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7th Rangers: Diary of a Biro Tatanegara participant by J Bellamy
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“When you're left wounded on

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the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God


Which must always come to pass

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"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?


Have you always turned the other cheek?


To My Church have you been true?"


"No, Lord, I guess I ain't


Because those of us who carry guns


Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

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Because the world is awfully rough.

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That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

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And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around


Except to calm their fears.


If you've a place for me here,


Lord, It needn't be so grand,


I never expected or had too much,


But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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Diary of a Biro Tatanegara participant by J Bellamy
Thursday, December 13, 2012
COMMENT I was once a member of a group of government servants forced to attend a Biro Tatanegara (BTN, or National Civics Bureau) "nationhood" course. This Orwellian department began life as a 'Youth Research Unit' in 1974, under the Youth Ministry. It was re-invented as the BTN in the Prime Minister's Department, under Dr Mahathir Mohamad, prime minister at the time.

Prime Minister Najib Adul Razak's overfed, flabby department bestowed the BTN with RM74 million of public money in 2009.

NONEBTN has repaid taxpayers with racial slurs. Hamim Husin (left), a deputy director of the Federal Territory office of the BTN, called the Chinese 'si sepet' (slanted-eye) and the Indians 'si botol' (alcoholics) at an Umno meeting in September 2010. Hamim managed to alienate more than 30 percent of the nation's population in one breath. 


Half a year earlier, in February 2010, Nasir Safar, a "special assistant" to Najib, was forced to resign after expressing his contempt for the non-Malay 'pendatang' or immigrants.

At a 1Malaysia event, Nasir called Malaysian Indians "beggars" and Malaysian Chinese "prostitutes". His half-crazed speech was blamed on brainwashing by the BTN. BTN officers must have been drinking too much of their own distillate of ethnic hatred. The BTN took a hammering in the press for its crude attempts at indoctrination. There were calls from the MCA , MIC and NGOs for the BTN to be dismantled, and to be packed away in the same musty drawers as the 'psy-ops' experts of China's Cultural Revolution or Stalin's Gulag Archipelago.

Since 2010, the BTN has improved somewhat: the widely reported insults against non-Malays as immigrants or 'pendatang' have been toned down. Non-Malays are no longer instructed to publicly announce they are 'pendatang'. Instead, they are invited to state, during group discussions, their dialect group and their ancestral homes in China or India, as a kind of confession of their 'pendatang' status.

'Bersih' is dirty

The previously routine racist attacks in BTN have largely been replaced by the tepid platitudes of 1Malaysia. But the BTN has not given up its staple diet of championing Malay supremacy, of lauding Umno, and of attacking PAS, PKR's Anwar Ibrahim and the DAP. The BTN continues to emphasise the so-called "unchangeable" articles in the federal constitution that protect the "special position" of the Malays (Article 153), the Malay Rulers, Islam as the religion of the nation and Malay as the national language.

Copies of the constitution are handed out, and BTN participants are warned repeatedly never to question these supposedly sacrosanct articles. We were reminded several times about the constitutional latitude afforded to the government of the day to impose constraints on individual liberties, such as freedom of speech and expression, in the name of "sedition" and "public order and morality". 'Bersih' is a dirty word. We were educated that the meaning of democracy was regular elections, not street rallies. Public demonstrations are clearly seen as a threat to Umno's monopoly on national power.


Psy ops, BTN style


One evening, we were softened up initially by a lighthearted contest, performing patriotic songs. After the camaraderie and laughter of the competition, we were brought back to earth by a role-playing game, designed to remind us of the evils of colonialism. We were given strict instructions to remain silent, while being set a seemingly impossible task, trying to match up stones of different sizes. During the task, BTN facilitators pulled out several participants, apparently at random. These "detainees" had masking tape placed over their lips and strings tied loosely around their wrists, to mimic the senseless injustice of colonial rule. After 20 minutes, a few selected participants were allowed to speak, and then to release the "detainees" on the sidelines.
After this pantomime liberation, we were told to gather in a crowd around one young man and shoulder him aloft, carrying a giant Malaysian flag while singing a happy patriotic song.

Finally, we were treated to a video - essentially a snuff film - aimed at traumatising participants, so that we would feel that Muslims and Malays are victims and therefore Malays must unite against the larger world.

There was a slide show of stomach-turning violence, depicting Iraqi and Palestinian children and women buried alive, bleeding from facial wounds, and butchered by American or Israeli soldiers. One photograph focussed on an American soldier's T-shirt, bearing the slogan 'Born to Kill'. A repulsive video was then played, showing religious violence among Muslim and Christian Malays in Ambon, including a scene of an attacker hacking a defenceless man with a machete, until a piece of his skull was partly detached, while policemen looked on.

These horrific scenes were interspersed with images of unidentified Malay protesters throwing stones and Bersih demonstrators picking up and hurling tear gas canisters. The final message of Malay unity was driven home using a tearful speech by former prime minister Mahathir, reminding us tremulously that the Malay "struggle" is not over. Several of us were in tears by this stage.

Tomorrow: Can this be the end, BTN? Malaysiakini


posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 7:18 PM  
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