Monday, 17 March 2008
Much Ado Over Songkoks ...
Raja Petra had written two articles on the issue of the "Songkok" being rejected by a certain Chinese politician in Perak, although it was simply a dress-code/ protocol.
The articles are in the No Holds Barred column of Malaysia Today.
I was actually quite surprised that such a petty issue had generated so much discussion, and passionate defence for ignorance, prejudice, and even hatred.
It may appear to be a "small thing", but it had highlighted the level of racism and misunderstanding created as a reslt of 50 yrs of indoctrination, under the "Social Contract" that is much lauded by the members of the BN.
The people have been victims of a system that bred ill-will, suspicion and isolationism among the people of the nation, via the propaganda machinery of the state.
I thought that I might've put in my 2 sens worth of logic in the discussion, but I seemed to have been quickly voted down, ending up "lowly rated"
(not that I care about being "lowly rated", anyways - in fact, I consider it a 'highlight', and I normally check the lowly rated ones first - and they are quite often, quite good!).
Yes .... it appears logic has no place in this issue - only emotion!
I fail to understand why some people are so passionate about their prejudice, which is actually the result of the "social programming/ repression" that they were subject to. Maybe I'm too detached from the emotions that the "social contract" evokes in many.
These very same emotional people would in fact be the very first to scream about the racism and prejudice that has borne the desired results in them!!.
Needless to say, many of the "intellectual" and "academic" apologetics' arguments were quite simplistic for me to swallow, in the sense that they only serve to reinforce prejudices that have been so deeply rooted by the political masters.
Shouldn't these "intellectual" guys be enlightening the ignorant - but here they are playing the role of the apologist, by saying that prejudicial sentiments have to be taken into consideration in Palace protocol!
These guys just don't seem to understand (or refuse to acknowledge) the simple words - "Dress-code" and "Protocol"!
The following are some of my comments on both the articles:-
This argument against the songkok reminds me of the arguments of some mullahs in Pakistan, who said that the necktie is a symbol of Christianity.
You cannot teach them how to be rational or graceful,
cos they insist on being pig-headed with their rhetoric
- no matter how "educated" they are ....
They are best ignored & left alone in their tempurungs/ psychological ghettoes
- but sock it to their heads if they try acting funny otherwise ....
This was a response to another commenter ....
What you say is very true.
However, "they" wouldn't accept what you say, and will come out with a million "pig-headed" arguments like "songkok=pork" ......
The irony of it is, these guys are actually victims of the colonial "social contract",
that has been propagated by "some parties", that they themselves hate.
However, they do not see it that way - over the decades of indoctrination to the "divide & rule" policies, they have been made to believe that they are only being "patriotic" to their ancestry, and are thus justified.
They'll never believe for a minute, that they are actually victims of hate-mongers' propaganda ..... and they'll unwittingly play the same game and rhetoric as their hated adversaries.
Poor little minds ....
While RPK is right in saying that all Malaysian are racists, it should be remembered that most people (not all) really are to variable extents - and that is the Gospel truth.
I'm truly impressed with the "passion" that many exhibit in demonizing cultures/protocols that they have little understanding about,
but harbour plenty of prejudice about things as a result of flawed education/ perceptions and thinking.
Nor do many care to really know or understanding their fellow citizens.
It is sad they choose to defend their prejudices and ignorance, so passionately.
Many don't seem to realize that this "syndrome" is actually the result of the colonial methods, which were further reinforced into the minds of the electorate (ala DEB, Ketuanan Melayu, "Islamization", HP6 education) - and are thus victims of circumstances.
Ultimately it is the ruling elite that chose to propagate ideas of "cultural exclusivism" via the education system and weird/ archaic laws, who are to blame.
Not the Chinese/ Indian/ Malay or whatever man on the street .....
The people have been fed with images associated with inanimate objects, that speak of hatred for other cultures (?xenophobia) for decades on end.
In fact these ideas are propagated in schools from a very tender age.
In Malaysia however, "R&R"(race/religion) was staple diet for half a century, and was institutionalized with pride by all parties. The common man swallowed the bull - lock, stock and barrel, to become chauvinists themselves.
Racism, prejudice and discrimination has been made out to be "Truly Malaysian" by the Alliance/ BN, in every aspect/ facet of Malaysian life.
It has been marketed to the public with the condescending "Tolerance" which implies that it isn't really "Accepted" - accordingly, the people tolerate and do not accept another culture.
"Tolerance" is looked upon as something so good, while the need for "acceptance" is disregarded.
To blame the Chinese or Indian man on the street entirely would be very wrong, as the Malay too had a big role to play in evoking such sentiments - we have the "social contract" of MCA, MIC & UMNO (UMNO Baru) wise guys to thank for all these misconceptions, prejudices, discrimination and hatred.
Let us hope the leaders that we elect would have the grey matter to set right these wrongs, instead of justifying these simple-minded ideas for political mileage among those who have been isolated culturally.
Meanwhile, we can only hope that the people will not give too much credit to the wrongs, and select such chauvinistic leaders to "defend" the "R&R" - unless it is made necessary via confrontational methods of communication.
We all need to unlearn the "xenophobic" ideas of the "social contract", and discard our prejudices.
This goes for people of all religions, races and color - yes, me too.
Hope BR can do something to build trust among the people.