Articles, Opinions & Views: Our problem is not the sharks but the rodents - 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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Our problem is not the sharks but the rodents - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Thursday, November 02, 2017
Malaysiakini : “People who don't expect justice don't have to suffer disappointment.” ― Isaac Asimov, ‘The Robots of Dawn’
COMMENT | At the beginning of this year, as reported by Reuters, Mexico’s lower house of Congress was changed to ‘Chamber of Rats’ on Google Maps.
“Pranksters changed the name of Mexico’s lower house of Congress to the ‘Chamber of Rats’ on Google Maps on Tuesday in the latest dig at the political class during a testing start to the year for the country’s government. The lower house, also known as the Chamber of Deputies, became the ‘Chamber of Rats’, using the Spanish word ‘rata’, which is also slang for thief in Mexico.”
I found this very amusing not just because as a Malaysian I could relate to those pranksters who were merely (and correctly) relabelling the politicians whose corruption was screwing up the country, but also because as we all know the real problem here in Malaysia is not the sharks but the rodents. The rodents who infest the system that would carry on operating even if all the sharks were hunted to extinction.
These rodents are aware that as long as the sharks are there, they are safe from scrutiny. They understand that with the way the system works, with its many sacred cows of race and religion, most things are permissible. The current Umno grand poobah's mistake is not that he is allegedly corrupt; it is that he disavowed the traditional system and political personalities that nurtured him.
Mind you, it is never a good thing for democracy – if that means anything – to tell your political base that you would hunt down your political opponent if you won the election. The Malaysian Official 1 (MO1) is a legal issue - not a political one - hence, the proper response should be that you have an independent attorney-general, an independent judiciary and an independent state security apparatus to handle the legal issues that MO1 poses.
MPs have bigger fish to fry
The legislative branch of government - the people who are voted in to bring change - have bigger fish to fry. This is not personal. This is supposed to be about “saving Malaysia," not “saving Malaysia from Najib Razak”. This is about saving Malaysia by dismantling a system that could create another MO1.
Of course, this is assuming that the Umno state relinquishes control and that the current prime minister chooses not to exercise his National Security Council powers. Better yet, if the Umno state does relinquish control but the shark (or sharks) have fled with their suckerfish to more placid waters; this would again be just another excuse not to do anything worthwhile but be content that the MO1 is gone.
Instead of stoking the base with threats of hunting sharks, what should be advocated is that our compromised institutions would be reformed and the first 100 days in office would be spent carrying out an agenda of change which should have been planned before assuming office. Instead of the “lock him up” nonsense, what the opposition should be doing within the first 100 days is dismantling the ecosystem which allows sharks to thrive. Within that first 100 days, Pakatan Har pan should be embarking on a process that would see the repeal of all those laws which are anathema to a functional democracy.
Harapan should be proceeding with an agenda to ensure that Malaysians regardless of race and religion are allowed to contribute to the development of this country without being hampered by racists and religious ideologies that have separated us for decades. Now I am not saying that MO1 should be let off the hook but that is the work of an independent attorney-general, judiciary and state security apparatus which should be done in a bipartisan manner. What the politicians of Harapan should be doing is beginning that long arduous process of repairing the damage that the long Umno watch has done to our institutions and society.
Not about settling scores
“Saving Malaysia” is not and should not be defined as a single-issue project. You tell young people that the prime minister is corrupt and they will tell you that the whole system is corrupt. They are not personalising this issue. They understand that the system is screwed up and politicians do not really want to change it. Politicians seem to want to settle scores. If the opposition does not like this characterisation, then perhaps it is the way that Harapan has framed the discourse.
DAP’s Kerk Chee Yee claims that young people’s expectations are different from the older generation. This would really depend on which youths you ask. Young people are talking all the time but politicians are not listening to them. The establishment and opposition political classes groom young people to fit a mould instead of encouraging new ideas which could possibly change the system.
If young politicians express anything other than the usual traditional pragmatism, they are vilified. Check that. They are not even in mainstream politics because mainstream politics is defined by certain agendas which are supposed to be egalitarian and progressive but in reality, they are just the same old game of political bromides instead of real policies shifts.
So, what we are left with are young politicians who ape what their elders are saying and young people have this uncanny ability to smell bull manure a mile away. So they shrug their shoulders and attempt to work the system or reject it wholesale; thus, what we are left with are partisans who think their single-issue concerns will save Malaysia.
But here is the thing. All young people need is one moment to believe that change is possible. If they see a new Harapan government acting in a way which is completely different from the way Barisan Nasional did things, they would rise to the occasion. Except, of course, they see how the opposition state governments handle things and they come to the realisation that there really is not much of a difference between the coalitions, and they decide that they want no part of it.
That’s why so many of young people leave the country. And you know what I think about that (in a previous column): “If you want people to stay and fight for their rights, you must be able to demonstrate that staying and fighting is something that is worthwhile. We are not yet at the stage where you can point to incremental changes (elsewhere) and say that this is progress. We are a developed country with narratives that are evidence that religious and racial plurality is something we had, but lost like many Islamic state narratives in countries all over the Middle East.”
Go hunt your big fish but remember that the Parliament of rats would be waiting for you when you return.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 10:34 AM  
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