The Great Annare (MIC) Hoax

October 31, 2017

The Great Annare (MIC) Hoax

When you are a race-based party ostensibly there to protect the interests of your community, but your community is not the people who voted you into office, there is really no incentive for you to look after the interests of your community beyond making superficial noises about Tamil schools and funding budding entrepreneurs.” –S. Thayaparan.



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Does MIC care about the plight of the Indian Poor?

COMMENT | I have no idea if the Indian vote will make a difference in 60 electoral constituencies but I do know that voting for the Barisan National establishment in this election will seal the fate of the Indian marginalised poor and further class divisions within the diverse Indian community.

As someone who believes the less you need big government, the stronger you are, the disenfranchised of the Indian community which is the voting base of MIC, is the perfect example of what is wrong with the way the Umno establishment has done business all these years.

There is a robust dialectic in the Indian community which goes unnoticed in the Sino-Malay discourse that dominates the alternative press. Establishment Indian political operatives and their supporters have this strange defence as to why the disenfranchised in the Indian community remain marginalised.

Their excuse is that “rich Indians” unlike their Chinese counterparts are not doing enough for the community. While this may be true, this still does not explain why the Indian community should carry on voting for the establishment when MIC is supposed to be looking after the “interests” of the community.


Elites always take care of themselves first, only crumbs for the downtrodden. Expect Samy Velu and his successors in MIC to be any different from UMNO and MCA?

Furthermore, this idea that “rich Indians” are not doing enough is ludicrous because MIC is riddled with plutocrats who are the beneficiaries of a corrupt system that nurtures a feudalistic mindset. In other words, if the rich Indians in MIC cared about their community as the Chinese plutocrats in MCA do, there would be a very different dialectic going on now in the Indian community.

Meanwhile UMNO folk tell me, that whenever funds are dispersed to the Indian community, leakages prevent them from going to where it is needed most. This, of course, is rather disingenuous because everyone knows that there are “leakages”; and funds  are disbursed to ensure that votes would be bought and not that genuine progress is initiated for the disenfranchised of the Indian community.

I, of course, am the last person to talk about the Indian community. I see no reason why the interests of the Indian community should be defined by the Tamil school issue or the building of new temples. Indeed, I view all these language schools anathema to any kind of cohesive nation building but because our public schools is a hotbed of Islamic preoccupations and “ketuanan politics”, the only way young people are assured of any education not politicised by religion and racial superiority are in these kinds of schools.

Beyond that, MIC has a dismal record of holding the line when it comes to religious extremism. Have you noticed that the most disenfranchised of the Indian community – women – have been on the receiving end of Islamic extremism be it forced conversions or their children stolen from them and MIC has done nothing for them.

Indeed the only “Indian” community that has accumulated political and financial power is the Indian Muslim community–the mamaks–who should actually be part of the greater Indian community but instead is an associate member of UMNO. So that is where all the “rich Indians” went.

I mean, take this issue of stateless Indians. I have heard MIC people blame the Indian parents for not registering their newborns. Yes, blame mostly uneducated people for not understanding government bureaucracy. Is it not the job of MIC to ensure that their voting base remains healthy and vibrant? Instead, when opposition politicians bring up this issue – my sincere gratitude to those who specifically put the time and effort into handling these cases – there is this big rush to demonstrate that MIC is earning its keep.

We cannot even talk about the crime statistics, deaths in custody and the shoot first policy as advocated by the Deputy Prime Minister because victims of suspected gangsters are mostly “Malays”, because all this means confronting the issues of religious and racial supremacy and MIC has never been able to criticise the UMNO state because they know, we know and definitely the UMNO state knows, that MIC is part of the problem.

Moreover, let us be truthful especially when it comes to the nexus of crime and political power. While some folks in UMNO may praise their Tiga Line hoodlums as the last line of defence for Malay privileges and religious superiority, MIC has nurtured an overt thug culture which has seen journalists attacked and political meetings turn into freak shows.



The Tamil Malar incident is a prime example of the relationship between the MIC and UMNO. As I said then, “This merely means that people would go, “well, there is that MIC gangster culture, what do you expect” narrative and the Malay ruling elite would just think it is the price of making a display of Indian representation in the ruling coalition. I am down with that too, but it just goes to show how full of horse manure the Ministry of Youth and Sports really is.”

I can understand why MIC has been extremely ineffective in many issues. The Indian community does not have a large voting base because it is not a sizable demographic. Just like Indian politicians who cannot solely rely on their own community to vote them to power, MIC has to rely on UMNO to literally keep them in power. That always comes at the cost of communal sovereignty and independence.

When you are a race-based party ostensibly there to protect the interests of your community, but your community is not the people who voted you into office, there is really no incentive for you to look after the interests of your community beyond making superficial noises about Tamil schools and funding budding entrepreneurs.

No matter how you self-identify in the Indian community, I hope people understand that as the smallest minority, we would be the first to suffer under the assault of Islamic extremism and racial supremacy. Rejecting the establishment and their proxies is the only way to slow the tide of racial and religious extremism.

S. THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy.

Trump’s Asia Trip–Of No Significance to ASEAN

October 31, 2017

Trump’s Asia Trip–Of No Significance to ASEAN

Despite a foray into Southeast Asia, his concerns are North Korea, Japan and China

by Asia Sentinel Correspondent

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The Mueller Indictment  Captures Global Attention

Is there any Asian government looking forward to President Trump’s visit to Asia? With friends (if any) and foes alike baffled and worried about his next tweet or outburst, his friends seem to be a trifecta of deplorables: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who badly needs to take minds off his extrajudicial killing spree and squeeze the US with insinuations of ever closer ties with China, its invasion of Scarborough (Panatag) shoal notwithstanding. They includes junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha, who in 2015 ended Thailand’s most recent elected government, and Najib Razak, the subject of the biggest kleptocracy investigation ever undertaken by the US department of Justice. Both visited the President in the White House. Duterte has yet to make the trip. Quite a crowd!

Such is Trump’s attention deficit disorder that it is understood that he won’t bother to stay around in Manila for the East Asia Summit, an event which grew out of the Association of South East Asian nations (ASEAN). This body, this year celebrating its 50th anniversary, was as much the creation of the US during the Cold War and the Vietnam war, as driven by the then-fragile common identity of its original five members: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Singapore. Only with the end of those wars could Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar join.

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 ASEAN of Lesser Importance to Donald Trump

ASEAN today may be in disarray politically, divided by China between those with and without conflicting maritime claims. Yet Trump’s absence during a symbolic anniversary is almost as much a demonstration of his isolationist mood as his earlier cancellation of America’s last major Asian initiative, the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Nor have Secretary of State Tillerson’s Asian visits done much to fill the gap in Trump’s knowledge and interest. His concerns in Asia, such as they are, have been dominated by North Korea and China, with some nod to India but scant interest in Southeast Asia despite it being such a focus of Chinese military expansion. Tillerson anyway evidently has limited influence over the President and has been as much preoccupied with trying to cut costs at the State Department as with diplomacy. He spouts management consultant jargon urging on his department “an evidence-based and data-driven process to enhance policy formulation and execution as well as optimize and realign our global footprint.”


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The New Game in Asia–Xi, Trump  and Abe– Overshadowed by Trump’s Domestic Problems


The Trump visit is all about China and Japan, but mainly China. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, recently strengthened by his election victory, will make all the right noises about the North Korea threat but his main aim must be to head off US protectionism and also to warn about China’s maritime ambitions. But the Tokyo visit is overshadowed by that with the newly-crowned Xi Jinping. Whether Trump’s extravagantly phrased congratulations to Xi will help on trade or nuclear issues seems unlikely. China’s agenda is not easily swayed by such trifles. Indeed they may make Beijing, still trying to figure out what to make of Trump, more wary.

They do know however that Trump is more concerned with appearance than substance. The Chinese also know that Trump admires strong leaders, however they got there and whatever they do. He thus wants to be pals with Xi and Duterte regardless of bigger issues. As for results, China hopes to buy time using Trump’s need for a trophy to bring home. Thus lashings of Chinese money will be directed to worthy infrastructure projects in politically important areas of the US. China can easily wear a few more anti-dumping imposts by the US such as just applied to aluminium products, and noises about protecting US technology firms from takeover by Chinese, provided radical anti-trade measures are avoided. Beijing will also point to Xi’s Party Congress speech as evidence of continuing economic reform and in particular the promise of national treatment for foreign enterprises. They are supposed to get that already and the remark means little in practice. But the show must go on.

The Chinese, like much of the rest of Asia, have good reason to be worried if the US effort continues to tear up the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), from which sprang other regional deals. So far Canada and Mexico have stood together and brushed off Trump’s provocations. But whether China and Japan can present a common front on trade is another matter when strategic rivalries are so clear.


Abe will make a big deal of standing together against North Korea and the need for intensifying military preparedness. But avoiding trade conflict must be his primary aim. As it is, the North Korean “threat” can be seen both to justify his proposed amendment of Japan’s constitution and to draw more US forces into the region. This is a major discomfort for China but Beijjing has itself largely to blame. It will also go well in most of Southeast Asia, which has been feeling exposed by Trump’s isolationist rhetoric. Even Duterte’s anti-US emotions are being blunted by the realities both of domestic sentiment and military and elite interests.

The US military and Defense Secretary Mattis are natural opponents of isolation and Pyongyang has given them cause to argue that “making America great again” doesn’t mean abandoning fifty years of using open trade as a carrot for other nations, with the military stick reserved for recalcitrants.

In short, the Asian trip could be a defining moment in determining whether or not Trump the would-be isolationist is brought back into line with mainstream foreign and defense policy makers. More likely, however, it will be an anti-climax, with a jet-lagged Trump on his best behaviour and not upsetting a well- choreographed series of photo opportunities and platitudes before hastening home to the comfort of his own golf course.

Populism and the “Masters of Mankind”

October 31, 2017

Populism and the “Masters of Mankind”

by Roger Farinha*

Author *Roger Farinha immigrated to the United States in 1981 to New York City where he was soon after naturalized, going on to earn his Bachelors in the History of Modern Philosophy from Brooklyn College and his Masters in Liberal Studies from Fordham University. He subsequently lived an itinerant, rambling and searching life, leading up to his book “The Socratic Trucker,” from which adventure writing experience he developed a vision for an American and ultimately global social revival at Today, Mr. Farinha works as diligently as possible, while having to maintain his working class livelihood, to introduce society and the world to this vision.

If Dr. Noam Chomsky is correct in his book Who Rules the World?, that the movers and shakers of policy on the highest level of the state are merely acting on their deepest interests as the “Masters of Mankind,” their agenda of “all [of the world’s resources] for us and none for anyone else,” and I think he is indeed right, then this group exercises the highest level of influence on present global affairs. If the idea of “conspiracy theory” is beginning to flash in the reader’s mind, I ask him and her to graciously suspend disbelief for the short duration of this article as I logically unfold the implications of this insight which was, in actuality, thoroughly illustrated by Dr. Chomsky in his valuable work.

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The first premise of my essay holds that there is a natural state of inequality in society, from the inequality of talents and aptitudes of individuals, to the inequality of wealth distribution. Let’s begin with that group of human beings who happen, per this state of nature, to sit on the very top of the wealth ladder—which position, as the reader must allow, must necessarily be held. It is even likely that today’s wealth elite has an unbroken lineage from the families of historical wealth, albeit those who have managed to stay on top of the trends of social change and continue to wield control, as I am about to demonstrate in the context of our information age. But while this segment of our human race might actually hold the real reins of power and are therefore our operational social “Gods,” in power if not in truth, let me attempt to explain the constellation of our world today from the perspective of groups of people and their own competing power aspirations, nevertheless playing into the hands of these “Masters of Mankind,” hereafter referred to as “Masters” or “Social Gods” for succinctness. For the central driving force common to all human beings is our will to power.

This essay therefore paints a picture of our current global social constellation from the perspective of the general human will to power, in the context of a world in which wealth amounts to power, and in the environment of a state of social inequality of wealth and its implications for social control:

Due to our information and connectivity age, global populist sentiment is on the rise as the People find themselves able to enter a common culture like never before in human history. This sentiment is merely the open aspiration of the common folk or averaged person to achieve real control over his and her life, opportunity, and flourishing. This yearning is particularly meaningful in America which historically claims to be a nation Of, By, and For the People. President Obama and Trump, for those who have not already got it, were swept into office on waves of populist (of the people) sentiment via their broad based, grass-roots appeal, although Obama squandered his opportunity to truly champion the people’s cause by becoming prematurely globalist. The temptation Obama fell into, of joining forces with a ruling class (hereafter referred to as our ruling elite) who are attempting to move the world forward and into a newly envisioned, historic unity which is not grass-roots in nature, represents a grave mistake in aspirational global leadership. For underlying their vision is a distrust and even a disrespect of the capacity of the common folk of the world to actually transcend their social differences and create a unified world outside of governmental leadership and top down economic pressure. I put the words “ruling class” in quotes in order to suggest that although this group of people are the direct administrators of governmental power, in actuality they only serve the family of the “Masters” mentioned above, so that their elitist vision of a unified world is really only encouraged and made possible through the blessings of the “Social Gods” via the economic privileges they are granted which support their elitist conceits.

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Trump on the other hand, while raw and unpolished and handicapped by his wealthier background, is genuinely trying to advocate for the American people via his more aggressive trade re-negotiations, albeit less competent attempt to return America to a manufacture economy and generally, to its mid twentieth century place of international economic dominance. Economic populists represent the aspiration of the grass-roots of our world for the most practicable control over life and flourishing. Trump, however, similar to other populist candidates in Europe, also represents some of the things that the global ruling elite rightfully despise. For the appeal of economic populist candidates is partly due to the fear and anxiety of their grassroots base as the people experience a sense of being forced into accepting too many differences among one another. Racial, ethnic, class, national and many other boundaries are too radically being blurred, against the survivalist anxiety of the people. Therefore are we experiencing a present global state of populist resurgence, particularly in the traditional democratic states of the world, and it is CRITICAL that the ruling elite reconsider their approach to their admittedly noble aim of seeing a unified world.

The debut of the smartphone is responsible for a new shift in American and even global social consciousness as social media enables people to mentally masturbate with others of their own social-political persuasion. This is only the first, natural reaction of people to the new possibilities of a new reality. For human beings naturally hope that in experiencing new connectivity, they might find that all the world really shared their own, self-centered perspective. This is so because all individuals seek to draw the world into themselves in their ego wish to see themselves as the god of others, the impulse which is at the bottom of our will to power. Reality soon takes hold, however, and the common people soon realize that they must somehow unite under a new sense of group consciousness, our present-day populist manifestations. This consciousness however only grudgingly embraces the whole as sub groups continue to hope that they might magically find that they in fact represented the whole of humanity per their god-complex. The evolution of populism hopefully therefore continues to a truer and more organic unification as group limitations and the general need for compromise continue to manifest, but only if it is lead with vision and wisdom by a social leader of spiritual caliber, one able to speak to and challenge the general human god-complex. For in the absence of such vision, eternal sectional strife and disintegration are just as possible.

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The governing elite as mentioned above, for example, are just as guilty of the illusion that they are the rightful rulers of the world since they are usually more educated, seated above the ignorant rabble and freed of the survivalist struggle. They are the professional ruling class, i.e., higher government officials, mainstream journalists, politically active liberal AND conservative billionaires, etc. They are just as needful of overcoming their ego-auto-eroticism, equally responsible for the loss of the Democratic Party in 2016 due to Obama AND Hilary’s ignoring the economic and social (or populist) anxiety of the American people, as well as the Republican Party’s loss to Trump for the SAME REASON. Not to mention that were the people more intimately connected with their governing class in Europe and America rather than being effectively treated as peasants to be dominated, the disruptive tactics of geo-political thugs like Vladimir Putin would have no foothold in the people to stir the pot of populist discontent. Putin, Bashar Al-Assad, Kim Jong-il, Ali Khamenei and others of course represent the third kind of god-complexes: the aspiration to world leadership through brash force, vailed and unveiled manipulation. These are the “Dictator Types” or “Political Thugs.”

This geo-social constellation is not clearly visible due to the blindness inherent in peoples’ god-complexes. For example, the general human wish to dominate all others, in the context of our new connectivity age, is responsible for traditional, “objective” journalism taking a hit as print news outlets, already stressed by the new digital environment, experienced cancelling subscriptions whenever journalists failed to echo the god-complex-based bias of their consumers. I put the word objective in quotes, of course, because no human institution has ever achieved true objectivism. Therefore in order to survive, journalism had to become more partisan if they wished to secure their market base in an environment of dying print. Eventually, with “objective” journalism compromised and the mainstream news becoming ever more skewed along the most general line of partisanship in America, the liberal verses the conservative, the American people have also grown more and more rigidly partisan in a tragic, feedback loop. This dividing effect which results from our human wish to be the god of others must have played right in the hands of the true “Masters” of mankind, in that the more they encourage division among their inferiors in power, the more they secure their own domination, much as crabs which are higher up in the heap benefit from the competition of the lower. Hence they may well have encouraged general populist infighting among the common people by pulling the strings of the elitist news-editors, who in turn manipulated their beat reporters and journalists via the career carrot to accentuate social differences.

This is why we have been seeing American populist aspirations restricted along liberal verses conservative lines, from the Tea Party to Occupy, from Obama to Trump. This is also why the American people are not seeing genuine representation of their common peoples’ interests as they send ideologues to congress and the house who obstruct one another. The people’s separation also results in electing presidents who, in the context of this obstructionist environment, are impotent against more entrenched, special interests which continue to pillage American wealth to the detriment of the middle class, the very basis of American liberty itself. The usurpations of these “special interests,” by the way, constitute one of the main streams of wealth which continue to feed and maintain the domination of our Masters as the ultimate underwriters of these “interests.” Going forward, finally, I see no reason why this highest wealth class may not attempt to elevate their domination from America to the larger world, via the global economic opportunities available via NAFTA and, more generally, the neo-liberal movement.

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To sum up so far, we have identified four group players in our global social constellation: the Masters, the People, the Ruling Elites, and the Dictator types. There is one remaining group, however, the most malignant in that they are capable of serving as the very instruments of our common destruction. These are the Covert Military Fascists who believe that the world is only fit for domination by the dauntless, the supermen. You will find them at the buttons of our greatest weapons, even of mass destruction, just itching to flex their muscles via their own god-complex-desire to dominate, so that our very global destruction may well be an inescapable result, as inevitable as our heap of crabs must necessarily collapse!

So what can we make of all this? How can we fundamentally change the mad direction of our dog-eat-dog world which might destroy itself through a mindless, competitive miscalculation? As mentioned above, by heeding the leadership of such a person who might speak to the very root of our human cancer in our god-complex itself. May we discover such a voice of leadership as we have providentially found the insight in this essay! As its author, I suggest to you the social re-direction pointed out at NewAmericanSpring.Org.

Ops Lalang–Dr. Mahathir and Anwar are the Villians, says MCA Publicity Man

October 30, 2017

Ops Lalang–Dr. Mahathir and Anwar are the Villians, says MCA Publicity Man

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by Ti Lian

COMMENT | We are now commemorating the 30th anniversary of the biggest crackdown on innocent activists, politicians from both sides of the divide (including MCA leaders ), intellectuals, academics and activists, including the revocation of the publishing licences of two dailies – the MCA-owned The Star and Sin Chew Jit Poh.

The dragnet was the landmark of then Prime inister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s draconian iron-fisted Machiavellian style of maintaining power for 22 years.

Mahathir had been an authoritarian and condemned for bringing “dooms and time bombs” to Malaysia by his political enemy – but now ally – DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang.

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Ops Lalang was said to be caused by the growing racial tensions by Mahathir’s government that were said to be too “tolerant” and “liberal”. However, the real and immediate cause was the appointment of about 100 non-Mandarin speaking senior assistants to vernacular Chinese schools, which caused anxiety and fear among Chinese educationists and politicians.

On October 11, 1987, the United Chinese Schools Committee Association, also known as Dong Jiao Zong, together with Chinese politicians had gathered more than 2,000 people to protest against this decision that was seen as a direct attack on the character of Chinese vernacular schools.

Coincidentally, the Education Minister then was Anwar Ibrahim. At the time, Anwar was a rising political star and Mahathir’s protege in UMNO. Anwar repeatedly warned of retaliation and that the Education Ministry’s decision would not be changed or compromised despite pressure from component parties, including MCA.

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A week later, on October 17, 1987, UMNO Youth responded to the Thean Hou Kong 2,000 gathering with a bigger rally of 10,000, where UMNO politicians displayed their ire at MCA politicians for participating in the protest.

This was followed with a promise of a half a million UMNO members gathering on November 1, 1987, by the then UMNO Secretary-General Sanusi Junid, who is a Mahathir loyalist. This was calculated and meant to increase the tempo of racial tension.

However, on or about October 27, 1987, Ops Lalang was carried out, targeting Chinese activists, academicians, politicians, etc, who were arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA). They were arrested and detained without trial by the order of the Home Minister, who was also the prime minister.

Looking back, the protagonists or “villains” of the dark period known as Ops Lalang were none other than Mahathir and Anwar.

Was the blatant and forceful decision to appoint a large number of non-Mandarin speaking teachers to helm Chinese vernacular schools intentional? Was this decision made knowing that it would provoke a massive “violent” reaction from Chinese educationists and politicians?

Were the events leading to Ops Lalang orchestrated by both Mahathir and Anwar?

Ironically, we are now asked by the biggest critic of these two “villains” who was also a victim of Ops Lalang, Kit Siang, to vote and support these “villains”.

DAP and Kit Siang might have chosen to forgive and absolve these “villains” but there are others, including MCA politicians, who were innocent victims of this blatant abuse of power. We cannot allow a repeat of such a politically heinous act. Never again!

TI LIAN KER is MCA publicity spokesperson and religious harmony bureau chairperson.


The Work You Do, the Person You Are–Self Esteem

October 30, 2017

The Work You Do, the Person You Are

The pleasure of being necessary to my parents was profound. I was not like the children in folktales: burdensome mouths to feed.

By Toni Morrison

Illustration by Christoph Niemann

All I had to do for the two dollars was clean her house for a few hours after school. It was a beautiful house, too, with a plastic-covered sofa and chairs, wall-to-wall blue-and-white carpeting, a white enamel stove, a washing machine and a dryer—things that were common in Her neighborhood, absent in mine. In the middle of the war, She had butter, sugar, steaks, and seam-up-the-back stockings.

I knew how to scrub floors on my knees and how to wash clothes in our zinc tub, but I had never seen a Hoover vacuum cleaner or an iron that wasn’t heated by fire.

Part of my pride in working for jer was earning money I could squander: on movies, candy, paddleballs, jacks, ice-cream cones. But a larger part of my pride was based on the fact that I gave half my wages to my mother, which meant that some of my earnings were used for real things—an insurance-policy payment or what was owed to the milkman or the iceman. The pleasure of being necessary to my parents was profound. I was not like the children in folktales: burdensome mouths to feed, nuisances to be corrected, problems so severe that they were abandoned to the forest. I had a status that doing routine chores in my house did not provide—and it earned me a slow smile, an approving nod from an adult. Confirmations that I was adultlike, not childlike.

In those days, the forties, children were not just loved or liked; they were needed. They could earn money; they could care for children younger than themselves; they could work the farm, take care of the herd, run errands, and much more. I suspect that children aren’t needed in that way now. They are loved, doted on, protected, and helped. Fine, and yet . . .

Image result for Toni Morrison Toni Morrison receives Presidential Medal of Freedom. Toni Morrison, the renowned author and the Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities Emeritus at Princeton University, was named by President Barack Obama a 2012 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.

Little by little, I got better at cleaning her house—good enough to be given more to do, much more. I was ordered to carry bookcases upstairs and, once, to move a piano from one side of a room to the other. I fell carrying the bookcases. And after pushing the piano my arms and legs hurt so badly. I wanted to refuse, or at least to complain, but I was afraid she would fire me, and I would lose the freedom the dollar gave me, as well as the standing I had at home—although both were slowly being eroded. She began to offer me her clothes, for a price. Impressed by these worn things, which looked simply gorgeous to a little girl who had only two dresses to wear to school, I bought a few. Until my mother asked me if I really wanted to work for castoffs. So I learned to say “No, thank you” to a faded sweater offered for a quarter of a week’s pay.

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“Make a difference about something other than yourselves.”– Toni Morrison–

Still, I had trouble summoning the courage to discuss or object to the increasing demands she made. And I knew that if I told my mother how unhappy I was she would tell me to quit. Then one day, alone in the kitchen with my father, I let drop a few whines about the job. I gave him details, examples of what troubled me, yet although he listened intently, I saw no sympathy in his eyes. No “Oh, you poor little thing.” Perhaps he understood that what I wanted was a solution to the job, not an escape from it. In any case, he put down his cup of coffee and said, “Listen. You don’t live there. You live here. With your people. Go to work. Get your money. And come on home.”

That was what he said. This was what I heard:

  1. Whatever the work is, do it well—not for the boss but for yourself.

  2. You make the job; it doesn’t make you.

  3. Your real life is with us, your family.

  4. You are not the work you do; you are the person you are.

I have worked for all sorts of people since then, geniuses and morons, quick-witted and dull, bighearted and narrow. I’ve had many kinds of jobs, but since that conversation with my father I have never considered the level of labor to be the measure of myself, and I have never placed the security of a job above the value of home. ♦

Ops Lalang: To Apologise Or Not to Apologise, that is a Futile Exercise

October 29, 2017

Ops Lalang: To Apologise Or Not to Apologise, that is a Futile Exercise

by Terence Netto

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As a choice for the immediate future, Najib is execrable whereas Mahathir is merely reprehensible.–Terence Netto

COMMENT | The push to get Dr Mahathir Mohamad to apologise for Operasi Lalang is futile because it fundamentally misperceives his political persona.

He is a practitioner of Machiavellian craft. To a Machiavellian, admission of error or weakness is abjured because that is a sign of weakness.

As a national and transformative leader, Mahathir is one of the more successful deployers of Machiavellian political craft since Otto von Bismarck.

The ‘Iron Chancellor’ in the 19th century welded the Prussian principalities into a united German nation by dint of his skill at pushing for the attainment of his objectives through the tactic of restraining contending forces by manipulating their antagonism.

As Prime Minister over a 22-year span (1981-2003), Mahathir was skilled at destroying opponents in UMNO, mainly, as well as outside his party, by manipulating their weaknesses.

This skill had enabled him to stay in power over an extended period – too long for the health of a polity – to achieve his aim of transforming the country from a primary commodity producer to a manufacturing one.

It was a successful span, given that the economy grew and the middle class burgeoned, as that class must if a country is to climb out of Third World classification to a higher position in the global economic order.

Mahathir built up the country physically and emasculated it morally. The institutional life of the country petered out under his rule.

Mahathir won’t say he’s sorry for, as the then Home Minister, signing on in October 1987 to the detention of 106 political and social activists, several of whom are clamouring for an apology for grave wrongs from the current chairperson of the movement to depose Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

Many think an apology for his misdeeds is imperative for Mahathir to begin to be credible as a reformer.

His detractors argue that sans an apology, he would be prone to replicate his wrongs, to borrow with a twist George Santayana’s famous aphorism that those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.

True, the movement for political change in Malaysia suffers from discouraging, though not disabling, inauthenticity on account of Mahathir’s misdeeds.

Several of his transgressions against liberal democratic norms have been leveraged to the detriment of the Malaysian polity by its incumbent supremo, Najib.

But unless one regards voters in most democracies as apt to be faced with a selection between good and better, rather than what the philosopher Edmund Burke envisaged, as a choice between the undesirable and the intolerable, Mahathir’s misdeeds over his 22-year premiership (1981-2003) are not a fatal disqualification for the role of majordomo of the movement for political change in Malaysia.

As a choice for the immediate future, Najib is execrable whereas Mahathir is merely reprehensible.

Another five years of Najib’s premiership will be the prelude to perdition, as he seeks to hide what can no longer be camouflaged: nation-debilitating larceny on a stupendous scale.

Though he has denied wrongdoing, it rings hollow. In the main, he is believed only by people in whose interest it pays to abide his denials.

Even if he is a risky alternative, at 92, Mahathir can only have a limited turn as pilot of the ship of state, should the opposition Pakatan Harapan win the next general election (GE14).

If his turn at the stern is to be nasty and brutish, as detention under the Internal Security Act was, it will almost certainly be short.

A nonagenarian, even one of Mahathir’s formidable spirit and longevity, cannot hope to last long in the pressured role as Prime Minister.

Actually, the Harapan of PKR, DAP and Amanah should contrive to use Mahathir for its purposes more than he is wont use to others for his covert ends.

Their use of each other illustrates Charles de Gaulle’s dictum that in politics, there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies; only interests are permanent.

A Buku Jingga-like manifesto for Harapan and a Harapan leaders’ declaration pledging consensus on major issues as the coalition’s mandatory modus operandi would tilt the balance against deviation.

It’s a wiser, viable and more likely winning strategy than getting a man of Machiavellian craft to do something that goes against the grain of his persona.

TERENCE NETTO has been a journalist for more than four decades. A sobering discovery has been that those who protest the loudest tend to replicate the faults they revile in others.