Monday, November 23, 2015

McCarthyism in Malaysia?

By: Choo Sing Chye

HRH Sultan Nazrin Shah - The Rulers ... are not, nor can they be, deaf, blind and dumb to the critical issues on which the nation is hinged.

Seriously, reading Arul Kanda’s interview with the pro-government media and the account of his close talk-sessions with the MCA and UMNO members, gives me bad vibes.  

It is like the replay of the heydays of the 50’s and 60’s  BBC’s  boring “airport interviews" and the "jolly good fellow" stuffs that had no news value which amounted to government propaganda.  

I wonder, why are we still trapped within this vicious vortex of  discerning government  propaganda after all these years?  

We should have arrived at the stage where the journalists write and politicians do the sweating.  

But sadly, it’s the reverse here.  

It is all because our democracy is still rigidly guided (Guided-Democracy) by the all powerful elites of the National Front (Barisan Nasional).

In the West where Liberal Democracy prevails, investigative journalism is the norm.  
And here in the West, the journalists act as a voice of the people and not the government or the opposition.  They will do a critical review on  government  policies and debates in Parliament without fear or favour.   

For this reason, ordinary citizens in the West tend to believe the media more than the politicians from the government or the oppositions.  As a consequent of this, they are more inclined to vote for leaders of their choice based on these reviews.

But in Malaysia, the main purpose of investigative journalism is to dig out sludge from opposition leaders and not from the government.  

Not that opposition leaders do not have them, but when journalists do a critical piece on an issue, it must be equal in intensity for both sides, the government and the opposition.

However in reality, when they found any sludge from the government leaders, they will with all their effort  hushed it up.  Or they would at their customary best, blame the oppositions of making it up stories to remove the “democratic” government leaders.

Thus balance news is never the norm or the appeal of the pro government media because whatever they write is prone to one sided views – the government views. 

The attitude of the many print media in Malaysia concurs with what had happened in the age of McCarthyism where the Right-Wingers had seemingly gone mad.  

Nevertheless, evoking the actions of Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 50’s in American is to offer us a clear comparison between false accusations and the truth. 

Apparently there wasn’t a need for McCarthy to provide any proof, he just had to intercede any hearing with his famous “point of order” and whatever being said after this became the gospel truth.   

Hence many were indicted just on flimsy or false accusations. And those who were accused by McCarthy’s fearsome committee of being a communist or a homosexual meant instant dismissal and blacklisting. 

Television and newspapers editors knew about this, but chose to stand at the side line and sadly majority of them threw their self-respect away and supported McCarthy’s witch hunt. 

They were seemingly doped with fear of the mad Right-Wingers in the government and they knew pretty well what would happen to them if they did not toe the line. 

Nobody dared to utter unkind words about the government. Those who question the government or found not toeing the official line were bullied and destroyed. 

Two men stood against all these.  They were Edward R. Murrow and Fred Friendly.  Murrow, a journalist with the CBS and his producer, Friendly, decided to make a critical examination of Senator McCarthy. 

They examined nearly a million feet of film on McCarthy's fearsome committee hearings and every speech that McCarthy had made. 

They found out from their research that McCarthy was guilty of false accusations, bullying and character assassinations which had led the Americans to believe that there were communist agents under their bed.

The stage was set when McCarthy wrongly accused the Army Chief Counsel, Joseph Welsh of having a communist, a 19 year old boy in his law firm. 

Ed Murrow and Fred Friendly bought a quarter page advertisement in the papers for this crucial broadcast with money from their own pockets because CBS was afraid to attack McCarthy.

The climax came when Joseph Welsh, in front of 20 million television viewers, demolished McCarthy with these words: 

Little did I dream that you could be so reckless and so cruel as to do an injury to that lad. It is I regret that to say equally true that I fear that he shall always bear the scar, needlessly inflicted by you. 

If it were in my power to forgive you for your reckless cruelty, I will do so. Let us not assassinate this lad further... have you no sense of decency? You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency? Sir.....Mr. McCarthy... I will not discuss with you further. You, Mr. Chairman may as you will, call the next witness." 

McCarthy stood there, humiliated, destroyed by a simple truth obtained from the, “million feet of film” by two men of integrity. 

The witch-hunt was over.

Ed Marrow concluded at the end of the broadcast:

..the action of the junior Senator from Wisconsin of course, caused alarm and dismay among our allies abroad and given considerable comfort to our enemies. Whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn't create this situation of fear. He merely exploited it and rather successfully.”

It was a historic broadcast which gave birth to INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM.

Now coming back to our own back yard.  
The sacking of the main critics of the 1 MDB, notably, the deputy Prime Minister and coupled with an avalanche of documents out there in the open; Arul Kanda, had this to say:
We need to base ourselves on facts. We cannot rely on hearsay, allegations and other unsubstantiated statements without due evidence and due proof.”  

Predictably, the pro-government media columnists and journalists could not even pick up one teeny-weeny piece of incriminating evidence from this avalanche of documents. They, instead vehemently defended the position of the government.

Further, Arul Kanda on the October 28th Malay Mail Online’s news declared with this caption, “1MDB takes especially seriously the views of Malay rulers, says Arul Kanda.”  

In the following article, he said that “1Malaysia Development Berhad (will take) seriously the opinions of all parties, especially the Malay rulers, on the controversies surrounding the state-owned company.”

Apparently, Arul Kanda’s public relation statement falls short of being good manners.   It is not good manners to trivialise the Council of Malay Rulers’ Royal Statement  as “views” or “opinions”.  

We must not forget the fact  that the Malay Rulers have access to the country’s  intelligence and so, it is not proper for Arul Kanda to imply that the Royal Statement as just “opinions” or “views”. 

If we read the Statement carefully, it is not directed at Arul Kanda, but to HM’s government,  notably the Prime Minister, the Polis DiRaja Malaysia, MACC and BNM to do a thorough investigation and solve the 1MDB as soon as possible without fear or favour.  

Arul Kanda's role is not to answer the Royal Statement, but directly to the authorities investigating 1MDB.

To Arul Kanda, the whole 1MDB episode is hinged on  how he plans to restructure 1MDB and not to address the issue of mismanagement and the leakages so that there can never be a 1MDB Mark II. 

All these controversies happened before his time and to him these are all unsubstantiated statements and evidence.

This is a dreary PR exercise.  And if we really want to get to the bottom of this issue, the investigating authorities must be given the power without fear or favour to investigate 1MDB.   

This is what the Royal Statement is all about.  It’s as simple as that.

If it is not done, then it is another typical run of the mill patching up and repairing job with a huge collateral damage – us.

In sum, the significance of HRHs, the Malay Rulers’  statement could be expressed eloquently by  HRH Sultan Nazrin Shah’s address to the Oxford and Cambridge Society, on the subject of  the “Role of the Malaysian Monarchy” (1):

Let me end by way of a brief summary. The monarchy in Malaysia is more than a symbolic and ceremonial institution. In saying this, I recognise the tremendous social significance of national symbols. It does have discretionary powers that are set out in the Constitution, but responsibilities that go beyond what is written to what is intended. The Rulers also are not, nor can they be, deaf, blind and dumb to the critical issues on which the nation is hinged. Theirs are the voices of impartiality, fairness and reason when such are necessary. The Rulers must speak with clarity and firmness for those who cannot.”

Google definition of McCarthyism: It is the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence. It also means "the practice of making unfair allegations or using unfair investigative techniques, especially in order to restrict dissent or political criticism."

(1) Paragraph 25 of the Address on the Role of the Malaysian Monarchy, made by D.Y.M.M. BY  Raja Nazrin Shah (Now Sultan), Regent of Perak Darul Ridzuan  to the Oxford and Cambridge Society, on the 27th June  2008.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

An open reply to Jason Chin’s article, “Does the Selangor DAP election mean anything at all?”

by : Choo Sing Chye

It is tiring to argue subjectively on the merits and demerits of a political party without first knowing its conventions or rules that guide its actions. 

If we do this, our arguments will be rendered as opinions rather than a Science. We can argue from dawn to dusk and still we will not come to any solution or conclusion. 

Because opinions are not based on facts and the outcome is always a faulty No-holds-Barred session, argument or write up. 

We must remember that there are only a few facts pertaining to any issue as compared to hundreds of opinions.

Unfortunately majority of our politicians or for the matter, political news commentators employ opinionated viewpoints to further their arguments. 

They argue political issues from a perspective of an artist, who, as we know, has total freedom of choosing whatever scheme of colours, subjects and techniques he/she chooses. 

This is Politics without the Science – Politics of Opinions. 

Political Science is the study of institutions, types of government, ideologies, democracies, conventions and so forth. And certainly it is not in their profession to analyse how a particular politician stabs someone in the back or doing political mischievous acts. 

In your article, “Does the Selangor DAP election mean anything at all?”, you fail to take notice that State DAP elections are based on a Committee model of voting in which delegates vote for their choice of fifteen members whom they think best suited to become State Committee Members. 

You continued: 

DAP State elections witnessed Gobind Singh Deo topping polls with the most amounts of votes. Tony Pua came in 8th, 241 votes behind Gobind. Yet, Tony was reappointed as chairman and Gobind as deputy chairman. How does that make any sense?

Yes Jason, it does not make sense if DAP party elections are position based rather than committee based elections. 

Incidentally, Jason, DAP party elections are committee based and there are no rules or conventions to state that a person who got the highest number of votes becomes the chairman. 

The first 15 members who received the highest votes are deemed elected as State Committee Members. All these elected State Committee Members are equal, notwithstanding their number of votes they get. 

And from here, the 15 members will amongst themselves choose the Chairman, Secretary and so forth. This is often referred as the second level voting. 

Now compare this to the Westminster Parliamentary System. All elected MPs are deemed equal even though some get a higher majority of votes than others. And from all these equals, they choose a first among them – the Prime Minister. 

But nowadays, Prime Ministers are selected by Party delegates and hence, it is often referred as the Prime Ministerial Government or Party Government.

In your next postulation: 

Gobind won the ‘popular vote’ why isn’t he the new chairman? Is the ‘popular vote’ logic only applicable to the general elections when things do not go the DAP way?

Given the fact that you have mentioned the words “popular vote logic,” it is not wise to use this conceptual term “popular vote” in two different settings i.e. the General Elections and party elections, as your argument would be made technically invalid by the science of Logic. 

When Logic comes into play, the question of validity is questioned. And as a consequence, the validity will be put to test if the concept of “popular vote” is seamlessly bundled together with another different form of election. 

For an example, in a General Election, millions of popular votes are cast by the voters to vote in MPs or SAs. But, Party elections are close-door elections which only opened to a few hundred selected delegates; and it is done in a close and composed manner. 

There is nothing popular or unpopular about the candidates, they are all comrades of the same political creed. 

Thus, in Logic, the above is known as the “fallacy of Division which is the converse of the preceding, and it is often hard to keep the two apart.”

We can test its validity of this concept clearly with this syllogism: 

Three and two are odd and even; therefore three and two are odd and three and two are even.

Here we could see the odd and even numbers share the same meaning and are also invalidly interchangeable like the concept of popular vote between General Elections and party elections. 

Just like in a case of comparing apple  with an orange although both are fruits.

Thus in finality, your logical representation of “popular vote” is invalid. 

On the opinion that Tony Pua is gutless and a flip-flopper, you use the Greek expression, Argumentum ad hominem very well - it literary means attack or run down the man and not his policy or argument. 

Needless to say, Jason, your article is full of them.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Khairy, it is not irresponsible to vote down the Budget.

By: Choo Sing Chye

Khairy should have known better that it is not “irresponsible” to vote down the Supply Bill (Budget).  
He said:

other than forcing the stoppage of government service to the people, the action too, if successful, was a risk to civil servants in the aspect of salary payment. 
This is because the government expenditure is based on the Parliament Act which required the approval of Parliament before the allocation revealed in the budget could be spent.  MalayMailOnline – October 22, 2015.

If Khairy wants to alarm the GPA 3.8 to GPA 4 Ministers, I believe he did it very well.   

Now even The Star’s columnist, Joceline Tan joins in the flay saying that, 

sabotaging a Budget is rarely a good idea because it will lead to a government lockdown, deprive government servants of their salaries and jeopardise amenities and services for the rakyat. And all because politicians are out to play politics and score political points. (MalaysiaToday website 25-10-2015)

Voting, whether against or for the Budget or any other Bills for the matter, is a required fundamental duty of all MPs.   

Khairy has every right to call on the MPs to vote for the Budget, but he cannot call  MPs “irresponsible”  if they do not.  It is utterly silly of him to do so.  

It is necessary for all MPs including Khairy to understand that it is the constituents that they are representing.  

They must  carry with them the burden of representing the aspirations of their constituents even at risk of  being censured by their own party colleagues  when they fail to toe the party line. 

So far, I haven’t seen this in most of our MPs.

Voting for or against the Budget must therefore be solely rest upon the quality of the debate and merits of the Budget.   

Hence it must be made very clear that voting against an ineffective  budget is not “irresponsible or sabotage”.

As for Khairy's and Joseline Tan's information, the Westminster Model do not have stoppages or “shut-downs” as seen in the United States.   

In the Westminster Model, the government immediately resign to pave the way for new elections. 

Thus watching too much CNN can distort the perception on the workings of the Westminster Modeled government.

If the 2016 Budget is defeated here, will the government of the day resign?   

In Malaysia, there is no precedence to test because the Budget had never been defeated before. 

Even if it does come to this point, nobody can predict the outcome as we have a very unpredictable Speaker in the House. 

But in the United Kingdom which our system is based, conveys a narrative that when the Budget is defeated, the government of the day resigns.  It is downright shameful for the government of the day to stay on.

In an hypothetical  scenario,  if the government of the day in UK is too thick skinned and refuses to resign then what?  

If this happens there would be no government expenditure for the following year.  

Even if this problem materialises, there will be no stoppages or shut down in the civil service, because when the time comes, the Queen will use her prerogative powers to frame an Order in Council.  

This Order will be make in the Queen's name and subsequently be presented through the Privy Council bypassing the Parliament to unlock the expenditure to advert the impending break-down of the  government.  

This Order is legal and doubles as Acts of Parliament  but without its consent.  

As it stands the BN’s budget will never be defeated, because it stills hold the majority in the Parliament.  

1.   Hung Parliament? – Just Rump it, like in Perak.

And believe me, the sacking of the ‘Rump Parliament’  in 1653, bear uncanny resemblance to what happened in 2009 where the  Pakatan Perak State Government was removed unceremoniously.   Just look at the satire sketch above  and the description attached to it and you will see the similarity.

2. Shadowing's more crucial than shadow cabinets
Although it is a British conventional practice used in Canada, they avoid using the term shadow ministers. In its place, the term ‘critics' is used as a common designate.

3. Shadow Cabinet – Do we have one in Malaysia?
By demanding the Opposition to form a Shadow Cabinet had at last removed any skepticism that there is a competing power to Putrajaya.

But this recognition is meaningless if barriers are put up at every single mile towards Putrajaya to thwart the Opposition from taking over.

4. Toeing the Party line – a bona fide Westminster practice

Now that lorry loads of diverse commentaries that had been dispensed by various parties on the subject of ‘toeing the party line’, it is unfortunate that none of the Barisan Nasional’s proxy paper and electronic media had given a plausible argument.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Is Riduan Tee safe to be stupid?

By Choo Sing Chye

It seems that it is safe for Riduan Tee to be stupid in his number 4 idea. In fact none of his other ideas proffer any intellectual wisdom that we keenly seek in him as a lecturer. All his proposed ideas, I supposed had certainly found a niche in the yelling-right politicians and NGOs.

Now his voice changes and he is trying to sneak his way to the centre with his recent posting telling the Red Shirts not to go out. (Read Article)

Too late, if we read all his previous postings which were solely focused on hatred of the non Malays especially the Chinese, we would not have any doubt that these postings had a profound influence on the Red Shirts. The burning of Lim Guan Eng and Lim Kit Siang's effigies bears testament of this.

What did he say about the numerological belief of the Chinese towards the digit 4 that manifest in his inability to write or say things intelligently – a kindergarten intellect?
The Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin lecturer also went on to say that the Chinese who joined Bersih 4 no longer believed in the superstitions attached to the number “4”, which is said to symbolise death. He said these Chinese rally-goers were no longer “afraid to die” as they now want to “bring death” to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang. (Malay Mail Online – September 7 2015) 

Just the digit, “4,” Riduan Tee had managed to beat, hamper and forge it into a raw and hateful premise with the malicious intention to enrage the Malays. To say that the Chinese rally-goers motive is to bring death to Najib Razak and Hadi Awang is dangerous talk.

If there is an opportune time to explain to the people the need to have the Sedition Law in Malaysia - this is the time!

Now, let’s shift our attention to one article posted in the blog - OutSyed The Box:

Did you know that Malaysia is the ONLY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD where all the 90 odd gomen universities (IPTA) do not have even one School of Philosophy? … Philosophy is learning about how to think and how to debate or argue a subject”. (September 9, 2015)

Anyway, Philosophy is much more than “learning about how to think and how to debate or argue a subject”. Logic, one of the component of Philosophy teaches us to be inquisitive so as to detect FAULTY arguments similar to the one put out by Riduan Tee and company.

One interesting fact about Logic is that we can easily pair Riduan Tee’s argument with another similarly premised piece in order to bring out the stupidity of his argument with more clarity.

In Riduan Tee’s dim-witted argument we can see the parallel premised piece below:

Alexander the Great stopped a beer barrel.
Alexander was buried; he who is buried becomes dust; what becomes dust is earth; earth is probably made loam; what probably made loam would stop a beer-barrel; therefore Alexander stopped a beer-barrel.

It is time for the politicians and academics to reflect logically when verbalising their arguments.
Whenever men debate, discuss, and argue, Logic is a court of appeal in the background…Logic trains the mind to draw the right conclusion, and to avoid the wrong, to make the true inference and not the false.” (A.A.Luce – Logic)


Nurul Izzah's No Compulsion view - A case of misinterpretation

The recent HAKIM members’ letter (1) to Malaysia Today had prompted me to write this article. Since I am not an expert in Islam, I will not delve into the merits of the letter, and also, what had been said in the press by UMNO politicians and supporters. I only comment on the common faults of politicians in construing something that had not been said.

Ngeh's tweet: Why fuss over neutral question?

"Precision is the first fruit of the study of logic and precision will sharpen your statements, and add points and force to your arguments correctly.

"Lack of it, shows itself in the ‘deficiency diseases' of the mind i.e. vagueness, woolliness of expression and feeble grip of the matter at hand.

"Remember this, logic at its lower levels blends with grammar and at its height, merges in philosophy."

So true, look at the arguments of our local politicians and the writings of the BN leaning columnists and journalists and compare them to the West. You be the judge.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

1MDB, GST - The Ox and the Rope.

By Choo Sing Chye

The other day I met a guy whom, after several minutes, recognised him as a helper for the opposition during the recent General Elections.   One thing that striked me as odd was that he was confused over the issue of 1MDB and GST.

Apparently with Ahmad Maslan, Heng Seai Kie  and the whole wagon load of BN ministers as Chief Explain/ers of these two main issues,  it was normal to be confused.  I reassured him that there was nothing wrong with his mental capacity to reflect on issues logically.   

“Then explain these issues to me as plain as 1 – 2 – 3.”  He uttered with a huge dash of cynicism.

“Do you know the story of the Ox and the Rope?”  I asked.  “Nope!” Came the reply.

“Okay, here’s the story.”

In a bar somewhere in England, an old ex-convict was lamenting how he was unjustly put into goal.  Then a curious customer on hearing his plight, enquired the reason why?    

"Why, it was just nothing at all," the ex-convict explained easily. "I was strolling along the edge of the canal, when I happened to catch sight of a bit of old rope. Of course, I knew that old piece of rope was of no use to anyone, and so I just picked it up, and took it home with me."

"But I don't understand," the curious customer exclaimed. "Why should they punish you so severely for a little thing like that? I don't understand it."

"Beats me, I don't understand it, either," the ex-convict declared.

The curious customer went back to his drink.  Minutes later, he went to refill his glass, with the story still ringing in his head, queried the bartender.

“That poor fellow over there was thrown into jail because of a piece of unwanted rope, so sad, so unjust, what this world is coming to?”  

The bartender replied, “so you are new here, did he tell you that  there was an ox at the other end of the rope....?"  (END)

The guy laughed and said, “I understand clearly now, so the whole Barisan Nasional rationalised the whole issue as the rope and Tun Dr Mahathir and the opposition, the ox...”

The story above is taken from the book, JOKES FOR ALL OCCASIONS By EDWARD J. CLODE, with some changes here and there.

Monday, January 19, 2015

A letter to Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek – Eric Pausen’s twit and Charlie Hebdo massacre .

By: Choo Sing Chye

What you say as Communication and Multimedia Minister a few days ago should be the words spoken by the Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. 

I can see your intention is noble for calling JAKIM  to use a  “soft power” approach to correct Paulsen's misconceptions”.   (1) 

Let me quote Benedict de Spinoza (1632–1677), to reinforce what you had said above: 

the true aim of government is – Liberty – it is not supposed to rule, or restrain by fear nor to exact obedience, but contrawise, to free man from fear that he may live in all possible security, in other words, to strengthen his natural rights to exist and work without injury to himself or others”. 

And when you said, “In the context of freedom of expression, I feel there is no problem (for a live debate over RTM). We can ask the lawyer to come to RTM. If Jakim agrees, I have no issue with it” – it's professionalism your are talking about, not politics.  This should be the way to conduct business as a minister. (2)    

Anyway, I believe that the tiny sparks of the “46’s spirit” still lingers in you.    

But  sadly the platform for debate had already been chosen – the lockup.  

Yes, I totally agree with you when you said in the media that “Freedom of expression is not just expressing one sentence. You have to articulate it so that the people understand and can explain it further.”  (3) 

For the sake of  argument, can the government controlled media like RTM provide a platform and time to have Paulsen’s misconceptions annul by Jakim in a non-combative environment?

Remember Tun Daim Zainuddin’s statement in the Malaysian Insider, three days ago.   He said, “TV3 which would not give 2 minutes of air time to Pakatan, has aired the PKR press conference no less than 3 times. The NST and Utusan have also carried this news”.  (4)

Ironically, the above statement says it all. We don't need to ponder any further.

But, some 60 years ago Martin Luther King also faced the same problems of  media black-out by the White controlled media.  

But nonetheless, he overcame this debasing act and turned his non-violent movement into one of the most successful  movements in  US history.  

Encompassing this lead was the easy to use and easy to understand catch-phrase theme, “Democracy is the Freedom to change Unjust laws”.  

The theme of these little eight words was articulated so eloquently by Martin Luther King that it reverberated throughout the land and  pricked the conscience of White America.   

The march on August 28, 1963 from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial is celebrated as in one of the biggest  freedom marches in US history.  And all these climaxed  into one of the most enduring speeches  that Martin Luther King had ever made  - “I have a Dream”

This time, his dream of freedom, justice, peace and the brotherhood of  man was beamed throughout the US, thus ushering in a dawn of a  new America. 


Charlie Hebdo massacre 

Freedom of speech/expression is the fundamental condition for a thriving, and peaceful world.  

The Charlie Hebdo massacre had again opened an endless debate on Free Speech/Expression all over the world.  

How do we argue on this issue?

First, we must understand that the content of the caricatures should be put on trial and not the vehicle (the freedom to express) that delivers it.   

Even if we take a thousand years to debate on the practice of free expression, we will not find an answer to this issue, because we are not looking at it.  But what we should be looking at, is its contents and debate judiciously on its correctness or its inappropriateness.    

We have to seriously come to a benchmark where we can agree on certain viewpoints which do not qualify to be express freely without a moral boundary.

How wide should we draw this moral boundary?  Well, this is where we need a platform where all the ideas from all the religious leaders, politicians, philosophers, authors  and scientists to discuss this boundary.

Apparently this issue has gone beyond the benchmark of rationality to  say it is okay to publish these caricatures which metaphorically associate the image of Prophet Muhammad as a symbol of insult/hate is downright unethical.

First, drawing an image of Prophet Muhammad is disallowed in Islam and secondly, he did not say or do things that were promoted by ISIL, the Al Queda or other extremists.  

So,  do they deserve to die?  

NO!  They don’t deserve to die or to be jailed! The only crime that they were guilty off was their poorly conceived caricatures did not meet the standard of fair-comment. 

The innocent victims who were killed by ISIL, Boko Haram and Al Queda  too, do not deserve to die.    

Nobody deserves to die. But we have to relook  at this episode in a very different light from now on and altered our bias perception on certain things that are different from us.   

We can do this to prevent the moderate Muslims from being the target of “collective” insults  as result of these caricatures.   This will at least prevent the influence of terrorism from spreading to the moderate Muslims.

And finally, the best maxim that I could find to sum up this letter is: “Free Will - just because you could, it doesn't  mean you should”.

To commemorate Luther King's birthday on the 15th January, I decided to post the complete speech here.............. 

1) “Up to Jakim to debate Eric Paulsen says minister,” Malaysian Insider, Bernama, January 16, 2015

2) “Shabery: RTM can host Paulsen-Jakim debate,” Malaysian Insider,  January 15, 2015.

3) Ibid.,

4) “I know those behind media spotlight on me, says Daim.”  Malaysian Insider, January 15, 2015.

5) “Mock Islam, and expect a punch.” Sky News 16-1-2015

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A reply to Prof. Madya Dr. Ali Salman -Pluralism not acceptable in Islam, but show respect to all.

By: Choo Sing Chye.

It is good that your reply to my article is without amity.

To begin with your letter, I ponder, where is the issue?

Firstly, The logical representations of your reply is that you reject Pluralism because it  means Religious Pluralism, and in this setting, all religion cannot dissolved into one. 

This is the very same  argument that I am advocating, i.e. Religion cannot be moulded into one super-valued entity (Value Pluralism).  It cannot be done.  If it can be done, then what you call the new moulded religion?  But, it is not the same with Pluralism, it does not  mould all religion into one, it only bring all races together peacefully and unite them, to become Malaysians.
When you use the term, Pluralism, you think of Melting Pot, that is the reason why you say “dissolve”.   In Pluralism, there are two constructs of uniting the people, one is the Melting-Pot (USA) and another is the Mosaic construct (Britain, Canada, Malaysia, Indonesia and many others).  

This explanation will be given in part 2 of  my article.  Therefore, you should wait for my second part.  I hope you would email me direct to debate on points that I will be bringing out in part 2 of my article. 

Secondly,  Professor, you  mean that  we cannot imply/say that leaders are unintelligent, and if we do, we are unintelligent too? Sir, Tun Dr. Mahathir too, talks about unintelligent leaders in UMNO.

Please read with care my article, I only criticise unintelligent leaders, not the intelligent ones. 

My statement says: “We have  weak, and unintelligent leaders in UMNO to begin with”.  I, on purpose said, “we have”  which means to say that “we have”   intelligent leaders in UMNO too.    I didn’t say, “We do not have strong and intelligent leaders in UMNO to begin with”.   This statement means what you mean in your reply.

Thirdly, of course, I am biased and against unintelligent  leaders in UMNO because UMNO is the GOVERNMENT OF THE DAY, and whatever policies they passed in Parliament affect my family, and the whole country.  

Fourthly :  You said in your reply: “Look at Malaysia today. That (There) is enough testimony of the farsightedness of the leaders in containing racial tensions and moving the country forward. Of course the leaders are not infallible, but they deserve credit and credit should be given where it’s due”.

My Reply:  It’s the other side of the coin that you are answering from, but do give some strong facts, if not people will see you as a “apple-polisher,” but not me.  I stand on the principle of the Greek Sophist Protagoras’ (500-430 BC) that  “Man is the measure of all things, of things that are that they are, and of things that are not that they are not.”  

Simply said, “things are to me as they appear to me and to you as they appear to you.”  This is same as yours,  “for you your way of life and for us our way of life”. 

In sum,  Professor, don’t you think we are talking and agreeing on the same argument, but not the term. I, too, disagree with Religious Pluralism, and not Pluralism, because Religious Pluralism is not plausible, and it is not represented in the mainstream arguments  by philosophers/intellectuals/professors past or present as in the form you are talking about.   Most importantly, in reality, it  cannot latch onto any society anywhere in the world.

We should not use the word “religious” as a NOUN or an ADJECTIVE, to describe Pluralism, because its like treating  Pluralism as water which takes the form of any container when poured into it.   This is incorrect,  and it will cause  misunderstanding if our minds are not precise enough to tell the difference between the container and the content of the water.

I hope that you would kindly send me brochures, pamphlets or give me title of books that you think I should read about Pluralism. Thanks

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Pluralism is neither a fatalistic nor a sinister philosophical/political idea – Part 1

By: Choo Sing Chye 

Let us break free from the shackle of hate, and make 2015 a  year to rekindle our hopes of goodwill, and harmony in Malaysia.  We have forgotten the feelings of brotherhood, and sisterhood which had been residing in our hearts many decades ago.  

Needless to say that it is already a known fact that the hate-peddlers dwell comfortably in UMNO’s ironic One-Malaysia home.   We have  weak and unintelligent leaders in UMNO to begin with, and because of this, they are unable to  provide an effectual injunction against these hate-peddler’s misdemeanours.  

Their lack of intelligence, and political will, have left  a large patch of  fertile ground for this consortium of hate-peddlers, the yelling right-wingers, thugs and the pseudo-intelligentsia to flourish and expand.  

In short, these hate-peddlers dominate everything from influence peddling to national debate.  They even dictate the vocabulary of Human-rights, Democracy, Pluralism and Liberalism.  

Malaysian Pluralism.

Pluralism, like Liberalism is neither a fatalistic nor a sinister philosophical/political idea, it just needs a keen mind to comprehend, and decode its significance so that it could be applied effectively to our society in the form of good policies.   

But, with our tiny minded politicians, and activists dominating the mainstream debate, throwing ideology like Pluralism into the ring would in an instance hurl them into a violence epileptic fit. 

What many do not know is that Pluralism is the key to our political survival, and it forms the back-bone of our society whether we like it or not.  In fact, Barisan Nasional, and the Pakatan Rakyat are fashioned toward diversity incorporating several different ethnic political parties under its wings vying to become the government of the day.

Pluralism held on well during the preliminary years after Merdeka.  Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first Prime Minister, continued with the British Federalist policy of governing Malaya/Malaysia.  But sadly, almost 12 years later, May 13th riots broke out, and it sent the country into an uncontrollable spiral entering one the bleakest episode in our history.  This was the day Pluralism stopped working. 

Yes, Pluralism literally died on that day.  The Malays and the Chinese were at each other's throats, and hatred for each other reign the day.  No more neighbourly or brotherly love – just pure hatred.  

It was Tun Abdul Razak and Tun Dr. Ismail who resuscitated Pluralism when they reinstated Parliament  and moulded the Rukun Negara into the Malaysian consciousness. 

Today, Pluralism had fallen into disrespect and torn into tatters by the yelling hate-peddlers.  Unintelligently, these acts are being cheered on by none other than our Barisan Nasional’s future and present leaders, notably from UMNO.

Now, why is the real meaning of Pluralism not in our national debate or in our consciousness anymore? 

It is crystal clear that these unintelligent hate-peddlers have misplaced the correct meaning of Pluralism.  They seem to focus entirely on the presumption that Pluralism has a hegemonic value attached to it.   

They refused, and in most cases, unable to think intelligently.  They  inferred that our society with different set of values are made equal, and forcibly moulded together into one gigantic Super-Valued Pluralism.  (1,  Value Pluralism).     By this, they insist and believed that Islam is placed at equal footing with other religions.   

This is  pure nonsense, because in reality, Pluralism cannot be super-valued into one huge entity where everything are forcibly made equal.   Islam cannot  be reduced in value to be made equal to other religions. It simply cannot be done!

The Malaysian Constitution is a Federalist document, and not a Super-Valued one.  It positions  Islam eminently as the religion of the Federation (official religion), and it is placed under the domain of the Malay Rulers, while the non-Muslims are given space to freely practise their religion in the Federation. 

UMNO’s politicians, and the yelling hate-peddlers shouldn’t have fallen into these hostile and antagonistic trappings. They have all the highly paid consultants, government owned media practitioners,  public university professors, and yet they can’t even understand the correct meaning of Pluralism.

In fact, UMNO having all these advantages would have easily sailed through explaining the significance of having a thriving pluralistic culture in our society.    But the opposite is true, none of their scornful, thoughtless, nasty and silly speeches  reflect the correct meaning of Pluralism. 

As a consequence, things that are good can be made bad with the twist of the yelling hate-peddlers’ tongue.   Let us take the hypothetical example, even the simplest meaning like SWEARING can be misplaced and manipulated.

To prove a point, the word swearing can be banned from our courts if  these hate-peddlers bypass their brain, and jump in a haste to believe this syllogistic layout: “Swearing is forbidden by  God; swearing is practised in our Courts of Justice; therefore something practised in our Courts of Justice is forbidden by  God.”   So,  should it be removed from our court’s system?  

This is a simple hypothetical example to illustrate what can happen to a term when its meaning is not comprehended, and misplaced by us, just like Pluralism.    

Thus, what we need today are intelligent, and competent leaders to carry the torch of pluralism/diversity needed to secure all Malaysians a place in the sun, and sadly this is not the case.

Undeniably, it is an insurmountable task to correct the consortium of hate peddler’s perceptions.  But fortunately, we have the Group of 20 plus 11 coming out into the open to voice this concern.  This has definitely offered us a small glimmer of hope against this Consortium of haters.  

I hope this group and others would flourish throughout 2015 and beyond.

1) E.R.Chang, Value Pluralism – Keywords: Pluralism, Monism, Values, Reduction, Regret, Utilitarianism, Kantianism, Relativism, Pleasure, Rational choice, Incommensurability, Incomparability.  Dept. of Philosophy, Rutger University, N.Brunswick, New Jersey, USA