Friday, October 5, 2018

ARE WE STILL WAITING FOR THE MESSIAH?


I haven't written about local politics since the Great Reset of May 9th, 2018, apart from a 500-word overview for The Edge's Merdeka Special.

There are several reasons for my silence. First, I have been preoccupied with the construction of a guest facility behind our house which has consumed much of my energy and all of my cash reserves. Secondly, now that Barisan Nasional is no longer in power, I feel that my political crusade (which began after October 1987) is more or less accomplished. Thirdly, people are getting much more vocal on social media now that the fear has receded and the cacophony of clamorous voices isn't something I wish to add to, although I look upon it as the grating sound of a nascent democracy akin to construction noise (which we tolerate when it's our own house that's being built).

So why do I feel compelled to put in my two bits' worth now? Truth be told, folks, I'm fatigued by the quarrelsome adversarial nature of political rhetoric. I have never liked to argue for the sake of argument, which I regard as nothing more than a competitive sport, a game of semantics. cunning lingual exercises that never penetrate beyond mere superficialities.

Above all, I have never subscribed to the notion that authentic change can be effected on the political level, that all it takes is to replace one captain or manager with another. It's the very idea of being subject to external authority, generation after generation, unquestioningly surrendering our innate power and sovereignty as conscious individuals, that needs to be reassessed and outgrown.

So why did I publicly endorse, consistently over 20 years, the prime ministership of Anwar Ibrahim? The answer is simple: I am no game-player and find politics every bit as tedious and banal as courtroom proceedings. I generally prefer engaging my right brain and gut feelings to getting embroiled in hair-splitting left-brain exercises. That's why when Anwar led a massive rebellion against Mahathir in 1998 I decided to monitor him closely. His determination, stoicism and tenacity impressed me greatly, so I made Anwar my political avatar.

Through Anwar I could be vicariously involved in the grubby, sordid world of political power play, without physical risk to myself. I can't imagine enduring 10 years of imprisonment for my political views - but Anwar did and I wholeheartedly admire his fighting spirit and resilience. To me his astonishing perseverance against all odds qualifies him as a bona fide national hero.

Anwar Ibrahim was politically crucified in 1998 by Mahathir, who spared no effort to humiliate and crush his adversary. Not only did Anwar survive six years as a political prisoner (and, I believe, at least one attempt to poison him with cyanide), he successfully resurrected himself as a messiah and led the opposition coalition called Pakatan Rakyat to a near-victory in March 2008, then again in May 2013. Indeed, were it nor for the all-too-obvious partisanship of the Election Commission which aided and abetted massive electoral fraud, I'm certain BN would have fallen five years ago, and Anwar anointed as Malaysia's 7th prime minister.

I was overjoyed, like many others, when Anwar Ibrahim received a full pardon from the Agong on May 16th, 2018, vindicating his 20-year battle against the behemoth BN. It was a great relief for everyone who can't bear to witness such grotesque travesties of justice, and a poignant moment indeed for his beautiful family. For me, it didn't matter who deserved the most credit for removing the utterly corrupt BN from power. Whether we succeeded with Mahathir leading the charge... or voters silently resented Najib's brutal incarceration of Anwar... or the rotting white elephant in the room named 1MDB finally began to stink too badly to be ignored... it's purely academic now. I'm certain it was all these factors, compounded with the collective will of a sizeable majority of young voters, that won the great victory against cynicism and fatalism.

What prompts me to speak up now is the vitriolic antagonism I see directed against Anwar, even before he made his "PD move." Cherished friends whose opinions I respect and value have risen up as a bilious phalanx of vociferous opposition in an attempt to thwart Anwar Ibrahim from fulfilling his political destiny.

He's too ambitious... a political chameleon... he endorses the reactionary Turkish dictator, Erdoğan, whom he regards as an ally... Anwar will be forced to pander to the religious fundamentalists, just to maintain his power base

That's what I hear all the time on my Facebook newsfeed. Anyone who makes a career of politics has got to be ambitious and adapt chameleon-like to changing circumstances, so these are actually positive traits. As for cozying up with the likes of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan... well, it could just as well be Paul Wolfowitz, Bashar al-Assad, Emmanuel Macron, Vladimir Putin or, God forbid, Donald J. Trump. End of the day what we think we know of public figures is mostly from media reports. Anyone can be easily demonized by media shills with an occult agenda. Remember what the Zionist-controlled media did to Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi? One day we might even discover that Winston Churchill was far more villainous than Adolf Hitler, and that Barack Obama was, in truth, a Manchurian candidate installed by the CIA on behalf of the Deep State.. so keep your mind open (at least a crack).

Can all these well-informed, highly intelligent and articulate friends be utterly wrong? Yes, they can. Their judgment may be clouded by their own biases, fears and prejudices. After all, they are mostly the same "street-savvy" Anglophilic crowd who delight in dismissing Donald Trump as a buffoonish boor, unfit to occupy the White House. That's right, folks, this may come as a shock to you but I have nothing seriously negative to say about Trump's presidency, which I view as instrumental to a Great Geopolitical Reset.

Notwithstanding DJT's apparent lack of lexicological range, I am inclined to regard him as the reincarnation of some ancient Roman emperor who has been given the opportunity to step up to the world stage at this evolutionary juncture as a wild card (or more appropriately the Joker), even as the entire deck is being reshuffled.

Enough of meaningless labels like left and right, liberal and conservative. Life is way too complex and fluid to fit into a simple binary context of Good and Bad, Right and Wrong, Democrat and Republican, Whig and Tory, Government and Opposition. If you can be so easily classified as either this or that, then it's probable that you haven't been completely candid with yourself. Or perhaps you have been conditioned to rely on ideas and opinions injected into your psyche by the plutocrat-owned miseducation system and mass media - instead of your own instincts and intuition.

I doubt if there has ever been a political figure of note who isn't somehow controversial - who inspires admiration from some and triggers fear and loathing in others. If the founders of the world's main religions were active in today's cybernetic world, imagine what the media pundits and shills would have to say about them - whether they be Krishna, Laotse, Confucius, Siddhartha Gautama, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad or Baha'ullah. Imagine the scandals buzzing around them like bluebottles, the stinking muck raked up, the nasty remarks, cynical deconstructions, scholarly critiques written about these long-gone icons. Humans, time and again, have created gods to adore and worship - only to rip them apart or crucify or debunk them when they suffer a collective mood swing.

Perhaps it's time we begin to accept responsibility for how we experience the world around us - instead of hoping for a messianic cult figure, some great savior to rescue us from the confusion and mayhem of everyday reality. Don't you think it's puerile of us to still believe that a single president or prime minister or guru figure can set aright all that has gone wrong in the nation, resolve all problems that beset humanity, and lead us all to the Promised Land?

Having said that, I'm painfully aware that the vast majority of my fellow citizens may not be ready as yet to upgrade their own software and become self-governing entities. They must be given time and a conducive space to take their first faltering steps into an unknown, but potentially glorious, future. If I were to do the unthinkable and offer myself as a political candidate, my open disregard for all forms of institutionalized religion would scare, shock and offend too many. I probably wouldn't survive a week in politics. However, someone like Anwar has not only survived, he actually seems to thrive in the midst of controversy.

Nobody can dispute his resolve, tenacity, resilience and inner strength. His remarkable rise in politics, followed by a fall of mythical proportions, and his ultimate resurrection and ascension, lead me to conclude that he is indeed capable of overcoming all obstacles and inspiring the entire populace, regardless of racial or religious conditioning, to transcend the artificial divisiveness that has kept us from becoming a truly splendid and accomplished nation.

I don't reside in Port Dickson, but if I did, I would support Anwar Ibrahim in his quest to be reinstated as an active Member of Parliament. Those who condemn his strategy of triggering a by-election through the voluntary resignation of an incumbent MP do so without a full understanding of all the nasty intrigues going on behind closed doors. This species of low-grade jostling for positions and power has long been part of political culture everywhere - not just in Malaysia. Non-players and outsiders only know what gets reported - or leaked.

Occasionally an internal rift reveals itself like a crack in the wall, weakening the prospects of a particular political party owing to petty ego conflicts. Unless you are fully immersed in the water, it's impossible to know what's lurking below the surface, and even then you can be caught off-guard by sabotage and the invisible machinations of rivals. This is a game of thrones I myself have chosen not to play, except by proxy.

There appears to be a contradiction here: while I have never taken economics or politics all that seriously, I am at the same time aware that the 3D Matrix is still largely influenced by the primal drives for money and power. A single individual at the helm, with the unwavering support of a large enough majority, can dramatically alter the course we chart as sovereign nations. A charismatic leader can steer the ship of state towards dangerous reefs by publicly preaching unity while privately sowing seeds of discord and discontent - but he or she can also opt to play the pivotal role of maintaining harmony and stability during a major transition between eras.

On April 14th, 2008, I was present at the Sultan Sulaiman Club in Kampung Bahru when Anwar Ibrahim made a stirring comeback speech in which he declared it was time for us to replace Ketuanan Melayu (Malay Supremacy) with Ketuanan Rakyat (Supremacy of the People). The response was unanimous and absolutely moving. Looking around me, I saw locals in white skull caps and robes enthusiastically cheering Anwar for his vision of Greater Unity and Harmony, transcending artificially imposed racial and religious barriers. It was as if we had finally stepped across an invisible threshold between adolescence and adulthood as a nation. I saluted Anwar for articulating this truly powerful sentiment and he reinforced this vision by intoning at every subsequent ceramah:

"Anak Cina anak saya, anak India anak saya, anak Iban, anak Kadazan, anak Melayu semua anak saya!" 

I am inclined to believe that, after ten years of unjust imprisonment as a political dissident within a tradition-bound feudalistic establishment, this is essentially what Anwar Ibrahim desires to be congratulated and remembered for. His destiny, I am still convinced after 20 years, is to steer the nation back on its intended course - to evolve gracefully into a unified, harmonious and mature melting-pot of diverse cultures, looking forward instead of backwards.

There, I have broken my silence.

5 October 2018












DING DONG THE WICKED WITCH IS DEAD!


That’s what the Munchkins gleefully sang in the wee hours of May 10th, when it became apparent that Barisan Nasional had finally been voted out after 61 years. As we celebrate Merdeka three months and three weeks from the epic and euphoric Great Reset of 2018, let’s grab a drone’s eyeview of what grand promise regime change may hold for the nation in general and the Arts in particular.

For a start the fraudulent toad of financial excess has been forced from its comfort zone - the odious tempurung of identity politics, founded on false notions of tribal supremacy and monoculturalism. Bare their reactionary fangs and beat their atavistic breasts all they will, they can’t turn back the quantum wave of evolutionary change that swept them off the ramparts of their crumbling fortress. The sheer energy and exuberance of millennials who proudly posted pics of blackened fingers on election day, combined with the tenacity and passion of elders who never lost their youthful idealism, will ensure that things will generally improve rather than worsen (although not as swiftly we’d like).

Now, the essential difference between practitioners of Commerce and the Arts is that while the unrepentant entrepreneur compulsively seeks to privatize what’s public (for instance, fencing up a forest, installing a turnstile, and selling tickets to the waterfall), the true artist feels obliged to transmute private experiences and insights into public displays or performances (turning a painful romantic breakup into a catchy folk ballad, or some childhood nightmare into a blockbuster horror movie).

The sneaky and destructive urge to exploit, control, anesthetize and enslave is shared by the bureaucrat, corporatocrat, technocrat, aristocrat and plutocrat; while the inherently creative artistic impulse seeks to excite, awaken, enlighten and liberate. We can gauge the maturity, sanity, vitality and wisdom of a nation by the value it places on the future-shaping dynamic of cultural and spiritual ferment generated by its arts practitioners and sociocultural visionaries.

As a rejuvenated nation (and who doesn’t feel young seeing an acerbic but grandfatherly nonagenarian reinstated as prime minister?) celebrating its hard-won freedom from the mental shackles of a murky feudal past, Malaysia would do well to encourage and nurture creativity and innovation in all its diverse forms - even if fresh ideas and a revitalized national narrative may horrify a few stick-in-the-mud Keepers of Outmoded Tradition.


Only an inept and timid fool would drive into an unknown future with eyes glued to the rearview mirror of a dysfunctional past. So let’s look forward in confidence, calm and clearheaded, and trust in the innate decency, creativity, resourcefulness and wisdom of all Malaysians.

Failure to seize the moment and ride the momentum of metamorphosis will lead to cultural paralysis, intellectual stagnation and political disintegration. If we wish to witness a reverse brain-drain and a resurgence of true patriotism expressed creatively, then we would do well to embrace the enthusiasm, optimism and positivity of a Dorothy Gale, whose close encounter with the dreaded Wizard of Oz ends happily with his being exposed as merely a bogus god, fearfully hiding behind expensive machinery and massive propaganda.

[Originally published in The Edge Merdeka Supplement, 31 August 2018]


Thursday, October 4, 2018

TRANCE-FORMATION ~ a movie by Maxwell Igan (repost)



"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders and millions have been killed because of this obedience. Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves and the grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem." ~ Howard Zinn

Visit The CrowHouse!

[Note: This was posted sometime in April this year but I don't think anyone actually viewed it. Maybe over the weekend? It's worthwhile! First posted 14 September 2012]





Alan Watts on Doing What You Really Want To Do... (repost)



[Brought to my attention by Reika Ratnam]

Alan Watts and The Skin-Encapsulated Ego

Wisdom of the Ridiculous: 3 timeless lectures by Alan Watts

[First posted 13 October 2012]