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Monday, January 24, 2011

AB Sulaiman calls Markom a liar (or a Malay on the Malay Disease)

Here is another Malaysian who called the Johor Education Department director Markom Giran a bare face liar. Not only did AB Sulaiman called Markom a liar for denying he was campaigning for UMNO/BN, he also described what he sees of the Malay Mind.

Article below courtesy of Malayisakini: Markom and the Malay disease:


Markom and the Malay disease

AB Sulaiman
Jan 24, 11

COMMENT One of the saddest things to witness is when government servants perform their public duties in direct conflict with their terms and reference. The recent case of Markom Giran, the Johor Education Department director caught on videocanvassing his teachers to vote for the Barisan Nasional (more pointedly, Umno) in the next election has been one such thing.

NONETo me this is a blatant abuse of authority and power. A responsible public servant should be apolitical, or neutral to any political party. He should instead focus his professionalism, performance of duty and dedication to his career as an educator, and his loyalty to the people at large.

To make this matter worse, Markom has basically resorted to thedenial mode (i.e. lies) when contacted byMalaysiakini. “I did not campaign. I was speaking to my subordinates. It is our right to identify which (political parties) our teachers are supporting,” he reportedly said.

“If they are found to be against the government, we will call them up and send them for courses to let them understand that a government servant should not be against government policy,” he stated further, hinting that it's compulsory and mandatory for teachers to support the government.

His blind and unquestioning loyalty to the ruling Barisan Nasional party coalition (and specifically Umno) is his way of showing his understanding of the country's democratic laws and constitution.

So does his willingness and readiness to lie. So in all likelihood he must have felt satisfied with this denial (and lie), folded his arms in defiance and said to himself 'Now I have done my bit in support of 'agama, bangsa, dan negara'.

Features of ethnocentrism

Markom's fanatical loyalty to Umno reminds me again of the features of the Malay mind, specifically ethnocentrism, that I have articulated in an earlier article 'the Malay problem is the root of the nation's problem'. At the risk of inviting duplication and boredom, I'd mention it again, to wit, that typical Malay mind is ethnocentric. It is a closed mind.

This closed mind has many features and tendencies and I shall mention just four:

One, it tends to be hyperbolic with its own characters and features.

azlanTo illustrate, Markom will be the first to say (i) that the Malay 'race' is the best in the world; and (ii) Islam is the best religion also in the world.

Secondly, this mindset is overly protective of the status quo. His show of active support of the ruling party is a perfect example.

Thirdly, it is very uncomfortable with any movement from the status quo, otherwise known as change. It is afraid of new things. When such new things do come (like in this case, the right of teachers to choose their representative in the political arena) they are rejected.
Fourthly, this mentality tends to have an exclusive idea about things. What this means is that an idea, thing or situation comes in two, either black, or white; right or wrong; either you are for me or you are against me. To this mind there is nothing between black or white.

There are other features and characteristics of ethnocentrism of course and I would not list all of them. But from what has been exposed above it is persuasive to state that it is a mental deficiency. And since it is pervasive in the ketuanan Melayu polity, it can justifiably be termed as the 'Malay disease'.

Indeed columnist Dean Johns in his writing 'Hypocrisy and poxy proxies' has also given this mental condition a label, 'pox populi,' with the possible exception that my label relates to the Malay polity while pox populi refers to impact of the Malay disease to the national polity.

People suffering from the Malay disease to me are pitiful. They have this monistic mind. To them reality consists of one basic substance or element and Markom shows it when he appears to lump many elements (e.g. in his case the government with Umno) into one.

They are incapable of intellectualising. Meaning, they do not have the mental venue and ability to look for alternatives, for the myriad of colours between black and white. To them whatever have been handed down by their elders are right and must be revered and preserved. They inherited Malay culture, so this must be the best culture in the world and must be preserved. Islam is the best religion, so its sanctity must be preserved and protected.

Mainly, they are ever ready and willing to abuse power, and do all sorts to unethical behaviour to preserve the status quo all in the name of the higher ideals of race, religion and the country.

Can there be any cure for this disease? Of course, though a large part of it must come from within the Malay polity itself. There must first be awareness from among the Malay entity of its existence.

Then there must be the awareness that his collective culture is suffering from it. Thirdly, there is the willingness for the collective Malay to go for therapy.

But judging by the attitudes and posture of public servants like Markom the way ahead is not going to be easy and well-meaning Malaysians will have to suffer a bit more from pox populi.

AB SULAIMAN is an observer of human traits and foibles, especially within the context of religion and culture. As a liberal, he marvels at the way orthodoxy fights to maintain its credibility in a devilishly fast-changing world. He hopes to provide some understanding to the issues at hand and wherever possible, suggest some solutions. He holds a Bachelor in Social Sciences (Leicester, UK) and a Diploma in Public Administration, Universiti Malaya.

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