Wednesday, June 25, 2014

MAKE BETTER FILMS, NOT BOMBS! WE NEED TO CREATE THE NEW MUSLIM CINEMA

– TO PROMOTE BETTER UNDERSTANDING
BETWEEN THE ENTIRE MUSLIM WORLD AND THE WEST, AND
WORLD PEACE.
By Mansor bin Puteh


Muslims only know how to react. We are reactionaries. And reactionaries are normally those who have idle minds and limited intellect, they only know how to follow blindly without thinking.

We don’t lead. We have nothing that we can be proud of; there is no real leadership system in the Muslim World.

We only live to support the development of the west. We support their F-1 races; we copy their beauty contests, entertainment reality shows and so on. And we feel guilty if we do not behave like them. 

We only know how to get angry for nothing without knowing why we are angry. It is energy that is wrongly channeled.

We lack the spirit of enterprise, discovery and adventure. We stick to ourselves and are not brave to face the world.

Yes, we are angry over petty issues and things. We do so because we are weak, not because they are strong, but because we are weaker.

1434 years of Muslimhood has not taught us much, for we read the Koran wrongly and interpret the Prophet’s ‘Sunnah’ to suit our fancies without understanding their essence.

We have betrayed our religion and what it stands for. We allowed the others to trample on us and belittle us on all fronts.

But how could the 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide in 57 countries and all the others can be said to be weak and almost irrelevant to the development of the modern world?

We chose to be weak. We chose not to have our own film, artistic, intellectual, academic, science and technology and media centers as well as the other centers.

The Muslim World therefore does not exist. It only exists in our mind; it is just a figment of our imagination when all else is difficult to contemplate, and it is only when the OIC leaders meet every two years to come up with useless resolutions.

The Muslim World is no doubt a parasite of the west, which had benefited from us for too long, from our natural resources, our expertise and especially, especially our tardiness and disunity.

How long must we allow ourselves be in such a despicable situation? Is it very difficult to break the vicious circle of despair, destitute and paralysis?

No, it is not. There is a way. The way is cheap – dirt cheap – in fact. It is to introduce the Muslim Cinema and develop the Melaka Film City.

This is a gist of the paper I presented in the First International Muslim Filmmakers’ Conference held in Tehran, Iran in February, 1994.

If the Muslim leaders want to do something useful for once, this is what it is. No point in promoting the F-1 races, inviting Celine Dion to cheer us, for it is a temporary diversion. During the races and the concerts, how many Muslims will die of starvation? Do they care?

Let’s have an open forum to discuss this issue.

* * * * * * *

Perhaps the creation of the New Muslim Cinema is what we need. It can finally be able to check the problems of the world, especially between the Muslim World and the West, and promote a more equitable and peaceful world. It may be the only means that we have at our disposal that had not been fully utilized before.

A shocker for a start? Not really.

Just consider this: Diplomacy has its limits. The politicians have proven that. Political wrangling has proven to be an effort in futility as it often muddles the problems and they get even worse the more they wrangle as issues that were previously unattached are now so.

Hundreds of millions of innocent people all over the world suffer quietly. We don’t even know where and who they are. They have become numbers. Even those who had suffered more than half a century ago are still suffering. They pass this legacy of suffering to their off-springs like it had become part of their DNA strain.

Meanwhile political leaders change and new ones appear, often with a lot of fanfare, like they had just descended from the mountains in triumph. The old ones move on to do other things before they kick the bucket, while their successors repeat their errors and statements like they are new to everyone.  

We have seen enough of political ‘shadow play’ or wayang kulit performances in the United Nations already and have gone used to them by now. They are now reruns – nothing special at all. They are just a change of cast with the same dialogue and gestures and venom.  

Meanwhile, we suffer – I mean the whole world suffers. Sadly many in America also suffer. Although they may not be physically affected by what the others suffer, but they suffer quietly and psychologically.  

So, it’s time we did something unusual and unorthodox and even if it may be too far-fetched to comprehend. The cinema may be our ultimate salvation for a world that had been so badly fractured, abused and sadly neglected. And there is light – even one that flickers at twenty-four frames per second!   

It may be a simplistic and a seemingly far-fetched idea, but one that deserves to be tried since all other attempts had failed miserably. What else can we count on now that we had not held our hopes before?

We certainly do not need to have more forums, seminars and conferences and all sorts of peace initiatives. These are all efforts that had been tried.

In fact, the problems of the Muslims and consequently the world, have become worst and this has affected their relationship with the rest of the world, particularly the West. 

But aren’t all the problems faced not only by Muslims and the others are simplistic, if one cares to look at the whole equation in the widest possible perspective and all angles, and not just listen to officials from both sides give their own accounts of them?

Some say it’s all about O-I-L. Others say its hegemony. But isn’t the world huge enough to entertain their lofty and useless ambitions? Otherwise, the outer space is there for them to partake whatever they want for their continued sustenance! 

If you do not have oil to cook food, you normally get it at the supermarket. Or you can smile and put out your hand and get your neighbor to offer some to you. But you just don’t break into your neighbor’s house and grab his stock of oil leaving him without anything to cook food for his family.

And now you are forcing him to rearrange his furniture and tell him his ways are wrong and yours are right and you want to help him improve his lot and that of his family. But he was doing okay before you wanted his oil! He may not have as much wealth as you have, but he was doing okay. And it was enough for him to get by.

May be the filmmakers and the cinema can finally neutralize everything and reverse it. Or, at least try to halt the further escalation of the problems before it continues to spread in more countries and areas in the world and turning it to pieces, and make the political leaders realize their folly.   

We have also seen how the same international political leaders from both sides of the divide have squabbled and often they returned to their respective countries not being able to do anything.

Meanwhile, those who suffer are the ordinary folks who are mostly Muslims. They might not even know if a war had caused them to suffer – or if it was really the end of the world? The two seem to be alike to many of them especially for those who live in remote areas and who do not have proper communication and do not watch television and who listen only to their tribal leaders, sages and warlords.

The Muslim World which is defined as all the 57 countries which are members of the Organization of Islamic Organization (OIC) is vast. Unfortunately it is devoid of life. And the so-called Muslim World may not even exist as an entity.

Nothing interesting is happening in it. Muslims living in it find it a drab. We do not have many things including a cinema that we can call our own. We also do not have much of a media organization to serve our special needs, without having to depend on those that had been existence all this while. Muslims generally lead a parasitic existence.

There is also a problem of image-deficit faced by Muslims and Islam. 

And the kinds of news we ‘make’ as reported by ‘them’ seem to be the kinds that made us look and seem helpless and the Muslims are constantly standing looking lost in front of somebody else’s guns or tanks.

Stories of the death of scores of Muslims do not make Muslims in other parts of our world feel agitated anymore. They are just news. Even the television stations and newspapers in most Muslim countries now prefer to give more space to films and modern Western culture than the deaths of Muslims.

As someone who is trained in film, I believe by creating a New Muslim Cinema will finally have a miraculous effect on the Entire Muslim World. And it is not going to be just a film industry which caters to the puerile tastes of the viewers, but one that has a mission. It comes with a more profound purpose – to stabilize our senses to make them more attractive to the idea of promoting peace than to be agitated by the intense desire to be engaged in a war.

It will also be the industry that is able to create creative, artistic and intellectual leaders amongst the Muslims and other non-Muslims, especially those who are also involved in its development and expansion – so they can become better recognized and influential for their intellect, creativity and ingenuity, in the country and in the Entire Muslim World.

If this does not happen, chances are some will find it expedient to turn the knowledge that they had acquired while studying at prestigious universities in America and the West for other nefarious and counterproductive purposes. 

The center for the New Muslim Cinema can be in Malaysia – a non-Arab, Asian Muslim country which can help to shift all the paradigms and stand in between the Middle East and the West. There are many other better reasons that can support such an establishment.

We can have this multi-billion-dollar film industry that can become the core industry in Entire Muslim World around which the other industries, such as banking, airline, automobile, travel, education and publication, and so on, can further develop.

Those who are the major players in these secondary industries have been drawing too much attention for themselves for too long without serving the more profound cause of promoting greater understanding amongst Muslims and between Muslims, other than to want to make more money and expand his company. So it’s time they are shown where their places are in the real context of the development of the Entire Muslim World.

It can further enhance of Islam and Muslims in the West so they are able to relate with us better – since we now do exist.

Hong Kong with a population of a mere six million produces 120 feature films each year for the World Chinese market. So surely, we as a world of 1.5 billion people can come up with hundreds and possibly a thousand interesting feature films to share amongst ourselves and with the others.  
It’s too bad that the Islamic Development Bank – IDB 1440 H Mission that was recently launched with a lot of fanfare in Kuala Lumpur is both weak and badly flawed. 

It has failed to include the need to create the New Muslim Cinema – a term I am introducing – as one of its main goals to achieve. No filmmaker had been consulted and asked to offer suggestions to include in it. They always think only politicians and economists can come up with all the brilliant ideas that serve the needs of the Muslim World.

But haven’t they all tried that before and failed? Haven’t they studied carefully all the 170 resolutions that were passed in all the sixteen OIC Conferences over the last few decades that didn’t mean anything to the Muslim World and Muslims? 

What is the Entire Muslim World? It includes Muslims who live in non-Muslim countries.

I hope the fifty-seven leaders of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) won’t feel inferior if they get to read this as none of the 170 resolutions that the OIC has been implemented. The reason is these resolutions cannot be implemented and they know that. As such many feel the OIC resolutions are better off if they are written on used toilet paper!

Perhaps all of the OIC leaders should know that the Entire Muslim World is an incomplete entity because we do not have a cinema to call our own. We not only do not have film and television center, but also do not have a media, banking and other important centers that when connected will ultimately create a semblance of our own world.

And because of this there is no focus and the social, cultural, artistic and economic development of the Entire Muslim World cannot be gauged and for the West to relate to. We only have some activities in all fields. And they are at different levels of development, neglect or disrepair.

And for as long as we do not have these centers at different parts of the Muslim World, there is no chance for the Entire Muslim World to be developed and its people be so recognized and accepted as part of the world. We will be fractured by our differences because the differences amongst us are not taken full advantage of. In fact, we have not even attempted to take advantage of our commonalities! Worse, we will find the militants hiding in some of the fissures.

The number of these so-called Muslim militants will increase in number if the fissures become larger until they are able to create cracks that will drive the World Muslim Ummah against each other, if there is no attempt to close these fissures. I’m afraid this is what is slowly happening now.

* * * * * * *

I am afraid the many Harvard-trained economists that we have, have failed to realize that we can create a new and exciting film industry that acts and further enhances the nation’s economic, social, cultural and political development while helping to bridge the wide social, cultural, political and religious divide that exists in the country as well as between the Entire Muslim World and the West.

And it can also be a major contributing factor to the growth of the economy of the Muslim World and beyond. It can be a major source of employment that can absorb many of the unemployed graduates that we have today since to have an important film industry we need highly qualified people and not those who are not well trained or who are school dropouts.

Our historians too have failed to highlight this matter. Don’t they know that the film industry has been in existence for more than 112 years, yet they do not know how civilizations and cultures, especially Western culture was developed and expanded – by the existence of their cinema? What is America without Hollywood? America will be much like Lesotho

It’s too bad that even our philosophers and thinkers, too – if we have them – and our political leaders, have failed to highlight the fact. That we need to have a vibrant cinema that produces hundreds of meaningful feature films on the beauty of our religion, countries and peoples, and thousands of films of many types, including documentaries, etc, so that we can share them amongst ourselves in the Entire Muslim World. In the end we can become self-sufficient and be able to promote greater goodwill and understanding amongst ourselves and with the rest of the world.

Once we have a vibrant and productive film industry that serves the need of the Entire Muslim World, we can also recapture our television from having been taken away by the outsiders who provide us with cheap programs. These programs are brought in proudly that our stations that cannot produce sufficient shows and these programs often promoting alien values that many of our young are accepting without questioning.

And the press in Muslim countries, too, has failed to highlight this fact.

The cinema may be our only salvation to create the bridge that lasts between the Muslim World and the West for long-term benefits for all – even if the light that it creates is one that flickers at twenty-four frames per second! 



Thursday, June 19, 2014

A NATIONAL REFERENDUM MORE THAN THE SYRIAN PRESIDENT ELECTION 2014?

– THE EXPERIENCES WATCHING THE SYRIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS on 3 JUNE, IN THE CITY OF HOMS, SYRIA
(Filed by Mansor Puteh who was an international observer of the Syrian presidential election.)



A total of 32 representatives from 20 countries have been invited to be observers of the Syrian presidential election which also included some parliamentarians, held on June 3 that saw three candidates contesting – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Maher Hajar who is a member of the Syrian parliament and an independent candidate, Hassan Alnoori.

Much to my surprise I was invited to be a member of the international observer team to monitor the elections, and the only one invited from Malaysia.

It was such a new job for me, which I consider to be an extension of my interest in politics and matters related to the humanities and film.

It also gave the opportunity to mingle with those from other countries, including members of parliament from several countries who were also invited to observe elections here.

Most of the other participants composed of journalists and officials of anti-war and humanitarian organizations in America and the West, which are used to doing such monitoring of the elections of other countries.

Some came with some preconceived ideas of what they were going to say or do, while I had none whatsoever, having not been to Syria before, although I have been to about forty countries around the world in the course of my studies and my filmmaking activities, to attend film festivals, seminars and conferences.

I studied film at Columbia University in New York City and had just returned to the city for a visit to my alma mater early April.

And all observers were not provided with any files or notes fill in the information can be considered as an attempt to shape the thinking and perception.

It is to ensure the freedom of participants to make their own views about what they see. None offered theirs and we had to make our judgment ourselves.

The observers arrived in the city of Damascus in Syria from Beirut and Tehran flown yesterday and were immediately ushered to the VIP room at Damascus Airport where a discussion and press conference was held by the organizers and officials who I could not identify who they were.

And we were broken down into a number of observers to monitor and observe the election process in some major cities, to Aleppo, Tartus, Lattakia, Sweda, Homs, Damascus and the surrounding areas, and so on.

I was sent to Homs in mounted an American-made GMC which is bullet-proof vehicle with three others from the U.S. and India, while others were flown to the city of Aleppo is quite far from Damascus.

I was lucky to be offered to go to Homs in the north of Syria which had seen serious fighting between the government forces and the rebels who were able to wrest control of the city, only to surrender it back to the Syrian government in a deal the rebels had to agree on when they were surrounded with no exit route for them to take to save their lives.

But they had left behind many buildings that had been destroyed completely which could take years to be demolished and rebuilt so the city could regain some of its former glory and to redevelop itself into a new city altogether.

Some estimated it would cost the Syrian government some US$50 to US$60 billion to redevelop the whole section of the city.

Homs does not look like many other cities in Syria; it is large and the second largest one in the country with two million people.

Unfortunately because of the war, hundreds of millions of the people had fled to other areas in the country including to the neighboring countries including to America.

And I was fortunate to bump into some of them who were traveling in the Greyhound bus I was also traveling from New York City to Los Angeles and back last April.

But a part of it was completely destroyed which makes it look like a deserted or ghost town by itself with virtually no one living there as electric and water supply had been cut, except for the soldiers who are stationed there.

There could not be anyone living there as there is no power or water supply. I could only see some soldiers manning the streets, but it was not to prevent looting as there is nothing left for anyone to do so.

Even mosques (or masjid) and churches were not spared, and in one of the demolished churches is a polling station.

There was not even a stray cat or dog.

Syria is not yet ready to rebuild areas in the city, waiting for the right time to do it because the security situation here and the country is also uncertain yet with a range of possibilities can happen, no matter who wins the election completed.

They did not know what else could come their way, in the form of rocket attacks from somewhere.

There was the firing of two of the rockets which flew above the convoy of armored vehicles and SUVs as we were being driven from the capital city of Damascus to Homs, but fortunately, they were done by the Syrian army and not the rebels targeting an area in the outskirts of Damascus.

Of course all kinds of accusations and can be thrown by the enemy, if President Bashar al-Assad is elected by the voters, and with a high percentage.

We took almost two hours in a convoy of vehicles with the office of the Governor of Homs stopover before heading to the polling center.

And along the way, and in Damascus itself does not seem banners, banners and posters of candidates running, except the pictures and posters of Syrian President right now that looks like it has long placed there, including in all schools where most of the polling centers held.

Churches and buildings that have been destroyed by the rebels has also become the center of the votes cast.

And we have met with a few priests in the old church two speak Arabic with a French.

Although Homs also has a large number of Syrian Christians of religion but their relationship with the Muslim people remain friendly.

And rebels also do not bother with who they were and continue to destroy the churches did not care, just as mosques there.

We brought some of the polling centers where we can see the poll is quite different from what is practiced in Malaysia or any other country, especially when people can get into the crowded room.

And voters can also vote from morning until night with term expiring seven votes can be connected if there are many people who have not yet voted, to tick a blank circle below the photo of the candidate of their choice as the voting slips only have the photos of them and nothing else.

And more than that, voters can cast their ballots in Syria at any polling center and not at special centers where they live at, because it is not a parliamentary election for them to be at any particular area to vote for the person they want to go to parliament.

From what has been observed since the beginning of Syria's presidential election this time more of a poll or referendum of an election.

This is because almost all voters, who have to be eighteen years of age seemed to know who to vote for, long before the elections were held.

I could not find a person who said he wanted to vote for the other two relatively unknown candidates. Why did they bother to join in the elections, in the first place?

So it is not surprising that the results of elections made the next day, 4 June, were clear; Bashar Al-Assad won with a huge percentage of 88.7 percent with the 70 percent voter turnout.

After all, the two candidates contesting the side characters in politics in Syria, with their faces only broadcast in the pictures posted on the wall in the room to vote with their background is also unclear.

This compares with President Bashar al-Assad previously known since childhood, since his father, Hafiz al-Assad to be president and associate and ally of major western superpowers including the United States.

Shouts of 'Allah, Syria, and Bashar!' were often heard from his supporters near the polling stations especially when they realize there are among us and who were recording them where street parties were held by the ordinary citizens.

And pushing Bashar also meant pushing everything, including the struggle for independence which was led by groups such leaders first. The majority of the Syrians saw it as a betrayal of the past legacy of his late father, Hafiz Al-Assad.

So the electoral process here was not used by any party to offer rewards to the people for voting for him, so no rose petty everyday or bread-and-butter issues, as the main thing for them to remember was the plate to hold them that they wanted to be strong and not break.

And in this sense, citizens and voters in Syria have shown their maturity with no fear of personal problems and factions to be like merchandise that is peddled to any candidate or political party.

These elections also have two other opportunities; which was to give citizens or voters in Syria the chance to voice their support for the incumbent Syrian President, and also to other countries in the West that seem particularly prone to criticize Arab countries which are in turmoil that were created by outside intervention and other unfriendly or enemy governments which habitually tried to create fiction between the factions that were earlier created by them, a strategy that had worked before.

It was therefore not a surprise when the countries in the west especially the European Union (EU) had expressed their displeasure at the way the elections are held and the results that had been turned.

But what leaders in the West do not realize is that for an Arab country like Syria, what is needed is a strong leader and a party that has shown his services to liberate their country from the occupying power, and who have developed their economic level until you set it to another higher level where they can continue to progress in all fields, to ensure greater social and cultural stability which is what Syria and any other country in the Arab World needed to achieve.

They do not need new leaders to suddenly prop out from nowhere, especially from behind bushes or desert caves to declare that he had become the ‘new messiah’ for the people, and in whose leadership the country and people could prosper even more.

The truth is that they wanted to achieve this by destroying what the countries had managed to get for themselves and their people.

If you want to say, all western countries also observe this behavior when they are not given the opportunity and support to new parties, and to keep the existence of the old parties, the leaders who have been nurtured by the party system.

I have been asked from some local people, where can I meet other supporters of two candidates from Bashar, and areas where they can be said to have support.

They looked to the right and left and shook their heads. No, they said.


And they continued to sing, dance local dance called the ‘dabke’, with some firing their guns in the air above them to celebrate Bashar’s win.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

SYRIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS 3 JUNE, 2014: INTERNATIONAL OBSERVER IN THE SYRIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION OF 3 JUNE, 2014…AND FOR BEING MISTAKEN FOR A WELL-KNOWN ACTOR FROM SOUTH KOREA


– AND WHAT LESSONS BARISAN NASIONAL CAN LEARN FROM THE ELECTIONS IN SYRIA.
By Mansor Puteh


It was certainly a wonderful experience to be selected and invited to be the only Malaysian to be an international observer in the recently held presidential elections in Syria held on 3 June, and to be amongst the scores of others from twenty-five countries, excluding the scores of others comprising of parliamentarians from various countries in the region and elsewhere and the west.

I was fortunate to be put in a group of observers to visit some polling stations in the City of Homs that had seen destruction caused by the attacks by the rebels or insurgents who managed to control the city for a while, before they were forced to hand it back to the Syrian government.

A whole section of the city has buildings that are destroyed without them being able to be used for living.

And not only masjid were destroyed but also churches, as Homs has a large number of Syrians who are Christians.

One of the churches that had been destroyed was used as a polling station.

One cannot doubt the influence of incumbent President Bashar Al-Assad and his government on the majority of the people and voters, who came out in droves to lend their support for them.

Seventy percent of the voters turned in to vote, and they were able to cast their votes at any polling station in the country and not sent to any station to exercise their rights. He got close to ninety percent of the votes.

We were able to enter the polling stations to witness at close quarters the voting being conducted.

Street parties were also held near some of the stations and we also got to join in.

Unfortunately for me, I was often ‘mobbed’ by the crowds, who asked to pose for photos with them, so much so that our security guards had to push me along.

This happened not only in Syria but also in Iran where we stopped for a few days before heading on to Damascus and on the way back from there to return to Malaysia.

I was later surprised when I bumped into an Iranian friend of mine who had worked four years in Kuala Lumpur, and now back in Tehran who remarked how I would be very famous here.

And he went on to say that there is an actor from South Korea who had appeared in an Iranian feature film who he said looked like me.

Now I began to realize why there were some people in Syria and also in Tehran had stared at me before they gained the strength to quietly shoot photos of me from a distance, with some coming so close to ask to pose with them.

It is also unfortunate that the South Korean actors are known in Iran and Syria, where their television drama serials are shown on television dubbed in the local languages.

But there has not yet been any Melayu or Malaysian feature film or television drama serial that has been shown in these two countries.

There are many vehicles with South Korean and also Japanese models but so few Proton Wira and Gen.2 ones that I could see in the streets of Damascus and Tehran.

And what of the conduct of the people of Syria concerning their elections?

I found something interesting. One of which being the almost absence of banners, posters and photos of the candidates in the presidential elections – they are incumbent President Bashar Al-Assad, Maher Hajar and Hassan Alnoori whose photos are shown on the ballot boxes and below them are blank circles for the voters to tick which candidate they vote for.

The issues they delve or debate are mostly on national interests, harmony and security. They do not brook unnecessary speculation and dissent by promoting other perks, such as the need to prove employment, financial benefits and other issues which are discussed and contemplated on other platforms, by the winners, once they had been given the mandate.

Here Barisan Nasional can learn a thing or two from the Syrian experience if they are to give to the voters and also supporters what they need the most and not to encourage them to delve in petty issues that can also be used by the opposition to belittle them and to roll all over them, to benefit from the unnecessary confusion and promises that they can also offer and give should they be given the mandate.

Barisan Nasional’s greatest strength is in the longevity and a sense of permanence of its existence and the concept that its former leaders from the time of Perikatan or the Alliance coalition had introduced and created that had given them the true and undivided support form the voters and also people, who had gained a lot.

And earlier leaders of the three original parties, especially the Founding Father of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman can and must still be engaged to help gain the trust of the people of the country as his image and legacy are those that cannot be duplicated or ignored.

If he is ignored, the people especially the young generation will not have much cause to celebrate Barisan Nasional’s continued quest to promote the well-being of the people by developing the country, a quest it had managed to do all these years, but which did not seem to grasps by the younger generation who have not been told and told again the greatness and charity of Tunku who many remember by his royal title without anyone asking or saying, ‘Tunku…who?’

In Malaysia it seems there is just one ‘Tunku’ and he is Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra al-Haj.

So for the next general elections it would be smart for Barisan Nasional to engage strategists who are familiar with such matters and issues and not use those that had failed the coalition miserably in the past three elections.

There are new methods for Barisan Nasional to campaign one of which is not to delve too much or at all on what the opposition does and wants to do; they only exist by being criticized and belittled, and the more they get those in the media, the more superior they become and are seen to be so.

Barisan Nasional exists as a group and not normally known by individuals, except for the few who are at the highest rung of the parties in the coalition.

So there is no need or point for their candidates to issue statements which can be manipulated or twisted.

They can become more regal by being aloof to any of those things, which may be useful in the election campaigns in Malaysia in the past.

And there is really no need to hang banners, posters or photos of the candidates, which can be confusing.

Barisan Nasional can gain much if in the next general elections none of this paraphernalia is used so that the opposition will have a field day defacing the sights all over the country with their own, for everybody to see with many of them being torn and defaced by nature and other unnatural elements.

The Syrian election commission officers also do not hog the media traffic, because they can add to the unnecessary controversies and scandals that can be created and reintroduced now and again.

And in this regard it will be good or better if their counterpart in Malaysia to do the same, as they can be seen to interfere in the election process. Announcements can be made by official spokesmen and not the senior officers concerned, who should remain present but not in their physical forms.
.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

OXFORD CENTER OF ISLAMIC STUDIES (OCIS) AND SCHOOL OF ORIENTAL AND AFRICAN STUDIES (SOAS) NOT DONE ANYTING TO THE MUSLIM WORLD, THE ORIENT AND AFRICA:

WHAT’S THE USE OF HAVING ALL THESE SCHOOLS WHEN THE WHOLE OF THE MUSLIM WORLD, AFRICA AND ASIA ARE IN SHAMBLES?
By  Mansor Puteh



Think about this: More Arab countries have been destroyed, and millions of Muslims have been misplaced and displaced with hundreds of thousands dead, and most countries in Africa and Asia or the Orient are still what they were before SOAS and OCIS were established.

What have the scholars in these schools been doing all these years? Talking nonsense?

…Or where they established to ensure that the whole of the Arab World, Africa and Asia are in shambles?

Why were they established at the universities in the first place, when they have not really influenced the development in the countries they are said to be focusing on?

But what I can tell is that the studies that the scholars at the schools, faculties or centers have been doing all these years do not seem to be relevant to the countries either.

They are supposed to be experts on matters related to those countries, and who can even offer interesting and intelligent ideas to allow the countries to develop. But over the last many decades, this has not happened.

So what can we say about the Asian, African, Arabic and South American studies that we have at all the major universities in the world, more so in the United Kingdom and America? Not much.

The scholars at these centers or schools or faculties ought to know more about the areas or countries they focus on in their studies or research, but over the years, they had neglected to do so.

They focus too much on the anthropological and historical aspects of these countries that they do not seem to realize that the countries today are in shambles, the more they make an attempt study any aspect of them.

There are so many centers of faculties or schools of African, Asian, Middle Eastern and also Islamic studies in all the major universities around the world.

Many scholars have been created from these schools, with some who claim to be experts in their fields, having conducted extensive research on the cultures and lifestyles as well as the religions of the people in these continents.

Yet, despite that Africa and much of Asia as well as South America are still as backward as they were before.

So what have all these schools done for them? What have they conducted studies, researches and gone on expeditions to discover hidden secrets from them?

If they had done all these, then how come those countries are still backward and are in shambles?

Many of the Arab countries are destroyed. And it does not look like there is any future for them.


The only future that they have is a bleak one.

And it is not just about how the Arabs had wanted to replace the repressive regimes.

Surely, the scholars who claim to be experts on Africa, Asia, the Arab World and also South America know what had happened to these countries.

Yet, all of them have remained silent on the matter.

The so-called Arab Spring I is not what many think it is. What was it?

And why was the Arab Spring II not able to be created? What could it be?

At London University there is the School of Oriental and Asian Studies or SOAS. It is reputed to be an important center for the study of the orient and Asia.

And at Oxford University there is now the Oxford Center of Islamic Studies or OCIS.

SOAS and OCIS are two important and glamorous centers of studies, and they have intelligent scholars and have also organized seminars after seminars inviting scholars and important personalities to speak in forums they organize on a regular basis.

To add to this, they have scholars who have conducted length and extensive researches on Asia and the Muslim World.

But how come the Arab Spring II happened? And how come much of Africa is in shambles?

Till now no one from SOAS and OCIS has said anything about the Arab Spring I and the economic backwardness of many of the countries in Africa and Asia.

I am sure there are other centers for the study of South America and the Middle East, but where are the scholars on them?

Most of the countries in South America are in similar dire straits as their counterparts in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

And the situation will not change for the better in a long while.

The question that anyone now can ask is: What’s the use of having the SOAS and OCIS in the first place?

And what’s the use for them to have the many prominent and important scholars and other experts on these countries where they focus on, yet, these countries have been left behind on all aspects.

I am sure there are also similar centers or schools at Harvard and the other Ivy League universities in America as do the major universities in the United Kingdom.

But what’s the use of these universities having them in the first place when they have not benefited the countries they are supposed to study.

I have checked the type of discourses that scholars from such centers, and I dare say that they are impressive, verbose and distracting, but beyond that they are totally useless to the cause of the development of these countries.

The many papers the scholars from these schools or centers have presented are good for academic discourses and perhaps debate, but they are not practical.

Even the Egyptologists can only try to dust off old statues that they can study on but they are not able to conclude how the ancient Egyptians were barbaric, who had caused the destruction of their own country eons ago, with America of today, now which is behaving much like the Egyptians of old.

In the end, the ancient artifacts that earlier discoverers and scholars of Egyptology can talk about are only good for public display in museums in Egypt and the west, for the tourists to marvel at.

But none of them could say some lessons from the downfall of the Pharaohs have not been learnt, especially by the modern or New Pharaohs and how America has the characteristics of Egypt, which was destroyed by their own greed and how America too can fall because of their own greed.