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Monday, June 01, 2009

Farish One-on-One (Part 2)

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Updated @ June 2, 2009 0959hrs: Additional thoughts and such in the full post.

Part 1 of the Malaysiakini exclusive interview can be viewed here.

Exactly one week ago, Malaysiakini TV released an exclusive interview with Dr. Farish A. Noor. Apart from being eye candy for some of you ladies (yeah, he is a gorgeous hunk, if Walski doesn’t say so himself), the information provided by Farish was eye-opening as well.

Today, Malaysiakini releases part 2, and Walski shares it with you folks here.

Walski is writing this post at a rather noisy Penang Coffee Bean outlet, and is without his headphones. Which means that he hasn’t had the opportunity to listen to Part 2. But what it contains will probably not surprise Walski a whole heckuva lot.

It might be surprising for you, though. Especially if you are younger than, say 30, and believe wholesale what’s been sold to you as the “official” narrative.  
(more thoughts and how to forge a real 1Malaysia, in the full post)

One thing about history though – it usually is written by the victors, and the official narrative usually provides a single viewpoint of how things “were”.

But the official story alone may not always represent the whole story when it comes to history. Which is where socio-politico-historians like Farish comes in.

Updated @ June 2, 2009 0959hrs:
Having watched and listened to Part 2 in its entirety, Walski’s now aware that there is one more part, which he expects to be released one week from now, next Monday. While part one focused on our historical narrative, part 2 looks at the present.

So as not to encourage laziness, Walski won’t provide many spoilers here. You should watch the second part (and the first, if you haven’t already) yourself.

All Walski will say is that he couldn’t agree more with what Farish has to say – that in a nation as complex as we have become, there are 2 forms of governance – scrupulous and unscrupulous. Walski agrees that to successfully move forward, what we need is a mode of government that is inclusive, with citizenship being the only criteria of what makes one a Malaysian. Not ethnicity, and certainly not religion.

Until and unless each an everyone of us is treated as equal citizens, we can never move on as one nation, and all the calls for unity will be but empty sloganeering.

Already we’re seeing that the notion of 1Malaysia is being looked at with caution and disdain, particularly from the ethno-nationalists and those with religious special interests. Based on that alone, the 1Malaysia concept is bound to fail, needing to be honed and compromised according to whose special interest screams the loudest.

Another symptom that Walski is seeing: the reluctance to let go of the past. Today, this is manifesting itself in the rhetoric surrounding the suggestion that Chin Peng be allowed to return. From the ridiculous talk that those whom are making the suggestions want to resurrect the CPM (Communist Party of Malaysia), to calls for those who make such suggestions be shot, or worse, subjected to the ISA.

Yes, the CPM caused a lot of people a lot of hardship. But is vengeful spite the path that we should take? What examples can we see where not clinging on to hate became the catalyst to move on in the right manner.

To Walski, one only has to look across the Indian Ocean, to a land called South Africa. When the walls of apartheid crumbled, and Nelson Mandela released, what was the course of action called for?

Was it revenge, or was it reconciliation?

What do we gain from holding on to our egoistic spite, and refusing to let a now very old man return to the land he was born in?

Walski will write more about Chin Peng in another post. But our collective response is telling of what kind of Malaysia we live in today, and is part of what Farish talks about. Realizing what we are today (and not clinging on to 1969, the 70’s, or even 1957) is key to how we expect to move on towards tomorrow.

The future, as they say, is in our hands. The question is, what kind of Malaysia do we want for ourselves, and for our children?