FINDING WAYS TO FIT CULTURAL PLURALISM IN 2010


The world we live in has long since gone past the crossroads of living with ones cultural identity in isolation. If we endeavour to do so, we would not be acting wisely as in the process of creating dogmatic rules or ideological censure the chauvinistic political leaders or bureaucratic administrators would deprive other ethnic groups of the free enjoyment of their culture. Hence, whenever these chauvinists look for communal support they would painfully realize their flawed perception and thus such perceived cultural domination withers and dies in isolation. March 2008 brought to light their isolation.

Neither can there be a government that can formulate policies of domination through the introduction of a “national cultural policy” or through the indoctrination of “religion.” How immature can these political bigots be when by their ignorance they deprive other religious denominations from the use of a generic term “Allah” which signifies the expression of “God.” Finally, the High Court on an application by the Roman Catholic Church for judicial review has granted a Declaration on 31.12.2009 that the blanket ruling made by the Ministry of Home Affairs banning the use of the word ‘Allah’ as illegal, null and void.

Such policies would constitute a blatant denial of human rights. It grossly violates the constitutional rights of freedom of speech as enshrined in Article 10 of the Federal Constitution. Conversely, the enhancement of the implementation of its policies would impair the identity, value and traditions of other indigenous cultures and violate their constitutional rights to freely practice their religious affairs.

As Zainah Anuar an advocate of justice in Islam in her writing on Malaysia in a “postmodern condition” especially on the issue of Islamic law and how it “clashes” with the Constitution, has rightfully stated:

“Constitutional lawyers and many liberals would argue that freedom of religion is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Federal Constitution and human rights principles. Faith is a private matter between the believer and his God and the state has no role to play in intervening to determine whether a citizen is a good, bad or non-believer.”

This view of Zainah is logical whilst the chauvinistic expressions of political leaders are premised on fiction. Malaysia is a nation of a variety of cultural identities, thus there is in existence cultural diversity which is inseparable as each of the people in each culture would be prone to affirm their own identity.

As by the passage of time 2010 has rang in and we have been independent for some 52 years or more from the claws of British colonialism. Colonialism left us with a legacy of segregation in our educational system and had encouraged and institutionalized race based politics out of which grew the evil and demonized idea of the hegemony of “Ketuanan Mealyu” to which ill conceived idea the government used the instruments of social and political control.

The government should dismantle its “National Culture Policy”(NCP) which was introduced in 1970. The NCP is Malaycentric. It fails to reflect on the multicultural reality of Malaysia. It rejects the principle of cultural equality which is in violation of Article 8 of the Federal Constitution on equality. It dictates the need for cultural hegemony which is premised on Malay Islamic culture. But even the Malays themselves disagree with it.

Now since 2009 has ebbed into the annuals of history so must the moribund 1Malaysia Concept. Only psychopaths will believe in such a concept as “Malaysia” is Malaysia as a nation and it is not conceivable for a nation to have a numerical connotation.

If that is the case, it is clear that Najib’s government is making a confession to the world that all these years since the ideology of “Mahathirism” was institutionalized it had given the “Death knell to race relations, education, cultural identity and commercial morality.”

We did warn the government in a passive way that what they were propagating in their ivory towers would in fact negate the universal application of the principles that rationalism should prevail in the making of its policies.

The government opted for the “Ali Baba and its fourty thieves” method. It failed to realize that rationalism was the only way for our ethnically diversified society to use our creativity, human capital and skill and the knowledge of the prudent use of capital resources to modulate and design appropriate solutions that would be both ethical and utilitarian in nature which would be for the benefit of the nation as a whole.

Now after the Mahathirism ideology has collapsed there has been some dramatic artificial shift in policies relating to race relations, education and cultural identity. How shallow is the knowledge of these chauvinistic politicians as it is apparent that none of them are qualified to be termed as being “astute” politicians and this could be the result of mediocrity being given recognition.

We do not have to re-invent our society to create cultural pluralism. All that we have to do as a nation of diverse people is to understand and uphold the various provisions as provided for in the Federal Constitution which in essence is that we are a secular society.

We should strive with greater determination and make sacrifices to face our challenges as a people of one nation and uphold nationalism and leave our ethnic identities to reside within our homes.

We should reject forced coerced assimilation and should over time endeavour to evolve our cultural development and integration as we do daily at our place of work into other spheres of our human endeavour.

The issue of superiority in any form should be deemed as being morally defunct and intellectually arrogant which would only arise out of ignorance. We should strive not to be over sensitive on ethnic issues and channel our energy on attaining equality and ensue that our support is given to politicians who must dismantle all administrative dictates or other means that have been utilized to uphold political supremacy and all other forms of numerical advantages.

In the final analysis, as we are the masters of our faith, we should impress upon all our elected representatives that they should not only uphold the provisions of our Federal Constitution but as Malaysia is a Member of the United Nations,(UN) they should have the inspiration to implement the various recommendations enunciated by the UN Educational, Social, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). The link is provided for all those who are interested to gain a better understanding of what was decided at the world conference on cultural policies at Mexico City in 1982.

http://portal.unesco.org/culture/en/files/12762/11295421661mexico_en.pdf/mexico_en.pdf

As every one of us are in some sense a “philosopher.”  So, we cannot disregard the fact that each and everyone of us would at least be able to use the imagination of the picture making faculty of our mind to visualize and to correct the course of history. We have been endowed with a highly developed brain and nervous system and this remark is premised on the multitude of comments that are daily posted on the alternate media.

Hence, as we think, it would lead us to the pathway to philosophy thus showing us the way to attain cultural pluralism. As Rudyard Kipling said: “ If history were taught in the form of stories, it will never be forgotten.” So can cultural pluralism be achieved.

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One Response to “FINDING WAYS TO FIT CULTURAL PLURALISM IN 2010”

  1. boscopa Says:

    Yes. I am the author of this post.

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