Articles, Opinions & Views: Harapan should also collaborate with Uthayakumar - 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."
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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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Harapan should also collaborate with Uthayakumar - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, August 21, 2017
Malaysiakini : “I served the highest prison sentence in this country for a sedition charge, at two and a half years and later reduced to two years by the Court of Appeal, for highlighting the plight of the most vulnerable and most racially, religiously and economically victimised Indian poor by the supremacist Umno regime. I stand by what I said and did. I have no regrets.”- P Uthayakumar

COMMENT | Former prime minister and de facto opposition leader Dr Mahathir Mohamad is right when he said that Indian representation in Pakatan Harapan is inadequate. He is also correct when he claimed in the nomenclature of that specific class (read this as the hypocritical ruling elite class (establishment and opposition), that Hindraf in its various incarnations represents the marginalised Indian communities rather than the urban professional opposition-leaning class of the Indian Malaysian polity.
As for Umno vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein’s contention that Mahathir’s alleged unilateral decision to meet Persatuan Hindraf Malaysia (PHM) chief P Waythamoorthy as indicative of the lack of “team spirit” within Harapan, I would like to remind the minister that pacts amongst kleptocrats and their enablers does not qualify as “team spirit”.
Meanwhile, MIC Youth chief R Sivarraajh is in dreamland if he thinks that the Indian community has lost faith in Hindraf. The marginalised Indian community has lost faith in politics, period, and there is an overt distrust of the thuggish behaviour of the MIC, and more importantly the establishment, when it comes to religious matters that concern the Indian community. Waythamoorthy openly challenging Zakir Naik plays better with them than a minister who makes excuses as to the delay of a bill which corrects unilateral conversion. Chew on that for a minute.
It is great to see that DAP would keep an open mind on this matter, because really, when you are collaborating with a right-wing “Malay only” political party, what are you going to say about Hindraf or any politician who “champions” Indian rights? That we are not a race-based coalition? Seriously, get over yourselves.
However, Harapan should also collaborate with P Uthayakumar. Hindraf partisans should not take this to mean that I favour one brother over the other, but rather, that both working with the opposition should be able to galvanise the Indian community, which is apparently needed to “save Malaysia”.
In fact, Harapan should give Uthayakumar a place at the Harapan table by allocating a seat for him in whatever constituency they think he will be most effective. If anyone is a credible candidate for galvanising marginalised communities, it is P Uthayakumar.
Not only has he on-the-ground knowledge of working class issues, he has spoken truth to power to the Umno establishment and the opposition. He has been jailed by the regime and instead of being chastised, he has taken up prison reform as a means to combat social injustice.
You can read my most recent interviews with him here about his incarceration and his efforts in prison reform – “As it stands, I see a lack of political will because the Indian poor draw no or very little political mileage in Malaysia. If we are serious about bringing down the crime rate, then we must discard the race, colour, creed and religious considerations.”
On a collision course
Uthayakumar’s politics have always been confrontational but not in the mainstream sense, which is blame everything on Umno. He mixes politically incorrect rhetoric with deeper societal truths that have never gone done well with mainstream political activists and politicians drunk on the Bangsa Malaysia kool aid.
In a series of interviews after I was declared Hindraf’s public enemy number one, which you can read here, it was apparent that Uthayakumar was on a collision course with not only the Umno regime but also with the then Pakatan Rakyat.
“The Hindraf struggle is about permanent and wholesome solutions from Umno and Pakatan state governments as granted to the bi-racial 1Malaysian Malay and Chinese communities and not the temporary piecemeal solutions for the Indian poor like dishing out hampers, rice bags, ang pows, mock cheques and other handouts.
“Hindraf supports regime change and wishes Pakatan all the best, but it does not want the federal government to be replaced by an Umno clone. Nevertheless, on a people-to-people basis, the Indians have no or very little problems with the Malay or Chinese communities at the ground level.” Talking to Uthayakumar these days, his views may have been tempered but he still has a deep level of cynicism towards the political elites of this country. No doubt this new alliance with former Umno powerbrokers may not sit well with him, which is why Harapan should consider having someone like him, who has no trouble speaking to power if only to establish a rapport with communities outside the oppositional mainstream.
Mind you, this article was not written on the request of Uthayakumar. I have no idea if he would be interested in collaborating with Harapan or even if he is interested in getting back into politics. Here is a man who because of his “race” has felt what most other oppositional politicians who have fared similarly with the Umno have not.
That is by virtue of his marginalisation – granted, his polemics did not help – was maliciously treated by the state as a criminal instead of a political prisoner. This, of course, was a mistake since for someone like Uthayakumar it merely meant that he focused on a cause that most people had no interest in – prison reform.
What have we seen in the past few weeks? We have seen the sordid state of our prison system. We have seen how the system inflicts abuse, disregard rights, in many cases actually sanction the murder of prisoners by action or negligence.
These are problems which have an overt effect on society and while there are many committed activists who seek solutions to these problems, having Uthayakumar as a spokesperson for this issue and his history with advocating for the marginalised of the Indian community would be something more than mere tokenism for Harapan.
I have no idea if anyone from Harapan has reached out to Uthayakumar or if he is even interested in this possible gig, but I do think that this is a good opportunity for Harapan to attract votes from the marginalised community by having Waythamoorthy and Uthayakumar on board the Harapan Express. Lastly, I would like to thank Centre for Policy Initiatives director Lim Teck Ghee for this article and contextualising how and why Uthayakumar would be an asset to Harapan.
As usual, he keeps this writer honest.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 3:07 PM  
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