来自: 太平 --〉关丹
|发表于: 29-10-14 星期三 5:41 pm 发表主题:
I wrote this to UM academics today, in response to some scathing remarks of "40 Tahun dari Um ke Penjara" and the "gate-gate scandal", and spurred by other uplifting contributions to our email list:
Dear UM colleagues [and everybody],
I am a PKAUM member and I attended the event last night. I am glad that UM can be place where political speech flows freely and peacefully. I can attest that many who attended were not fawning, bedazzled, naive Anwar Ibrahim devotees. Many came to defend academic freedom in their alma mater, to stand for basic rights, to join in a youthful quest for change, and yes, to listen to Anwar. Some also said the university's high-handed and ridiculous closure tactics swung their decision to be here. We should be proud of students who stood up fearlessly for their cause.
There is a broken chain and padlock, and a slightly damaged gate, which is still functional, the last I checked at midday today. One can zoom in on this property dent, and the preceding ruckus which took up about 10 minutes, or one can view the bigger picture of a diverse microcosm fervently and peacefully assembling, marching, chatting and listening for 180 minutes. It's a matter of perspective and choice.
As is the decision to hold the event and to invite Anwar Ibrahim.
To paraphrase some questions that have been going around: why involve a politician - and of all people, why Anwar?
One would have to ask PMUM for the most pertinent answer, and I'm sure they can give their perspectives and reasons, and we may agree or disagree with them. But does disagreeing with them give any justification to lock down campus, barricade the event and prevent it from happening? Was there a threat to UM's reputation as a global research university? I do not find the global academic community, whose opinion should matter most of all in this, reproaching UM for having the leader of the federal Opposition speak on campus.
Anyone who didn't want to attend, didn't have to attend, and could persuade people not to attend - even peacefully protest against it. Nobody was forced or coerced to attend.
If anyone feels students should hear from other persons, politicians or otherwise, he should be free to organize another program, she should have choice over those proceedings.
It's ironic that we lament students' thinking, articulation and persuasion skills but cannot break from our embedded practice and habits of telling them what are permissible topics, who are acceptable speakers, what makes a proper event or the "proper channel" (inside a hall, with panelists speaking softly and a prim and proper audience), and so on.
National and international media have descended on Putrajaya today until Thursday.
Are we going to tell our students to cover their eyes and ears?
Or to open them, and think critically about what's going on?
Before it's too late, we really ought to shift to a new mode, of granting freedom while clarifying the lines that should not be crossed. In other words, there is no need to apply for permission for all activities (university students are not school kids), but there are consequences if a student activity propagates hate speech (and stirring up political support is not hatred or insurrection, ok? ), defamation, intolerance, bigotry, racism, sexism, etc. If the event anticipates a large turnout, inform campus security - so that they can make sure things proceed smoothly.
It's really quite simple.
Why is it so hard to let go?
Lee Hwok Aun
Head of Department
Department of Development Studies