Thursday, June 22, 2006

Malays' neo-feudalism hypermodern inner construct?

Dr Azly Rahman, an academician who holds all sorts of mind-boggling degrees, writes regularly for Malaysiakini. He is notable for using frightening words in his essays that makes you wonder whether your education has been an utter failure, or you’re an intellectual pygmy, or you're suffering from ataxaphasia, or perhaps you have just overeaten more than your share of pulut-nasi-lemak-cum-banana-santan-curry-ish literature. You suffer hours or even days of slow literary digestion.

Anyway, I do read him mainly because I could do with some physical (not mental) exercises - his articles has me scurrying around for various dictionaries all the time. I gather from his string of articles he’s a closeted conservative though he berates (if I use this word incorrectly, well I am not Dr Azly Rahman, so do forgive me) his readers regularly for succumbing to feudalistic brain washing.

He believes that the wayang kulit display of the Ramayana epic or the makyong is a form of neo-feudalistic indoctrination (Jeez, I'm beginning to sound like him) of our minds to genuflect to Rama-like figures, namely kings and political rulers.

However, despite his fondness of stretching to breaking point the limits of my lexical command of the English language, I was attracted to a few paragraph in his latest article titled Neo-feudalism of the cybernetic Malays. Awesome title - see what I mean!

After perilously negotiating through frightening stuff like ‘a manifestation of this neo-feudalism hypermodern inner construct of the Malay’ and ‘the disposition of the neo-feudal Malay mentality that will require a Lacanian (postmodern psycholinguistics) analysis’ we finally and with immense relief arrived at:

In many an analysis of the transformation of the Malay society from the times of the Melaka Sultanate to the emergence of the Malay nationalism we find the conclusion of the idea of a good Malay subject is one who surrenders total obedience to his or her Ruler (the sultan or the Raja). The king is said to be ‘(Allah’s) representative on this earth’ and is thus bestowed with the Divine Rights.

Social status is calibrated based on the sophistication of the signs and symbols of the Malay sultanate. For example, royal awards are presented yearly to those who have demonstrated good service and relationship to the constitutional monarchical system. Upon receiving these awards, some recipients would even be given honorific titles. Many will use their honour to dishonourably gain economic privileges. The notion of the daulat or the ‘divine sanction’ still continues to this day.

The concept of a hero in Malay society is enshrined in Hang Tuah, the most popular symbol of the warrior-class in Malay history; the good ‘polyglot’, the magical-mystical Malay hero who pledged blind loyalty to the Sultan. The image of the warrior-blind loyalist is well-inscribed into the literature and consciousness of the Malays.

Today, enshrined, is the modern-day doctrine of allegiance to the ruler in the form of the Rukunegara or the ‘Principles of the Nationhood’. The myth of Hang Tuah, arguably, together with his friends Hang Jebat, Hang Lekir, and Hang Lekiu has been inscribed into the consciousness of the Malays and forms the foundation of the master-slave narrative.

Though he missed out Hang Kasturi, he seems to have a point somewhere among those awesome words. From the recent Mahathir-Abdullah stoush, we see daily obligatory public expressions of fealty by those who offered themselves as political serfs. Real hair-raising stuff that's just embarrassingly terlampau jeleh (overly obsequious).

Then we see worse, the opposite form of such behavioural construct ;-) of petty officials who think that as 'public servants' they entitled to treat the public as servants.

But sometimes I wish Dr Azly would just say something more succinct and pointedly, like “F**k those corrupt leaders, don’t let them shaft you and your minds”.

Then again, I suppose KTemoc’s language-contruct, unlike Dr Azly's filoselle lexiphanic proclivity, is but a mere sub-stratified deviant-variant that's pseudo-calibrated to the hypo-hoi-polloi-ish construct of deprived-neo-kampong social-linguistic culture that's prone to coprolalia inclination, perceived by neo-Ramayana-like personalities as stercorageous, and hyper-embrangling.

Have I been fustian and magliloquent enough to join Dr Azly's stature?


  1. I read his articles sometimes, because - sometimes - they actually do hark back to some, er, theories, and other times, you know he's just taking the pi$$ by squeezing as many self-important -isms in his articles. Kinda like thumbing his nose at people who actually take him at his word. That's what I think, anyway.

  2. Haha!
    That was a real good one KTemoc!