Sunday, November 15, 2009

When Own Strength is Dismissed

(Mingguan Malaysia, 15 November)
Dr. Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah, Senior Lecturer, National Defence University Malaysia

As expected it is a taboo to question the vernacular education as this has made some of the ultra kiasu jumped. They claimed that it is their rights. Ethnic interests must be preserved. It cannot be interfered. What I had written was about nation building and empowering the national interest future without denying the rights of the other races to learn their own languages. Are we still confused? The irony part is that if they are agreeable on the one school system, then English should be the main medium and not the Malay language. It is obvious that they are excluding altogether and reduce the position of Malay language as the national language. When the language is not respected, will the race of the language be affected, too?

Therefore it is not a surprise that today they are very proud and boast with the additional names such as Joe, Michael, Nicol, Matthew, Martin and etc. Sometimes it becomes so nauseated by just hearing and calling these names. They have a sense of pride by associating with the Christianity and the West, and not associating at all with Islam and Malay. Is it not that the east is much closer to us than the west? Some are willing to change into new identity cards merely because they are obsessed with the west. Why are the names like Muhammad, Mahmood, Aziz, Ridhuan and other Islamic names are not favorable, but viewed instead with hatred? Are the Islamic and Malay names so disgusting? Are the usages of Islamic names considered to have neither standard nor glamorous? Is it not that the names from the east actually featured more towards 1Malaysia? I do not have to open a can of worms here. Let me save them temporarily for the next time.

It is not my intention to instill the fire of hatred among the races. However, the various comments have forced me to reveal the truth about some of them which are never grateful. They preferred to be assimilated and acculturated with the west instead of with the Malays and Islam.

Whatever that is pertaining to the assimilation and acculturated with the Malay Muslims is lowly perceived and will not be practiced at all. Meanwhile, the western way of life is accepted wholeheartedly. Just take for instances on the lifestyles such as wearing the Malay dress, using songkok, eating with the hands and listening to Malay music. Have we seen the non-Malays at least acculturated such manners? If there are, they can be countable with our fingers.

In the context of 1Malaysia, it is more appropriate that we assimilated and acculturated with the Malay Muslim's way of life, because it will benefit the country's future. The Muslims are easily impressed and 'melt' with the non-Malays who are trying to borrow their way of life. Instead, we are more western than the west. This included the Malays. Sometimes to the extent of forgetting that they are Malays because of being too western.

Being a Chinese Muslim, my race does not want to be associated directly with the Malays, especially on the lifestyle. If there is any friendliness with the Malays, it is for favors and advantages. Only a minority of the Malays actually worked in the non-Malay companies. Conditions such as the ability to communicate in Mandarin are an excuse to reject the Malay workers. In comparison with the Malay companies that took non-Malays workers, on the grounds that the non-Malays are more diligent than the Malays. In fact, sometimes the non-Malays are also appointed to higher positions. Who is actually more willing to give and receive in this case?

Even though if the Malays (including Indonesians) are employed, they are only for the purpose to popularize the sale of the food and services. The Malays are being used. The Malay name will be used to popularize the food sales such as using the Malay and Muslim as the brand names. However, the actual basic right remains unfulfilled. The Malays continue to give in for it is their iron rice bowl. How many Malay Muslim employees have complained to me that they are unable to perform the Friday prayers and the obligatory prayers? I can actually provide a list of the companies. The prayer time is considered a waste of time and reduces quality and productivity. However, we know that the fear of a person has with Allah, the stronger he will work for the people, whether the employer is a Muslim or not. The nature of fearing Allah will make the person perform their work with care. I do not deny the fact that there are people pious in praying but are also lazy and deceitful.

Is there already a plan to separate the Malays from its God in order to 'melt' them? When their bond with Allah has been 'melted', then they are able to break the spirit of jihad in them, thus easier to secularize and empowered them. We must be aware of these cunning actions of theirs. I do not mean jihad with war but just enough jihads to request that changes for us to be better and closer to the Almighty Creator.

Sometimes I do not blame them. They search and took advantage. It is only that we became complacent and relax. We do not appreciate what we have nor even to enforce what we have. We willingly sacrificed what has been provided to us for the sake our country can progress forward, even to the extent of sacrificing the dignity of the religion and race. Take for an instance on the position of the language and education policies.

Why we did not study the strength we had before studying the strength of others? Sometimes, I am puzzled on our enthusiastic to study others until forgetting our own selves. This will eventually lead us to neglect our own strength because for being too obsessed with others. Is this secularism?

In the context of teaching and learning at the higher learning institutions, students are compulsory to learn and understand the various theories that derived from the west (specifically) and east from prominent individuals. These theories were not only told to be memorized, instead those succeeded explained in details that they were considered best student and were given higher marks. Take for example on the theory of strategy and war by Tsun Tzu. The students are forced to memorize these theories externally and internally, cover to cover, to the extent that at times they forgot their responsibility towards the al-Quran and Sunnah. Tsun Tzu strategies are not only applied in war but also in business. Meanwhile, Tsun Tzu had never got himself into any university, let alone taking up PMR and SPM.

What surprised me the most is we have forgotten that in our religion we have great experts and thinkers in war strategies such as Muhammad SAW, Khalid Ibn Walid, Omar Al-Khattab, Salahuddin al-Ayubi and others. These prominent figures are rarely in the centre of discussions. Let alone to memorize their theories. What are not so prominent of them compared with Tsun Tzu, Kautilya (India), Clausewitz, Duhe and others? I am not rejecting these figures, but let us balance the figures with ours who are equally impressive.

Did Tsun Tzu ever graduated from any university or obtained a PhD? Obviously, he did not. Why are the university students today studying the various stages of the war strategies from a person who had never had a degree nor entered the university? Muhammad SAW also did not enter into university. However, he is the Prophet chosen by Allah. Therefore, he deserved to be highly acclaimed. So, it's not surprising for Michael Hart (2006) to rank the Prophet Muhammad SAW as the most supreme and powerful person among the top 100 most influential people in the world leaving behind Jesus, Moses, Buddha, Confucius, Aristotle, Tsun Tzu and many more powerful figures. Unfortunately, many did not make a study on this.

Today, what is happening is the opposite; the west is so interested in studying the east individual personality. Instead, the east is busy studying the west and end up neglecting its own. Therefore, I am not surprised when non-Muslims do not want to be assimilated nor acculturated because we do not acknowledge our own prominent figures or ourselves.

I do not believe we can rise up with other people's molding. History has shown that all nations rise up with their own strength and effort. The Japanese rose up because of the spirit of being Japanese, the Chinese with the spirit of being Chinese. Do we want to rise up with the spirit of being western? Of course, the Muslims must rise up with the Islamic spirit. Then only we will get the blessings from Allah SWT.

Recently I attended an important meeting in the ministry office. In the meeting there was an American entrepreneur who can speak Malay but not fluently. All because of one foreigner, the chairman of the meeting did not use the Malay language but instead conducted it in English language. I am very confident that even the president of Iran will not be prompted to do so, despite being fluent in English. If we are unsure on ourselves with our own language, who else can we hope to ensure a noble language? Language is the soul of a nation.

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