Congrats to the UM VC!

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I refer to the Malaysiakini report Invite to Nobel laureate scrapped after 'protest from students' .

I am writing to congratulate Rafiah Salim, the vice-chancellor of Universiti Malaya for bravely and single-handedly putting Malaysian academia back into the international spotlight.

Well done, Rafiah. By caving in to some obviously hidebound ‘Iranian students’ and cancelling Iranian Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi’s scheduled lecture on 'Islam and Cultural Diversity' at UM, you gratuitously displayed to the world your university administration’s equally immaculate bigoted view of academic freedom and the pursuit of knowledge.

Certainly, as Malaysians who already are the most informed in the world and living in a diverse multi-cultural society, we have no need to listen to ‘nobody’ Nobel Laureates like Shirin Ebadi, right?

I mean, what else does Ebadi know and what else can she tell us about ‘Islam and Cultural Diversity’ that we in Malaysia, with the help of our ‘Iranian students’, do not already know? So, well done.

I also gushingly applaud Rafiah Salim’s robust defence of the emotional health of ‘our Iranian students’. After all, if these blinkered ‘Iranian students’ are unhappy about ‘nobody’ Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi’s views and don’t want to listen to her, let alone allow others to explore any ideas that are different from their intolerant views, then surely we in Malaysian academia have to dance a jackboot march to their tune even if it is reminiscent of the Third Reich, no?

Well, Rafiah, you and your administration have pretty good goosestep dance moves, that’s for sure. I’m certain that all those now ‘happy Iranian students’ will gladly give you a 45-degree full-handed salute.

And if you listen closely, you might hear them happily utter ‘Seig Heil’! What courage you display in protecting the fragile emotions of our ‘Iranian students’. Truly well beyond the call of academic duty. Well done!

In this excellent spirit of ‘Malaysia Boleh’ and to ensure Malaysian academia’s continued international prominence, may I humbly suggest that you now direct the UM chief librarian to identify and publicly burn all books authored by Shirin Ebadi and other Iranian scholars of ‘Islam and Cultural Diversity’ that the ‘Iranian students’ don’t like.

I am sure those ‘Iranian students’ can very quickly draw up an extended list of disagreeable books that make them unhappy for your immediate action. Indeed, why stop at Iranian scholars, Islam and Cultural Diversity?

Why not just burn the whole UM library down so that all in Malaysian academia (led of course, by ‘our happy Iranian students’) can return to the raw pristine beauty of our vain-glorious collective ignorance.

Indeed, I am sure those ‘Iranian students’ and your administration would gladly welcome such a move as a significant civilisational move forward; Malaysian academia’s leap of faith into the brave new world of the 21st century!

Hurrah!

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