Potential general elections are a very good time for all Wayang Kulitians and all type of play actors. They get to act out their lines even more precisely. Shakespeare said all the world is a stage. Why else would Dr Mahathir Mohamad, of all people, take on the Orang Asal of peninsular Malaya? No wonder they are even called officially ‘Orang Asli’ and not Asal.
And it is no wonder that the Malayan constitution does not even recognise them within the same category as the Malays of peninsular Malaya? The Melayus are the only orang asal according to Mahathir, even though he has autobiographically agreed he is also a pendatang according to the constitution and history of Malaya. The Orang Asli are not pendatang; otherwise we need to rewrite our current history books, I imagine.
Therefore my rhetorical question to the man who is our current prime minister, are you the PM of 1Malaysia or merely the PM of “Melayusia?” What do I mean?
Recently, there was a report which questioned whether MCA is merely a branch of Umno.
Also recently, the Bishop of the Anglican Church of West Malaysia and CFM chairman, the federation of all Christians bodies in Malaysia (inclusive of both the peninsula and Sabah and Sarawak), also took a firm stand that they cannot accept the desecration of the Bible, and therefore have rejected the Home Ministry’s conditions for release of the sacred text for these national-language speaking and singing Malaysians.
Juxtapose that with what the idiocratic Minister of the so-called ‘Parliamentary Matters’ said, that the copies of the Bible cannot be released from Port Kelang because the syariah law of the state of Selangor does not allow Bibles with the banned words.
But, even more recently, the subsidiary Syariah Court ruled that another citizen who is more than qualified to become a Syariah Court lawyer cannot do so because the law allows the Syariah Court a lot of jurisdiction to define who qualifies; to be read as, who disqualifies. Non-Muslim Malaysians are now disqualified; yet the constitution says all citizens have equal rights under that supreme law. 1Malaysia: prime minister?
Let me therefore first apologise even before I start my next paragraph. I apologise to my readers who chose to not apply their minds towards understanding higher order concepts about the nature of our reality. Even my late mother understood only the simple concepts, but then she only had a primary education.
Anyone who has an undergraduate degree and tells me they cannot understand some concepts within my columns, actually may need their minds checked for lazy learning abilities. Or, I am simply not a good enough writer. Either is fine with me!
What is reality?
So, with that apology delivered, here goes to some higher order concepts. Ontology is the study and understanding of higher order things, and especially non-things. It is in fact a study of reality itself. What is reality and how do we know difference between realities versus fiction? Is a mirage a fiction or a reality? Is the meaning of ‘maya,’ the Malay word for ‘virtual,’ a real phenomenon or only fiction?
In fact, how do we even know that we know? What is knowledge? How do we know what we do not know? The how and what of knowledge is the study of knowing itself described by another big word and concept; called ‘epistemology’.
The simpler word is called science and study of knowledge; but most material scientists often reduce this knowledge defining the scientific method alone as the only form of knowledge and thereby cursing the knowledge of non-science, and especially the spiritual, merely as subjective values.
Ontologists and those who study reality and other forms of knowledge, like for example in the book, Personal Knowledge by Michael Polanyi, describe knowing which is different from empirical scientific knowing, and will talk about a more ephemeral form of knowing, which yet others in the field of religion call ‘spiritual knowing’.
So, my question to the PM is do you know what you are the PM of? The older ideal-type model of ‘the benevolent dictator ‘or ‘wise ruler’ has an epistemological relic value which says the king or ruler has more knowledge than the ordinary citizen. Since they know more, their wise ruler-ship is presumed.
But, today, through the Internet-driven social networking and Twitter, we have seen revolutions in Tunisia and Cairo. But there are not of the French Revolution genre. Instead they are more of the strand of the Copernican and the Iranian Revolution models, with one obvious caveat; Internet technology and Internetworking.
The last word is a composite of three root words, a convergent new phenomenon, like never before. It is only a 21 century phenomenon.
A P2P revolution
Internet technology, by design intent of the creators, is also uncontrollable. If you close down one route, the system will work through another route to communicate the message from sender to receiver. We can also call it a P2P (or peer to peer) revolution.
All this is aided and abetted today by satellites in the sky which zoom in and out as per the dictates of the controllers; quite outside of our national airspace controls. Google or her GPS system called Google Earth is just one manifestation of the advances of both the Copernican and Iranian revolutions. What do I mean?
The Iranian revolution was fundamentally about the rejection of the western model of development that the Shah of Iran sought to bring into Iran. It was more than a Cartesian Revolution. Or, at least what was understood by the opponents as such. Development then only appeared to be defined in materialistic terms and overlooked more non-material values within notions of development or progress.
For example, how does one capture spiritual maturity versus immaturity within the older model of development? Knowledge in all faith systems transcends mere information in the head. Knowledge must translate into life.
The Tunisian and Cairo revolutions, and they are still in the making as we talk, are about ordinary people wanting their basic needs and aspirations in life; not as defined by all leaders of a corrupt past regime, but rather by the improvement of their quality of life within a framework of fair play and due processes.
Can new age governance deliver this in every area of life?
I believe the buzz words are transparency, openness and fair play. If these can be promised, then new governance can be operationalised vide new media technology which has empowered the ordinary people to become the third force of influence towards good governance, vide their mobilised influence in the public squares of life, whether Tahrir Square or simply the public domains in ordinary life.
I suggest to PM Najib, even as he forewarned twice that Cairo cannot and should not happen here, please take note and warn your ‘idiocratic’ ministers to move their butts to understand the nuances and stop behaving as if ordinary people like the “Cairo Street Walkers,” are a mere pushover to guns, rules and the inculcation of fear.
Mr PM; it is not that people do not understand or comprehend your 1Malaysia. It is simply that your own ministers are shooting themselves in the foot to deny your 1Malaysia; which every ordinary citizen understands. Why else would yet other ‘idiocrats’ suggest that defacing the Bible is their only way to protect Islam, in spite of the existence of Syariah Courts and the Conference of Rulers; all currently held only by Malays.
Umno cannot become the sole protectors of Islam; you have lost all such credibility. May Allah bless Malaysia.
KJ JOHN is dean of the Faculty of Economics and Policy Science at UCSI University and they are currently seeking good students for a Masters in Public Policy to be offered in May 2011. UCSI is also a regional centre for Blue Ocean Strategy which teaches Value Innovation processes.
This article is from Malaysiakini.com. Published here with permission.