Sunday, August 2, 2009

Stephen Doss- its no Enigma

Stephen Doss, is a blogger who is supportive of KJ. He blogs under his post Renovatio. I too am supportive of the ideas that KJ represent and the idea behind KJ. I have argued about this many times especially during the ketua pemuda elections. I am not going to repeat my arguments which of course have been refuted; sadly I should say less by reasoned analyses and more by gutter arguments. The later came mostly from the wakakaka and muahahaha crowd. They know who they are. These are people who can't argue ideas with ideas and finding themselves losing an argument will go for the throat and accused opponents as lapdogs and paid hirelings. In the course of my arguing for KJ the last time, I had no problems reading counter arguments from bloggers like A Voice or the cerebral JMD. For instance when I wrote about KJ giving a speech to Pemuda demonstrators in Perak, JMD put up a very believable riposte.

Speaking about a speech, I am going to write about a speech which KJ gave which should answer S. Doss's uneasiness about KJ being an enigma. It's no enigma, Mr Doss. KJ will continue to be an enigma only as long as the mainstream media refuses to accord him a deserving place as a Ketua Pemuda of UMNO. He will remain an enigma as long as the UMNO ultra conservatives remain fearful of the unfolding forces besieging UMNO to change. KJ represents the idea of change.

The debate has become clearer. On one side are the ultra conservatives. These are the people insisting things are all right and so must remain as they are. All that was necessary was to throw out the sleeping on the job PM. That has been accomplished. Unfortunately for the conservatives, i.e. those romanticising the good old days, during the good old times where the elite get richer, the cronies were singled out as saviours of the race etc, the remaining thorn is KJ.

I can't predict the future. Maybe KJ will be around or he may be forced out. He remains a threat to UMNO conservatives because of his ideas on change and his articulation about these ideas. The majority of UMNO conservatives are silent and dumbfounded by the ideas leading me to question whether they actually understand what this young man is saying. The MSM appears intimidated to debate his ideas probably out of misreading the sensitivities of the UMNO leadership. I say to them- give the Ketua Pemuda UMNO his media space and given the libertarian views of the PM, what KJ says will be tolerated. Its not like he is calling for the toppling of the leadership is he?

I am not unaware of the accusations of corruption against KJ which were bandied around and continue to be stoked presently. This must come to a closure and the UMNO president must apply his leadership on this issue. Either exonerate KJ or punish him. The UMNO disciplinary committee has punished him and meted out a judgement which proved to be insufficient to convince the Pemuda delegates that KJ is not good for them. Like it or not, KJ IS the ketua Pemuda.

Now, the more I think about this- I think the whole wish to make the accusations about corruption stick to KJ is all politically motivated. They are prompted by a general rage and anger that a man so young can beat UMNO old hands at their own game!

Now,let us read the speech given by KJ to the audience at the Banker's Club in KL. It was made on the 16th of June 2009. It was titled POLITICS OF EMPHATY.

I have yet to come across a coherent analysis of what 1 Malaysia stands for. KJ is at least an initiator for further glosses over this concept. I don't understand it yet. TDM says he doesn't know what the heck OneMalaysia stands for. Of course listening to Rais Yatim's pathetic pronouncement is a definite turnoff. I think listening to the singer Roy's rendition of the song SATU MALAYSIA makes the concept easier to understand. OneMalaysia stands for Rukunnegara and loyalty. At least RUKUNEGARA and SETIA are repeated over and over in that song.

1Malaysia is the story about the Malaysia to be unfolded. The Malaysian story as KJ rightfully stated is at a juncture where inspirational ideas and inspirational figures may decide if it takes a path towards fulfilling the promise so apparent during different points in our journey. And in a nutshell, inspiration is what 1Malaysia hopes to achieve.

Hence the question before us, how do we define 1Malaysia in the absence of a comprehensive definition which in itself is elusive? Maybe the starting point as KJ said

some level of personalisation of the concept isn't all that bad –1Malaysia, as a state of mind, can mean slightly different things to different people, without us having to fear that it wouldn't work, or that social foundations will crumble. I am much more interested to speak about the context under which, and the reason why, 1Malaysia is gaining traction, even if its precise trajectory is yet uncertain, and for us to take hold of.

1Malaysia encapsulates the idea of change. I can only deduce the silent treatment from UMNO ultra conservatives on the idea of change signifies their fear about change. The most significance change that is taking place now is that in the world of change, people engage one inother through the contest of ideas, visions, reasoned arguments and so forth. KJ spoke of:-

Malaysia as a land of contestations – a land where different visions of the country were, and continue to be, played out in the battleground of ideas, charting the course of history. Malaysia's diversity lends itself to these different narratives. Malaysia's diversity has encouraged the charting of different paths with different signposts. We have been serenaded by ideologies and thoughts that appeal to our ethnicity, our religion, our income, and all the different things that make us different.

We have different ideas and ideological inclinations, but how do we reconcile these and if possible how do we synthesise these? KJ's solution is to offer the idea of a political approach, a new politics within the overarching and loose framework of 1Malaysia. I call this new politics the politics of empathy, which has immense potential to inspire and rally all Malaysians through a new narrative of mutual understanding, appreciation and respect. This is the change I am promoting.

The UMNO conservatives and the conservatives in the other political parties travel along the more common trodden road. This is the road most commonly travelled- the familiar and the unchanged. They use the same language about race and religion, leaning more towards the natural differences rather that forging ahead on common grounds.

The credo of the conservatives:-

As a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society, we have for far too long, failed to properly address this identity impasse. Specifically, the reconciliation of ethno-religious identities with the national character that all Malaysians share hasn't been pursued with adequate vigour. In articulating our ideas for Malaysia's future, many ascribe ourselves either an ethno-centric perspective, or relegate ethnicity to the sphere of irrelevance, often for political expediency. We either pursue a narrative that divides us by our faiths and culture or appeal to a notion that our respective heritage is not important and we must create something confusing like a Malaysian Malaysia.

Some may not like KJ for a variety of reasons and some haven't gotten over the fact that he won the ketua Pemuda post. But intellectual honesty demands us to acknowledge that this young man has got something relevant to say about Malaysian politics. In a world of flux and change where ideas dominate, it is very difficult to discount such a person without acknowledging a place for such in a future Malaysia.

So Mr Stephen Doss, look at the ideas. No enigma there.


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