Just back from a plumbers' meeting in LKY's Singapo.
Meritocracy LKY's style...I have not seen any plumber yet from amongst the Malays in Singapo over the last 3 decades. Three 'bloody' decades waiting to see one.
Can forget about SAF pilot or president. After that Apakahnamadiadah Isahak at least the presidency is the preserve of Singapo's Indians, does not matter whether one is an alcoholic or not...ability to talk and 'goreng' and 'ampu' LKY is an essential prerequisite and Singapo Malays sadly scored zero on this important point. Or is this another of LKY social engineering...dont give face at all to the Singapo Malays in order to spike his old foes: Tunku, Dr M, Musa Hitam, Jaafar Albar, Dr Ismail, Tun Razak et al.... Serve them right! I am having the last laugh.
My stay coincide with launch of yet another LKY's autobiography. LKY is a sad old goat, living beyond his time.He seemed to be carrying this thing about Malaysia and Malaysians on his shoulders far too long!It is almost bordering on paranoia
[... friends involved in remote sensing industry serving MINDEF way back in the 90's intimated to me that Singapo even had mobile surface to surface missiles facing KL and Jakarta even then!...A well known secret the MINDEF people would not like to share for obvious reason: We have no reply to that kind of preparation from socalled friend and neighbour!.Difficult to substantiate officially but very believable from the way their leaders behave and talk then in the 80's.... And we are supplying them with 'cheap cheap' water on a daily basis for 50 over years! Try cutting that for half a day , and their boys would be enjoying satay Kajang by midnight. They have hundreds of light armoured personnel vehicles ready to be mobilised!...Do not underrate their capability. People who think they are under seige could just do about anything. ]
MM LKY is not happy that his previous two autobiographies were not well read by young, present day Singaporeans so he coerced a group of Straits Times editors and journalists to grill him over 16 interviews and come up with a book,' their style', not his....to improve readership.Those chaps met for 4 months to plan to ask the right questions. But no one' peed' in their pants at least. Dr M across the Causeway may want to follow suit.
Even with NTR, Ringgit Malaysia, Dr M and Pak Lah in the background and foreground, I still feel safe to be back in the 'real' world....
Singapo feel like a sanitized hotel toilet to me compared to our usual 'jamban'.
PS: We Malaysians need not read this new doctored interviews made into book form, the recent Wikileaks is already enough for us, as they say,
" if you have neighbours like them, you dont need enemies "
Dr Nik Howk,
Re your comments on your cardiologist conference in Singapore. Let me comment as an economist. We should compare apples and apples. We should compare the statistics of the average Singaporean Malay and the average Malaysian Malay in terms of per capita income, jobs, housing, education, access to medical services, transport, % of protein in daily calorific food intake, safety and security of pension funds and statutory contributions, honest administrative service, the environment, future prospects, etc.
Never, as you claim, a Malay president in Singapore? Not true. How about Aziz Ishak? No Malay cardiologist? Perhaps not, but it is not a recognized index. They may be in other specialties or are GP's. Or engineers, pilots, teachers, etc. Who knows for sure?
Finally, re a Malaysian 'jamban': Allow me, most respectfully, to differ. Give me clean Singapore toilet, against a Malaysian jamban, any time I need to 'bomb'.
Regards, and a Happy New Year!
Yes, I do remember Aziz Isahak. How can we forget him. But after him no more. Malays have regressed under LKY. Not even good to be taxi drivers. Malays in Singapo only are good enought to be guards and jaga's. For the ladies,probably those who have the modernity to replace their tudungs,sspg's [ singapo sarong party girls ], thugging tightly to their Mat Saleh boyfriends. No Dato, this is not state of the art statistical academic analysis. This is just my firasat and gut feeling about things Singapo!
Which bring us way back to Tunku's time in the early 60's during the split. Thank God Tunku had the foresight to split.
LKY would have driven a wedge too difficult to solve with his insistence of Malaysian Malaysia. Must have tormented the old gentleman quite a bit at that time. YB Musa Hitam and a young YB Dr M making loud animal noise in the background and all that. Wisdom is not cheap.
Had we gone Dr M's way then or Jaafar Albar from the Amenu Youth Wing, they could have easily persuaded Tun Dr Ismail, Home Minister to easily lock up young recalcitrant LKY under the pretext of ISA and the whole region would have been in complete turmoil.
Had we followed LKY's Malaysian Malaysia instead, could we have been a better nation?...you may not have ended being the proud owner of Cempaka Incorporated, not so very bright Daim Zainuddin may just be a simple failed salt trader in Kota Bharu or a failed third rate lawyer, Nik Isahak may just make it as a primary school teacher teaching English. Affirmative Policy in 2011, we still need this, more so in this globalised 'Mandarinised' world of future world Chinese dominance.....otherwise we will end up like the Malays of Singapo.
Two billions Chinese and oversea Chinese who think money, money money. Money is everything. Money is God.
Take a drive just 60 kilometres away from KL city centre and you will agree with me...you do not need to go to Gua Musang, Slow Temiang or Kuala Ketil.
It may sound irrational and racist but why give up NEP when the rest does not want to part with their schools, languages etc etc for the sake of unity and good education. You want me to move towards the centre but you want to remain there away from the centre. You want to have your cakes AND YOU STILL WANT A BIGGER SHARE OF MINE AS WELL.
The horse trading in NTR's 1Malaysia is a failure right from the onset because the others are not moving towards the centre, only we move..
Some irrational thots no doubt, as I move back across the Causeway!
I am thinking like an old goat you may say Dato'........
First of all, dear Doctor Nik Howk, may I make a small observation? We in our family company Cempaka (my wife, my sons, and I), worked very hard to get to where we are today. Not a cent or favour from the NEP. We started in 1983 in a small rented house in KL, in a low rent area. We used our small savings. We could not afford contractors, so we washed, painted, and fixed the house ourselves. We borrowed operated on OD from commercial banks at commercial rates (between 8 and 9% p.a.). We grew gradually, as parents got to know and trust us. Later, to build our own (purposed-designed) school, we needed to borrow substantially from the banks to purchase the land and construct the school.
We had no assets as collateral for the loan. We went to a few Malay banker friends. They were social friends, and were very polite, but demanded a substantial collateral. We had none. They sighed, offered us tea and curry puffs, and said goodbye. As a last resort, we went to see a Chinese banker friend. We immediately confessed that we had no substantial assets. He said, "Don't worry. I know you and Freida well. Your character is your asset." He called in his GM (a Kelantan gentleman from Kota Baru, also a Nik) and told him to grant us the loan on the spot. We used the loan to build the Bukit Damansara Cempaka. That was the start. We worked hard, and paid off the bank loan in good time. We led a spartan life. My wonderful wife worked very hard, and made do without the luxuries other wives might demand. Our priority was our children's education. It grew to become a concern for other people's children as well.
Since then we grew with vision, hard work, and disciplined cost control. We gave young Cempakans honest quality education. Parents from far and near (even from Sabah and Sarawak, and from Penang) trusted their most precious possessions, their children, in my wife's care. From 10 children at Cempaka on Jalan Bukit Bintang in 1983, we are now 3,000 in enrollment strength in the three campuses, with 500 teachers and supporting staff. In all this, how much help did we receive under the NEP? You guessed it: ZERO! A BN minister who later visited Cempaka, was impressed by our students' performance, and asked me, "How much subsidy do you get from the government?" When I said, "Nothing." He repeated the question in a different form three times. Then he sighed and shook his head in disbelief.
My dear Doc Howk, I was a staff member of Tun Razak's MAGERAN in 1969/70. I understood and supported Tun's desire to uplift the socio-econpomic status of the Malay community. (Among my colleagues in the secretariat were Abdullah Badawi, Hanif Omar, Azizan Zainul Abidin, and Joe Ghazali Che Mat. Three Tuns and a Tan Sri, now!) We all worked hard as officers to help design the NEP. But now, it appears that the implementation of the NEP benefitted mainly the UMNOputras, not the hardworking and deserving Bumiputras that the late Tun Razak had intended. For example, our application for soft loans complied all the conditions, were verbally welcomed, but on paper were rejected time and again. Why? Because, I was made to understand, we are non political. Honest and hardworking Bumiputra business people, yes, but non political and non-UMNOputras. The NEP will continue, for sure, who will it benefit? Not simple, ordinary Bumi folks like us. And not the people you so earnestly feel for in your email to me.
We have a culture that is based on entitlement by association, not on merit and hard work. I have Malay friends in Singapore (not brilliant academically to become cardiologists) but they are proud of their education and achievements. They have no hang-ups about being a deprived minority. On the contrary they feel sorry for the Malays here for still being on crutches after 53 years of independence. They asked me, will this go on forever? And where is our pride? I just smiled politely and did not respond. Re your comment on Malay girls in Singapore on the arm of Mat Sallehs, I have not seen any. I don't move in the right circles?
Secondly, I did get a university scholarship to study overseas. But there were no Petronas, or JPA, or MARA scholarships in 1956. Many of us competed for only three available MCS (as the PTD was known then) scholarships. The winners were a student from MCKK, a student from RI in Singapore, and me. We could go on scholarship to any university of our choice, but we later had to return and serve the government. All three of us treasured our scholarships, studied hard, and came home to serve our country.
As for you I am sure, with your intelligence and hard work, you would have become a huge success in any chosen field. It is fortuitous that you chose Medicine, as you now do much good for people who need your skills. As for salt traders- turned-politicians, I wonder of the country would have been better off. There has been so much rape and pillage of our economy that they merit no repetition. Yet I wonder, how come no one takes any notice of them?
You are right in that Tunku made the right decision to split. I was in the Service at that time. My boss at Wisma Putra (the late Tun Ghaz) was shocked when he heard the news. We were having tea at the Dog at that moment. After the initial impact of disbelief and sadness, we all recognised that it was the better of two awful alternatives. Now, decades later, we in Malaysia should recognise that the world is indeed global, and we must be highly competitive in order to survive in it with dignity. With a sense of competitiveness, not entitlement.
I agree with you that everyone should move to the centre. But we do need to embrace meritocracy, step by step. After all, your practice is flourishing because you are a very good cardiologist. So is my cardiologist and good friend Dato Dr. Annuar, and my surgeon Dato Dr. Rozali Watooth. Patients go to all of you because you are really good in your profession, not because you are a Malay. We need efficient producers and honest policies and implementors. However, I recognize the impossible structural problem of ethnicity, religion, and bigotry that are entrenched in our economic-political landscape. C'est la vie.
Thanks Dato'. I must agree with you that if you are not the right Bumiputra ie if you are not UMNOputra, and especially if you are in the technical fields, you have to give your 200 % to be up there because you not only have to face the UMNOputras but you also have to face the chagrin and anger of the other races for the perceived injustice these people thought you and your lot impact on them. If you are an architect, consulting engineer,lawyer, building industry or in business,[ or even a doctor ], on your own, you really have to be much better than Nathan or Chan or Lee to really get 'work ' from non bumis. That is a sad fact of life in Malaysia.
But for the sake of clarity let us talk statistics as statistics do not bluff...
Let us talk statistics and since our very loud friends from HINDRAF may query Malaysian statistics, let me use Singapo statisitics of us instead.
Indian ....7 %, Chinese 23 %...Malays 54 %
Average monthly income from work:
Indian..939USD Chinese 1205USD...Malays 735USD
Top 10 Malaysian billionaires:
Indian....1 Chinese 9 ....Malays 0
Look around us who are the architects, engineers,doctors, lawyers and other high income earners in the country?....Now only then can we talk about meritocracy more rationally.
Now tell me Dato', is really LKY's meritocracy not a skewed one compared to the Malaysian experiment,wart,carbuncle and pus not withstanding?
The Malaysian dilemma in 2011 perhaps is not whether we ought to discontinue the NEP beyond 2010 but rather that whether we Malaysians in general and Malays in particular need to ditch this present leadership who lacks both honesty and is not God fearing enough to make Affirmative Policy work for the poorer segment of the population. They just make it work for themselves and their cronies: Chinese, Malays and Indians to the detriment of the rest of us. This has been going on for over 40 years!
Nadzru Azahari, an old form One classmate joining the fray.....
Dear Nik Hawk,
With a historical porosity between people of Singapo and then Malaya and now Malaysia it is difficult to see the two countries now in strict differences and hermetically sealed socio-political development. When we were young and in school in the 1960s, Nik Hawk, I cannot recall any of our classmates of Chinese ethnicity doing better than you academically or in sheer talents. In fact many of them were of very deprived background. I could recall that it was after a dozen or so Malay boys that the Chinese came close in studies achievement. The Indians like Rattan Singh, Paul Adhigam et al were permanent features at the bottom pile of the class. Only one Martin Abraham was somewhere behind the dozen Malays. The dozen Malays were also deprived Malays, not as you say the boys who were sons of Datuk Bentara Kiri and Kanan. Only Goh Beng Tin could equal you from time to time, just about though, Foo Lai Sin was always somewhere behind the dozen Malays and above Rattan Singh and Paul Adhigam. That was in maths and science. When it came to English literature and the arts, two dozen Malays were above the nearest Chinese fellow.
You were a natural expressionist, deep into reading Ivanhoe, Twelfth Night and A Mirror of the Times. It was many years later that I realised how advanced was that English literature text , A Mirror of the Times was. Yes, we were kampung and small town boys but I don't think I could ever remember that we were down the ladder in meritocracy. Dr Goh, Dr Foo are now surgeons like your goodself, but in school it was them struggling to be somewhere near you, not you to them.
I had to leave you in Kota Bharu as my late dad had to take me with him to Alor Setar. He was a poor YB UMNO defeated in the hands of a PAS challenger and had to leave Kelantan. So I finished school in Sultan Abdul Hamid College instead of SIC.You too went off to MCKK. Then affirmative action came and I would like to accept the fact that I was a beneficiary of that education policy.
I ended up reading for an Engineering degree with your classmates in MCKK. So you and I ended having the same circle of classmates when we finished our academic life. I was in the same class and University as scholars from the SAF, the Singapore Armed Forces. They too were underprivileged students. One of them was from a family that lived on stilts and pontoon squatter dwellings just off the East Coast Road in the sea. Now that part of the sea has been reclaimed and the highway to Changi Airport runs over where his house once stood. One of them became a top Singapo minister, a DPM in fact , BG Teoh Chee Hean. I cannot remember him grasping the subject taught much faster than I did.
Singapore is a city state. Malaysia is a proper country and a Nationhood. Naturally our philosophy of nation building differs.
There is nothing left that we could do to alter history but we can build a common future based on change and we can become leaders of that change. I think we are not short of capable people that can agitate and fight for that change.
One agitation for change that I find most encouraging is the ASEAN Roadmap draft prepared under the auspices of the current Secretary General of ASEAN, the Rt.Hon Dr Surin Pitsuwan. He is a Thai of Malay extraction. His household speak Malay in pure Kelantanese accent and are budu soakers with a vengeance. It is about unionising ASEAN countries with a porous cultural bondage, like an EU with more soul in it.
Cobbling up countries into unwieldy nationstates is an artwork of the Colonialists. We cannot uncobble that any more but we can make it work to our favour. Greater Sudan was from the beginning a British cobbler's job. It will now split as the cobbling got unwieldy and the Central Government of Sudan was not politically savvy enough in constructive engagement and in standing to international political manoeuvring.
Geography and space are very important factors to create strong competitive societies. The old german adage still carry truth, the need for a bigger 'lebensraum ' ( living space) and ' spracheraum ( the language space coverage). Add South Thailand, Mindanau and the biggest blessing of all - the Republic of Indonesia , we have a huge 'spracheraum'. Now we need to think, act and thrive in a ' lebensraum' called ASEAN. Which includes Singapo! Our malay spracheraum is by far the biggest, we are the anchor tenant of ASEAN.Do not limit our lebensraum and we will be counted as superior.
By sheer combination of lebensraum and spracheraum, the malay speakers are the biggest patent holders in the ASEAN region, the top scientists too! NUS has to run breathlessly and had to resort to pinching to stay in queue with the patents and research work done in ITB, UI, UnPad, Airlangga, UM, UKM and UTM. In the oil industry this is more glaringly so. Books written in malay of high quality and research work written in malay ( bahasa indonesia that is ) pile up in Gramedia, Gunung Agung, Kinokonuya more than any work that NUS can ever keep up with. The Institute of South East Asian Studies, based in Singapo, is still living because of research work on Indonesia and Thailand, not on Singapo. Even life style magazines could not write about Singapo! What is there to feature about pigeon holes in the sky?
So relax Nik Hawk. We will do well.
Dato' and Nadzru,
LKY boasted to the world about ruling his pigeon-hole-nation-in-the-sky on a staple diet of meritocracy and meritocracy only but in practice it is very skewed to his kinds.Any form of opposition he labelled them as ultra radical or communist and sent them off to jail. We on this side of the Causeway preach a more kinder form of meritocracy with some degree of affirmative policy for the slow 'turtles'.
Despite carbuncle , pus and all, it seemed to work. Statistics are there, though imperfect. Disgruntled people still talk within polite circles about being treated as second class citizen but where in the world can second class citizens hold on to their mother tongue, free to have their own belief and even preach their religion and end up being the priveledge class economically across the board.
Granted that we Malaysians, our political leadership especially need to reexamine ourselves with respect to our practice. Corruption and nepotism are becoming standard practice.But as they say,' we deserve the shit we deserve '.We keep voting these clowns year in and year out. We should take a leave or two from the Tunisians. Send all these faceless clowns to Timbuktu or into the sea, irrespective of their race and religion.
At the end of the day, on both sides of the Causeway we actually need God fearing leaders actually. A numero uno who is always reminded of 'The Burning'! The rest of his flock would just follow suit. The political will of the NUMBER ONE leader must be supremely clean and unblemished.
"Then We shall pluck out from every sect whichever of them was most stubborn in rebellion to the Beneficent. (69) And surely We are best aware of those most worthy to be burned therein. (70) There is not one of you but shall approach it. That is a fixed ordinance of thy Lord. (71)"
Maryam , 19 : 69- 71
Do we have one in 2011 ?
Dr Nik Howk
Dr Nik Howk,
The statistics you quoted are at variance with the authoritative Abstract of Statistics, and it is not clear whether they
refer to Singapore or Malaysian populations. Hence, no valid conclusion can be drawn from them. Nihil factum nihil argumentum est. No fact, no argument.
Thirdly, I have no particular affection for the arrogant LKY. And he doesn't care whether we like him or not.
Fourthly, we have to admit that we have much to learn from the Singapore experience, management style and public ethic. There is a fine management university in Singapore, for a start. You don't have to like a people to learn and benefit from their knowledge and skills. Two thousand years ago, the native British hated the Roman soldiers viscerally. But they learned and benefited from the law, administrative structure, and technical skills that the Romans brought with them. It is perfectly fine not like Singapore but, as I mentioned in my earlier missive to you, we can benefit from observing and learning from their experience. It is also fine to admit that we need to learn more. We should be confident, not defensive: Abusing them will neither compliment our judgement, nor will it benefit our skill in statecraft in any way.
Finally, we should not be woolly minded about "angst" and "lebensraum" and "sprechensraum". Those words reflected the foggy and emotional years of pre World War II Germany. If I may draw on my very rusty German, so is schadenfreude, an emotion that one should avoid altogether. It is dangerous and fruitless to fashion policy from them. When China was backward, nobody cared to learn Mandarin. Now business executives from Sweden to San Francisco attend Mandarin classes. Why? The answer is obvious: The 'martabad' of a language, or culture, comes from economic strength, not from slogans.
Policy today should be guided by enlightened self-interest toward creativity, co-existence, technical skills, and economic strength. Singapore is not China, and does not see eye-to-eye with that country on every issue. But the two countries have found a smart modus vivendi. China is an economic giant and will grow even stronger in the next decade. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that the US, Japan and Europe, even when combined together, can do about it. Blustering with words of Germanic origin cannot help either. We need to think strategically to survive in the coming decades. Diplomatically, we need to explore ways and find niches to cooperate with China and prosper.
My point is this: We get out of the time warp of the 1960's. We are better than that. Let us be calm and serious: We should design smart domestic and foreign policies that are peaceful and effective, and thereby ensure that our children inherit a better world.
Dear Nik Hawk,
I am back in Bangkok. I will continue on subject of Singapo.
I have difficulty to contribute to your morning religious sermons but I enjoy the pieces on socio-politics.
Please feel free to write direct into the' comment section'.
Dato H and an ex ambassador friend of his "scolded" me diplomatically for being incorrigible in my writing towards LKY.
But, reading The Star yesterday, I am somewhat vindicated by the fact that when interviewed, by the Sinapo Straits Times, LKY felt that he did not he have to apologise for spending billions annually on state of the art weopenry.
That is Sinapo's right as a pigeonholes-of-a-state in the sky as you might say ,but his intention and feeling in this was very important : HE FEELS very STRONGLY THAT SINAPO could be attacked by Malaysia or Jakarta and make no apology about it. That missiles thing was real. Priveledge information in the 90's.
To him if Malaysia stop supplying him water for half a day, that would constitute an act of aggression, an attack on Sinapo!
He is an old goat from my perspective! When we have neighbours like him , we dont need enemies!
Doc Nik Howk,
Please rest assured that I am aware of my position, and at no
time did I 'scold' you. Who am I to 'scold' a distinguished
cardiologist? We just happened to have divergent views and we
discussed them robustly. That is all. But I continue to hold you in
the highest esteem.
However, at our monthly lunches about a dozen former ambassadors did
discuss your views. One agreed with you, the others did not. Just idle
chatter among the old chaps.
Just my typical incorrigible way of expression Dato'. No malice intended.
I am happy at least one retired ambassador agrees with me, for we have been to soft with LKY or rather our numero uno past and present cannot measure up to him...probably apart from Dr M.
Let me put it this way:
It would be mad for Malaysia even in the 90's and especially now to want to handle another 5 millions or so of "you know what". We cannot even handle even aging Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng!
A group of HINDRAF characters making animal noise on a common word which you and me made out as a classic descriptive term and now becoming an international expression[ eg 'pariah' states], how can we handle another 5 millions . And LKY have been thinking all the years that we want them back . If this is not paranoia of the 1st order I do not know what it is.
This old chap need to be put in his proper place sometime....I do not like Dr M and his ways but at least Dr M knew how to put LKY in his proper place and that was 'down there'....We miss Dr M for that.
At the end of the day, I think my friend Nadzru put it in a proper perspective: Sinapo is just a state of pigeonholes in the sky, if I am allowed to add, with an old goat overlooking it's affair..... We should not get excited about what LKY and what Sinapo does or does not do anymore. They are not friendly people certainly.
Dear Nik Hawk,
Indeed we should not get excited about it. I think you should no longer think about LKY, the Old Goat is indeed old and soon he will be deceased or drawn senile. If he writes more folly, it is at his own peril, it will be recorded as a comedy of an old fellow obsessed with his own notion of social engineering. Not unsuccessful though and has been very effective even for us Malaysians to emulate,which we did , influenced by spill over.For we too, in our uncivil behaviour with our sputum ,garbage throwing and poo habits needed a Sinapo LKY treatment. It was the porosity of our civil and municipality behaviour, we were as dirty as they were.We have a critical mass of Hakkas, Hokkiens and Kelantanese on both the peninsular and the island. LKY was one of them and we can understand how he detested the behaviour of his clansmen.
The little Red Dot ( to quote President Dr Ir Bachruddin H Habibie) that needed reclamation of land to exist decently will remain as it is, a City State, living ( if not sponging) off the proceeds from its neighbours, its hinterland. Singapore is a socio-political necessity that came out of a post-colonial era, world wars and revised economic orders. If LKY had not existed, he must be created. Fortunately he existed for a creation may not be as good as the real McCoy. He did what is best for a small island, 22X11 kilometres, not fit even for a municipality. When he took it over it was still a quagmire of swamps, marshlands,mosquito infested and prone to floods. Squatters and slums all the way from Paya Lebar airport to downtown. He had to cleverly hide them behind a cordon sanitarie of creepers. It was a teeming mix of a port and harbour city of squalor and enclaves of order and elegance ,with a populace deep in an inferiority complex of being chinese in a colonial administration.
It even has a creole language called singlish that when spoken on a hakka tongue makes it the expression of the most abysmal. So ugly is a hakka lawyer in an english wig and so ugly is a hakka lady in stilletos. He has done a great job, like the Nahyans and the Maktoums of the former Trucial States. He has made that equatorial squalor and incessantly hot, muddy,humid island livable and respectably elegant.
However Nik Hawk, how much can one ever glorify a City State where people live in pigeon holes and work in airconditioned cubicles? How much can quality of life be simulated in designer portacabins? LKY did quote that two products of recent times that revolutionised Sinapo and make it livable ( I think bearable) are the airconditioning units and the excavator. The latter to revamp the swamps and the marshlands and the former to cool those ugly pigeonhole HDB flats so that Sinapoleans can live and breed in those holes.
In Bangkok and Jakarta one can buy wonderful architecture, environment design monthlies like Ban Nai Fun, Ban Nae Suen, Laras, Asri etc. In Sinapo no one reads about how to put half dead roses in flower pots on tiny balconies. I can't even remember if they have any of such monthlies.There is a limit to imagination, on how you can imagine at how 'cool', 'spacious' and cultured your pigeonholes are. The old German socio-political engineering adage that I recited, 'lebensraum' and 'spracheraum' are about real physical spaces and linguistic access, not conceptual spaces and mangled english.
I am fascinated by a socio-economic and political philosophy promulgated by HH King Bhumipol Adulyadej of Thailand. He calls it the Economics of Sufficiency ( not self sufficient economics!) and the base and extended Prathet ( the domestic and regional nationhoods). I think we are more suited to this than the meritocracy of a port and harbour economy of LKY's. Almarhoum WS Rendra ( he was poet and it is a wonder that he could also speak economics) spoke about the basis of a 'Lander to Lander' economics of the Nusantara, where Pattani , Kelantan and Makkassar can trade point to point and not dictated by Silk Air or Airasia preferred routes that are granted by political patronage.HH The King's development philosophy and nationhood simply cannot work in a 22X11 land space. It needs a hinterland and land mass. It needs mountains and rivers. It need space with temperature range. To succeed in the long run, a country must be geographically correct. No built environment can sustain for long.
Nik Hawk, come 2015 and our economies will be seamless. Countries are administrative units in ASEAN, no longer badly cobbled Nationstates out of the nationalism of the post-colonial era. LKY will become irrelevant beause his school of thought will be obsolete. Our poor Sinapolean cousins will be driven to compete feverishly with us.They will choose to work with us instead in expanded corporatisation. Those poor fellows cannot compete working in sterile airconditioned pigeonholes while we work in healthy spaces! We have strong fundamentals in mother tongue lingua franca of sophisticated languages like Bahasa Indonesia ( sorry folks, Bahasa Melayu will remain as the language of surau religious discourses and the MAIK khutbah texts) and Thai ( with its less sophisticated variants, Lao ,Cham and Khmer). Sinapoleans will be burdened with the mangled singlish and half-baked mandarin. A port and harbour society of neither here nor there, with one good novel written per year and research work done by emigre bangladeshis in their universities. Singapolean bookshops will be Borders and Kinokonuya with imported english books while ours in Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok will be full of quality literary and sicentific works done in our mother tongues. Creative thinking in mother tongues and not an intellectual culture of the transient and dilletance in port and harbour english.
So Nik Hawk, a plumber though I am not, I am a positivist. I love the Nusantara and the Suwarnabumi, its forests ( and the vast store of knowledge in it), the land and the economics of sufficiency and the beautiful space. Yes Sir, SPACE to breathe oxygen.SPACE to sleep.SPACE under the skies. Give me more, not the pigeonholes under whatever name!
Let Sinapo be, a port and harbour size 22X11, soon to be inundated by its own excess. For all that it spoke of as a developed society, the indices show otherwise. It is and it will remain a port and harbour site for a long time to come.
I think we better stop this here. The rate we are 'punching' that old chap, the next time you or me visit 'down under', even our toilet bowls will be thoroughly checked!
Or perhaps we would finally be officially permanently honoured as 'persona non grata'to Sinapo!.....Better than any Datuk'ship perhaps which is becoming far too common. Bila nak dapat cucu ?
The Malay Dilemma, 2008
Our Education System has Failed, Oct 2008.