Blowing up legacies? You kidding me!

umar mukhtar

Umar Mukhtar

So now we know. The legacy of a nation’s leader, according to Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, are all those manifested in materialistic cement and mortar things that money can buy, which he spent the nation’s money on. He said to destroy his legacy, you have to destroy KLCC, KLIA and the PLUS Highway. That’s almost funny. How DID he become Prime Minister?

It wasn’t as if the twin towers, etc., were designed by Malaysians and is a showcase for the skills Malaysians have acquired in a knowledge-based economy resulting from an education system that boasts of competitiveness and ingenuity and which strive on excellence.

Anybody with money like the Arabs in Abu Dhabi and Doha can do that. Especially money that is God-given from the oil reserves underground and not earned by the intelligence, productivity and industriousness of its people above-ground.

Why would we want to blow them up for? They’re ours. You just presided in the spending of our money. Shame on you for even thinking that you have some sort of proprietor rights over them. And you were just an elected official too, not even an absolute monarch who can claim everything in the realm to be his, like in Brunei or the Middle East.

You sound cheap, needy and frivolous, like some Indians I know who told me proudly that as a little child in school they were English because they have English first names or that they were Portuguese because their forefathers came from Goa, India. I used to wonder what’s so deprived about being Indian. Now I know the meaning of the word vicarious. It’s just like Mahathir who tries so hard to be everything that is commendable, albeit, vicariously.

So let me tell you what my English and History teachers taught me about the legacy of a leader. The leader who led reforms in every aspects of his people’s lives. Namely, education reforms that can bring his people to the edge of human advancement. Not bringing them backwards to a myopic existence, based simply on a misplaced sense of nationalism.

We had a head start in the current international language of knowledge but we prefer to be parochial, supposedly, as a tool for national identity. Fine. The Japanese and the Koreans are good examples of nationalistic people. But they translate thousands of titles and manuscripts a year from the English language into their language in their thirst for knowledge.

Our Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka led by semi-politicians, on the other hand, translates a handful, maybe six books a year into Malay. I guess the average Kampung Boy doesn’t need to know about the Theory of Relativity or enjoy reading The Prince or War and Peace.

English is widely used in Malaysia, nevertheless. It is also the language for lucrative employment. So the average Kampung Boy will end up shuffling files in a disguised unemployment charade in some government department somewhere. While his urban counterpart answers a Malay question in English in TV3 Malay news. You don’t see the irony of that, do you? That’s only education reform, among many others you could have turned into your legacy.

My point is, if you had been responsible to bring a whole generation of young, bright Malaysians into the millennium, shoulder-to-shoulder with those of other blessed countries which placed a high premium on the thinking mind, yes, sir, you have left a legacy you can be proud of. And you know what, we couldn’t even think of blowing that up even if we wanted to.

But you did leave legacies inadvertently or advertently. Legacies of corruption, cronyism, racism, narrow-mindedness, poor work ethics, and a bloated civil service. These, we plan to destroy, beginning yesterday. Just be aware that those who appear to be supporting you in your present destructive endeavour are the ones who have agendas of destroying your legacy.

I don’t mean your hounding Najib over 1MDB, I mean your tastelessness in discerning what the people you led hunger for. KLCC? Nah, we don’t need gigantic phallic symbols, only for those with small dicks do.