Roti Canai | Source: Wikimedia by Indradi Soemardjan

An exploration on the subject of unity

Malaysians are spoilt for choice when it comes to food.

Now, take roti canai for example. We have the plain old roti canai kosong. Then we have roti telor. Roti planta. Roti tisu. Roti gula. Roti sardine. Then we have the indie version of roti canai, which is roti bom. In addition, we also have a different version of roti telor, whether with bawang or without bawang. We also have roti empat segi (rectangular) as opposed to the usual roti bulat.

Now enough with that, we eat them in a variety of ways. We eat them with dhal. Dhal with sambal on the side. Or curry. Chicken curry. Fish curry. Mutton curry. Banjir or non-banjir.

You name it. And that is just the roti canai mind you. And don’t get me started on nasi.

Now, one fine day, some politicians tell us, for the sake of unity, all of us, Ali, Muthu and Tsunami Lee, should only eat ONE type of roti canai. Yes, enter the 1RotiCanai.

1RotiCanai is the one without the telor. And it is roti bulat. Served with dhal. And a blob of sambal ikan bilis (without actually the ikan bilis) by the side. The banjir version. That’s it. You eat any other version and there will be disunity. Malaysia would then descend into a bloody civil war. In fact, many many civil wars. Because the roti telor clans would be at war with the 1RotiCanai clan. And the Roti sardine fella would be killing the roti planta guys. And the roti bom group would be at war with just about everybody else.

So, all of us, must unite and eat 1RotiCanai.

Roti Canai | Source: Wikimedia by Indradi Soemardjan

Ladies and gentlemen, that is, in effect, our political rhetoric post GE13. And what year are we living in again? 1511? No. It is 20-fckin-13.

Great. Congratulations. Awesome. Let’s unzip our pants and pee in jubilation.

When all else fail, time and again, we would call for unity. We would parochialise our views. We would then try and appeal to the deepest primordial catalyst for “unity” and travel back to the times when the human beings identified themselves with their kin and later, tribes, clans, kindreds and lineages.

And so, our post-GE victory speech would be defensive, instead of celebratory and thankful in nature. The Chinese has banded up together and destroyed all of us Malays by their tsunami. And so, we the Malays, had better unite and be aggressive to defend ourselves from these tsunami-ying race. Lest we would all be sucked into this Chinese whirlpool and destroyed for good.

So, firstly, the Malays must only eat one type of roti canai, one type of nasi, one type of sambal belacan (no more budu, cencalok, tempoyak, but we shall unite under 1SambalBelacan) etc etc etc.

Then we the Malays must unite under one brand of Islam. One brand of Melayu. If not, you would be a Melayu Liberal, which means you are pro-LGBT and pro-pluralism, which ultimately means, you are not a Muslim and probably a Jewish agent funded by National Endowment for Democracy’s National Democratic Institute (NDI) and George Soros and deserve to be stoned to death as a traitor to your own race and country. (take note: giving ICs to some people who later killed 18 of our soldiers and policemen is not treason. That is patriotism.)

It is so Genghiz Khan, isn’t it? I mean, this going to war with the world business.

In “The Genetic Legacy of the Mongols”, our infamous serial plunderer, conqueror and rapist was quoted as saying:

“The greatest pleasure…is to vanquish your enemies and chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth and see those dear to them bathed in tears, to ride their horses and clasp to your bosom their wives and daughters.”

It is tried and tested, this whole warfare thingy. After all, Francis Fukuyama, in his “The Origins of Political Order” concludes that:

“The chief driver of Chinese state formation was not the need to create grand irrigation projects, nor the rise of charismatic religious leader, but unrelenting warfare. It was war and the requirements of war that led to the consolidation of a system of ten thousands political units into a single state in a space of eighteen hundred years, that motivated the creation of a class of permanent trained bureaucrats and administrators…..As Charles Tilly said of Europe in a later period, for China, “war made the state and the state made war.” (emphasis added by me).

It is thus no surprise that our political parties, from both sides of the divide, has “bilik operasi” and “taktik gempur” and “cybertroopers.” And all they do is “berjuang”, “berjuang” and “berjuang”. And “Putrajaya mesti kita pertahankan sehingga titisan darah yang terakhir.” (said with the intensity of Hang Tuah seeing some Javanese who ran amok in front of Sultan Mansur Shah just before he unsheathed his keris, kissed it and went amok himself). Those kinda stuff. Very primordial. Very…errr…war-ish and warrior-ish.

PM Najib Razak At UMNO Meeting - December 2012

And that is also precisely why we seem to have bogeyman after bogeyman. There is a need for us to have a war at all times, get it? LGBT, our enemy. Liberalism, our enemy too. Christians, our sworn enemy. Chinese, too much water, our enemy. The Juice, kill ‘em all. Freedom, not good. Liberty, not an Asian value. And so on and so forth.


The truth is, the unity which is being foisted upon us is nothing but the commonalisation and unification of political ideologies under the umbrella of mainstreamism. The sum total of this exercise is of course one-dimensionality, the type which Herbert Macuse describes well in his One Dimensional Man, where de drew a portrait of a “comfortable, smooth, reasonable, democratic unfreedom” society where all the technological means provided by our civilisation to free the individual from toil and ignorance would be perversely used to enslave us.

The result of all these would be the birth of a one dimensional man, a man who is a happy, enterprising creature who “cannot imagine a qualitatively different universe of discourse and action” than the one he inhabits. He takes his post-industrial world as a given, and seeks to thrive within its sturdy factual boundaries. The one-dimensional man regards society’s dazzling array of lifestyles and career options as examples of free choice, rather than what they truly are – false needs that confine his consciousness.

Finally, under the conditions of a mass society, “the multi-dimensional dynamic by which the individual attained and maintained his own balance between autonomy and heteronomy, freedom and repression, pleasure and pain, has given way to a one-dimensional static identification of the individual with the others and with the administered reality principle.”

The truth could not be further than what is being thrust into our throat.

Francis Fukuyama in The Origins of Political Order tells us of a tribe living in Souther Sudan, called the Nuer. The Nuer split into segments. The largest segment is called the primary sections and these are further segmented into secondary tribal sections which again are further segmented into tertiary tribal sections. The tertiary tribal section comprises of different villages which are in turn composed of kinship and domestic groups.

“Each segment is itself segmented and there is opposition between its parts. The members of any segment unite for war against adjacent segments of the same order and unite against these adjacent segments against larger sections.”

For example, if the Leng tertiary section fights with the Nyarkwac tertiary sections, all villages which compose each section will unite to fight for their respective tertiary section. However, if the Nyarkwac tertiary section is at war with a common enemy, ie, the Rumjok secondary section, both the Leng and the Nyarkwac tertiary sections would unite to fight against the Rumjok.

It is thus proven that unity is not about a commonality or unification of ideologies. When there is a commonality of purpose, unity would take form, even without any form of imploration.

We might not eat the same old boring roti canai at the mamak stalls. But we sure do sit in front of the idiot box cheering Lee Chong Wei during the Olympic final. And all of us did that, whether we are BN supporters, or PAS members, or friends of George Soros plotting to paint the Parliament House pink.

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