Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Emperor is Exposed

It has become one of the hallmarks of the Umno method: act first, and maybe think it over later. The latest example of this is of course most evidenced by the handling of the Allah controversy.

By now, much ink, and not to mention keyboard strokes, has been expanded in revealing the absurdity of the ban on the use of Allah by non-Muslims. The mere politicization of the issue from the very inception of the ban illustrates the mockery it made of the issue. But it also reveals precisely this propensity to act – and only then (maybe) ponder the absurdity of its actions.

How exactly could a responsible government – not to mention in a multireligious country - even issue such a ban if it had put even some modicum of sensible thought into realizing how preposterous this would be. But of course a responsible government, where perhaps there was a strong commitment to inter-faith dialogue, would be aware that the Sikh’s holy book has numerous references to Allah in its text. And perhaps even more Malaysians across the board might know this fact.

But of course that would only be possible if we had a government which was not hell bent on building walls of ignorance between us and repeatedly isolating us from each other in practically all facets of our daily lives. The religious isolation between the different faiths is only a microcosm of the wider isolation we seem to experience in our daily lives. Our wonderful Umno regime’s schemes have got us socializing and playing less with each other, sitting less along-side each other, living in increasingly segregated communities, working less with each other, eating less alongside and with each other… the list goes on and on.

So is it any wonder that the regime acts on a politically motivated religious ban without a sufficient – let alone thorough – understanding of other religions? And isn’t this utterly incompetent handling of the matter now being only further aggravated and compounded by further politicization of the matter by this latest twist of a dual so-called ‘east-west’ Malaysia policy on the ban?

Of course we’ve seen numerous other instances of such Umno practices. Just in recent past, we’ve had flip-flops on the language medium in schools, the number of subjects students may take or not take, and whether English should/should not be a compulsory subject…. These flip-flops are all too familiar to us and again reveal the lack of competence; which then only serves to further exacerbate the need to disguise that incompetence (and the other corrosive qualities such as the chronic corruption and patronage system) with more religiously and racially-laden distractions.

It seems strikingly clear that everywhere we look, the Umno regime has, in its policies, been reinforcing a divide between us while conveniently espousing the same old rhetoric of unity, harmony, pluralism and such flowery but otherwise hollow words to Umno.

Amazingly, this flip-flop, as demonstrated now with an ‘east-west’ Malaysia Allah policy, actually reveals that Umno really isn’t even very savvy anymore at its own game. Or maybe the rest of us are waking up and realizing the Umno game.

Either way, the emperor is being exposed.

G. Krishnan