Dr. M. Bakri Musa on Liberating the Mind


January 30, 2016

READ THIS: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2016/01/30/rafidah-decries-malays-who-stick-to-crutches/

Dr. M. Bakri Musa on Liberating the Mind

by Julia Yeow, News Editor

Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz (right) with author and social critic Dr M. Bakri Musa at the launch of his book in Shah Alam, today. Rafidah says it is time Malays stop thinking they are 'special' and must continue getting help from government policies. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Kamal Ariffin, January 30, 2016.

A great leadership will encourage, not suppress, freedom, says US-based Malaysian surgeon Dr M. Bakri Musa (Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz), who says the current leaders are entrapping Malay minds in order to stay in power. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Nazir Sufari, January 30, 2016.

Malaysian UMNO leaders have been intentionally entrapping the minds of Malays as a means to retain their power and positions, says prominent Malay intellectual and writer Dr M. Bakri Musa. Dr Bakri warned that the inevitable advent of the digital world would put an end to such shortsighted leadership regime.

The California-based surgeon, a regular socio-political commentator and author of several books, said it was a common mentality of leaders to try and control their followers, as “corrupt leaders create corrupt followers, who will elect corrupt leaders again”.

But Dr Bakri said that information would be increasingly far-reaching with the growth of technology, and that the mark of a great and lasting leadership was its ability to encourage, not suppress, freedom.

“Every leader will like to control their followers, but the inevitable will be to change.The digital world – I don’t care how strong you are – it can’t be limited. It’s powerful enough,” Dr Bakri told The Malaysian Insider ahead of the launch of his book “Liberating the Malay Mind” in Shah Alam, today.

The book (pic, above) in English and Bahasa Malaysia, is in its second edition after getting positive reviews when it was first published. But he said some criticised him by saying he was not qualified to speak on the problem of the Malays because he had been living abroad for decades.

His response? “Judge me on my views and opinions, not on where I live,” said Dr Bakri. He said the current state of politics was proof that leaders are unable to keep the people ignorant forever, as the Internet reach continues to grow.

He cited the example of Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s controversial RM2.6 billion donation, saying it was unlikely the entire episode would have been exposed if not for the digital world.

Dr Bakri said the Malays had remained intellectually and economically backward in spite of decades of policies and assistance.

“We have been talking about the Malay problem ever since I was young and probably when my grandchildren are grandparents, we’d still be talking about it,” he said

“Why is it after 60 years of independence, with sultans and leaders as Malays, and the government being led by Malays, we still have this problem?

“The reason is that we do not know that our minds have been entrapped, imprisoned. In my book, I used the metaphor that the Malays are like frogs under a coconut shell.The shell will topple one day, make no mistake about it. The question for our society is if we will topple the coconut shell our way, to minimise the collateral damage, or do we allow it to topple on its own and risk a disaster.”

The ability to look beyond race can help draw the Malays out of their shells, says well-known critic Dr M. Bakri Musa. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, January 30, 2016.

The ability to look beyond race can help draw the Malays out of their shells, says well-known critic Dr M. Bakri Musa. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, January 30, 2016.

Dr Bakri said Malays who were not properly educated and exposed would be prime targets for “darker and dangerous” influences, including hardline religious teachings.

“Influences such as Isis can be appealing to the Malay mind if they are not adequately exposed and educated. The leaders must realise that the liberation of the mind is already happening, but the messages that are being sent now are dark and dangerous.”

To counter this influence, Dr Bakri suggests a greater liberalisation of the media, saying that the more sources of information available, the better equipped the Malays would be.

Apart from that, he said that a greater immersion of the Malays in commerce and capitalisation would “automatically change their worldview.They won’t see people as Chinese or Indian or Malay, they look at everyone as potential customers.”

This ability to look beyond race, he said, would help draw the Malays out of their shells.

In his book, Dr Bakri draws on the examples of civilisations and communities around the world which he said shared similar problems with Malays in Malaysia, such as the early Irish and the Italians.

“I want the Malays to realise they have a problem, but it’s not unique to them. There are other societies and civilisations and communities and we can learn from them. They have managed to overcome it. We can learn from it and we can overcome it.”

Dr Bakri’s book will be available at all major bookstores nationwide from early February.

11 thoughts on “Dr. M. Bakri Musa on Liberating the Mind

  1. I was invited to the book launch. It was an opportunity I missed to meet Dr. Bakri again. The last time we met was in Los Angeles in 2011.

    I was unable to come since I had lectures at The Techo Sen School, The University of Cambodia. Anyway I have asked my wife, Dr Kamsiah to obtain a copy for me from my friend, Rashid Azzad Khan, ZI Publications.

    I was told by Rashid that this book was substantially revised and updated. I have always enjoyed the writings of this outstanding Malay intellectual and have posted them on my blog.

    Dr. Bakri is brutally frank about the mental retardation of the Malays. The Malays are a contented lot. It is, therefore, no myth to say that they are intellectually lazy. We have to thank UMNO leaders for that.–Din Merican

  2. I do not know if dr bakri’s grandchildren would still be talking about malays still not being liberated. All i know is that i got to learn from dr bakri 10 years ago and meeting him in stanford. He liberated my personal hatred towards a people that provided a place for me, my father, and my grandfather when our father land has been broken beyond repair. Learning recently that my mother’s grandfather was a pallbearer of sun yat sen brings even more sadness, and appreciation of Malaysia. Pray no malay would suffer the same fate.
    Unknowingly, dr bakri liberated this chinese who was once was very angry at umno baru.

  3. UMNO has plenty Malays in commerce and capitalization, but they have not “automatically change their worldview” to see beyond race. Instead they plan to divide consumers along racial lines, such as proposing a Low Yat 2 and separate shopping carts for Malay consumers. No, sir, Malaysia will NEVER see beyond race and be truly unified UNTIL there is a non-Muslim, non-Malay Prime Minister. The Malays are lagging further and further behind because they are a present-oriented people as compared to the future-oriented non-Malays. Yes, thinking may make it so.

  4. Hi, Katasayang, I did not know we are from the same Stanford University. Go Cardinals! Boy, how I miss the Farm.

  5. Or is it a case of the force of play of the Yugoslav saying tie the horse where your boss wants you to tie it even if you know that it would be found dead at that very spot the next day. You can work hard for your wealth through bricks and mortar projects or you could earn it in the banking sector through the warious financial instruments.

  6. It’s not liberation of media that is most important but education. To really make a leap, the govt should step aside on content of education and let it be decided by parents and teachers.

  7. It takes immense courage for a Malay to openly speak to his own kind of the pain and agony they had suffered and their children and grandchildren will be suffering from the entrapment of their culture and religion and their perpetual SELF-DENIAL for past 60 years that they can do little to stay socio-political and economic relevant,especially in this digital world, while remain religiously spiritual and racially relevant,nationally.(-religious belief is personal and private,between you and God, race is what you can’t chose what u are or to whom you are born.)

    Dr. Bakri Musa thoughts are of great inspirations and relevance, not only to the Malays, but all Malaysians. He had shown the way for more Malays to emulate.The Malays are honored, so are the Malaysians.

  8. The other day I was reading some stuff by Al-Ghazali and underlined in one of the books (by someone else) was this passage :

    “Declare your jihad on thirteen enemies you cannot see -egoism, arrogance, conceit, selfishness, greed, lust, intolerance, anger, lying, cheating, gossiping and slandering. If you can master and destroy them, then you will be read to fight the enemy you can see.”

    It seems to me that the exact opposite of this, is what UMNO has cultivated in the Malay polity.

  9. @lamoy unfortunately, i am not as elite. But, i got to know a bunch of stanford malaysian grad then who started something known as malaysian forum at dr bakri’s prompting. All of them have since moved on and doing very well everywhere in the world. One younger one i met recently started his own company in shanghai with some chinese funding. Alas.. malaysia forum have since lost its zeal. Recent generation of malaysian students are less vocal these days. Or perhaps another reality took place, pemandu and najib’s system got their hands in knowing how to control us all. Some of them worked with pemandu and left also. Messed up system affects us all.
    In any case, we owe it all to dr bakri who liberated us and prompted each of us do whatever we could.

  10. /// Dr. M. Bakri Musa on Liberating the Mind ///

    It is elementary, my dear doctor. No need to write an entire book on this. Just abolish organized religions, especially state sponsored ones.

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