Feb 7, 2014
Blatant racism, religious bigotry, school culture degenerating, public display of hatred, urging this or that kind of jihad at times for reasons unknown, the vigilantes taking over when law and order seem to be at a critical breaking point, mass feeding of the public with stories that hath no educational value and even devoid of moral sensitivity, frequent public protests plagued with character assassinations rather that the focusing on issues to be collectively addressed as a nation, parang-wielding robberies in broad daylight on an almost weekly basis, rising number of cases of children missing, political moves crafted and executed in desperation that weaken due process in democratic culture sorely in need of sane progression, politicians producing statements in arrogance on pressing devoid of intellectual depths, the intensification of effort by fascist groups to incite violence progressively in hope that the bloody riots of May 13, 1969 is to be re-enacted on a larger scale perhaps.
The media as a technology of consciousness shaper both at the level of Grand and Subaltern Narratives have been successful in playing the role of creator of peace and destroyer of it, as if there is no difference between good and evil in the way we use the materials to build this nation.
Citizens are using social media to raise consciousness and to promote peace, harmony, and social justice but at the same time, more are using it irresponsibly to destroy each other and the do irreparable damage to the moral fabric we are patiently weaving to build a nation of pride, tolerant, and dignity.
Because Malaysians do not read much but read well visual images, consciousness of such a need for nation-building and sanity is both created and destroyed by manipulation of images to affect psychological changes.
Daily we see public and cyberspacial images of visuality altered, manipulated, and doctored being nursed into the consciousness of the people who have become patients in a nation straight-jacketed by its own need for economic speed, racing fast and furious on the superhighway of doom, build by the filthy rich working in tandem with the filthy powerful.
Even the government had admitted that it cannot control the Internet, and the ruling regime has lost the war on perception waged in a perpetually intense mahabharatta in cyberspace.
But what is the most damaging is the education of the public in matters profane and how children and the younger generations are being destroyed of their ability to compose themselves as rational and self-censoring beings when our Open Sky Policy has probably turned our children and teens into beings exposed to the delights of pornography and educational materials of the lowest and ugliest libidinal value rather than of the highly cerebral.
Maybe there is a correlation between the rising cases of perversions in society, incest, teenage pregnancy to the insatiable appetite of the public on things pornographic available as freely as the Malaysian vegetable kangkung sold in the marketplace and in pasar malam alleys.
Hence, in our excitement over everything cybertechnology, over media and wanting to act as if we are blessed with a First World mentality, we have forgotten to introduce a systematic programme of critical media education in our schools or even in our universities.
We are a sick nation
Where do we go from here? I have a microbe of a multitude of questions in my lamentation on the future of this lovely nation.
What are we doing as a nation?
Where is law and order?
Where is ethics?
Where is sanity in the way we ought to build a nation?
Where is tolerance?
Where is shame ?
Where is humility?
Where is the taming of gluttony and greed we ought to have mastered as a nation that prided itself as a “gentle nation with good eastern values grounded in the asian way of doing things?”
What have we become? What do we wish to become? Are we losing it?…
What hath our education system done to us; a system that hath produced a generation of people that is speeding up the degenerating process?
What kind of virus have we introduced in the body politics and in the educational vein of the conveyor belt of progress?
Why are we seeing all these crudeness and the hideousness of a generation that does not see to care what the name “being Malaysian” should mean?
I do not really care who shall win in any by-election, or even in Kajang. I’d like to see the winning party proclaim a commitment to a radically improved education system, law enforcement, the electoral process, work on cultural preservation, fiscal management, and in everything we hope for in building nationhood.
We need to see a stop in the rot that is happening at this rate and to save future generations from becoming a nation of Hutus and Tutsis, of Zimbabweans, of North Koreans, of Iranians, of Syrians, of the peoples of Myanmar, and even of that brutal and barbaric segment of American society that are trigger-happy even in schools, churches, malls, and in Boston marathons.
We need a Kajang Declaration on National Sanity! We are losing our mind. We are not just sick – we are critically ill.
DR AZLY RAHMAN, born in Singapore and grew up in Johor Baru, holds a Columbia University (New York City) doctorate in International Education Development and Masters degrees in four areas: Education, International Affairs, Peace Studies and Communication. He has taught more than 40 courses in six different departments and has written more than 350 analyses on Malaysia. His teaching experience in Malaysia and the United States spans over a wide range of subjects, from elementary to graduate education. He has edited and authored four books; Multiethnic Malaysia: Past, Present, Future (2009), Thesis on Cyberjaya: Hegemony and Utopianism in a Southeast Asian State (2012), The Allah Controversy and Other Essays on Malaysian Hypermodernity (2013), and the latest Dark Spring: Ideological Roots of Malaysia’s GE-13 (2013). He currently resides in the United States. Twitter, blog.