Sunday, September 21, 2008


Saturday, September 20, 2008
Thesis on Cyberjaya: Part 1

Hegemony and Spaces of Knowledge/Power in the Conceptualization of Malaysia’s new ‘intelligent cities”: a Foucaultian analysis of
Malaysia’ s Multimedia Super Corridor

by Azly Rahman
(written at Columbia University, 2002)


This essay concerns how what is connotated by the phrase “digital or cybernetic revolution” is “inscribed” onto the landscape of humanity, particularly that of Malaysia, a state governed by what de Certeau (1984) might term as, the “scriptural economy.” It starts with the premise that a concept can become ideology, and then architectural landscape, and then a paradigm of control over political, cultural, and economic spaces. It hopes to suggest how human beings are conditioned and opiated by signs and symbols produced and reproduced by those who own the means of technological and intellectual productions (Marx & Engels, 1967). The central feature of this brief study is an exploration of the nature of hegemony as consciousness-production and the creation of what Varenne (2003) might term as “constraints of culture” rather than the creation of its “possibilities” for human liberation. I am exploring how ideas flow transculturally, become inscription, get installed as systems of control, and evolve into ideology that becomes yet another indigenized systems of thought and material- formation.

In my exploration of the concept of hegemony, I am concerned with its nature and the subdivisions it produces, as well as with how the system of consciousness-formation is layered in all its complexities and become what Marx would now perhaps call “prozac” of a higher potency and dosage. To this end, this study looks at the conceptualization and the building of the “intelligent” and “digital” city of Cyberjaya in hyper-modernizing Malaysia, a business capital and the economic nerve of a grand-scale real estate project called “Multimedia Super Corridor” (henceforth, “MSC”) of the regime of Mahathir Mohamad, her fourth Prime Minister.

I propose that the introduction of new technologies into social spheres will facilitate the maintenance of ideology, which will then help direct policies, establish new institutions that will then create newer forms of hegemonic conditions that will continue to benefit the ruling class. I argue, hegemonic conditions, processes, and consequences will further advance the development of higher forms of technologies that will then, through the idea of human-machine interaction, establish better systems of control. Such a cyclical and structurally systematic operation, as I have suggested in the cycle of hegemony in Figure 1 below, determines the nature of the sophistication of hegemony. Hence, the owners of the means of production of technologies will also be executive directors of the processes. Spaces of knowledge/power are created.


Rather than addressing hegemony merely from a “Gramscian” perspective, I choose to analyze this concept using a mixed-method approach. I call this formulation “towards a theory of hegemonic formations” and use multidimensional perspectives to look at how the concept of “cybernetics” transforms the development of this state in Southeast Asia. I hope to generate a “thick description” of the hegemonic process. This study looks at the “high and low stakes” of nations undergoing development in the age of high-speed globalization and ideological rapidization.

The idea of Malaysia’s Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC), a grand project of social transformation, is a major feature of its political leadership’s agenda for national development. University lecturers like me were considered part of the class of “knowledge workers” mandated to explain to the people what these changes are about and how these benefit the rakyat (“the people”). I was a lecturer in Malaysia’s sixth public university, Universiti Utara Malaysia in Sintok, Kedah (which specializes in Management studies) teaching courses such as English as a Second Language, Foreign Policy, Management Ethics, and Thinking Skills. The mid-1990s saw the intensification of the development of Malaysia’s management sciences based upon advanced principles of Taylorism (Schmidt & Finnigan, 1993; Vavrek, 1992) which then permeated into virtually all spheres of management, including perhaps “Islamic Management System.” The idea of the MSC was part of the ethos of Information Systems Management, which would then be a formula to “cybernate” the nation towards progress and to “quantum leap” Malaysia into the Information Age (Mohamad, 1998). It was felt that the nation needed a newer set of installation as “commanding heights” of the scriptural economy. Mahathir Mohamad, the fourth prime minister oversaw the major national transformation. The ideology of technological progress and the notion of riding the waves of globalization along with the steering of the nation to a “Vision 2020” (a metaphorical date of the end of the benchmark of national development) —all these became the raison d’etre and the leitmotif of the Mahathir regime.

My research question/Inquiry theme

My interest in this brief study is to find out how variant the concept of hegemony might be, and how might Focoult’s idea of space/knowledge (Foucault) be applicable in looking at the issue of control in the spaces of power human beings create.

Rationale for the Study

Why study Malaysia? It is an interesting state which can be looked at as a “laboratory of social and global experimentation” after having undergone historical periodizations such as pre-colonial kingdomship and “overlordships,” colonialism, independence, development of statehood, and finally, participation in the globalized economy. The rationale of this study lies in investigating the role technology plays in the deep-structuring of hegemony and how it interplays with the political and the productive forces of the state. Another rationale lies in studying the way capitalism is characterized into what many scholars have termed as “informational” capitalism (Castells, 2000). I also hope to uncover the political psychology of control (see Marcuse, 1985) as the system has evolved culturally; a blend of traditional systems of control aided by an emergent system technologically-inspired (see Beniger, 1986).

In studying the idea of “inscriptions,” a key feature of this exploration, the study will attempt to contribute to our understanding of how “concepts get inscribed” onto the landscape and then become ideology which then become consciousness which ultimately continue to change the relations of production and brings about the creation of a technological culture. I now present a background of the country.

Malaysia: Geography, Demographics, History, and Politics

In the following sections, I discuss the background information, namely the geography, demography, history, and politics of Malaysia that will help situate this study of Malaysian transformation.


Malaysia consists of East and West Malaysia of which the former is an island that also includes the Indonesian territory of Kalimantan and the latter, a peninsula. The South China Sea separates the two land mass (see the map in Figure 13). The country is located on the Southeastern part of Asia, consisting of a peninsula and the island of Borneo that borders Indonesia and the South China Sea, south of Vietnam. Malaysia has a total size of 329, 750 square kilometers. It has a tropical monsoon climate. Its strategic resources are tin, petroleum, timber, copper, iron ore, natural gas, and bauxite.



The 2002 population of Malaysia is estimated to be about 23 million people, with almost 2 per cent rate of population growth. About 34 percent of its population is between the age of zero to fourteen, almost 62 percent between the ages fifteen to 64, and about 5 percent falls in the category of sixty-five and over. Malays and indigenous peoples collectively termed as “Bumiputras” (literally “Sons of the Soil”) consist of 58 per cent of the population, Chinese 24%, and Indians and others 10%. Malay or Bahasa Malaysia is the official language while English, Chinese (of various dialects such as Cantonese, Mandarin, Hakka, Hainan, and Foochow) and Indian (of the dialects Tamil, Telegu, Malayalam, and Panjabi) and Thai are spoken. In East Malaysia, the languages of the tribes of Iban and Kadazan are spoken. The literacy rate is 83.5 per cent of the total population. The current emphasis in this country’s literacy education is on “computer literacy” or the ability to be technologically literate so that the people can fully participate in the “Information Age” and be intellectually resilient enough to participate in the globalization process (Mohamad, 2002).


I will now sketch a brief history of Malaysia, particularly of it as a former British colony, to situate the development of The MSC that houses Cyberjaya. Ancient history of the Malay peninsula chronicle the region as a vibrant crossroad of trade called “The Maritime Silk Trade Route” in which the crosswinds help facilitate the maritime trade in Asia (Braddell, 1980; Jacq-Hergoualc’h, 2002). The earliest most powerful kingdom that is linked to the Malays is Sriwijaya (Coedès & Damais, 1992). Arguably, the history of modern Malaysia began with the founding of the kingdom of Melaka (Malacca) in the early 1400. Islam, brought to the Malay Islands by Arab and Indian Muslim traders in the 1300s, was the religion of the traditional rulers of the Melakan kingdom and the feudal system was the feature of statecraft. Melaka was said to be established by a Javanese prince Parameswara in exile from a power struggle in Palembang, Sumatra (Osman, 1997). The prince, before reaching Melaka, transited in the island of Temasik, (in what is now the city-state of Singapore,) and murdered the Siamese overlord that was governing the island under a Siamese tutelage system. Escaping to the neighboring peninsula, Parameswara rested under a Melaka tree in a spot he came to immediately like after he witnessed a kancil (a small reindeer-like animal) overcame a dog. Upon seeing that incident, Parameswara decided to name the declared area of his kingdom, Melaka after the name of the tree he was resting under. Hence generations of the Javanese assassin-prince came to be known as Sultans, ruled the enlarged territory of strategic waterway significant to the growth of the early Malay kingdom (Bastin & Winks, 1979).

The kingdom of Melaka was short-lived; the navigational and gun power of the Portugese was more superior to those of the Melakkans. The kingdom fell to Portugese rule in 1511. The Portugese possessed superior navigational and military technology, facilitating the conquest of Melaka. The date became the earliest of a series of European colonialism. Melaka, after the Portugese, was taken over by the Dutch who saw Southeast Asia as an economic region rich in spices (Andaya & Andaya, 1982).

Next came the period of British colonialism. The superior sea power of the British Empire as well as its sophistication in navigational and gunnery technology, fuelled by the Christian military-millinearistic ideology of "Guns, Guts, and Glory," facilitated Malaya to be handed over from the Dutch. British rule was the longest of the colonial rules; it left an indelible impact on the historical-materialistic and ideological landscape of the once considered glorious Malay kingdom (Funston,1980; Gullick, 2000; Milner, 1982). The British colonization of Malaya, much like that of the Dutch in Indonesia, the French in Indochina, the Spaniards in the Philippines (Tarling, 2001), was the feature of nineteenth century imperialism.

On August 31st, 1957 Malaya was officially and peacefully granted independence. It was in September of 1963 that the Federated and non-Federated states of Malaya, Sarawak, Sabah, and initially Singapore united to form what is now known as Malaysia (Funston, 2001; Khoo, 1991; Ongkili, 1985). In 1965 however, the busy port of Singapore, one of the earliest British Straits settlement, ceased to be a member of the Malaysian federation and became an independent city-state. The newly formed Malaysia had to “expel” Singapore for political, geographic, electoral, and demographic reasons—Singapore had too many Chinese that would threaten the new Malay-dominated federation (see for example, Milne & Mauzy, 1999). There were several reasons why the British gave Malaysia its independence. One is that it is costly for the Britain to maintain the states because of the growth of Malaysia's population, and the ailing British Empire saw that it was no longer profitable to maintain colonies.

Furthermore, the attractive idea of self-determinism was gaining momentum especially in the form of nationalist struggles, armed or un-armed, all over the world, with the Beijing-based Marxist-Leninist inspired Malaysian Communist Party as an example of anti-colonialist and anti-imperialist armed struggle (Chin, 1994). In Malaysia, education in various forms was beginning to produce people within each of the ethnic communities not content to leaving their future entirely in British hands. Anti-colonialist attitudes were stirring in the 1930's, heralding strong Malay political organization later (Khoo, 1991; Milne & Mauzy, 1986).

Independence was granted also when the natives were perceived as already been given enough skills and training to govern the country albeit in the style of British colonial administration known as the Civil Service. Many from the aristocratic class went through the process of education for social and political enculturalization through the British education system. Sons of the Malay sultans were sent to Britain to pursue studies in law and administration. In Malaya itself, English-medium (known as “English-type”) schools proliferated in all the states paving way for a systematic form of education for social reproduction and for the continuation of British Imperialist ideology. In other words, the structuring of hegemony or the inscribing of the ideology of colonialism at the level of education of the nations was a feature of the strategy of British imperialism (Heussler, 1981; Stockwell, 1995).

An important consequence of colonialism was thus the creation of a class of administrative elite among the "Sons of the Soil": or the Bumiputras out of the sons of the traditional Malay Sultans. Malaysia's first Prime Minister, Tengku Abdul Rahman Putra Alhaj, son of the Sultan of Kedah, was educated in Britain. Trained in the British Administrative tradition, he governed like a British official inspired by Malay nationalism couched in British idealism inscribing British tradition of civil service onto the minds of the traditional people. Malaysia's second Prime Minister Abdul Razak, and the third Prime Minister, Hussein Onn, was also British-educated. Malaysia's fourth and recently retired (on October 31st 2003) Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, is the only Malaysian Prime Minister that was not British-educated (see Cheah, 1999).

The education of Mahathir Mohamad and the system he evolved through, has contributed much to the manner the state's development policies were engineered, illustrated in his early writings on society, politics, and education (Mohamad, 1995). His fondness of "Looking East," i.e. his deep admiration of the Japanese and "Buying British Last" and his suggestions of creating an "East Asia Economic Caucus" (EAEC) are among the slogans and proposals used to create a sense of identity in the few decades after Independence (Milne & Mauzy, 1999). It is against this backdrop of this Malaysia’s fourth Prime Minister, and his administration's coming back to "Asian values" whilst at the same time, seeing the power of Information Technology that the MSC was created (Moggie, 2002).


As mentioned earlier, Malaysia was granted independence on the 31st of August 1957 and was established as a Federation on July 9, 1963. Its political system is one of Constitutional Monarch, fashioned after the British monarchy and Parliamentary systems, understandably because of the influence of British colonialism. It has nine hereditary rulers in charge of religious and ceremonial affairs to safeguard the interests and rights of the Malays. The hereditary rulers elect their Supreme Ruler or the Yang Di Pertuan Agong every five years (CIA, 2003). The head of state functions as a rubber stamp monarch to facilitate the operations of the State. The parliamentary system is bicameral, consisting of a non-elected Upper/Senate/Dewan Negara and an elected Lower House/House of Representatives/Dewan Rakyat. There are thirteen states and two federal territories (of Kuala Lumpur and Labuan). The newest federal territory is the city of Putrajaya, an ancillary subject of this study (CIA).

At present, the National Front (Barisan Nasional) which consists of a coalition of communal/ethnic-based political parties has ruled Malaysia since Independence. The United Malays National Organization (UMNO) dominates the coalition that consists of The Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), The Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) and other ethic-based parties from East Malaysia (Mauzy, 1983). The leader of the coalition has traditionally become the Prime Minister. At the time of the writing of this dissertation, an alternative coalition, called Barisan Alternatif, was formed out of three parties namely Malaysian Islamic Party (Parti Islam Se-Malaysia), National Justice Party (Parti Keadilan Malaysia), and the Malaysia People’s Party (Partai Rakyat Malaysia). It is expected that the coming general election of December 2003 will see the communal-based ruling coalition party being seriously challenged by the new opposition-coalition that aspires to create a new politics organized not along communalism but on social justice, human rights, and inter-racial understanding. The unresolved multivariate issues concerning economic development, democracy, human rights, communalism and class politics will be the areas of contestation of the politics of this nation (Said & Emby, 1996).


In the preceding sections, I have briefly outlined the geographic, demographic, historical, and political aspects of Malaysia. These provide a background to this study of a nation with almost eighty percent of its economy engaged in service and manufacturing, a transition from the agricultural-based economy. The history of the nation is characterized by periods of transformation from one political entity to another: overlordship, kingdomship, colony, to self-government and sovereign state integrated into the closely-knit global production system. In the following chapter, I shall detail the development of the MSC. The medical doctor turned politician became the Prime Minister of Malaysia on July 16, 1981 (i.e. for more than 22 years) in a Malaysia that has been independent for only 46 years. He finally retired on October 31, 2003.
I now proceed with a review of select literature.

Review of Selected Literature

The Mantra of Information Technology and its Sources

In Sanskrit, the word “mantra” (mentera in Malay ) means formula. In the context of this study, the mantra is correlated to the idea of a grand strategy or a belief system in the form of political ideology that permeates the consciousness of the leader and the led or the author and the authored. Inscribed onto the consciousness of the people, via print, broadcast, and electronic media is the mantra of economic success rapidized by information technologies. The formula for success many developing nations, such as Malaysia, is undertaking is one characterized by the dependency on Informational Communications Technologies (ICT) particularly on the technology of the Internet/broadband to fuel the engine of capitalist development, relegating the state as a haven for cheap pool of labor in the microchips industry (McMichael, 1996). The mantra of success is one driven by the belief in the formula of “cybernetics.” I will discuss how the cybernetic chant, one orchestrated and broadcast by the government, permeates through the social environment.

In this section, I shall relate the idea and genealogy of cybernetics to the idea of what is currently known as “Information Age” or its varying and more fanciful terms such as “The Age of Cybernetics,” or “The Networked Economy,” or “The Digital Age.” I will then relate the idea of this “formula” of cybernetics to the notion of “inscription” of the ideology onto the landscape of human consciousness since the beginning of the second half of the twenty-first century.

On Cybernetics

The idea of “Information Society” or “The Network Society” stems out of the revolution in computing and has transformed our psychological, ideological, and material landscape of humanity. Social relations of production are altered and transformed as a result of new patterns of division of labor in what Gleick (1988) would call patterns that arise out of randomness and chaos.

There are different levels of meaning of cultural change as it is impacted historically by “technologies of the body,” such as the Internet. In the case of cybernetics as technologies of the mind, this seems to be a “natural progression of late stage of capital formation” and in fact, as Marcuse (1941) and many a Frankfurt School analysts (e.g. Horkheimer, 1973) would call an age wherein technologies are at its final stage of development which will actually liberate humanity out of mundanity as a consequence of automation. Hence cybernetics, as a foundation of artificial intelligence and a philosophy close to the Cartesian philosophy of the mind and appealing to the "philosophy of human liberation via technological feats," is at the present, the highest stage in the development of techno-capitalism. This proposition is reminiscent of Lenin’s conclusion on the analysis of capitalism made almost a century ago (Lenin, 1916).

Writings on social structures and political theory have primarily centered on the relationship between Capital, Humanity, and Nature. Many have written on how capitalism appropriates natural resources through the creation of labor and surplus value, which will then establish classes (See Frank, 1966; Wallerstein 1981, 1990; Wignaraja, 1993;) and habitus (Bourdieu, 1994). The debates that rage between the proponents of free market enterprise and command or controlled economies revolve around the issue of human nature, and who gets to control the production and dissemination and the monopoly of capital. At times, on a different plane there is also the reflection on the need for capital to be interpreted not only as physical or material, but also as cultural, and metaphysical. The central issue of these writings and debate and reflections is of equality and equity; an issue that continues to plague humanity in this age of rapidized technological developments, as echoed by many a contemporary social theorist (Bell, 1976; Ellul, 1964).

In the age of cybernetics, Rousseau’s (1755/1992) notion of the discourse on the inequality amongst men can be used to explain the evolution of contemporary social problematique such as digital divide, architecture of power, and the erosion of the Self into fragmented and miniscule selves (Turkle, 1997). Other themes also include the furtherance of protectionist democracy via the use of tools of cybernetics, the control over the coding, encoding, and decoding of information by those who monopolize information, and a range of other tools of imperialism and domination and hegemony deployed and employed to the fullest advantage of those who owns the means of social reproduction. And those who own the means to control these processes can also own the means to engineer cultural reconfigurations (see Adorno, 1991; Chomsky, 1989; Horkheimer, 1973; Said, 1993). The nature of thought formation and consciousness production in the world of broadcast media (Bagdikian, 1983) can be exemplified in the media capitalism of Rupert Murdoch whose empire span Britain and the United States (Fallows, 2003) made possible by the modern oligopolic system of capital accumulation (see for examples, Barnet & Muller, 1974; California Newsreels, 1978 for an early analysis of oligopoly).

The scientific paradigm of cybernetics, by virtue of its origin in the mathematical and exact sciences, out of the Copernican Revolution, of Newtonian physics and of Principia Mathematica, onwards to its march of Classical Physics, and next, Quantum Physics and Informational and Decisional Sciences and so on— is a science which has appropriated the "Natural-ness" of the art of being human. Being a paradigm subjected to the development of propositions, verification by the testing of hypotheses, falsification by the rejecting and accepting of the null, and replicating these processes and so on and so forth (Rosenblueth, Wiener, & Bigelow, 1968), cybernetics creates a "space" between what is Natural and what is Artificial. In-between these spaces, Technology as the motivator of civilizations to progress and to dominate, to extent the limits of what otherwise is impossible (for example the navigational technology of Christopher Columbus which made it possible to open up European colonization of the Native Indians of Amerigo Vespucci's America) is also psychologically, a way to create the Technocratic and Authoritarian self. In between these spaces of Nature versus the Artificial lie Media as technology of the mediated self. Technology, as it is developed not by the hands of the "Author" has thence become a powerful tool of the surreal—of inequality amongst men (Rousseau, 1755/1992). Popular culture presents technology as a colonizer of humanity, as exemplified by the theme of the movie, The Matrix (Mason & Silver (Producers), & Wachowski & Wachowski (Directors), 1999).

Cybernetics as a paradigm of thinking about the technology of action and feedback and the loops they produce (see Bertalanffy, 1968; Simon, 1996; Wiener, 1954) is an interesting synthesis of three theoretical orientations: logical positivism, critical theory, and phenomenology (see Bredo & Feinberg, 1982). The paradox is that on the one hand, it is derived from the Classical and Quantum Physics, on the one hand, it is a good foundational philosophy of technologism which combines many fields to form a unified theory of living things (like Critical Theory's attempt to universalize and integrate the disciplines, albeit in a dialectical fashion), and on the other hand, Cybernetics too is phenomenological.

Precisely because we can derive three clusters of theories out of the paradigms above makes Cybernetics appealing and hegemonizing. The Internet as a manifestation of the ideology of cybernetics is a good example of how it is both a technology of advanced logical-positivism, and at the same time, one that is employed to make the concept of democracy more “accessible” when one goes into the study of free speech on the Internet.

Cybernetics and the Idea of Cyberjaya. What is the link between the mantra of Cybernetics and the creation of Malaysia’s Cyberjaya? In Figure 2, I propose a visual representation of a possible link between Cybernetics and Cyberjaya; on how the idea of cybernetics, as Systems Theory (employed to explain the nature of how living systems operate in a loop-feedback fashion, as Bertalanffy (1968) suggested undergoes transcultural evolution. The idea is now interpreted and transmutated by the government of Malaysia to mean the base and superstructure of hypermodern digital cities such as Cyberjaya, a city that embodies a new spirit of national development. Hence, the term evolved from the description of the physics of living things to the politics of domination and control in what I argue, is commonly known in the world of militarism, as the science of Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3 I).

Malaysia’ s economic development follows the path of Western-styled developmentalism and can be characterized as Wallerstein (1981) would propose, attempting to liberate itself from the shackle of dependency of the post-colonial system. The creation of the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) (see Multimedia Development Corporation [MDC], 2003) is a testimony of the political leadership’s subscription to the Rostowian and many a laissez-faire theorists’ model (see for e.g. Rostow, 1960) of economic growth.

Castells and Hall (1994) also wrote about the developmental feature of states undergoing economic transformations as a result of the informational revolution, in what the authors term as the development of “technopoles” or new economic growth centers as a consequence of the computer revolution. The MSC is in fact, inspired by the success of the California’s Silicon Valley and Boston’s Highway 128 (Castells & Hall).

In the preceding paragraphs, I illustrate the notion of “inscriptions;” how the idea of “cybernetics” drawn from Quantum Physics, gets enculturalized onto the landscape of the Malaysian advanced developmentalist project called “Cyberjaya”—all these under the logical-positivist notion of human and national development.

Posted by DR. AZLY RAHMAN at 8:19 AM 1 comments

Comparing French and American colonial education systems


Azly Rahman

(written at Columbia University, New York, NY, Fall 1999)

In this brief essay which calls for an exposé of the descriptive, analytical, contrastive, and evaluative aspects of colonial education as a special case of educational transfer, French and American colonial education are chosen for this comparative analysis. Literature review pertaining to the French in Algeria and Vietnam and the American in Philippines and Japan and of colonialism in general will form the first part of this essay and a comparative aspect of both will follow, culminating in some reflective notes on what can be learned from the illustrations.

Literature Review

Descriptions of the salient points of the ideological, administrative and policy- implementation aspects of French colonial education are particularly derived from Alf Andrew Heggoy’s (1984) “Colonial Education in Algeria: Assimilation and Reaction” and Kelly’s “Teachers and the Transmission of State Knowledge: A Case Study of Colonial Vietnam” in Altbach and Kelly (1984). Heggoy (1984) wrote about the assimilationist/associationist policy of French colonial education in its occupation of Algeria from 1830 to 1962 in which the agenda was to make the colony one of the natios under a greater France as a “civilized entity”. Although Heggoy noted that the French were “unprepared” as a colonizer, a systematic program of “enlightenment alá French” was successfully carried out under the tutelage of the “soldier-administrators” to develop Algerians into a nation consisting of Franco-Algerians elitist in character and a larger segment of the population as French-speaking Algerians proletarian and marginalized in disposition.

In the process of creating such colonial plurality, an imposition of French language as a medium of instruction through the creation of French madaris was made, destroying the primarily Arabic and Quranic-based system of education already in existence before 1830. Although at the onset of colonization the Islamic court is allowed to continue functioning and Islam to persevere, French colonials systematically impose control of the schooling system though its imposition of French as a medium of instruction and through its structural assurance that teachers of the madaris and imams be retained to propagate the French language-policy ideology. Whilst language becomes a powerful force for cultural “re-engineering” of the Algerians, the French “enlightenment” project via the assimilationist or associationist policy which “offered philosophies that sought to explain how a dominant European nation should sought to train its African subject”, the policy of creating a “dual-system” of elite-proletariat in character was administered through direct control by Governor Generals of which Inspectorates of Education fall under their jurisdiction.

This direct rule allows the colonists to execute agenda which would “civilize the Algerians into a natio with deep sense of French consciousness so that they would be able to then function in the modern world. The 132 years of domination carried out through a highly selective, evolvingly systematic planning ideologically based upon the idea of the superiority of the French, as Heggoy concluded, created a tragedy in the Algerian experience in that by 1962 when Algeria was released from the shackle of domination through a bloody war which killed 2 million people, French colonial education created a French-speaking elite who no longer belong to either culture, and an illiterate 90% of the Algerian masses (predominantly Arabs) who violently opposed the over-a-century French rule. Whilst Heggoy’s (1984) essay focused on the macro analysis of French colonial education as it effects the 90% Arab-Algerians, Gail P. Kelley (1982) looked at the micro level how Vietnamese teachers, between 1918 to 1938 responded to the imposition of French assimilationist/associationist agenda between within the timeline of French colonialism which began in 1838.

Kelly’s analysis looked specifically at issues such as curriculum content, knowledge transmission, textbook-use and interpretation, and how teachers as a “highly regarded but lowly-paid” members of the society act independently of the mandates “entrusted” to them by French-controlled Office of Public Instruction. As in the case of Algerians, who had their Arabic-Quranic schools before colonization, the Vietnamese too had an indigenous system of education based on Sino-Vietnamese features. Beginning in 1916, a systematic Franconization of Vietnamese education began, orchestrated by the Office of Public Instruction which imposed a top-down curriculum which Vietnamese see as “a ‘cruel parody’ both on their traditions and aspirations”. French values are imposed as superior to those of the natives and through a program of gradual introduction of French as a medium of instruction and the creating of Franco-Vietnamese schools which is neither French nor Sino-Vietnamese, the assimilationist/associasionist policy was, like the Algerian project, carried out to create ‘French-Indochinese’ subjugated and disempowered from thousands of miles away.

Textbooks written from the perspective of how the French wanted it to be, which stressed moral values though French eyes, became part of the curriculum which, as Kelley wrote “denoted instructional turn to hygiene, manual labor, mathematics and physical education – subjects totally alien to Sino-Vietnamese schools – but not necessarily to French schools’ (p.179). Textbooks in history took the imposed view that the French was there to end a Vietnamese past colored by “civil war, exploitation, starvation, strife, and foreign domination.” (p.182) To alter the consciousness of the Vietnamese into a subjugated existence as farmers and labors, the rural peoples’ pastoral life is glorified and their urban life is propagated as a portrait of decadence.

Thus, French consciousness as ideology was propagated, state-controlled school administration was instituted, and the policy of assimilation and association was orchestrated as agencies of socialization in the Vietnamese experience. Nonetheless, Kelly’s article primarily pointed out too that teachers as cultural mediators and protesters of French colonialism played a significant role in demystifying knowledge of French superiority by selectively transmitting state-legitimated knowledge which, in the end perhaps contributed to the Vietnamese psychological strength in her movement for liberation. American colonial education, as will be illustrated in the Filipino and Japanese experience of it has the agenda of decentralizing, democratizing, and demilitarizing. Douglas Foley’s (1984) “Colonialism as schooling in the Philippines, 1898-1970” and Harry Wray’s (1991) “Change and Continuity in Modern Japanese Educational History: Allied Occupational Reforms Forty Years Later” illustrates the ideology, administration and practice of American colonial education.

Foley (1984) argued that the democratization and decentralization ideology of American colonial education, through its collaborative type of administration by educational professionals and through its policy of ensuring basic education on a massive scale cannot necessarily be looked at as progressive and humanistic but rather must be understood as part of the American agenda of making a “showcase of democracy” out of its colonies. It is a project to integrate the colony into the then emerging global market centered at the headquarters of American industrial capitalism. Vocational education and its corollary -- community education -- is expanded and overexpanded so that a nation of citizens literate enough to be good producers for the American economy can be created with the collaboration of power-seeking Filipino elites. Filipinos were made to crave for credentials in a euphoria of democratization whilst the agenda for American colonials under the garb of the Progressive movement was to create a safe and sound enough social structure which would play the tune of American transnational capitalism.

Foley’s analysis, perhaps categorized as coming from a Marxist dependency perspective and drawn from a political-economic framework of analysis is excellent in its debunking of the oftenheld thesis that American Progressive education as a democratizing project is in fact pseudo-democratic in its goal of creating a long-term strategic supply of cheap pool of labor. Wray (1991) in his analysis of the short-term allied occupation reform in Japan’s educational history looked at the collaborative aspect of American colonial educational professionals who worked with the Monbasho (The Japanese Ministry of Education). The American organ of colonial educational restructuring, the Division of the Civil Information and Education (CIE) Section in its attempt to decentralize and demilitarize Japan by attempting to dissolve the fundamentally hierarchy-based, meritocratic-emphasized and state-legitimated education system the Japanese, as a militaristic-chivalric nation has built over centuries.

The CIE introduced concepts such as mass-based schooling and relaxation on educational students, progressive curriculum reforms, compulsory 9-year schooling, teacher training and a range of other decentralizing and democratizing tools which are anti-thetical or in opposition to the practices of pre-colonial Japan. Wray’s writing, set in a bias tone against all aspects of the progressive movement, concluded with the idea that most of the areas of structured reforms that are kept after the end of the brief occupation are those which were “close to the hearts of Monbasho’s officials”; those which are predictable of the Japanese character as compulsive borrower of ideas. Drawing from Eric Carlton’s (1994) “Occupation: A Typology” to look at French and American colonial education ideology, administration and policy, I would argue that both empires to a certain degree practice assimilation. In many an analysis of colonialism it is said that the French are clearly assimilationist/associationists with its policy to make colonies French in language, culture and thinking which at the same time having a political economic agenda of exploiting the resources of its colonies.

A similar judgment can be made on the Americans; they attempt to assimilate the Filipinos into thinking like them, speaking their language, and being as conscious and democratic as American while at the same time having the political agenda of exploiting the human resources to fill the coffers of Wall Street. Whilst French language is propagated to be superior, English is the means to achieve similar effect in the case of American colonization given its status as lingua franca. The Americans are perhaps more successful in the Philippines that in Japan as occupation spanned almost a century. Had they been given more time in Japan, even the crystallized and rock-solid state Shintoistic foundation of the Japanese political philosophy would have been eroded or blended with the culture of consumerism and laissez faire capitalism. Carlton’s typology, albeit enlightening in its delineating of thirteen styles of colonialism seemed too specialized and particularizing in differentiating one colonial from another. His tried to guide us into believing that there indeed existed a continuum of humane and barbaric colonials throughout different historical era whereas the question remains: are there good and bad colonials or are the merely colonials who are good and bad planners?

Comparing French and American colonial education

As an overarching description of the paradigm of operation of French and American colonial education, in can be said that the former utilizes the policy of assimilation through such features as widespread use of French language, enrollment limitation, and dual nature of schooling whilst the latter utilizes the policy of democratization, decentralization, and demilitarization through such features as the use of the English language, implementation of progressive educational principles, and systematization of basic education on a massive scale. Ideologically, as noted by White (1996) who studied signposts of French and British colonial education, the French assimilation policy which led to “associationism”, is meant to be a crusade by France to bring the natives of its colonies to the level of modernity and to create a French consciousness. This mission, carried out via the imposition of French language as a medium of instruction, and a dual-nature school system supported by the work of the church, has been successfully carried out over a century of colonization of nations in Africa and Asia.

The ideological foundation of American colonialism is based upon the creation of vocational and civic literacy through a mass democratization process which would also bring natives to the level of “democratic and consumer-producer consciousness” able to function well in the global market of industrial capitalism. This ideology illustrating the educational manifestation of the logic of American capitalist expansion is well argued by political-economists such as Martin Carnoy (1974) in Education as Cultural Imperialism, Robert F. Lawson (1994) in “The American Project for Educational Reform in Central Europe” and Immanuel Wallerstein (1990) in “Culture as Ideological Battleground of the Modern World System”. Thus, whilst comparatively it can be said that both ideologies have the similarity of raising respective “consciousness” – French and American capitalist and consumerism – the difference lie in the notion that whilst the French see its cultural value as a force majeur for its civilizing agenda, the Americans see historical-materialistic gains within the logic of advanced capitalism as agenda for its colonial education project.

Administratively, the French and Americans differ in their operations in that the former utilizes direct rule via the setting up of Inspectorates of Education to oversee its assimilationist project, the Americans worked collaboratively with the colonies’ Ministry of Education with the setting up of administrative organs staffed by progressive educationists. Perhaps the unique development of American political system and the idea of democracy derived from a succession of ideas such as “political revolution, naturalism, realism and liberalism,” according to Lawson (1994) not replicable elsewhere, conduced American colonials to work together in collaboration in transplanting the Progressive ideas in its colonies. French- perceived racial superiority on the other hand conduced them to administer the colonies in a somewhat British-styled bureaucratic manner.

In terms of policy implementation, the highly selective and limited enrollment of the dual-nature system of French colonial education is clearly designed to create an administrative elite amongst the Franco-Algerians and to leave a larger segment of the population with low literacy rate enough to become conscious of the “superiority” of the French empire. The Americans or the other land, perhaps having become an astute student of colonial strategies, provided widespread basic education for vocational and civic literacy first to the elite of the colonies and next to the masses so that all will be conscious of their role as good workers in the American-based capitalist empire. Thus, the paradigms of colonial operation in both empires have their similarities and differences in terms of ideology, administration and policy in that one prides in racial narcissism and the other in the beauty of capitalist advancement. However varied the modus operandi though, the response from the colonies are similar in that revolts were precipitated as, echoing Marx, “the masses have nothing to lose except their chains” in reclaiming their tradition and dignity.

Conclusion for research on educational transfer and borrowing

Studies on colonial education as a special case of educational transfer have perhaps provided us with voluminous information on the “whys” and the “hows” of colonialism. In the case of French and American colonialism education above, the “hows” are primarily discussed and the “whys”, are widely known in that historical materialistic and political-economic rationales have elsewhere been widely documented. Questions such as “what has” and “what still is” being transferred and borrowed within the context of “world without borders” as we approach the year 2000 seem to be fertile areas of investigation. Areas pertinent to “what has” been transferred from colonial education system might be the “quality” aspect of French colonial education and the “quantity” aspect of the American; of what constitutes a good borrowed meritocratic and egalitarian dimension of the experiences.

Modern management theory would subsume this dimension under “best practice” educational models. Steiner Khamsi (1997) for example suggested a “culturalist” perspective of looking at this fertile ground in answering the question of “what has” been transferred or borrowed. It seemingly moved beyond the systems and conflict paradigm of looking at comparative education in the manner policies and models are enculturated by independent nation-states. What is retained and modified from legacies of colonialism is discussed in light of rhetoric of best practices in educational transfers and borrowings. “What still is” retained as practices not necessarily liberatory to education – policies and models subliminally conducive to late capitalist formation in the areas of foreign aid, technology transfer and mega investment project – is another area of research potentials.

In this area of suggestion, “what still is” I believe must utilize the tools of analysis which look at Center – periphery, role of transnational corporations, global movement of capital, and sublime cultural-ideological formation within the matrix of Center-periphery modern states, as important emerging dimensions of comparative education. How do independent nations maintain sovereignty by, borrowing models and enculturing them intelligently enough so that “neo-colonialism” in the form of cultural imperialism pervasive and postmodern in its construct, as Albert Memmi (1991) skillfully analyzed, will not be a feature? In recapitulating the question of “what has” been and “what still is” in comparative education, research must take “liberation” as a nexus in constructing a postmodern typology of model practices which have evidently illustrate how certain independent nations have successfully build “national shields” against future colonials though their culturally powerful, technologically appropriate and sovereignly sound education systems.

Perhaps in this respect, we can look at Cuba, Tanzania, Iran, Switzerland, Malaysia, and Singapore as starting points for such analyses. Perhaps too, comparative education as an emerging field of study can be all the more enriched in its “generalizing” stage not only to be used “to explain and predict” (4th level) but also to be “enlightened by such and hence to construct” models liberatory in manifestations for, shouldn’t education mean liberation more than development?


Carlton, E. (1994). Occupation: A typology. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 14 (3/4/5), 153-176.

Carnoy, M. (1974). Education as cultural imperialism. New York: McKay.

Foley, D. (1984). Colonialism and schooling in the Philippines, 1898-1970. In P. G. Altbach and G. P. Kelley (Eds.). Education and the colonial experience (pp.33-53). New Brunswick:Transaction.

Heggoy, A. A. (1984). Colonial education in Algeria: assimilation and reaction. In P. G. Altbach & Gail P. Kelley (Eds.). Education and the colonial experience (pp.97-116). New Brunswick:Transaction.

Kelley, G. P. (1982). Teachers and the transmission of state knowledge: A case study of Colonial Vietnam. In P. G. Altbach, Robert F. Arnove, & G. P. Kelley (Eds.). Comparative Education (pp. 176-194). New York:Macmillan.

Lawson, R. F. (1994). The American project for educational reform in Central Europe. Compare, Vol. 24, No. 3., 247-258

Memmi, A. (1991). The colonizer and the colonized. Boston:Beacon Press.

Steiner-Khamsi, G. (1997) Transfering education, displacing reforms. Comparative Education Review, in review.

Wallerstein, I. (1990). Culture as the ideological battleground of the modern world-system. Theory, Culture& Society, 7, 31-35.

White, B. W. (1996). Talk about school: education and the colonial project in French and British Africa (1860-1960). Comparative Education, 32 (1), 9-25.

Wray, H. (1991). Change and continuity in modern Japanese educational history: Allied occupational reforms forty years later. Comparative Education Review, 35 (3), 447-476.

Posted by DR. AZLY RAHMAN at 8:04 AM 0 comments

Monday, September 15, 2008
180] When tomorrow comes

When tomorrow comes
Azly Rahman | Sep 15, 08 11:20am

"The only permanent thing is change" - Lao Tzu
During Mahathirism in the 1980s – change management ideology pervaded the psyche of the civil service sector. The ideology was enculturalised by the corporate sector and universities picked up the trend and fashioned it into their mission statement, pedagogical processes, and curriculum. Everybody was taught to speak the language of change.

During that time too, circa 1985-1995, even high school students were taught visioning strategies and how to manage change.

Literature of change management, i.e. to change to corporate culture, to change to a society run on cybernetics/information technology became hugely popular.

Knowledge of visioning strategies were brought to the grassroots and even kampong people were in tune with the basic ideas of change sometimes equating it with the Arabic words "islah" and "hijrah" to denote and connote "reforming oneself" and "pilgrimag-ising oneself".

The Malay word "perubahan paradigma" became perhaps the most popular word on television, as its use signified a "better level of intelligence" as perceived by Malaysians imbued with "corporatist ideology".

Nowadays we hear people speaking of "blue ocean strategy"-- on how to look at our environment as an ocean of both chaos and opportunities and how to think like a dolphin but act like a shark.

The Mahathirist decades essentially prepared Malaysians for that only one thing that is permanent: change. It prepared the country for even for a velvet revolution such as in the Mar 8, 2008 and Permatang Pauh. When he unveiled the mega-project Multimedia Super Corridor (The MSC) which included the Bill of Guarantees for the free-flow of information and no-censorship of the Internet, he called upon the rakyat to "fantasise" with him.

At the moment of writing this article, it is 7 o'clock in the evening (New York) Eastern Time Sept 15. My question is - what will tomorrow bring when Sept 16 comes. Are we ready for political change - big time?

Political change

My initial though is this: corporate cultural changes occur peacefully - why not political change?

In light of a benchmarked and scheduled possible change Malaysians will be experiencing and in light of the deliverable promised, I am advocating the new regime to disseminate 10 ideas that will augur well with the new era we are ushering into, I call them "ten steps towards cultural freedom" this nation can conditioned itself with.

Independence and freedom are not slogans but existential states of mind and a condition of 'lived democracy', one in which citizens are aware of how oppressive systems are cultivated. We cannot be independent until we arrive at these historical junctures, and until we do the following:

1. Free the human mind from all forms of dogmas, superstitions, mental chains, hegemonic formations, and transitional levels of totalitarianism. Our educational system at all levels must strengthen the scientific and philosophical foundation of its curriculum and practices to effect changes in the higher-order thinking skills of the next generation. We should not tolerate any forms of bigotry, racial chauvinism, and retarded form of democracy in our educational system.

2. Understand the relationship between the 'self and the system of social relations of production' and how the self becomes alienated and reduced to labour and appendages and cogs in the wheels of industrial system of production, a system that hides under the name of the corporatist nation and any other term that masks the real exploitation of the human self.

3. Make ourselves aware that our social systems, through the rapid development of technology and its synthesis with local and international predatory culture, have helped create classes of human beings that transform their bodies into different classes of labour (manual, secretarial, managerial, militarial, intellectual, and capital-owning) that is now shaping the nature of class antagonism locally and globally.

4. Understand how our political, economic, cultural institutions have evolved and are created out of the vestiges of newer forms of colonialism, institutions that are built upon the ideology of race-based interpretations of human and material development that benefit the few who own the means of cultural, material, and intellectual production.

5. Understand how ideologies that oppress humanity works, how prevailing political, economic, cultural ideologies help craft false consciousness and create psychological barriers to the creation of a society that puts the principles of social contract into practice.

6. Be aware of how our physical landscape creates spaces of power and knowledge and alienates us and how huge structural transformations such as the Multimedia Super Corridor or those emerging corridors that create a new form of technological city-scape (technopoles) that benefits local and international real estate profiteers more that they provide more humane living spaces for the poor and the marginalised in an increasingly cybernated society.

7. Be fully aware of the relationship between science, culture, and society and how these interplay with contemporary global challenges and how we clearly or blindly adopt these rapid changes and transform them into our newer shibboleths of developmentalism – one such policy being the National BioTechnology Program.

8. Put a halt to the systematic stupefication of academicians and students in our public universities by first incorporating Academic Freedom Clauses in their mission statements and next enculturalising intellectualism in these learning environments. The public universities must be restructured based on a new paradigm of leadership. Leaders that enable the ability of our students and faculty to think must be removed and replaced with those that pay allegiance to truth. "Veritas!" or "Truth!" as Harvard University sloganises and lives by.

9. Design an economic system founded upon socialistic principles that meet the needs of the many and curb our enthusiasm to consume conspicuously and consequently create a society divided by classes and a postmodern caste system. Rethink the progressive dimension of nationalisation instead of pursuing the excesses of privatisation. What good would Malaysia do if its leaders are siphoning the nation's wealth by the billions, stashing them in places such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands?

10. Restructure the entire education system that would not only create some variant of a classless society but also one that would evolve into a reflective one instead of being rushed to death along the path of Wall Street by those who owns the means of production.

Sept 16 and change.

We know Sept 16 is tomorrow.

We know that radical changes will happen. We know we are ready for such changes. What we need is the will to realign ourselves with the new paradigm and to medicate ourselves of the pain that will come through the changes.

Change is good especially of it means celebrating our diversity, curbing our desire for material wealth, punishing those who have stolen form the masses, and making our systems implement equity, equitability, equal opportunity, and empathy as philosophical elements of change.

But Lao Tzu did warn us too against carving the stone.

Posted by DR. AZLY RAHMAN at 12:43 AM 11 comments

Monday, September 08, 2008
Greetings from Penang Restaurant, bravo to the Center for Policy Initiatives

Greetings from Penang Restaurant

My dear friends and comrades in the audience and in cyberspace,

Many thanks Dr. Lim Teck Ghee for his willingness to read my note of thanks on the occasion of the launching of the website of The Center for Policy Initiatives. Teck Ghee and I had a vision that the center will evolve as a think tank that will have a flavour of The Frankfurt School of Social Research, a center created as a safe haven for German intellectuals exiled from Nazi Germany, in the 1940s.

I just arrived from PENANG an hour ago -- no, not Penang where Permatang Pauh shines but a Malaysian restaurant in Philadelphia which has chains in major cities in the US. I had visited Temple University and had stopped by for "berbuka puasa" (breaking of the fast") and had thought of what to write for this occasion. I knew that I would get my tenth reminder from Teck Ghee as soon as I arrive home to New Jersey.

How global our world is, how pervasive the Internet has become-- how scary and wide-ranging the implications will continue to be.

Driving home I was composing this speech. Would it be about "creating think tanks that think?", " the need for a government that never sleeps"?, "a final appeal to abolish the ISA to save Raja Petra?", "the rise of the corporate-cybernetic-conspicuous-consuming-crony-capitalistic Malays"? -- I don't know. Or to write about "my life in cyberspace and how to make friends and influence people and to annoy the government"

I have finally chosen to annoy anyone in power that are allergic to "sensitive" issues by making some predictions of what the Internet can do, as a wonderful tool of creative anarchy and social transformation.

Why are governments afraid of the power of citizen journalism - and of the Internet in general? What will be the conclusion of this great war between government bloggers and Guevara-inspired guerilla-like grassroots-based cyber-freedom fighters? Especially the one that is raging in malaysiakini, malaysia-today, and other online portals. A war that is bringing criminals from the battlefields of cyberspace into the real world of the interrogation rooms of the Anti-Corruption Agency. Ones that help expose wrongdoings of elected representatives and bring their downfall. Battles that rage between ideas of totalitarianism in universities and prospects for a freedom of inquiry and anti-fascism in college classrooms. Spaces of knowledge that bring us up to date information on what magnitude of corruption the New Economic Policy has brought us after 40 years.

"Information wants to be free" as some Internet guru and philosopher of this cybernetic age might say. And as information leaves the author and transmits and transmutes itself, it assumes a life of its own. As the historian Ibnu Khaldun would say, to the effect "as the hands writes nothing is erased…" Or, as the physicist Stephen Hawkings would say, even data that transmutes is a life-form in itself.

But why is the Malaysian government afraid of the power of the Frankenstein it has allowed to roam the streets of Cyberjaya. Why is Malaysia's "ministry of cybernetics" afraid of this creature the magnitude of the mythical "Badang" (the strong man of the age of pre-agriculture Malaya) that becomes like "Agent Smiths" of the movie The Matrix roaming the streets exposing brutishly the corrupt practices of men and women, screaming of these people to be brought to justice?

Who can stop our Agents Smiths – even if counter-agents called Malaysian cyber-troopers as those cybernetic soldiers of fortune are cloned and droned and then released into blogs to engage in battles of the cyberfrontier – in this Mahabaratha of Malaysian cyber-rama as the general elections approaches?

There are several explanations I am proposing below- on how the Internet is going to further transform nations, such as Malaysia:

The power of cybernetics

1. In a globalised post-industrialist world, the development of a cybernating nation will continue to follow, to a degree or another the Centre-Periphery perspective of development.

2 .Pure historical materialist conception of change cannot fully explain why nations cybernate; the more a nation gets "wired" the more complex the interplay between nationalism and internationalism will be.

3. The more a nation transforms itself cybernetically, the more extensive the enculturalisation of the word "cybernetics" will be.

4. The extent of the enculturalization of the concept of "cybernetics" will determine the speed by which a nation will be fully integrated into the global production-house of telematics.

5. The stronger the authority of the regime the greater the control and magnitude of the cybernating process. In a cybernating nation, authority can reside in the political will of a single individual or a strong political entity.

6. The advent of the Internet in a developing nation signifies the genesis of the erosion of the power of government-controlled print media. Universal access to the Internet will determine the total erosion of government-produced print media.

7. Creative consciousness of the peoples of the cybernating nation will be centralised in the area of business and the arts, modeled after successful global corporations.

8. Critical consciousness of the people of the cybernating nation will be centralised in the area of political mobilisation and personal freedom of expression, modeled after successful Internet-based political mobilisation groups.

9. At the macro-level of the development of a nation-state, the contestation of power is between the nations cybernating versus the nations fully cybernated, whereas at the micro level, power is contested between the contending political parties/groups.

10. The more the government suppresses voices of political dissent, the more the Internet is used to affect political transformations.

11. The fundamental character of a nation will be significantly altered with the institutionalisation of the Internet as a tool of cybernating change. The source of change will however be ideologically governed by external influences, which will ultimately threaten the sovereignty of the nation-state.

12. Discourse of change, as evident in the phenomena of cybernation, is embedded in language. The more a foreign concept is introduced, adopted, assimilated, and enculturalised, the more the nation will loose its indigenous character built via schooling and other means of citizenship enculturalisation process.

13. Postmodernist perspectives of social change, rather than those of Structural-Functionalists, Marxist, or neo-Marxist, can best explain the structure and consequences of cybernetic changes.

These 13 propositions above I generated almost 10 years ago in my doctoral dissertaion seminar at Columbia University, New York city. These are general ideas of what is happening in the world of cyberspace as it clashes with the worldview of the physical space of the illusive concept of the "nation-state."


Today, I found myself not merely as a non-participant observer and analyst of the changes happening in Malaysia, but an agent of change itself participating in this exciting transformation our nation is constructing, with the blessings of the rakyat.

I found myself not only calling for changes through the more than 250 articles I have written on Malaysia, since 4 years ago, but also dragged into centers of controversy as a consequence of what I have written.

But most importantly, through an agent of "cybernetic change" itself I am grateful to have worked closely with so many wonderful "online colleagues and comrades" I have never met but looking forward to extend my "brothership-in arms" as we continue to push for changes. Among those dear to me are Dr. Lim Teck Ghee, Dr. Syed Husin Ali, Sdr. Purushothanam, and Sdr. Jeff Ooi and those who have given their commitment to the creation and ultimately the launching of this website -- people like Sdr. Desiderata (YenLong), Sdr. Bern Chua, Sdri. Hui Mei, Sdr. Wan Fadzrul, Sdr. Sonny, and many others. Thank you so much for the friendship and your commitment to peace, social justice, and multiculturalism. I look forward to meeting many of you in person some day, if not in Penang Restaurant in Philadelphia or New York City, but in Penang, in the state of Permatang Pauh!

Have a wonderful launch party and never ask for whom the bells tolls, for it toll for thee. Onward to the march of the cybernetic revolution, we do not have anything to lose except our Malaysian ISP providers.

Most importantly, visit our website often and contribute to our good cause.

Thank you for reading this speech, Teck Ghee.

Posted by DR. AZLY RAHMAN at 12:42 AM 8 comments

Labels: media and cybernetics

Essays and opinions on culture, politics, political-economy, education, history, media and communications, cybernetics, philosophy, religion, and international relations.

About Azly Rahman

Doctorate in International Education Development, dissertation on Cybernetics and Social Change -- "Hegemony and Utopianism in a Southeast Asian State -- (Columbia University, New York), Masters in International Education, specialization in Peace Studies, essay on Hegemony and Spaces of Knowledge and Power (Columbia University, New York City), Masters in Communication (Columbia University, New York City), Masters in Education, specializing in Curriculum and Instruction (Ohio University), Masters in International Affairs, specializing in Politics of Southeast Asia (Ohio University), Bachelors of Science in Education, specializing in English Literature, Teaching and Education (Ohio University). Certificates in Multicultural Education, Teaching and Learning in Technology, Social Studies, Educational Leadership/Supervisor/Principalship. Member: Kappa Delta Phi International Honor Society in Education Columbia University Chapter, International Understanding Honor Society Ohio University Chapter, Member of Spring 2007 Oxford Round Table on Diversity in Society. More than 200 published analyses on Malaysia. Taught more than 40 courses in a variety of fields.
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Industry: Education
Occupation: Educator/College Professor
Location: New Jersey : United States
About Me
Doctorate in International Education Development, dissertation on Cybernetics and Social Change -- "Hegemony and Utopianism in a Southeast Asian State -- (Columbia University, New York), Masters in International Education, specialization in Peace Studies, essay on Hegemony and Spaces of Knowledge and Power (Columbia University, New York City), Masters in Communication (Columbia University, New York City), Masters in Education, specializing in Curriculum and Instruction (Ohio University), Masters in International Affairs, specializing in Politics of Southeast Asia (Ohio University), Bachelors of Science in Education, specializing in English Literature, Teaching and Education (Ohio University). Certificates in Multicultural Education, Teaching and Learning in Technology, Social Studies, Educational Leadership/Supervisor/Principalship. Member: Kappa Delta Phi International Honor Society in Education Columbia University Chapter, International Understanding Honor Society Ohio University Chapter, Member of Spring 2007 Oxford Round Table on Diversity in Society. More than 200 published analyses on Malaysia. Taught more than 40 courses in a variety of fields.

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