Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Letter to Mr Kim Quek - New Paradigms required,please

New Paradigms required -please.

At the outset, I would like to say that even though I offer different opinions than our erstwhile Mr. Kim Quek, I am myself a strong proponent of regime change in our country. There are significant assumptions in Mr.Kim Quek's arguments that need to be dealt with. The conclusions may be the same, but the assumptions are vastly different.
In Kim Quek’s words - Let us start our deliberation by first asking this question: Has there been a government policy to deliberately marginalize the Indian community? You say no.
Take this case – a young girl has no birth certificate for no fault of hers and gets all As in her UPSR, something she was able to attain because of some sympathetic Headmaster in one of the Tamil primary schools. She is refused admission to secondary school. Denying any human being a right to basic education is the denial of a very fundamental right in any century, in any country, let alone in the 21st century and in this up and coming Malaysia.
Mr. Kim Quek, I ask you, is this act of denying this little girl her fundamental right acceptable even in the least, because it is not deliberate policy.
Even then, if this were an isolated case, I could agree with you, that we can overlook it because it was one of those inadvertent occurrences. But if this multiplies time and time again in many similar situations where the Government bureaucracy systematically looks for opportunities to deny the poor Indians a chance to a citizen’s basic human right, is that still to be considered not deliberate policy.
The bureaucracy is an extension of UMNO, brought into existence in its present form so that the state policy of apartheid like discrimination can be systematically applied. This is well known. Is that not deliberate policy but just the working of an incompetent and corrupt bureaucracy. Politicians will have us believe that, it is so convenient an argument. Why, Mr.Kim Quek are you using the same argument?
Mr. Kim Quek, you are going to come running back and say, “Oh no, that is not what I meant. What I meant was that there was no deliberate policy on the part of the government to marginalize just the Indians” Well, Mr. Kim Quek, I say to you, when the hill slopes of Bukit Antarabangsa slid down the other day, that was not because of a deliberate policy. But does it matter…the people have lost their homes. Afterwards it is academic whether it was deliberate policy or otherwise, the problem happened because the system worked to make that problem happen - the system that was deliberately created.
Likewise when there is such a large problem simmering with the marginalization of the Indians and for so long and continues in spite of such loud feedbacks, can you still say it is not deliberate. When the powers that be continue to turn a deaf ear to the problem and provide lip service at best after all that has happened. Mr.Kim Quek, is that still not deliberate. I can only conclude from all of this that it is not that you have not understood it in this manner, you just prefer to see it the way you do. Mr.Kim Quek, this is where your underlying assumptions are exposed.
The Indians in this country have to be spoken to and not spoken with, is an implicit assumption that you make – maybe it is so commonplace for the likes of you, that you may not even recognize that you are doing it. You do not really have the facts of the working class Indians daily life, nor do you care, as I understand from your treatment of the issue. For you, the Indian is needed only for his vote, and loss of it will mean rocking of the boat that is headed for change and which is going to benefit the likes of you, not the marginalized Indians themselves whom you seem to be speaking up for. So, you say the same things that have been told to the Indians for the last fifty years – be patient.
I say rubbish to all of that; time is not the issue here. Come 5 years from now, I do not see a substantial change happening, given the present drift. The issue here is the lack of will. Plain and simple – lack of will to do the things that are necessary to change the state of affairs.
There are so many things that a State government can do on a priority basis for the most marginalized. We cannot change the bureaucrats, but we can start setting up watchdog citizens committees to watch over the shoulders of the bureaucrats. We can start becoming more transparent on more issues, especially where it relates to the poor and the marginalized. State land can be more productively used by distributing it to the poor. Special scholarship schemes can be setup to pull in all the underemployed or currently unemployable youths in the 18 -25 category and places allocated to them in skills training institution, or special institutions be set up for this purpose, single mothersto be identified and treated on priority basis – but nothing like this is happening. Only excuses are being given for maintaining status quo. Nor do I see meaningful discussion going on in this respect. But then, it is always the numbers game after the elections. Marginalized Indians are too small a group to give priority to. What will the others say?
Mr. Kim Quek, I do not understand how suddenly you become an apologist for the perpetrators of this regime on this issue. If you are the parent of that little Indian lass maybe you will understand. But you are not and never can be. The least you can do is not masquerade.
You insult our intelligence when you say stupid things like” What is the solution to the Indian predicament then? Would it help by giving a few more government posts or contracts to Indians by a state government? While that will make a few Indians happy, it would not alleviate the prevailing poverty of Indians, who number almost two million.”
You think this is rocket science that you are revealing here. You are not able to differentiate the symbols of the problem from the real problem. So, what is being done for the two million marginalized Indians now – you tell me Mr.Kim Quek. Every time this is the same stupid argument that is brought up. But nothing seems to be happening for the very poor people referred to in that argument. It is all just too convenient.
Then Mr.Kim Quek, you say” Under the circumstances, the best bet for marginalized Indians, and in fact for all Malaysians, is to work for the speedy realization of a Pakatan federal government, which will bring healing and genuine nation-building to the country.” I tell you, Mr.Kim Quek you make a faulty assumption here – the Federal Government of the Pakatan will only be speedily and robustly realized when the poor and marginalized are truly taken care of now. Their vote is not to be given at the hint of the afterworld. It will be given for the here and now.
So, Mr. Kim Quek, please review your assumptions because we are all not going to get very far with your current assumptions – progressive as it may seem. We want, not just a change to the names of the parties that are in power. We want true change. Not promises of change – but change that we all can feel and appreciate.
Viva la Makkal.