The Mind Imprisoned - Minda Tertawan

10:54:00 PM

The cover of the book written by Raja Ahmad Aminullah

I am currently in the middle of reading this book, Minda Tertawan: Intelektual, Rausyanfikir dan Kuasa.

I attended the book launch last Saturday at Universiti Malaya which I hope to post about it soon. From what I've read so far, the book basically encourages us to speak up with the knowledge that we have, question it, test the knowledge that we have without fear of reprisals. That is the only way out of the intellectual drain today. Although the book can be described as political, I think we should also apply it to our daily lives: Whether at work, in universities and schools or anywhere else (but not just for the sake of arguing ya). Proper debate stimulates the intellect, but must be done with an open mind so we can have room to accept other people's opinion too.

What was interesting about the event was that right after the launch by Baha Zain there was a forum titled Kemiskinan Intelektual (Intellectual Poverty) moderated by Nizal Mohammad (al-Hijrah) where there were four speakers: Tan Sei Hon (writer, artist and curator), Dr. Syed Husin Ali (activist and politician), Dr. Zakaria Ali (art historian and lecturer) and U-Wei Shaari (film-maker). The speakers were all from diverse backgrounds and it was very interesting to hear the opinions of these distinguished speakers. The forum was very lively and mind-opening, it was very refreshing and stimulating and the audience too, were very eager to be involved and contributed to the debate. It was such a shame that the forum had to be cut short because of the time. No, I didn't suddenly feel cleverer but it was a good forum for us to realize that differences of opinion can be healthy and is not dangerous. I'm putting it very mildly here. When we do not seek knowledge, or we do not test or reinforce the knowledge that we have, then we become intellectually impoverished.

I am suddenly reminded of the hadith taught in university that roughly translates:

Differences of opinion is a rahmah (blessing).

I certainly felt that during the forum this was the case.

Here are some other blogs that I found relating the book:

A post from our Sasterawan Negara (National Laureate) A. Samad Said. Oh, happy belated birthday Uncle A. Samad!

Be warned: This one is a little more direct and strong choice of words: Abdullah Jones

This is a balanced view: Muhammad Lutfi

And while waiting for my post on the event, you can read about the event here from this totally cute blogger I just came across! His posts are so sweet and informative! Check out this blog: Ahmad Ali Karim

You can buy the book from here.

I know, I know I keep saying that I'll post on so many things soon. Thing is it can't be helped. I've been reaching home late every day due to work. Last week I went back after midnight three days in a row. Not that I'm complaining but I've been really caught up with work that I haven't managed to spare time to blog. A lawyer's got to do what a lawyer's got to do. Although my work is very tiring, and I feel exhausted at times I am currently enjoying the challenge of my work.

Maybe this post is a bit deep. But I believe we should not waste away the intellect we have been blessed with.

I have managed to find some excerpts about the book.

"...Semuanya dalam suatu zaman kemiskinan intelektual di negara ini,
walaupun negara semakin kaya.
Buku ini menjadi semacam penawar kepada dunia intelektual yang sedang menipis."

(Muhammad Hj. Salleh (Prof. Dr.) Penyair & Sasterawan Negara )

"...Cabaran kita dewasa ini adalah untuk menerapkan
faham-faham yang telah dijelmakan oleh cendekiawan kita demi memperlihatkan
masalah-masalah yang masih menghinggapi masyarakat kita.
Buku ini merupakan satu usaha kearah memperlihatkan
masalah-masalah negara kita secara kritis dan
mengemukakan untuk pertimbangan kita bahawa
musuh terbesar kita sebenarnya adalah minda tertawan."

(Dr. Syed Farid Alatas, Assoc. Prof. , Head, Department of Malay Studies, National
University of Singapore)

“When society in general, with the individual in particular relinquishes the right to
think rationally, critically and behave responsibly in the interests of the collective
good of the nation, they leave their fate in the hands of the unscrupulous and
follow the ignoble. The appalling results of which we are experiencing today are
mendacities in our expressions, buffooneries in our actions, mediocrity in our
achievements, general apathy to injustices to our neighbors and degradation to our

“A long over due reflections and observations of an unassuming Malaysian
poet, writer, grassroots activist and a true gentleman, Raja Ahmad Aminullah’s
‘Minda yang Tertawan’ in a gentle and witty manner exposes the hypocrisies,
unconscionable lack of accountabilities and greed of those in positions (and those
still jostling for positions!). He stresses the only viable way out of the current morass
and quagmire facing the country is to return to our intellectual heritage and culture
of critical inquiry as a way of regaining our lost integrity, accountability and common
sense decency.

(Tan Sei Hon, Writer and Curator)

Food for thought. Till my next post.

Edit : You can get the paperback copy for RM23 at Kinokuniya KLCC or you can contact me via email. :)

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  1. Dear Kakak R Nadia,
    Thank you for the nice words about my blog :) And thank you for the link. I always enjoy going to Uncle Raja Ahmad Aminullah's event.

  2. Thanks for sharing. I just searched for this book because BFM interviewed Raja Ahmad and it sounds really interesting!