Saturday, September 9, 2023

The Road to Isengard... (revised & revisited)

In Tolkien's classic Lord of the Rings, we see the rustic charm of Hobbit culture theatened with extinction by the encroaching forces of industrialism and militarism, represented by the ceaseless clangor of Isengard (literally, Iron Fortress) under the misrule of the renegade wizard Saruman and his vicious, mindless Orc army.

In Malaysia the closest thing we have to Hobbit culture are the Orang Asli and their deep connection with their verdant ancestral lands. Substitute Saruman with Rais Saniman, Razak Hussein and their Umnoputra technocrats - and we have Mahathir's ominous Vision 2020, which threatens to transform the entire country into one sprawling Silicon Valley devoid of natural vegetation and free-ranging wildlife.

As I write this, the Civil Defence Army is encamped on the open field at the end of Pertak Village. A few days ago the regular army was here too for a one-day exercise in jungle warfare. At night the noise of generators and the glare of fluorescent lights are a grim reminder of the savage stupidity and gross insensitivity of the Orc mindset. Sweet, innocent young men and women are being turned into a robot army serving Sauron's cold-blooded reptilian design.

The incursion of low-grade consciousness into this high-grade environment can be traced to what happened in September 2010, when BN-aligned businessmen initiated a land grab disguised as an infrastructural upgrading project. They spent RM200,000 tarring a "road to nowhere."

The Orang Asli elders I met when I first relocated to Pertak in 1992 possessed residual traces of natural wisdom and they remembered their own tribal myths. Most of them have since passed on, returned to Pulau Buah (the Isle of Fruits or Paradise). The present generation of Orang Asli grew up watching RTM dramas and TV3 news. Not a single Orang Asli household in Pertak Village had access to the Internet until the era of the smartphone. They are, like Felda settlers, constantly subject to government propaganda via their TV sets which serve as the altars from which latter-day peasants may worship the false god of progress.

And "progress" - no thanks to mercenary contractors better at destruction than construction - has indeed come to Pertak Village in the form of speedbumps, streetlights, traffic signs, and cat's eyes embedded in a bitumenized showcase road.

The Chinese bamboo contractor used to send his lorry in to pick up bamboo three or four times a month. Of late the lorry has been roaring through the forest spewing diesel fumes, spoiling the tranquility of the morning, churning up and dropping big chunks of mud, almost every day. Bamboo grows extremely fast, it's true, but I doubt it can survive the present frenetic rate of overharvesting. In a couple of years, with the bamboo groves reduced to stumps, the forest will start losing more and more topsoil, and hillslopes will crumble.

Azreen Zainuddin (photo by Shane Nunis)
Even though they are being grossly exploited by the towkay - who only pays them RM1 (USD22 cents) per 20-foot length - the Orang Asli seem glad to be earning more cash these days. But most of their income goes towards modifying their motorbikes (to make them noisier) and pickling their brains with cheap plonk at RM3 a bottle. Alcoholism has taken a steep turn for the worse since one of the villagers started selling bottled spirits from her house. In the old days they had to travel 8 miles to town to replenish their supply of alcohol - now it's just a 2-minute stagger down the road.

With increased drunkenness comes increased aggression and violence. The younger males have succumbed to the slimy, nefarious influence of JAKOA, the Orang Asli Affairs Department, now essentially an extension of JAKIM (the overfunded Islamic Inquisition) who constantly remind them that they are materially backward compared to other races - and that the only way they can integrate with the modern world is to join forces with their Malay Muslim brothers against the kaum pendatang (migrant communities like the Chinese, Indian, Eurasian and Caucasians).

In recent years there have been more cases of cats and dogs being poisoned or slashed to death by villagers. Overindulgence in alcohol makes the Orang Asli susceptible to temporary bouts of demonic possession during which the most brutal, ignoble and violent aspects of their personalities emerge. This is a crucial part of the insidious work of the JAKOA - to enfeeble the Orang Asli psyche and make them easy prey for government propaganda. Of course, free meals and cash incentives are an important ingredient in the long-term plan to destroy Orang Asli culture and assimilate them into the lowest strata of mainstream Malay society.

Since 3 April 2009, when Najib Razak was appointed crime minister and his ambitious wife Rosmah achieved her dream of becoming the uncrowned Queen of Putrajaya, the psychic atmosphere throughout the country has tangibly deteriorated. A dark cloud of despair and pessimism hangs over the land. Envy, hostility and resentment have further divided communities resulting in greater discord within families. It is as if the soul of the land has been poisoned.

A nation ruled by voodoo can never attain peace, prosperity and harmony. When people no longer know the meaning of integrity and dignity - and lose all reverence for the sanctity of the natural landscape - you can be sure it is headed towards Isengard, a powerful metaphor for hell on earth.

Many continue to do battle against this evil on the political front - but it is a seemingly futile struggle as their own comrades succumb one by one to the poison and turn treacherous. We see this happening with increasing frequency amongst the Harapan Rakyat coalition, especially in the ranks of PAS and Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

Do we give up the ghost and surrender to Sauron? Never! The unbridled lust for money and power is the seed of darkness and deviousness found within each individual who cannot see beyond his or her own physical survival. We have to acknowledge that "evil" is an integral component of our own psyches - it is really just our own id - and the only way we can transcend our own ignoble tendencies is to become whole by embracing a holistic perspective.

We must gain sufficient spiritual maturity to be able to view even the nastiest miscreants as wayward children. The way to deal with wayward children is not to fear or hate them - but to grow into our own adulthood and firmly prevent them from further harming themselves and others. It matters not what game these wayward kids are playing - some are posing as ministers, some as sultans, and others as police officers and triad bosses. Those of us who have the capacity to comprehend the greater evolutionary plan must now step into our full power as Awakened, Conscious Humans focused on realizing our own divine destinies as fractal embodiments of Supreme Intelligence, Love and Wisdom.

In other words, we must reclaim our original sovereignty as kings and queens in exile and accept the scepter of our spiritual power as divine humans. Only the noblest and wisest among us must be allowed to ascend the throne of worldly authority.

That's how we can all get off the road to Isengard and get back on track to manifesting heaven on earth.

[First posted 15 October 2010. Reposted 18 June 2014, 23 May 2015 & 18 September 2016]