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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sunday Tee-off

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If you’re a golfer and found this post thinking that it’s got to do with the game, please prepare to be utterly disappointed.

No, this post has nothing whatsoever to do with golf. Golf, as it turns out, is Walski’s handicap(that’s a lame golf joke, incidentally).

Original image taken from here

Nay, this post is about an article written by Dr. Ridhuan Tee, published in Mingguan Malaysia this past Sunday (PDF version), which was also posted on his blog. An English version of the same article can be found on Tee’s English blog here. The article, if you haven’t yet read it, scored a hole-in-1Malaysia (sorry, another lame-ish golf joke), promoting a blatantly racial agenda in how Malaysia should be, in Dr. Tee’s eyes.

Ridhuan Tee, is certainly no stranger to controversy, and is definitely not a medical doctor, in case you’re wondering (Politics & Government is his doctoral forte). Walski knows because (through Twitter) a lot of people were feeling sick to their stomach after reading the Dr.’s article.

But before we delve into the article itself, there are two excellent rebuttals to Tee’s article, which Walski urges you to read, if you haven’t yet. One, in Bahasa Malaysia, comes from Dengan Izini…™ entitled “Siapa Yang Jahat, Dr Ridhuan Tee?” by Hidayat Saifudin.

The second comes from none other than Art Harun, who penned “An Open Reply to Dr. Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah”. A brilliantly written retort, Walski might add.

Needless to say, there probably are quite a number more, but Walski feels these two deserve special mention.

So what is it about Ridhuan Tee’s article that really got many people feeling they’d just encountered the wrong end of a 1-Iron to their gut? No birdies for guessing – it had to do with the ludicrous notions of 1Apartheid-ish race & religious relations numerical formulas, grave ornaments, and Santa Claus.
(the social contract, minus the santa claus(e), and more, in the full post)

As a precaution against being accused of not stating facts accurately, Walski will quote from both the Bahasa Malaysia and English versions of Dr. Ridhua Tee’s article. If you’re thinking of visiting the English version blog, though, be forewarned that Tee’s embedded some really cheesy easy listening music that you cannot turn off.

The article starts off with a kinda defense on behalf of Utusan – no big wonder, because that’s the vehicle he rides on for his writing. And as with any champion of the Malay/Islam cause, the Holy Grail of race-based politics, the Social Contract, is invoked early on (all emphasis by myAsylum).

Persoalan saya, apakah akhbar tabloid parti ultra kiasu dan parti-parti politik perkauman lain dan mereka yang bersekongkol tidak jahat? Parti ultra kiasu dan kuncu-kuncunya bukan sahaja jahat, tetapi terang dan nyata lagi berniat jahat dengan menolak kontrak sosial dan perlembagaan persekutuan serta mencabar perkara-perkara sensitif yang telah dipersetujui bersama sekian lama. Rakan sekutu parti ultra kiasu langsung tidak berani bersuara kerana takut hilang sokongan. Inilah strategi licik ultra kiasu dan sekutunya berselindung di bawah gagasan 1Malaysia untuk mencari laba dan keuntungan politik.

My question is whether the ultra kiasu party news tabloid and the other racist political parties and those concocted with them are they also not evil? The ultra kiasu party and its group are not only evil, but it is already clearly a fact that they have an evil intention by not accepting the social contract and rejecting the federal constitution and also challenging sensitive matters that have long been agreed upon. The partners of the ultra kiasu party do not dare to speak directly for fear of loss of support. This is the cunning strategy of the ultra kiasu party and its allies hiding behind the 1Malaysia concept for its benefits and political mileage.

Ironically, while accusing the anti-agenda papers and other ultra-kiasu political parties of cowardice for “not speaking directly”, Ridhuan tee neglects to identify whom he’s referring to exactly. In the same paragraph, no less. His own “cunning strategy”, perhaps.

Now, Walski’s no lawyer, but he’s dealt with enough contracts to know that there are none which are not subject to review, and are to be maintained for perpetuity, regardless of how circumstances change. Much less an unwritten contract. Art Harun, who is a lawyer, explains this in great detail in his open reply (from paragraph 5 onwards).

And then, it starts to get stranger.

Sekurang-kurangnya Utusan Malaysia berterus-terang, bermakna tidaklah terlalu jahat, daripada berselindung melakukan kejahatan, di depan orang pijak semut tak mati, tetapi di belakang bukan main lagi, seolah-olah hidup ini tidak akan mati. Inilah tindak-tanduk mereka untuk mengaburi mata rakyat. Kalau kita intip pergerakan mereka, saya yakin kita akan berjumpa dengan manusia yang sejahat ini, termasuk salah seorang exco yang membawa santa claus berjumpa pemimpin negeri mereka baru-baru ini. Kepada pemimpin tersebut, kalau suka sangat raikan santa claus, jangan sampai terlebih meraikan pulak. Sebagai umat Islam, kita diajar menghormati agama lain, tetapi elok berpada-pada. Mereka ini licik perancangannya. Ramai orang Melayu sudah tersasar kerana terlalu dekat dengan santa claus.

At least Utusan Malaysia is frank, meaning not too bad instead of camouflage doing evil, like being sweet in front of people but when behind actually are not. Those are their actions to obscure the eyes of the public. If we spy their movement, I am confident we will see their true colors, including the one exco that brought the santa claus to meet the leader of their country recently. To this leader, if you enjoy celebrating with Santa Claus, please do not over do it. As Muslims, we are taught to respect other religions, but do not go overboard. They are very cunning at planning. Many Malays have side tracked because of being too close to santa claus.

Bad English aside, the mystery of why the Malays have gotten sidetracked, despite opportunity after opportunity has now been solved – it’s Santa’s fault. Oh, the English version also upgrades Selangor to a country. Cool… Khalid Ibrahim must be pleased that he now has his own country.

Ironic, but while Tee fervently upholds the “social contract”, he totally dismisses the Santa Claus…

In any case, what Ridhuan Tee must have been referring to – in his not so direct, but still gallant way – is this image which surfaced a few hours after the release of his boundary-pushing article.

Image from @Dato8 on TweetPhoto, hosting by Photobucket

Yes, it’s Khalid Ibrahim partying with a badly disguised Santa, some bored-looking Santarinas, and a few state Ex-Co members. So, what’s so wrong with this happy celebratory get-together? Well, nothing really, if you asked Walski. But Ridhuan Tee probably has other ideas of how dangerous this could be to the faith.

But seriously, fear of a fictitious character? Wouldn’t that, logically, mean that the fear is kinda fictitious as well? Then again, that’s just Walski – who’s he to say, right? 

So, back to the article, the un-named, but obviously-referring-to-DAP, ultra-kiasu types are accused of bringing up sensitive racial issues to promote their own agenda.

Dalam memahami politik Malaysia, isu-isu perkauman dibangkitkan untuk mendapatkan sokongan politik dan pada masa untuk menyedarkan kaum masing-masing agar mereka sedar siapa mereka yang sebenar dan apa yang sepatutnya diperolehi. Manakala isu-isu sensitif dibangkitkan untuk mendapatkan hak sama rata dan sama rasa bagi kumpulan ultra kiasu. Mereka tahu perkara ini tidak boleh dibangkitkan secara terbuka kerana ia boleh dikenakan tindakan di bawah akta hasutan. Mereka sengaja mahu menguji UMNO yang ketika ini berada dalam keadaan agak tertekan disebabkan tidak mendapat majoriti dua pertiga dalam parlimen dan perpecahan Melayu Islam yang amat menyakitkan.

In understanding the Malaysian politics, racial issues were raised for political supports and to make the respective races to realize who they are and what should be obtained. Meanwhile, the sensitive issues were raised to demand equal rights and opportunities for the ultra kiasu group. They know these things can not be raised openly as they can be held under the sedition act. They deliberately want to test UMNO which currently is at its most crucial situation because of not getting two-thirds majority and also facing the painful disunity of the Malay Muslims.

Ok, so Tee’s a big UMNO sympathizer, a party which never raises any sensitive issues that are hurtful to others, right? Oh, but we have to forgive UMNO because they’re at a very painful ebb. UMNO, after all, is God’s gift to… well, Walski doesn’t know what, exactly.

Incidentally, not too long ago, when someone converted to Islam in Malaysia, that act was sometimes called “masuk Melayu” (loosely translated, converting to being Malay), because of the so-called societal expectation that once you’re Muslim, you must “become” Malay to be accepted. Of course, this is more perception than anything else, because there’s no such thing as racial discrimination in Islam, a point that’s highlighted by Tee himself. Or, does he?

Sebagai rakyat Malaysia, kita mesti tahu bahawa konsep sama rata dan sama rasa tidak menepati kehendak perlembagaan persekutuan, walaupun konsep Malaysian Malaysia yang selalu dilaung dan didesak oleh parti ultra kiasu. Ingat, agama Islam agama majoriti masyarakat negara ini. Kedudukan Islam begitu istimewa dalam perlembagaan. Jika ada ‘kelebihan’ pada agama Islam, ia bukanlah satu diskriminasi kerana selaku majoriti, Melayu Islam berhak, apatah lagi ia telah dipersetujui melalui kontrak sosial. Tidak perlu dipertikaikan atau dituduh tidak adil. Termasuk menggunakan dana-dana kerajaan untuk mengembangkan syiar Islam. Malangnya, perkara-perkara ini tidak pernah diformulakan. Akhirnya, setiap kaum atau parti menginterpretasikan mengikut kepentingan masing-masing mengikut latar belakang bangsa dan agamanya. Tidak ketinggalan perancangan jahat mereka.

As Malaysians, we must know that the concept of equal rights and equal opportunity do not fulfill the requirements of the federal constitution, although the concept of Malaysian Malaysia which is always being shouted and demanded by the ultra kiasu party. Remember, Islam is the religion of the majority community of this country. Islam has a very special position in the constitution. If there is any 'advantage' in Islam, it is not discrimination because as the majority Malay Muslims, they have the rights, let alone it had been agreed upon through the social contract. There should not be anymore questions or being accused of unfairness. These also included using government funds to develop the growth of Islam. Unfortunately, these things were never formulated. Finally, each race or party interpreted according to their interests respectively basing on the race and religious background. Not forgetting also their evil plans.

Now, Walski doesn’t know offhand which governance textbooks Dr. Ridhuan Tee studied to obtain his PhD in Politics & Government, but what he describes here is certainly not democracy – it’s majoritarianism, another favorite doctrine espoused by many in UMNO. The problem, according to Tee, is that there has not been a formalization of unequal rights for Malaysians. And with this in mind, we’re introduced to the Ridhuan Tee Social Formula.

Untuk mengelakkan daripada parti ultra kiasu ini menjadi bertambah jahat, setidak-tidaknya kita mesti menggariskan formula bagi menyelesaikan kejahatan ini. Formula saya adalah berasaskan kepada pecahan statistik agama dan bangsa di negara ini. Mengikut bancian tahun 2000, anutan agama rakyat Malaysia adalah seperti berikut 60.4% Islam, 40% bukan Melayu (22% Buddha-Toaisme-Konfucius, 9% Kristian, 6% Hindu, 3% lain-lain). Formula ini boleh diaplikasikan dalam konteks kehidupan bernegara termasuk hak-hak beragama dan sambutan perayaan setiap kaum, bagi mendapatkan keadilan. Formula ini menepati sebahagian maksud keadilan dalam Islam yang membawa maksud meletakkan sesuatu pada tempatnya walaupun tidak sepenuhnya.

In order to prevent the ultra kiasu party continues to become evil, we must at least outline the formula to solve this. My formula is based on the statistical breakdown of races and religions in this country. According to the year 2000 census, the percentages of Malaysians by religions were as follows: 60% Islam, 40% non-Malay (22% Buddhist-Taoism-Confucius, 9% Christian, 6% Hindu, 3% others). This formula can be applied in the context of the nationalization, including justification on the rights of religious festivals and celebrations of all races. This formula fulfills part of the meaning to justification in Islam which means to put things in its place although not completely.

Okay, this formula is great if you’re making pancakes, but if applied to governance, it will very likely lead to tyranny of the majority. Then, he goes to say that this is Islamic. And you wonder why Islam gets such bad press? This thing about how “justice” is not equality is another favorite among religionists, by the way.

Now because Utusan apparently has really sloppy copywriters, we are also made to believe that there is an additional 0.4% in 100% (go take a re-look a the BM version of the quote above. Walski did a straight copy & paste, by the way. Don’t believe him? Take a look at the PDF from the Utusan website. But let’s not belabor this minor faux pas, shall we?

The thing is that Ridhuan Tee almost laments the fact that the reality in Malaysia doesn’t fit his neat pancake social formula, attributing it to tolerance.

Atas dasar toleransi, formula ini boleh dikatakan langsung tidak diterima pakai, sama ada dalam bidang politik, ekonomi mahupun sosial. Misalnya, bilangan rumah ibadat bukan Islam melimpah ruah, perayaan mereka menenggelamkan perayaan orang Islam walaupun bilangan mereka sedikit. Lihat sahaja gedung-gedung membeli belah, walaupun Kristian hanya 9%, sambutan Krismas dan Tahun Baru 2010 menenggelamkan perayaan utama seperti hari raya dan tahun baru Islam. Kalau tidak percaya, lawatilah negeri-negeri yang diperintah ultra kiasu dan sekutunya serta gedung-gedung membeli belah sekutu mereka di seluruh negara.

Saya fikir, umat Islam di negara ini amat berlembut dan bertoleransi tinggi. Upacara perayaan keagamaan dan kematian begitu beradab serta mudah. Jalan raya tidak sesak. Kuburnya begitu kecil. Berbanding agama lain, sudahlah bilangannya kecil, kadangkala sehari suntuk jalan raya sesak ketika perayaan tertentu. Kubur-kuburnya begitu luas dan besar. Sampai bilakah amalan ini boleh diteruskan, di kala penduduk semakin ramai, tanah semakin terhad? Setakat ini orang Islam tidaklah bising sangat berbanding orang lain, walaupun kubur mereka semakin terhimpit dan protes daripada bukan Islam yang semakin berani apabila ada tambahan tanah perkuburan Islam.

On the basis of tolerance, this formula was not applied completely, either in politic, economic or even social. For example, the number of non-Muslim places of worship exceeded overwhelmingly, their festival celebrations actually drowned the Muslims celebrations even though they are less in numbers. Just look at the shopping malls, although Christians are only 9%, the Christmas and New Year 2010 celebrations are incomparable to the Hari Raya and the Islamic New Year. If you do not believe, visit the states ruled by the ultra kiasu and its allies and the shopping malls of their allies throughout the country.

I think the Muslims in this country are very tolerant and soft. Their religious festivals and funerals are well mannered and simple. Roads are not congested. Their graves are very small. Compared to other religions, which the number is already smaller, at times the roads are congested the whole day on certain festivals. The graves are so wide and large. How long will this practice be continued, whereas the population is growing but land is limited? So far, the Muslims are not that noisy compared to others, although their graves are narrowing and protests from the non-Muslims are increasingly bolder when there is an increase in Islamic cemetery.

One exception Ridhuan Tee conveniently omits is the road congestion caused by double, even triple-parked cars during Friday congregational prayers, which mysteriously go unseen by the traffic police. Yes, it is a Muslim’s obligation to attend Friday prayers, but does that make it an obligation to be a public nuisance – not to mention safety hazard – to others? What happened to being so tolerant and “soft”?

Now, Walski is pretty damned sure that in Johor and Pahang, the shopping malls are decked with Christmas decorations, just as they are in the states where the “ultra-kiasu” rule. If there’s anyone around the Johor Bharu and Kuantan areas is reading this post, Walski would really appreciate some perspective on his assumption.

But, let’s humor Ridhuan Tee for a sec – assume that the Islamic New Year is to be forcibly observed at the shopping malls – how exactly would the malls be appropriately decorated? Walski personally thinks that the last thing the Middle Eastern tourists would want to see is more desert sand and dromoderies. Similarly, on Prophet Muhammad’s birthday... On second thought, let’s not even go there…

The rest of the article goes on (and on) about graves, some more. Interestingly enough, he also lambasts Gerakan for insisting that the Grik parliamentary seat be given to them (from UMNO) to contest, which Walski thinks has something to do with the tussle between UMNO and Gerakan in BN’s Penang leadership arena.

Some people have commented that Dr. Ridhuan Tee’s writing portray him to be “more Malay” than your typical UMNO-phile. Which is really ironic, unless the doctor is actually a member of the party – something that Walski doesn’t think is the case.

Now, Walski hopes that this post is not misconstrued as being an ad hominem against Ridhuan Tee. It’s Tee’s ideas that Walski finds disturbing, and somewhat ironic at times – portraying the ideal of race supremacy, not-so-subtly disguised behind religious primacy, championing for an ethnicity that Tee cannot possibly represent, hard as he may try.

They say that a leopard can’t change its spots. And then you have Adidas that says “Impossible is Nothing”. Between the two, the doctor has gotten pretty confused, Walski thinks.

But at the end of it all, the biggest winners were probably the golfers – because inadvertently, they got a surprise Christmas weekend gift – a Ridhuan Tee.

Walski’s seemingly irrelevant picture-inclusion explanatory (somewhat) footnote: You may be wondering what relevance the first picture above has to this post. You see, Walski’s mind works in mysterious (and strange) ways sometimes. Suffice it to say that picture of the lovely teddy was taken during tea-time. Which is similar to what kind of time Walski had while writing this post...

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