Articles, Opinions & Views: When Harapan can’t talk about race and religion - 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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When Harapan can’t talk about race and religion - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Malaysiakini : “Beware the ridiculous. It will one day rule you.” - Steven Dietz, ‘God's Country’
COMMENT | We do not normally see pieces like Fa Abdul’s piece ‘And the award for best actor goes to…’ on Malaysiakini very often. This is to say that the “serious stuff” that Fa Abdul wrote is ignored for pieces that highlight the corruption scandals in this country and not the underlying moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the opposition.
I realise long-standing friends from the opposition do not like it when I write these – as one political operative often says – “screeds”. However as each day passes, I keep thinking of how even if the opposition loses in the upcoming general election, they will not have the moral or intellectual high ground. Those people who voted opposition would not be able to say they voted for change but did not succeed. 
If “racism” is such a big issue to people who support the opposition, if the systemic inequalities that some describe as an “apartheid” system is really destroying this country, then do we really have a future when the opposition will never address these issues? Even if by some miracle they do manage to take over Putrajaya, the opposition would always be beholden to a demographic that supports institutionalised racism.
When questioning the Pakatan Harapan new deal, I wrote – “Anti-Chinese narratives fuel ‘ketuanan’ politics and while it may seem like a good political strategy to further the narratives that the Malay community is under threat from foreign Chinese intervention, the reality is thanks to Biro Tatanegara (BTN) courses, the social contract, the racist rhetoric of Umno, the ‘putar belit’ narratives of the opposition, this meme that the Malay community will always be under siege, is what is going to destroy this country in the near future.”
This is why racial politics in this country is so screwed up. While Bersatu Youth chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman gets to wax eloquent about how a Chinese man is a hero because he defended a Malay man in a political gathering organised by right-wing Malay nationalists – and this is precisely what Bersatu is - Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Abdul Aziz, a member of another right-wing nationalistic Malay party, gets to call Perkasa – a right-wing nationalistic NGO - "racist" because Perkasa cast aspersions on “Chinese” (PRC) development in Malaysia
While I have claimed that a two-party system is the only moral and intellectual argument that one could make for supporting the opposition, the reality is that I think no political party is interested in resolving the systemic dysfunction in this country because the single issue of removing Najib from power dominates mainstream politics these days. Consider this piece as an attack on my own argument.
Let say the opposition removes Prime Minister Najib Razak from power, then what? Does the opposition stop all trade deals with China that the past regime made? Does the new regime repeal all those “security laws” that the former “kleptocrat” made? Does the new alliance stop peddling in identity and racial politics that they claim was needed to oust the Najib regime?
Does the new regime start up local council elections even though former prime minister, now the de facto opposition leader, Dr Mahathir Mohamad has claimed that this would be detrimental to race relations in this country?
Wrong path
Will Islamic extremism – which I am on record believing this as the existential threat facing Malaysia –  be halted because the new regime is “secular in nature? On every “Islamic” issue that has cropped up, and please keep in mind Islam and race here in Malaysia are not mutually exclusive, the opposition (especially Muslim opposition politicians enabled by their non-Muslims counterparts) have dodged, evaded or fudged from taking any stand which is opposite from the ruling Umno regime.
This is why, this passage from my article – ‘Benching Umno will not preserve our constitution –  was greeted which much dismay from certain opposition political operatives who claimed that I was “attacking” the opposition when there are bigger issues at stake.
“While everyone was blaming Umno for the ‘sandiwara’ of PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s bill, the reality is that Muslim politicians, especially from the opposition, made no clear statements on their stand on this Islamic bill. Now some would argue that this is about playing the game safe and being mindful of the ‘Malay’ vote but the reality is that since there are no Muslim oppositional voices that are a direct contrast with that of Umno and PAS, there can be no alliances that defend and preserve the secularity of the constitution.”
Fa Abdul asks, “But if right is right and wrong is wrong, why do we take the wrong path to achieve what is right?” Of course, some people would say that we have to be pragmatic. Yes, because pragmatism under the decades-long Umno rule delivered us to the current Najib regime. Pragmatism has led us to collude with the supposed architects of the mess we are in and pragmatism means that oppositional apparatchiks attack committed activists who voice concerns about the trend of falling back into old bad habits would mean further erosions of our civil rights and liberties.
I have given this hint before - “If you want to stop religious and racial extremism, stop funding - on a state level - institutions that enable such impulses in the guise of reaching out to the Malay/Muslim community. As long as you are held ransom to the idea that in order to defeat Umno you must use the same tactics to secure the Malay vote, there is always going to be that Malay tilt to Umno.”
Here is the thing, though. There is nothing anyone can say that would change people’s mind. I worry about the day when a smart Umno political operative would debate an oppositional political operative and it would be revealed that beyond the 1MDB issue there is not much difference between the opposition and the establishment when it comes to policy and ideology, especially now that Bersatu is in the mix.
It would not make a difference though. It has become so bad that opposition leaders cannot talk about race or religion anymore because of what the opposition and its supporters have embraced.
If that is not the definition of the wrong path, I do not know what it.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 11:47 AM  
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