How to Get Beyond Our Tribal Politics


January 15, 2017

The most-watched made-for-TV movie in American history is “The Day After,” a 1983 portrayal of life in Kansas and Missouri in the days just before and after an all-out nuclear war with the Soviet Union. If you’ve had even fleeting thoughts that Tuesday’s election could bring about the end of the world or the destruction of the country, you might want to find “The Day After” on YouTube, scroll to minute 53 and watch the next six minutes. Now that’s an apocalypse.

It’s an absurd comparison, of course, but the absurdity is helpful. It reminds us that no matter how bad things seem, we have a lot to be grateful for. The Soviet Union is gone, and life in America has gotten much better since the 1980s by most objective measures. Crime is way down, prosperity and longevity are way up, and doors are open much more widely for talented people from just about any demographic group. Yes, we have new problems, and the benefits haven’t been spread evenly, but if you look at the big picture, we are making astonishing progress.

Watching “The Day After” also might help Americans to tone down the apocalyptic language that so many have used about the presidential race. On the right, some speak of this as the “Flight 93 election,” meaning that America has been hijacked by treasonous leftists who are trying to crash the plane, so electing Donald Trump to rush the cockpit is the only sane choice. On the left, some think that a Trump victory would lead to a constitutional crisis followed by a military coup, fascism and dictatorship.

Nearly half the country will therefore wake up deeply disappointed on the morning of Nov. 9, and many members of the losing side will think that America is doomed. Those on the winning side will feel relieved, but many will be shocked and disgusted that nearly half of their fellow citizens voted for the moral equivalent of the devil. The disgust expressed by both sides in this election is particularly worrisome because disgust dehumanizes its targets. That is why it is usually fostered by the perpetrators of genocide—disgust makes it easier for ordinary citizens to kill their neighbors.

In short, the day after this election is likely to be darker and more foreboding than the day after just about any U.S. election since 1860. Is it possible for Americans to forgive, accept and carry on working and living together?

We think that it is. After all, civility doesn’t require consensus or the suspension of criticism. It is simply the ability to disagree productively with others while respecting their sincerity and decency. That can be hard to do when emotions run so high. But if we understand better the psychological causes of our current animosity, we can all take some simple steps to turn it down, free ourselves from hatred and make the next four years better for ourselves and the country. Three time-honored quotations can serve as guides.

“Me against my brother, my brothers and me against my cousins, then my cousins and me against strangers.” —Bedouin saying

Human nature is tribal. We form teams easily, most likely because we have evolved for violent intergroup conflict. Our minds take to it so readily that we invent myths, games and sports—including war games like paintball—that let us enjoy the pleasures of intergroup conflict without the horrors of actual war.

The tribal mind is adept at changing alliances to face shifting threats, as the Bedouin saying indicates. We see such shifts after party primaries, when those who backed a losing candidate swing around to support the nominee. And we saw it happen after the 9/11 attacks, when the country came together to support the president and the military in the invasion of Afghanistan.

But with the exception of the few months after 9/11, cross-partisan animosity has been rising steadily since the late 1990s. This year, for the first time since Pew Research began asking in 1994, majorities in both parties expressed not just “unfavorable” views of the other party but “very unfavorable” views. Those ratings were generally below 20% throughout the 1990s. And more than 40% in each party now see the policies of the other party as being “so misguided that they threaten the nation’s well-being.” Those numbers are up by about 10 percentage points in both parties just since 2014.

So what will happen the next time there is a major terrorist attack? Will we come together again? Or will the attack become a partisan football within hours, as happened after the various lone-wolf attacks of the past year? Something is broken in American tribalism. It is now “my brothers and me against my cousins” all the time, even when we are threatened by strangers and even when there is no threat at all.

Democracy requires trust and cooperation as well as competition.

Democracy requires trust and cooperation as well as competition. A healthy democracy features flexible and shifting coalitions. We must find a way to see citizens on the other side as cousins who are sometimes opponents but who share most of our values and interests and are never our mortal enemies.

“Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?… You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.”Jesus, in Matthew 7:3-5

Our tribal minds are equipped with a powerful tool: shameless and clueless hypocrisy. It is a general rule of psychology that “thinking is for doing”: We think with a particular purpose in mind, and often that purpose isn’t to find the truth but to defend ourselves or attack our opponents.

Psychologists call this process “motivated reasoning.” It is found whenever self-interest is in play. When the interests of a group are added to the mix, this sort of biased, god-awful reasoning becomes positively virtuous—it signals your loyalty to the team. This is why partisans find it so easy to dismiss scandalous revelations about their own candidate while focusing so intently on scandalous revelations about the other candidate.

Motivated reasoning has interacted with tribalism and new media technologies since the 1990s in unfortunate ways. Social media, hackers and Google searches now help us to find hundreds of specks in our opponents’ eyes, but no technology can force us to acknowledge the logs in our own.

“Nature has so formed us that a certain tie unites us all, but…this tie becomes stronger from proximity.” —Cicero, “On Friendship”

Humans are tribal, but tribalism can be transcended. It exists in tension with our extraordinary ability to develop bonds with other human beings. Romeo and Juliet fell in love. French, British and German soldiers came out of their trenches in World War I to exchange food, cigarettes and Christmas greetings.

The key, as Cicero observed, is proximity, and a great deal of modern research backs him up. Students are more likely to become friends with the student whose dorm room is one door away than with the student whose room is four doors away. People who have at least one friend from the other political party are less likely to hate the supporters of that party.

But tragically, Americans are losing their proximity to those on the other side and are spending more time in politically purified settings. Since the 1980s, Democrats have been packing into the cities while the rural areas and exurbs have been getting more Republican. Institutions that used to bring people together—such as churches—are now splitting apart over culture war issues such as gay marriage.

Ever more of our social life is spent online, in virtual communities or networks that are politically homogeneous. When we do rub up against the other side online, relative anonymity often leads to stunning levels of incivility, including racist and sexist slurs and threats of violence.

So are we doomed? Will the polarizing trends identified by Pew just keep going until the country splits in two? Maybe John Adams was right in 1814 when he wrote, “Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself.”

But we have lasted 240 years so far, and both sides agree that America is worth fighting for. We just have to see that the fight isn’t always against each other; it is also a struggle to adapt our democracy and our habits for polarizing times and technologies.

Illustration: Luci Gutiérrez

Some of these adaptations will require changes to laws and institutions. Some will come from improving technology as we fine-tune social media to reward productive disagreement while filtering out trolling and intimidation.

And many of the changes must come from each of us, as individuals who have friends, co-workers and cousins who voted for the other side. How will we treat them as customers, employees, students and neighbors? What will we say to them at Thanksgiving dinner?

If you would like to let go of anger on Nov. 9 without letting go of your moral and political principles, here is some advice, adapted from ancient wisdom and modern research.

First, separate your feelings about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton from your feelings about their supporters. Political scientists report that since the 1980s, Americans have increasingly voted against the other side’s candidate, rather than voting enthusiastically for their own, and that is especially true this time. So don’t assume that most people on the other side like or even agree with their candidate on any particular issue. They may be voting out of fears and frustrations that you don’t understand, but if you knew their stories, you might well empathize with them.

Second, step back and think about your goals. In the long run, would you rather change people or hate them? If you actually want to persuade or otherwise influence people, you should know that it is nearly impossible to change people’s minds by arguing with them. When there is mutual antipathy, there is mutual motivated reasoning, defensiveness and hypocrisy.

But anything that opens the heart opens the mind as well, so do what you can to cultivate personal relationships with those on the other side. Spend time together, and let the proximity recommended by Cicero strengthen ties. Familiarity does not breed contempt. Research shows that as things or people become familiar, we like them more.

Emotions often drive reasoning, so as our hearts harden, our thinking also calcifies, and we become dogmatic. We are less able to think flexibly and address the social problems that we claim to care about. As John Stuart Mill wrote in 1859, “He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that.” So cultivating a few cross-partisan friendships will make you smarter as well as calmer, even if polarization grows worse.

And if you do find a way to have a real conversation with someone on the other side, approach it skillfully. One powerful opener is to point to a log in your own eye—to admit right up front that you or your side were wrong about something. Doing this at the start of a conversation signals that you aren’t in combat mode. If you are open, trusting and generous, your partner is likely to reciprocate.

Tom Lehane, left, a Trump supporter, has a disagreement with Clinton supporter Hila Minshen before a Trump rally on Sept. 9, 2016 in Pensacola, Fla.
Tom Lehane, left, a Trump supporter, has a disagreement with Clinton supporter Hila Minshen before a Trump rally on Sept. 9, 2016 in Pensacola, Fla. Photo: Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images

Another powerful depolarizing move is praise, as we saw in the second Clinton-Trump debate. After more than 90 minutes of antagonism, a member of the town-hall audience brought the evening to a close with this question: “Would either of you name one positive thing that you respect in one another?”

Mrs. Clinton began with weak praise by saying that she respects Mr. Trump’s children. But then she made it strong and generous by noting how “incredibly able” those children are and how devoted they are to their father, adding, “I think that says a lot about Donald.” Mr. Trump responded in kind: “I will say this about Hillary. She doesn’t quit, and she doesn’t give up. I respect that.”

That brief exchange was emotionally powerful—the only uplifting moment of the night for many viewers. Had it been the opening exchange, might the debate have been more elevated, more constructive?

This has been a frightening year for many Americans. Questions about the durability, legitimacy and wisdom of our democracy have been raised, both here and abroad. But the true test of our democracy—and our love of country—will come on the day after the election. Starting next Wednesday, each of us must decide what kind of person we want to be and what kind of relationship we want to have with our politically estranged cousins.

Dr. Haidt is a social psychologist at New York University’s Stern School of Business, a fellow at the Martin Prosperity Institute and the author of “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.” Dr. Iyer is a social psychologist and data scientist at the website Ranker and the executive director of CivilPolitics.org.

Double-Speak–The UMNO Political Culture


December 6, 2016

Double-Speak–The UMNO Political Culture

by KJ John@www.malayiakini.com

Image result for Double Speak Najib Razak

Double-Speak is a political way of life for Malaysia’s Prime Minister–Why can’t we say that he is a liar?

Is double-speak natural to human beings and the only way to become a true-blue politician worth his/her weight? An UMNO Deputy Minister and an equally idiotic Deputy Speaker of Parliament could not see anything wrong with that MP’s wrong speech and impure motives about another MP.

The victim of this abuse was a lady Member of Parliament; whose dignity was obviously denied but our Deputy Speaker appeared to play down the incident. It was clearly recorded vide a video-clip of our parliamentary session distributed to me from Singapore.

Sadly, too, if Parliament is our symbolic leadership head of our nation-state’s parliamentary democracy system; it is sad that the rotting of our fish-head has begun in that August House. My only retort to the deputy minister is: “padan muka” with this note: our grandchildren are watching and learning from your uncouth conduct.

Hadi’s public misinformation

Was Ustaz Abdul Hadi Awang, the President of PAS, also participating in doubles-peak with his Act 355 amendments agenda? While he is a Member of Parliament for Marang, is he not elected to do at least two things; one, is to represent all the people in Marang and two, to speak up on bills and handle concerns in Parliament for both his party and his constituency.

But, my question to him: is he only a Member of Parliament for Muslims with complete disregard for non-Muslims who live in Terengganu?

My take is that Hadi’s Act 355 amendments is simply mischievous and therefore malicious in intention. It is absolutely an attempt to open back doors for hudud implementation in the whole of Malaysia; without labelling it as such. My previous column argued eight reasons against it but allow me now to appeal to all my Muslim friends in Malaysia to explain why we (as Christians) have little choice but to oppose this bill.

Image result for Deputy Minister Tajuddin

The Village Idiot and UMNO Clown with his Corrupt Boss

First, think of Malaysia as existing practically at three levels of reality. These are federal, state and local levels. That means that when one is a federal citizen, that role ascribes and observes certain rights and obligations to all of Malaysia and to all her citizens; there cannot be inequity of citizenship. That is a universal expectation of citizenry anywhere in the world; even when some are treated more equal than others.

Therefore, while his bill was promoted and projected as a bill for Kelantan (one state) to dispense new Syariah by-laws with new limits; the simple fact is that federal law is being mobilised to enable state level criminal prosecution, and therefore its application is always national and federal.

Allow Kelantanese to breathe green air?

Can we assume, for arguments sake, that Kelantan gets this bill for Syariah system compliance and was not designed with hudud intent in mind. Let us grant this right to one of the nine states with rulers; as their second level of operational reality; state-level existence.

Whether we like it or not, such an enablement includes Sabah and Sarawak, too. But, please help me think through the real consequential issues and concerns of all other state jurisdictions at local levels premised on this Kelantan hypothetical experiment.

Therefore my simple but honest question to every Malaysian living in urban and suburban areas is as follows:

If criminal law is now a jurisdiction of any state and consequently their local government Administrations; cannot these authorities also later be mandated that, for example, only Muslims can live in a particular geography of Kelantan; whatever their logic or reasons?

Can non-Muslims therefore be disallowed to buy homes in some other specified area? Or, can it be stipulated that their beaches, like Pantai Cahaya Bulan (PCB), are now only for Muslim-specific attired swimmers? Non-Muslim can therefore be excluded, right?

Of course, supermarkets with male and female lanes become a mandatory given; if not halal and non-halal carts.Is all the above mere fiction from my head, or is there some element of reality to all of it?

The reason I ask these questions is that only our criminal laws can distinguish between the purity of intentions versus obvious and real evidence of wrongdoing. This is our practical but real level of human existence. Any differences or gaps between one’s espoused theory and the one-in-use is always a matter of spiritual consideration and never the domain of public policy of any state.

Related image

Once Friend, now a Political Foe

Therefore, regardless of what Hadi or anyone says; the new bill gives unlimited jurisdiction for the Kelantan state government to colour their air green and it can insist that everyone can only breathe and live such green air; in Kelantan. How else could the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (JAIS) have raided Damansara Utama Methodist Church or DUMC (a church complex) without a police search permit merely on suspicion of some wrongdoing?

This gap between intentions and real action causes a lot of doubt and makes citizens question true political motives. For example, in a BBC interview with Maria Chin Abdullah, they could not understand why she was released before the court’s habeas corpus hearing.

My answer is simply that the Home Affairs Minister could not defend their abuse of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma); as former Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail so clearly already explained from the Hansard records what were the real intentions for the enactment.

God or Allah is our creator

Before the 2013 GE, Ustaz Hadi attended a meeting chaired by Anwar Ibrahim and attended by a whole group of NGOs and promised all of us that the word ‘Allah’ can be equally used by Muslims as with non-Muslims. I was there and heard his promise. But today they do exactly the opposite. Can we trust such politicians, even when they speak with green tongues?

Therefore, my only question to Ustaz Hadi is as follows:

Do we really believe in different Gods?

Is not intention in faith always a personal human faith matter and not a matter anyone else’s religious enforcement? Is not such responsibility for faith always a personal matter and not for the state?

How then can anyone justify all ‘forced limits to human intentions?’ Are we then not taking over God’s role and responsibility, and thereby playing God?

 

Wearing Yellow and being at Bersih 5.0 for Malaysia


November 20, 2016

Wearing Yellow and being at BERSIH 5.0 for Malaysia

by Cmdr (rtd) S Thayaparan

In the end, I wore yellow for Maria Chin Abdullah. I wore yellow for Ronnie Liu, Tian Khiew, Mandeep Singh Karpall Singh, Muhamad Luqman Nul Haqim Zul Razali, Arutchelvan Subramaniam, Wong Chee Wai @ Jimmy Wong, Lee Khai Meng, Anis Syafiqah Md Yusof, Hairol Nizam Md Nor, Razali Zakaria Muhamad Safwan Anang @ Talib, Howard Lee Chuan How and of course, one of the activists I admire the most, Hishamuddin Rais, who had asked when I last met him, “When are you going to be arrested?’

Soon, I guess, soon. I wore yellow for all those people who were locked up under the Internal Security Act in years past. I wore yellow for the Red-Shirts, the Police, the journalists and every citizen no matter if they support BERSIH 5 or not. I wore yellow because this was part of what Malaysiakini writer Hazlan Zakaria means by making our democracy great again.

For a couple of BERSIHSs now, I have written these snapshots of what it was like being there. I have attended most of the public protests, even the last one organised by PAS. To me, democracy means more than just making a mark on a ballot paper. It means standing in solidarity with people whose agendas sometimes do not mesh with mine, but the commonality of traveling on the same road means giving a damn about your fellow citizens.

This piece is not about the numbers game. I make no claims as to how many people were on the streets. My articles on “being there”, is about talking to people, attempting to understand their motivations and walking around with my fellow citizens. Threats from the UMNO establishment always seem a feature of BERSIH rallies.

This time the threat seemed more odious. The Red-Shirts had stalked Bersih for months and I was extremely pissed off by how they were mollycoddled by the UMNO state while engaging in criminal behaviour.

To be honest I thought I would sit this one out, but ultimately I decided that I should not back down from these bullies and make a stand even if it meant displeasing comrades from my past.

Gloomy start

I did not start off wearing yellow. That came later. No point being banned from the party before you had a chance to dance. However, three college-aged women on the train to the city thought otherwise. The two Malay and Chinese women were chatting among themselves decked out in their yellow BERSIH finest, pondering which entry to take to the big show.

To be honest I was a bit worried for them. I did not like the idea that these young people made such obvious targets for Jamal’s hungry Red-Shirts. However, other young people soon joined them and I got down to the business of taking care of this old man who was finding it difficult to muster up the required enthusiasm for the long day ahead.

The atmosphere was gloomy in the early morning at Pasar Seni. I had expected a large crowd, but it was quiet and slightly chilly. I was making my way to the nearby temple, when a group of men shouted out to me to join them. They were holding up a banner supporting Bersih and they seemed in an excitable mood. They asked me to pose with them as they took photographs and I obliged.

I soon discovered they were taxi drivers taking it to the streets like everyone else. When they discovered that I wrote for Malaysiakini, they asked me to write about their problems. They were upset by the negative stereotype the public had of them.

They did not mind competing with other “non-professional taxi drivers” but they needed to have their own licences to do it. They did not want to be beholden to companies owned by the political elites and they were hoping that with free and fair elections and a new government, that their grievances would be addressed.

I made some notes and promised that I would mention them in my BERSIH article. Listening to some of their stories – and to be honest unlike some people, most of my interactions with taxi drivers have always been positive – the theme that emerged was that they wanted to be independent. They wanted to work for themselves and not kowtow to greedy politicians or their proxies.

Enlightening chat with cops

I bade them farewell and headed to the temple. Going to the temple before a protest march is a ritual for me. We all like to believe that god is on our side. The past few weeks were rough. The red-shirts did not bother me, but what really bothered me was the manner in which the state chose to deal with these outsourced thugs.

As a former member of the state security apparatus, the words and deeds of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) had left me deeply distressed. When he said why people who do not follow the law should ask for protection, this is the kind of question that makes it obvious that he is unfit for the job. The question is when I say this, am I being seditious, obscene, offensive, and false or merely speaking the truth?

On my way out of the temple, I noticed two young Police officers going in. I decided to wait for them to finish and speak to them on their way out. When I hailed them while they were getting on their motorbikes, I discovered that they were of inspector rank and did not mind chatting with a former naval officer.

I asked them why them they were at the temple so early and they replied that they were praying that the rally would go peacefully. I told them I prayed the same thing. I also told them that I understood that they had a job to do, and that at one time I was in the same position. We talked a bit about the situation in the country.

They told me that they were worried there might be some “provocation” and they were worried that the BERSIH people might react. I assured them that there would always be provocations. The Red-Shirts were one big provocation but if there were any incidents, it would be because they, the Red-Shirts, were on the wrong side of history and this fact probably bothered them.

Both the officers laughed and wondered if I had a yellow T-shirt that I was going to slip into at a more appropriate time. They advised me to be careful and ensure that I did not walk in the middle of crowds. They seemed genuinely concerned for all the senior citizens who participate in rallies such as these.

I assured them that I would be safe. In another life, I had learned enough trade craft to ensure my safety in situations like these. Besides, in my time I knew a few practitioners of the dark arts from various countries, who filled me in on how one disrupts peaceful protests. I knew the signs to look for, but I always go to these protest marches with a positive attitude.

Carnival atmosphere

Some people may object to the carnival-like atmosphere of these marches, but as someone who has seen the ugly side of protest marches in various parts of the world and who had felt some of it during the dark Hindraf March of 2007, I have no problem with people enjoying themselves in these protest marches.

After breakfast at Madras Lane, I was milling about Masjid Jamek looking at a scattering of BERSIH participants looking slightly anxious, as if wondering where everyone was. I was afraid that the red scare had worked and that folks would just prefer to stay at home and catch up on their Netflix.

I then got into a conversation with a member of the maintenance crew, and was so engrossed in the conversation that I did not realise what was happening around me.

I looked up, and was engulfed in a sea of yellow.

Speak up, oh you young people of Malaysia


April 15, 2016

Speak up, oh you young people of Malaysia

 by Scott Ng
COMMENT:  It doesn’t matter that the politicians don’t represent us. We can make ourselves heard.

National debater turned political activist for the youth, Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman (above) is on a mission. It’s the same mission youth organisers all over the world have given themselves. They want to galvanise youth sentiment into political capital. They want to reach out to the most informed and most judgemental generation in history and make them care about politics because the political process has shut out their voice and fed them bread and circuses to keep them docile.

We often forget that the “battle for the next generation” has come and passed without our politicos realising it. The tail end of Generation Y will be of voting age soon and have already formed concrete opinions about the government and the various political parties, thanks to the availability of information and the ease of access that the smartphone era has brought us.

It is quite amazing how youth values across Generation Y are largely shared across the board – a concern for the environment, a mistrust of government and big banks, a need to secure our mutual futures, and a general acceptance of different cultures. Analysts worldwide theorise that this set of values was determined by the epoch Gen Y grew up in, which was one of terrorist attacks and economic collapses.

Yet, Gen Y shows a great need to come together. What Syed is attempting to do in taking a youth group like Challenger to the fore is to bring back youth activism and youth politics, and the timing is good indeed. He recognises that it’s time that young people be given their own voice in the political arena instead of through the youth wing of any established political party.

A survey that Challenger conducted recently struck us with it’s findings. It turns out that we are fighting for the same things that the youth of America, Greece and the United Kingdom are fighting for – jobs and living wages, an end to the corruption of our governments and corporations and the preservation of our environment.

Whatever you may think of Syed, he deserves our praise for daring to be our voice. They should inspire us to speak up too. We must realize that there are now more of us millennials in the workplace than there are of our parents’ generation. We are the majority, and it’s time to care.

 

Wake Up Call for Malay Muslim Men and Ulamas


April 5, 2016

Wake Up Call for Malay Muslim Men and Ulamas

by Mariam Mokhtar

http://www.malaysiakini.com

Why? The Malays who made Malaysia proud around the world are successful, intelligent and articulate women. The Malay men, whose faces have been splashed over foreign newspapers, have proven to be an embarrassment to the nation.

Malay women remember their fathers’ advice about gaining an education, to liberate themselves from the shackles of Malay parochial attitudes and bondage.

If Malay men are a disappointing failure, then it is time that Malay women took the initiative and metaphorically whipped their men into good behaviour. The nation is suffering because of the actions of a few Malay men, and the apathy of the rest of the Malay community.

Astrophysicist Dr. Mazlan Othman

The list of infamous Malay men is headed by someone who is unashamed about name dropping and receiving foreign ‘donations’. In New Zealand, a junior military man, on his first overseas posting, faces a charge for sexual assault and for defecating in public. In Australia, a convicted attention-seeking criminal revels in teasing the nation about the murderer of the Mongolian model, Altantuya Shaarriibuu.

The achievements of the Malay women are a joy to read. A PhD physicist at the University of Glasgow, 28-year-old Hafizah Noor Isa’s research, made significant contributions in physics. Her team may qualify for a Nobel Prize.

Gymnast Farah Ann Abdul Hadi, 21, won six medals, including two gold, at the South-East Asia Games at Singapore. Her withering remark that “empty tin cans make the most noise” to the religious bigots who attacked her for wearing a leotard, won her even more praise.

It must have infuriated the Perak mufti, Harussani Zakaria, who is remembered for his statement about wives refusing to have sex with their husbands when on the top of a camel.

Farah Ann is as nimble with her limbs as with her tongue.Pahang born, 18-year-old Hajar Nur Asyiqin Abdul Zubir, was awarded a Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) scholarship to read Chemistry at The University of Oxford. The nation heaped praises on her, but the religious bigots tried to undermine her confidence, and attacked her for not wearing a tudung.

If tudung-wearing is a sign of chastity, why is there a high percentage of tudung-wearers who are unwed, teenage mothers? Using emotional blackmail on Facebook, one man warned Hajar Nur that her father would have to bear her sins, because she did not wear a tudung.

Why have the bigots not told Najib Abdul Razak’s spouse that she should cover her hair?

In 2014, the Chevalier De La Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest award, was conferred upon Zainah Anwar, the co-founder of Sisters in Islam (SIS), in recognition of her services in defending the rights of women. The French Ambassador said, “By helping Muslim women, Zainah in turn has helped all women around the world.”

Despite the recognition, the conservative Muslims and PAS do not appreciate the good work done by SIS.

Malay men feel threatened by successful and vocal Malay women. G25’s Noor Farida Ariffin, a former lawyer and ambassador, received a rape threat for her remarks about the moral police and invasion of privacy. Aisyah Tajuddin, a journalist with independent radio station BFM, who mocked hudud law, received death and rape threats. The men’s best defence is violence and sexual assaults, instead of intelligent discourse.

Entitled to more rights than others?

There is an arrogance about many Malay men that will never endear them to the public. Did the Ketuanan Melayu agenda train him to be aggressive, by misleading him that he is entitled to more rights than others?

The Malay man will never admit any wrongdoing. He thinks that to say sorry is sign of weakness and an admission of defeat.

So, how does one explain his insecurity and low self-confidence? In the Malay community, some families ‘value’ their sons more than their daughters. Sons are spoilt. Sons do not have to help around the house.

When they grow older, their girlfriends and later, their wives, take over from their mother, and spoil them rotten. When the men venture into the big bad world, the New Economic Policy (NEP) is their metaphorical mother, giving them what they desire, without any effort.

When confronted with a ‘strong’ woman, Malay men are shocked. How dare she tell him what to do? How dare she have an opinion? How dare she not behave like a timid mouse and pay him the homage that is his due?

Perak’s Harussani Zakaria–The Fatwa Sultan

The Malay man’s thinking is steeped along traditional race, religious and cultural lines. This is his Achilles heel. Malay women have always had to work twice as hard to be recognised, both within and outside the home. Despite this, they still fail to get the respect they deserve.

A makcik once said about her household, “If you want something done, ask a woman to do it”.The Malays need a mental renaissance before the community and nation can embrace change.

We will sue you, Sarawak Report tells Minister Rahman Dahlan


July 22, 2015

We will sue you, Sarawak Report tells Minister Rahman Dahlan

by FMT Reporters

Editor takes particular offence to Abdul Rahman Dahlan labelling her “scum”.

Dr Mahathir and C BrownSarawak Report yesterday vowed legal action against Barisan Nasional’s strategic Communications Director Abdul Rahman Dahlan, New Straits Times and other publications which have deliberately promoted falsehoods designed to damage its credibility.

It also promised to invoke the criminal process against Lester Melanyi for what it claims was a “vicious criminal libel”. “Usually, we rely on the facts to make our case against detractors and allow readers to decide by comparing those facts with the criticisms against us,” it said in a statement posted on its website which is now hosted on a different URL.

“However, over the past days, certain characters who claim to represent the government and their friendly media outlets have gone too far. They have paraded a sick and discredited individual, who has poured out strings of lies, which none of them have sought to check out, in order to claim this as ‘proof’ that our research was all ‘forged’.”

The whistleblower website claimed that it would normally consider Lester’s concocted story to be “entertaining for being so ridiculous” given the mass of evidence which it says supports all that it has written.

Rahman-Dahlan-Clare-Rewcastle-Brown“But ministers have now used this character and these ludicrous libels as an excuse to order an internet ban on Sarawak Report,” it lamented.

Editor Clare Rewcastle Brown took particular offence with Abdul Rahman for “outrageously” libeling her, in particular by calling her “scum” and labeling the portal’s research as “blatant lies”.

“(Abdul Rahman) has not produced a single shred of evidence that would lead anyone to believe the ravings of the mentally unbalanced bankrupt, Lester Melanyi,” she claimed.

“We therefore accuse (him) of criminal libel, motivated by malicious intent. Despite deciding not to sue Lester, Brown warned “him and anyone who continues to promote his present and future made up stories” of future legal action if they persist.