Educational absurdity in Hulu Selangor

by Azly Rahman

“If we win this by-election, you can come to Kuala Lumpur the next day to look for me. I will write a personal letter to approve the money and it will be transferred to the school board’s account. If we lose, don’t have to come.” – Najib Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia

If these words quoted in Lim Kit Siang’s blog were uttered and they were true, we have reached the highest level of idiocy in charting the future of Malaysian education. How much shame must we parade in our desperation to win this or that election that is a theater of the absurd anyway?

The essential question is, how dare we use education – the only means for social and economic progress for ALL races – to bribe voters!

We hear all too often now that education is being prostitutionalized in the name of political gains. That gentle profession and a noble enterprise, from the Latin educare (drawing out the potentials) have been overused in election campaigns. From rice to roads, credit cards to cruises, youth facilities to new universities – all these have been used as political baits throughout our history.

We are in a pathological condition. Education and the building of educational institutions must be a non-partisan endeavor. As the philosopher John Dewey would say, education is the only means for social and educational progress and the teaching of thinking will bring the child to any dead places, so we must take heed of this notion of education for all. Education must become a vehicle for the development of a critical citizenry, regardless of who is in power, as the Brazilian educator Paulo Freire would say.

Have we no shame when we say that only if the people vote for this or that party, money will flow to the children of that community? Have we no sense of understanding of human rights and dignity when we deliberately create apartheid system of education through preferential treatments by virtue of who votes for us?

Denying children’s rights

We are denying children the right to be intelligent when we use programs of the gifted and talented as political tool and as means to punish electorates. We are denying at-risk youth alternative educational settings that will give them hope and vision when we are merely interested in their potential as paid hooligans during election campaigns.

In the United States it does not matter which government is in power, the approaches to educating the future generation differ only in the emphasis towards making the schools perform better. Whether it is Ronald Reagan’s (right) NCEE report of “A Nation at Risk,” Bill Clinton’s Goals 2000, George Bush’s No Child Left Behind, or Barack Obama’s Race to the Top – all these have the goal of grand scale inclusiveness, the ideology and modus operandi might differ. In them, these are the mandate given to each state to implement standards of excellence to make society better. Never have I heard, as an American educator myself, this or that school denied of funding by virtue of the community’s political leaning. It would be a Supreme Court case if a school district is denied money due to the teacher union’s endorsement of this or that candidate in the gubernatorial race, for instance.

If we continue to see, at every election campaign money is being promised only if votes are being given, we have become an immoral nation of peoples that do not care for the next generation of children.

Already we have educational institutions entrenched in race and the propagation of racial superiority – at a time when we trumpet to the outside world our “Malaysian-ness”. We not only have elite schools for one race, expensive gifted and talented schools for one race, universities for this or that race only, and grants and scholarships for only one race – when all these are supposed to coming from a ‘1Malaysia’ government in which the taxpayers are of all races.

Already we are seeing more seed of racialization of education and the apartheid-ization of schooling planted in order to further the agenda of race-based politics. The “one-school-fits-all” (“satu sekolah untuk semua”) movement/campaign is also deeply suspect – which ideology will hegemonize, which culture will be made dominant, and what will be the nature of “nationalism and patriotism” shoved onto the minds of the young.

These are serious questions we need to ask ourselves as a nation – how have we politicize and prostitutionalize education? What will be the political, social, and cultural implications of this game we are letting politicians play? – game that reflect out pathological state of mind as we continue to see our institutions crumble; no longer able to withstand the weight of our contradictions.

What then must we do?

We do not have time to entertain ethnocentric politics anymore; our society has been fragmented into classes of rich and poor, marginalizing people of all races to newer character. All forms of race-based politics in this century of postmodernity, flux, and shifting ideologues – is racist in nature, racism for the convenience of control and the furtherance of unseen violence masked as ‘progress and civility’.

We must go back to the study of educational philosophies rather than advance the practice of educational prostitutionalization.

  1. #1 by boh-liao on Thursday, 27 May 2010 - 1:26 pm

    NR d greatest pimp of all to prostitutionalize education in 2 name of political gains
    Stark naked cheat who repeated his criminal bribery in Sibu weeks later

  2. #2 by dagen on Thursday, 27 May 2010 - 1:28 pm

    “The essential question is, how dare we use education – the only means for social and economic progress for ALL races – to bribe voters!”

    Oh its umno we are talking about. Anything is possible. Jib already was complaining that umno campaigners were not creative enough. And did he not proclaim before that he wanted perak and selangor back by whatever means?

    So there you are azly. Maybe the worst has yet to come. Will we see the day when umno offers it rear orifice to voters for their votes? “If I win, come to Room XXX in Hotel YYY the next day. You can come in my rear all day. If I lose dont come.” Of course in all fairness, umno is not there yet. Then again, umno isnt exactly far away from there.

  3. #3 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 27 May 2010 - 1:44 pm

    ‘personal letter’?? He said ‘personal cheque’. What is the use of talking about this if you start denying the truth from the start? HE BROKE THE LAW. Plain and simple.

  4. #4 by Dipoh Bous on Thursday, 27 May 2010 - 1:50 pm

    …but sadly (according to macc), there’s no element of corruption being committed…

    It’s obvious that to move forward, macc must be made an independent entity. As it is, it will never even be any where near to it’s name sake.

    That should not be too difficult to achieve once the present BN gov’t is replaced (kicked out). Unless we want to be another Greece, that’s the only choice we have.

    PRU13 : BN voted out !

  5. #5 by frankyapp on Thursday, 27 May 2010 - 2:00 pm

    Najib’s objective is what ever it takes to be number one in Umno,prime minister in BN government. To stay relevance,he now needed new creativities. Hence I think in future by election or general election ,the voters can ask Najib for anything in exchange to make him staying relevant. Frankly I think Najib has dug his own grave only. It’s only a matter of time he would be laid to rest in his own prepared grave.

  6. #6 by monsterball on Thursday, 27 May 2010 - 2:01 pm

    This is how our PM teaching young Malaysians how to think and behave.
    This was how Mahathir did so too..for 22 years.
    This why…..Najib is so much loved by Mahathir.
    And this is the way..Najib is going to repay his debts to Mahathir…to be exactly like him…if not better.
    Yes….UMNO B is a sick party.

  7. #7 by k1980 on Thursday, 27 May 2010 - 2:22 pm

    The greatest joke of the 21st century— mic threatens to pull out of bn. If it really does so, Kamala a/p Nathan and the other 2 mps would hop out of mic and join the ppp!

  8. #8 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 27 May 2010 - 2:39 pm

    MIC leaving BN may be a joke BUT Hindraf demanding terms that would make it possible for them to threaten BN at any time and an equal partner in BN is an even bigger joke. BN thinking it can play MIC against Hindraf or any other party is consistently delusional as it has always been about the power of its own lies.

  9. #9 by k1980 on Thursday, 27 May 2010 - 3:09 pm

    Pegawai Khas PM telah datang membawa tawaran dari PM menawarkan gelaran Tun dan jawatan Duta bagi tujuan kompromi isu calon BN untuk pilihanraya kecil Hulu Selangor.

  10. #10 by rahmanwang on Thursday, 27 May 2010 - 3:52 pm

    Now I know why the Malaysian Chinese donate so much for their school building funds.
    Its because they weren’t supported by the federal gevernment.Najib have to threaten them with releasing building funds if only BN wins the seat.Najib doesn’t know that when you push them(Chinese) too hard they will work harder, therefore they succeed.BN have to pamper them, give the Chinese “free $$” easy contract, just like what the UMNO MCA MIC & Gerakan members gets then the Chinese will slack and take things easy.Slumber saja…..

  11. #11 by yhsiew on Thursday, 27 May 2010 - 5:56 pm

    ///“If we win this by-election, you can come to Kuala Lumpur the next day to look for me. I will write a personal letter to approve the money and it will be transferred to the school board’s account. If we lose, don’t have to come.”///

    The above statement was Najib’s self confession that he had not done much for that school prior to the by-election. Had he done his duty to take care of that school on a REGULAR basis, there was hardly any need for him to make the above statement.

  12. #12 by boh-liao on Thursday, 27 May 2010 - 7:05 pm

    Now we know Y a certain renowned candidate won big in a recently conducted AGM
    Mesej 2 voters fr wanita wing:
    “If I win this election, you can come to Kuala Lumpur the next day to look for me. I will service U n satisfy U like U never enjoyed b4. If I lose, don’t have to come.”

  13. #13 by k1980 on Thursday, 27 May 2010 - 9:07 pm

    You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately… Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!

    Oliver Cromwell’s Address to the Rump Parliament (20 April 1653)

  14. #14 by ekompute on Friday, 28 May 2010 - 9:53 am

    “If we win this by-election, you can come to Kuala Lumpur the next day to look for me. I will write a personal letter to approve the money and it will be transferred to the school board’s account. If we lose, don’t have to come.” – Najib Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia

    Najib will be remembered by posterity with this quote and will stand ‘tall’ with all the great thinkers of the world.

  15. #15 by limkamput on Friday, 28 May 2010 - 9:55 am

    It is more than what you have said Dr Azly.

    They do not just abuse or prostitute education. They abused and prostituted our whole being, our life. Can you name me one institution or establishment that is not b_astardised in this country today?

    They do not just destroy our future generations. They are destroying us now as we speak.

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