18 January 2013

Sharifah Zohra Jabeen and India

The past few days on Facebook, I'd had a lot of my Malaysian friends post comments/ pictures about the educational system and it's state.

A few days later I saw this add from Nandos all over my notifications page. It said Nandos and I love Nandos, so I clicked on it, and no, didn't get it.

Photo: All animals got problem? Say what?? Let Nando's speak!

And then, I had a friend post onto my timeline on Facebook, this video. It's in a mixture of Malay and English. And I painstakingly deciphered what they were talking about (My Malay was rusty to start of with, and having moved away a few years ago- it's only gotten worse).

So if you've made it to the end of the video, I'm sure you are as puzzled as I am. What went down? This is a video of an event that took place in one of Malaysia's government universities. When the floor was opened for questions, Bawani (a student) came over to question 2 main things.  The event is carried out by an NGO headed by Sharifah - who for 'non-politcal' reasons, felt the need to publicly berate and hammer the poor girl into submission.

First, the reason why countries like Cuba are able to offer free education to their citizens, with their minimal GDP and despite having a lower GDP than Malaysia. And the second to question a rally of dissent, that was led by the opposition, that had a lot of student participation. One of those who 'headed' the rally, was a lady called Ambiga. And she had been called an anarchist in Sharifah's speech (second speaker) earlier speech, and the Bawani disputed this.

What follows and interruption and movement of the pedestal.. amidst protests by the student, that she isn't finished yet.. is a 'rant', about various things.. respecting elders and how by questioning the student's proven that she has less education, about how birds and bees have problems too, but are essentially happy about still being able to live on this earth. Perhaps the most offensive, is the student being told to leave the country and visit all the other countries that she listed as having free education, if she was unhappy.

And flicking back to the Nandos poster, I got it. Cheeky!

And it's left me wondering, if there's something in the water across the ocean. Because it's not just us, this simmering of dissent with the the government, old vs new. Why have the apples fallen further away from the tree? Why are the young ones (and some of the older ones- who have waited a generation or two, for society to catch up to their thoughts) all over just plain unhappy? Who's given them these thoughts? What has changed in us, that's made us rebel against the society.

Do not say teenage angst, because I feel it and I'm not a teenager..far from it actually! In addition to this, all those other folks clapping in the video, and here in our country, all those folks making stupid comments- what did they miss?

The only fear is that this issue will become racialised. In India, Babas join the Hazare's and the Rape Protests to gain political mileage. In Malaysia, issues, all issues are torn apart using this strange race analogy. Luckily, both are of Indian origin, with the exception that that remains Hindu and the other has converted to being a Muslim- Mamak.

The elections are this year in Malaysia... pitted against each other is the ruling party- BN- the world's longest reigning regime, having ruled Malaysia since 1955- (sound familar anyone?) and an associate bunch of aligned parties, hoping to divide and conquer, in their combined hatred for all the BN has done incorrectly to its populace. Time will tell of the impact, but the drum beats beat with increasing pace in the background.

I don't know if I can hear the beats here. Not as loudly, not with the same urgency.

Has it come down to a them versus us yet?


Saro said...

To the anonymous reader from Mountain View California: leave me a comment, you're always here reading!

Jack said...


It is sad that we suppress youth who are the future of any nation. We need to understand their feelings and wishes, if need be to guide them with logic in case they are on wrong path. The advertisement for chicken seems a little out of the way.

Take care