Thursday, 5 November 2009

All Hail - The Racist Speaks!!!

"The Chinese educationists do not even want
Chinese children to be near Malay children...
they mustn't get into contact with Malay children...
that is why they rejected our vision school"
- Mahathir
Critical pedagogue Ira Shor defines critical pedagogy as
"Habits of thought, reading, writing, and speaking which go beneath surface meaning, first impressions, dominant myths, official pronouncements, traditional clichés, received wisdom, and mere opinions, to understand the deep meaning, root causes, social context, ideology, and personal consequences of any action, event, object, process, organization, experience, text, subject matter, policy, mass media, or discourse." (Empowering Education, 129)
In the interest of national cohesion, I would support a single stream education system- however, only conditionally - if they were to introduce true meritocracy first, with some affirmative action for the deserving in the national school system.
It would be a travesty of justice and human rights for them to take away the relatively excellent Chinese education, only to dish out the substandard racist, bigoted and lazy system promoted by Umno. I wouldn't touch on the Tamil school system, as it is common knowledge where it stands ......

Before the proponents of vernacular education get rabid on me, allow me to say that I do not dispute the fact that education in any language can be good, and you can be proud of your education - that's good. However, at some point, the children should have to be able to relate to the general society which would comprise of those in mainstream education. That is where the problem starts
The simple fact remains - streaming education without equal opportunities is hardly a uniting factor.

Many don't understand why a single stream is essential - they get defensive and start accusing those against it of being biased, extol the virtues of "vernacular" education, the need to preserve identity/culture and what not. As far as I'm concerned, I believe that they miss the "big picture" and choose to parrot the political rhetoric - the very same which Mahathir mouths today.

"Where is the life we have lost in the living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information ?
The cycles of heaven in twenty centuries
bring us farther from God and nearer to dust."
- T.S. Elliot

First and foremost, one needs to understand the role spoken & written language plays in society, and how it translates to identity, and then to cohesion/unity. What many don't realize is the fact that what you speak and whom you speak to can very well determine what you think. Consequently, the racism that permeates the education system segregation in terms of race & & language, is the fortress of a race based politics, which in turn would translate to polarization, racism, bigotry & apartheid....

As a "compromise", I'd support the introduction of the English stream - (for I believe that it would outclass all other systems and render them invalid), should there be genuine meritocracy - as it is politically "Neutral". English education isn't the "silver bullet" to cure this social ill.
It would take much more than just an education system to do that. It wouldn't eliminate racism (that would be wishful thinking) ...... but it would minimize the effect of racist propaganda, and slowly but surely it is bound to evoke trust among the younger generation who would learn to see the value of pluralism.
Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said on Sunday that
racist comments from “one or two Umno leaders” should be ignored
because the majority of members in the party were not racists.
- Veera Pandiyan, "Weed Out Racists, Not Ignore Them"

Just as Tengku Razaleigh implied, I believe that English shouldn't be viewed as a foreign language, as it was the language upon which Malaysia was built. It is every bit Malaysian (or maybe more so) as Mandarin, Tamil, Hokkien and even Malay. It is our heritage, which we should cherish - instead of making it the bogeyman used to "unite" the people through xenophobia. It may be a bit far fetched for now- but under ideal circumstances, they should make it THE medium of instruction, as it is the only "neutral" language. It can be done, if there is political will - and politicians like Mahathir and Muhyiddin do not inflame racist passions.

In "Where is the Spirit of Merdeka?", I had written -
"The spirit of Merdeka has been subverted by racists and the religious zealots over the years, and has been replaced by chauvinism – racial and religious..... Unfortunately, we are a society so paralyzed by symptomatic solutions one has to wonder whether we will learn anything from this mindless atrocity.......

Taking the above to another level, this "atrocity" which Mahathir (taking on the agenda mooted by his son) seeks to perpetrate, is one of the mind - they seek to enslave our children to the indoctrination by a certain "Biro". They wish to take over the freedom which can guarantee a good education for our children. They have no intention of introducing true meritocracy into the system, nor do they wish to improve the standards.
They want Malaysians to remain divided, "stupid" and gawk in awe at the elite community who get the best education for their children through various methods which money can buy.

Mahathir, in accusing the Chinese from preventing their children from mingling with Malay children has brought forward a simplistic argument which would appeal to the Malays, while promoting distrust and hatred for the Chinese - thus perpetuating the divisive politics of UMNO.
The Education Ministry's "1-Toilet" campaign aside, it is no wonder that Najib tells us to ignore the racists .... It appears that Mahathir is to be Najib's "1-Malaysia" alter-ego, proposing racist agendas to please the racists of Umno and ruffles feathers, while he smoothens them out (by telling them to "ignore" racist comments)!

"It will not do to cling to the cause and wish the result away.
Reality does not play mind games.
What is more, to anesthetize the mind in order to abort what comes to birth
when wrong ideas are conceived and borne in the womb of culture,
will only kill the very life-giving force of the nation that nurtures the idea."
- Ravi Zacharias

Many don't seem to realize that they have already fallen victim to the racist mindset unwittingly, when they support vernacular education - education isn't about race or culture or even language for that matter(although the traits can be there).
Education isn't "knowledge for knowledge's sake" - It's about knowledge in the interest of sustainable development & progress towards nationhood. It truly beats me how vernacular education assists us towards achieving nationhood, when it is already divisive to begin with.

These proponents don't seem to notice that they're being led by their noses, when they support the very thing that keeps in place the race politics which they deplore. These vernacular schools are the fortresses of the race-based politics of Malaysia, which is destroying the fabric of the nation.
Indeed - they happily cling to the cause, and wish the results away ....

If you think of yourselves as helpless and ineffectual,
it is certain that you will create a despotic government to be your master.
The wise despot, therefore, maintains among his subjects
a popular sense that they are helpless and ineffectual.

- Frank Herbert