Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Thugs allowed to set agenda

Brave New World (The Star)
25 June 2014

All I see is a darkness populated by the shrill screeching of the hatemongers, but it does not need to be like this.


MALAYSIA is turning into a hateful country
Hate; it is such an ugly word. Yet I can’t think of anything else to describe what is happening here, the land where I am to spill my blood.
But then, why should I care? I am after all an intruder and immigrant.
Yes, I realise that when the racists speak about intruders and immigrants, they mean non-Malay intruders and immigrants; this despite the fact that many so-called Malays are actually of foreign origin. But I am not a hypocrite like them.
I know my roots and they spread to Yemen, to Medan, to Singapore. I wasn’t even born here. Yet I believe that I have as much right to be here as anyone else and my fellow Malaysians have just as much right as me.
And still the question remains: why should I care?
I don’t have the answer to that question because I am not a very philosophical man. Yet I know this; I have no desire to live in the Yemen, or Medan or Singapore.
And as much as I loved my significant time in England, I always knew that I would come home. And home is here, Malaysia.
Forgive the overly sentimental tangent this article is taking, but I am trying to make sense of my world as I write. It is hard to be purely analytical when one’s home is being slowly destroyed by the bigoted, small-minded, cruel and vicious.
This place is my home because I grew up here. My memories and therefore my identity are tied up to this place.
My tastes, my relationships, my way of thinking, in short everything that makes me the individual that I am, are due to this place.
But what kind of place is it now? It looks to me like the kind of place where the vicious can threaten to behead people, where those who are meant to be the final arbiters are unwilling or incapable of making judgments based on the principles they have sworn to uphold.
It is a place where cowardly leaders think only of their votes and not of making a stand against vile people and their vile deeds.
There is so much going on which is going to affect our basic needs of hearth and security. While the wheels of capitalism turn, we the ordinary folk are going to find it harder and harder to just make ends meet.
Yet we allow thugs to set the agenda. We allow non-issues to become national debating points. We allow the vicious to go on screaming malicious words with God on their lips and hatred in their hearts.
All this when we are living in a country with so much potential and wealth. If we can ensure that the truly needy, regardless of their creed or colour are protected and helped; if we can move our education system towards one where we produce thinking people and not well-educated automatons; if we can create a government in all its guises which is dedicated to honesty and the rule of law.
If we can do all these things, then the future will be more secure for all of us. It is there, within reach.
Instead there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel and all I see is a darkness populated by the shrill screeching of the hatemongers.
It does not need to be like this. If the face of this country is as twisted and ugly to you as it is to me, we can still do something.
We can challenge our elected representatives into a corner. Force them to tell us where they stand.
We can support the downtrodden. We can gather together in huge numbers to make a stand not for any political reason, but to show the bigots that they are not the only ones in this land and that their cruel philosophies are not welcome.
We can think for ourselves and not simply allow those with so-called authority to dictate our thoughts for us. We can be fearless in deed, words and thoughts to uphold the values that surely any country needs to hang on to – fairness, compassion, kindness, freedom and justice.
This country is becoming so hateful; that is true. But I am not yet ready to hate it. Are you?

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