Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Racism, Makkal Sakthi, HINDRAF and ISA


"If some men are entitled by right to the products of the work of others, it means that those others are deprived of rights and condemned to slave labor."
-- Ayn Rand

"Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man's genetic lineage -- the notion that a man's intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors.
-Ayn Rand, "Racism" (An article published in the September, 1963 issue of The Objectivist Newsletter ), The Virtue of Selfishness .

Do not ghettoize society by putting people into legal categories of gender, race, ethnicity, language, or other such characteristics.
-Preston Manning


Raja Petra had recently written an article in the No Holds Barred section of Malaysia Today, entitled "Let’s cut this racial crap".
It was basically about the racial premise for the struggle to the "Free the Hindraf-5" campaign, which ignored the other detainees and ISA as a whole.
With this regard, I agree very much with what Raja Petra has to say.

Malaysia needs to be exorcized of all forms racism and its ghosts, that has been deeply entrenched in the minds and hearts of all Malaysians.

As things are, Racism is practised in Malaysia under the guise of Race-Based Politics of Barisan National and the affirmative action called the NEP (which has been given a fresh coat of paint, with a new name - MDP, is it?).
Racism cannot be accepted when it is in your favour and then condemned, when it works against you.

We all need to come out strongly against this Devil, even when it dresses as an Angel - it has to be stamped out in all its forms, appealing or not as it may seem for the moment.

Many Malaysians of Tamil descent, claim to be "Indian" first, despite not knowing jack about India, have never set foot on Indian soil (if they did, possibly never beyond Tamil Nadu - a small state), nor understand its diversity/culture and history.
Many think that, to be "Indian", one needs to know & practice Tamil culture or use Tamil language!

But of course .... the "knowledge about Indian culture" peddled by the cheap and mindless entertainment channels like Vaanavil would very much be close to the hearts of these Malaysians of Indian descent, as are the "Chennai-wood" film stars and Tamil Nadu politics.

To many "Indians" of Malaysian descent (or is it supposed to be vice versa?), the "Makkal Sakthi" rallying call, indicated "Indian" political might/resurgence.
Many "Indians" were proud of it.
They however, did not see it as a cry for "People Power".
They did not see it as a battle-cry for justice and good governance!

To them it simply highlighted only the plight of the "Indians" (specifically, Tamilians) in Malaysia.
To a certain extent, “Makkal Sakthi” in their minds, meant that it was the rise of the “Tamilian Political Power” (or so they thought)!

Many of the "Indians" are today coming out against ISA becos they wish to fight for the release of the Hindraf-5 "Indians".
I never agreed with the "Free the Hindraf-5" idea/ campaign, simply becos it is a very selfish campaign. It was simply becos of their narrow ethnocentric concerns that I never supported Hindraf.
These guys, while complaining about racism, use a racial platform to air their grouses.

I just don't get it ... what's with these HINDRAF guys?
Do we need a racial "badge" or platform for a common struggle?
What is so wrong about fight for freedom of worship and economic benefits for all downdrodden Malaysians?
What is so difficult about fighting apartheid?
Don't they see the bigger picture?
Don't they care about other Malaysians?
Can't they stand alongside their Malaysian brothers for a common struggle?

Are they so blind that they do not see the bigger picture – that it is this very Ghetto-esque idea of “ethno-centric” ideals that has got them into the current predicament?
As wrong as it may be, sometimes I feel all racists and religious extremists need to get “whacked” for "incitement" of racist sentiments- not ISA, though (not anymore).

They don't give two hoots (maybe don't even know) about the rest!
Not becos they disagree about ISA, or detention without trial.
In fact I'll bet my last dollar that 99% don't even know what ISA is.

I do not dispute, that their struggle for justice is warranted.
I only, simply dispute the "morality" of the platform upon which they have built their struggle!
I dispute the validity of the argument that their narrow “exclusive”, ethno-centric, isolationist, Tamil-Hindu platform for their struggle, appeals to all communities (vi-a-vis) of Malaysia.

This self-centred struggle that only appeals to the dispossessed Tamil community would be a curse to the very community that they champion, as it further isolates them from the bigger picture of national integration.
Their supporters (not all, mind you) seem to perceive that, all that matters, is the "emancipation of the Tamil-Hindu community"!

One commenter on Malaysia Today had this to say to me:-
“We have far too many UMNOPUTRAS at hand and we do not want to add you to its number!”

Yes – we do have far to many UMNOPutras at hand.
But I believe his argument is flawed, should he simply take my argument against Hindraf at face-value.
Just because I do not agree with the “Ketuanan Melayu”, doesn't mean I should support Hindraf, does it?
Am I obliged to support the “Free the Hindraf-5” campaign, simply because their struggle for justice did help galvanize the Barisan Rakyat cause?

No Sir, I'm definitely not obliged to support the ethnocentric platform of Hindraf, UMNOputra or not!

Allow me to ask a few questions here ......

If they were sincere about their struggle for all Malaysians, why did they not oppose the racist MIC leadership that subtly preaches Ketuanan Tamil (for what it is worth) from the very beginning?
Why did they hesitate for so long to declare that the MIC leadership is irrelevant?
Why did they not stand or walk with BERSIH?
Simply becos they chose to keep their struggle to themselves!

It is as simple as that.

In fact, I recollect quite clearly, their "strong support" for the leadership of BN, UMNO Baru & MIC, despite the fact that temples were being demolished by these very people!

This simply means that they did not wish their struggle to be part of the greater "MALAYSIAN" agenda, but a selfish, isolationist, Tamilian-centric one.

How different are they from the racist elements of the BN/ Alliance?

How different are they?

How different are they from those who fight for Ketuanan Melayu?

How different are they from those who fight for the utopian “Islamic State”?

I even recollect a regular commenter (and a former MIC supporter) here saying that they (HINDRAF) support the current government/leadership, but only dispute the implementation/delivery of the benefits!
It was only when they were behind bars that they chose to reexamine the premises for their struggle!

It took them a long time to actually support the Barisan Rakyat informal alliance (now, the Pakatan Rakyat), despite the fact that it was only the “Opposition” that gave them any moral support!
It was only when they realized the futility and folly in supporting the racist government that they lent BR their support!

Don't get me wrong – I do not challenge the “universal & egalitarian” ideals that they represent (as argued by a commenter on Malaysia Today), but only the ethno-centric nature of their struggle.

It is not that I support ISA, their detention, nor do I reject the call for their release - on the contrary, I too demand their release! However, I do not support a “Free Hindraf-5” campaign per se, as it narrows down the big picture!

As Raja Petra says, we need to “Free all ISA detainees & Abolish ISA”.


The "Free the Hindraf-5" campaign may not be wrong ... but it certainly isn't right!


"Capitalism knows only one color: that color is green; all else is necessarily subservient to it, hence, race, gender and ethnicity cannot be considered within it."
-Thomas Sowell

"The question of whether one alleges the superiority or the inferiority of any given race is irrelevant; racism has only one psychological root: the racist's sense of his own inferiority."
- Ayn Rand


Further reading:

  1. Excerpts from :"Racism" by Ayn Rand
  3. Racism & Psychology