Politics, Power and the Violence of History

By Farish A Noor

The guillotine, it ought to be remembered, was originally conceived of as a safe, clean, efficient and ironically ‘humane’ method of murdering people when it was first introduced. Dubbed the ‘revolutionary razor’ when it was first used to execute the enemies of the state at the outset of the French revolution, it was seen as an improvement and advancement from the age of neo-feudal rule where the despotism of the King of France was manifest in the macabre and gruesome spectacles of public violence that were enacted in the kingdom against those who were seen as the enemies of the regime.

In time however it is clear that even this mode of public execution has been inscribed with negativity and regarded as a brutal way for the state to express its power in the public domain. Robbespiere, Danton, Saint-Just were all victims of the same mode of state violence that they had originally supported and promoted, and it is ironic that Robbespiere and his contemporaries met their end at the same guillotine that they had used to execute their enemies earlier.

The tale of the guillotine is an apt reminder of the historical impasse that Muslim societies are in today, and how the dream of political Islam is now turning onto itself and demonstrating its internal unsustainable contradictions in no uncertain manner. In his landmark study of the regimes of violence and punishment before, during and after the Iranian revolution of 1979, Darius Rejali notes that the Iranian revolution – despite its distaste for all things secular, western and modern – was nonetheless a modern enterprise that was couched in the same secular, materialist and modernist premises it sought to distance itself from.

Today the Muslim world is witnessing an internal pluralisation on a scale that is unprecedented. Modern developments ranging for mass rural to urban migration, the urbanisation of Muslim societies (Iran was the most urbanised Muslim country in the world at the time of the Iranian revolution in 1979), mass education accompanied and aided by the rise in Muslim literacy levels, the availability of off-the-rack communications technology etc. have all conspired to create a Muslim global community that is wired up, networked, integrated and which lives in a virtual time-space that is forever present and immediate.

Yet despite these material advances that have been furthered by the march of global capital and its attendant technologies, there remains a huge disconnect between the material-economic life of Muslims and their social-cultural-religious realities.

Part of the problem lies in the fact that Muslim normative social, cultural and legal discourse has remained by and large stuck in the past, harking back to an age of Empire where Muslim power was dominant and where the epistemology of Empire – to paraphrase the term made popular by Ebrahim Moosa – remains the defining epistemic standard by which all utterances in the public domain are made. It is partly thanks to this disconnect that we witness the manifold contradictions that now exist in the Muslim world, where even the most materially and economically developed Muslim states may still cling on to an understanding of Muslim law and legal-social praxis that is out of date, if not outright medieval.

A case in point in the present furore in Malaysia – long since regarded as one of the most economically developed Muslim countries in the world and a model for other developing Muslim states in South Asia and Africa – where a Muslim woman (Kartika Sari Dewi) has been sentenced to whipping by the Shariah court for the offence of drinking alcohol in public. It is not often that such news reports reaches the wider global community for the simple reason that Malaysia has long since cultivated its image as a ‘model Muslim state’ for others to emulate and prides itself with the role it wishes to play as the cultural bridge-builder between the Western and Muslim worlds.

Yet this is the same Malaysia where books are banned on a regular basis, where the state-employed morality police regularly raids homes and public spaces to morally police the private lives of citizens, where the religious authorities see fit to pronounce judgements on all matters ranging from sexuality to the use of witchcraft, and where authors like Karen Armstrong are allowed to speak at conferences hosted in the capital while their books are banned and not allowed to be sold or read in the same country.

Furthermore it should be noted that in Malaysia today where political Islam has made an impact thanks to the constant political instrumentalisation of Islam by the two main Malay-Muslim parties UMNO and PAS, the public domain has been increasingly defined by Islam (of a politicised variety) and has shrunk as a consequence. Despite the heated political contestation between the two parties, neither PAS nor UMNO have shown any willingness to engage with other Islamist/Muslim actors and agents, be their alternative Muslim intellectual groups, NGOs, lobby groups, Muslim minority faith communities (such as the Shias or Ahmadis) and Muslim women’s groups.

It is telling that in the case of the sentence of whipping meted out to Kartika Sari Dewi in July 2009, both UMNO and PAS leaders claimed that the judgement was in keeping with Islamic law and ethical norms. The PAS leader Dr. Lo’ Lo’ Ghazali – who initially expressed her reservations over the judgement – later reversed her stand and came out in support of the Shariah judge who had meted out the punishment of whipping thus:

“When the Shariah Court passed the sentence I was shocked not by the decision but by the boldness of the judge. I congratulate him for it.”

On both sides of the political divide, the leaders of UMNO, PAS and the state’s religious authorities maintain that the punishment was in accordance with Islamic legal norms and ethical values; that the punishment was not intended to physically harm or mutilate the condemned but rather to ‘reform her’ through the ‘symbolic’ act of publicly whipping – and thereby humiliating her; and that such forms of public humiliation and punishment were carried out to maintain and police the ethical standards of society and to safeguard public morals.

In short, as was the case of the guillotine of the revolutionaries, the public act of whipping someone in public was presented as ‘humane’ and meant to serve the utilitarian needs of society as a whole and to maintain a sense of social order and cohesion – albeit through a regime of social policing, public humiliation, sanctioned (and therefore legitimate) state violence and social conditioning. This was yet another instance where Muslim law and social policing was and is understood in terms that deny the rights of the individual and the sanctity of privacy, private agency and the right to personally conduct one’s life on the basis of one’s own personal judgement.

To compound the matter further, practically none of the major political parties of the country have spoken out against the judgement, for fear of appearing to challenge the primacy of the Shariah court and legal system when it comes to the policing of the private morality and private choices of Muslims in particular. It would appear as if despite the hype and talk of how Malaysia is such a developed country in material-economic terms, its religious laws have evolved in a completely different direction from the march of capital in the country. What is more, with the exception of a small minority of dissenting voices emanating from Muslim lawyers, scholars and human rights activists, it would appear as if the normative ethical and moral standards of Malaysians – Muslims and non-Muslims alike – have been set by those whose moral standards are based on a legal and moral vocabulary that is traditionalist, essentialised and bound by scripture.

The legal reasoning that has gone into the justification of the sentence meted out to the condemned in this case – as with the legal reasoning that has informed so many other instances of moral policing, book banning, marginalisation of minorities – is one that is rooted in history, but that history happens to be one that is defined mainly by conservative scholars who have opted to highlight the evolution of only one stream of Muslim legal thought, the conservative tradition. Muslim power and politics in Malaysia as in so many other Muslim countries is understood and foregrounded with history as its springboard, but we need to ask, which Muslim historical tradition is being used to justify the present-day policing of Muslims all over the world? And are there no other alternative historical traditions that we can consult? Where, in short, is the history of progressive Islam in the midst of all this sound and fury?

  1. #1 by frankyapp on Thursday, 30 July 2009 - 7:06 am

    Why Kartika Sari Dewi and not others ? Prime minister NR’s sons were seen and photographed drinking alcohol in public in the UK but it’s okay.Come on,Shariah count ,is it ok for local muslim to drink alcohol outside the country ? Or are you guys practising double standards ? If you go to jalan P.Ramle in KL and Bangsa town after sun set,you can find countless muslim guys,locals and foreigners are having good time in some of those bars there. I wonder what the Islamic council and the shariah court officials have to say about these ?.And what about betting and gambling by muslim ? I usually observe quite a pretty lot of muslim guys buying 4ds and in Race course,openly betting to the end. Why is it no arrest on the spot ? Or is it ok to drink and gamble for some and not ok for some unlucky one like Kartika.I remember years ago,TDM telling his ministers,MPs ,high government officials especially the muslim ones to set a good example,not to touch/drink any alcohol in the country but saying it’s ok to drink(alcohol) when they are in foreign places.I think this hypocricy is still in place especially being practised by VVIPs and VIPs.Like some guys said in Bolehland,when VVIPs drink and gamble,all religious(Islam) officials just keep their eyes closed. Well guys why did they do it ? .I think it’s best for me to leave the answer for you guys to ponder over lunch or dinner or at some “KopiTian” for your favourite coffee.

  2. #2 by Joshua on Thursday, 30 July 2009 - 7:25 am

    It is very sad to say here and who dare to say this when the Fed Constitution is supposedly deemed to be a social contract in a vague sense but dominated by the terms in Malay and Muslims, it is now considered a lopsided document in multi racial nation where the bulk of the people come from other parts of the regions.

    FC is now a prescription of disasters that had manifested its ugly head once in May 13, 1969.

    The regularly amended FC with NEP (not incorporated in FC) may have served the nation to a certain extend depending how we look at it, it is timely that FC be amended once and for all in the context of peace in the nation and the world hence a new model is needed..

    It has been reported in a polls that most people prefer to be identified with Islam first and then race, and a FC with Islam deemed dominant as national religion, there are many unknown factors as we read in the world of Islam especially in the Internet. In such process we are really consumed by a trap of many unknown parameters of Islam in so many areas when Islam is also deemed by many in the areas of politics, religion, culture, social and whatever.

    All human beings are given a simple way of living from our Creator and we have distorted our LIFE in many ways since the beginning, now beyond repairs and recognition.

    So where we would we end in our temporary journeys on earth? The way we do things on earth would certainly mean we are heading for self destruction of the human race while consuming all the earthly resources largely into futility. I can write on and on ….

    pw: banning of

  3. #3 by taiking on Thursday, 30 July 2009 - 8:15 am

    The trouble is not only as described by the writer above. The trouble is compounded by the highly sensitive believers of the islam faith. I do not know if the religion requires that. I would be appalled if that was in fact the case. I would like to think that the situation we see today throughout the world has more to do with the believers and little to do with the religion.

  4. #4 by OrangRojak on Thursday, 30 July 2009 - 9:37 am

    Whip her – just get on with it. Why not? It has been reported that she has recently asked for the sentence to be carried out quickly and welcomes it. Farish doesn’t really care whether the woman is whipped or not. He cares whether he will be whiped or not. He struggles with an identity problem, which is a terrible affliction in Malaysia because there are only a few official / habitual ones to choose from.

    Muslims must be allowed to define themselves as a group. If part of their identity is corporal / humiliating punishments, and they all agree to it, why should we interfere? There is a small problem in Malaysia of there being only one way to be a Muslim, and you don’t even get to choose whether you’re in or you’re out, but there’s no essential problem with Muslims consensually injuring each other. Rugby players do it all the time – hospitals in the UK were at one time referring apparent rugby injuries to private hospitals, as there was some concern that public health care shouldn’t be wasted on people who deliberately hurt themselves.

    Malaysians who wish to claim at once that they’re Muslims and that they don’t agree with whipping should reconsider. There is only one way to be a Muslim in Malaysia. ‘Progressive Islam’ is the same kind of nonsense as ‘progressive Christianity’. No religion ever made any progress – people who didn’t like the old way of doing things left and did something new somewhere else. When they were superior in numbers, they claimed the title.

    Islam may be in a unique position, having preserved a conservative version for so long. When adherents go to a new place and the day-to-day experience of ‘being a Muslim’ includes drinking beer and enjoying the company of the opposite gender (it’s a social issue, right? Reproduction is irrelevant) in bars, they might briefly believe that Progressive Islam really exists. A quick visit to Malaysia will be an education for them, as the court points out.

    I can’t think why Farish is asking us where ‘the history of progressive Islam’ is. I assumed he was the Muslim historian. If he can find some and write about it in his usual eloquent way, I’ll read it.

  5. #5 by SpeakUp on Thursday, 30 July 2009 - 10:28 am

    Islam is going through what Christianity went through in the past. Remember the Spanish Inquisition and the Crusades? Its a human problem not religious. As a religion grows, it expands and then factor in our selfish ways, that is a recipe for problems.

    However, the law says the woman shall be whipped, so be it. That is her problem. The law says drug traffickers shall be hung, that is life. Sad to see her being whipped but who are we to judge. Even NH Chan made it clear, he is AGAINST capital punishment and thinks its barbaric but as a High Court Judge he has no qualms to pass the said punishment. The law is the law …

    Dr Lo Lo is an example of a USELESS PR politician. No guts to stick to her guns. Not asking her to make her stand on which side BUT do make one clearly. Hence, PR has always been shown to field useless candidates.

  6. #6 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 30 July 2009 - 10:29 am

    Kartika Sari Dewi is not appealing (said “get on with it”) probably because she thought the punishment was just a tickle on the buttocks. She wanted it over to go back to S’pore as soon as possible.

    According to Malay Mail report Thursday, July 23rd, 2009 07:21:00, “Based on the Syariah Criminal Procedure Enactment 2002, the whipping tool used must be a rotan or small branch that should be not more than 1.22 metres long and not more than 1.25cm thick.
    The whipping has to be done using moderate force and the punisher should not raise the hands over the head to avoid injuring the skin. The appointed punisher must be a fair and mature person, During the punishment, the offender must be dressed according to Syariah law. Male offenders will be whipped while standing whereas female offenders will be in a sitting position when whipping commences. Whipping would not be done on pregnant offenders and would only be done two months after delivery. It must not hit the face, head, stomach, breast or private parts – only the buttocks.The offender’s health should be checked by government health”.

    Thus expected to be milder than the whipping that goes on in our prison under our secular law (Penal Code).

    This link “Toufuboy” purports to give a glimpse of whipping that goes on in our prison – http://tofuboyboy.blogspot.com/

  7. #7 by SpeakUp on Thursday, 30 July 2009 - 10:40 am

    Remember the US boy in Singapore who spray painted cars? He was sentenced to like 8 strokes of the rotan. Was carried out in a day. That one he was actually tapped I am sure. The real rotan will break skin. Most men cannot handle more than 3 strokes at a time.

    In this whole debacle one has to commend Sharizat for speaking out, as a muslim. However, where is that pu55y DSAI? No comments? Where is his compassion and sense of decency? Guess, he does not want to upset his ardent orthodox Muslim supporters. Same old nonsense, same old hypocrite.

  8. #8 by OrangRojak on Thursday, 30 July 2009 - 11:07 am

    We’ve been to ‘whipping’ before. My experience of caning at Convent schools made me think “why not?”. Searching for “rotan” at YouTube gets you a video that reminds me of seeing the man up the road making siu yuk.

    I don’t think there’s any argument here about who wants to be caned, not even who doesn’t want a person to be caned who does not consent to it. If Farish doesn’t want to be caned, then I don’t want him to be caned either. It seems to me that his position – a Muslim that does not agree with caning – does not officially exist in Malaysia. Dr Ghazali ceased to exist briefly recently, didn’t she? I see she popped back into existence in an effort to actually make a difference.

    It seems to me that non-existence isn’t a very good platform to tackle the problem from. There is no good strategy for tackling this issue, only two deeply unattractive ones (for Farish and those in similar positions). I’m glad it’s their problem and not mine.

  9. #9 by OrangRojak on Thursday, 30 July 2009 - 11:12 am

    SpeakUp – did you see the DSAI / BBC video a few months back where they pushed him into saying “Freedom of Conscience?”. He may not be being hypocritical for not rejecting caning. Bear in mind the woman who is the subject of this recent fuss has been reported as saying she welcomes the punishment. On what grounds would you prohibit her from taking part in something that she feels defines her existence?

    I commented at the time on the DSAI / FoC matter: we’ll see how the BBC treats DSAI when he gets his hands on the steering wheel. He has had a lot of positive treatment from them in the past. The video struck me as an attempt by the BBC to get him to sign a contract. I think they want something in return for all the support!

  10. #10 by k1980 on Thursday, 30 July 2009 - 11:13 am

    The guillotine is brutal? Then how about the sula?

    In Malay Adat law, the traditional punishment for adultery before the modern age was that of impalement, known in Malay as Hukum Sula. A pole was inserted through the anus and pushed up to pierce the heart or lungs of the condemned, the pole thereupon being hoisted and inserted into the ground.

    Which is worse?
    A Malaysian Muslim woman (Kartika Sari Dewi) has been sentenced to whipping by the Shariah court for the offence of drinking alcohol in public
    A female Sudanese journalist Lubna Hussein facing 40 lashes for wearing trousers in public considered indecent under the strict interpretation of Islamic law


  11. #11 by k1980 on Thursday, 30 July 2009 - 11:37 am

    A Tale of 2 Photographs– where is there not much blood in TBH’s case?


  12. #12 by Jaswant on Thursday, 30 July 2009 - 11:47 am

    “A pole was inserted through the anus and pushed up to pierce the heart or lungs of the condemned, the pole thereupon being hoisted and inserted into the ground.”

    Few would relish the thought of such a punishment though limkamput would gladly offer himself for the ‘pleasure’ of it.

  13. #13 by SpeakUp on Thursday, 30 July 2009 - 11:50 am

    OrangRojak … my stand is that the law is the law. Caning may not be that bad when we do have it in schools.

    However, there are MANY facets to the argument. Some say the caning for drinking is too draconian when Islam does not state a punishment for it. Others say read the Sunnah. So it goes round and round, me got no comments. Its like pro LIFE against capital punishment.

    DSAI taking the steering? I will migrate. That one I cannot trust. See too many cracks in his head, sorry to say. He knows how to use the international media well, he is good at PR.

    Remember pre-98? He was making so many friends, Indonesia/Phil/US etc. He would have sold us to the IMF too. That I shall not forget.

    Many forget, DrM did build the nation up and MANY man on the streets were rich because of him. I saw so many making it WITHOUT using cables at all. The nation was booming.

    He then pulled us out of the Asian Flu when everyone said he has no idea about economics.

    I was starting out back in the early 90’s. The money came into my hands because others made money during that period. I made money because people had money to pay for my services.

    In as much as many say they dislike him, his blog has many many more hits than any other politician. So those who hate him are really the minority. In a democracy the majority rules right? So how?

  14. #14 by OrangRojak on Thursday, 30 July 2009 - 12:28 pm

    the majority rules right?
    Majority only rules, majority doesn’t mean right.

    Did you see the YouTube rotan video? It didn’t remind you of siu yuk? You had caning like that at school? You have a backside with more than one crack?

    I think a lot of people mistake coincidence for cause. Countries get rich, companies get rich, people get rich. You look at the country, company or person and say it is because they are genius. Someone else might look at the person and say it is because they were fortunate to be in the right place at the right time. There are no end of personality cults in Malaysia – I think it’s because there isn’t enough critical media.

    If you have understood my previous comment to be an argument in favour of DSAI, then you were certainly lucky to make money.

    What are you trying to say about hits? I bet Mahathir wishes he has Paris Hilton’s hits.

    You’re wandering off-topic again!

  15. #15 by SpeakUp on Thursday, 30 July 2009 - 1:14 pm

    Orang Rojak … I believe that for a woman they will not cane that hard. The know the implications of caning that hard, just like what happened to the US boy in Singapore. As for the video I don’t wanna see, heard a lot from people who know about it. Grown men are willing to trade 1 year custodial sentence in exchange for 1 stroke of the rotan.

    Ok ok … sorry … stay on topic!!! Ampun …

    p.s. DrM not as sexy as Paris Hilton so not so many hits la! Hahahahahahaaa …

  16. #16 by SpeakUp on Thursday, 30 July 2009 - 1:16 pm

    Jaswant … you are darn notti … hahahahaa

  17. #17 by Onlooker Politics on Thursday, 30 July 2009 - 1:22 pm

    Alcohol drinking is not more hated than polygamy in Islam, where God said be fair among your wives and then said you would never be fair, a good moslem would never marry another but sonnis encourage it instead and consider it sonna!!

    The translations of qoran used in many Islamic teachings are “great sins” because they change God’s words. God never said alcohol is a great sin, He said: in them there is big sin and usefulness to people (notice the ugly sonni didn’t continue the sign) and when God is speaking about what is forbidden among the food, He uses the term (ennama). He only make forbidden to you these things: the dead, the blood and the pork. So just to say that you add something that God never said forbidden about, that in itself is a great sin and more so if this person must think he’s God.

    As for why did God use the strong words (rejs) and (ijatanebooh, stay away from) and (will you stop), that’s a long story.

    As for fornication, the word that is used “don’t get near from” can be argued in such a way that it was not forbidden by these words but by implying that it will lead to an eternal hell as a grand sin (kabeera) and making things forbidden as food is totally different from making an action forbidden.

    Contributed by P. Sword

  18. #18 by k1980 on Thursday, 30 July 2009 - 2:07 pm

    The noose is better than the guillotine


  19. #19 by SpeakUp on Thursday, 30 July 2009 - 2:19 pm

    k1980 … place that link in the TBH blog, its for those who dropped him from the MACC building.

  20. #20 by Loh on Thursday, 30 July 2009 - 6:24 pm

    Sorry, off-topic

    From CheDet.co.cc

    By Dr. Mahathir Mohamad on July 30, 2009 3:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)

    ///1. I would like to thank everyone for the comments on the above.

    2. Of course I don’t like to be criticised. Anyone who says he likes criticism must be a hypocrite.

    3. I admit that ever since I became Minister of Education in 1974, through my period as Deputy Prime Minister and then 22 years as Prime Minister I committed a lot of mistakes. I would not be human if I did not.///– TDM

    There is a difference between making a decision with good intention but ended up as a mistake, and deciding on actions with evil intentions which boomeranged. Some others sin with impunity but feign humility claiming to be mere human.

    English as a medium of instruction in English schools and missions schools was replaced by Bahasa Malaysia beginning 1970, under Rahman Yacob as Education Minister. The change began with standard one classes in 1970, and by 1974, only those who were in standard 0ne to Standard four had followed the new system; they however retained English for the teaching of mathematics and science. Those who were in standard two and above in 1970 were allowed to continue with the old system in English. Why did TDM not revert to the old system when he became the Education Minister in 1974? Are we to believe that he only learned about the facts he used to argue for the use English immediately before his retirement in 2002? Did TDM make an honest mistake or did he know all along that the education policy was wrong but he went along to get himself entrenched in UMNO position for climbing political ladder; and that made him an opportunist?

    ///4. I am sure my critics also made mistakes in their lifetime. The only difference is that their mistakes affected only themselves. But if they get the chance to be PM maybe they will make the same mistakes I made. And we all will suffer.///– TDM

    People hold elected positions to serve the country. That is why Japanese ministers or high officials commit suicide if their actions caused harm to others. Public positions are not created to satisfy the desire of egomaniacs. They should quit any time they find that they have not lived up to the expectation of the positions. We know it is a norm for UMNO leaders to use government positions to achieve personal ambitions.

    ///5. Now we are seeing the former opposition parties forming Governments in several States. They were before very critical of Government mistakes. Now they seem to be making mistakes too./// — TDM

    Pakatan Rakyat might be said to be lucky to learn about the mistakes made by BN, and for not repeating them. The government’s excesses committed by BN government led buy UMNO cannot be said to be honest mistakes made out of genuine concern to serve the people in the interest of the nation. BN government ministers have no concept about national interest. They used politics to ensure their personal hold to power.

    Pakatan Rakyat controlled government in the five states are not allowed to rule without hindrance by the federal government. Their adversaries are not limited to the component parties under BN; the government agencies, the police, the judiciary and MACC are working against the state governments under PR, rather than remain neutral in the performance of their services.

    The Perak state government was delivered to BN by MACC so that the two PKR kataks did not have to fall from high floors in Shah Alam.

    ///6. Malaysians will have a tough time in the next general election. They may not like Barisan Nasional which for 50 years have been throwing tens of thousands into detention under the Internal Security Act, wasting public money building towers, airports, ports, highways etc, muzzling the Press etc etc. But they will find the so-called alternative coalition not much better.///– TDM

    Petronas delivered RM 500 billion to the government over the past 35 years. God knows how much were delivered to serve the powers-that-be as off-balance sheet account of Petronas. The complaints against government infrastructure projects for public transport such as highways were about the way contracts were issued to concessionaires therein the government abetted highway robbery against motorists. Putrajaya was clearly not a necessary project which made created for ulterior motives. The twin towers serve as tourist landmark but it is not way to achieve that objective. Had the RM 500 billion be utilised for national development, in creating human resources without resorting to NEP, we would now be a high income nation comparable to Singapore.

    The people have a right to find out for themselves whether Pakatan Rakyat would be as corrupted as BN; but BN would certainly learn to mend their ways while they stay in opposition.

    ///7. Really Malaysia is a most unfortunate country. It has experienced misrule ever since independence. And it looks like it will continue to be misruled whether the incumbent or the opposition wins. ///– TDM

    The first part is true; and it is most unfortunate that Iskandar s/o Kutty’s father came to Malaya and had his son turned the country upside down.

    When the opposition wins, Malaysians other than those who misruled are liberated. Anwar would make one undesirable Malaysian migrate on his own free will. Malaysia will be less polarised when that racio-opportunist leaves our shores.

    ///8. Maybe independence was a mistake also. How much better we would be under British rule. No one would be detained under the ISA. Everyone, Communists included, would be able ot speak their minds and contest in elections. Someone should be blamed for making the mistake of fighting for independence.///– TDM

    Tunku was the happiest Prime Minister, so he said until May 13 came through. It was not the fault of independence; it is the person who pretended to be Malay, and wrote the Malay Dilemma that ushered in racist mindset to the majority of the population that landed the country in trouble. ISA was not needed but UMNOPutras used them to perpetual their rule. No communist can speak better than Karl Marx, but communism is academic and prove impractical, but racism thrived because of the greatest liability in the person of TDM God has given Malaysia.

    Malaysians are happy for the independence, but our forefathers made a mistake in providing a loop hole in article 160 which allowed racio-opportunist to exploit it for his egomaniac desires.

    ///9. Cry my beloved country.///– TDM

    Cry fellow Malaysians; UMNOputras care not for the country.

  21. #21 by OrangRojak on Thursday, 30 July 2009 - 8:58 pm

    Loh missed one out: 2. Of course I don’t like to be criticised. Anyone who says he likes criticism must be a hypocrite.
    Nobody who ever enjoyed learning could truly say they disliked criticism. Criticism helps us see where we’ve gone wrong, and gives us an opportunity to do better. Criticism can cause an unpleasant rush of blood to the face, but if we deserve the criticism, then we must listen and we must accept it as a genuine offer to help us do better next time.

    Not disliking criticism does not imply liking it. Having a neutral attitude to it would suffice. Mahathir has twisted this question so that he can answer a different, obviously perverse version.

  22. #22 by SpeakUp on Thursday, 30 July 2009 - 9:16 pm

    “Not disliking criticism does not imply liking it. Having a neutral attitude to it would suffice. ” – I like this statement but MANY PR supporters cannot handle criticism. Once you say it against PR they call you a UMNO Goon or MCA B@ll Carrier. That is the sad part.

  23. #23 by Joshua on Friday, 31 July 2009 - 7:47 am

    SpeakUp wrote “Islam is going through what Christianity went through in the past.”

    This statement needs to be corrected – Islam which comes later imitated what do others had done even if it was wrong to do so.

    So when do we learn as mistakes are still going on?

    We need this for all:-
    http://politics-mission.blogspot.com/pw: bugles Syms

  24. #24 by Joshua on Friday, 31 July 2009 - 7:49 am

  25. #25 by SpeakUp on Friday, 31 July 2009 - 10:09 am

    Joshua … we as a young nation is also going through the wrongs that other great nations have done. In the same manner, a lot of youngsters are doing wrong despite their parents teaching them about the wrongs.

    I agree that Islam should learn to see the wrongs that Christianity has gone through but its about people here. Its the people who pervert the religion. This is what IKIM has stated clearly. I respect how IKIM handles Islam, everything the director says is based on a verse of the Quaran and properly interpreted. He is a true Muslim.

  26. #26 by Loh on Friday, 31 July 2009 - 3:37 pm

    Thank you, OrangRojak. It gives me a chance to come back to the topic.

    Criticism as explained in dictionary says: 1. The action, process, or result of passing judgment, evaluating, and/or analyzing (someone or something), not in legal but in social, artistic, literary, linguistic or similar terms; any instance of such judgment: 2. The action, process, or result of judging or assessing adversely and severely, often with or perceived as being with the intention of finding fault, and belittling: any instance of such judgment.

    It is only human not to welcome others finding fault with or belittling oneself, or one’s actions. To avoid criticism one normally makes sure that they lead a socially accepted life, though they are not expected to live to satisfy opinions of others.

    When one holds a public office, he has to expect criticisms because his policies affect people differently and they would prefer possible variants to the policies before they are implemented. It is why democracy develops with social and economic development. That is why policy issues are debated by candidates standing for election so that the voters could make a choice at the election booths. Criticism against opponents’ policy stands are the norm. People who cannot stand criticism have no place in public life, in countries which truly practice democracies. In Malaysia, though general elections have been conducted for half a century, the issues have always been fear mongering.

    A PM for 22 years declares that he is not a hypocrite and thus he dislikes criticism. It would appear that he could not differentiate between judgment on issues and personal attacks. His cabinet ministers too must have known about his ‘pantang dicabar’ at cabinet meetings and were only competing against one another to be the first to voice support. That explains why PPSMI passed through his cabinet when the policy was obviously wrong for primary schools.

    Since TDM has the mindset that any comment which did not support fully his original proposal constitutes criticism which he, being human, did not welcome, Cabinet meetings during his days served only the venue for him to announce his decisions. That made him a dictator; he is worse than absolute monarch of the past, in China, where admonitory officials had a place in royal courts.

    The way the powers-that-be views criticism reflects on how the country is governed. Had TDM accepted the role of elected officials as serving the interest of the people, the citizens of the country, he should have accepted too that people have a say on how best the country was run in terms of policies and their implementation. He should also have been used to suggestions of different approaches to achieving the commonly accepted objectives. With that experience, he should have no difficulty in separating issues from personal attack, rather than taking all criticisms as attack against himself.

    TDM’s attitude regarding criticism says a lot. That is UMNO culture, I suppose, and because of their inability to debate on issues, UMNO needs Sedition Act, ISA and Kamunting to silence critics.

  27. #27 by ttc on Wednesday, 5 August 2009 - 6:17 am


    All go here please:

    ……to read and hear and perchance really, really understand from what The Good :) Elders have to say about it, this verily :( sad and now peskily badly misunderstood issue of gender equality.


    2009 Resolution: Seek out all garbage and recycle or dispose post haste for a healthier life and planet!

    ADDENDUM: Protect coral reefs and save all the good fishies in the seas!

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