Friday, December 19, 2008

More Gibberish: MIC Style

After apparently having his ego bruised from an embarrassing evening of MIC ‘festivities’ at the Klang Executive Club, Samy Vellu is back in the news to offer more of his ‘wisdom’ – which most who attend his MIC gatherings don’t seem to bother with.

Presumably, Samy’s MIC “will recommend to the cabinet that the teaching of Mathematics and Science be reverted to Tamil in line with the wishes and aspirations of Tamil school headmasters and parents.” Do you get the sense that there is a distinct and politically self-serving aspect to this move by the MIC?

I was especially struck by Samy’s statement that referring to parents’ and headmasters’ preference to do so: “We can't impose on them our views. It is a matter that concerns their children and students. As such, we will abide to their request."

Well, well. Is this what you call leadership? Are we for a change appearing to be ‘responsive’ to the wishes of one’s constituency? As much as I’m personally disappointed to see parents and Tamil school authorities expressing a preference which would fundamentally undermine the educational preparedness of these students by further watering down their exposure to English, it seems to me the MIC’s response here especially troubling. This persona of wanting to appear ‘responsive’ to its ‘base’ must not come at the detriment of a deeper responsibility to ensure that children in vernacular schools are ultimately educated to become responsible citizens, who are as best prepared to function competently and competitively in a global community.

If the idea is to have more Tamil instruction, it seems to me one need not convert Math and Science instruction from English to Tamil, one could offer additional Tamil instruction for those interested in it. But the MIC’s desire to push for converting the instruction of these subjects to Tamil is what I call the flawed ‘one size fits all’ response. It is, inherently short-sighted and misguided. What we need, in response to some parents’ request for more Tamil instruction is not to dismantle the teaching of other subjects, but rather to think creatively and implement innovative options and solutions in such vernacular schools. But then again, asking for the MIC to be creative and innovative is like trying to teach a donkey to read; it would be foolish to have such expectations.

Well, we go from one foolish MIC gesture to another hollow attempt to appear effective at representing the interests of Malaysian Indians. We’re to understand from Samy that ‘bureaucratic apathy has hampered the target of achieving a higher percentage of Indian participation in the civil service from the present 3.3 percent.’ To quote Samy himself, “How long is it going to take before we achieve the target of at least seven percent Indians in the civil service as announced by the Prime Minister.”

Well, what can I say…. Doesn’t this essentially constitute another glaring failure of the very regime his party blindly adheres to? I for one loathe the idea of quotas – in all situations. But for the sake of discussion, don’t you think if Samy’s masters in UMNO wanted to ensure the above target was achieved, it would have happened – long ago? Come to think of it, maybe he could have a few of his ‘body guards’ send ‘a message’ to the certain “forces outside there” – as his ‘body guards’ apparently did to the journalist and cameraman from Makkal Osai - that “you are finished” if these so-called ‘forces’ get in the way of implementing the civil service quotas.

This pattern of Samy posturing in public and repeatedly bungling on making any headway in improving the plight of the truly disenfranchised and marginalised has become all too familiar to us.

Perhaps you can see why nobody at the MIC gatherings, such as the one at the Klang Executive Club recently, bother listening to what Samy has to say to them.

They essentially only get a lot of hot air.

G. Krishnan