Articles, Opinions & Views: A non-Malay at the anti-Icerd rally - 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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A non-Malay at the anti-Icerd rally - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, December 10, 2018
Malaysiakini : "Above all, this is not against other races." – Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak
COMMENT | Late last Friday night. “So, you’re coming for our rally tomorrow, right?" asked an old PAS friend who handles “logistics” for PAS. “C’mon, you go for all these rallies. Bersih, Hindraf, LGBTQ and who knows what else? You have to come tomorrow”, he rambled on before going on a rant about how the state security apparatus should stop scaring non-Malays about rally.
Truth be told, I was pretty bummed out. The fact that Suhakam was told to stand down and the little love fest of Abdul Hadi Awang and Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was given the go-ahead, irritated me. However, I always relent in the end. I always say that this rally will be the last rally I will attend. My legs, although weak, still have a few miles in them, so as usual I relented and went to the rally in defence of bangsa dan agama (race and religion).
I have no idea of the experiences of other people when they go to rallies, but I have always been pleasantly surprised at how a sense of community quickly develops among the rally goers. This was no different. Young people went out of their way to help this senior citizen navigate his way through the crowds that enveloped normally quiet places.
Everyone I met was friendly and never once stopped to ask, why a non-Malay would attend this rally. This was a “Malay/Muslim” rally and they were there to protect their race and religion but had no ill-will towards the non-Malays.
Everyone I spoke to said that the Icerd issue was the “bad deeds” of politicians who want to stir up racial and religious issues among the peace-loving Malaysians. Since I’m normally on the giving end of this spiel, I just went with the flow and listened to people, even though some of them knew that I disagreed with them on the Icerd issue but agreed with them that politicians were doing “bad deeds”.
Indeed, many of them did not seem to realise that they were part of a grand scheme of incitement, but rather, they believed that they were a line in the sand when it came to race and religion. They assumed that Icerd was an existential threat and, while some of them could speak very knowledgeably about Icerd, most did not seem to understand how this treaty affected them as Malaysians, only that it would affect them as Muslims and Malays.
I spoke to young people whose only “education” came from tafiz schools and who were making a living beneath the tall buildings which were monuments to the capitalist imperatives of those leading them.

They seemed happy enough, but I detected an underlying resentment against those “Malays” who were not interested in their race or religion. Those “liberal” Malays who were “traitors” working to undermine the legitimacy of their claim on this land. They drew a distinction between Western technology and culture and wondered why non-Malays would not just leave them alone.
Different spin
A young woman who teaches in a secondary school told me that it was her duty as a Muslim to defend her race and religion and that if I wanted to know about Western religious extremism, I should watch the Handmaid’s Tale. How do the kids put it? Facepalm.
I attempted to explain to her that I think she got the theme and subject matter of the series wrong but somebody started to speak on the loudspeaker and she shushed me. She actually shushed me so that we could hear what was being said. Trust me, folks, it was the same thing repeated over and over again. Some speakers tried to put a different spin on things but the crowd was there for the good stuff. The accessible stuff.
Speeches delivered by Umno and PAS bigwigs were extreme in nature. I am not saying that those speeches were a form of incitement but I am saying that we – non-Malays – have heard such speeches before and that bigotry is normalised, so we just move on. Admittedly, it was sad seeing stores boarded up, a reminder that Malay gatherings always had a hint of violence. Non-Malays are told to be afraid of these types of gatherings because who knows what could happen. Politicians, for their own gain, enforce such narratives because it keeps people apart.
A middle-aged father, who bought me some sort of lime concoction because he was buying his rather large family the same, wanted to me to know that he could care less if there was another rally in town.
“If they want to protest, protest-lah." When I told him that the Suhakam festival was no such protest, he did not seem very concerned of the motives of the Suhakam event, only that this rally was meant to show Malaysians that the “Malays” were capable of defending their race and religion. Defend against, what, I asked him.
“From its enemies," he said. Nearly everyone I spoke to had this myopic view of their religion and race. As an old-timer who grew up with Malay/Muslims with different sensibilities, I marvelled at how the social engineering has turned a relatively peaceful community into a community that is afraid of everything and willing to fall prey to mendacious power brokers to sustain their identity.
'Beautiful country'
When I told them that Singapore has openly threatened this country, most were not even aware of this issue, which should tell you how the narrative is controlled by the far-right opposition instead of the federal government.
I fell in with a group of women from Kelantan who spent a great deal of time attempting to convince me that this rally was a mostly Kelantan and Terengganu affair. They told me about meet-up spots, bus schedules, and the other types of logistical issues that a well- planned rally organised by a disciplined political party is capable of.
For my part, I regaled them about the Old Malaysia, the one where I grew up in, served in and finally saw it give birth to what we have now. They all agreed, Old Malaysia sounds much better than Neo-Malaysia.
“But Malaysia is a beautiful country,” one of them said, while the others nodded. My Bahasa Indonesia has always been better than my Malay, and they had to repeat sentences because sometimes they slipped into their Kelantanese dialect. “The non-Malays do not have to fear this rally," one of the younger ones said. Her sister argued that some Malay politicians were betraying their race and religion. “Who told you that?” I asked.
I never got an answer because another group joined us and we were told to go for the next speech. I left them soon after, lurking around the food trucks, having conversations with vendors whose businesses were doing gangbusters. They came from all over the place and many of them had worked during the Bersih rallies but, this time, they were more confident because they knew the state security apparatus would not "kacau" them.
I was constantly getting texts from PAS and Umno friends, who were telling me to “report” accurately about what was happening here and not give them such a hard time. I did not really listen to the star speakers of the rally because I was more interested in talking to people and discovering why they were there. I have done this for all the rallies I have attended.

I do not want to play the numbers game but if the far right wanted to send a message, I think they mostly succeeded. After all, the Harapan regime is good with sarcasm but does not have the scrotal fortitude to back up its rhetoric. Lim Kit Siang (photo) says that the rally should not have taken place if the government had handled the issue better. How exactly does one handle this issue better?
Kit Siang wrote a piece claiming that nobody wants to ratify Icerd if it means another May 13. There are conspiracy theories floating about claiming that Dr Mahathir Mohamad set this up for some purpose and that the “Malay” elements in Harapan are in on it.
The reality is that this would not have been an issue if Harapan bit the bullet and framed the discourse using the propaganda tools at its disposal. Instead, a former prime minister charged with corruption, an opposition leader also under a cloud of charges and a religious zealot controlled the narrative.
The far right won because the Harapan politburo and their supporters played the narrative that they accused the MCA of playing before they were kicked out. This is just the beginning. A trickle of Malay faces soon turned into a sea of Malay youths, families and senior citizens. It was as if the pendatang had deserted the streets of the capital and finally, the Malays had returned to a home they never left.
Writer’s note: I attended the anti-Icerd rally in my personal capacity and not as a representative of Malaysiakini.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 1:21 PM  
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