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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Scary Monsters & Super Creeps

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The Exorcist, perhaps the scariest movie ever made... Image taken from hosting by PhotobucketYes, in Walski's book, it's still Halloween... at least for this weekend. Heck, maybe even for the rest of November (if he's too lazy to change the banner).

Halloween... your golden opportunity to feed tainted candy to your bratty neighbor kids, and witness the fun results... Well, probably not that much celebrated in Malaysia... err, Halloween, that is, and not poisoning the kids in your neighborhood.

Of late, the movies that come on Astro around Halloween have gotten kinda lame in the past few years. It's tough to find a good horror flick (which they haven't already aired a gazillion times) these days. They sure don't make scary movies like they used to, do they? Definitely not like The Exorcist, perhaps still the scariest movie ever made...

But Walski's here not to talk about seasonal blog headers, or scary movies, but about some scary monsters (good and bad). Well... scary to some, nevertheless. And some super creeps thrown in, just for good measure.

Scary Monster from Planet Utusan
A couple of days ago, Utusan, that loathed UMNO mouthpiece, published an editorial about Malaysia's ranking in the recent RSF World Press Freedom Index. The analysis made by a particular Utusan journalist was, shall we say, interesting. Like it was viewed by a wretchedly scary monster, from outer space (translation by myAsylum).

BARU-BARU ini laporan sebuah organisasi antarabangsa mengenai kebebasan media menunjukkan Malaysia berada pada kedudukan ke-132 dalam indeks kebebasan wartawan dan media 2008.

Laporan itu menyebut kedudukan negara meningkat 10 anak tangga berbanding tahun lepas. Kedudukan itu lebih baik berbanding beberapa rakan ASEAN lain seperti Filipina (139), Singapura (144), Laos (164) dan Vietnam (168).

Berdasarkan penghakiman dan kaca mata organisasi Barat itu, bermakna kebebasan media di Malaysia nampaknya semakin baik.

Recently an international organization reporting on media freedom reported that Malaysia was placed 132nd in the 2008 press and media freedom index.

The report stated our country gained 10 spots compared to a year ago. That standing is better compared to several ASEAN colleagues, such as The Philippines (139), Singapore (144), Laos (164) and Vietnam (168).

Based on the judgement and viewpoint of that Western organization, this means that media freedom in Malaysia looks to have improved.

(source: Utusan article from October 29, 2008)

Now, it's not immediately known what planet this particular scary monster Utusan journalist thinks he's from (and yes, it's a he), but this has to be just about the only Malaysian media outlet - from this planet, at least - to actually be pleased with Malaysia's placing the recent RSF rankings. Or has some screwy idea as to how the rankings should be read.

As in climbing 10 spots... is a good thing? Err... excuse Walski for asking, but does the guy even know how the index works? Unlike the conventional Bumi mindset about subsidies, for the RSF rankings, less is actually more!

Mindboggle yourself on that strange concept, scary monster...
(more scary monsters, and super creeps, in the full post)

Super Creeps in support of Utusan
Speaking of Utusan, did you know what the goons in UMNO recently went ahead and did (the ones in Sungai Petani anyhow)? They passed a resolution to Protect Utusan... no surprise, really, since Utusan is UMNO. But what's super creepy is the insinuation made by Sungai Petani Puteri UMNO Head Shahanim Mohd Yusof (emphasis & translation by myAsylum).

Menurut Shahanim, Puteri UMNO Sungai Petani juga meminta ahli-ahli UMNO agar memberikan sokongan padu terhadap akhbar Utusan Malaysia dan tidak membiarkan ia dihina dengan cara yang tidak bertanggungjawab oleh pihak tertentu.

Utusan dan orang Melayu tidak boleh dipisahkan lagi. Kita menganggap mana-mana pihak yang menghina Utusan sama juga dengan tindakan menghina Melayu."

According to Shahanim, Sungai Petani Puteri UMNO also requested UMNO members to give undivided support to the Utusan Malaysia newspaper, and not allow it to be insulted in an irresponsible way by certain quarters.

"Utusan and the Malays can no longer be separated. We deem any party insulting Utusan the same as the act of insulting Malays."

(source: Utusan Malaysia UMNO, on October 27)

The article neglected to mention, however, if there actually is a way to insult responsibly... but that's another scary story altogether. WTF... In the first place, does UMNO really speak for all Malays? Probably not. Utusan and Malays inseparatable? Get real...

The paper should just change its name to Utusan UMNO, and stop tarnishing Malaysia's good name by associating itself with the name of our beloved nation.

And of course this carrion call (misspelling intentional) has been taken up by many a creepy UMNO division nationwide, which doesn't surprise Walski one single iota.

Super Creeps Über Alles
The past few weeks has, of course, seen Super Creep after Super Creep trying to out-Ketuanan each other, in their bid to win racial brownie points, during this pre-UMNO election season.

You have Malacca Chief Minister and UMNO Veep Mohd Ali Rustam saying that "UMNO must dictate government policy in order for the party to regain lost support" (via ). Nevermind that the government is a government for all Malaysians... minor detail. UMNO must dictate. Must... be... dictator.... Gee, if that's the case, why bother with General Elections? Or, for that matter, democracy? What is it about Malacca, Walski sometimes wonders... their ability to produce the creepiest UMNO politicians with such consistency.

And then you have Mr. "I speekee no Inglish"... Yes, the UMNO politician with two Muhammad's in his name makes a bid to rise to the top echelon of UMNO. And it's not always cream that rises to the top. Scum tends to have similar tendencies. In any case, Muhammad2 Taib recently commenting on his bid retain the Deputy Presidency, said that “Pulling out is not in my vocabulary” (via Malaysiakini)... Okay, fine... But make sure you use a condom then, okay? Creeepy...

Of course, Muhyiddin Yasin, the other Veep hopeful, and Deputy PM wannabe, was not to be outdone in the Super Creep department... The NEP, he says, will remain the Never Ending Policy (via The Star). Since the Malays, while claiming supremacy, still need a big ass crutch (for perpetuity), and so the NEP will never go away. Not until UMNO goes away, Walski reckons. Ok, Ok... Muhyiddin didn't really say all that... It's only Walski paraphrasing. Apparently, according to the cloak and dagger, official government Top Secret data, Bumi participation in the economy has remained 18% for the last 18 years. Not that the data can be independently audited or verified, since it's cloak 'n dagger official government top secret data, but that's what the claim is.

You know what Walski thinks, though? It's probably higher than 18%. But a discounted value is used instead, and Walski predicts that value will remain 18% for as long as UMNO is in power. Why? Well, so that the Malays will forever "need" that crutch. Which also, incidentally, is the same crutch that keeps UMNO in their hegemonic throne.

To stay in power, UMNO must, therefore, claim that the Malays are a crippled lot and need the crutch. But, crippled in such a way that they are still somehow a superior species. Like, Super Cripples. But crippled. You get the idea...

Creepy... but crippled.

Scary Monster that mortifies the Super Creeps
But not all Scary Monsters are bad. There is one Scary Monsters in particular that probably scares the jeepers out of 'em Super Cripples Creeps. And this is what he had to say a couple of days ago, at the LawAsia 2008 event.

The Ketuanan Melayu model has failed. It has resulted in waste of crucial resources, energy and time and has distracted from the real issues confronting the country.
(source: Malaysiakini)

Zaid Ibrahim, warped-convention killer, and all around good-guy Scary Monster. Scary to some, anyway. This is perhaps one of the very few politicians Walski has respect for. He not only quit as Law Minister, on priciple, but this week resigned from his senatorial seat in the upper house of Parliament, too. Now, as Haris Ibrahim opines, Zaid should make it 3 for 3.

But the decrepit state of affairs of this nation did not happen overnight. Zaid, during his speech, gives a summarized recounting of how Ketuanan Melayu became the order of the day (emphasis by myAsylum).

These measures [the NEP], in my view, were on the whole positive. They were agreed to by all the political parties making up the government, in part due to an understanding that the NEP was a temporary measure aimed at assisting the Malays that would not disadvantage the other communities. The late Tun Dr Ismail talked about giving the Malays an opportunity to survive in the modern competitive world. It was readily appreciated that unless society as a whole addressed and rectified certain historical imbalances and inequities, the country would flounder. In my view, these measures were easily reconciled with democracy and the rule of law.

The 1980s presented a different scenario altogether. We saw a unilateral restructuring of the so-called social contract by a certain segment of the BN leadership that allowed for developments that have resulted in our
current state of affairs. The non-Malay BN component parties were perceived by Umno to be weak and in no position to exert influence.

Bandied about by Umno ideologues, the social contract took on a different, more racialist tone. The essence of its reconstructed meaning was this: that Malaya is primarily the home of the Malays, and that the non-Malays should acknowledge that primacy by showing deference to the Malays and Malay issues. Also, Malay interest and consent must be allowed to set the terms for the definition and exercise of non-Malay citizenship and political rights. This marked the advent of Ketuanan Melayu or, in English, Malay Supremacy.

Affirmative action and special status became a matter of privilege by reference to race rather than of need and questioning of this new status quo was not to be tolerated. As Ketuanan Melayu evolved and entrenched itself, Islam became political capital due to the close links between Malays and the religion. The constitution itself defines a ‘Malay’, for purposes of affirmative action, as someone who amongst other things professes the religion of Islam.

This over the years led to a politically driven articulation of Malaysia as an Islamic state. Again, no questions were tolerated. Majoritarianism had become the governing paradigm of governance as the character and nature of rights were defined by Malay interests and defined by them.

(source: Malaysiakini)

Good-guy Scary Monster as he may be, it's difficult to fight the Super Creeps, especially when you're outnumbered. Still, Zaid doesn't fail to make the right calls.

While I applaud the prime minister for calling upon the Indian community to reject extremism, should not a similar call be made on the Malay community and Utusan Malaysia? I call on the prime minister, both the outgoing and the incoming, to deal with such issues fairly. Start by releasing the Hindraf leaders detained under the ISA. The release would create a window for constructive dialogue on underlying causes of resentment.

I also appeal for the release of (Malaysia Today webmaster) Raja Petra (Kamaruddin) from his ISA detention. He is a champion of free speech. His writings, no matter how offensive they may be to some, cannot by any stretch of the imagination be seen as a threat to the national security of this country.

The Malays are now a clear majority in numbers. The fear of their being out numbered is baseless; they are not under seige. The institutions of government are such that the Malays are effectively represented, and the there is no way the interest of the Malays can be taken away other than through their own weakness and folly.

The BN government must abandon its reworked concept of the social contract and embrace a fresh perspective borne out of discussions and agreements made in good faith with all the communities in this country. It is time for us all to practice a more transparent and egalitarian form of democracy and to recognize and respect the rights and dignity of all the citizens of this country.

(source: Malaysiakini)

In other words, Super Creeps, what Scary Monster is saying is this: stop living in the past. This is no longer 1957, 1969, nor 1990. Wake up and smell the millenium roast coffee.

To do the speech its due justice, you need to read the entire thing. It's available online at Malaysiakini. For those of you who don't have a Malaysiakini subscription, you can also read it online at The Star. Or download a pdf copy Walski created. Especially for you...

Continuing the fight against the Super Creeps
But as Walski mentioned, the uphill task before us will not be easy. Especially since, like suckers, Super Creeps are born every minute. Like this guy. And their numbers slowly multiply...

Image hosting by PhotobucketIn an interview with Utusan, the bastion of Malay supremacy of the written word, Dr. Hassan Ahmad, Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka's former Director General lends a hand to Utusan in their furtrherment of supremacist speech.

The interview (in Bahasa Malaysia) can be downloaded here.

He reiterates that the Malays are "under threat" and that their interests are being threatened, due to the Malays' own attitude of "give and take", and the opinion that the Malay political power is "waning".

Thematically, the interview centers around the Malay language, defending the language and attacking globalization as a US-driven, new age colonialism. The subtext here is that globalization must be fought against.

On the one hand, past glory is mentioned about how the Malay language was a unification factor that brought greatness to the region. On the other hand, the Malay language is now under threat, hence the Malay race is being threatened as well.

But the Malay language of today is not the Malay language of 700 years ago. The Malay language evolved. And in the process adopted words and ideas from all over. It's not a language that emerged out of a vacuum.

Yet, what we're hearing now is how the language we have today must be "preserved" - like mangoes in a jar of vinegar. What Dr. Hassan probably will not admit to is that any language, or culture, evolves. That evolution enriches cultures and languages, making them relevant at any given time. It's this very mindset that will cause the Malay people and culture to one day fade into obsolescence. Because globalization is very real, whether Dr. Hassan likes it or not. You either swim, stay afloat, or sink.

Of course, this is Walski paraphrasing and analyzing. But one thing is clear - it is the promotion of reclusivism and isolationism. Talk about someone whose world view is limited 

Plus the guy does certainly look kinda creepy.

Scary Monsters & Super Creeps
So there you have it, sports fans... the scary, not so scary and the creepy. All rolled into what is today's uniquely Malaysian Halloween-esque sociopolitical landscape. But the idea that our everyday lives can be characterized in terms of Monsters and Creeps is not Walski's to claim.

No siree. It's from some place else.... which is what Walski leaves you for your listening and viewing pleasure...

Walski's Scary & Creepy post-title attribution footnote: In case you don't recognize the YouTube song or artiste, it's Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), the title track of David Bowie's 1980 studio album. And that's where the post title comes from... you know, being Halloween and all that...