Tuesday, November 13, 2007

a letter to the NST editor

Dear Editor,

I note in the past that your newspaper has been absolute in its support of the Prime Minister’s call for the acceptance and practice of Islam Hadhari as a way of life. Indeed your newspaper has been a staunch propagator of Islam Hadhari as it consists of principles “that have been devised to empower Muslims to face the global challenges of today” (to cite the Prime Minister’s Office website).

Among others, the concept of Islam Hadhari, aims to achieve the followings:

· Faith and piety in Allah
· A free and independent People
· Mastery of knowledge
· A good quality of life
· Cultural and moral integrity

Your efforts in propagating Islam Hadhari must indeed be lauded. The Prime Minister has been wise to advocate this concept and I have no doubt that a civil society, progressive in its thoughts and ways of life, would be within our reach if Islam Hadhari is fully practiced. The above elements are the pillars of a good society. And I am glad that you have taken it upon yourself to promote and propagate the concept of Islam Hadhari for the betterment of all of us, Malaysians.

Thus it came as a great disappointment when I read your report titled “Illegal gathering causes traffic chaos in city” appearing in your edition on 11.11.2007.

Your report started with a thoroughly incomplete statement that “a crowd of about 4000” gathered for an illegal march close to Dataran Merdeka. It ended with a rather innocuous sounding statement that “many of the protesters, who wore yellow T-shirts and bandannas, later gathered outside Istana Negara and some opposition leaders handed over a memorandum to palace officials.”

If you maintain that the said report is accurate, I would accuse you of not being diligent! A cursory look at various websites on the internet and viewing visual reports by Aljazeera and the BBC reveal an obvious flaw in your reporting, which borders on deceit and misrepresentation of facts, in your said report. There were, as reported by alternative and foreign medias, between 30000-40000 people who took part in the so called illegal march. Photographs depicting the true number of people participating in this illegal gathering are splashed on the internet and could be seen by the whole world. I am just shocked at the lack of journalistic etiquette displayed by you concerning the report.

If the purpose of your report was to belittle the resolve of those who took part in the gathering by downplaying the size of the gathering and in the same breath hoodwinking the Malaysian public through your misrepresentation of facts and clever (not so clever, actually) painting of events, then I must say your practice as such runs absolutely repugnant to the concept of Islam Hadhari which you had, to this date, so readily embraced and propagated. I urge you to read your report again and ask yourself:

· Where is the faith and piety in Allah?
· Is your report as such conducive for the establishment of a free and independent people?
· Can knowledge be mastered by the people if you continue with such practice in the future?
· Is good quality of life attainable without a truthful and responsible mass media?
· What cultural and moral integrity are you talking about or have you redefined

In fact, your action in shaping the thoughts and perceptions of the masses through your great spinning machines is an obvious attempt to create a one dimensional society as opposed to a progressive and lively society aimed by the concept of Islam Hadhari. It has come to a stage where the mainstream views, such as yours, are the only views that matter and which are correct. Opposite views are non-mainstream and are therefore not correct and are to be disbelieved and ignored, if not despised and banished. Was it not Marcuse, in his work “One Dimensional Man”, who so correctly lamented that under the conditions of a mass society, “the multi-dimensional dynamic by which the individual attained and maintained his own balance between autonomy and heteronomy, freedom and repression, pleasure and pain, has given way to a one-dimensional static identification of the individual with the others and with the administered reality principle”? Tell me, are you trying to do that which Marcuse had foreseen? Are you propagating a just and progressive society or a society where every member of that society must identify himself with the views of others and with the administered reality?
The world is now borderless. And it is watching your folly!

Yours sincerely,
Navel Gazer