Saturday, 23 June 2012

The Custodians of ... "Our" Culture.

“It is not necessarily (our) culture; you have to look at the situation.
“What is important is that enough access to information,” 
~ Najib

It probably started with back when Mahathir was "the man" of Bolehsia. He regularly bandied about what he called "eastern values" which he defined in his authoritarian style of government. By his standards, the things he did were all, "Our Culture", and they were "noble values" which we had to abide by, whether we liked it or not. 

Of late, I have somehow been hearing it quite a bit- "... it is not in our culture to bla bla bla" (..... and here I was thinking all the while that "culture" is something which is fluid- not static as the politicians seem to think it is- and evolved perpetually with time due to various factors such as environment/ influences/ economy/ education). Every other person seems to know what is and isn't supposed to be - "OUR" culture.
Maybe it is a medical condition called "The Custodian Syndrome"- maybe there's a virus in the air or something .... I wouldn't know. Maybe they want to engineer a "new culture" of unthinking dullards in Malaysia (which they incidentally, have partially achieved with their "NEP" policies since Mahathir's time).

You get them in many different circles- from the man on the street, to the religious bigots, the moral police, the evangelists, the old folks, teachers, to the political elite (don't forget Mr. Yorais, himself).
And I wonder- just when did these people become the experts of "our culture". The word "OUR" here, is I believe, quite dangerous- because it lumps all of us together into one big group. It is not like all of us believe and practice the same things.

So, just what gives these "custodians of culture" the right to claim or determine what is, and what isn't "our culture".
Just what exactly are the determinants of "our" culture.
Can anybody define this so-called "our" culture on a national scale?
So once again- politicians have staked their claim to being the experts and "defenders" of "OUR Culture".

Now I'm beginning to wonder what exactly IS "our culture" ...
banning books/concerts/people/rallies/skirts?
Unquestioning loyalty/allegience to the buffoons who are apparently our political elite? Indoctrination of minors? The siege-mentality? 
Persecution of minorities? Racism? Religious Bigotry?
"Tongkat Ali"? Gender segregation?
Obsession with sex or polygamy or "skirts & what lies beneath"? 
Thuggery? A Police State? Fear? Fascism?
"Kugan-ising" suspects in custody? Bombing Mongolians?
Crony Capitalism? Corruption? Financial Scandals?
A lying media? Censorship? 
Having a screwed up EC?
**The quote (in bold at the top) was a comment by Najib when asked about having a public debate with Anwar.

Below is an article on The Malaysian Insider on the same topic:-

What is Malaysian culture? — Othman Wahab

June 22, 2012
JUNE 22 — Prime Minister Najib Razak says that there is no need for a debate with Anwar Ibrahim because debates are not part of the Malaysian culture. He is right, of course.
The following are part and parcel of Malaysian fabric and culture, and should be emulated by all citizens.
1) Plundering the country’s wealth through inflated contracts, toll concessions and one-sided privatisations deals.
2) Allowing Umno politicians and their children sweetheart deals and unfettered access to public funds through grants and loans.
3) Selling state secrets to foreign arms companies, earning huge kickbacks in commission and then pretending that nothing is amiss.
4) Unleashing the power of the police on ordinary Malaysians, firing nearly 1,000 tear gas canisters at taxpayers’ expense, beating up journalists, and then asserting that maximum restraint was used.
5) Living beyond our means. Ministers have done this for years, living way beyond their pay scale and, now, the government is encouraging Malaysians to do so. How? By spending and spending like there is no tomorrow. Our debt-to-GDP ratio is way past the 55 per cent threshold.
6) It is part of our daily culture for women to be robbed and live in fear of snatch thieves, for crime to alter the way of life, and then have some bean counter in Pemandu to roll out some discredited crime statistic. Malaysians should just go with the flow and accept whatever Putrajaya says. After all, Idris Jala did turn around Malaysia Airlines.
7) Having to tolerate Liow Tiong Lai, M. Kayveas, Khaled Nordin, and Muhyiddin Yassin, and accept them as leaders while at the same time witnessing their displays of ineptitude.
8) Stomaching the tales spun by Utusan Malaysia, NST, TV3, the Star and other crooked media. Yes, it is part of Malaysian culture for mainstream journalists to write fiction.
* Othman Wahab reads The Malaysian Insider.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider

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