"The duty of a patriot is to protect his country from its government." - Thomas Paine
COMMENT With each passing year, it gets
more and more difficult to celebrate Merdeka. With each passing year,
the Umno establishment attempts to coerce some form of "patriotism" that
gives form to the charade that we are one big happy multiracial family. The latest brew from the cauldrons of Putrajaya as espoused by Communications and Multimedia Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek (left),
is the playing of the national anthem and two patriotic clips before
movie screenings for a couple of days before and after Merdeka.
movie-goers shall stand up when national anthem is played to show
respect. And cinema operators will in charge of monitoring this," he said.
let me get this straight. Some young cinema ushers are going to
"monitor" a group of Malaysians in their patriotic duty of standing up
for the national anthem.
Shabery continues in what was described
as a "quip" but I like to think of it as an ominous fascist
foreshadowing, "I hope I don't have to arrange police personnel to
station in the cinema."
With the crime rate as it is, with the
home minister going on about giving a list of "gangster organisations"
that supposedly threaten the fragile security of this country, which in
turn necessitates, the creation or reviving of repressive laws, the good
minister thinks it appropriate to post police personnel at cinemas to
ensure that Malaysians are patriotic.
In addition, think of the
endless permutations of the politics of hate something like this could
foster. Pro-establishment blogs would no doubt have a field day
uploading pictures of "disrespectful" Malaysians who do not stand up for
the national anthem or whatever other acts could be termed as
disrespectful to ‘Malay' institutions.
No doubt these uploaded
pictures would prominently feature Malaysians from the Chinese community
because according to the right-wing narrative coming out of Umno, the
so-called Chinese tsunami is what endangers their hegemony at this point
of time. Apa lagi Cina mahu? Utusan Malaysia,
the Umno mouthpiece goes on about "Apa lagi Cina mahu?" which begs the
question after 56 years, the Umno powers-that-be do not know. Meanwhile
during the fasting month, the rather ludicrous suggestion of "fasting in
solidarity" with our Muslims brothers and sisters was attempted in the
hopes of fostering unity. Never
mind that there has been no movement from the Muslim community that has
ever attempted such an act of goodwill on a national-level concerning
observing the religious obligations of non-Muslims.
Islamists in this country are so intent on safeguarding the sanctity of
Muslim houses of worship that they are willing to demolish such a holy
site if it is "infected" by the inclusion of another religion on its
Meanwhile, "director of criminal investigations (CID)
Bukit Aman Hadi Ho Abdullah said the police records of known gang
members revealed that 71 percent were Indians." So, I guess we know what Indians ‘mahu', right?
Perhaps if Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had any intention of doing
his job he would not be asking Deputy Minister in the PM's Department P
Waythamoorthy to quitthe
government but instead ask the law enforcement agencies to work with
the cabinet member specifically chosen (or we are told) to address this
problem and come up with workable solutions.
Of course, Waythamoorthy having beseeched the Indian community to
return two-thirds majority to Umno-BN is discovering that taming the
beast from the inside is near impossible but what is worse is that such
efforts are in direct contradiction to the business as usual agenda of
this supposed "reforming" regime.
Any comment of mine on the
plight of the Orang Asli and the ‘other' bumiputera of this country
would merely be lip service to whatever principles were supposed to get
them out of the quagmire they are in but so far, neither alliance has
seen fit to address their plight with any sincere effort.
A few days before our big Independence day celebration, normally characterised by closed roads and displays of patriotism, The Sun runs a story titled 'Robber cops'of one Malaysian who went out of his way to foil snatch thieves only to discover they were off-duty police officers.
Saravanan Batumalai is an example of a right-thinking Malaysian acting
on nobler instincts to protect a fellow Malaysian, which to me is the
best example of patriotism.
Another example is the comment piece by the ever-reliable R Nadeswaran - 'No cover up'-
which not only deal with Saravanan's act and the police response to it
but also reaffirms his stand on having an ombudsman for all enforcement
agencies and government departments and not just an Independent Police
Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) for the police force.
stand has earned him some rather unflattering commentary from certain
quarters but in my opinion is perfectly reasonable and well-defended.
Hari Raya open houses
Ever since the ascendance of Pakatan Rakyat as a credible alternative
to BN, and the total dominance the alternative alliance has over the
online discourse, dissenting voices have been marginalised or vilified.
From issues such as the Lynas debate and issues of race, both alliances
have sought to control the discourse through hate speech or through the
1Malaysia or Bangsa Malaysia propaganda.
This is something any
right-thinking Malaysian should be cognisant off. Reading about these
so-called robber cops got me thinking of the recent open house I
attended by invitation by the Royal Malaysian Navy held in KD Sri
There not only did I reconnect with comrades I had lost
touch with, but I also spent a great deal of time with former crew
members from the various ships I served on. These "ratings" (other
ranks) that were mostly Form Three dropouts had served under me in
various capacities over the years.
They insisted I meet their
families and informed me that time spent in service enabled them to
guide their children to higher education and a "better life". Every
single one of them reminded me that discipline, hard work and a "hippy
Indian officer" that was very tough but fair, ensured they get the
required skills and proper mindset to survive and prosper with honour
Every time I read about another scandal involving
the security apparatuses of the state or I read jingoistic statements
from personalities using these institutions for propagandistic purposes,
I get extremely upset. These days such institutions have been
politicised and they have no credibility whatsoever.
see military or police parades, I am reminded of another time and
service that produced Malaysians like those I met at the Hari Raya open
house. Thank the heavens the Umno establishment has had a rethink in the
way how it handles public demonstrations because, the image of the
security forces in the minds of the rakyat these days, is one that is
used against them instead of institutions which are supposed to
safeguard their interest.
Personally, I have had enough of
slogans, propaganda and the promises of a better Malaysia. As long as we
do not progress this Merdeka celebration like many others before it and
after, will always be a farce orchestrated by the likes of ‘Tanda
Putera' director Shuhaimi Baba.