Articles, Opinions & Views: Maszlee's resignation: Harapan doesn't want to rock the indoctrination ministry - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy


 
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“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

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“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
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Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God


Which must always come to pass

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He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?


Have you always turned the other cheek?


To My Church have you been true?"


"No, Lord, I guess I ain't


Because those of us who carry guns


Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around


Except to calm their fears.


If you've a place for me here,


Lord, It needn't be so grand,


I never expected or had too much,


But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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Maszlee's resignation: Harapan doesn't want to rock the indoctrination ministry - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, January 04, 2020
Malaysiakini : “If you're going to say what you want to say, you're going to hear what you don't want to hear.” ― Roberto Bolaño, 'The Insufferable Gaucho'
COMMENT | The resignation of Maszlee Malik as the minister of education has brought out huge helpings of schadenfreude amongst a certain section of social media. In his resignation speech, Maszlee listed all the positive things his ministry had accomplished and perhaps they are valid but what has clouded the issue is his adherence to mainstream racial and religious narratives which is the agenda of all mainstream politicians.
This made him the whipping boy of a certain segment of Malaysian society because our education system for decades has been a petri dish for the worst excesses of racial and religious politics. When Maszlee linked the matriculation quota to a Mandarin-speaking requirement of certain jobs, he more or less buried whatever was left of his credibility. Partisans were quick to point to the “bigoted” nature of his comment and Penang Deputy Chief Minister P Ramasamy – the conscience of Pakatan Harapan – commented on Maszlee behaving like an Umno clone, missing the point that the whole system was corrupted and Harapan did not really have an agenda to change it.
Systemic discrimination in the public and the private sectors is not mutually exclusive. Talking about the discrimination of the quota system and the discrimination in the private sector, either overt or crypto, is not something that can, and should be, had separately. It is part of the grander, systemic dysfunction brought upon by years of governmental and commercial manipulation.
I may not believe in that mythical "social contract" but an argument could be made that the social contract of discrimination and racism is a social contract between political and commercial interests.
Some people have this misconception that I am an advocate for vernacular school education. Nothing could be further from the truth. While I do not think that vernacular schools create friction between the various communities in Malaysia, I do think that that they do not add anything to fostering ties especially amongst young people of different ethnicities.
My critics like to play this game. They say that what someone like Perlis mufti Asri Zainul Abidin is advocating (for instance that he wants to ban vernacular schools) is an attempt to create national unity. This is complete horse manure. Look at the context - religious and racial – of these proponents of banning vernacular schools.
Two points. One, I do not want to ban vernacular schools. Parents should be free to send their children to schools where they believe they will not be exposed to bigoted or racists ideas of the state. Two, I want to make national schools secular bastions where money is spent on improving education opportunities for all Malaysians and where educational policy is in step with the rapidly changing geopolitical and technology-driven landscape.
Many in the far right who want to ban vernacular schools want to Islamise national schools and this nonsense that non-Malays will not be affected is pure hogwash. The very fact that you use religion to differentiate students makes it impossible for them to discover the commonality in their young lives.
When these bigots use other countries as examples of cultural assimilation, they conveniently leave out the fact that in those countries there are no constitutional provisions that are used to discriminate citizens based on race and religion and therefore a quota system is needed to ensure racial and religious supremacy.
In other words, they say speak our language, use our names but remember we the "true natives" of this land entitled to everything. The quota system is there for us and you are second-class citizens.
The reality is that what national schools do, after years of failed policy, is create friction between the various races. I am sympathetic to parents who send their children to vernacular schools or as is the case now, to private schools, to escape the racial and religious interference that national school education entails.
Some of my critics think I am anti-Islam especially when I write, say, “religious and racial” interference. The truth is that while Islam is the main factor, I am against any kind of “cultural” or “religious” groupings in schools. I think “Hindu”, “Christian” or whatever else religious associations in schools, detract from consensus-building amongst young people.
While P Gunasegaram’s article advocating secularism was aimed at Maszlee and the Islamisation process, it applies to all forms of cultural and religious indoctrination. As he says, “So, let’s get on with educational reform. The first step would be to make it secular. Religious education can only be an adjunct to education, not its totality. The body of knowledge in education anywhere cannot be dictated by religion, but must be scrupulously kept areligious.”
Really, if you want your children to learn about culture and religion, do it at home. School should be a place where children are free from these types of constructs and a place to explore ideas instead of having race and religion always shoved down their throats.
But it would idiotic of me to think that the religion of the state does not have the most influence and is the bigger impediment to consensus-building in national schools. This is why Maszlee’s Yadim initiative is by far the most egregious of his transgressions. Read Malaysiakini columnist Fa Abdul’s piece on what she and he son went though and tell me, if you are a Malaysian parent – forget about race and religion – you would want to go through that, hence vernacular or private education is the only option for you.
This is what the circular approved by Maszlee stated - "The permission to carry out Rakan Siswa Yadim (activities) is dependant upon the permission of the institutions and/or schools, and is limited to Muslim students who want to participate voluntarily." Does anyone really believe it would be up to the students? As it is, parents who do not want their students to participate in this would invite pressure from the schools. Now, you could say why should I, a non-Malay, care what happens to Malay students? But isn’t this the point of the religious agenda? Make the non- Muslims differentiate from their Muslim brethren? To not interfere in religion merely means to separate oneself from the majority.
However, non-Malay politicians also play the same racial game. The counternarrative to all this Islamisation in national schools is not arguing for secularism but rather bolstering vernacular schools as a means to garner votes. The big question has always been how much effort and money have non-Malay politicians put into the development of Chinese and Indian schools?
I have no idea if Maszlee is a decent guy. Decency is not a prerequisite for anyone who truly wants to reform the system. I have no idea if the seat was too hot for him. A reformer defines the position, not the other way round.
I do know that Maszlee was just like any other mainstream Malaysian politician and unfortunately, there are more like him to choose from.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 10:14 AM  
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