We are recently bombarded by odd sermons from a fugitive from India. Our leaders found inspiration from an evangelist. He was granted permanent residency, with VIP status. Then the black shoe minister insists to implement calligraphy crafty cult. The Hope government breaks its pre-election promises to people, and called it blackmail. Black crows populated fast in dirty environment; broke silence of the morning walk. When friends meet, they blurted out their discontent. That inspired me to write how people feel and think about racial issues.
Calligraphy is a decorative visual art in lettering or scripts; it dresses forms into stylistic graphic art with symbolic meaning for the eyes of beholder. It has value only for those who appreciated it. Chinese script calligraphy will be meaningless to the Arabs; the same applies for other culture. Coercion in learning will turn the graceful art and culture into a disgraceful assimilation. However, it is not uncommon for smart ass to think it’s silly choice is the best for all. Thus we encounter many cult leaders, who are charismatic and authoritarian, but manipulative and motivated by personal agenda, in the cloak and hood of religion and unity of sorts. The cult of personality knows the way, and must be in control of the reins of power.
The Jawi script is Arabic, and thereby, the learning is infused with Islamic values; indoctrination in subtle ways. Behaviour modification or” brain washing” is based on compulsion with a religious twist. The cult, a four-lettered word, is rape without consent; a rage or hate against the other culture or religion. It is hard to believe that leaders will resort to divisive racial policy in a multiracial and multicultural nation, especially when the coffer has yet to recover from theft. Either it is the intention to distract the public or it is playing the usual race cards. Unlike Singapore, the dominant group is protected against racial incite. The protagonists play “wayang kulit” (traditional shadow show) behind the screen, and expect the other to watch the drama with quite acceptance. With the dominance in numbers and the might in military, administrative and finance, the beats of racial drum echo across the land. Despite that, they still feel insecure, and need crutches to walk.They are unconcerned about the chaos and destruction they caused; nightmare screams shouted aloud for half a century. Yet the instigators are not common citizens, but prime leaders in government; this is a retrogressive policy towards real national unity.
Like it or not, it’s compulsory for all students (Chinese, Indians and others), above primary four to learn Jawi calligraphy next year. It is considered a national treasure, but really a pressure forced upon others, There is thus fear of gradual assimilation due hegemony. All dissenting voices would be subdued. All are forced to obey by law, liked conscription into the military. It is done by the mere stroke of the brush (foxy hair) or pen of calligraphy. All pre-election promises are ignored; the minorities are tricked, and feel betrayed by their own parties and government.
It should be noted that there are many fair thinking Malay Muslims who are against such compulsion and injustices. They speak their hearts aloud, against the hypocrisy and corruptions around. That is a ray of hope left for the future.
Multicultural and multiracial
problems have their origin not only along geographical and historical “fault
lines”, but are deliberately perpetuated by colonial and imperial powers in military
and political history. Even in US, they ignore the rights of Red Indians and
Mexicans; Australian and Malaysian ignore the rights of their own aborigines,
yet these countries blame others for human rights violations. Recently, two
nuclear powers fought over Kashmir, over land and religious issues. The street violence
in Hong Kong are instigated by US, British, Taiwan and local ambitious politicians
and businesses (with mindless students) who wish to cede the region away from
China. The problems are so deep rooted with wide ramification that they are no
longer easy to handle, except through honest negotiation. Religion, economics,
politics of survival and supremacy are also intertwined with the emotion. A lot
of good will is required to imbibe and germinate the seeds of harmony in
multicultural societies. The plural diversities are acknowledged and
compromises are needed for orderly society. Responsibility and freedom must go
hand in hand for an acceptable and practical formula; and the sacred “cow” must
not be touched or violated, unless national unity stated otherwise. We either
weave the social web together in harmony or we flare and tear it with no gain
to all. In democratic and free US, Trump has torn the fabric of American flag,
and the other presidents and their respective regimes, have also scorched other
flags and lands. In Malaysia, the dominant political party has no confidence
and ability to govern, and pursues policies contrary to national interest. It has petty short term interest, like the
proverbial frog in well with limited horizon. Had Dr. M be more open hearted
and just look south (without venturing far to Japan), we may learn some lessons
from the small city state. The policy makers are mostly liberal academics of
CMIO (Chinese, Malay, Indians and others) categories. We may laugh at it, the
hyphenated sub divisions. However, no one in Singapore dare to challenge the
understanding without good reasons. Good governance does not imply perfect
utopia, unless one likes to sweat over small stuff. If China could learn and
benefit from a small state, why does our nation fuss over petty issues, like
water, sand and a small football field.
In a multicultural and multiracial society, we must take off our coloured religious robes to speak for all. I miss the melting pot culture of the 50’s, even the salad bowls are full of controversies, for purity of hands and mind are hard to define or refine, even among the purists. Fermented vinegar and tapioca are not sensitive for people without food allergies. Yet we must admit that our tongue and taste do differ, even across time and place for the same changing souls. We could enrich each other’s culture with fusion food, dance and music, beyond the tribal beat and tables. The most important reminder is not to create havoc and disorder. We have to walk out of the wood to find new needs and innovation. As a poet narrator, I could do best in my imaginary poetry world, and is offered to all free. The dying genre requires resuscitation from comments for improvement.
The pictures and cartoons are all copied and pasted from the web.
Recently the Malaysian Education
Department (with the approval of PM) introduced compulsory Jawi calligraphy in
primary four onwards. Chinese medium schools have to study three languages
(Malay, Chinese and English), now Jawi script to be added for national union.
Instead it arouses more controversy and dissent than endearment. Right or
wrong, it is seen as policy of assimilation, if not, racialism.
I was reading “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” by Maya
Angelou, and this line, shadow
shouts on a nightmare scream, inspired me to write this run of haiku/senryu.
I am uncertain whether there will be “another breeze” of Hope for the country. Worse than the caged bird, it is trapped within its racial mindset.
We need strong aspiration to do well
or good for our goal setting. Our destination may not be well defined or
visible yet, if obstacles block the view ahead. Yet we know it is the path we
need to walk. For a start, it is best to walk straight and upright, for one
wrong misstep, will derail the destined journey, and end up in ghost or fairy
land. Courage and mental alertness are requisites to overcome whatever
hardships on the way. Obstacles are challenges to test our will and provide lessons
along the trail; in fact they take away the boredom of an easy start. Setbacks
are not our goal; they provide rest to rethink our plan and goal. Are the
effort spent conducive to our initial aspiration, or they have moved away? The
retraction or back stepping requires agility of mind and courage; only mindless
bulls rush forward with the adrenalin of youth. In contrast, our government practices
a kind of selective socialism and “Robinhood typo” of welfare for the dominant
race; the autocratic father wheels contestants to the assumed destination.
Despite half a century of coddle, the obsession continued in vain.
“…life full of care
(abundant) time to stand and stare”
(Time to Stop and Stare by William Henry Davies).
Technology is changing at dizzy speed, and so is digital time. There is no fixed road to our destination, and the attitude towards the goal may change before arrival. Yet the means must be moral and in tune with the aspiration to achieve the end. We cannot fight to achieve for our kind over the dead bodies of others. If the pivot becomes brittle due to sclerosed mindset, then all the pillars of multiculturalism will fall apart. A destablised nation will not benefit any race at all. If the aspiration is immoral even on strong conviction, the destination cannot be clear and clean. In the travail of journey, we learn from living experiences, balance and righting our aspiration and destination. Be humble to learn from successful states and persons.
If the heart is silent and opened,
the perception or experience will be widen.
If one is preoccupied by the noise of racialism or transient personal or
group gain, then the bigger vision may be missed. In Hong Kong we observe the
youngsters are confused and entangled in their demand. Social injustices and
unfairness are indeed important. However, to cede the region away from the
nation as an independent city-state is a serious crime. The first demand could
be met; but not the second impossible demand. They are too blind by their
personal motives and demand, and ignorance and miseducation of political
history and reality. The violent and disorder means could not justify its goal.
Similarly in Malaysia, to gain popular mass vote and support, racial tactics of
divide and rule are repeatedly used. Moral and monetary corruption are means to
entice group cohesion; instead of education and good governance to benefit all.
The bigots fail to see that the bigger slice of national wealth always belong
to the dominant group; or the corrupted few within the group. This is true even
in the US and the West. Thus jingoists are blind to see the light coming
through interstices of the jungle. They are princes and princesses in the
woods, with high Happiness Index, confusing happiness with primitivism; concept
with reality. The arched giant trees block out the light. Fortunately, they
have their own jungle guides to lead them out of the thick rainforest, if they
will listen to the sound and light around. Out in the comfort of modernism, we
might have time to learn and appreciate some calligraphy. Without the mental
space to accommodate other factors, the horizons are indeed restricted.
The poetic world is to connect with
its web. Catch hold of the filaments and together we weave and trap trespassing
insects. God or nature has blessed us with abundant resources, yet we fall
behind. We are envious and jealous, mindless of our core emotions and
cognition. We thought Hope was at our door steps, but the devils took it away. Soon
I would reside in my grave with the promised virgins,
The recent expanded Trade War between US and China, urban guerillas in Hong Kong, and the introduction of Jawi in Malaysian primary education have made us to rethink about diversities and multiculturalism. Is destabilizing another nation or culture part of American or western culture? Is political and racial dominance part of new Malaysian culture? Is social conflict in Hong Kong (in the flag of one nation, two system) causing a new “banana (yellow outside, white within) sub-culture”? I have no recipe; only offer food for thought. We need to be aware of disruption of disorderly conduct, for they destabilize family, community and nation, whether big nation or city states. I hope youngsters (Malaysians mainly) will ponder and wonder more on the issue. Tun Diam has warned that others were learning programming, codes and abstract mathematics in primary schools, we are still in the woods; not meeting modern needs. If Ph.D holders in the ministry hold such senile views, we might never get out of the wood, even with coconut power.