I aim to write about the work and Farish’s wider contribution to Malaysia as an intellectual once I have finished it. For the moment, allow me to share a thought that came to mind as I read of PAS’s first steps into the political arena.
The pursuit of freedom is an endless struggle as one moves from one state of oppression or subjugation into another, both within and without. So many of us take our freedoms for granted, losing sight of what is crucial in our desperate rush towards what is not. We overlook what so many gave up, will give up, for those freedoms.
In the process, we trample on, over, the foundations of our independence without even a thought for what it is we are doing.
Footnote 38 to chapter 1 of the book tells a story all of its own, underscoring the fact that there will always be those who will exploit our freedoms for their own gain. Footnote 38 is remarkable for the fact that the story it tells could be a story from the present, and not the past.
“Ahmad Boestamam (Abdullah Sani Raja Kecil) was born on 30 November 1920 in the village of Behrang Ulu near Tanjung Malim, Perak. His parents were Minangkabau immigrants from West Sumatra. He studied at the Anderson School, Ipoh and then began a career in journalism. He wrote for a number of local newspapers before writing for Kuala Lumpur-based Majlis; the editor was radical nationalist Ibrahim Yaakob. Boestamam was one of (Kesatuan Melayu Muda’s) founders. In 1941, he was arrested by the British for anti-government activities, and released by the Japanese during the occupation period. Boestamam returned to active politics in 1945 and took part in the formation of (Partai Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya), becoming head of (Angkatan Pemuda Insaf), its militant youth wing. After his detention by the British during the emergency (1 July 1948-28 June 1955), Boestamam was persuaded to found (Parti Rakyat Malaya). During the period of Konfrontasi with Indonesia, Boestamam was placed under detention by the Malaysian government. He was the first Malaysian member of parliament detained under the ISA…”