My last post invited many comments. In a way, the more than one hundred comments obliterated the first two sardonic remarks to my article. The first two mordant comments had suggested derisively, that I take a rest. I am being incoherent they say.
Fortunately their views were not shared by subsequent comments. Those who followed later were interested to offer views and constructive criticisms. In the end, this article has generated a lively debate.
To me, this reflects the emerging character of Malaysian society. The first two comments represent the old and discredited way by which those who hold power explain away things. The preferred way of these dysfunctional autocrats is to impose their views on an unquestioning public. Indeed they assume and hold the belief that the audience to whom they wish to engage are just muted digits. Thus those who provide a medium for participatory and contending ideas to jostle with one another are told to shut up.
The purveyors of this approach will be things of the past. It will give way to an atmosphere of inclusive discourse. People challenge ideas put forth. They find meaning in debating issues confronting them. By doing so, they demolish the xenophobic monopoly long held exclusively by those wishing to mentally subjugate others.
The post was meant to stir up interest. In questioning some of the basis on which Malay society operates, I hope we can enhance our understanding on what makes a society progressive.
The remarks by one commentator, which I reproduced here, deserve some response.
- but I am surprise that it comes from you when you mentioned about WEALTH and the wealthy in Malaysia.All this while it has been accepted that no matter who is the wealthiest ,it no longer means one race is less richer.
- Nobody can ever claim that they got rich and richest without contribution among the other races in this country and is actually a pride shared by everyone that there are NOUVEAU rich Malaysians among us celebrating the thought that it is the Malaysian environment that has allowed them to where they are.
I have broken the comments into 2 sections. The first baffles me because it assumes away the glaring economic disparity between races. The very reason why the government carried out affirmative economic policies is because they don't accept all this while that it does not matter which section of society is richer than the other.
The second baffles me even more, because it seems to unreservedly accept this scheme of things.
Both are not healthy for our society. The bonding element that cements our society must be economic justice. We debate about this later.
But the more frightening message in these comments (perhaps unintended by the author) is the sense of hopelessness and unwillingness to struggle to make things better. It's ok to accept disparity and social injustices. It is sufficient and healthy for society if one section is better off.
Where is our ideology of struggle? Our leaders speak of life being a struggle or that our struggle is never completed, yet the import of the meaning of such phrases is lost on many who are yet unmoved. Can we accept a life that is devoid of a constant struggle to achieve?
What scares me more and I hope I am wrong here, is the subtle suggestion that we accept whatever is foisted on us as a fulfilment without having to resort to an ideology of struggle. As a result we accept things as they are.
Can we live in such a placid society? Pushed to the extreme, in the particular case of the Malays, while we want material benefits and economic advancements, we are contented with unfair economic arrangements. That its ok if we are left behind, that in the name of one Malaysia, as long as we can at least share in the happiness to see one section of the community pulls ahead of us, our society is healthy.
What about the portion of society left behind? Are we contented in defending the status quo?
Hence we have a society divided. One section is composed of the fortunate ones because we allowed them to become so, the other, consists of the less fortunate because we allowed to become so too. How do we explain this to be so? The inadvertent answer is because the Malaysian environment has made this so.
The question is, if the environment that presides over all of us is common, how is it that one section can pull ahead of us, while the rest stagnates? Could it be that the section that pulls ahead has inside them, an ideology of struggle imbued? That perhaps the response to the Toynbeean challenge within that section of society left behind has not been adequate?