ENG to CH Translation: Plea for Indian M’sians 爲大馬印裔請願 (Malaysiakini 30 Nov 2007)

Plea for Indian M’sians
Azly Rahman Malaysiakini Nov 26, 07 11:16am

The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil. We see before us a huge community of producers the members of which are unceasingly striving to deprive each other of the fruits of their collective labour – not by force, but on the whole in faithful compliance with legally established rules. – Albert Einstein in ‘Why Socialism?’ (1949)

What do I think of Western civilisation? I think it would be a very good idea. – Mohandas K Gandhi

Will Queen Elizabeth II of England pay for the 150-year suffering of Indian Malaysians? How would reparations be addressed in an age in which we are still mystified by newer forms of colonialism – the English Premier League, Malaysian Eton-clones, Oxbridge education, and British rock musicians such as the guitarist-astrophysicist Dr Brian May of the better-than-the-Beatles rock group Queen (and recently appointed chancellor of a Liverpool university)?

Who in British Malaya collaborated with the British East India company in facilitating the globalised system of indentured slavery? Will the current government now pay attention to the 50-year problems of Indian Malaysians?

We need to untangle this ideological mess and listen to the pulse of the nation. We are hyperventilating from the ills of a 50-year indentured self-designed pathological system of discriminatory servitude of the mind and body, fashioned after the style of colonialism.

We need a crash course in the history of reparation, slavery, and the declaration universal human rights. We need to understand the style of British colonialism as it collaborated with the local power elites of any colony it buried its tentacles in and sucked dry the blood, sweat and tears of the natives it dehumanised and sub-humanised.

We need to calculate how much the imperialists and the local chieftains gained from the trafficking of human labour – across time and space and throughout history.
In short, we need to educate ourselves on the anatomy, chemistry, anthropology and post-structurality of old and newer forms of imperialism. British imperialism has successfully structured a profitable system of the servitude of the body, mind and soul and has transferred this ideology onto the natives wishing to be “more British than their brown skins can handle”.

We need to encourage our children to read about the system of indentured slavery – of the kangchu and kangani and how the Malays were also relegated to becoming ‘reluctant’ producers of the colonial economy. The Malays’ reluctance led to the British designation “lazy native”.

We need to also learn from the Orang Asli and the natives of each state and how their philosophy of developmentalism is more advanced that the programmes prescribed under the successive five-year Malaysia Plans. A philosophy of development that respects and is symbiotic with Nature is certainly more appropriate for cultural dignity that the one to which we have been subjected; one that exploits human beings and destroys the environment under the guise of ‘progress’.

Caged construction

Our history lessons mask the larger issue of traditional, modern and corporate control of the means of production of Malaya. We see the issue of race being played up from time immemorial; issue of convenience and necessity to the sustenance of the status quo and the proliferation of modern local oligopoly and plutocracy.

Our history classes have failed our generation that is in need of the bigger picture; ones that will allow us to see what is outside of our caged construction of historicising. Our historians, from the court propagandist Tun Sri Lanang to our modern historians written under the mental surveillance of the ruling parties, have not been true to the demand of the production of knowledge based on social and humanistic dimensions of factualising historical accounts.

We need to study the political-economy of the rubber and canning industry and the relationship between the British and the American empire as industrialisation began to take off.
The Indians in Malaysia have all the right to ask for reparation and even most importantly they have the rights as rightful citizens of Malaysia to demand for equality and equal opportunity as such accorded to the ‘bumiputera’. Every Malaysian must be given such rights.

Failure to do so we will all be guilty of practising neo-colonialism and we will one day be faced with similar issue of reparation; this time marginalised Malaysians against the independent government of Malaysia. How are we going to peacefully correct the imbalances if we do not learn from the history of international slavery, labour migration and human labour trafficking that, in the case of Hindraf, involved millions of Tamils from Tamil Nadu province?

I once wrote a piece calling for all of us to help the least privileged of our fellow Malaysians – the Indians. The piece called for the leaders to stop fighting and to help each other as well.

I wrote a passage on the need to help each other in the spirit of selflessness and collaboration: “It is time for the other races to engage in serious and sincere gotong-royong to help the poorest of the poor among the Indians. It is time that we become possessed with a new spirit of multi-cultural marhaenism. The great Indonesian leader Ahmed Soekarno popularised the concept of marhaenism as an antidote to the ideological battle against materialism, colonialism, dependency and imperialism. The thought that the top 10 percent of the richest Malaysians are earning more than 20 times compared to the 90 percent of the population is terrifying. What has become of this nation that promised a just distribution of wealth at the onset of Independence?”

Not a Hindu problem

Now we have a better scenario – we have the rights group that is beginning to pull together,-close ranks and demand for their basic human rights that have been denied. Not only their rights to be accorded places of worship and economic justice, but also the rights to look at history and ourselves and interrogate what actually happened and who actually was responsible for the misery, desolation and sustained abject poverty to which they have been subjected.

It is not a Hindu problem – it is universal problem that cuts across race and religion. If we believe in what religion has taught us about human dignity and the brotherhood and sisterhood of humanity, we will all be speaking in one voice rallying for those who demand for their rights to live with dignity.

In Hindraf, I believe there are Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Catholics, atheists, Buddhists, Sikhs, Bahais, Jains, etc rallying for the cause. In other words there are human beings speaking up for peace and social justice. It is the right of every Malaysian to lend support to their demands.

We have let the Indians in Malaysia suffer for too long. We ought to have a programme of affirmative action in place. We ought to have a sound programme for alleviation of poverty for the Indians and radically improve their conditions through political action, education and cultural preservation. We ought to extract the enabling aspects of culture though and perhaps reconstruct the our understanding of the relationship between culture and human progress.

But can the current political paradigm engineer a solution to the problems of the Malaysian Indians, as long as politics – after 50 years – is still British colonialist-imperialist-oppressive in nature? We have evolved into a sophisticated politically racist nation, hiding our discriminatory policies with the use of language that rationalises what the British imperialists brutally did in the open.

But our arguments cannot hold water any loner. Things are falling apart – deconstructed. The waves of demands, the frequency of rallies and the excavating of issues drawn from the archaeology of our fossilised arrogant knowledge – all these are symptoms of deconstructionism in our body politics. It is like the violent vomit of a rehabilitating cocaine addict undergoing treatment in a Buddhist monastery somewhere in northern Thailand.

We cannot continue to alienate each other through arguments on a ‘social contract’ that is alien from perhaps what Jean Jacques Rousseau wrote about some 300 years ago – a philosophy that inspired the founding of America, a nation of immigrants constantly struggling (albeit imperfectly) to meet the standards requirements of equality, equity and equal opportunity especially in education.

How do we come together, as Malaysians, as neo-bumiputeras free from false political-economic and ideological dichotomies of Malays versus non-Malays, bumi versus non-bumi and craft a better way of looking at our political, economic, social, cultural, psychological and spiritual destiny – so that we may continue to survive as a species for the next 50 years?

As a privileged Malaysian whose mother tongue is the Malay language and as one designated as a bumiputera, I want to see the false dichotomies destroyed and a new sense of social order emerging, based on a more just form of linguistic play designed as a new Merdeka game plan.

Think Malaysian – we do not have anything to lose except our mental chains. We have a lot to gain in seeing the oppressed be freed from the burden of history; one that is based on the march of materialism. We are essentially social beings, as Einstein would emphasise. Our economic design must address the socialism of existence.

Let us restructure of policies to help the Indian Malaysians – they are our lawful citizens speaking up for their fundamental rights. Let us help restructure the lives of the poor before they restructure the lives of the rich.

爲大馬印裔請願
姚文傑 當今大馬 11月30日 晚上8點04分

「照我看來,今日資本社會經濟的無政府狀態是萬惡之源。我們親眼看見一個龐大生產者社群,各自竭盡所能地互相剝奪集體勞動成果。總的來說,這剝削無關暴力,反而是藉著奉公守法來進行的。」—愛因斯坦
「我對西方文明有何看法?我想那會是個很好的主意。」—甘地
大馬印裔痛苦地掙扎了150年,英女王伊莉莎白二世會賠償嗎?在這世代,大家都被新式殖民主義蒙蔽—英格蘭超級足球聯賽、大馬伊頓公學(英國貴族中學)複製品、津橋教育,以及崇拜英國搖滾樂手,例如崇拜比披頭四還厲害的皇后樂隊(Queen)吉他手兼天體物理學者布瑞恩‧梅博士(最近被委任爲利物浦大學校長)—我們又該如何解決賠償問題?
誰在英治時代助紂爲虐,助長東印度公司全球奴隸契約制度?印裔同胞在這50年來所面對的問題,現任政府會正視嗎?
面對這些混亂的意識型態糾結,光是解開糾結是不夠的,我們也還要瞭解國民意向。這50年來帶有歧視性地奴役身心的病態制度,是根據殖民主義而設計的,其禍害正逼得我們喘不過氣來。
有關賠償、奴隸制、人權宣言歷史,我們都很需要密集課程。我們必須明白剝削作爲都喪失人性:英國殖民主義串通各地政治菁英之後,就把觸角深入殖民地,吸幹殖民地人民的熱汗血淚。
我們也必須計算:縱橫整個歷史時空裡的人口販賣活動,到底帝國主義者和本地首領從中搜刮了多少油水。
總而言之,我們必須再教育自己,學習新舊帝國主義的解剖結構、化學作用、人類學和後結構性質。英國帝國主義憑著奴役身心的方式,成功地建構了一個有利可圖的制度。這意識型態也被轉化了,使得土著欲更英化。即便土著英化得再厲害,棕色皮膚還是無法英化起來的。
港主和肯嘉尼(kangchu and kangani)制度,都是我們必須鼓勵孩子瞭解的奴隸契約制度。我們也要讓孩子瞭解:馬來人如何被貶爲殖民地經濟的「不情願生產者」,因而被扣上「慵懶土著」帽子。
國內各州原住民和土著的發展哲學,都比五年大馬計畫的指定策劃來得更進步,我們都必須學習。一個尊重大自然,並且強調與大自然共生的發展哲學,當然比目前在「發展」幌子下剝削人類、破壞環境的制度,來得更有文化尊嚴。

重拾平民主義正合時宜
一些更重大議題,不論是新舊議題,或者是財團控制馬來亞財富議題—種族課題老早已被挑撥炒炸、維持現狀是否有其便利性與必要性、本地少數財團壟斷國內市場、財閥政治肆虐—都被歷史課給掩蓋起來了。
我 們生活在自己建構的歷史牢籠裡,即使上過歷史課,也無法看到牢籠外面的廣闊歷史圖騰,可見我們的歷史課是失敗的。記錄史實必須以社會和人文面向爲基礎,但 我國歷史學家—從馬來皇族大文豪兼傳道者敦斯里拉南(Tun Sri Lanang),到當代被各執政黨監控思想的歷史學家,都不符合這標準。
工業起飛年代的橡膠和包裝工業,這兩大工業中的政治經濟學,以及英美兩大帝國之間的關係,我們都需要研究瞭解。
大馬印裔有權要求賠償。更重要的是他們身爲合法公民,有權要求所給予土著的平等與機會均等,而且每個大馬人都一定要被賦予這權利。
這次是被邊緣化的大馬人要求賠償。如果不能讓人人機會均等,我們所有人都將會背負實施新殖民主義的罪孽,而且在未來會再次面對賠償課題。如果不從國際奴隸 制度、勞工移民和人口販賣歷史中汲取教訓,我們又怎能以和平方式來糾正不均衡狀態?談到人口販賣,我們就必須知道:參與興都權益遊行的印裔,其祖先主要來 自淡米爾納德省。
印裔同胞是最弱勢族群,我曾撰文請求大家説明他們,請求大家守望相助,同時也呼籲領袖們停止鬥爭。其中一段提到大家 必須無私地合作:「我們必須説明赤貧印裔同胞,各族是時候同心協力了。與此同時,我們也該擁有多元文化的平民主義(Marhaenism)。面對著物質主 義、殖民主義、依賴性、帝國主義,前印尼總統蘇卡諾以平民主義極力抵禦之,平民主義一詞也因此竄紅。最富有的十分之一大馬人,其收入是其餘十分之九 人口收入的二十倍,聽之駭然。國家剛獨立時,我們不是承諾平均分配財富嗎?現在呢?」

應有扶弱計畫消除貧窮
目前局勢比較好了—權益訴求組織開始互助合作,一起努力爭取自己被拒絕的權益。這權益並不只是要有廟宇供教徒膜拜和經濟平等而已,也還包括回顧自身歷史的權力—過去到底發生了什麼事,誰該爲他們的窮困潦倒負責,他們都有權質問。
這問題非關興都徒,這問題不只橫跨種族和宗教,而且也相當普及。如果我們相信宗教所宣導的人類尊嚴,以及人性中的手足之情,我們都會支援要求活得有尊嚴的遊行。
在興都權益遊行當中,我相信有興都徒、回教徒、基督徒、天主教徒、無神論者、佛教徒、錫克、巴哈伊、耆那教徒等等,他們都是爲理想遊行。換句話說,有人爲社會的和平正義大聲疾呼。對於他們的要求,每個馬來西亞人都有權伸出援手。
我們讓印裔同胞受苦太久了,因此必須要有一套扶弱計畫。除了要有一個完善除貧計畫,我們也必須要有政治、教育和文化保育等各方面行動,以便可以徹底地改善他們的處境。除了必須從各文化汲取養分,對於文化與人類發展之間的關係,我們也必須重新建構這方面的認知與理解。
50 年過去了,綜觀當今政治環境,其本質仍無異於大英帝國壓迫式殖民,現有政治模式可以在這環境裡,爲印裔困境提出和平解決方案嗎?在英殖民時代,舉凡歧視偏 差政策,英國帝國主義者都粗暴地公然實施;到了今天,國內偏差歧視政策,一律都被語言掩蓋著,並且合理化了。由此可見,我國是一個矯揉造作的種族政治國家。
我們的論點站不住腳了,時局開始分崩離析了—一波波訴求聲浪、次數頻密的遊行、用考古方法檢驗迂腐思想以揭發爭議性議題—這些都是政治統一體解構症狀。這就像一個癮君子,在泰北某佛寺接受康復治療時劇烈嘔吐一樣。

勿再用社會契約來分割
我們不能再根據「社會契約」爭議來分化彼此,這與法國思想家兼文學家盧梭在大約三百年前撰寫的哲學格格不入。美國這個長期掙扎(儘管不完美),以期可以達到公正平等標準的移民國家,就是受盧梭哲學啟發而建國的。這國家希望人人機會均等,特別是教育機會均等。
面對錯誤的政治經濟和意識型態—「土著對抗非土著」、 「馬來人對抗非馬來人」—我們可以不受其桎梏,並且和解、團結爲馬來西亞人嗎?對於政治、經濟、社會、文化、心理和精神各方面的命運,我們能否建構一個比較好的看法,以便在未來五十年以相同的大馬人身份繼續生存?
身爲一個以馬來文爲母語的幸運巫裔、土著,我要看到錯誤的二分法被廢除。我也希望新社會秩序可以出現,讓各種語文包括馬來文都獲得尊重。如此的新社會秩序,應該成爲新獨立策略。
想一想,除了思想束縛之外,我們大馬人沒有什麼可以失去。資本主義施虐導致許多人受害,如果讓被壓迫的群體解除歷史包袱,對我們絕對有利無弊。實質上,人除了是個體的存在,人也是社會的存在,大概愛因斯坦也會這樣強調。我們的經濟策劃必須彰顯存在社會學。
印裔同胞也是合法公民,大家一起重定扶持印裔的政策吧。在他們還未調整富人生活之前,讓我們先説明窮人重建生活吧。

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