Articles, Opinions & Views: Ultra-liberals and the futility of discourse - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) 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."
“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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Ultra-liberals and the futility of discourse - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, August 13, 2018

Malaysiakini : “The political nature of man made it highly unlikely that a society designed to meet regularly would remain peaceable. "The way to make friends quarrel is to pit them in disputation under the public eye," Jefferson said.” ― Jon Meacham, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
COMMENT | Truth be told, I like Rafizi Ramli. Sure, we have had a very public spat but the reality is that for whatever reasons, he often kicks the Pakatan Harapan regime in the nut sack and more often than not, gets pilloried for it on social media. The internal politics of PKR, I have very little interest in. No matter who runs the good ship, PKR politicians in Harapan will not stray too far from mainstream Malay politics even though they, like the DAP, claim to be a multi-racial party.
Malay establishment politicians have to pay attention to certain agendas and non-Malay establishment politicians have to enable such dictates. It does not have to be this way but it is easier to retain power this way. Recently, Rafizi labelled those hounding Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail on the whole child marriage fiasco as ultra liberals who "focus on the one issue". Not nice, Rafizi.
Dismissing these critics, while saying these ultra liberals are not responsible for the poor, while the DPM, was, is a strange way of deflecting from the criticisms of the cautious response of the DPM on this issue. Firstly, child marriage, as in marriages between children and adults, is normalising sex with children. Furthermore, it is normally the “poor” children who are exploited in this manner. Also, this idea that ultra liberals are single-issue advocates is rather bizarre, because it's like saying that rights groups who advocate on a specific subject do not care about anything else – the poor – because they advocate for specific issues.
Last year when Umno was in power, my Malay-speaking activist friends were always worried that the state labelled them as deviant and that meant they were liberal. As one young activist said (in Malay no less), how could he be liberal when he can't even speak English that well. Even now I do not want to go into the whole definition on the debate about what a liberal is even more so an ultra-liberal, which I suppose is akin to an ultra Malay or Islamist or howsoever else Malaysians define such things.
It gets really messy when Rafizi claims that some activists are biased against Wan Azizah because she wears a tudung, more “Malay” looking in her outlook and appearance and behaves like a moderate. Really? Some would argue that Wan Azizah is an idealised version of a Malay woman. A fair skinned, tudung wearing, religious and socially compliant political operative. I mean we are talking about a community which is a melting pot of various people foreign and domestic, right?
Why even say horse manure like that? And what does having a Malay outlook mean and does having this Malay outlook, trump whatever agreed upon principles that the opposition says it has? How does one define the middle ground this way? But wait. Rafizi already staked out the middle moderate ground. “And the moderate centre behaves like Wan Azizah. The moderate centre does not behave like very vocal social activists who want outright political condemnation,” he said.
Wait, so all those years when tudung wearing Malays were outright in their condemnation of Umno policies and rhetoric, they were not the “moderate centre”? All those social activists many of whom were tudung clad did not represent the centre of Malay politics, which is what the opposition (Harapan) was saying was the true face of this country?
What about those who do not wear tudung? Are they somehow less “moderate” in their views? Does the content of the criticisms change depending on whether one wears a tudung or believes in a specific religion?
Muddying up waters
But what is the moderate centre in PKR? By labelling activists who are vocal in their criticisms about a political operative who is also the women and family development minister, as ultra-liberal, then what is the moderate liberal's position? Less vocal? It is like PAS saying that anyone who disagrees with their interpretation of Islam is liberal but an ultra liberal is someone who actually voices out such disagreements. Where does someone like Zaid Ibrahim fall when it comes to the liberal and ultra-liberal label?
Which brings us to the futility of the discourse and the big tent approach of PKR. Let us be honest here. In most cases, the discourse is between the Malay component – liberal or orthodox – and the non-Malay component of PKR. Rafizi’s example of Malay groups who are not happy with the UEC recognition and bringing those who are and those who do not together sounds like a swell idea. But really, when it comes to Malay rights, can there ever be a dialogue? Why do Malay rights groups oppose the UEC? The basis of their dissent is based on racial and religious supremacy, right?
So it's how you have to allay their fears, right? But this is the problem right here. Non-Malays as citizens of this country should not have to allay the fears of their countrymen. How exactly does the UEC, for example, threaten the culture of the Malay community?
How exactly is talking about this with people who base their objection to specific issue along racial or religious lines going to get us to that place, where we are all treated equally before the law?
How erectly does the discourse work with people like this? I mean really, saying non-Muslims can use the word, Allah – as long as it was not misused – is something to be proud of? If I ask an orthodox Malay who believes in Malay supremacy how do the non-Malays misuse the word Allah, he or she would say that by uttering the word, they would be misusing it.
For whatever reason, Rafizi is the only political operative who pisses in the Harapan kool-aid occasionally. I will take occasionally over the prostrating of most political operatives at the altar of the great old one.  But for Allah's sake, be mindful of how you respond to criticism. If your critics are wrong just say they are wrong and but don’t engage in identity politics.
The discourse is hard enough already without folks who should know better than muddying up the waters even more.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 9:57 AM  
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