Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The demon in us

One of my fave writers, AB Sulaiman, has done it again, with another of his usually penetrating observations in Malaysiakini’s Deficiency in intellectual honesty.

It’s a very well written article, typical of him, and I've picked on one of his points to blog.

He relates to us Utusan’s instigating fabrication in its anti-communist (and anti-Chinese) propaganda through the cartoons of illustrator Hamzah Mohd Amin.

AB Sulaiman tells us that:
Among the most controversial of his [Hamzah Mohd Amin] artwork is a depiction of slant-eyed men in tan-coloured uniforms, waving weapons and forcing a group of Malay-looking (therefore Muslim) people to eat pork.

Sulaiman quotes Hamzah Mohd Amin stating:
"Today's generation does not know the hardships of life during the communist era. I worked to create the drawings a few weeks ago, so that they will be able to picture the cruelty of the communist and why we hate them. Through the drawings, I hope that they will realise the cruelty of the communists and learn from it.”

AB Sulaiman interprets for us the sinister intention of the illustrated fabrications:

The message in turn was clear enough: The standard stereotype that the communists were inflicting untold cruelty on gentle and pious (Malay-Muslim) citizens. The communists were taken as wholly Chinese: so hate the Chinese! Hate the communists! Also, wake up Malays and defend your agama, bangsa dan negara against the marauding Chinese and communists!

Though AB Sulaiman tells us the Utusan’s (and thus presumably UMNO’s) propaganda was “… all hogwash of course,” he added that
“…until the recent past such sentiments were in vogue.”

By “the recent past” AB Sulaiman implies the advent/availability of the worldwide web and its online media, websites and bloggers, etc, and other information exchanging facilities such as Twitter and Facebook, to provide us with alternative views.

Thus “easily available information” is the enemy of liars, propagandists and agitators, and that’s why UMNO and its cronies want to control information.

They were successful in the past by use of various means, including the threat implicit in the PPPA, but today they feel somewhat lost with the new almost-uncontrollable online media - maybe only temporarily until they too emulate and master the West’s wicked media manipulating machinations, where, for example, an Arab assassinating a Westerner or Jew is an evil terrorist Islamic militant while an Israeli assassinating an Arab or even an European or Americans (e.g. Rachel Corrie, Furkan Dogan, Tom Hurndall, Tristan Anderson, Caoimhe Butterly) would be a steely-eyed brave, resolute and brave defender of freedom and democracy or at worst, wasn’t aware of the presence or identity of the person killed.

But I want to add something else, another sad ingredient that facilitates the acceptance of such UMNO-type of hogwash. AB Sulaiman alludes to it subtly but kaytee will specify it bluntly – namely, our innate ethnic prejudice, racial bias or/and bigoted stereotyping.

We want to believe the bad in ‘others’, the worst in ‘them’. It’s not just Malays being biased towards Chinese/Indians but also Chinese thinking the Malays/Indians are the pits, and likewise the Indians vis-√†-vis Malays/Chinese.

With some exceptions, we have become so because (a) we were brought up like so in our remarkable Malaysian environment, (b) we have become captive to our own tribal prejudices, and (c) we have been brainwashed by unscrupulous politicians, teachers, etc.

Just one example - I have written on this one before - picture this movie scene where Pakcik Daud, a silver-hair dignified looking, well groomed, handsomely moustached patrician, immaculate in his evening dress (complete with brown polka-dot cravat), comfortably seated on his magnificent armchair in a beautiful bungalow lounge room (or airy colonial styled veranda), puffing contentedly and contemplatively away on his briar pipe – the patrician thinks carefully before he removes his pipe, waves it in a gentle arc to signal he is about to make a pronouncement, then in his cool soft-spoken and soothing articulation, advises on how to resolve a village issue which has plagued the village multi-ethnic residents. His statement is succinct, considerate, fair, balanced, and compassionate.

Cut away to another scene and you get Ah Chong, the local fat flabby flatulent-ridden grocer, sweating away like a you-know-what, in dirty singlet and shorts and with a dodgy dacing, quarrelsome in his loud raucous argumentative voice, gesturing vigorously and rudely, and hawking once or twice in total arrogant biadap-ish disregard for his customers ...

... and there is Arumugam, the village clown squatting in his dhoti, skinny, unshaven, smelly, sly, sneaky, servile, smarmy, sleazy, picking his nose and speaking in inelegant loud rapid-fire Tamil while expectorating globs of red lime coloured sputum all over ...

Guess in which language movie we would likely see the above scenes?

Don’t worry, there are Chinese and Indian equivalents as well.

The point is: Can we arrest our own prejudice, bias, bigotry and stereotyping?

AB Sulaiman has shown us how he as a Malaysian has dealt with Utusan’s evil fabrications.

So what would you Malaysians do when you read an email circular that indulges in the worst possible lies and biased generalisations to badmouth, for example, Malays/Muslims?

The worst racist demon lies quietly within each of us.


  1. Nice ya KT to pit a Malay like Sulaiman against other Malays.

  2. Shades of BTN!1Malaysia remains a joke and a distant dream unless UMNO bites the dust first!

  3. that's not enough good. we still got living communist red china around. let's suggest that we should boycott china, boycott their goods, boycott their company, boycott their money. let's ban lin dan and deface their political master in our national newspaper too. otherwise, the message is not strong enough to being anti communist ...

  4. only communist country in the world not practising capitalism is North Korea (Cuba is already changing) wakakaka

  5. And they said god creates many tribes with their different languages so that we could learn to love one another ? Or something like that.....? Ah, such BS !

    Guess this god would do better if he had made us all one colour e.g. purpe and practises only one culture and speaks only one language.....then we only need to fight base on class upmanship and intellectual superiority. So much simpler this way. But fight we must, that's why we are human, eh ?

    Btw, with reference to one commentator's remark about KT's supposedly pitting Sulaiman agst the other malays, i failed to see this anywhere in this article. Guess that guy only see things what they WANT to see.

  6. Ktemoc,
    Your beloved Zaid Ibrahim. Why no whacking of Zaid Ibrahim? Sucker of Zaid Ibrahim. Why don't you admit you are wrong? Just admit it! Zaidista! Hahahaha


  7. check this out on google ngram:

    Note the spikes. How's that for propaganda?

  8. Looes74

    We UMNO people knew who Zaid is from the start.
    Flip-flop Din and his fans including you only knew about Zaid's double-face when he deserted PKR.
    I used to post about Zaid in Din's blog. Remember what I wrote when he contested in Hulu selangor?
    And of course after branding me as UMNO cyber-trooper like others whom Din's wife dislike, we were all banished from the blog.
    Din is a hypocrite and a pseudo liberal. I agree with Rocky on the many times he writes about your master Din.
    Whatever, I like Ktemoc for his consistent support of those whom he favor.
    Unlike Din who sometimes praise Najib to the sky. And when some of you condemn Najib, he joined in the chorus.
    Din is nothing but a charlatan who is like his idol the leather king ala King Sodomy.
    Din is always scared of commentators who challenged his thinking.
    And like what Rakantulen (also banished from his blog) said Din's wife is using fake names like Eman, eiz sa, la to codemn us who have differing views from you Anwaristas.