A recent post on The Beatles (it attracted five comments from NSTman!) motivated conversationist DIN MERICAN and I to recall the flower power generation that saw its pollens sweep across national boundaries -- and a million flowers of various hues bloomed. We both broke into songs that were simple in lyrics yet so profound. Who could resist a world with no borders?
IMAGINE there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...
I told Din my fave is still Let IT Be, and mGf in between sips of coffee, and me of tehtarik (last night to celebrate return from Chinese New Year hiatus), we both broke into humming:
And when the night is cloudy,
There is still a light that shines on me,
Shine on until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of music
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Din might be Muslim, but does he hesitate in mentioning the name of a lady more associated with the Christian west?
I'm reading mGf Din's mind, his answer will be a resounding: No.
I think the present era ses too many quarters finding differences in petty issues that divide, rather than seeking the common, universal values that bind us all, members of the common Homo sapiens species... My Lament.
When universal themes and values unite souls and spirits,
we are indeed one human common face,
Sans glances into colour, creed or race, nor gender and age.
Din and I believe that the 1960s was an era when we sought knowledge across physical boundaries. we read widely, deeply as in the tradition promoted by Francis Bacon"Reading markth a man". It was an exciting time of change and exchange -- ideads of enquiring minds, spwaning great minds spanning from the intellectual like Bertrand Russellof Britain to the musical iconic The Beatlesand Rabidranath Tagore of India, and Hamka (Haji Abdul Malik) of Indonesia, Yushio Nashima of Japan, and of course, Malaysian poet Prof Lloyd Fernando, united in promoting reflection of the human condition, and social justice, peace and love, spinning threads among youths across the whole wide world (quite contrarian in many ways to the present www... indeed!) as they prostesteth the Vietnam War, in unified refrain from the verses of
Dylan's "Blowin' In The Wind":
How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
How many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned?
What has happened to the current Gen facing the same backdrop of the American-led adventurism into Iraq and Afghanistan -- now the all-powerful US President eyeing Iran -- no flowerig of their idealism into the same league as in the 60s?
Where's the Voice of Youthful Zest to make a difference to the Quest for Peace on planet Earth?
Are we facing another Inconvenient Truth? -- that the fires of idealism of the present young Gen have been doused by the dominant Material Girl (hey, Madonna taking over Mary's place?) and Material Boy (nondescript Boy Bands each not much different from the next?), and Young Millionaire Gen, Eat, Drink and be Merry?
So now ENJOY a reminsiscent piece/peace by my soulmatey Guest Writer, DIN MERICAN,
The Lamentation of a 60s Generation
Men and women of my generation are considered “has beens. Our Prime Minister Badawi prefers young people who are trained in Cambridge, Oxford and some of the Ivy League universities in the US, forgetting that during my time we too had people from these institutions. From Cambridge we had Bank Negara Governor (the late)Tun Ismail Ali, (the late) Lord President Tun Suffian Hashim, Lim Kean Siew, and Tun Dr Lim Chong Yu and Malek Ali Merican. From Harvard came (the late) Pathmanaban and Ramon Navaratnam and from (the late) Zain Azraai of Pembroke College, Oxford, and Colin Abraham, just to name a few.
The young “smarties” located on the 4th Floor, Prime Minister’s Department in Putrajaya, and the GLCs (with the exception of few I know who are humble and respectful of their elders) may have knowledge, maybe some wisdom, but they are totally lacking in the understanding of the history of our country’s Independence, and an appreciation of our efforts to develop our economy and build a united Malaysian nation.
Some of them were not even born when the traumatic May 13, 1969 riots rocked the foundations of our country and shocked the rest of the world. Yet today, they are deciding on the fate of our nation, especially son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin (KJ) and his henchmen.
Why? Because Badawi cannot decide. Some say he sleeps on the job!! He trusts KJ absolutely and no one can convince him otherwise. He can only be cajoled with flattery and bodek. Others think Badawi is not in control.
As a result, we saw a resurgence of UMNO Malay nationalism (as symbolised by Hishamuddin’s keris rattling during the last UMNO General Assembly and racist speeches by UMNO delegates). Recently, we see the rise of reactionary Ulamaks (with exception of the new Mufti of Perlis) who cannot think beyond moral policing and chastity belts, and petty local politicians who join the religious bandwagon, like that idiotic father of Mat Skodeng in Terengganu.
In addition, during the last 3 years of his administration, we witnessed rampant corruption and abuse of power (the Zakaria Deros Port Klang Assemblyman, and Yusof Said, MP from Jasin, incidents) and serious breakdown in law and order with the rise of petty crimes, drug addiction and murder, and unemployment.
I never heard of “Mat Skodeng” and “Mat Rempit” before. Maybe this is Malaysia’s answer to globalisation. Put in this context, you can perhaps understand that why with the US side’s insistence on transparency, the FTA negotiations are stalled after the Kota Kinabalu round, and now in danger of breaking down.
Let us not forget history. Our young men and women should read Ooi Kee Beng’s biography of Tun Dr. Ismail Bin Abdul Rahman entitled “The Reluctant Politician” to know what he and other Malaysian leaders of his era went through for us.
UMNO of the Tunku, Tun Razak with Tun Dr. Ismail, Tun Hussein and Tun Dr. Mahathir eras is not the same as the UMNO of Islam Hadhari led by its imam, Badawi. UMNO of the 60s was a party of teachers and ordinary Malays. No longer today. Has time changed so much that we no longer must no longer to the idea of service and self respect?
Badawi’s UMNO is self serving and corrupt to the core. It is afflicted with virulent money politics and a culture of the fast buck and easy living.The party is badly in need of a massive shake-up, but I doubt that Badawi is the UMNO President who will do it. He is not of the “rock the boat” or “shake the duku-langsat tree” type.
Dr. Bakri Musaand I still think of our times, way back, for me at least, to the period of the Japan Occupation, post WWII British colonial rule, the Emergency (1948-1962), and the Independence movement. I remember what our parents then had to sacrifice, as unsung heroes and heroines, so that their children and future generations could have better Malaya/Malaysia (after 1963).
Our parents put a premium on education for the development of our intellectual capacity so that we could think critically and know the difference between right and wrong. They imbued in all of us the idea of service and sacrifice by their own example, that is, how to be men and women of integrity and honour.
Despite limited facilities like good school and public libraries (now known as resource centers) and textbooks,we did not do too badly. We developed good reading habits, interacted with each other (the Malays, Chinese, Indians and others) for exchange of simple ideas and dreams, and competed aggressively in sports. We did not have “Vision/Wawasan” Schools and the like.
Education is not just about number crunching (to be just technocrats and computer robots) and grades, but also and most importantly, it is about the development of the human mind and character. Read all the chapters which Dr. Bakri has generously put on his website. Ideally, lamandau, you should get hold of a copy of his education book.
It is sad that unlike the United States and Europe, we do not have a tradition of tapping the knowledge and collective experience of our elders. Our past administrators, corporate executives, academics and educators are put to pasture. Thus, graduates of MU of the 1960s (the PM forgot that he is one of them, but alas he was trained in Islamic Studies, hence his Islam Hadhari spin) and 1970s, on the other hand, have no value to him. On the contrary, intellectual capital, if it is carefully nurtured and systematically renewed, is never out of date.
Maybe, part of the reason is that Badawi is aware that his contemporaries know how really good he is intellectually. And for another, he likes sycophants and ahli bodeks (the curse of leaders), not people who have the courage to tell the truth to his face. Badawi is now a prisoner of the “sultan syndrome”(Read Dr. Bakri’s classic, “The Malay Dilemma Revisited”).
Plugging for Y&A johnleemK!
Go to http://www.infernalramblings.com -- NOW! -- and see what he has to say about Tony Pua's entry into Opposition politics via the DAP.
Desi gets 30% conMISSion from the infernal rambler's adSENse. My mind needs a make-over once a while. Freelunch -- whoever, whatever, and wherever you are! at the Stock market to be another millionaire before 35? -- art thou also available for a good rubbing in?