(see NST 3/11/11 at page 13)
To start with 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 problems and 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.
Watch this video below to get a better understanding of how ethnic cleansing actually works in our racially charged society. Today the soft targets of this ethnic cleansing are the poor and marginalized Indians. They are soft targets because they have almost no political voice.
Just extend this logic and think if this cleansing can reach you or your children or your grandchildren one day.
In this video you see a depiction of how a whole social system of the poor politically powerless Indians in Ladang Bukit Jalil is being systematically wiped out . This is happening to them because they have no political clout whatsoever to defend what is their due as citizens of the country.
Now, extrapolate to your situation.
Will your political voice ( I assume you are in the middle class or above) as a minority Indian be louder , the same or less tomorrow. You are not the poor or marginalized Indian in the video, therefore there may be a tendency to brush this off as being irrelevant to you – but what you need to consider is not the specific circumstances of the Ladang Bukit Jalil folks (even though they are significant in themselves ) , but rather the general underlying factors driving ethnic cleansing. The general factors that drive ethnic cleansing relate to the blind greed for profit which has learnt how to bend the levers of democracy for its blind purpose of profit.
The art of democrarcy values only two things, economic strength and numerical superioirity. So, in effect it becomes that those with economic strength learn how to use numerical superiority to drive their profits. If this model of how things work in this country is agreeable to you, then think about what it means for the social system by which you operate today . Is it OK for it all to be cleansed off or would you want to retain that identity of Indiansness.? How do we learn how to use any numerical advantage we have to fight off this challenge.
See if this video helps you with the questions I raise.
Also visit www.humanrightspartymalaysia.com for new possibilities (thinking out of the box) of using our limited numerical advantage. Just look at what happened in the UK and Australian elections recently. Numerically inferior communities suddenly found themselves with a significantly increased share of policy influence……………………….. dare to think boldly.
Priya and her younger brother Guna, 16, who were entrusted to their guardians by their single parent, were put to hard labour when they were five and three respectively.
Their now deceased mother, unable to care for them, had little choice but to given them away at a tender age.
In an exclusive interview with Malaysiakini, the siblings related the story of their “escape” from the clutches of their guardians in Bahau, Negeri Sembilan.
They were rescued by DAP member D Kamache from a friend’s home in Karak, Pahang where they had been taking refuge.
“Fourteen years ago my mother had left me with the couple and my nightmare had not ended since that day,” said Priya, when asked to describe her life with her guardians.
Priya (right) was given daily household chores and when she became more capable was put to work at a small-scale glove factory owned by her guardians.”In the mornings we had to finish work at the factory and in the evenings, I had to finish the chores at home. Only then was I allowed to eat anything.
“From young I was forced to do housework all day long and beaten up if I refused to do as I was told,” she said, adding that both of them were not paid.
Priya and her brother Guna are illiterate and only able to converse in Tamil.
“My brother and I did not go school and although I asked them, I was not allowed to attend school,” said Priya.
Unable to hold back her tears, Priya blurted out that all she ever wanted was care and love from her caretakers.
Neighbours would sometimes reprimand her caretakers for beating and using abusive language on them, but that’s as far as they would go as Priya claimed that her guardians were ‘influential’ people.
“Last year, when I attempted to run away, I was caught. Once we got back to the house I was tied up in the bathroom and beaten with rattan cane,” she said.
She suffered a bloody head injury on that occasion, and instead of taking her to the hospital for treatment, her guardian placed coffee powder on the wound.
Priya said that she was never let out of their sight after the incident and kept confined to the home ever since.
Took rat-poison to escape torture
“I could not take it any more and I attempted suicide by consuming rat-poison to escape their torture,” she said tearfully.
However, Priya said she was forbidden to relate the incident to the doctors who had treated her and was forced to say that she had accidently consumed the lethal chemical.
Her brother Guna (left) was more fortunate. He escaped on Dec 11 with the help of a friend by hitch-hiking on a lorry travelling from Bahau to Bentong.
Guna, then with some help from some locals found his way to Kamache and recounted the torture both the siblings had undergone.
Kamache immediately lodged a police report in Bahau and Priya was brought to the police station with their guardians on Dec 28.
“When she came in and the cops were questioning her (Priya), she said everything was all right and their were well cared for by their guardians but it didn’t look like she was telling the truth,” said Kamache.
“I insisted that the police interrogate her in another room and assured her that she did not have to fear them and that she will not be sent back with them if she told the truth,” she said.
Only then did Priya relate her 14-year misery to the cops, according to Kamache. The guardian was then remanded for alleged child abuse and for not paying their wages.
A check with the police station in Bahau, revealed that the guardian had been released on police bail pending investigations.
According to the investigating officer, the police are still taking statements from Priya and Guna, as well as their custodians and neighbours.
Both teenagers are currently in the custody of Kamache as they have refused to be placed in the Welfare Department.
Priya, is now employed by a furniture outlet and is under the care of a family in Karak.
Meanwhile, Kamache (right) has identified a foster home for Guna and is awaiting clearance from the Welfare Department.
“I want what is best for them… after the cruelty they have undergone, I just want to ensure that they are given a good life from now on,” said Kamache.
She also urged that the police complete their investigation soon as possible as there are other children under the custody of the same people.