Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Malay Melee: The Next Big Thing

I looked at the roster of politicians slated to be the next big things, and the only person I saw from PAS or PAIS-M (Parti Agama Islam Se-Malaysia) was Mat Sabu.

I heard at one time, there was a rift in PAIS-M, between the old ultra-conservative ones and the younger dudes. Where the fuck are the younger dudes? The people next in line seem to be Mat Sabu.

I mean, if anyone were to become PM from PAIS-M, it could be Mat Sabu. I don't know about Spender Stopa or Husam Musa - Kickdefella's mortal enemy - but I believe Mat Sabu speaks to the young ultra-conservative types.

I didn't really want to write about politics again. I wanted to write about languages, but then I realised that the wave of neo-conservatism, the Born Again Christians, Born Again Muslims (BAM!) amongst the youth and the young ultra-Malays supporting the extremist group Perkasa  started with a shift from English as the preferred medium, to BM and Chinese, as well as Tamil to a lesser extent.

I heard that allegedly, you can find the bodies of English newspapers in the Klang river. Circulation has gone down, and many blame the Internet. I dunno. Harian Metro is doing brisk business, and I believe Chinese-language dailies have stayed strong.

Only English newspapers have suffered. Why? I can point a lot of fingers (plus one substantial dick) to a number of factors, but chief amongst them could be the people's shift towards languages other than English.

This shift to BM, Mandarin and others have had - I suspect - a disuniting effect. People in this country are no longer talking the same language, or about the same things.

I blame it all on Anwar. Years ago, I had a chat with Prof Khoo Khay Kim who reminisced about the Anway halcyon days of the '70s. Anwar led a student rebellion in UM at the time and part of this was to go and erase/smear/attack any sign in English.

His cause was originally a good one. It was about getting the poor to UM. People like in Baling, Kedah. The thing about them not getting into UM and other tertiary education places was in a major part due to their weak grasp of English.

Anwar sought to change this, and to a certain extent, he did. For generations, English has been neglected and  after talking to a number of students from outside city centres, I have discovered that the remnants of Anwar's fight was this hatred for English amongst mainly Malay folk.

Malays who speak English were ridiculed and looked at 'diagonally' (dipandang serong). But these are all anecdotal and wanking.

The problem with limiting yourself to only one language is you close doors to other ideas. My current writing, for example, is steeped in BM, English as well as Japanese traditions.

Cintan, the novel I am writing right now, taps into Chuck Palahniuk's anarchist Fight Club manifesto, Edward Albee's absurdist theatre - one of only a few texts I studied in UM as part of an elective course - Osamu Dazai's wanking love-letter to writing and to himself in Run, Melos, Run, Sakaguchi Ango's In the Woods Beneath the Cherry Blossoms in Full Bloom  as well as young writer Hadi M Nor's Sepucuk Pistol Dalam Laci anthology.

As you can see, I am very much in love with the idea of the book as well as the idea of myself. And some people thought I was going into politics? Absurd!

But anyway, I see nothing wrong with Mat Sabu being PM. He is at least entertaining. Sure, he will burn the country down under the heel of Islamic extremism and animal-like stupidity, but at the very least, we shall have a good laugh as we all die from the fires of religious industry.