Teachers are our nation’s true liberators

Universiti Perguruan Sultan Idris (UPSI) formerly Maktab Perguruan Sultan Idris (MPSI) was established 22 Nov 1922. It was once the hotbed of political movement that culminated to our nation’s independence. It should be placed as Malaysia holiest of shrine for the struggle for freedom. Here native youth are trained as teachers to liberate their nation from illiteracy and ignorance. At the end they not only liberate the nation’s mind but start the ball rolling for the real struggle from the shackle of colonial rule.

Names like Senu Abdul Rahman, Embong Yahya, Syed Nasir Ismail, Ibrahim Yaakob, Abdul Rahman Talib, Muhammad Isa Mahmud, Hassan Haji Manan, Yaakob Muhammad Amin dan Abdul Karim Rashid may have disappeared from public memory because of the fascist-like hijacking of our nation’s history syllabus. These humble teachers are the conscience of the nation. They carry the burden and aspiration of its people. They are not like your present day politicians, patriotic businessman on the outside, capitalistic oppressors on the inside. Many these enlightened freedom fighters later are forced into the underground because of the Malay right-wing parties complicity.

These are the folk I look up to and they are one of the reasons on my decision to become a teacher more than 20 years ago. In reality teachers nowadays are mostly meek political bystanders.Those who are openly active in politics are usually the two bits ruling party sycophants. In other words we teachers are now reduced to nannies and with a few wolves in sheep clothing in our midst.

Mahathirism since the 1980’s has tighten the political space and culled teachers political voice. Mahathir placed Malay contractors as breeder reactors for his New Economics Pragmatism. Teachers who are in the past were our nation’s social activists are shackled politically thus our political scenario loses its soul and conscience. What we see now as the government and its many political parties are but the congregation of the soulless void of morality.

30 years ago, teachers dominate the political grassroots, now its the class D,E,F Malay contractors. Once the grassroot politics has a conscience, a soul and a humanistic aspiration. Now it has only the wants, the avarices and the greeds to be up with Joneses.

There are more than 400,000 teachers in Malaysia. Politically this is a formidable figure for a nation with 12.7 million voters. They are logistically well distributed to every nook and corners of our nation proportionate to the local population. All them are educated and most are moralistically astute. Speaking from my everyday experience, almost all of the teachers I met are well informed about the current social and political issues. It is time that teachers start to become socially active in the national political forums again. Teachers with their moral astuteness would help guide the political forums. Teachers as a whole only swear allegiance to our nation. Teachers would bring positive impetus within all parties across the political divide.

“Bring back the soul and conscience in our politics”

rizalhanafi yusof

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One Response

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