Malaysia: Reflections on a new era dawning

The recent happenings in Sarawak interest me; something West
Malaysians must learn from. A new era is dawning – of culture and
consciousness in the face of state-sponsored corporate crony
capitalism. The Sarawakians are dancing to reclaim ownership of their
sacred land. Eco-feminism and ecosophical thinking of Rachel Carson,
Anais Nin, and even of the “Lakei Penan” or “Penan Man” Bruno Manser
is resurfacing amongst the indigenous peoples of Sarawak and hopefully
Sabah too.

For too long, Mother Earth has been subjugated by those who
do not understand what “development” means. For too long the
Sarawakians and the Sabahans have been colonised by emperors in newer
clothes who go into the land of the Orang Asal and install
individuals, ideologies, and institutions alien to the natives and
call it “progress”. In the classic play “Kisah Perjuangan Suku Naga”
(The Struggle of the Naga Tribe”. The Javanese poet WS Rendra called
these outsiders “ogres” from Tanah Seberang. This brings us to the
bigger and global question: are we environmentally doomed? Are we at
the eleventh hour of total environmental destruction? How devastating
has the impact of carbon dioxide emissions been? How serious is the
depletion of the ozone layer? How much of the rainforests of the world
have been destroyed? How fast are the polar ice caps melting, speeding
up the looming disaster of Armageddon/ Qiamat of humankind? How many
more frequent, major flash floods must we endure? The Chinese
philosopher and mystic Lao Tzu once said, ‘Man should not have carved
the stone’ meaning man should not have invented things for, ‘… as
Man began carving the stone, the process of destruction begins’. Light
bulbs, automobiles, power-plants, factories, telephone lines, bombs
and computers are inventions that have historically transformed
nature. Human beings ‘carve the stone’ and build structures of power
and wealth which transform or even rape Nature in the process. Ancient
philosophies and the teachings of ‘revealed religion’ (of the
Judeo-Christian tradition) warned against the exploitation of the
physical environment so that humanity would continue to be close to
Nature and closer to the realisation of the Natural Self. Buddhism,
Hinduism, Confucianism, and probably the most extreme of all Hindu
sects, Jainism, teach human beings to respect living things as part of
the great chain of beings.

Posted via email from Deane’s posterous

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