The Mandorism System. A system to subjugate the Indian poor in Malaysia!
Mandorism comes from the root Malaysian Tamil word “Mandores”
A Mandore ?
Historically, a Mandore was a supervisor in the rubber estates, whose role was to ensure the estate bosses got their work done by the Indian rubber tapper – the daily paid wage workers. Besides just supervising to get the job done these Mandores also had the role of goading the workers on, on unpopular policies. They resorted to manipulation, force and deceit, in many cases to do this. Then, when dissatisfaction brewed and the workers began to speak out they also played the role of the spy for the master – telling on trouble makers. In many of these situations they connived with their masters because of their understanding of the nuances of the tappers lives and communities. The master for his part always remained in the background. He used many ruthless schemes to maximize his personal gains from the background. He skillfully used his Mandore to be his fall guy. In return for the fronting he did for the master, these Mandores enjoyed a few more perks in life. The master gave a very small portion of truly what should all have gone to the tappers, to the Mandores and set off with the rest. Those tidbits gave the Mandores a status that they strutted while the master got the large chunk of the value that was created by the tappers. The master got off with the loot. The Mandores got a few crumbs and was always humming and hawing for more. The tappers got the short end of the stick.
That was the process of yore, devised by the plantation owners of those days to ensure they got the maximum possible yields. They allowed only enough to be paid to the tapper and his families’ subsistence , some toddy and maybe a little for his festivals, but not more. Then the white masters left and the brown and yellow “tuans” took over in the 1960s. This system remained and evolved. What started as a system for maximizing the profits in the plantations became in time a system for subjugating the Indian poor to maximize the returns for the “tuans” in the economy as a whole wherever the Indian worker was involved. The “tuans” influence now extended to all aspects of the economy and politics. Mandores become Mandorism.
What is Mandorism?
Mandorism in short, is a system for subjugation of the Indian working class by Indian middlemen fronting for the power elite of the country. With Independence came an opportunity for a better life for all. But it was not to be. It was independence for The Malay, Chinese and Indian elites only. It was not Independence for the workers. It was really not any different for the workers – in fact it got worse for the workers. At this stage of the nation, there was collusion and contention between these 3 sections of the elite. They colluded where their collective self preservation was concerned and they competed where their individual self preservation was concerned.
It was in the collusion mode that Mandorism arose.The new Mandore’s role now, was to hold the down the Indian poor so the Malayan elite could pole vault off their backs undisturbed into their newfound opportunity for prosperity. The new system was such that it benefited the elite but it impoverished the workers and the workers had to be kept ignorant and they had to be kept down. One policy which clearly impoverished the Indian workers was the fragmentation of the estates and the ejection of the estate workers en masse into the urban centers. The dislocation created was massive, the negative effects of which are still being felt. How did this happen without any effective opposition from the people so thrown out. Enter the new Mandore – the MIC. Their historical role now, it is clear was to mollify the effects of all this deprivation and dispossession. Mandorsim was born.
Here are some key features of how Mandorism operates/operated:
1) The new Mandores assumed leadership for the Indian workers through the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) beginning in the 1950s. They extended the Mandores role from inside of the estates to the outside and to all aspects of the economy and politics that involved the Indian workers.
2) The interests of the workers were increasingly compromised by these MIC Mandores for positions in the Federal Cabinet, in Parliament, in other Governing councils for the Mandores at all levels in the MIC.
3) The MIC Mandores were made responsible for resolving the issues and the problems of the Indian community through the ethnocentric political arrangement of the Alliance. The elder brother UMNO took on the role of the Tuan and MIC became their Mandores.
4) The Mandore was not really expected to solve the problems of the community – they could not anyway, because of the miniscule allocation of resources.They were just to hold the Indian poor down so the tauns could take away the resources to their higher priorities without questions from the Indian poor. The MIC Mandores were expected to give a perception that they were solving the problems. So, whenever problems arose and there were plenty of them, UMNO would just pass the buck to the Mandore MIC and Mandore MIC would create mirages of doing something about the problemsand the poor were fed with a steady diet of such illusion.
5) So what kind of things does the Mandore MIC do to create these illusions– set up illusory bodies like the National Land Finance Cooperative (NLFCS), the NESA scheme, the MIC Unit Trust Scheme, the Koperasi Pekerja Jaya company, the Maju Jaya Cooperative, the MAIKA Scheme, The AIMST and MIED funds. These bodies were the Mandores answers to the woes of the Indian community. Not only did they all not provide any tangible benefit to the Indian poor , they bankrupted the Indian poor further in many cases. Compare this with what the “tuan” was doing on the other side – FELDA, FELCRA, PERDA, KEDA, KEJORA, MARA, PNB, PNS, KHAZANAH, PETRONAS, FAMA, all the other Government Linked companies, to name just a few. Look at the net effect of all those development efforts and the opportunities they had created and how they have brought about sea changes to the Malay community. The Indian poor achieved zero with all the illusory schemes of the Mandores while the Mandores continued to sell off the rights of the Indians with impunity and connivance with UMNO and destroyed the future of several generations of Indian .
6) The MIC Mandores did not consolidate and develop the position of the Indians in the country at all. They compromised all that for the crumbs of positions as Minister, Deputy Ministers some other positions in Government, stole whatever little crumbs that were thrown at the Indians, obtained grants of lands, shares for themselves, their cronies and their relatives.
7) For the problems of the Indian community, elder brother UMNO would always send in the Mandore MIC to front for them. And what does the Mandore do – he says, I will raise it in Parliament, he says, I will raise it in the Cabinet meeting, he says I will raise it to the PM. He creates an illusion of representation. Result – zero.
8 ) They put up pictures of handing over some mock cheques in the Tamil newspapers, they issue statements in the Tamil newspapers that the PM gave a 100 million Ringgits, the PM gave 65 million Ringgits, a new school building has been approved, the Indian entrepreneurs would be given loans, the Indian poor will be allotted low cost houses, the temple demolition will be stopped or postponed and such other lies and nonsense. Net effect, the Indian newspapers which anyway were owned by the MIC Mandores sells more copies (Samy Vellu owns the Tamil Nesan and Subramaniam owns the Makkal Osai) and the Mandores look like they are busy settling the problems of the Indian poor. The truth is that nothing has changed, the tuan loots, the Mandores get some crumbs and the poor keep getting shafted.
9) For some other problems that seems to be getting out of hand for the tuan UMNO and which could cause some embarrassment or hurt, they send in the Mandore MIC to sweet talk, to bribe, to threaten and to coax the key individuals into submission and kill the offending problem off.
We see this in so many instances – the temple demolitions, the squatter home demolitions, the police murders to name a few. All of this represents just a facet of the whole system in the country – a pernicious one nevertheless. There is just no political will in the system to resolve the Indian working class problems, so Mandorism steps in and keeps the problem at bay. There is a lot of play acting, but no real substance of a long term and sustainable solution.
Enter the Newest mandores – The PR mandores
In the last general Elections the Indian poor for the first time threw off the illusions created by the MIC Mandores and kicked them out and put in place in 5 States, Governments that they thought would have more political will to address their longstanding issues. They placed a lot of hope in the Pakatan Rakyat Coalition. But much to their disappointment what they got was just more of the same. Old wine, just new bottle. What do they get, a new set of Mandores who facilitate their new tuans to demolish, to destroy, to delude, to throw more crumbs, to mollify. If we go back up this story and replace the MIC Mandores with the PR Mandores the story will not read much different, only these Mandores are doing in these last two years what the MIC Mandores have been doing for over 50 years. They help their “tuans” break Indian settlements, demolish Indian temples, demolish Hindu burial grounds, give mock cheques in the newspapers, promise secondary schools after the next elections, give a little bit of land for a school here, a school there, give some handouts to fire victims and play it big in the newspapers.
They support the Srilanka Tamil refugees in a big way, they want to kill off the MIC Mandores, burn their effigies, they want to kill off Hindraf, the emerging champion of the poor Indians, they lie, they twist, they do everything what MIC has been doing for the last 50+ years. They propose no permanent solutions to any of the problems. They develop no master plan to address any of the problems. They have no vision for a healthy and thriving Indian community as part of a larger healthy and thriving Malaysian community, they have no political will to address these problems head on.
They are interested only in supporting their new tauns, keeping their political positions, looking good within their respective political parties and hoping to get nominated by their parties for the next general elections and then maybe retire with a lifelong pension. So what is the difference – MIC Mandores or PR Mandores? All the same stuff, just different in name and style.
Mandorism as a system must be demolished
Time has come for us to completely kill off this Mandorist system. Mandores do not represent the poor and marginalized, the majority of Indians in Malaysia. They represent the interest of their respective “tuans”. What is needed now is a true representation of the poor and the marginalized in the halls of power. Only then will policies be forced in place for the poor and the marginalized. Not just for the Indian poor and marginalized but for the poor and marginalized of all of Malaysia. The current two coalitions really do not represent the poor and the marginalized, that is why they have similar policies and methods in spite of their avowed differences– an example of this similarity is this policy of the continuation of Mandorism.
The powers-that-be must deal with the true representatives of the poor and the marginalized, they should not try and manipulate their way out of their obligations to the poor of the country. The Mandorist system has been a way for them to do it.
Powers that be must get out of the denial syndrome
The powers-that-be now need to stop denying that the poor are beginning to speak up and that this is not reversible anymore. They must accept that the expectations of the people cannot be bottled in any more. The likes of those who do not quite belong to the category of the poor and marginalized are increasing, as more and more become aware of what is really happening and why. No matter that the poor may still be inarticulate themselves, the numbers who are speaking up for them are increasing and are doing so increasingly fearlessly. The process is set. You cannot put the genie back into the bottle.
This truth must be accepted and the denials and the petty intrigues must stop and realism must set in, to prevent further pain and further loss for Malaysian society as a whole. The powers that be must demolish the Mandorist system and start negotiating a better future with the poor and marginalized themselves through their true representatives. There is no other way out of this problem of the poor and marginalized Indians.
You might also like
Mandorism as a system must be demolished. P.Uthayakumar’s 25 Nov Hindraf Rally book in daily segments No. 363 (21/2/12).
Schedule III The UMNO/ PKR, DAP & PAS Mandorism System to subjugate the Indian poor in Malaysia!. P.Uthayakumar’s 25 Nov Hindraf Rally book in daily segments No. 359 (17/2/12).
Malaysian Indian Minority & Human Rights Violations Annual Report 2010 in daily segments No. 16 (28/1/11)
HRP’s backing for Anwar draws flak by DAP DCM II Indian kosong mandore. (See Freemalaysiatoday @ 4/5/2011)
“Multiracial” Selangor PKR MB’s UMNO – MIC style mandore politics, but Anwar Ibrahim says Hindraf’s agenda is racist
P.M. Najib calls Hindraf extremists. Anuar Ibrahim & Pakatan calls Hindraf racists. Both when Hindraf seriously champions very serious cause of the most vulnerable community in Malaysia ie the Indian poor. Pakatan’s two race system and not two party system/1 Malay-sia
“Samy Vellu’s single biggest “success”- Mandorism” P.Uthayakumar’s 25 Nov Hindraf Rally book in daily segments No. 88 (27/4/11).
Here are some key features of how Mandorism operates/operated:. P.Uthayakumar’s 25 Nov Hindraf Rally book in daily segments No. 361 (19/2/12).
PKR kicks out Bentong Parliament Indian candidate & replace him with a Chinese Wong Tack : Pakatan moving towards a two race system. Not the two party system as they are claiming.
The Mandorist system of BN and PR must be destroyed once and for all – if the Indian marginalized are ever going to get their due .
Malaysian Indian Minority & Human Rights Vioalations Annual report 2010 in daily segments No. 1 (10/1/11)