Articles, Opinions & Views: Sacrificing sacred cows on the altar of change By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
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In A Foxhole
“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God


Which must always come to pass

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He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?


Have you always turned the other cheek?


To My Church have you been true?"


"No, Lord, I guess I ain't


Because those of us who carry guns


Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around


Except to calm their fears.


If you've a place for me here,


Lord, It needn't be so grand,


I never expected or had too much,


But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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Sacrificing sacred cows on the altar of change By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, September 26, 2016
Malaysiakini“The rules and reasons the political system employs to enforce status relations of any kind, including racial hierarchy, evolve and change as they are challenged.” 
 
- Michelle Alexander, ‘The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness’

I found Dr Lim Mah Hui’s reply in the Letters section to the posturing of DAP councillor Chris Lee timely and indicative of the abysmal state of oppositional discourse in this country. I would just like to publically state that I am supportive of Lim and indeed hold him and his colleagues, some who I count as close friends, in the highest regard.
Chris Lee’s “Where are you when the real battles are being fought?” attack on Lim seems to be the only way some opposition folks can retaliate when unable to come up with convincing counter arguments. We know where Lim was and while I was not exactly playing into the hands of BN, I was serving the instruments of political power which I guess to people like Chris and most probably many oppositions supporters, made me a running dog.
Of course, folks like Chris seem to forget that it was the majority of Malaysians who voted in Barisan National and sustained the Umno hegemon for decades and poured scorn on the opposition whose rhetoric was vastly different from the kool aid they are dispensing these days.
This brings me to what the honourable representative from Pandan, Rafizi Ramli, said about our post-1969 political eco-system based on racialists thinking of the 1969 riots. While I would argue that the riots were a manufactured incident to sustain political hegemony, I think that any attempt to remould our political eco system without slaying scared communal cows would be doomed to failure. While I have had my public disagreements with the young PKR vice-president, I believe that he has, together with some of his fellow opposition comrades and yes, even certain politicians from across the aisle, the right stuff to lead this country. However, leading the country and transforming the country are mutually exclusive.
Rafizi made two points that I found particularly interesting. The first was the alienation felt by the disenfranchised who were supposed to be the recipients of a political system meant to correct whatever historic and systemic inequalities at the time [and thereafter] and the second the inevitability of change despite the intransigence of the ruling elite.
Concerning the first point. Some years back in No Brave New Malaysia, I made a couple of observations of my own. “The two most important lessons the long Umno watch has taught me. First, the federal government should not be entrusted to carry out policies based either on race or on need. The second, power should be decentralised.”
In the article, I argued that any sort of affirmative action policy, race-based or otherwise, was something we should consider abandoning. I would argue that young people depending on which communal group they are forced to identify with, I say forced because neither the Umno Establishment or opposition has abandoned the race game, either are not a part of the system - non-Malays - or part of a system that is failing them - Malays.
Indeed recently in my piece about challenging Umno orthodoxy, the Umno representative, Razlan Rafii, made two banal observations which best define Malay supremacy which was (1) “This is our struggle, we should press on without stopping. When do we stop? When the New Economic Policy (NEP) achieves 30 percent (equity for Malays)” and (2) “This is our country, if we want to talk about the struggle for Malays, then the special privileges should not be questioned and it should be granted to Malays indefinitely.”
Hence, affirmative action - the sacred cow of Umno dogma - if it goes unchallenged will remain an obstacle for an egalitarian Malaysia. Now some folk will argue for a needs-based system, which is fine, but I have never seen any concrete blueprints from the opposition or the opposition supporting any such initiatives.
Needing to entertain certain Malay preoccupations
What I have seen is the opposition and unfortunately even the honourable representative from Pandan mindful of the fact that they need to entertain certain Malay preoccupations because of the need for Malay votes.
This also makes the kind of change against the intransigent elites extremely dangerous. What am I talking about here? I am talking about the role of Islam in galvanising or radicalising the majoritarian population at the expense of democratic ideals.
The only way forward for Malaysia is a secular society. The only way forward for Malaysia if Islam ceases being weaponised by the state. The only way forward for Malaysia if Malay identity and culture are not at the mercy of the noxious dogma emanating from the House of Saud and not at the mercy of the Umno state or whichever type of state that emerges if and when Umno is replaced. History has shown that when corrupt Muslim potentates fall they are replaced with theocratic regimes, which are worse than those that they supplanted. History has shown that using Islam as a vehicle for democratic change lasts so long as Islamists are not in power.
Under the long Umno watch, Islam has been used as an indoctrination tool and it has become so effective that there are many people unlike the Umnoputras who honestly believe that their religion is under threat from Western hegemonic interests and the world would be a better place, under an Islamic theocracy.
Hence secularism and a progressive Malay middle class should be the main priority of an opposition interested in legitimate change. In one of my numerous articles on Islam I made the following observations : “The opposition does not encourage a progressive Malay middle-class or secularism when it:
1. Makes and then breaks alliances with Islamic sects.
2. Continues to fund state Islamic concerns and in some cases doubles the funding of such organisations.
3. When the opposition refuses to take a stand against certain Islamic provocations or demurs to engage with blatant discrimination because of the fear of offending their Muslim/Malay base or appearing anti-Islam.
4. When the opposition takes an agree to disagree on position instead of engaging with Islam based on their supposed secular values, because to do so would jeopardise their electoral chances.
I will say it again. If the opposition does not become organised in a secular manner, the opposition will continue to be paralysed by Islam.”
Now I understand that removing prime minister Najib Abdul Razak is paramount. I understand that with the recent Umno delineation agenda, that objective has become more difficult. I understand that most people especially those whose hatred for Umno blinds them to anything else, have no real interests in these ideas especially if it hampers the objective of removing Najib.
However this I know for sure, chasing the Malay vote using the dogma of Umno is amplifying mistakes instead of rectifying them and ultimately a progressive Malaysia is better than one merely led by a political party using the same old Umno dogma.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 7:17 PM  
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