Monday, July 14, 2008

A couple of Hiroshis

A friend of mine who was just at the Rainforest World Music Festival had the good fortune of seeing Motofuji Hiroshi* perform live and not 20 minutes ago recommended I watch him. I did a search for "Hiroshi" on that dear old friend, Youtube and was pleasantly surprised to find I had encountered Motofuji-san before, in this clip:

I generally prefer to listen to taiko in an ensemble, e.g. Kodo or Yamato, but Motofuji Hiroshi is one of very, very few drummers with the mad skillz to be an ensemble in his own right.

On top of that, the search also turned up this nice little talk by Tasaka Hiroshi:

I think he makes some very valid points, indeed. And I love the way he obviously doesn't believe in the letter "v". However, being Malaysian (here we go...) some thoughts crossed my mind as he stressed the "wisdom of the crowd". I will say this as succintly and as accurately as possible: Here in Malaysia, the "crowd" is pretty fucking stupid. I'd better elaborate. This is not so much a fault of the "crowd" as much as a hideous failure of government policy in achieving an adequate standard of education**. Yes, Malaysia can read, write and count, most of the time. But the "crowd" is, for the most part, a bunch of selfish consumerist zombies. Very useful for driving an economy in the short-term, but very, very costly in terms of sustainability. The long and short of it is, Malaysia has hell of a lot of problems to address at all levels of society before it can even begin to think of the word "knowledge-based".

But seriously, when you think about it, Malaysia is NOT a player in the game of world civilizations, which is no doubt what Tasaka-san had in mind when he spoke of knowledge-based societies. More like the annoying baby cousin which everybody else has to elbow away from the board.

* For those of you unfamiliar with Japanese names and language, a Japanese name is usually stated surname first. They do switch it round sometimes for the benefit of foreigners, so this may lead to some confusion if you can't tell a Japanese first name from a surname.

** I have been very, very fortunate in receiving 7 years of British education to cure me of the silliness that is the Malaysian education system.

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