I attended this forum last night at the NUS Alumni House. It was quite a pleasant evening with good weather and good company. The session started off in pretty good mood with Viswa Sadasivan, the NMP, in the chair, and throwing a dig at Kishore, reminding him of his reputation as an apologist for a dictator. Kishore’s friendly replied was to remind Viswa of his whacking by the dictator.
This kind of talk must have astounded the audience but not all got the message. A young foreign student later told the forum that he was reminded to be careful when he opened his mouth in this country. Kishore reassured him that both he and Viswa would not be arrested after the forum and so there was nothing to fear really.
The main gist of the forum was how, after 60 to 70 years of independence, the Asians are still lacking confidence to think like Asians and have to speak and write with a western agenda behind their writings and ideas. And the Europeans still think that it is their right to dominate the world in all fields when their colonial past have long been resigned to history.
If one is to read the Asian media, one cannot go away without reading one sided articles coming out from the desks of CIA or other American and European intelligence agencies. And the stupidity of it all is that the Asian media probably have to pay for such craps. And these western paid writers are filling the pages of Asian media, writing about the impending demise of the rising Asian countries, corruption and collapse of their economies and polities. They forgot that the American and European economies are already in the abyss. The IMF Chief was not anywhere to twist the arms of the American President or the Presidents of the PIGS countries to sign on the dotted line for financial reform like they did to Suharto, in glee.
But last night was all talks, talks of an Asian cultural renaissance, from Asians growing up in a diet of roti prata, nasi lemak and char kway teow. Not the kind of Asians that were fed with hamburgers and have a head full of baked beans.
Would Kishore take it one step further, with his intellectual and political influence, to rein in the media and make them report Asia by Asians, seen from Asian eyes, and the thoughts and views of Asians? Or would nothing be changed and more bacon and eggs are being fed to the empty Asian minds, daily, by the unthinking ‘western’ Asian media?
The rise of Asia, if it is to be, must be comprehensive and not just economics. The colonial hangover must have been long gone, gone with the wind, and the Asians should be sailing in a new wind, the wind of Asia, be confident to speak out their minds with their own agenda, not the hidden western agenda that is crystal clear to even the dullest Asian mind. Would Asia rise? This is will depend greatly on the Asian renaissance, of a complexity of people growing out of the ruins of western colonisation of the Asian minds.