Malaysian and the captive mind syndrome

It has become a norm for me to indulge in newspapers every weekend. One of the catchiest article I have read this week echo the same worry that I have since I become much more critical in observing our culture. Andrew Sia has written an awesome piece of analysis (which I copy pasted from the Star website. See below) regarding our attitude towards the Western culture. He was referring specifically to the Chelsea Asian Tour which had landed on our soil few weeks ago. It shows how our people really upholding John Terry and Co. by prepairing the Chelsea team with lavish and extravaganza treatment beginning from the arrival at the airport till the night Chelsea whipped our Malaysian boys 2-0.

Full of humor and cynical statements, Andrew has managed to captured my intention so vividly that I could relate his article directly with what the late Syed Hussein Al-Atas has famously promulgated as The Captive Mind Syndrome.

As you can see whatever happen during the Chelsea Asian Tour in Malaysia as being mentioned extensively in Andrew’s article below perfectly described the syndrome. As a 3rd World Nation who being continuously assault by the globalization demonic influences,  we the Malaysians, especially the younger generations like me has being reduced into a pathetic state of, to borrow Andrew’s phrase “worshipping the west“.

If I were to elaborated further the connotations of “worshipping the west”-I mean literally surely people will accuse me Taliban etc. But that is the naked truth of our people. Well, the syndrome is not merely being imposed through external forces of the Westernization a.k.a Globalization but also due to our weakness in upholding our cultural roots which are rich with beautiful values.

What can I say? As a Malay who lived in the city, my struggle to uphold the values of our roots still far reaching than I thought. If you want to understand this problem deeper I recommened you to read Syed Hussein’s The Myth of Lazy Natives (cost you about RM 300 in Kinokuniya KLCC) or the brilliant Islam and Secularism by Prof. Syed Naquib Al-Attas (the small brother of Syed Hussein).

Till then enjoy reading your heart our with the article below!


Worshipping the West

By ANDREW SIA

The way we feel about foreign football idols may reflect the kind of people we are – and it’s not a pretty picture.

LAST Tuesday, we had the Chelsea superstars come here to play a game at half-pace against a Malaysian selection, with the local crowd awash in the blue Samsung T-shirts of the English Premier League (EPL) boys.

Some local fans waited for hours to book the best standing spots at the team’s hotel, desperate for a morsel of affection from their idols. How did Chelsea’s multi-millionaire footballers return our love?

“Most of them just walked past, with their ears plugged into their music. They didn’t seem to have much time for us, even though some fans were waving flags and cheering,” recounts Eric Samuel, a StarSport Senior Writer who was at the scene.

We even welcomed them with elaborate Sarawakian cultural dances, and again we seemed to be “bothering” Chelsea’s megastars.

“From their faces, they must have been thinking, ‘Aiyoh what-lah, coming to this sakai (savages, a derogatory term for the orang asli) country’. At least stop and admire the dances for a little while-lah,” chips in another StarSport writer.

Malaysian Chelsea fans showed so much love for their team but got little back in return. EHFAN SHAH/ The Star

In other words, it looks like we gave Chelsea the red carpet treatment and got a cold blue shoulder back.

“While local reporters were playing cat-and-mouse games to get to any one of the superstars during their two-day stay, (foreign) news agencies and British newspapers had loads of stories quoting the superstars. A case of double standards, perhaps?” wrote R. Manogaran, Deputy Editor of StarSport in a comment piece on Wednesday.

And how were the local slobbering fans treated?

“At the official training session on Monday, thousands of fans thronged the Shah Alam Stadium to catch a glimpse of their aces in action and, hopefully, get an autograph or snap a picture for posterity.”

Manogaran continued: “While a select few, probably with connections to the organisers or someone higher up, managed to get onto the pitch for their autographs and snapshots, many of the die-hard fans could only watch from the stands — anger seething and tempers flaring.”

“Hopefully, when other bigger teams come our way, local media will not have crumbs thrown their way and the fans will be given their money’s worth!” concluded Manogaran. To be fair, there were some autograph sessions and Chelsea’s captain, John Terry, did make some effort to be friendly to the fans. But overall, by our standards of warm-hearted Asian hospitality and effusive politeness, where we go out of our way to make guests comfortable, the Chelsea visitors’ response seemed rather gruff.

In retrospect, it’s fortunate that the proposal to bring in Manchester United on July 27 last year to “celebrate our 50th Merdeka” did not happen.

First of all, it might have been a humiliating repeat of their last visit in 2001 when the national team were whacked 6-1 by Man U – while Malaysians cheered on the bashing. Or would Man U have been discreetly asked to play at half-pace to “give face” to us? Just as Luis Scolari, the Chelsea coach, admitted that last Tuesday’s game was nothing more than a warm-up “training match”?

I am not really a fan of, nor hold grudges against, any particular EPL team. My only beef here is, why do we so slavishly indulge in this West Worship, while receiving so little love back from our idols? Are we so lacking in self-worth?

At times, we seem like under-appreciated, love-struck women who pine after indifferent or callous men, the perfect candidates to read the book, He’s just not that into you (you stupid woman!).

What causes our lack of self-esteem? To start with, Malaysian football is abysmal. The problems – unpaid players’ salaries, bankrupt state FA’s, politicians hogging posts, lack of grassroots development and bookies fixing matches – have been dragging on for years.

TSo we have a Third World soccer mentality, but at least we still have First World physical infrastructure right? Sorry again, no. When Brazil came here to train before the 2002 World Cup in Korea-Japan, Scolari was then the samba boys’ coach. They had to run around looking for proper venues as the playing pitches were so bumpy and badly maintained that they posed an injury threat.

Have things improved since that international embarrassment? Scolari, now coaching Chelsea, was anxiously “waiting for the final whistle”, fearing that the poor condition at the Shah Alam pitch might injure his precious players. Given that some of them are paid £100,000 (RM700,000) a week, each of their toes must be worth, what, RM10,000,000?

West Worship is a prevalent theme in our society. The list includes, service staff who treat Mat Sallehs extra nicely over locals, VIPs who prefer sending their children to British universities over local ones, our architecture blindly copying European styles despite the searing tropical heat here, the proliferation of English-derived words in Bahasa Malaysia and people who miraculously acquire American accents after a two hour stopover at Los Angeles airport.

But even if we’re going to worship the West, let’s at least do it properly. Let’s revere not only the external stuff, like their football players, but also the deeper substance – the professional sports management, youth skills development and corruption-free leagues – that allowed these great players to emerge. So that one day, we will have players that can storm the World Cup, as South Korea did in 2002.

Otherwise, we will be perpetually reduced to bowing in adoration before Chelsea’s demigods, begging for scraps of their attention, as they brush past us nonchalantly.


Copy pasted from the Star website.

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