Monday, May 29, 2017

Deconstructing the Rukunegara (revisited)

Malaysia's Rukunegara or "national ideology" was proclaimed on 31 August 1970 and thereafter all schoolkids were compelled to memorize and pledge allegiance to it. I was already a father myself when that happened and so escaped the early indoctrination. In fact, I paid little heed to the Rukunegara, which I perceived as a low-grade set of bureaucratic commandments promulgated for the sole purpose of programming future generations of Malaysians into robotic, unquestioning acquiescence with the status quo.

On 22 January 2009 I stumbled upon the Merdeka Blog (now defunct) and was amused to learn that it was "founded on the principles of the Rukunegara." I guess the blog is operated by post-1969 Malaysians who perhaps spent the first 13 years of their life reciting by rote this piece of utter crap every day in school. I felt compelled to leave a long comment on the Merdeka Blog deconstructing the Rukunegara so these young people could see what an outright sham the notion of a "national ideology" actually is.

This is a slightly revised and expanded version of the comment I left...

My friends, perhaps you guys ought to find something more intelligent on which to base your guiding principles than the Rukunegara, which is actually quite a fascinating package of erroneous assumptions blended with flatfooted stupidity.

Allow me to deconstruct the Rukunegara and you will see why I feel you would be doing yourselves a big favor by outgrowing the severe limitations of accepting such a mental straitjacket.

* BELIEF IN GOD - This is outright dumb! Every culture has a different understanding of what constitutes the divine and the sacred. For some, the rivers, trees and mountains are sacred; for others, a particular book supposedly containing messages from the Supreme Being is considered sacred; for yet others, a human being with kind eyes, overflowing with charisma, is regarded as God.

It’s like telling us it’s okay to believe ANYTHING - as long as you BELIEVE in SOMETHING! How about all the honest, compassionate and generous humans who happen to be students of Consciousness and who do not “believe” in anything - although they are open to all perceptual and sensory inputs and spend considerable time pondering the universal mysteries?

Isn’t it high time humans outgrew the need to BELIEVE? By being more adventurous we can explore and experience an increasingly wider spectrum of reality options. Experience becomes knowing - and knowing can be distilled into wisdom. Belief is quite unnecessary. Belief and blind faith belong in humanity’s early infancy along with all our ancestors’ superstitions founded on fear and ignorance.

* LOYALTY TO KING AND COUNTRY - To be a true King or Queen one must be loyal, first of all, to the physical landscape (which represents the Sacred Feminine or Mother Nature); then to all the people who inhabit the land; and then to universal ideals. It doesn’t work the other way around. Why? Because a true leader has to be far more conscious, more knowledgeable, more farsighted and more mature than all the others in the kingdom or queendom. So, in many ways, the leader has to play the roles of Father/Mother, Brother/Sister and Trusted Friend to the rest of the tribe.

Most people are unable to keep their promises, because they are still immature and have yet to acquire sufficient will power and inner discipline. No use making them swear to anything, because chances are they won’t be able to maintain their oath when temptation comes along. So a mature and wise ruler loves and accepts his or her people exactly as they are; sees them as beautiful children with infinite potential to be tenderly nurtured, and therefore vows to be loyal to them unto forever - because the only reason for a King or Queen to exist is to LOVE AND SERVE THE PEOPLE.

Anyone who thinks otherwise (that is, citizens have a duty to love and prop up their monarchs' inflated egos) has completely missed the point and must therefore be the descendant of usurpers. In short, such myopic leaders are genetically unfit to rule, since they serve only their own vanity and are incapable of seeing (and understanding) the big picture. In short, it is the King (or Queen) who must be loyal to the land and its human (and more-than-human) inhabitants.

* UPHOLDING THE CONSTITUTION - Well, that was the original intention, but Barisan Nasional with its two-thirds majority has repeatedly amended the Federal Constitution to suit its own devious agenda. Now the Constitution is in tatters and is no longer worth "upholding" - unless we restore it to its original state prior to the advent of Mahafiraun Mahathir.

* RULE OF LAW - Hah! I’d like to see those thugs in Umno/BN follow the Rule of Law. They’re so used to Ruling BY Law, they can’t remember what “Rule of Law” actually means! So this one is totally meaningless unless we remove all the samseng and lanun from power, beginning with the scoundrel pictured at right.

* GOOD BEHAVIOR AND MORALITY - Bloody nonsense this one! What’s "good” in the eyes of one person may be "bad” in the eyes of another. There can be no OBJECTIVE SET OF RULES that can apply to everybody. Any attempt to impose such an artificial code of conduct can only breed more crime and hypocrisy and therefore more criminals and hypocrites. What must be encouraged, nurtured and supported is the individual’s internal guidance system - his or her IN-TUITION without which humans will forever be like automatons, controlled by external programs. With the IN-TUITION activated, every individual will ultimately become a Self-Governing Entity or Master. The need for external control and law enforcement will simply evaporate. However, one important prerequisite to self-governance is integrity - which I define as effectively realigning one's private and public personas so that they form a coherent whole, rather than two antagonistic and contradictory polarities.

Some may agree with me in principle but opine that such a process might take generations. I beg to differ. We're in a phase of "accelerated acceleration" in evolutionary terms. What used to occur over millennia, or even millions of years, during the early stages of our evolution as Homo sapiens now happens from one year or month or week - or even day - to the next.

If you find that hard to accept, consider this: back in the mid-1950s a letter sent via surface mail from Malaya to Britain could take 4-6 weeks to deliver. In less than 50 years satellite communications and rapid advances in digital technology can deliver an email or the complete manuscript of a book within a matter of seconds. Computer chips today incorporate nanotechnology which operates at near lightspeed. However, our ways of thinking about social interactions, mass communications and management for the most part remain trapped in an analog timewarp.

I rest my case, friends. Thanks for giving me this opportunity to elaborate.

[First posted 8 February 2009, reposted 7 December 2013]


Implosion said...

I remember reciting the rukun negara in assembly every morning. Always wondered whether it would do me one iota of good in life at all.

It's amazing what our Malaysian education $$$ pays for, isn't it? :)

Gerald Wee Eng Kian said...

Robots following a program will spout these 5 lines during school assembly every day. Kind of like machines reverting to a preset condition before going to "work".

Me and my band of mutants usually make up stuff to shout aloud just to screw with the program. It's usually something inane or derogatory towards an unpopular teacher. I'm glad to say that sometimes the indoctrination just does not take hold no matter what is done. It just makes the mutants fight harder against the system.

So the seed of a rebellious idea usually grows under unrelenting conditions, say the under a hot sun and a humid morning for 5 minutes during Monday morning assembly.

Personally, the rebel program is pretty old. It comes from a time when the sons and daughters of the old creators claimed fire in their hands and made war with their gods. So modern man has both the seed of rulers and the ruled. I see most of the trouble today comes from one of these old programs becoming stronger than the other.

There is the 3rd seed in all men. The seed of self rule. This one is harder to find and grow. Digging mine up has been an interesting adventure to say the least.

Anonymous said...

A fine critique, Antares. I am particularly drawn to your statement on how a true "ruler" should first of all demonstrate wise stewardship of the ecology — a flagrantly neglected fundamental.

I attempted to convey a similar "land ethic", in verse, in one of my posts (a Merdeka-day post) intended as a put-down of the mono-ethnic bumiputera concept.

I thought I'd share.

Bila mana tanah perang bumi yang kita pijak
Arus alir laut sungai, hembus dingin kabus udara
Flora fauna hutan jati rimbanya

Mengenal, membelah bahagi, memilih kasih
Menurut kaum, kulit, ideologi atau agama?

Apa dia erti "bangsa" baginya?

Kerana sesungguhnya bumi ini cuma
Menyayangi dia yang menyayangi bumi ini

Inilah hukum tanahair kita
Ini sajalah terasnya
Dan ini kekal abadi.

Starmandala said...

Implosion - All "education" systems (not just the Malaysian) were set up for the sole purpose of molding & formatting young minds to conform with the social & political order of the day. It's my firm conviction that we are best served by allowing our young to choose their own educational curricula & their own mentors. Even as a babe-in-arms, I could detect differing degrees of intelligence amongst the adults who carried me. My godfather, the late Dr Peter Tong Kwok Kee, was the first luminous intelligence I encountered. I recall that it was he who pointed out the stars to me when I was but a few months old & made me aware of the larger universe.

Gerald - Very true what you say!

Pak Sako - What a noble soul & kindred spirit you are! You have made me very keen to make you a cup of coffee or tea & befriend you in real life. Yes, I share your understanding that the ecology of the land, our tanahair, precedes vegetable, animal & human life itself. Therefore, it is the foundation for our very existence & must be acknowledged & cherished as such. Furthermore, I am of the opinion that it is the morphogenetic field of the earth that generates specialized & differentiated forms through which to experience & celebrate itself. Each bioregion will manifest its own deva/devi as Guardian or Tutelary Spirit; it is this Guardian Spirit that incarnates into embodiment to serve as the King or Queen of the land, or its conscious nucleus & protector. I have explored this concept in greater detail here.

Starmandala said...

P.S. Pak Sako, beautiful poem, thank you! :-)

Azer Mantessa said...

I wonder what was their reaction ... hahahaha

Good posting though in some ways, I may not agree BUT that's the point ... everybody has own reality due to where one stand on looking from different angles.

Since i myself have my own kind of reality (which might not real to some people) ... one of my Rukun Azer is :

Feel everthing surrounds me and make a song out of what I feel. Everything deserve a song and you have yours (out of how I feel).


Anonymous said...

Little reasons of why it is used:

Thanks for your comments. I appreciate your input and agree with most of your comments. Please allow me to share with you my thought of keeping the Principles as reminders to the Kings, the MPs and the rakyat. The main objective is to bring out the picture that there are STILL principles and rules that each one of us should follow in Malaysia. I believe that a lot of the Y.B.s do not even bother of practicing the principles in spite of the strong enforcement of teaching the Principles to the elementary school students.

My understandings on Rukun Negara are as follows:

* BELIEF IN GOD - Though each culture or individual may have different interpretations of the sacred and divine one, one is free to choose his/her belief. For instance an atheist chooses to believe that god does not exist. Therefore with “Belief in God” being one of the Principles, it means the rakyat should respect each other’s beliefs, i.e. freedom of religion. One should neither be forced to believe a religion nor to follow the practices of another religion. However, I believe that a true believer in god should “truthfully” believe in his/her god, rather than unwillingly accept a particular belief system or selectively choose the “preferable belief” out of the belief system.

* LOYALTY TO KING AND COUNTRY - Totally agree with you. By stretching this principle, I hope everyone would know what to expect from the Kings and how a true King should be. I would say one good King example is the next sultan of Perak: D.Y.T.M. Raja Muda Perak. As far as ‘Loyalty to Country’, Malaysia is our root since it is our born place. Hence being loyalty to the nation should be the basic principle to keep as a citizen.

* UPHOLDING THE CONSTITUTION - Can’t agree with you more. That is why we need a bipartisan system in the parliament. Having the opposition party serving as a watchdog over the ruling party holds the one in control accountable. No more BN’s or indeed UMNO’s 2/3 majority. A 23-year of “immortal” Pharaoh Mahathir system is more than enough for our beloved country.

* RULE OF LAW - This principle has becomes meaningless because of the “useless” M.P.s who have destroyed the country’s judicial system gradually. The pathetic, worthless, irresponsible government officials should be condemned for violating the Rule of Law. The rakyat deserves every opportunity to live up to his/her greatest potential. A double standard practice should long be abolished and those who uphold the barbaric actions in the modern age should be shameful of themselves.

* GOOD BEHAVIOUR AND MORALITY - One of the indispensable practices in a multi-racial, multi-belief country - respect one another. This could be done through a good education system.

Anonymous said...

oh, as a summary message:

To all(including the kings and leaders): Do what you say, say only what you do. Everyone is under the constitution and rule of laws.

Starmandala said...

Azer - You are indeed a gentle, musical soul :-)

Merdekablog - Thank you for responding & for inspiring this blogpost. Warmest regards & keep up the spirit!

Anonymous said...

Finally, someone with brains and guts to say it

Anonymous said...

honestly i think this article is more of a sophistry than solid argument. i for one cannot subscribe to the fact that NO OBJECTIVE SET OF RULES can be applied to everybody in terms of behaviour and morality. if relativism is all there is to life, then slapping your mum can mean loving her as long as you think so. without the objectivity in the code of conduct, good and bad behaviour give no meaning at all. killing people can also be justified if it is in their interest. the world will be in haywire.

there are a number of things i beg to differ here but i guess people won't care to read anyway. all in all i just feel that you are imposing your own objectivity to other people.

thank you

Anonymous said...

I only questioned the Rukun Negara few days ago after what happened in Perak.

Loyalty should not be expected but should be earned.

Starmandala said...

Anon @ 11:01AM - Appreciate your appreciation, thanks! :-)

Jet - Nothing to argue about really. I'm just airing my views, that's all.
That's what blogging is all about. Airing & sharing of thoughts, feelings & opinions - none of which anyone is required to accept as gospel. We each have different life experiences that color our perceptions. Numerologists inform me that my life path number is 5 -
which represents flexibility & freedom. Those are important values to me, perhaps not to you. If your mother happens to be a wicked witch who murders her rivals, I'd think the least a good son would do is to give her a few tight slaps (if only to shock her into waking up & realizing what she's done). FYI the world is already gone haywire - things can only improve as more of us wake up & accept conscious responsibility for our behavior & beliefs. Think about it:
murder & genocide are being routinely committed on a massive scale by human-looking agents of powerful vested interests (killing a few million in Iraq & Afghanistan, another few thousand in Palestine, several hundred thousand in the Congo...) - that's right, they all wear expensive suits & meet in plush boardrooms when they make these lethal decisions.

Anon @ 10:07PM - Better late than never! You're right, loyalty & respect cannot be obtained at gunpoint.

Knights Templar said...

Well Argued ... TotALLY sPEECHLESS ...

Anonymous said...


Once again you are dead on target. Only those without brains and therefore cannot think for themselves will follow blindly.

I promise myself that I will not allow my offsprings to be such lambs for slaughter.


Yoon Kit said...

The Rukunegara may not be what you think it is: