Articles, Opinions & Views: ‘Malaysia’, one dream at a time - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) 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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‘Malaysia’, one dream at a time - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, March 19, 2018
Our Great Leader
Malaysiakini : “The second effort was spreading the word among the people, first, in a bid to raise their morale, and second to instil in them a sense of animosity towards the enemy, coupled with a spirit of resistance... this required us to use the language of indoctrination rather than realpolitik. People then were not in need of political analysis, they were in need of being incited and goaded.” - Hassan Nasrallah, Lebanon's Hezbollah chief
COMMENT | With the above quote in mind, thank you academic Manjit Bhatia for your timely piece, ‘‘Malaysia’ dreams the impossible dream. Writing about former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad at this time is problematic to say the least. A couple of years before Mahathir joined the opposition, he was mocked and vilified by the very people who now claim that he is needed to save Malaysia. Most people view the current Pakatan Harapan prime minister-in-waiting through ahistorical lenses, or are crypto-Mahathiristas as articulated by former parliamentarian Kua Kia Soong, or fascists who would silence any dissent on this issue.
Manjit’s bone of contention – and rightly so – is that Mahathir is the captain of the Harapan coalition. This, of course, is an important point. Not for Harapan supporters who wish by any means necessary to oust the current Umno grand poobah but for opposition supporters who would “undi rosak” or just sit out of this election.
Confronting this issue is needed, especially if the Harapan political operatives I have spoken to are confident of winning this election despite the electoral malfeasance and the full power of the Umno state against them. People need to vote, but more importantly, people need to be convinced that Harapan will not slip back into the Mahathir era that he (Mahathir) finds difficult to reconcile with. I think a point everyone misses when they talk about Mahathir is that the vast majority of the voting public for decades voted for him and his gaggle of cronies. This means for all his faults – well documented by Manjit – people were choosing him over the opposition. So it is not really a choice between Najib and Mahathir on any ideological level but rather a single issue (for the opposition) election.
Would an apology from Mahathir help? No doubt, it would be good optics but here’s the thing though. The opposition which now includes the former prime minister also include people who genuinely revere him as some sort of messiah. So not only is the opposition coalesced around a former Umno strongman, it includes in their voter base people who actually believe that the Mahathir era was some sort of halcyon period, where everything was as it should be when it comes to the "social contract" that passes as “muhibbah”. The more he talks or defends his record or makes noises of half-hearted contrition, the more it reminds people of an era where the opposition stood for principles instead of the strategic choices it is making now.
As Haris Ibrahim in his open letter to Dr M said, maybe he should just zip it. What disturbs me, is not the sight of the old maverick revising history, but rather the sycophantic approval of supporters who justify his revisions. Supporting the opposition does not mean publicly fellating them. The real issue is not if the old maverick has changed or is sincere in his efforts to reform Malaysia but rather that the opposition has changed. They have assumed control of strategic states, made hard choices to compromise but also pissed away many opportunities. They may not be fighting fit but they are a clear and present danger to the Umno hegemon even if they do not have the support of the majority of the Malay community and would be so without the support of Mahathir. This is certainly not the kind of opposition that Mahathir faced in his prime.
Taking control of Putrajaya is a very specific goal. Of course, the opposition claims that this election is the one that will forever change the destiny of this country, and in many ways it is. This election will determine if Umno survives without challenge for the next couple of decades before the Islamic deep state assumes control. This makes the entire playing field different from when Mahathir was the undisputed ruler of all he surveyed.
I know many opposition supporters who say screw that, I am not voting for Mahathir but am voting opposition as if they are voting in a vacuum. I also know of people who are going to abstain from voting because of Mahathir, and are willing to accept the consequences of their actions because they have lived through a kleptocratic regime when Najib was plying his trade in other ministries. Honestly, there is nothing Mahathir could say - an apology, an excuse or anything - that would change the fact that people had voted for him and his cronies, and while you may point to the biased system, there is enough evidence that a majority of Malaysians turned their back on the opposition.
One Malaysia
I cannot show Manjit the “all Malaysian” because the Thayaparan corpus has been a rejection of this idea that there is a “Malaysian” identity or that being Malaysian means sublimating cultural and historical legacies. In other words, a rejection of the Bangsa Malaysia and 1Malaysia kool-aid. And frankly there is no need for a “one Malaysian” identity to replace Umno. Umno and the opposition can win this election by appealing to various racial and religious voting blocks. There is no need for the opposition to rely on a unified Malaysian identity to win. In fact, people have often told me that my forays into politically-incorrect racial and religious issues is a detriment to Harapan. What does this demonstrate? That the opposition understands and now plays the Umno racial game better because they have Bersatu.
There will always be “competition between race, religion and ideology”. Could this change? I have spent many articles contemplating this very question but nobody seems interested in asking the opposition this because (1) the opposition is always under attack, and (2) the opposition has no idea or uninterested bringing about radical change. However, I would rather have this competition in a two-party system then have it in a system where Umno always reigns supreme.
That is the dream. The first dream. The dream which Umno fears. While it may very well turn out that Mahathir is reshaping Umno from the outside but the greater lesson for Malaysians, however they self-identify, is that they can change the government. While I get permutations of the same formula is ultimately self-defeating, there is very little room to manoeuvre in the democratic space provided by the state, which is a creation of the former prime minister.
Manjit acknowledges that it would be wonderful if Harapan manages to dislodge Umno from power but worries – again rightly so – that Umno has momentum and the apparatus of the state that Harapan lacks. I do think however if Harapan manages to persuade large diverse voting blocks to vote, they can overcome the momentum and the chicanery of the Umno state. Mahathir may not be the answer but the real question is does he have utilitarian value for the opposition?
Do I think that Harapan deserves a shot at the brass ring? No. But I do think that Malaysians need to once and for all have a two-party system however flawed it is, and however problematic the opposition is. Like I said, there are no victims only volunteers in the “ketuanan Melayu” game. If the opposition wants to change the game, I am all for that, too. I am acutely aware that this dream could turn into a walking nightmare where the only people cognisant of it are those with an iota of self-awareness.
If I am wrong, and the opposition just becomes the next BN and opposition supporters become the new establishment enablers, people like Hafidz Baharom, Maryam Lee, Kua Kia Soong and the host other outliers can tell me they told me so. That is cold comfort, right there.
One last thing. Am I strident in my views that the opposition needs to dethrone Najib? Compared to the other Malaysiakini columnists and online cheerleaders, my detractors have labelled me a fifth columnist.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 4:56 PM  
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