Articles, Opinions & Views: If you do not vote, do not complain - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Death or Glory
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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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If you do not vote, do not complain - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Thursday, December 21, 2017
Malaysiakini : “Do the unexpected. Take 20 minutes out of your day, do what young people all over the world are dying to do: vote.” ― Rick Mercer
This is what is stacked against you if you do NOT vote
COMMENT | I really dig this passage from David Foster Wallace - “If you are bored and disgusted by politics and don't bother to vote, you are in effect voting for the entrenched establishments of the two major parties, who please rest assured are not dumb, and who are keenly aware that it is in their interests to keep you disgusted and bored and cynical and to give you every possible reason to stay at home doing one-hitters and watching MTV on primary day.
By all means stay home if you want, but don't bullshit yourself that you're not voting. In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some diehard's vote.” I like the quote so much that I have used it before. It neatly exposes the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of not voting. It also is a reminder that cynical arguments of not voting as a means of registering dissatisfaction helps the very people you are dissatisfied with.
At a recent forum, activist and former lawyer Fadiah Nadwa Fikri said that she respects the decision of abstaining from voting. While voting may not be the only way to effect change – it is the easiest way and one that demands very little of a citizen in a functional democracy – claiming that believing otherwise “degrade a person’s humanity down to the act of voting” is obnoxious, considering all over the world people are in some cases dying in their efforts to get this most fundamental of human rights.
Meanwhile, DAP’s Hannah Yeoh, referring to the ‘abstain from voting’ movement as “unhelpful” – unhelpful to whom, I wonder? - preached the usual political bromides of changing the system incrementally. This, of course, is political speak for “do not hold us to our grand promises because the system does not work that way.”
I do not respect the decision to abstain from voting. I am all for finding out the reasons why young people (especially) are disillusioned by the choices that they have (I have written numerous articles on this subject) but ultimately if you do not vote, you should not complain about the state of the country. You should not endlessly bitch and moan about how hard done by you are by the system.
Here is a taste of why I think some folks choose to abstain – “The opposition always says that people are not ‘educated’ and that if they only knew the ‘truth’, they would understand why we need to change the government.
Perhaps people know the truth and they believe that it is safer for whatever reason not to vote because it would not make any difference, especially now that the opposition has joined forces with the very man they claimed was destroying this country – how many times has this country been destroyed? – and attempting to engineer a revival that would see the system not only rejuvenated but also redeemed. Perhaps some folks do not want to be a part of that.”
I will bet my last ringgit that the same people who do not vote also troll news sites and fill social media with their numerous complaints, confine their “activism” to forwarding anti-establishment or pro-opposition polemics even though neither appeals to them, and mocking people from both sides of the political divide for being part of the problem. This, of course, is a direct result of partisanship because the people who have chosen a side do nothing to ensure that the side they have chosen is accountable for the promises they make or the words they speak. Pro-establishment partisans and pro-opposition partisans just shout at one another, and this is exactly what the political elites they support want.
Abstaining is not an option
For them, fighting online, making libellous, racists or bigoted comments behind the cloak of anonymity, passes for free speech. Most politically engaged folk believe that the echo chambers they inhabit represent the majority view, and that those who do not subscribe to those views do so because they are complicit in the bribe-taking or are racists or bigoted.
Is it any wonder that there is a growing movement to abstain from supporting either side? Look, I have made my pitch for why a two-party system (flawed as it is) is better than returning the establishment to power. Some folks disagree with me but I would hope that they still cast their vote. If you are voting for Barisan National or leaning that way, I do not think you are stupid or uninformed or racists or bigoted. Trust me, you can be all those and vote the opposition. You have your reasons for maintaining whatever social, political and economic equilibrium you think best suits Malaysia. So, vote with your conscience and hope for the best.
After all, despite what some people say, this country has thrived somewhat with all the systemic inequalities and maybe you think that our luck will hold and maybe it will. Maybe if the establishment gets the mandate it desires from a diverse voting demographic, it will loosen up on its racial and religious agendas and get back to policies that are more inclusive.
If you are opposition-leaning and are disillusioned with the opposition, remember what happened to all those progressives – and the opposition in Malaysia is supposed to be progressives – in the US who believed that the GOP (Grand Old Party/Republican) candidate and DNC (Democratic National Committee) candidate were not worth voting for. How did that work out for them? But the Americans are lucky because they have mid-term elections coming up next year. We have no such safety valves.
If I had it my way, the opposition supporting demographic would vote for any PSM candidate that stood for election even if it means not supporting the other Harapan candidates. People who are lucky enough to have this option have it easy. At least, they know that they are voting to drain the swamp.
If you are unlucky and have to make do with what you have, the least you could do is make your voices heard if and when you think the opposition is going down the wrong path. At least this way you are complaining about something you could influence.
Now some opposition politicians delight in the fact that opposition voters “have no choice” but to vote for them, so they act with impunity. The reason why they get away with this is because of the way they have framed the debate. The world is not going to end if the opposition does not gain federal power. In fact, if they retain state-level dominance, the world will move on in much the same way, which is a slow steady decline.
So, abstaining is not an option. If you do not like what the opposition is selling, do not vote for them and instead vote to maintain the status quo. If you do not like what the establishment is selling, vote for the opposition. Do not think that by abstaining you are not shaping the direction of this country. Believing that abstaining sends the message that a certain section of the polity is dissatisfied is pointless because a lower turnout or less support merely confirms that a win is a win, which is one of the drawbacks of democracy.
What the opposition should be concerned about is that if people do not see a difference between the opposition and the establishment, this is not the fault of voters. It is the fault of the opposition.
posted by D Swami Gwekanandam @ 11:03 AM  

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