, September 30, 2010

Democracy in PKR elections absent???

This was supposed to be the most democratic party elections with 400,000 odd members having a direct voting right. The country will be impressed had this election proceeded smoothly and civilly. It will have been a show case for democracy and will present PKR as a credible democratic political party that is worthy of walking the road to Putrajaya. However, events seem to prove otherwise.

There seems to be reports of ugly incidences and undemocratic practices.

Candidates with NGO backgrounds seem to be losing while those with political backgrounds get elected. The results seem to validate that politics is only for politicians. This gives rise to questions as whether the elections are marred with political manipulations.

Even some of the PKR members I have met give me the impression that all is not well in PKR because of over-riding concerns for personal political interests rather than party aspirations.

Democracy dictates that leaders must be properly elected according to democratic processes.

What is the democratic equivalent of a "de facto leader" who is all powerful in a political party. Why does the defacto leader not legitimise his position though the democratic process?

Let's us see if Zaid Ibrahim, whom many in PKR consider as a reformer will win or politics will fall back to the politicians based on loyalty to political personalities.

The final outcome of the PKR elections will determine whether PKR is indeed a reform party or a party riding on the sensationalisation of personalities.

Peace !

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Book Review: Who amongst us is a Rapera?

The Malay Mail did a review of the book "Rapera -urgently wanted".

"For him, there is a strong need for citizens to have their own thoughts and ideas regarding national is­sues where at times, these issues are strictly determined by the rules of various political groups in power today.

He hopes that through the intro­duction of the Rapera concept, citi­zens will no longer sit back and watch the country's changes pass them by. Instead they should evolve and be better citizens who can help encour­age a better nation in general.

Reading his book, one would probably be stirred emotionally and mentally as Jay questions many hard-hitting issues happening within Malaysian politics and lifestyle.

Some may say that his book may seem a little controversial for their taste buds as he writes honestly and transparently regarding subject mat­ters that he feels could be better ex­ecuted or evaluated by authorities".

You may read the whole review and interview here - TheMalayMailonline

Peace !

Monday, September 27, 2010

Do you know the difference between the “conscious” and “conscientious” acts by politicians?

Image thanks to here

If the ordinary Rakyat does not know the difference, it is imperative that Raperas do.  There is a big difference between the “conscious acts” of politicians as opposed to their “conscientious acts”.  If you get confused between the two, you do so at your own peril.

Let me say this at the very outset: - MOST acts of the politicians are “conscious” acts and not “conscientious”.  These acts are calculated purely for political expediency. Nothing else matters.

One meaning of conscientious is “Guided by or in accordance with the dictates of conscience; principled: a conscientious decision to speak out about injustice.”  You may want to check out the rest here.  

One meaning of “conscious” is “Possessing the faculty of knowing one's own thoughts or mental operations”.

Conscious acts means the politicians is aware why he is doing what he is doing. It is a calculated move to serve his vested political interest.

Conscientious acts, on the other hand are acts that arise out of principles or conscience or having considered “right and wrong”.

Politicians do something because it gives them political benefit. A politician does not do something because it is the right or moral or ethical thing to do. He is not guided by principles  or conscience but by what is politically necessary. 

In politics, the politician believes, there is nothing right or wrong. The only objective is to do something to achieve the desired result – whatever that may be at different times.

Understanding the difference will determine whether the politician is the servant of the Rakyat or the Rakyat is the puppet of the politician. 

The politician, of course, will endeavour to be the master. Hence, he will consciously tell the Rakyat that he is the servant of the people just so that he can be the master. He does not conscientiously believe that politicians should be the servants of the Rakyat. So, do not be duped by their acts.

An act of seeming goodness by a politician is nothing more than a conscious political act. An act of seeming evil by the politician is the same too. He dances according to the political music of the time. So, the Rakyat should be careful what tunes they want to play.

You want examples? Haven’t you seen the politician who used to sing “racist” songs now singing unity? Haven’t you heard those singing “detention without trial” now singing fair justice through open trial”? And the list goes on. These are not sudden birth of consciences. These are political expediencies. 

If you know that only political acts motivate the politicians, every Rapera must create the situation where the politician will act in accordance with what is conscientious. In other words, the Rakyat must create the political situation which will benefit the general population, so that politicians will adjust their behavior and acts accordingly.  

Make the politicians dance to the Rakyat’s tune. Not the other way round. Since most of the Rakyat is either apathetic or pandering to “norms” to serve narrow vested interest or blissfully in the dark, the role falls on the shoulders of the Raperas.

Politicians excel in a culture of ignorance and suppression of information to the general public. They love apathy among the Rakyat and blind support. What should be done in these regards is obvious. 

Put on your thinking cap. Be alert. You have been warned.

There is the type of man whose speech about this world's life May dazzle you, and he calls God to witness about what is in his heart; yet is he the most contentious of enemies.  When he turns his back, His aim everywhere is to spread mischief through the earth and destroy crops and cattle. But God loves not mischief. (Quran: 2:204)

Peace !

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Can Our Tourism Ministry Develop Arts???

I saw a stage show in Beijing. It was a story about Queen who was liked very much by the people and later when she dies, how they missed her. It was amazing how the stage settings changes smoothly and quickly without any interruption at all.

All audience were shocked with amazement when the entire stage and the sides of the stage turned into an instant waterfall...real water!!...and once the scene was over, the stage was dry like as if the waterfall was never there. I understood that this is one of the many tourist attractions in Beijing.

Obviously, the Tourism Board in Beijing takes tourism seriously. Do we?

Watch the video to believe!!!

Peace !

IN the Name of Peace

It’s an important Peace keeping Operation

It is important that we have to keep the peace. For this reason

We need to increase our defence budget by 60%.

Military equipment is not cheap and money should not matter where peace is concerned.

Without peace, there is no healthcare, no education, no housing, no democracy.

So it does not matter if we increase our military budget now by reducing the budget from the other areas.

WE need more tanks. More firepower , more fighter planes, more soldiers and more missiles.

All these because we take peace seriously.

Such is the logic of the human mind.

Peace !

Monday, September 13, 2010

Jimizul, is it racial or racist?

On 2nd September,  one of our regular readers posted  the following comment which I thought I will publish it here and respond since it raised what I consider a "typical mind set" symptomatic of a few in Malaysia. I had just returned to the country and hence, this delayed response.

"Salam bro,

Why don't you open up your eyes and see that in Malaysia everything is based on race no matter how hard people like you are trying to deny- politics, education, social and the list goes on...don't try to be so naive or rather ignorant. And please don't play with your religion card (emm..makes me wonder if you belong to a particular race or you'd rather be known as Muslim/Islam under your race column)..Please enlighten me bro if you really want to project your deep sense of piousness to the deny the important of race, then why the Chinese Muslims are requesting for their own mosques (which everything in it including the sermons will be in Chinese?)I'm waiting bro...Jimizul


Salam bro,

Firstly, I want to thank you for being the conduit to inspire me to write something of significance in these trying and evolving times of our country. At least writing this article may allow me to “cleanse” my heart further.

Let me tackle the easier items in your comments first.

1. I have never, at any time in my life, denied that generally, the socio-economic and political framework in Malaysia is race-based. Having said that, however, I disagree with you that everything in Malaysia is race-based. If you open your eyes, you will see that there are many relationships, be it friendship, marriages or pure neighbourliness are not race-based.

2. Obviously all of us  on earth are classified into a social construct which we term as "race" or "ethnicity". There are usefulness and weaknesses in such a classification.  I will explain this below.

3. You accuse me of "playing the religious card". Obviously you have not read my articles. I believe you may have mistaken my considered respect and passion for the Quran as being religious. It is the politicians and religious bigots and their unthinking hand-clappers that shamelessly use the religious card. In our country, we had seen some "religious" people mysteriously "protest" in support of the ISA under the cry that it protects Islam! There are even some who use religion as a cover to promote racist interests. You should be targeting your accusation and opposition to them, not me.

4. As to your statement that I want to project my deep sense of piousness, this is my response: I did not know that I came across as such to you. I have never seen myself as pious and it has never really been important to me to determine so. What is more important to me is to live this temporary life causing as little damage as possible. In any event, the concept of "piousness" itself is something that have to be dealt with in another article.

5. Chinese seeking Chinese mosque complete with sermons in Chinese. It is just amazing that you should raise this because  the exact thought came to mind while I was in Beijing. I will cover it below.

Jimizul, I hope the following article which expresses my thoughts on the matters that you have raised will be useful.

Racial versus Racism and Religious versus religious bigotry

Actually Jimizul, your  comment requires firstly a discussion between what is "racial or "ethnic" considerations against what is "racism". The two are completely different. Many unfortunately are confused between the two. Secondly, it also requires an understanding of the Quran's position on "race" and "racism". Thirdly, we have to understand the difference between being religious and being a religious bigot.

Racial versus Racism

Few ideas have been so fraught with controversy, or have provided as much occasion for discussion and debate, as that of race. Race is a highly contradictory notion.  I am of the view that “race” is nothing more than a social construct to describe groups of people with certain similarities.

Article 160 of the Malaysian Constitution supports the idea that “race” is nothing more than a social construct. According to Article 160, a Malaysian citizen is defined as a “Malay” if he speaks the Malay language habitually, follows the Malay custom and is a Muslim. By this definition therefore, the “ethnic Chinese” is a “Malay” if he fulfills this criteria. Likewise, a Malaysian Javanese is a “Malay” in Malaysia while an Indonesian Javanese is not a “Malay” in Malaysia. This is what racial classification is all about – a social construct. If we take the definition of “Malay” in the Constitution technically, possibly many elite Malays may not qualify as constitutional Malays!

Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, "race" or ethnicity are social constructs. They are terms created by human beings to refer to a group of people sharing similar characteristics which other groups do not have. Ethnicity or race therefore is a term used to describe people in terms of their common culture, language, social and dietary habits and such.

In this sense, therefore if you look at China or India, it is indeed multi-religious multi-racial and mutli-cultural. In China, while the Han Chinese is the largest ethnic group, it has 55 other minority ethnic groups. China has over 290 languages and for this reason, the Chinese government try to unite them by introducing Putonghua or Standard Mandarin as the common or national language. 

Similarly, India has displayed varied hues of culture, religion, race, language, and so on. The Constitution of India has recognised 22 different languages that are prevalent in the country, out of which, Hindi is the official language and is spoken in most of the urban cities of India. Other than these 22 languages, there are hundreds of dialects that add to the multilingual nature of the country.  

Malaysia too is multi-religious multi-racial and mutli-cultural society. However China and India are huge countries with much much bigger and more diverse population than ours. They have greater challenges than us at national integration and unity.   I doubt if any of our politicians have the calibre to govern those countries seeing how they have governed our much smaller country with much lesser challenges. But that’s a different point!

Jimizul, I am sure the above examples should suffice to demonstrate that one cannot deny the existence of these “racial classifications”.

Surely one cannot deny that knowledge and identification of ethnic origins does have its relevance. For example, if you identify someone as an orang asli, you will try to study his ethnic background to understand him. If you are a responsible government, you will try to understand the orang asli's culture, ethnicity and religion when you want to plan any development programmes for his community. You cannot for example, remove the orang asli from their "racial or ethnic environment" and suddenly throw them into towns. This has happened in our country and it is cruel. With our knowledge of the racial makeup of the orang asli, we should prepare them for the different kind of challenges that living in developed towns will entail.

Another example is that of the Indians in the estates. When we removed the estates, we never prepared these Indians for living outside the estate. Again we have been cruel. The point is this: we use the knowledge of a particular social construct or ethnic origin or race for the purposes of improving that particular ethnic group or solving problems that appear to be peculiar to that particular ethnic or racial group. Such an approach may require a “racial approach” in which there is nothing wrong. There is nothing racist when we say that the orang asli community is still generally backward after 52 years of merdeka. It is racist if we accuse them of being inherently backward.

A study of ethnic characteristics may also be relevant to understand the community in the effort to formulate policies or action plans to improve that particular community. For example, in our country, we have so much superficial talk about the creation of “human capital” but I have yet to see any indepth study on “ethnic obstacles” to progressive thinking. If the thinking or the ability to think of the population is not addressed, how do you improve them? There could very well be parts of the culture of some ethnic communities that hinder their progress. These things ought to be addressed.

Another example where the classification of race becomes relevant. For example, we may conduct the study on the occurrence of diabetes among the different racial communities and may arrive at a conclusion that diabetes is high among certain communities. Such a study may reveal that lifestyles of certain ethnic groups actually increases the chances of getting diabetes. The data may be useful as a basis to formulate behavior alteration programs to arrest the diabetic problem.

We can go on giving examples where information about the ethnic origin of person is relevant and sometimes necessary. Such “racial approaches” may be legitimate.

However, if a social construct such as race or ethnic origin is used as the sole basis to sustain only itself to the exclusion of the rest of the world, then it becomes racism. The notion of “racial supremacy” is racist and an affront not only to the intelligence but to humanity. The apartheid policy for example which extols the supremacy of the “white Africans” and discriminates the “black” Africans and non-whites is racist and shameful to humanity. Merely because it was in existence for years did not stop Ghandi from opposing similar racist discriminations.

If a certain race claims that it is the only chosen race of God to the exclusion of the rest of the world, then that is racism. The zionists are racists.

If a certain race claims that all other races except its own race are lazy and stupid, then that is racism.

If your choice of expressing compassion, kindness, justice, opportunities and such turns solely on the basis of someone’s ethnic origin, you are not only a racist but in my view a manifestation of Iblis. I believe the Creator will deal with you in His merciful way.

The Ku Klux clan in America which "fights" for "America is only for whites" and the others can go back to their country of origin are racists. They do not want the presence of other non-white Americans whose forefathers have migrated to America. They have conveniently forgotten that their forefathers too were immigrants unlike the Red Indians. They are angry that the Americans of immigrant parents have worked hard and are economically well off. To me, these shameful right wing small group of Americans are mentally deranged people who use other people’s success and hard work as a scapegoat for their failures and laziness.

One of the worst manifestations of racist ideas took place in Germany under the command of Hitler where he promoted the idea of the “German race”.  Hitler believed that in the world, only one race was fit to survive; the Aryan race. Aryans were tall, with beautiful facial features, white skinned, and blond hair, so the myth goes!

Without doubt, racists are mentally sick people who have a warped perspective of human nature. The larger majority of normal people are not racists. Racists seem to have, among others, the following traits:

a) They always look for scapegoats for their deficiencies or failures in life.
b) They have a deep sense of inferiority complex and they try to overcome this with aggressive behaviour or a false sense of superiority complex;
c) If these racists have larger numbers, they will deride or make fun of others from different ethnic origins with the objective of bolstering thier own lack of self confidence or to attempt to attack the others sense of self confidence.
d) Even anyone from their own racial grouping who disagrees with their racist outlook will be immediately accused as being a traitor to their race;
e) They have very little respect for the sanctity of life;

I find it completely difficult to comprehend that people who truly believe in God or consider themselves religious can be racists.

If you say you are a buddhist, you must know that Siddhartha Gautama was an Indian Prince. If you are a Chinese Buddhist and you are prepared to receive enlightenment from a Prince of another ethnic/racial origin than yours, why would you find it difficult to share dharma with the rest?

If you say you are a Christian, you must know that all are the children of the Lord.

If you say that you are a Muslim, you must know that all the Prophets that are mentioned by name in the Quran are neither Malay, Chinese, Kadazan or Indian. The Muslim must know the following verse from the Quran which is supposed to be their daily guide:

“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)". [Quran: 49:13]

The Quran does not say that a particular race or nation is the most honoured. It is the one that is most righteous that is most honoured.

If you are a Hindu, you must believe in karma or rebirth and know that good begets good and evil begets evil irrespective of racial or ethnic construct.

If you are an atheist, then surely you must know that values are either good or bad, that either you are a good person or a bad person irrespective of racial or ethnic origin.

Why are we letting social constructs like “race or ethnicity” demean our humanity?

Jimizul, even if you are the only one standing in a crowd of billion racists, you must not deny humanity. This is because, ultimately, you and you alone will be answerable to the creator – none of the billions will advocate on your behalf.


Next: Jimizul, Religious and Religious bigotry – surely there is a difference? - God willing.


Friday, September 3, 2010


There will be no blogging till after Hari Raya since Rapera team overseas.

Selamat Hari Raya.

Peace !