Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hindraf to rally nationwide against racism

KOTA KINABALU: Hindraf Makkal Sakthi is planning a series of demonstrations against racism after its Feb 27 rally at the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) against Interlok, the controversial novel that Form Five students use as a literature text.

Hindraf not only wants Interlok out of the schools, but also seeks to put related issues under public scrutiny, according to its chairman, P Waythamoorthy, who spoke to FMT last night from London, where he has political asylum.

The demonstrations would be held all over the country, he said.

“The series of rallies will be to educate the people against racism and racial polarisation, besides saying no to Interlok even in an amended form,” he added.

“We must not glorify anti-1Malaysia writers with the Interlok mindset.”

Waytha was elaborating on a statement released yesterday by Hindraf national coordinator W Sambulingam, who announced the Feb 27 rally.

Sambulingam lamented that Interlok, written by national laureate Abdullah Hussain, remained compulsory reading for Form 5 students despite attempts by the Indian community to have it dropped.

Several groups take offence at the novel’s alleged stereotyped and misleading portrayal of Malaysian Indians. The government recently said it would order amendments to the student edition.

Waythamoorthy said he doubted that the author would agree to his work being amended. “Any novelist worth his salt will demand that his novel be used in its entirety or not used at all,” he said.

He cautioned against caving in to closet racists. “Today, the focus is on a novel for Form 5. If we don’t put a stop to it, they will introduce similar trash in Form 3 and at the Year 6 level,” he said.

Strong attack

Waythamoorthy also disclosed that the Feb 27 rally had forced the Jan 23 Kuala Lumpur Gathering of the Marginalised and Minorities to delay the submission of their resolutions to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. The new date will be between the Feb 27 rally and the second rally, which is yet to be scheduled.

Sambulingam’s statement contained a strong attack against Umno. He accused it of racism, political hegemony and promoting an “artificial” Malay supremacy agenda.

“At a time when the world is moving away from racism in all forms, Umno and its allies are further encouraging racism,” he said. “Other countries are meanwhile engaged in nation-building.”

The statement dismissed Indians linked with Umno as “mandores” who helped to promote caste epithets, ethnic slurs, racial prejudices and communal stereotyping in the minds of the young.

“Interlok is nothing but an engineered plan by Umno to further plant the seeds of racism and segregation in schools and in the minds of the youths,” he said. “This is similar to the programme run by the Biro Tata Negara.”

The statement claimed that tolerance and co-existence had been abused and misused in Malaysia and patience taken for granted.

“It’s time to take the bull by the horns on racism in order to build national affinity and a shared destiny,” it said.

HINDRAF to organize People’s march for SOLIDARITY AGAINST UMNO/BN RACISM”.

Despite various repeated attempts by the Malaysian Indian community, the UMNO/BN government refuse to remove the “INTERLOK” novel as a compulsory read for the Form Fivers.    
Where countries are moving and building nationhood by abolishing racism, the UMNO government aided and abetted by their allies are encouraging racism further to extend their political hegemony through the artificial Malay supremacy agenda.
The absence of national affinity and shared destiny for all citizens of Malaysia is clearly obvious as we can see by arrogance of UMNO and its mandores in sidestepping the concern of the Malaysian Indian in regards to this controversial novel that promotes caste epithets, ethnic slurs, racial prejudices, and communal stereotyping in the mind of the young.
“Interlok” is nothing but an engineered plan by UMNO to further  plant the seed of racism and segregation in schools and in the mind of the youths similar to the programs that is run by the BTN (Biro Tata Negara).    
Tolerance and co-existence has been abused and misused, patience has been taken for granted endlessly. It is time to bury racism in Malaysia and it is the time to take the bull by the horn.
UMNO has to go. RACISM has to go.      
Please join us in our march to show solidarity against racism perpetrated by UMNO and its allies.   
HINDRAF National Co-ordinator

Hindraf-HRP to be neutral in Merlimau

Seeing no difference between Pakatan and BN with regard to the Indian community, P Uthayakumar says a decision has been made to stay out of the contest.

GEORGE TOWN: The Human Rights Party (HRP) – Hindraf Makkal Sakti political axis will take a neutral stand in next month’s Merlimau state by-election.

HRP pro-tem secretary-general and Hindraf legal adviser P Uthayakumar said the stance was adopted due to the indifferent attitude shown by Pakatan Rakyat towards the Indian community.

“We will not participate in the campaign to woo Indians for Pakatan. So long as we are not there, Pakatan will never secure the majority Indian votes,” he told FMT, adding that HRP-Hindraf would never back Barisan Nasional either.

The Election Commission fixed nomination day for the Merlimau by-election in Malacca on Feb 26 and polling on March 6.

The seat fell vacant after the death of its BN assemblyman Mohamad Hidhir Abu Hasaan, 54, on Jan 20. In the 2008 general election Hidhir defeated PAS candidate Jasme Tompang with a majority of 2,154 votes.

Merlimau has 10,679 registered voters consisting 64.69% Malays, 21.11% Chinese, 14.16% Indians and 0.04% others.

Indian support has shifted

Uthayakumar pointed out that the Bagan Pinang, Hulu Selangor and Sunday’s Tenang by-elections showed that Indian support had shifted from Pakatan.

He warned that the trend would continue in Merlimau unless Pakatan worked with Hindraf–HRP.

He insisted that Hindraf–HRP would never work with the Umno-led BN due to its “racist policies and massive discrimination” of the Indian community for the past 53 years.

But he said that did not mean Hindraf – HRP would support Pakatan blindly without securing any political and socio-economic concessions for the Indian community.

He said Pakatan had so far refused to acknowledge the strength of the Hindraf–HRP axis to galvanise Indian support.

Therefore, he said that Hindraf-HRP would continue to work on its own 15/38 political agenda and not help Pakatan to regain lost ground among Indian voters.

“We won’t back anyone in Merlimau,” said Uthayakumar.

Referring to the Tenang by-election in Johor, he pointed out that 62.6% of Indian voters moved from Pakatan to BN.

His calculation was based on balloting results in the Indian-dominated Ladang Labis Timor, in which only 40 voters backed Pakatan on Sunday, a huge dip from 107 in 2008.

He claimed that the Ladang Labis Timor voting trend was a reflection of current Indian sentiments nationwide.

He stressed that only the Hindraf–HRP political axis could check and reverse the trend, as in 2008.

“But Pakatan leaders are not interested because they know we will never become their mandores,” he said, adding that there was no difference between BN and Pakatan with regard to Indians.

“If this attitude continues until the next general election, Pakatan can never end BN’s reign,” he said.

Boycott Interlok panel, Indian reps told

Calling it a futile exercise, an Indian business group leader says the demand is crystal clear – withdraw the book.
PETALING JAYA: Representatives of the Indian community slated to sit on the panel tasked with making amendments to the controversial Interlok novel should boycott the appointment.

In making this call, Malaysian Indian Business Association (Miba) president P Sivakumar said the panel was an exercise in futility, when the community’s stand on the issue was crystal clear.

“We want the book to be withdrawn. How many times do you have to meet over a school book? The last meeting went on for two hours,” he told FMT.

Sivakumar also reminded politicians that the issue concerned the shaping of young minds and should not be viewed from a ballot box perspective.

“Politicians should not turn schoolchildren into a vehicle for political mileage. It’s about doing the right thing, so the book must be removed from the syllabus,” he said.

However, he warned that the government’s adamant stand in retaining the book could court political repercussions for Barisan Nasional (BN), with regard to Indian votes in the next general election.

“The decision to retain the book albeit with some changes to the offensive parts is not the desired remedy as the book has left bitter memories in the minds of the Indian community,” he said.

“The community is disappointed; we expected nothing short of a complete withdrawal,” he added.

Previously, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also education minister, said the book would be retained but would only be distributed to students after a panel, comprising literary experts and Indian representatives, made the necessary amendments.

Interlok, penned by national laureate Abdullah Hussain, was introduced as a component for the Malay literature subject for Form Five students this year.

However, Indian groups, including MIC, objected on the grounds that the book contained inaccurate and disparaging information about the community.

Disappointed with MIC
Elaborating on the yet-to-be formed panel, Sivakumar said: “This is perceived as a design to further frustrate the Indians and somehow force them to come to terms with the authorities’ decision.”

“It is feared that the representatives from the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) and from groups aligned to the DBP would impose their views and compel the panel to accept some shoddy changes.

“In the final analysis, the book would leave much to be desired and would turn out to be a bitter pill for the Indian community to swallow,” he added.

Sivakumar said that he was bewildered by the government’s “insensitivity” towards the feelings of the Indian community and its inability to see eye-to-eye with MIC on the matter.

The Miba president also expressed disappointment with MIC for bowing to pressure and compromising on its stand.

“We expected MIC to remain firm in its call to have the book withdrawn,” he said.

Sivakumar stressed that Miba would work with other NGOs to continue pressuring the government to withdraw the book.

Cikgu! Penari Kathakali tidak pakai topeng

Sebagai individu yang diakui sudah ‘dewasa’ dan ‘matang’, pelajar perlu berani bersuara semasa perbincangan di kelas. Adik-adik sekalian,
Kita sambung perbincangan yang ditangguhkan semalam. Sebagai pelajar dan remaja yang sudah diberi lesen ‘dewasa’ dan ‘matang’ oleh pelbagai persatuan penulis mewakili kaum tertentu dan NGO kaum tertentu, anda boleh membaca secara terperinci kisah di halaman 210-284, novel Interlok edisi murid dan mencatatkan jati diri Maniam, jika ada.
Maniam hanya ‘menyaksikan pawai gajah yang dihiasi dalam perayaan Onam di pekan Tricur’ (halaman 211). Tiada apa-apa bukti menunjukkan identiti keturunannya sebagai seorang Malayali (Malayalam); termasuk namanya!
Upacara perkahwinan Maniam-Malini di Malaya disempurnakan mengikut budaya keturunan Tamil, iaitu keturunan Perumal (bapa Malini) yang berasal dari Madras, Tamil Nadu, India. Malah, ‘pesta perkahwinan’ itu digambarkan sebagai ‘upacara yang meletihkan’ (halaman 229).
Sejak masih berada di ‘sebuah desa yang terletak berdekatan dengan Tricur, Kerala, sebuah negeri di pantai barat India Selatan’ (halaman 210) hinggalah ke saat Maniam ‘hanya berdoa dalam hatinya, untuk keselamatan anaknya’ (halaman 288), tidak ada apa-apa penanda dan petanda yang nyata untuk menunjukkan Maniam ada sebarang jati diri sebagai seorang Malayali (Malayalam) beragama Hindu; kecuali bahawa – syukur, segala pujian hanya bagi-Mu, Tuhan! – ‘Sebagai orang Hindu, lembu tidak boleh disembelih dan dimakan dagingnya’ (halaman 215).
Sebenarnya, ‘alasan’ mengenai sebab kaum India tidak makan daging lembu seperti digambarkan dalam Interlok edisi murid lebih berciripurana dan bukannya fakta. Siapakah agaknya ‘a scholar from University of Malaya’s Indian Studies Department’ (New Sunday Times, 23 Januari 2011) yang menjadi ‘pakar rujuk’? Entahlah, segalanya masih menjadi ‘misteri nusantara’ (common noun).
Sekurang-kurangnya anda tahu bahawa Maniam bukan Paria (proper noun) atau paria (common noun) kerana istilah itu sudah terbukti merujuk secara khusus kepada ‘kumpulan manusia yang makan daging lembu’ (common noun). Ini baru fakta, dan ini juga mungkin fakta baru untuk anda.
Dramatari Kathakali
Adik-adik sekalian,
Maniam juga tidak tahu apa-apa mengenai budaya Malayali walaupun dia lahir dan membesar di Kerala sebelum menjadi ‘pendatang’ di Malaya pada usia 30 tahun. Ops, maaf! Pendatang(proper noun), bukan pendatang (common noun).
Maniam sangat suka melihat penari-penari Katha-kali yang memakai topeng dan melakonkan kisah-kisah lama. (halaman 211)
Petikan di atas menunjukkan bahawa Maniam – atau Sasterawan Negara Datuk Abdullah Hussain (Pak Lah)? atau pakar runding/rujuk penuh ‘misteri nusantara’ dari Jabatan Pengajian India, Universiti Malaya? – tidak tahu apa-apa mengenai Kathakali iaitu suatu bentuk dramatari yang mula ditarikan di Kerala oleh orang Malayalam (Malayali) mulai abad ke-17.
Salah satu kehebatan dan keunikan Kathakali adalah bahawa penari/pelakon mengenakan solekan (mekap) yang tebal pada muka. Saya mengkaji Kathakali semasa mengaji di Universiti Malaya (1993-1998) serta menulis makalah dan cerpen mengenai dramatari itu, serta pelbagai aspek budaya kaum India. Maka, saya tahu bahawa watak Maniam dalam novel Interlok edisi murid tidak tahu apa-apa mengenai Kathakali.
Dalam hal ini, seorang pensyarah, penyair dan penterjemah terkemuka dalam kosmos sastera Melayu tempatan tampil mempertahankan kesalahan fakta mengenai Kathakali (baca: menegakkan benang yang basah) dengan mengatakan ia berciri faksyen (faction) dan ‘the author wanted to incorporate something new or different into his story’ (New Sunday Times, 23 Januari 2011).
Bukan model yang sesuai
Adik-adik sekalian,
Ringkasnya, watak Maniam dalam novel Interlok edisi murid bukan model yang sesuai untuk dijadikan ‘cerminan’ jati diri kaum India beragama Hindu di Malaysia; khususnya generasi muda yang mahu tahu mengenai sejarah nenek-moyong yang datang dari India.
Segala perkara berkaitan Maniam dan kehidupannya (termasuk budaya) seperti yang diangkat dan dijulang dalam novel Interlok edisi murid hanyalah imaginasi liar seorang pakar runding/rujuk penuh ‘misteri nusantara’ dari Jabatan Pengajian India, Universiti Malaya yang mungkin boleh dianggap sebagai ‘tangan halus’ (common noun) yang berjaya menyesatkan Pak Lah yang tidak bersalah.
Sayang sekali tiada kisah terperinci mengenai 119 Paria lain yang datang bersama-sama Maniam menaiki kapal ke Pulau Pinang pada Julai 1910. Mungkinkah ada dalam kalangan mereka yang lebih ‘berjaya’ berbanding watak Maniam?
Analisis kritikal dan waras seperti ini – ‘you need to look at it in the context of history, sociology and social linguistics to get the right message’ (New Sunday Times, 23 Januari 2011) – perlu anda lakukan sendiri tanpa berkiblatkan buku-buku panduan menjawab soalan peperiksaan yang membantutkan niat murni Kementerian Pelajaran (baca: Kerajaan, proper noun) menjadikan anda benar-benar ‘dewasa’ dan ‘matang’ menerusi pembacaan novelInterlok edisi murid yang dijadikan teks Komsas di Zon Tengah.
Semoga panduan yang saya berikan selama ini membantu anda menjadi pelajar yang benar-benar ‘dewasa’ dan ‘matang’ serta berani menyerap reformasi dalam pemikiran.

Why I will vote for HRP/Hindraf and not PAS/PKR/DAP or BN/Umno

I cannot get a job in the government, a scholarship, a job with Ah Pek Sales and Marketing Bhd, a place in MARA, a cheap home that I can afford, a meager 10 acres in some FELDA scheme somewhere, a loan from the bank, or teachers that won't call me Pariah to my face during sastera lessons, and I know that only HRP/HINDRAF finds that this is simply not acceptable.


I am a Malaysian. But that statement needs to be qualified 99% of the time in this country.

I am an Indian Malaysian; and the only two times the fact that I am of the Indian persuasion did not matter was when I cast my vote. As an Indian Malaysian, my vote is counted as one, just like the vote of a Chinese Malaysian or any other; and when I slap down my passport in some foreign land.

I would love to vote on the basis of who will lead this country better and reduce the wastage and corruption that has become endemic in this land I love, but I cannot do that for a few simple reasons.

1. I am more likely to be killed by the authorities, either when and if I find myself in custody, or when some dude in blue decides to get some target practice done on the roads. Now, I have followed enough extra judicial killings to know that PAS/PKR/DAP will not raise much of a fuss if I am the victim but I do know for a fact that HINDRAF/HRP will.

2. I get thrown in the slammer for some reason or other, maybe I had witnessed a fellow Malaysian (Indian Malaysian to be exact) get beaten to death and decided to open my big mouth. Once again I know that PAS/PKR/DAP won't even pick up the phone, but HRP/HINDRAF will.

3. I had knocked some girl up before I was thrown into jail, and the poor girl now cannot get a birth certificate for the baby, as the daddy (yours truly) is busy learning how to survive on 800 calories a day behind bars. I know PAS/PKR/DAP won't even find out the name picked out for the baby, but HRP/HINDRAF will. Now if the girl decides to give up the baby, or she dies giving birth to it, PAS/PKR/DAP will have no issue with the baby now having a Bin/Binti in its name, but HRP/HINDRAF definitely will.

I believe you get my drift now.

I cannot get a job in the government, a scholarship, a job with Ah Pek Sales and Marketing Bhd, a place in MARA, a cheap home that I can afford, a meager 10 acres in some FELDA scheme somewhere, a loan from the bank, or teachers that won't call me Pariah to my face during sastera lessons, and I know that only HRP/HINDRAF finds that this is simply not acceptable.

So you say I should vote for PAS/PKR/DAP because of the greater good. Okay I will, with a couple of conditions.

Give it to me in writing that the next time I am at risk of getting shot or beaten to death by the police, one of you will come and take my place. Tell me that the next time I apply for a job in the private or public sector, you will give up yours so that I can have means of livelihood. Tell me the next time someone decides that I am not entitled to what another Malaysian is, because I am an Indian Malaysian, you will march on the streets and hound those responsible until things change for the better.

Tell me that, and I will give your beloved PAS/PKR/DAP my vote. If you cannot do that, there is an easier way for you to get my vote. Tell your PAS/PKR/DAP to sit down and talk to HRP, MCLM, KITA, UBF, SNAP and whoever else is out there who is anti BN. If you cannot even do that, I suggest you take your opinion on who I should vote for and stick it where the sun don't shine.