The Unity Fetish

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fe·tish
noun \fe-tish also fē-\
: a strong and unusual need or desire for something
: a need or desire for an object, body part or activity for sexual excitement
: an object that is believed to have magical powers

Building a nation involves sustained emotional stimulation, while building a state is more of a legal and technical matter. Balancing the two is the key to social stability and dynamism.

The collective individual

Malaysia is a land of diversity. However, the need to adopt the nation-state structure to replace colonialism disposed the country’s post-colonial leaders to see its diversity as a weakness – in fact, as potential dynamite.

No doubt, much of that diversity was politically salient and basically of a divisive nature. Agendas and values among potential nation builders did differ greatly, and the two forces that had, on good grounds, always been thought to be most dangerous were communalism and communism.


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