When tomorrow comes

by Azly Rahman

“The only permanent thing is change” – Lao Tzu

During Mahathirism in the 1980s – change management ideology pervaded the psyche of the civil service sector. The ideology was enculturalised by the corporate sector and universities picked up the trend and fashioned it into their mission statement, pedagogical processes, and curriculum. Everybody was taught to speak the language of change.

During that time too, circa 1985-1995, even high school students were taught visioning strategies and how to manage change.

Literature of change management, i.e. to change to corporate culture, to change to a society run on cybernetics/information technology became hugely popular.

Knowledge of visioning strategies were brought to the grassroots and even kampong people were in tune with the basic ideas of change sometimes equating it with the Arabic words “islah” and “hijrah” to denote and connote “reforming oneself” and “pilgrimag-ising oneself”.

The Malay word “perubahan paradigma” became perhaps the most popular word on television, as its use signified a “better level of intelligence” as perceived by Malaysians imbued with “corporatist ideology”.

Nowadays we hear people speaking of “blue ocean strategy”. On how to look at our environment as an ocean of both chaos and opportunities and how to think like a dolphin but act like a shark.

The Mahathirist decades essentially prepared Malaysians for that only one thing that is permanent: change. It prepared the country for even for a velvet revolution such as in the Mar 8, 2008 and Permatang Pauh. When he unveiled the mega-project Multimedia Super Corridor (The MSC) which included the Bill of Guarantees for the free-flow of information and no-censorship of the Internet, he called upon the rakyat to “fantasise” with him.

At the moment of writing this article, it is 7 o’clock in the evening (New York) Eastern Time Sept 15. My question is – what will tomorrow bring when Sept 16 comes. Are we ready for political change – big time?

Political change

My initial though is this: corporate cultural changes occur peacefully – why not political change?

In light of a benchmarked and scheduled possible change Malaysians will be experiencing and in light of the deliverable promised, I am advocating the new regime to disseminate 10 ideas that will augur well with the new era we are ushering into, I call them “ten steps towards cultural freedom” this nation can conditioned itself with.

Independence and freedom are not slogans but existential states of mind and a condition of ‘lived democracy’, one in which citizens are aware of how oppressive systems are cultivated. We cannot be independent until we arrive at these historical junctures, and until we do the following:

1. Free the human mind from all forms of dogmas, superstitions, mental chains, hegemonic formations, and transitional levels of totalitarianism. Our educational system at all levels must strengthen the scientific and philosophical foundation of its curriculum and practices to effect changes in the higher-order thinking skills of the next generation. We should not tolerate any forms of bigotry, racial chauvinism, and retarded form of democracy in our educational system.

2. Understand the relationship between the ‘self and the system of social relations of production’ and how the self becomes alienated and reduced to labour and appendages and cogs in the wheels of industrial system of production, a system that hides under the name of the corporatist nation and any other term that masks the real exploitation of the human self.

3. Make ourselves aware that our social systems, through the rapid development of technology and its synthesis with local and international predatory culture, have helped create classes of human beings that transform their bodies into different classes of labour (manual, secretarial, managerial, militarial, intellectual, and capital-owning) that is now shaping the nature of class antagonism locally and globally.

4. Understand how our political, economic, cultural institutions have evolved and are created out of the vestiges of newer forms of colonialism, institutions that are built upon the ideology of race-based interpretations of human and material development that benefit the few who own the means of cultural, material, and intellectual production.

5. Understand how ideologies that oppress humanity works, how prevailing political, economic, cultural ideologies help craft false consciousness and create psychological barriers to the creation of a society that puts the principles of social contract into practice.

6. Be aware of how our physical landscape creates spaces of power and knowledge and alienates us and how huge structural transformations such as the Multimedia Super Corridor or those emerging corridors that create a new form of technological city-scape (technopoles) that benefits local and international real estate profiteers more that they provide more humane living spaces for the poor and the marginalised in an increasingly cybernated society.

7. Be fully aware of the relationship between science, culture, and society and how these interplay with contemporary global challenges and how we clearly or blindly adopt these rapid changes and transform them into our newer shibboleths of developmentalism – one such policy being the National BioTechnology Program.

8. Put a halt to the systematic stupefication of academicians and students in our public universities by first incorporating Academic Freedom Clauses in their mission statements and next enculturalising intellectualism in these learning environments. The public universities must be restructured based on a new paradigm of leadership. Leaders that enable the ability of our students and faculty to think must be removed and replaced with those that pay allegiance to truth. “Veritas!” or “Truth!” as Harvard University sloganises and lives by.

9. Design an economic system founded upon socialistic principles that meet the needs of the many and curb our enthusiasm to consume conspicuously and consequently create a society divided by classes and a postmodern caste system. Rethink the progressive dimension of nationalisation instead of pursuing the excesses of privatisation. What good would Malaysia do if its leaders are siphoning the nation’s wealth by the billions, stashing them in places such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands?

10. Restructure the entire education system that would not only create some variant of a classless society but also one that would evolve into a reflective one instead of being rushed to death along the path of Wall Street by those who owns the means of production.
Sept 16 and change.

We know Sept 16 is tomorrow. We know that radical changes will happen. We know we are ready for such changes. What we need is the will to realign ourselves with the new paradigm and to medicate ourselves of the pain that will come through the changes.
Change is good especially of it means celebrating our diversity, curbing our desire for material wealth, punishing those who have stolen form the masses, and making our systems implement equity, equitability, equal opportunity, and empathy as philosophical elements of change.

But Lao Tzu did warn us too against carving the stone.



  1. #1 by La Pax on Saturday, 20 September 2008 - 11:00 am

    RELEASE everyone who was arrested under ISA NOW!

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Saturday, 20 September 2008 - 11:35 am

    Change is only meaningful if it is PROGRESSIVE. However, under the “reign” of Abdullah, change seems to be RETROGRESSIVE – what a nightmare!

  3. #3 by jmtstan on Saturday, 20 September 2008 - 11:42 am

    Managing Change is one of the basic chapters of Business Studies, its funny that i never been taught bout managing change during my secondary school days, but only when i studied college. back then we only have Perdagangan & Ekonomi Asas… lame subject.

  4. #4 by pulau_sibu on Saturday, 20 September 2008 - 11:55 am

    Azly is in New York? you should protest in front of United Nations when Najiv comes for the General Assembly. Do you have a Pakatan Rakyat flag to welcome him?

  5. #5 by Malaysian Mummy on Saturday, 20 September 2008 - 11:57 am

    “The only permanent thing is change” quoted Lao Tzu – a good article from Azly Rahman.

    Let me share with you about many great quotes from past world leaders as mentioned below:-

    Lao Tzu further quoted:

    ” The use of wisdom of change strategy is required to defeat an enemy peacefully’.

    Gandhi quoted:

    ” Hindu Indians and Muslim Indians must be united for a change to free India nation in a peaceful manner from the imperial British force”.

    Sun Tzu Art of War quoted :

    ” People must change from a weak mind to a brave heart is the best solution to defend against threats, running away from change is a dead solution.”

    Hang Tuah quoted:

    ” Rakyat tak kira budaya, agama, warna, fahaman dan kekuatan perlu bersatu teguh dan berani menukar tahkta kerajaan zalim dan keji kepada keagongan rakyat jelata untuk selamatkan tanahair murni.” /

    (translate): “People regardless of race, religion, creed, culture and belief must be united and brave to change the cruel and corrupt government using people power to save the nation.”

    Abraham Lincoln quoted :

    ” Americans are free and strong because the white and black people have change to think about one nation and one system of justice and fairness to all in a United States of America (USA)”.

    Emperor Zhin quoted:

    ” A strong unification of all states to become ‘One Nation’ was the result of painful decade of changes in the People in Republic of China”.

    The late Tuanku Abdul Rahman last quoted :


    What say you ? LKS and all Malaysians


  6. #6 by wahai kawan on Saturday, 20 September 2008 - 12:08 pm

    Apa itu change? Are we ready mentally?

    Most people feel complacent over what they have! Irregardless in any scenario, our mental is incarcerated in our own unique ways. or example, even in working environment, many senior managers do not want to put their head on the chopping board because of the complacent issue and the risk that is involved….. Or in many cases of unethical working conditions, many bosses prefer to use the intimidation factor instead the rewarding factor to boast productivity in which is against labor laws ie: we have outdated labor laws that serves in the interest of employers instead of employees. Most will think union is bad for productivity and that’s the truth about Malaysian’s mentality on change, from a certain point of view.

    So what is change? We often talk about Rule of Law and the importance of it. I have just mention a small portion that falls under this category?

    Will Malaysia’s working condition move towards a first world country with this change? Or should we accept our current mentality?

    Our mind is our strongest obstacle to pass!!!

  7. #7 by sotong on Saturday, 20 September 2008 - 12:30 pm

    The previous PM did not foresee the impact of internet as an alternative media, globalisation and increasing political awareness of non Malays.

    Had he done a reasonable job in his 22 years, we would not have this mess damaging the country…..good leadership is not about winning, it is also about departing with proper arrangement of transition of power….he stayed too long for the good of the country and the ordinary people have to pay the price.

  8. #8 by wanderer on Saturday, 20 September 2008 - 12:46 pm

    Politicians who made grievous mistakes while doing evil work certainly destroyed their victims’ lives, should be made accountable. UMNO -BN your track records on evil deeds are high on the list and you are not immune to put on trial as political criminals.
    Half of century BN’s rule have failed to integrate Malaysians, no equality and a tainted judiciary. Accept a change of govt with grace, let others who are able to work toward a greener Malaysia for all to take over. Let Democracy works!

  9. #9 by AsalUsuLMalaysia on Saturday, 20 September 2008 - 12:52 pm

    We don’t have to change mentality and we can’t to change people mind either, but we could upright the truth…
    heres an very interesting article i read from MalaysiaKini…

    [b]Bolehkah orang Islam jadi liberal? [/b]
    Wan Saiful Wan Jan | Sep 4, 08 2:52pm

    Could Muslims being liberal?

    I often ask by the partners two question: “Could Muslims being liberal?” AND “How might PAS’s each member to support ideology liberal? Islamic Bukankah that are already complete?”

    Both question this shows how many of those confused with meaning of the word ‘liberal’.

    Not easy to elaborate confusion over liberalism. Yet, in short article this, I will try state liberalism meaning I understand and why I do not see contradiction among Muslim faith and also liberal view.

    Before that, I have to make important one explanation. Word ‘liberal’ frequent misused even his use sometimes escape from the meaning in fact.

    In United States, word liberal was stolen by those who to support mix affairs in the hands of the government public private (for example Democratic Party).

    In Malaysia also, if mentioned just the word ‘liberal’, then usually who come in mind was ‘Liberal Muslim’.

    I excluding in both this batch. I a person whose holding with philosophy classic liberalism, or in America, usually it call philosophy libertarianisme.

    To avoid more lot of misunderstanding, me then will use the word libertarian in this article.

    [b]* Rule of law[/b]
    Classic liberalism or libertarianisme not a new philosophy. Basic principle libertarianisme is confidence for be a “highest rule” and this principle can be detected in Yahudi’s old philosophy and ancient Greek.

    This principle mean all men, from government to the yang governed, subject to a same rules.

    Advent of Islam also already to strengthen confidence for gospel “highest rule” explore since before Moses’s time more.

    Even Islamic clearly teach that they ruler cannot arbitrary it utilise the power design to force people follow their index. Government also subjected to the law.

    Libertarianisme no urge to repeal or neglect for rules and law. Instead, libertarianisme is a-calling that all men comply with the law that same without exception because existence of rule of law.

    This concept is the best protection from dictatorship and totalitarianism. If not exist rule of law, then sovereign is the man.

    Rule of law seizure by a few people which reigned would enable design force people live according to their index.

    If basic principle libertarianisme this forgo, would then existed totalitarianism as in communist countries and sure fascist it unislamic.

    [b]* Limited government[/b]

    Government predominate to force inferior society truckle them by using acts of parliament, rule, law, military, police and others.

    In brief, exist power unevenness between the people with the government.

    To make sure government not abuse their power, then government need power limit. Unlimited well-defined, full powered government to legislate and acts fetter human life, further produce one system no difference as dictatorship.

    This limited government gospel also important one principle in libertarianisme.

    Authority of the government producing from the trust those given by the people. But government could become too powerful until it grip and risk one myself people especially when government approve regulations force loyal people and adhered to they.

    To restrict authority of the government and prevent them from become dictator, then countries usually have constitution which detail and explaining border among right of the government and right of the people.

    As a Muslim, I fight against fully dictatorship concept and centralization of power. Administrative power lacking Muslim centring on thereby Muslim entrust his believer to choose way of life best-of, and organise that his believer demand knowledge

    [b]* Independent individual[/b]

    When power one government limit, then every individual people to be independent to choose what best-of in their life while where design not commit evil for other person.

    Libertarianisme looks individual as element most rudimentary in society because gathering individuals inilah end up forming one society. Each independent individual can choose what best-of for them, base pengetahun themselves.

    This independent individual gospel accordance with our confidence that Islam come to free human from the slavery fellow-men that somebody Islamic that can slavery to God merely. Deny individual independence.

    Every individual must be respect other individual dignity regardless of religion, race or gender they – his purpose, we need respect difference among one individual with other individual.

    Independent individual concept also meant every individual have right and responsibility, as the right to respect by other, and responsibility to respect other person.

    Most important, independent individual concept mean government in could not interfere somebody personal matters people. While which stated individual not commit evil for other person, while that is government could not interfere.

    [b]* Free market[/b]

    Indeed well known that a person libertarian usually support free market. But there were lot of misunderstanding over our reason to support free market.

    Have been charges that supported the us free market because we disregard fate of the poor and we want let existence of gap between rich and poor. This wild charge is wrong absolutely.

    In fact libertarian to support free market as only this system only can guarantee individual dignity respected. Market free to enable every individual choose goods and service self reasonably those given by God.

    Ability denial every individual to think own as if said that they that all it stupid because cannot think own. Restrict choice to market as if deny mind award lord to human grant.

    There was no contempt a bigger one for somebody dignity human apart from that.

    Some parties, especially socialist group, argumentative that the government must ensure equality in society. They this wrong from two angle.

    First, as a Muslim, me to believe that God already creating us all it equal. This more important than any efforts of the government to establish equality economy, especially if stated efforts of the government fancy as if Allah did not give I mind to make own decision.

    Second, we could own view how each government time try to create economy equality, his revenue is greater unevenness. For example, just look Dasar Baru’s Economics in Malaysia.

    After tens government tried year force people had been equal, whether the effort is successful?

    Because that is I confuse when hear politicians said that design want correct government through failure more mix a lot life in the hands of the government people, this time by the way create welfare state.

    Whether we want collapsed in same hole for the second time?

    [b]* Could become libertarian?[/b]

    As a Muslim, I often recalling earlier Islam history of mankind and them how to build civilisation famous without depending much to bribe government.

    At that time every human, good government nor governed, subjected to the laws that same. Each responsible Muslim for respective behavior. Government at that time predominantly with role in the field defence and peace.

    Muslim people at that time make trader who succeed and design operate in market system global who are free. God ‘ apostle and wife majesty is traders who succeed.

    Majesty associate general comply become rich point revenue sweat themselves. Them all it operate in the system open world market. Even, government in the early period Islamic pomp not interfere deep education work, health nor mosque management.

    All is managed own by the people, usually through the system public propose. As a result, mosques, education centres, and also much more public service, can function flying colours for good of the people, without anything political interference.

    I believe that that is model best for Malaysia.

    Philosophy libertarianisme uphold law and system sovereignty free market, urge that ruling power limit, and demand that human freed from slavery fellow-men so there was no other people that can rob God position in our life.

    As a Muslim, could I fight against all this?


    Direct Translated by language tolls B.Malaysia – English
    80% accurate with some words errors…

  10. #10 by zak_hammaad on Saturday, 20 September 2008 - 6:20 pm

    Could Muslims be liberal? It depends on your definition of “liberal”, could they be liberal enough to take liberties with their faith and sell it for a pittance? Yes, we see Anwar doing this. Could they be liberal enough to see the dynamism built into their religion that allows for jurisprudence-based consensus on emerging matters? Yes, we see this happening on a regular basis in Muslim communities in the West.

    Instead of cutting and pasting from questionable websites, Asal should summarise his own thoughts.

    As for “When tomorrow comes”, I think Anwar will need to wait for next election. Sept 16 had come and gone. Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim failed to unseat Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as the Prime Minister.

    As a Muslim, Anwar should accept that he can plan, but God decides. From the very beginning what he did was morally wrong, although politics by a Machiavelian standard is apolitical.

    It may be the accepted norms in other developing countries, but Malaysia has come of age and our politicians should show maturity and dignity when clamouring for political power.

    Anwar should have the patience to wait for the next general election and let the people decide. He already has control over five states and should concentrate on them by showing to the people how the Opposition governs these states.

  11. #11 by Jimm on Saturday, 20 September 2008 - 9:09 pm

    Our tomorrow became alive and kicking …after we were brought to understand all those dark secret of UMNO that blinded us for 50 years.
    GREED .. that the only action that brought about changes to all Malaysian.
    One man greed that went beyond his time and evil grasp of power that short-sighted his control of the nation mass media.
    MSC …. that’s the gateway to freedom to all of us.
    Now, we must also remember to thanked the wicked and greedy ruler for his over zealoused greed…….
    MSC …. Mahathir’s Short Comings … our reward of life.

  12. #12 by Loyal Malaysian on Saturday, 20 September 2008 - 9:40 pm

    Of the recent high profile political arrests , only RPK is still behind bars.
    He’s the most dangerous to the UMNOputras for his information pipeline has made known the abuses and misuse of power from the highest level of this administration – so their humiliation must be redeemed with his pound of flesh.
    So, Anwar make sure your plan B works or else RPK will suffer indefinitely under the ISA.

  13. #13 by isahbiazhar on Sunday, 21 September 2008 - 5:21 am

    ISA will remain. Only after PKR comes to power it will be repealed.UMNO lives with it and so the death of UMNO will result in the death of ISA.

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