Make Others The Heroes

By batsman 

Reform is not just about changing institutions and laws. Such are actually cheap and vulgar forms of reform. The most thorough going reform is about reforming self although it must be admitted the two types should go together for best effect.

I therefore submit a proposal for reforms based on making others the heroes rather than self becoming the hero. This is one formula for empowering the people. Political leaders seek to empower their followers and grassroots while the whole party seeks to empower the people. 

This process is also described by the story about the employee who got promoted to the top because he made himself redundant at every step on the way. And he made himself redundant by empowering the subordinates he was in charge of such that they were fully able to take over his position and duties. 

Making oneself redundant by empowering subordinates to the extent they are capable of taking over one’s own duties and responsibilities is not something Malaysians are used to let alone risk. So this is something worth thinking about in terms of reforming self. 

To try and avoid any misunderstanding or even purposeful twisting of ideas and concepts, let me cover some of the bases. Making others the heroes is not the same as letting others be the heroes. Letting others be the heroes involves standing aside, withdrawal, non-participation or suspension of judgment. Another form of it would be blind loyalty to unworthy leaders or to blindly thrashing around on issues such as “race, religion, language, vernacular schools, mother tongue education” – (RPK). All these would be perversions of making others the heroes. 

Obviously making others the heroes is also not the same as making your boss or your superiors the heroes. This is the dick sucking culture that RPK says pervades UMNO. 

In a sense, many Asian cultures are cursed by this attitude as opposed to western culture which places emphasis on the individual. Asian cultures tend to encourage people to flock together to offer blind loyalty to … well … culture. Or to the community which by extension means the leaders of the community or to things such as “race, religion, language, vernacular schools, mother tongue education” – (RPK). 

By having such tendencies, it makes it easy for unscrupulous people to manipulate themselves into positions of power by championing issues that people offer blind loyalty to. After all, what is so bad about blindly supporting a leader who champions the issues that you yourself are blindly supporting? 

So it seems that making persons or things that are bigger than yourself the hero is not a good thing in many circumstances and may lead to dick sucking culture that RPK says pervades UMNO. This is not to say it is always a bad thing. It is only in danger of turning bad if one suspends judgment and thought and offers blind fanatical loyalty to superiors. 

Since the west emphasizes the individual, there is less of such culture of blind loyalty since a lone individual is forced to think for himself as a survival tool. The lone individual who suspends judgment is a loser. (Come to think of it, the community which suspends judgment can also be said to be losers but this is not so obvious at the surface level and can be realized only with relatively long elapse of time when it becomes obvious the whole community loses – the bigger the community, the longer the time needed). 

Then there is the phenomenon of making oneself the hero. This is a common phenomenon in Malaysia. Perhaps this is also why Malaysia suffers the problems it suffers. To become the hero, one has to exhibit heroic qualities and what better heroic qualities to exhibit than to champion issues such as “race, religion, language, vernacular schools, mother tongue education” – (RPK)? 

In fact one is under pressure to champion such issues if one wants to be a hero in Malaysia. So if many people try to be heroes, inevitably quarrels break out since all these different heroes must exhibit heroic qualities by championing issues such as one’s own particular “race, religion, language, vernacular schools, mother tongue education” (RPK). 

In fact even PKR’s problems may be due to the attitude of making oneself the hero. By trying to appear the hero by championing the party’s cause, minority dissenting voices get suppressed by the great heroes. This is not to say minority voices don’t have their own heroes. This attitude of making oneself the hero blurs into the attitude of making one’s superiors the hero, so the bad effects are doubly compounded. 

When such a situation occurs, it is no use anymore to take the attitude of making others the heroes. Imagine trying to make a subordinate a hero who is blindly trying to make you the hero. What you end up with is a stupid crony without backbone. On top of this, minority heroes may be out to destroy you just by trying to champion their own cause. 

Such a situation calls for leadership, judgment and discussion. All the great heroes should stay silent and start using their grey matter to solve problems and conflicts of ideas and maybe also of interests. 

The same goes for the rest of Malaysia. This is the reform we need to undertake to reform ourselves. 

Imagine getting stuck in a situation such as the one MCA got into by complaining about Normala using gloves to shake hands with male voters. Shaking hands is not even Chinese culture to begin with. It is just an international form that is often suspended when different cultures meet. The Chinese have no need to get offended by the PAS candidate trying to express her own beliefs and traditions, so who was MCA trying to make a hero of? Is it UMNO that the MCA is trying to make a hero by copying UMNO’s dick sucking culture that RPK described? Or is it the westerners that the MCA is trying to make the hero because it is essentially western culture that has been internationalized when speaking of hand shakes. Is MCA trying to prostitute Chinese culture by trying to turn western culture into Chinese culture? Is MCA trying to say the Chinese have no sense of their own culture, or is it just the MCA which has prostituted itself by succumbing to UMNO’s dick sucking culture that RPK describes so well? 

What do you guys think? Is the MCA in need of reform too? Perhaps 1 Malaysia can be the basis of its reform since there is no chance it will consider what I have proposed, but is it possible for MCA to reform itself using 1 Malaysia concepts since it is saying even a simple thing such as a Muslim practice regarding hand shakes is not acceptable to the Chinese community. Is MCA trying to be the hero to the Chinese community by championing silly issues such as hand shakes? I think this is not even a suspension of judgment but a complete lack of any integrity. 

So guys, to avoid the problems that the MCA is forcing Malaysia into, it might be worth considering reforming oneself as a part of the overall reforms that Malaysia needs so badly. Obviously making others the heroes only works if the majority accept this attitude, otherwise we all get stuck in the same old rut. So one has to exercise some care at the beginning of the process. What say you? Want to give it a try? Start by saying no to BN’s divide and rule tactics.