The Culture of Poverty – Budaya kaum Miskin

Ia  sesuatu yang melemaskan, pandangan sterotaip mengatakab budaya malas, “biar papa asalkan bergaya”. tidak menepati waktu, mau cepat kaya sebagai budaya Melayu. Bukannya itu pandangan luar, malahan orang Melayu sendiri percaya itu budaya mereka. Apabila ia dikukuhkan olih bangsa lain, ia menjadi steriotaip yang tidak adil malahan berbau perkauman atau rasism.

Lebih malang sekali, sehingga  seorang sasterawan negara usman awang menobatkan ciri-ciri negatif Melayu  didalam puisinya. Saya hanya dapat menyatakan betapa kunonya  usman awang, dan betapa saya tidak memaafkannya. Sila lawati  https://inspigoblog.wordpress.com/2007/01/21/maal-hijrah-hari-pembebasan-menyahkan-stereotaip-melayu-kuno-usman-awang/ 

Blogger dan pakarbedah terkenal Bakri Musa didalam diskussi maya membuka mata saya dan pertama kali memberi perspektif baru bahawa budaya negatif sedemikian adalah budaya oranng miskin, tidak terhad kepada orang melayu sahaja. Budaya yang sama dan peribahasa yang serupa digunakan dan diamalkan olih kaum marhaen ireland, kaum marhaen mexico malahan olih simiskin dikalangan keturunan Peranchis Quebec.

Beliau menulis “This “culture of poverty” is well recognized, as exemplified by the Irish in America at the early part of the last century, and also among the Irish in Ireland right up till the 1960s. I have seen this culture among French Canadians in Quebec in the early 1960s, and today among the poor Hispanics in the barrios of America.

The American sociologist Oscar Lewis first coined this term. His book, Culture of Poverty was first published in 1966 and now has a more recent release. Others have now expanded on his thesis. Culture (to be differentiated from race or ethnicity) plays a major role in economic development.
This culture of poverty is not unique to Malays. The reason Malaysians (Malays and non-Malays) associate this culture with Malays is because we form the bulk of the poor and underclass in the country.”

Ada berita yang bolih dijadikan inspirasi kepada orang melayu. Budaya ini bolih diubah. Lihat sahajalah kemajuan yang dicapai olih orang Irish di Ireland. Memangbenar, jika bergaul dengan sahabat berbangsa Irish, kita seolah-olah sebangsa, suka berhibur, suka berlibur. Hari ini ekonomi Ireland lebih maju daripada England dan sahabat-sahabat Irish yang saya kenali, punya budaya sejagat yang dikagumi.  Perkara yang sama dilihat dikalangan penduduk Quebec keturunan Peranchis.

Perbezaannya mereka telah menyoal taksub membuta terhadap gereja katolik. Mereka menyoal peranan paderi-paderi dalam hidup mereka yang mengongkong.  Perubahan pokok yang kedua adalah sistem pendidikan yang berani diubah.

Berbalik kepada orang Melayu, sekiranya lebih ramai yang memerdekaan diri dengan meneliti dan memahami isi Quran tanpa gangguan, jika mereka berpandangan terbuka terhadap ilmu dan punya penguasaan bahasa dunia untuk mencari Ilmu, perubahan yang sama, malahan lebih menkjubkan akan dikecapi.

The people in the culture of poverty have a strong feeling of marginality, of helplessness, of dependency, of not belonging. They are like aliens in their own country, convinced that the existing institutions do not serve their interests and needs. Along with this feeling of powerlessness is a widespread feeling of inferiority, of personal unworthiness. This is true of the slum dwellers of Mexico City, who do not constitute a distinct ethnic or racial group and do not suffer from racial discrimination. In the United States the culture of poverty of the Negroes has the additional disadvantage of racial discrimination. People with a culture of poverty have very little sense of history. They are a marginal people who know only their own troubles, their own local conditions, their own neighborhood, their own way of life. Usually, they have neither the knowledge, the vision nor the ideology to see the similarities between their problems and those of others like themselves elsewhere in the world. In other words, they are not class conscious, although they are very sensitive indeed to status distinctions. When the poor become class conscious or members of trade union organizations, or when they adopt an internationalist outlook on the world they are, in my view, no longer part of the culture of poverty although they may still be desperately poor. (Lewis 1998)

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2 Responses to The Culture of Poverty – Budaya kaum Miskin

  1. Ramumenon says:

    An issue arises. Did culture cause poverty or vice versa?

    If we change one, will it change the other?

    I believe Lewis was an anthropologist. Lewis’ work is another in a long list of works that try to link economic behaviors to personality, culture, religion etc. That tradition goes way back to sociologist Max Weber who wrote his “Protestant Ethic and Spirit of Capitalism” fifty plus years before Lewis’ work. Weber was providing an alternative perspective to Karl Marx.

    I would argue that culture alone does not explain Malay poverty. You would also need to focus on what may be called “structural” factors to explain poverty among Malays. The structural factors include the impact of colonialism, starting with the Portuguese period but realistically the impact of the British on Malay society. The British had a huge impact on changing Malaya, and the perception of the colonial authorities towards the Malays led to a “paternal” if not “discriminatory” treatment against them. And of course the discussion of structural changes should also include the role of non-Malays since they were part of the new economy that the British set up.

    Also, the history of states like Perlis, Kedah, Trengganu and Kelantan were different because they were under Thai rule until about 100 odd years ago. The so-called non-federated states. Today, in 2008, Malay poverty today is especially high in these “non federated” states – this suggests that some structural explanation is probably needed.

    I feel another key issue in Malaysia today, with NEP, is the growing income gap between the rich and poor, including Malays. How did some Malays break out of poverty successfully?

    I think education and access to education is the key.

    Also, there are Indians and Chinese in Malaysia who are trapped in the “culture of poverty.” The discussion of the causes (structural, cultural, political) of poverty across the racial/ethnic groups should be encouraged.

    One final point – I’ve often felt that are many parallels between French Canadians or Quebecois and the Malays as regards changes in economic and social conditions in the last 40-50 years . Someone needs to study the parallels more closely.

  2. … it never rain but it pours….maybe the study should also look at the symbiotic relationship between master and servant…present in many cultures and at many levels….

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