Yes, Walski’s been away for quite a bit. Partly on vacation (more about that in a separate post), and partly because Twitter has taken over much of his spare time. Micro-blogging is instantaneous, and gets one’s thoughts out faster, despite the 140-character per pop limitation (although there’s always Twitlonger).
In any case, despite not having the opportunity to blog for a while, it doesn’t mean that Walski’s mind has not been heavily laden with thoughts. So, he thought that he should just get on with posting this, without delay.
To say that Malaysia is going through a period of conservative resurgence would probably be an understatement. Too many instances to comprehensively mention, but this more recent news report kinda highlights what Walski means.
Another related report (also from The Malaysian Insider) tells us more about this new right-wing coalition of NGOs. No surprise that Perkasa is part of this new right wing-nut grouping. But guess who else is part of the 50-some NGO grouping? Cuepacs – the Civil Service Workers Union.
Now we know why Cuepacs is so concerned about “female dominance” (via The Star) in the workplace – they’re part of the ultra-conservative demographic as well. And from this latest news, part of the anti-competition movement.
As a friend mentioned on Twitter recently, “Uncompetitive ppl are worried about liberal economic policies”. And these uncompetitive conservative, who only care for themselves, want to drag the entire nation down to their uncompetitive abyss.
(accelerating regression, and more, in the full post)
More and more, Najib’s 1Malaysia concept is sounding like nothing more than empty rhetoric. And sloganeering. The reality is more like one-Malaysia-for-every-self-interested demographic. What’s worse is that it’s people in the government itself, and UMNO, who are derailing 1Malaysia.
The only person to take the stage was the quite sizeable Umno secretary Rauf whilst the Umno Youth exco members also fielded questions from the floor. I wasn't eavesdropping but the booming voices – especially those of Rauf and one Umno Youth member by the name of Megat – made it quite easy to make out the racist remarks which were spilling out of their primary orifice.
In his rant, Rauf called non-Malays 'bangsa asing' who were trampling on the Malays in 'Tanah Melayu'. I remember a direct quote, 'Jangan biarkan bangsa asing pijak kepala kita' as though the non-Malays were interested in little else than seeing Malays fail for their sinister, selfish goals.
There was also a vigorous defense of Nasir Safar's recent comments against non-Malays which branded non-Malays as beggars and prostitutes. According to one Umno Youth exco member present, those comments were not at all racist but quite contrarily 'just facts'. My oh my, I saw a Chinese couple next to me trying to tune out the words and focus on their meals.
Throughout the session, non-Malays were treated as the enemy and whilst they did praise Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, there was no mention of '1Malaysia', unity or multiracial nation- building.
Who needs enemies when you have friends like these, eh?
So just what kind of Malaysia can we hope to see in the near future? Going by the increasingly vocal right-wingnuts, definitely not one that embraces the 1Malaysia concept.
And not just conservative from an economic perspective either. Socially, we can expect life to get more restrictive. Today, Utusan published a scathing editorial that can best be described as gay-bashing (full article in PDF here, emphasis and translation by myAsylum).
Sama ada disedari atau tidak, di Malaysia, golongan tersebut semakin berpengaruh. Pengamal homoseksual yang kononnya punya merit, akan diangkat sebagai hero. Berdasarkan kajian tertentu, golongan berkenaan sanggup melakukan apa sahaja bagi mempertahankan kehidupan homoseksual termasuk sesiapa yang menjadi ikon mereka.
Whether it is realized or not, in Malaysia, they are becoming more influential. Homosexuals who supposedly have merit will be regarded as heroes. Based on certain studies, these people will do anything to protect their homosexual lifestyle, including whomever that becomes their icon.
Awang sudah tidak larat mendengus dan menggeleng kepala apabila mendengar 1001 cerita tentang gejala tersebut di tanah air ini. Kalau dibongkar habis-habisan, pasti ia lebih menggerunkan. Mungkin sama dahsyat dengan keadaan di Uganda. Cabarannya, berapa banyak lagi yang kita tidak tahu tentang gejala tersebut. Lebih mengganggu fikiran Awang ialah musibah apa yang bakal menanti kita jika fenomena homoseksual ini sudah tidak terbendung?
Awang can’t stand snorting and shaking his head any more when he hears the 1001 stories about this phenomenon. Delved into deeper, it is surely more horrifying. Maybe as bad as in Uganda. The challenge is that there is a lot we don’t know about this phenomenon. More disturbing for Awang is what disaster awaits us if this homosexual phenomenon becomes uncontrollable.
(full editorial [in Bahasa Malaysia] here)
Incidentally, the reference to Uganda has to do with the fact that an Anti-Homosexuality Bill was introduced in October 2009, that if enacted would “broaden the criminalization of homosexuality by introducing the death penalty” for persons with previous convictions (via Wikipedia). Two strikes, you’re out. Permanently.
Walski wonders if Awang Selamat aspires that Malaysia follows suit… It doesn’t take a genius to figure out, however, that while this clearly a gay-bash editorial, it’s politically motivated. Sodomy 2 ongoing and all, ya know?
And it’s not just same-sex sexual orientation that Utusan has a beef with. Other aspects of today’s social life, too, have been attacked, perhaps considered by our home-grown ultra-conservatives to be “undesired” alternative lifestyles.
Earlier this week, mixed marriages came under the scrutiny of this right-wingnut newspaper. Particularly those involving couples one half of which are non-Malaysian. Whom did Utusan choose to quote? None other than Mr. #yorais himself. Like he’s an authority on the subject (emphasis and translation by myAsylum).
Golongan muda termasuk kalangan artis diingatkan supaya berfikir 'beribu kali' sebelum memasuki gerbang perkahwinan campur kerana kajian menunjukkan kejayaannya hanya 3:10.
The young, including artistes, are reminded to think "a thousand times" before entering into a mixed marriage because research has shown that the success rate is merely 3 in 10.
Menteri Penerangan, Komunikasi dan Kebudayaan, Datuk Seri Dr. Rais Yatim berkata, kajian ilmiah yang dilakukan oleh beberapa ahli sosiologi di negara ini antara 1995 hingga 1998 mendapati dalam setiap 10 perkahwinan campur, hanya tiga berjaya.
Minister for Information, Communication and Culture, Datuk Seri Dr. Rais Yatim said, an academic study conducted by several sociologists in the country between 1995 and 1998 showed that in every 10 mixed marriages, only 3 succeeded.
Malah, kata beliau, kegagalan perkahwinan campur amat ketara apabila melibatkan pasangan dari kalangan warga kulit putih atau mat saleh.
In fact, he said, the failure of mixed marriages was obvious when it involved white skinned people, or "mat saleh".
(full "report" [in Bahasa Malaysia] here)
First off, what business is it of a minister to dictate such things as choice of marriage partners? And what is Utusan driving at with this editorial-in-news-clothing type of report – Aryan-purity type of race ideals?
Another thing that’s symptomatic of how out-moded some of our ministers are – the reference to a “study” that’s over 10 years old. Yo Rais! – this ain’t 1998 anymore, in case you haven’t noticed. Here’s an example of true mixed marriage stories from THIS century, if you really are interested (courtesy of Unscientific Malaysia), including the ones involving “white skinned” people.
It must be said, however, that reading through the Utusan editorial-in-news-report-clothing, there is an inherent built-in male bias when it comes to some of our country’s rules and regulations. Like the bit about citizenship being “dependent on fatherhood, and not on motherhood" ("Ini disebabkan taraf kewarganegaraan dalam Seksyen 16 dan 17 Perlembagaan Persekutuan adalah terasas pada pertimbangan kebapaan dan bukannya keibuan").
It is a fact, however, that conservative (and patriarchal) societies the world over do put women on a slightly lower rung in the social food chain. The difference is that in Malaysia, we’re seeing more of it as time passes – quite the opposite of trends elsewhere.
Remember the Cuepacs fears of “female dominance” Walski mentioned earlier? It so happens that Berita Harian is running a survey related to this fear, and the way it’s been worded can only be described as misogynist.
Okay, admittedly the above is a bit of an eye-test. The survey question reads:
Sistem penyampaian awam akan tergendala apabila ramai wanita menjawat jawatan kanan dalam pentadbiran awam berbanding lelaki.
The public delivery system will be interrupted when many women hold senior posts in the public sector compared to men.
If you find the phrasing of the survey question (where you’re expected to respond either Agree, Disagree, or Abstain) insulting, the results to-date are equally disturbing: 65.7% of the respondents actually agree! Walski wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if some of these who agreed were women themselves, judging by what was reported in an article from The Nut Graph, “Women can’t become menteri besar?”, quoting Perak state ex-co member Datuk Hamidah Osman.
And let’s not even get Walski started on the syariah caning of the 3 women last month, done in secrecy – something that Walski actually doubts even happened, truth be told. But we’ll leave that mystery for another post.
All this is merely scratching the surface. What’s clear is that conservatism has reared its ugly head and it’s fast gaining ground in Malaysia. Which leads us to the question: where is Malaysia headed?
The title of this post, in fact, seems to hold part of the answer – if conservatism continues to color the demands of pressure groups, which of late the BN/UMNO government tends to pander and succumb to with increasing regularity. That, coupled with the increasingly incompetent policy-making bravados exhibited by governmental bodies (the 2-tiered petrol price fiasco being the most recent).
It’s a perfect storm, it seems like – growing conservatism within the ruling body politic, coupled with conservatism from religious and other pressure groups, and a ruling party owned media body to complete this almost unholy trinity.
Worse than going nowhere is Walski’s fear that Malaysia is actually regressing. Is it not time for us to do something about it?