Masing defends ‘cultural arrogance’ theory
Posted by kasee on Malaysia-Today
Wednesday, 14 May 2008
(Sarawak Headhunter’s interpolations in red, partly what Masing really meant and partly what Sarawak Headhunter thinks he meant. If you are not thoroughly confused at the end of it, please feel free to read more of Sarawak Headhunter's serious but amusing musings from time to time).
(Borneo Post) KUCHING: Land Development Minister Dato Sri Dr James Masing yesterday defended his “cultural arrogance” theory, saying that it is a theory urging people not to preach to people from another community on what they already know like telling the Ibans that they are disunited or that their leaders are motivated only by self-interest.
Cultural arrogance breeds racial disharmony and is a form of insincerity, he said just like the arrogance of Iban leaders breeds disharmony among the Ibans and is also a form of insincerity.
“It is therefore wise for people to think that all are born equal in intelligence although of course you all are not equal to me since I have a Phd, but you can think so. But what makes us different from one another is opportunity and I am an opportunist par excellence. Some get more opportunities than the others because they grab all they can get from Taib Mahmud, just like me. If I get peanuts how can I give bananas to my people? Even if I get more than peanuts, why should I give anything to my people, who are happy with nothing? Therein is the difference, you all can’t do what I do,” he said in his winding-up speech at the DUN yesterday.
Masing said it would be cultural arrogance, if a Chinese tried to help the Ibans but yet preached to them (Ibans) things they already knew but since the Ibans don’t help each other but are forever fighting with each other, it is also arrogance if an Iban tried to help other Ibans but yet preached to them things they already knew, even if what they already knew can’t hurt them as much as not knowing what they should know.
He pointed out that such incident happened during the land-related disputes or claims which are all started by you know who and his unjust and lop-sided land policies but we Iban leaders cannot say that so we grab what we can, which is whatever he gives us, while we can. Otherwise he will give it all to the Chinese Towkays, which he has already done anyway and which we already know.
“If you want to help others, just do it. There is no necessity to tell the world why a person needs such assistance. By the same token, if you want to help an Iban with his land, there is no need to tell him or this Dewan what land means to an Iban,” he cited an example of ‘cultural arrogance’. “Land doesn’t mean anything to the Ibans because the land doesn’t belong to them, and Taib Mahmud can do what he likes with the land. I cannot do anything to help the Ibans. How can I be arrogant even if I have a Phd? Of course I am but it would be cultural arrogance on your part to tell me what I already know."
Masing said he once helped a Chinese shopkeeper to get a streetlight from a local council here after the shopkeeper requested for it, and sought for his assistance. ”I cannot do anything more than this. That is how much power I have in Taib’s government, but the pay and the pay-back is good for me, even if not for my people. That is the truth, and it is arrogance to tell you what you already know.”
Although he knew that the shopkeeper needed the streetlight to protect his shop, he (Masing) did not preach to him on why he should need the streetlight or the rationale of having one, Masing said since he (the shopkeeper) already knew why and he might find a rationale for hitting Masing on the head with the streetlight.
He pointed out that such a gesture was not cultural arrogance because he helped the Chinese with sincerity. However, by telling everyone about it now, that is cultural arrogance, but we cannot tell him that because he already knows it and that is also cultural arrogance.
It was also a sincere act because he did not tell the media about it nor did he argue the shopkeeper’s case in the DUN, he added. Now it is not so sincere anymore because he is telling everyone. But no one should tell him that since he already knows it and that would be cultural arrogance.
He said this to rebut some points raised up by Ting Tze Hui (DAP-Meradong) and Voon Lee Shan (DAP-Batu Lintang) when debating the Head of State’s address last week. He had nothing else to rebut of course, but we cannot tell him that, since that would be cultural arrogance, as he already knows it.
Masing first mentioned the cultural arrogance theory during his winding-up speech in a DUN sitting in 2007. It was part of his Phd thesis and the only thing he knew a lot about, being himself arrogant, culturally or otherwise.
However his points on cultural arrogance yesterday did not go down well with Dominique Ng (PKR-Padungan), who interrupted him several times telling the DUN Speaker that such talks had racial overtone. Of course this is cultural arrogance on the part of Dominique Ng since both the DUN Speaker and Masing knew this already.
Ng was also unhappy when Masing stressed on the history of ancient China where its people then addressed non-Chinese as “barbarians”. This is ancient history but Masing wanted to show how smart he was in remembering this, without realizing that everyone already knew it, especially Dominique Ng who therefore had every right to be upset since he did not like culturally arrogant people preaching to him. In particular he did not like being reminded that his race once called everyone barbarian. How to be culturally sensitive like that? Arrogant Iban!
“Why? Because the perception of the ancient Chinese that all non-Chinese were savages; they lacked culture and did not possess any skills and therefore are not capable of doing anything good and worthwhile,” he explained. This was such a good explanation, thereby showing everyone why he got his Phd.
He said another form of cultural arrogance manifested itself in some people’s attitude and perception towards others but not his of course.
“There is a general perception by others in Malaysia that Bumiputeras are not capable of doing good and successful business. Hence when a Bumiputera company is successful, the perception is that it cannot be attributed to their skills and capability. Thus, variables like cronyism, nepotism, corruption and political patronage come to the picture. This is not what I say but what other people say, even if we all already know it, have to pretend lah that we don’t know otherwise kena belasah lah by you know who!”
“These are variables the detractors claimed, which account for this Bumiputera company to be successful,” he said. “It is not only cultural but also political arrogance to say this since we all know it already”.
Yet another form of cultural arrogance is in the manner some people address or refer to others. “I’m not trying to be arrogant here, if I want to be arrogant I don’t even have to try, even if you all already know this. I’m just trying to justify my Phd, which means I’m smarter than all of you, as you all already know. But I’m not smarter than you know who, otherwise I would be Chief Minister long time ago.
“During my growing up years, the Ibans in Kapit were referred to or called by the Chinese as ‘Lakkia’ (native or wild savage). I did not take any offence then. Now I do. I will not take this form of address too kindly,” Masing said, "especially if my wife calls me this, but then again why should I bother since I am her laki ah! Only sometimes of course. Sometimes I am other people's laki lah!
When Ng still insisted that Masing’s speech had some kind of “racial slur”, DUN Speaker Dato Sri Mohamad Asfia Awang Nasar told Masing to proceed to another point but reminded all members to stay clear of racial remarks. Haha, right! Correct! Correct! Correct! And don’t forget, the Sarawak Headhunter told you so, even if you already knew it, and he wasn’t trying to be arrogant, culturally or otherwise. So ended Masing's preaching to the DUN on cultural arrogance. Other than for Dominique Ng, the rest of the DUN were totally unaware of what he meant he said or what he said he meant, which was both confusing (him) and confused (them). However, don't be culturally arrogant and tell him this, since he already knows it (that he is confusing and everybody else is confused) - that is how he got his Phd. after all.
Sarawak Headhunter is contemplating putting up Masing's head on the list of heads that must roll. This guy must surely rank as one of the stupidest Phd's ever produced by Sarawak.