Saturday, May 26, 2012

Shooting ourselves in the foot (over and over again)...

Biro Tatanegara (or the National Indoctrination Bureau) was established in 1974 during Tun Razak's tenure. But it took around ten years to evolve into the sinister operation that has been getting a load of negative publicity in recent days.

The fact that BTN is an adjunct of the Prime Minister's Department makes it a convenient mechanism for the systematic dissemination of the official doctrine throughout the rank and file of the civil and diplomatic services. BTN also ensures that the academic bureaucracy adheres to Umno's official doctrine of Ketuanan Melayu and loyalty to the government.

Some who have been processed through the BTN experience and survived with their minds intact and independent report that the BTN's agenda is insidiously racist and deliberately divisive. Unthinking conformity is what the Biro Tatanegara is really all about.

The desire to imprint the rulers' ideology on all subjects is a hallmark of every patriarchal society. After all, the words "pattern" and "paternal" share the same etymology, namely, issuing from the Pater or Father.

And isn't it true that every Father wants his children to be, above all, obedient? The Old Testament - specifically, Genesis - portrays disobedience as the Original Sin.

Fast-forward to the Digital Era where being at the cutting edge requires thinking out of the box, an adventurous and innovative spirit, and a willingness to break the rules.

Where do our BTN graduates stand in the 21st century world of instant communications and nanotech? You can invest billions in an artificial city called Cyberjaya - but, unless you import all the talent, you're not going to find many innovators emerging from local institutes of learning.


In the first place, genuflecting before your social superiors is hardly conducive to nurturing creative genius. Don't forget Tuan is a contraction of Tuhan - and a culture that compels an individual to submit to God will always extend that compulsion to submitting before God's representatives on Earth, namely the Monarchs.

Talented and inspired brainiacs like Steve Jobs (CEO of Apple Computers), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (founders of Google), and Mark Zuckerberg (originator of Facebook) aren't the type who can handle too much protocol - unless you're referring to computer protocols.

Indeed, a distinguishing feature of cybernetic wizards is their disdain for red-tape and formality. Imagine the fun the pioneers of IT had naming everything from scratch. How did they come up with "mouse" for the device with which you navigate the screen? Or a name like Yahoo! for an all-purpose portal?

Let's say you're the Sultan of Selangor and you're accustomed to being addressed formally as Duli Yang Maha Mulia Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Al-Haj ibni Almarhum Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Al-Haj (best to leave out the interminable list of honorary titles).


So what happens when the Sultan becomes IT savvy and buys himself a Macbook? He's going to be using email and you can't possibly have such an unwieldy name in your email address. He could shorten it to sultan_idris@istana-selangor.my or perhaps even idris@istana-selangor.my - and in so doing he would be dispensing with cumbersome formality. In all probability, he would write in normal language when sending emails to his buddies, instead of adhering to traditional court language. Indeed, if he were to try his hand at internet chat, he'd probably want to conceal his royal status with a funky nick like "nicerichboy" or "hrh1."

This is what happens when human consciousness shifts from analog to digital mode. Traditionalists may scorn the way kids today have murdered language by coming up with SMS terms like :-) or LOL or 2moro or CU. But you have to admit there's a certain appeal in adopting newfangled computer symbols like @ or signing off with an ASCII heart, thus: <3 - and, as these new memes spread like some species of computer virus, the near-lightspeed movement of binary codes and pixels across the planet's fiber-optic highways swiftly creates a far more egalitarian social template than any theory of human evolution could ever have predicted. That's why I always ROTFLMAO whenever I hear potato-headed politicians like the education and communications ministers urging Malaysians to be "more innovative" and to prepare themselves for the rapid shift to "a knowledge-based economy."

You guys wouldn't recognize a creative genius even if one snuck up and poked you playfully in the butt. I bet you didn't realize a lot of creative geniuses look just like that troublemaker Namewee @ Wee Meng Chee whose citizenship you once wanted to revoke because he "insulted" the national anthem (as though a song could possibly be offended by some 23-year-old rapper doing an off-the-wall cover version of it).

Well, if that's what you really want, you're really gonna regret it when you finally get it, Messrs Muhyiddin and Rais. Do you know why? Because no creative genius will give a fuck how much you paid for your silk ties nor will they be too impressed by all the guff that issues from your political mouths. Keep the population dumb and conformist with your goddam BTN, if you wish to enjoy your VVIP status and your ridiculous robber baron perks. But don't you dare lament the fact that Malaysia has been left way behind every other country.

Up till now you've had it good siphoning off our collective wealth with all the natural resources the land has produced - and things got even sexier when oil was found off our coast. However, some say the oil reserves will be depleted within a few years - and then how are you going to maintain your extravagant lifestyle? Revert to piracy and slave-trading?

[First published 28 November 2009]

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Malaysians

Plse support true Malaysians,Ambiga & Team Bersih... sign petition , thank you !

KoSong Cafe said...

I am sure you feel like I do, that they shot themselves too often... putting pressure on us who are trying to refute the propaganda and lies spread in the msm. Some statements were unbelievably stupid and yet we are worried some uninformed might be influenced!

Last night, TV3/4 showed the petty trader who happens to be a Datuk and owns and deals with Lambos and Ferraris, trying to claim for losses of income due to Bersih's rallies! For some who can easily take a day off on Friday or a month off during Puasa month, I find their claims more ridiculous. What about for national good where clean and fair elections are concerned? Fortunately, Umnoputras are losing popularity and Bersih has more Malay supporters who are fed-up of their hypocrisy and narrow self-interest.

Anonymous said...

Hmm ... piracy is actually very lucrative for residents of
failed states/collapsed states.

Example: the pirates of Somalia.

Phua Kai Lit