Will politicians learn something from the beer promoter? Governing without being elected - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Friday, November 23, 2018
Malaysiakini : “Sometimes a man wants to be stupid if it lets him do a thing his cleverness forbids.” – John Steinbeck, East of Eden
| I have known people like Edi Rejang all my life. Not all of them are
Malay. Most of them are clever, though, hiding their racism behind a
mask of politics. In Malaysia, this is easier to do than in other
countries. These days, though, the lines are blurred. After the incident
took place, some people who passed me the viral clip said it was
because of Umno/PAS. As if racism like the kind Edi displayed is
specific to Umno/PAS.
Poor Edi blamed tiredness for his bad behaviour. Maybe the folks of Kampung Manjoi
were tired too. Maybe they were tired of seeing non-Malays enjoying
themselves after a hard day’s work with a cold brew, laughing and
talking with like-minded citizens. Maybe they thought that excessive
laughter was verboten (forbidden, in German) in Bumi Melayu (Malay land)
and it was their job to see that people do not have access to substances which encourage such behaviour.
When racists and bigots
show their true colours, in America for instance, they are mocked and
vilified online. When they lose their jobs, they are mocked and
vilified. When they are teary-eyed in the press conferences, they are
mocked and vilified. When they repent, they are mocked and
vilified because people understand they may not be able to correct the
injustices of the system but they sure as hell can mock and vilify
people who would engage in such behaviour because they are emboldened by
systems which encourage – with a wink and a nod – such behaviour.
DAP’s Lim Lip Eng (photo)
said the reason why he lodged a report was because he wanted the state
security apparatus to come up with solutions to “to eradicate racial
tension and to promote harmony in our multiracial, multicultural
society”. What horse manure is this?
It is not the job of the
state security apparatus to come up with political or social solutions
to such issues in this country. It is your job, Lim. It is the job of
the politicians who claim they have the solutions and who people voted
And the tragedy, of course, is this. If this was a Chinese
person who did this to a Malay person, you would bet your last ringgit
that the consequences would be different. You would have non-Malay
political operatives saying that the person deserved the full brunt of
the law. They would be calls that this should not happen in this
Lim also said this: “I don’t want anyone
to be penalised and I also don’t want any category of people (whether it
be) race, gender or whatever - to be insulted.”
Who are the people routinely insulted?
Lim? Who are the people routinely insulted in this country? Who are the
people called “pigs” and “keling” in this country? Who are the people
routinely told to leave Bumi Melayu if all they want is to be treated
like normal citizens? Who are the people who always have to turn the
other cheek, because to do otherwise would spook the Malays? Does
writing this make me a liberal or patriot?
I mean it is funny,
right? DAP has now taken on the role of being the people who have to
sanction (lodge a police report) and embrace (through teary-eyed
pressers with mea culpa) racists because to do otherwise would paint the DAP as a party that is anti-Malay.
as the Low Yat criminals had their racism validated by the then Umno
state by giving Malay tech entrepreneurs their own space, what Edi (photo)
has done is make the DAP validate his “suffering” – his kids, his
apology, his loss of employment – because to do otherwise would be seen
as an attack against the Malay community, instead of the legitimate
scorn upon a person who fails to realise that his racism could –
“could”, mind you, because this is Malaysia – cost him.
activist Syahredzan Johan claims that this is not about Edi, and that
we should instead ask ourselves why prejudice and hatred exist in this
society. That is total horse manure. Why should we, who are
normally the recipients of such abuse, have to contemplate the causes of
racism and bigotry? We already know the answer. When PAS president
Abdul Hadi Awang says that our non-Malay religions are not equal to
Islam, are the good Muslims of Pakatan Harapan going to argue otherwise?
about it. You are told that your race is superior. You are told that
your religion is superior. You are told that the other communities
should be grateful to exist in your country. You are told that other
cultures are unequal to your culture. You are told that you are
allowed to run amok if things do not go your way. You are taught the
other races should not intrude into your domains. You are told that the
political system will protect you because nobody wants to spook your
race. Does anyone really think that this is solely an Umno/PAS
Meanwhile, the non-Malays are taught to be circumspect.
We are taught to play ball because to do otherwise would be to invite
trouble. It does not matter if we vote in people to create a more
equitable Malaysia, because those people who were voted in understand
that spooking the Malays is not wise because even if you had majority
support, you will always need such support – to do what exactly, I have
no idea. Do not be liberal. Do not talk about subjects which
encroach upon your public or private spaces. We have brilliant leaders
who know when the right time is to broach these subjects.
This is what the non-Malays – and those Malays who believe that there is something wrong with the system – are told.
Governing without being elected
yeah, this is not about Edi Rejang. Some people say that this is
actually a Malay problem, that they have to decide how they want to
evolve as a society. This is such a self-defeating defence of
mainstream Malaysian politics. Why would they want to evolve when they
know that the non-Malays will not stand up for their rights as equal
citizens but instead coddle existing power structures for whatever
benefit they think such enabling gets them?
Then we have Malay and
Muslim activist groups that support Harapan, but attempt to define
mainstream Malay politics as being under attack by “liberals” who want
instant change. Completely false, of course. Nobody wants instant
change. Some people just want certain pledges kept. What these activists
want are for these “liberals” to remain silent, and to hope instead
that change comes because Malay power structures really want change. Do
Malay power structures really want change?
They never once stop to
think that egalitarianism is not solely a “liberal” idea. However, more
importantly, if they threw their voices in with the liberals, then
there would be a bigger base clamouring for reforms instead of the usual
power brokers and intelligentsia wishing to maintain the status quo.
you people get it? If the extremists have their way on issues like the
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination (Icerd) for instance, then they would be governing
without being elected. They would be governed by mob rule or rule by
theocracy, even higher than the sultans.
Politicians who use
religion and race are just the Edi Rejangs who are elected and lording
over the rest of us. We are all the beer promoters in their eyes. Hey Lim, you want to know who has a solution to that problem you want the state security apparatus to solve? The
answer is how this young woman stood up to this guy. The answer is how
she did not back down. She did not enable his bigotry.
defiance in the face of his bigotry is something political operatives
should learn from. Her grace under pressure is more formidable than the
thousands someone like Hadi may gather to spread his falsehoods. Her
defiance and speaking in Mandarin was a finger to mainstream Malaysian
politics. She probably did not intend it to be viewed as such, but
instinctively she knew what was the right thing to do.