Ijok and the eclipse of reason

Ijok and the eclipse of reason
by Azly Rahman

In Ijok last Saturday, did the people vote wisely?

Or did they vote for the continuation of the use of totalitarian instruments such as the Internal Security Act, Universities and University Colleges Act, irrational preferential treatments, unsolved mysteries of massive corruption cases, rise of dynasties, political violence, postponement of trial of hideous political murders, abuse of “at-risk youths”, political-economy of controlling interests, age-old vendetta, hideous nature of the separation of power between the executive, legislative, and judiciary, and an ever-growing range of complex “rational” acts that have become our “political culture”?

What does “wise” mean? Is the level of wisdom dependent upon the levels of consciousness of the different “class” and “caste” of people?

Looks like the middle class is co-opted to support the dominant political group, the lower-class is busy making ends meet, and the lowest class is now the unsung heroes of the postmodern indentured slavery.

We do not have yet have a critical mass that can think critically to effect critical change.

Beginning or end?

Is Ijok the end or the beginning of a better evolution of a system of check and balances? Is it a Hegelian-styled emergence of political consciousness that saw the power of sophisticated blogging and Prime Media spinning and raw kampong-styled voting realism as a creative play of election hypocrisy?

If the Opposition actually brought “instant and irrational development projects” to Ijok, will this trend continue? Will the presence of the Opposition drain the ruling party of goodies – just like how the American Empire is drained off of resources with the presence of massive, subaltern forces of resistance in the case of Iraq?

These are some questions that we will need to answer, as a nation. Ijok was a beginning of an end — end of an ignorance of how campaigning work, of how politicians behave, or how promises are made, and how many millions are spent to buy votes.

Our road to political wisdom is long and winding. Man is defined by the economic condition they are in, Marx would argue. Could this be the definition of the voters in Ijok? In this electorate we read so much about instant political gratifications given by the government, as if the regime is spending its last dollar to appease the masses that have actually learned what a “protest vote” means. Very sophisticated voters we have who now know how to play with authority and to counter-hegemonize.

But where does ethics and morality lies both in the giver and the receiver? What have all the slogans — from “bersih, cekap, amanah” to “bukan harta dunia yang ku cari ” — done to the masses when elections such as Ijok come? Where are we going as a nation when we no longer have any shame through all the sleek, sophisticated, selfish, soul-less, and slimy strategies we read concerning the choosing of a leader in a sleepy-constituency-turned-case study of the semiotics of power/knowledge and signs, symbols and signification of “Boleh-land”?

Where is truth?

What was that by-election about? Can we ever know the truth? Is this “truth”, like the “Butterfly Effect,” multiply in the next General Election?

Any changes in the system, however random and small it is can create major shifts in the ecosystem, as such as the flap of a butterfly wing in the Amazon some ten years ago that will have created hurricanes and thunderstorms in New Orleans — such is a “Butterfly Effect”. Of the impact of randomness and chaos in creating turbulence.

Apply this notion of Complexity Theory to Ijok and we may predict what the Malaysian general election may look like. Will there be utter chaos when in Ijok — a battleground to settle old scores between ancient foes — become patterns of syntagmatism and like Mandlebrot Set turn into prism-like patterns of randomness and chaos will bring about revolutionary changes in the ideological landscape of Malaysian politics?

How will the impact of dissatisfaction in Ijok play in the next general election? What if there is a boycott of the election? What if there is an election but massive lawlessness would force our nation to be under Emergency rule? What will happen to our nation in the eyes of the international community? How will that impact us economically? Will we see another MAGERAN — Majlis Gerakan Negara – this time one sane enough to install leaders who will bring peace and not those who will bring violence through the philosophy of gangsta politics?

In terms of political consciousness, we are already in a coma. We are a vegetable. The closing of the Malaysian mind is complete. In fact, was it ever open — when hegemony and totalitarianism has been a feature of our “politics of compromise” and “cooption and cooperation” and other nice-sounding names we give to “Bolehland”?

But, is there a short-cut way to justice?

I do not know. But butterflies have flapped their wings in this Amazon called Ijok. Some have had theirs clipped. We will not know how the shape of this “fair” general election will be when it comes.

But for now, let us see if Ijok will no longer be an eclipse.

Dr. Azly Rahman,
Educator & Adjunct Professor;
Foundations of Civilizations, Education, & Politics

  1. #1 by democrate on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 - 8:21 am

    BN won the Ijok by election but the Chinese went for the Opposition, Dollah now questioning the MCA and GERAKAN in today Sin Cchew Headline.
    Simple Response to Dollah,
    Umno is a racist party cos of racists like your son in law, najib and the mad krismudin c/w his supporters behind during the last Umno GE. The kris is a symbol of the Malay but please use it only at times of war ok? NOT IN THE CONFERENCE ESP. IN FRONT OF YOUR OWN COUNTRYMEN , THE LOYAL MALAYSIANS !!!
    Your son in law has hurt the Chinese by saying that if he wanted to sell his share he will not sell to the Chinese has already proven that he is an anti Chinese rascal. AND how is he going to perform internationaly in future?
    Where are the 18 sharks that had swallow the publics money, i think Rais Yatim has hinted Dollah long ago, but the truth has already like a stone being sunk into the sea.Dollah like to listen the real story but no action.
    The Chinese is still waiting for the re open of the Damasara Primary school and the Chinese need more Chinese school teachers to fill up the Chinese primary school .

  2. #2 by kurakura on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 - 9:31 am

    Two words : Phantom Voters.

  3. #3 by Jonny on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 - 10:19 am

    And another two words: Vote buying

    (Directly cash over the counter and indirect goodies. Lots and lots of goodies being last minute arranged and promised. Let’s see how far the promises are honoured).

    Uncle Kit, please check this out through your resources: Verify the authenticity of this VoteBuying in Ijok http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJSJM2ndbSo

    Malaysia is going to sink. With it, all of us are going to sink as a nation and country.

    BN can giveRM36milliong or more promised goodies. Can it do as much during the General Election?

    Wah, meaning to say our people’s money got so much being hoarded away for general election selective use to benefit selective cronies and family members to buy votes?

    I don’t think so. But they have got what they want. A psychological boost. I sure hope there would be more drop-dead ADUNs. Let the party be drained by their resources faster before the GE with more Santa goodies be given away.

    Sad day for the nation.

  4. #4 by HJ Angus on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 - 10:21 am

  5. #5 by Bigjoe on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 - 10:37 am

    The comment of the PM is important because its basically says he has given up on the Chinese urban vote for the next GE. Does anybody not know why the urban Chinese are against BN this time? No one is fooled.

    So for the opposition, while they cannot take it for granted, they must not spent too much resources on the urban Chinese vote in the next GE. Machap shows that the rural Chinese vote is also hard to come by but in a GE, those votes are not so easily bought. DAP priorty should be to help Keadilan in the next GE by combining the Chinese votes with the disenfranchised Malay vote – reassuring the Malay voters that Keadilan program is not anti-NEP but anti-UMNOputra. In fact, DAP should just say it believe that Keadilan is not anti-NEP, its anti-UMNOputraism and spin that.

  6. #6 by kelangman88 on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 - 11:01 am

    Actually they vote for NEP. Especially the Malay :)

  7. #7 by sheriff singh on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 - 12:17 pm

    It would appear that only the Chinese are brave and strong enough to stand up (Ijok, Sarawak) to all the BN monkey business going on in this country. They have bolas and brains to see through all the trickeries, corruption, briberies and double talk, and vote with their conscience.

    If Pak Lah still cannot understand with his feeble mind and needs explanations from MCA and Gerakan, then he is really lost.

    Ong Ka Ting, Koh Tsu Koon etc must now look for safer seats in Malay majority areas but even then they might still have doubts.

    But even with 40, 45% of the popular votes, the Opposition will still lose and the BN will still come in with a landslide at the next GE.
    The odds are stacked in favour of the BN. They will win most of the rural seats. Even with 55% popular votes previously, the BN still managed more than a 2/3 majority in Parliament.

    There is no unifying Opposition leader that is strongly or broadly accepted by everyone to be an alternative to the BN and UMNO. There is also no strong, acceptable common strategy, so how to win?

    Best strategy now would be to make big dents in the States, possibly winning over a few states – PAS in the northern and eastern states, DAP and Keadilan in Penang and Sabah. In other States like Sarawak and the Klang Valley, aim for 20% of total seats.

    Issues count. No point talking about the yatch, tolls, Altantuya, submarines, corruption at high places etc etc to the rural folks who may have other priorities with their daily lives and who may not have the intellectual abilities to fully appreciate them.

    Ijok and Machap proved that Anwar and Keadilan is ineffective, a empty vessel. It had not moved the Malay voters, it did not make any impact at all. Yet they want and demand to contest seats. The vast majority of its previous leaders that gave the party some credibility and respectability, have left. I would not be surprised if they lost all their contests next time around.

    The Kadazan Dusuns, Ibans etc in East Malaysia have become docile and are not standing up for their rights. Most of their leaders are in it for their personal and family gains. No more fire in them.

    It appears that it is only the Chinese who are willing to stand and fight but alas, there are just too few of them to make things count.

    So another landslide looks imminent for the BN, even with a low 50-55% of popular votes. Thats a fact.

  8. #8 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 - 1:05 pm

    From Malaysiakini:

    Analysis gives “10 reasons why Parthiban won”.

    My 10 reasons why BN won – not Parthiban!

    Reason No: 1 – Money, corruption money, filthy money; lots of it.
    Reason No 2 to No. 10 – More of Reason No.1. Plain dirty money.

    Now I tell you why Parthiban never won! Parthiban had no money. BN had all the corrupt money. So BN won with all the corrupt money. Parthiban was a mere stooge in BN’s money game.

  9. #9 by pulau_sibu on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 - 1:10 pm

    let’s read the comments by mahathir. i think he now deserves to live longer




















    他說,這次補選才發生數宗衝突事件,比起當年安華所發動的烈火莫熄運動,只算小兒科。 (星洲日報‧2007.04.30)

  10. #10 by pamelaoda on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 - 2:57 pm

    can somebody helps to translate the mandarin plz? TQ

  11. #11 by Oldman on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 - 9:27 pm

    Pamelaoda: Don’t bother to request politely using “plz”. I think it is just plain rude people to post comments in Mandarin here. Uncle Kit has a mandarin blog and this guy should post there if he is so inclined to use Mandarin.

  12. #12 by kelangman88 on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 - 9:30 pm

    I think he is not impolite. He just have that article in Chinese. So what can he do? Translate? There’s a lot of words there. He feel inclined to post it and there he goes. Btw, I can’t read mandarin also. Someone please translate. :)

  13. #13 by kurakura on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 - 9:50 pm

    I cant read chinese too. Its funny how people assume a chinese would automatically knows the chinese language.
    I am not from China. Im Malaysian. So pls translate.

  14. #14 by Godamn Singh on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 - 10:42 pm

    Man from Kelang,

    You cannot read Mandarin but you certainly can try and improve your English.

  15. #15 by accountability on Wednesday, 2 May 2007 - 12:36 am

    our democratic system has collapsed, that’s for sure.

    impartiality of the Election Commission by favouring the ruling coalition govt, and tolerating the blatant vote-buying and campaign violence at the by-elections

    more proof??
    malaysians, receiving sub-standard education for so long, have lost any intelligence to vote wisely for an accountable and transparent govt

    even more proof???
    cowardly and selfish component parties (MCA, MIC, Gerakan) claiming to represent minority communities, are nothing but servants to the majority component “big bully” party (UMNO)

  16. #16 by Bigjoe on Wednesday, 2 May 2007 - 2:33 pm

    If Dr. Rahman is waiting for voters to effect change by themselves, then they are in for a long long wait. Its more likely that change will be heaped upon the voters forcing them to act before they are willing.

    When middle-class Malays vote UMNO, it means the dependency has only increased, addicted. Its a classic dysfunctional relationship that cannot change by itself and only terrible price must be forced on all to change.

    Those who believe and argued that the Malay will opt to change when they are confident and capable are either delusional or just plain don’t care if its true. Ever see highly dependant children? The only way they stand on their feet is when they are thrown out or their parents are dead.

  17. #17 by DiaperHead on Wednesday, 2 May 2007 - 10:39 pm

    “Ijok and the eclipse of reason?”

    What are you talking about? It is the dawn of a new era – an era when emotion has given way to reason, when rationality supersedes irrationality.

    Welcome to the real world, a junk professor!

  18. #18 by DiaperHead on Wednesday, 2 May 2007 - 10:55 pm

    You cannot say that the voters in Machap and Ijok did not exercise their right to vote rationally. They deliberated over the issues carefully and voted for the government that discriminates against them like one reader earlier said. If that is not reason I don’t know what is?

  19. #19 by Jimm on Thursday, 3 May 2007 - 12:50 pm

    I believe all the folks in Machap and Ijok have done what is best from them in voting. It’s just that BN desperately in need to win in both BE. Look at the amount of forces they brought to the sites due the campaigning right up to polling day, how I wish that they can do that to those ‘Bersama Mu’ programs needy.
    Anyway, it’s monies that counts. All those people are paid ‘allowances’ for their effort. BN will have enough ‘monies’ to share among by then. After that, lets go for the big fish …

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