Articles, Opinions & Views: Opposition to PPSMI - it is about class, not race - 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.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“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."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God

Which must always come to pass

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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Opposition to PPSMI - it is about class, not race - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, February 03, 2020
Malaysiakini : “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”- Ludwig Wittgenstein
COMMENT | The old maverick’s recycled initiative of teaching and learning science and maths in English is of course welcomed. However, its reception by the usually subservient minions of Pakatan Harapan was expected. The prime minister can make audacious demands and policy changes but when he attempts to rock the vote boat, all these jittery cretins are lining up to claim that “this was not discussed in the cabinet”.
As if cabinet discussion did not merely involve the nodding of heads or, as we are told to believe, vigorous discussions which ultimately end with Harapan backtracking or slithering away from any election promise made in the fictional election manifesto. Honestly, the former education minister Maszlee Malik should have been the one making this bold move but instead, the “decent” guy was making other moves. This is the kind of first step move which is justified if the reform of the system was really what Harapan was about.
An important point to remember. The detractors of this move are not afraid of science and maths. Those people are afraid that teaching science and maths in English will open up young minds to a world of possibilities that are at odds with the fascist underpinnings of culture and religion.
To be honest, I am not sure why some Malays would be afraid of such a thing. Non-Malay groups think is evident that “English” has not ameliorated their devotion to whatever cultural and religious dogma they rely on to navigate the fast-changing technological and geopolitical landscape.
Learning sciences and maths in English, the perceived danger is of course that people will move beyond just science and maths and start engaging on a whole other level. Imagine that. The “Mercedes Islam” crowd – shouldn't this be a hashtag or something – would rather have a polity who goes ape manure when a social media influencer is photographed without her tudung than a polity who are inflected by “English” sources which started when they were taught science and maths – the building blocks if you will – in English.
The fact that the prime minister is getting blowback from folks who would usually grovel at his every word and gesture is indicative of what a hot button issue this is. Who implemented this first or who wants to implement it now is not important.
What is important is that power brokers of the day have always folded because they assume that this is an issue that would galvanise whatever opposition they are facing. In other words, they allow those elements who oppose this, including in their own coalition to control the narrative, instead of defining the discourse.
When Harapan “reformers” who are always telling their base to give them more time or understand that there need to be baby steps, for the reform agenda, turn around and trash a good idea, you really have to wonder when this country will turn into one of those “sh*thole” countries Donald Trump likes to ban.
This is not really a race issue. I get why some people may think that. Certainly, the detractors of this policy tart it up as a racial issue, hiding behind the importance of Bahasa Melayu, or is it Bahasa Malaysia, and other racial tropes.
The reality is that this is a class issue. Mainstream Malaysian politics is predicated on sustaining a jingoistic, nationalist but permanently underprivileged Malay base. When politicos talk of rural folks, you have to understand that these are rural folks by design. While rich and middle-income Malays ensure that their children receive an education that would make them competitive in this fast-changing geopolitical landscape, the system is designed to keep “rural” Malays or working-class Malays bereft of the opportunities available to that class of Malays who control or who serve a political system that enables their privilege.
Of course, the kind of class that this system of education engineers makes them perfect as petty mid-level bureaucrats or working-class drones, steeped in religion and racial grievances, using the system at the behest of their political masters always hoping to jump to the next level using corrupt means. A new serf class created post-May 1969. Ironically it is that “class” of Malays who the current PM has contempt for, even though he admits his failures created them. This is what he said in 2002: "They cannot be patient, cannot wait a little. They want to be rich this very moment... no work is done other than to be close to people with influence and authority in order to get something. After selling and getting the cash, they come back to ask for more."
There is a rich dialectic going on in the Malay polity but the religious bureaucracy is used to mitigate the fallout from agitated and agitating groups. The idea of making English verboten is estranging the majority from the minority.
Malay children who came from well to do or even middle-class families have the option of going to religious schools where religion is basically pantomime but where they are exposed to a Western education all under the cover of going to a “religious” school. Then, of course, there are Malays with money who bypass all of that and send their kids to private schools where they can get an education which the “rural” Malays do not get. Then there are those Malays who do not have the money but who understand that their kids need an education which would enable them to compete who send their kids to “Chinese” schools. Meanwhile, urban Malay kids who are lucky enough to attend government schools which, because of their location, cannot get away with the kind of nonsense that the Islamisation process encourages in rural schools.
Non-Malay politicians have no interest in the greater Malay polity because this is not their base. The fabulous Siti Kassim on social media took umbrage with the DAP’s Nga Kor Ming, who claimed that the DAP would leave Harapan if it did not recognise the UEC.
Siti argued that (1), why make this a “Chinese” issue by using the UEC, and (2), that the Islamisation process was a greater threat to Malaysia and why isn't a supposed multicultural party taking this on instead of focusing on communal issues. Besides the UEC is not going to disenfranchise the Chinese community, unlike how educational policies marginalise the Malay community.
The reality is that non-Malay politicos, like the deputy minister Teo Nie Ching not throwing her full support behind such initiatives instead of relying on some procedural hiccup, is because they do not want to be seen as anti-Malay. They do not want to feed into the anti-DAP narratives not only coming from Umno and PAS but from within their own coalition.
Besides, to non-Malay politicians, this issue really does not affect the non-Malays because they have always managed to survive and thrive in a malaise system that is for Bersatu to handle. Why? Because this is mainstream Malaysian politics and the DAP told us that Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Bersatu were needed to court the “rural” Malay vote.
The former deputy education minister, P Kamalanathan, is correct when he welcomes the move but wants consultation with “stakeholders”. This is the pusillanimous game non-Malay politicos play with the Malay power brokers they are attached to. This only means, do not rock the vote boat.
If there is a political will to get this done, it will be done. Unfortunately, nobody wants to disrupt the class-based politics of the majority.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 4:06 PM  
  • At 12:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said…

    The issue was raised by the old man to stir discord and is an old replay of war game. Nothing sincere.

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