Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Signs of genuine absurdity

Perhaps you read about one Raja Munir Shah and a bunch of other Umno members who filed a petition to protest the Penang state-government’s efforts to put up multi-lingual sign boards in parts of Penang. Apparently these parochial nativists and seemingly self-professed experts on the constitution are concerned about the marginalisation of the supremacy of Bahasa Malaysiaas enshrined under the Federal Constitution.’

Wow, it didn’t dawn on me that these sign boards must really be a serious threat to the vitality of the national language! Now this is what I call Umno’s ability to really deal with the issues that matter. Can you imagine what we might regress into if these multi-lingual signs go up in some parts of Georgetown? Why can’t the rest of us see such threats to our national language? Now I hope you get a better appreciation of why Umno is so imperative to our national well-being.  Note that it wasn’t Keadilan, PAS, DAP or even the other Barisan component parties that envisioned the serious threat that multi-lingual sign boards pose for the vitality of Bahasa Malaysia. Only members of Umno can foresee such pressing and impending concerns. This is their genius.

So it’s about time you cynics and critics of Umno stopped criticising Umno or even making fun of some of the brilliant and visionary ideas that surface from within one or another element of the Umno machine. Indeed, in the spirit of the concern expressed by the likes of Munir Shah and others within the party, I want to propose some other related initiatives that will hopefully further eliminate measures which have seemingly significantly threatened the supremacy of Bahasa Malaysia. After all, we wouldn’t want to endorse practices that undermine the constitution, would we? Right, I didn’t think so.  Then, here goes….

First, I want to echo their sentiment and propose the Umno-led regime stop backing the English language newspapers that operate as mouth-pieces (or so it seems) of the regime. Now does that not make equally good sense? After all, why should the government be encouraging the use of the English language – yes, the very language of our former colonisers – as such publications would only detract from Malaysians’ propensity to read Malay language publications? Come on, Munir Shah! Bring your motley crew of stooges and let’s march to Putrajaya and demand that the government stop its sponsorship to those English newspapers under its control.

Hey, we ought to also shut down government news broadcasts that are in English or any other ‘foreign’ language! Now how could we have gone on for so long in this manner without recognising that the reason Malaysia continues to lag in international competitiveness is because of the damage we have inflicted on the supremacy of Bahasa Malaysia. Shut down those English news broadcasts and, for that matter, those English language programs that clutter out air waves, corrupt the minds of our young by filtering the disgusting English language into our living rooms!!

My, my! Did I forget about the books in our schools and universities? Well, shame on me. Yes of course – where is the education minister on this matter? As a matter of fact, let’s take the logic of the aforementioned Umno enthusiasts to its logical conclusion: why on earth should government resources be spent on non-Bahasa Malaysia publications for our libraries? What a travesty of the Federal Constitution that has been, to have systematically undermined the national language by funding public libraries at our government universities where non-Bahasa books are acquired and catalogued. Yes, from the standpoint of the logic of some of these Umno characters, such practices are not only not consistent with the Federal Constitution, they’re an utter waste of public funds! Please, some sensible Umno member, please SMS the good minister of education, e-mail, even make an old fashion phone call, but let’s not allow such anti-nationalistic practices, which compromise the supremacy of Bahasa Malaysia to go on any longer.  

Oh, goodness. Perhaps we need some kind of a blanket law to curb the use of any languages aside from Bahasa Malaysia in any official government initiated policies, measures, projects (like road signs!), and such. In fact, government officials should not give speeches in any language aside from Bahasa Malaysia. Yes, let’s make sure Samy Vellu (the head of a government party), for example, only makes public addresses in Bahasa Malaysia. (What a glorious sight that shall be, eh?) And all other government aligned party heads and those holding government posts should follow suit. Now that would be doing the right thing by our constitution.

Who needs constitutional scholars when we have brilliant minds like that in Umno. Yes, I hope you see what an important role people like Munir Shah and his ilk who are the blood that flows in Umno’s veins are all about. They’ve brought us novel ideas in the past and, by this most recent hullaballoo about multi-lingual signage, as sure as the sun will rise from the east tomorrow, we can count on more of such profound and mind-blowing ideas to move this nation forward.

Absurd you say? Well, the inspirational signs are all there in the annals of Umno.    

G. Krishnan