Thursday, January 1, 2009

"I can change the Malays" - Abdullah Ahmad Badawi



Pak Lah stated clearly that he can change the Malays.

What that change is, is difficult to understand. He has launched the theme of his premiership as the most sublime of all values - Islam Hadhari, or civilizational Islam or Islam that civilizes. So far what has been perceived is Halal Foods and Islamic Finance. So many are still in the dark and would hope it sounds like what it means.

With his term of Office slated to end in March, what is it that Pak Lah have up his sleeve?

Will this change mean intolerance of differences?

The risk that the world will face a nuclear holocast is there. All the risks of whatever nature are always there for practical purposes. I recall an old book written in the 1950's about this spectre - the spectre of of life after such a calamity. You might like to follow a sypnosis of the book, The Chrysalids, by John Wyndham. It really is about the dark spectre of "differences" in human society. The themes are a little reminiscent of current political life as espoused by UMNO.


The Chrysalids by John Wyndham


A few thousand years in the future post-apocalypse rural Labrador has become a warmer and more hospitable place than it is at present. The inhabitants of Labrador have vague historical recollections of "The Old People", a technologically advanced civilization which existed long ago and which they believe was destroyed when God sent "Tribulation" to the world to punish their forebears' sins. The society that has survived in Labrador is loosely reminiscent of the American frontier of about the 18th century. The inhabitants practice a form of fundamentalist Christianity with post-apocalyptic prohibitions. They believe that in order to follow God's word and prevent another Tribulation, they need to preserve absolute normality among the surviving humans, plants and animals. Genetic invariance has been elevated to the highest religious principle, and humans with even minor mutations are considered "Blasphemies" and the handiwork of the Devil. Individuals not conforming to a strict physical norm are either killed or sterilized and banished to the Fringes, a forbidden area still rife with animal and plant mutations. Arguments occur over the keeping of a tailless cat or the possession of oversize horses. These are deemed by the government to be legitimate breeds either pre-existing or achieved through conventional breeding. The government's position is considered both cynical and heretical by the orthodox frontier community.

The inland rural settlement of Waknuk is a frontier farming community, populated with hardy and pious individuals intent on reclaiming land from the Fringes. Ten-year-old David Strorm, the son of Waknuk's zealous religious patriarch, has inexplicably vivid dreams of brightly lit cities and horseless carts that are at odds with his pre-industrial experience. Despite David's rigorous religious training, he befriends Sophie, a girl carefully concealing the fact that she has six toes on each foot. With the nonchalance of childhood David keeps her secret. The subsequent discovery of Sophie's mutation and her family's attempted flight causes David to wonder at the brutal persecution of human "Blasphemies" and the ritual culling of animal and plant "Deviations". David and a few others of his generation harbor their own invisible mutation: they have strong telepathic abilities. David begins to question why all who are different must be banished or killed. As they mature, David and his fellow telepaths realize that their unusual mutation would be considered a "blasphemy" and they carefully conceal their abilities. That their mutation cannot be directly detected allows their unusual abilities to remain undiscovered for a time. Eventually the group is exposed and David, his half-cousin Rosalind and younger sister Petra flee to the Fringes. Through the unusually strong telepathic abilities of Petra they make contact with a more advanced society in distant "Sealand". David, Rosalind and Petra elude their would-be captors and are rescued by the Sealand mission to discover the source of Petra's telepathic transmissions.

Though the nature of "Tribulation" is not explicitly stated, it is implied that it was a nuclear holocaust, both by the mutations, and by the stories of sailors who report blackened, glassy wastes to the south-west where the remains of faintly glowing cities can be seen. Sailors venturing too close to these ruins experience symptoms consistent with radiation sickness. A woman from Sealand, a character with evident knowledge of the Old People's technology, mentions "the power of gods in the hands of children".

More at Wiki



8 comments:

masterwordsmith said...

Salak,

Happy New Year! Thanks for this post.

I studied The Chrysalids years ago and Wyndham's books remain a firm favorite with me. :-)

When I first read the book, I hated it but the more I read it, the more I was drawn to the story and its deep significance.

Thanks for that blast into the past with a perspective of the future in the light of recent developments.

cheers

peng said...

Hi Salak, A happy new year to you & your family.

You have a nice new blog picture. Love the mountain and clouds picture and your signature!

I just have one comment on Mr.PM's claims that he can change the Malays. 'he is not God'.

(Note> this is my 2nd attempt to post comment, 1st one vanished into thin air after I tried to submit)

Salak said...

Thank you all for the new year wishes.

If you use IE, you'd need to be more careful if you didn't post from a scratch pad, like Notepad, peng.

The blog is back on moderation mode, as there has been developments in the Malaysian blogosphere just before new year and Information Minister made some remarks on it. It still isn't clear what this is about.

Salak said...

masterwordsmith,

There were other writings used for standard readers in middle secondary schools - even Orwell and Huxley were common in the 80's and before. Of course those schoolchidren then are now in their early forties. Where are they?

Ogre said...

First Abdullah must change himself before he can change the Malays.

Ogre said...

First Abdullah needs to change himself before he can change the Malays

tsalak said...

Perhaps, Ogre, Abdullah has changed himself and he is thinking of how he could change people instead of why other Malays need change at all.

Is it change for the better or otherwise? If otherwise, you can't really say it's not change! ;) Loose change is still change. You could however, settle for an "exchange" of tangible value instead of loose change. ;)

Ogre said...

Abdullah has not changed, still just lots of hot air. Only now just loose change becos no longer MoF.

After 5 years only now he wants to change the Malays? How can he change the Malays when he already have one foot out the door of Putrajaya? How can Abdullah change the Malays when Mahathir failed to do it in 22 years and many crocodile tears.