Back in the box with AKU Janji:Academics+Students

Posted: August 7, 2007 in Freedom of Speech

“The pen is mightier that the sword”

How true is this? Well seeing that all countries maintain a watchful eye with numerous restrictions through laws and regulations, censorship boards etc I guess that this definitely has truths in its words. The pen is mightier than the sword saying brings a lot of memories for me, at an early age I was very outspoken(not much has changed 🙂 ) and used to love getting involved with storytelling. Joining competition was second nature for me and I did it on a regular basis so one day instead of telling a once a upon a time, I told a story depicting this famous saying that can be tracked back to the 18th century.

The media can be regarded as the pen and these days it has in many ways becoming mightier that the sword, I guess in way you can link it to hegemony from my understanding that is, whereby there is the element of coercion(use of swords) and persuasion(use of pens) not directly of course! Now days the media is used to influence, manipulate people into believing it is all good, we are doing the best for you, see how much development we have done for you..blah blah while when they can’t keep hold to their power they use it to slam you through laws, regulations, detention.(as I’ve mentioned before). I guess that the “pen” has such enormous power especially when referring to mass communication with media like TV and newspapers that they feel a need to control it so that views that oppose them doesn’t get out and make people think, ya huh….and for those who still go against it, well there is always a law to cater to those needs(sedition, OSA,ISA-Need I go on?)

All probably knows knowledge equals power, so when you start sending off younger ones to study whether in or out of the country, to gain knowledge they are sure to come back with their own set of ideals, how things should be done together with zest and energy of a young one! The 70s student movement was something very strong in Malaysia-so strong but after the great power of the 70s look what our students and academic have to show for it? The great AKU JANJI! The state knew that they had to curb it before it became a source of worry so we have the great laws to forbid the young minds to think, to speak out and thus we have a whole new generation of students who just couldn’t be bothered or too scared to react for they might lose their education so they just shut up and study, graduate and live their lives, each to their own.

So they we have 2 or 3 generation of students who just do not do anything (minus the great “unrecognized student organizations which fight till the end”-really admire this people)due to the great AKU Janji they signed as they had no choice but to or leave the university. As education is becoming more expensive people dare not miss out on the opportunity to gain a place and keep it! So realizing this, the state know that the students will just lay low signed the AKU and get on with their studies thus they have possibly rebels under their leash at least for another few more years(the most vulnerable years so they say!)

Dr Azly, an academic who had to leave his position at a local university due to the simple fact that he did not want to be restricted by the AKU janji (which I belief shouldn’t even exist for lecturers!-their adults for heaven sakes, earning their own money) I truly admire Dr.Azly and his wife for taking that brave step that sadly cost him his job and sadly cost a lot of students an experience to learn from a great man. He recently wrote something in regards to the written word that I find very insightful;

Consider the power of the written word in shaping reality. Consider how words not only can become flesh, but become inscriptions, installation, and ideology. Words can imprison the mind. Becoming tools of oppression.A simple sentence/clause can clearly illustrate how these academics are being controlled and their intelligence subdued. It takes us to deconstruct the clause and analyse what kind of ‘truth’ it embodies and how the ‘truth-force’ operates in the learning environment, to understand how thought-control operates. The irony is that we have graduates from universities abroad who themselves were trained in the best and rigorous environment of learning that protects intellectual freedom. We expect them to embody the ethos of a committed intellectual who will translate good expressions of freedom of practice, but instead, they have become the new colonisers of the neo-colonialist state.”

Read here for more insight into this matter from <“Dr Azly”>

Having signed the AKU Janji some years back when I enrolled in a local university I did not realize the implications of signing the document despite contesting to signing the documents (I just don’t like to be forced into anything!) Later anyway I did sign it because they told us that we would get thrown out of Uni if we didn’t. Even then I didn’t realize the consequences of signing the said document, I was unaware (A lot of student are too) I thought or well doesn’t matter I ain’t going to join a political party anyway furthermore what business does a student have to indulge in politics while she or he is studying (sadly that was my mentality then…) But the more I thought about it, my view changed…towards my final year I thought to myself, hell we aren’t kids, we are adults just like any other person we have our rights and infringing upon them through AKU janji was wrong! I should have the right if I want to join a political party if I want to! I also realized it didn’t stop there, it went as far as joining conferences, seminars, organizing events, writing articles etc it had to make sure it was in-line with the ideology of the uni=state if not dire consequences would follow. During my third year Sook Hwa my batch mate was charged by HEP(some uni body) over allegations of involvement in supporting some party, I felt it was injustice! But nothing much could be done… Some journalist(uni from the berita campus) try to cover the event but it never saw the light of day! During that time there were block by the guards close to the HEP area and word got around fast so we all knew what was up!

I don’t understand what they really want! They want AKU Janji but mahu jugak critical thinking students or is it just a ploy to make them look smart and creative. Asking for creative students, thinking out of the box actually they want none of the sort. How to make sure ada thinking students, lecturers also you put into a little box. Sigh, I wonder if things will ever change. Intellectuals are free minds and are meant to roam not locked up in a box. Education has turned out to be nothing more than another business these days churning out cash and robots rather than intellectuals or at least thinking.critical minds.

You can read more on issue of the AKU janji at ,”Education Malaysia Website”>and <“Malaysiakini”>

Interesting thoughts from Dr Azly and Dr Mutiara obtained from Education Malaysia:

Our allegiance as academicians is to the pursuit of truth and justice and to freedom of inquiry; not to any political ideology. We believe that is what we are trained to do well. It shall remain this way and we want to see young lecturers embrace this spirit so that this spirit will permeate into the consciousness of our children and transform them into critical, creative, and altruistic thinkers.

Glad that academics are stepping up and taking charge of their situation.Good luck to them in bringing change!

Boy am I glad this time around AKU janji didn’t bite me, once bitten twice shy.HAhaahha

  1. ylchong says:

    Hi dare, referred to you, aspiring Master’s and maybe PhD student, by Zorro. I am saying a first Hello! as a break from R n R and amore R; will revert re your Master’s prep for blogging topic. Regards, Desi

  2. Rauff says:

    Well it bit me…but i don’t give a fuck. 😀

  3. cherwith says:

    hehehehhe.rauf…I got bitten once but these time Kindda dodge it conveniently! Hi Chong! Phd ah? Masters ososo dying already! Hope your feeling better 🙂

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