Articles, Opinions & Views: PSM and saving Malaysia from a kakistocracy By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
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“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

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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PSM and saving Malaysia from a kakistocracy By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Thursday, May 25, 2017
Malaysiakini : “Is ours a government of the people, by the people, for the people, or a kakistocracy rather, for the benefit of knaves at the cost of fools?”

- Thomas Love Peacock

COMMENT | Some of you may be wondering what “kakistocracy” means and I humbly suggest googling the word. Apparently, we are intent on saving the country from a kleptocracy but still have not figured out that mainstream politics - establishment and opposition - is intent on maintaining a kakistocracy. Nowhere is this more evident in the disrespectful and malicious manner PSM is treated by the opposition who supposedly want to bring about change.
I have seen opposition politicians attack PSM while making excuses for other opposition political parties and their own parties who have engaged in behaviour which is corrupt, mendacious and which betrays the principles that the opposition insists they have. I have read opposition supporters engage in the most malicious of propaganda attacking PSM political operatives, who have actually put in the hard grassroots level work of building communities among marginalised people.
Catchy political bromides are the currency and while a party like PSM goes about attempting to build consensus far away from the preoccupations of urban polities who mock in racial and religious terms the rural folk, mainstream opposition politics is dominated by issues far removed from the realities that would ultimately determine this upcoming election.
Whenever I read of how anonymous apparatchiks who accuse the PSM of being “greedy”, I realise why “the knaves will always benefit at the cost of fools”. Is it any wonder in attempting to explain why Umno always has the advantage, I drew upon the work of PSM’s Jeyakumar Devaraj (and the Penang state government-aligned Dr Wong Chin Huat) in attempt to offer a strategy in dealing with the hegemon.
The DAP's Sungkai state assemblyperson A Sivanesan's attack against the character and reputation of Jeyakumar is the kind of gutter politics that the opposition engages in. Folks who read my articles will recall how national president Mohd Nasir Hashim described the backstabbing by Pakatan (this time PAS) in the past election -
“…he (Mohd Nasir) emailed me a list of underhanded tricks that would make Carl Rove proud and commented: ‘PAS' crude campaign surpassed Umno-BN's style.
So unbecoming of PAS.
“‘We were literally on our own and got help from NGO friends. We were not prepared to fight PAS because they are not our principal enemy and our actions were construed as being weak,’ he said, reflecting on the recently concluded elections.”
Jeyakumar’s defence against the libel hurled against him by Sivanesan demonstrates the kind of politician Jeyakumar is. While he rightly threatens a lawsuit, he acknowledges the different backgrounds they come from but more importantly, acknowledges the privilege that his background affords him. Having said that, I will say (and this will no doubt embarrass the good country doctor) talk to the “old Penang people” and you would hear tales told in messianic fervour of this politician. I have this running joke with Jeyakumar that he is too nuanced for politics.
People have short attention spans. They want you to scream “kleptocracy” and then they pat you on the back. When Jeyakumar talks about corruption, he talks about the corruptive aspects of politics that democracy nurtures. He talks about how expectations from his constituents makes it harder for him to fulfill his obligations which goes far beyond merely satisfying their pecuniary needs.
What he says here - “‘I asked them, ‘do you want me to be clean or not?’’ he recalled. “‘You want your YB to be Santa Claus, a feudal lord giving away money... But at the same time, you want your YB to be clean. It doesn't jive,’ he stressed, adding that the role of politicians goes beyond just providing cash handouts or immediate assistance” - is something that many political operatives have said to me.
Exhibit no 1
Here is an excerpt of an interview I did with the Sungai Siput member of parliament after his arrest for allegedly carrying out “communist activities”. This part is useful because to demonstrate the kind of tensions that exists on the ground between people who need assistance and how their loyalties are constantly under siege. It is also an articulation of democracy in action - “It depends. Some communities have scolded the BN types who admonished them. Sometimes their overt support for us decreases for a bit, but if their main grievances are not handled by the BN, then it's a matter of time before they come back to us for assistance.
“So, in this game, timing is crucial. Sometimes we have to give them room to explore the options offered by the other side, and not try to hold them back by threats or ‘emotional blackmail’. But we must maintain contact so that we know when there is a need to mobilise them to protest some blatantly unfair decision of the government.”
I have made this argument before. The best way to deal with those marginalised groups who seem cut off from mainstream oppositional politics is to make an alliance with political parties like PSM. Grand national narratives do not get any traction with the voting groups that PSM engages with. This is another world and it is this way because the Umno hegemon set it up this way and the opposition has never had a genuine agenda to bridge this world and mainstream oppositional politics. Exhibit number one of never having a genuine agenda is the way in which it treats PSM. PSM secretary-general A Sivarajan said that there was no choice of stepping on toes but he is mistaken.
There is always a choice for both parties. I believe PSM could give a coalition like Pakatan, which has credibility issues and only partisans who have no clue as to what people think in the world outside the confines of their preferred echo chambers, long lasting value that would go beyond this election. Pakatan should make an electoral pact with PSM but more importantly, help them win those seats they are aiming because a grassroots-level caucus in Pakatan Harapan would be the first step in breaking into those secure Umno vote banks.
If this means sacrificing seats so be it because this caucus could be the means of destabilising the hegemon and returning democracy to the people. Jeyakumar warns the opposition not to “too confident, cocksure and arrogant," because he is better at reading the political tea leaves than the elites with their numerous flawed polls and their cunning strategies. He understands the nature of the political beast after years of struggling against it with comrades who did not rage against the Umno machine for personal gain.
However, I know nothing I say will change minds. While I do not agree with the ideological foundations of PSM, there is nothing in their manifesto which makes them at odds with the opposition. Even their stand on religion is clear and unequivocal which probably means that there could be an issue with Muslims in Pakatan who do not seem to have any trouble getting support from the so-called secular types in the opposition.
If you really support change, then you must come to the realisation that PSM is vital part of that change. However, if you think that they are just a distraction, then go on supporting political groups that have no incentive to genuinely carry out the reforms that Malaysia desperately needs. They assume they have your vote against a hegemon who unfortunately shapes the way how the opposition thinks and ultimately the direction of this country.
Even if you despise what I wrote here, go over to their website and see how you can contribute. Even if PSM comes out the loser in this election, you can be assured that their long hard work goes on and that PSM would ensure that your contributions reach the people that really need it.
posted by D Swami Gwekanandam @ 6:03 PM  

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