These are just plain opinions; they can be rejected, refuted, argued against or accepted. These words are not meant to impose my ideals upon anybody , and they are not going against the law of the diversity of thoughts~~

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Color Blindness

              Imagine a world where everything is in black and white, like in the old movies. It would be extremely hard to extinguish between players in FIFA, and my aesthetic collection of t-shirts would be useless without colours. I like to believe that the world would be  an extremely gloomy and boring place, where the rainbows in gay parades would be just black and white, and  it would be difficult to detect jaundice among newborn babies.

      I cannot imagine what would happen if our receptors could only see in shades of grey, but it seems that some people love to see the world in black and white. Not literally of course, because then people wouldn't have undergo the hassle of making colour televisions.  People like to differentiate themselves from others by  their beliefs and their identities. When everyone seeks to be different and outstanding from others, their lives become individualistic and competitive. Nobody wishes to be another brick in the wall, like the red bricks of those homogenous houses all around UK which looked all but the same.

         Acemoglu and Robinson, in their book Why Nations Fail, theorizes that the among the reason a country could grow wealthy is due to the individualistic nature of the society. The citizens who seek to be better people than their friends and neighbours would seek to improve their trade or innovate; create something new or simply better, and this led to the creation of steam engines and cotton spinners. While many would assert that those innovations are the product of material pursuit , I believe that individualism-the pursuit to be unique is one of the driving factors. Seeing how aggressive is the  competition to get into universities and the craze in research and development in this country further proves my thought.

           An agrarian country, where everyone either plant rice or rambutans would be an extremely dull place to live. There would be nothing else to talk about other than rice and rambutans, and there would be little improvement in life other than about those two plants. I believe that the world is a much more interesting place is you can meet people of different jobs and experiences daily, ranging from skydivers to cooks. The spectrum of colours in life is so vast and wide, yet why do some people choose to see the world in black and white?

               Islamists  in the middle east, during their early days only sees the world in black and white. They divided the world between muslims and the kafir west, and failed to appreciate other differences. As a result , it becomes difficult to accept anything that originates from the 'enemy', even if it is something good.  It was difficult for Islamists at first to accept democracy ,and they were skeptical of ideologies that came from the west.   Liberal ideas become something alien and labeled as  blasphemous and dangerous in Muslim countries, even though some of  these ideas are the same with the promises of religion.

                Some people in Pas views the society in black and white; those who support the hudud versus those who go against hudud.  When there are various reasons that cause people to oppose the hudud, the debate become closed when all who oppose hudud are regarded as blasphemous, enemies of the religion. Why would a muslim accept the views of the enemy of a religion? The failure to view the world in its full colours would kill discussions before they even started. There are people who opposed because they believe the hudud Pas is trying to bring does not follow the original text by  a hundred percent. There are others who believe that the social conditions should be conducive before syariah is implemented, and others who are concerned about Pas' lack of preparation for the technicalities of the laws. Those people who opposed the implementation are not concentrated wholly into a group who opposes hudud just for the sake of it. We must recognize all the different colours of opinions that exist, instead of labeling them all as blacks.

              I refuse to see the world in black and white. Tariq Ramadan mentions in What I Believe, that a human being is an agglomeration of numerous identities. He refuses to identify himself merely as a muslim, but also as a citizen of his country, a member of a race, a father, a son and a neighbour, all of which constitutes a human being. When we view ourselves and others simply as muslims and non-muslims, we somewhat fail to recognize that 'they' too are human beings which share the same intrinsic values of justice and kindness. By seeing the world in black and white, we put other differences as trivial and secondary, and I believe that that makes a bleak worldview.
Sahih International
O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah , witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.

               When ISMA sees the world in black and white, they view muslims as brothers, and non-muslims as enemies. It is therefore natural to say hurtful things to someone you consider as enemies, to put extreme caution around them ,or make conspiracy theories about those evil beings . In the same time, it becomes natural to defend and justify whatever your brothers do, however corrupt and wrong it is, because that is what families are for, right?

                 The world is full of bright colours and weird things, so why would one see the world in black and white? Black and white movies are outdated and ancient, and now ,the upcoming 4K television can show you  millions of contrasting tones and shades.

*this article does not intend to insult color-blind people


Thursday, 1 May 2014

Romanticized Rallies and Brainwashed Comrades

               My hands hurt, my back aches and my eyes are heavy. I've had too many cups of coffees, and am currently demoralized because I have to take exams while my fellow Malaysians had the chance to join the Mayday rally. I have the thought that studying overseas is definitely boring because the student movements here have no initiative whatsoever to do protests in the street, and even if there is , they are of things which are none of my concern. What is happening? Have I became one of Pakatan’s blinded sheep?

         I have to agree that the UK streets are too cold for mobs, and the winds can make you cry in the nights, but I felt that my life is incomplete and annoyingly normal when the student movement does nothing other than giving long talks that can make your ears bleed and speak continuously of cheesy wonderfulness of marriage between brainwashed comrades. I have the rights to an interesting radical life, and as it is now, it isn't interesting in the slightest. Perhaps this is what you could call a first world problem, but I digress that if you could make life better, then by any means you should.

       I went to almost every protests held in KL during my two years in preparation at Mantin, and I even skipped an exam to join the Black 501 rally. I feel extreme jealousy towards my friends who had the pleasure to be with the proletariats yesterday in the capital, and much more towards those who have the chance but stayed home. I shall demand the explanation for your absence.

            Many reformists and revolutionaries had spent their time as students either organizing street rallies, protests or simply participating in somewhat radical movements. Such was the life of Mandela,  Ghannouchi, and Anwar during their university days, Ghannouchi entered socialists, Islamists, tabligh and democratic movements one after another as he studies, while Anwar led students to a rally against the injustices done to the poor in Kedah. Mandela joined the fight against apartheid while he was studying law and working at a law firm at the same time. I read Dr Ridhuan Mohd Noor’s book about the history of student movements in Malaysia, where students held protests even for things that doesn’t need protesting. When I saw that my father had led UTM students in a rally during his younger days, I felt embarrassed and challenged that I haven’t done anything to rival that achievement.

                Shimogamo Yasaburou, the main character of the show Uchouten Kazoku lived his life with the motto that ‘there is no time to feel bored, as life around him is too interesting’. He was a tanuki, a being which has the ability to transform into any form of objects and living things at will. With such powers, one have no reason to feel bored with life. I had lived my life in pursuit of making things interesting, mainly by doing stupid and unreasonable things. Many of these pursuits backfired, such as the decision not to do any homework for two years at school, or my stupidly heroic action to catch a snake with bare hands and parade it around during primary school. Radical actions can have meaning and can contribute to the society, even though the actions might be abhorred by the government or the public.

             Murakami’s protagonist in Norwegian Wood is a guy who alternates between his lectures and visiting his crazy girlfriend at a rural mental sanctuary. In the background, the student movement at his university ran amok and even took over the campus, disrupted lectures and conducted boycotts against the university, but he never ever cared about them. His life in the story was sad and depressing, and I figured that if he joined some of the unorthodox students, his life would have been slightly interesting. Better than just a crazy girlfriend.

           I missed the heavy but harmonized energy present during the Bersih rallies, the way the big crowd  masses in strength like a big Genkidama, waiting to be thrown against the Frieza-like dictator of a  government. I missed the exhilaration of running from tear gas and water cannons, the  feeling of solidarity and of the peace of mind. The rallies were a schmuck of heat and smell, and the number of people around you might induce claustrophobic tendencies, but they were fun, and more importantly , they made life interesting.

            Then it dawned on me that perhaps, I had not have the urge to join street protests in order to protest against government policies and the like, but simply for the sake of the rally itself. While Ghannouchi sees protests simply as an instrument of democracy, when he decided to join the popularity of the labour uprisings in Tunisia, I had been addicted with the atmosphere and the energy of the rallies, instead of the original cause.
          To be involved in such movements had been almost a common trait among extraordinary people, except Najib Razak during his times as an undergraduate at Nottingham, because he wasn't exactly extraordinary.  It would seem  that, in order to make life interesting, a student must undergo such phases of rebelliousness and anti- establishment  vibes. I believe some of us students had joined rallies simply for the sake of the rally, instead of voicing for the original cause. How many of the protesters actually understand what GST is, and how does it affect their lives?

                  Street protests had been romanticized as the epitome of a rebellious student life, similar to how Luffy romanticized adventures throughout the wide seas as a pirate, calling it as otoko no roman, without any justification for his actions at all. The reason for his radical actions are purely individualistic; he seeks adventure in order to be the Pirate King, while I only wish to make life interesting. Is that too big of a wish?

       The rallies are a platform for the poor and the oppressed to voice out their resistance. Those who only have enough to feed their families, those who are tired of discrimination and the corrupted bureaucracy. A student who has everything in his disposal , rich sponsorship and had never experienced discrimination would have two options before joining the huge masses. The first is to join the protests simply for the sake of following the intellectual fashion, and the second is to understand and recognize the cause, and to empathize with it. Other than that, we have no business with large mobs of sweaty people.
Happy Labour's Day