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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

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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Should every Umno politician be investigated? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
How many Umno leaders are secret billionaires?
Malaysiakini : "Look man, I do what I can do to help y'all. But the game is out there, and it's either play or get played." - Omar (The Wire)
COMMENT | A reader wrote to me and she proclaimed that every Umno politician should be investigated for corruption. To be accurate, she said that every single Umno, MCA and MIC politician in the Najib regime. Apparently, former premier Najib Razak is the starting point. The source from which all of malfeasance flows. What brought this on? The headline that Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi may be arrested, of course. I am not surprised.
People wait and see which Umno political operative is summoned by the MACC but I think for most people, like this Malaysiakini subscriber who regularly emails me, there is this desire to see these band of brigands brought to justice. For years, the corrupt system which sustained Umno political operatives were untouched by the laws of the land, and what was worse is that they revelled in this "untouchable" status.
When still serving Umno political operatives whine to me about the witch hunts they claim to be subjected to, all I hear is the world’s smallest violin playing in the background. The reality is that even as I want to ensure that Pakatan Harapan keeps its election promises and remind Malaysians that we cannot afford a BN Redux, I am simpatico with people who want every Umno politician investigated by the state security apparatus. I am talking about a specific class of people and not the Harapan base, who are baying for blood.
The people who complain the most that things are not moving fast enough or worry that there are some political backroom deals carried out by Malay power structures, are still serving or retired civil servants. Unlike the average citizen who has not been in service to this country, these people have a profound hate for the system they had to endure, sometimes for decades, and for the younger set, a few years that seemed like decades. And for them, the system is Umno. I do not subscribe to this definition of the "system" but nearly everyone I talk to seems to think that the whole of Umno is corrupt and the only way this country can move forward is for the crimes of Umno to be exposed for all to see.
I ask them why doesn’t it matter to them that even in the Abdullah Ahmad Badawi regime there was corruption and governmental malfeasance and previous administrations which often times were worst? The usual answer is that we can only go so far. This meme that Dr Mahathir Mohamad wants to save Malaysia to repent for his sins is strong in the Harapan base and for most people I speak to. Mind you, while he has talked about saving Malaysia and the systemic corruption that plagues this country, the old maverick has never truly acknowledged that he is one of the main architects of this system.
And why should he? These days he has more than enough apologists, who would justify anything he says or does on the grounds of not spooking the Malays. However, this should not detract from the fact that I cannot find any reasons why there should not be these "witch hunts"? Sure, I could make a rational argument why there should not be these witch hunts but something just stops me for doing this.
What Umno fears most
In another piece I wrote this – “In the current climate, there will be more big-name casualties when it comes to the malfeasance of the Najib regime, and there will definitely be more defections – after a suitable period of contriteness, of course – of Umno members to Bersatu and PKR.”
This got a response from an old friend who was with PKR and was formerly with Umno. (His comments reproduced here in full with his permission) - “Thaya, there will be more ‘big name’ causalities and they know it! The strategy is to destroy Umno revenue streams – ill-gotten gains – and to cripple the main Malay opposition block. This is not the strategy of the non-Malays in Harapan but rather the Malays in Harapan. This is what everyone in Umno fears.”
When this message was passed around among a few close associates, many of them took umbrage, claiming that these types of strategies was not something that should be done in this new Malaysia. There was much discussion on the rule of law and about how the state should not go on fishing expeditions against political opponents of the state. That we needed an independent security apparatus and judiciary, and by condoning such strategies - if true - we are merely doing what Umno did.
I, however, cannot bring myself to offer up the same indignation. Why? Because I think of a kid like Teoh Beng Hock who is murdered while political operatives from Umno went on with their plunder and have the audacity to scream that they are the defenders of race and religion. I think about the numerous deaths in custody and keep seeing the parents of these murdered young people holding up their pictures asking for investigations.
There was always no evidence, as I wrote in another piece – “Pardon my language but with the former Umno regime, there was always that excuse of ‘insufficient evidence’. When it came to the 1MDB scandal, insufficient evidence or worse, no crime. When it came to deaths in custody, no evidence. When it came to police corruption, no evidence. Sure, the MACC put on a good show arresting people but the real terror, that evil of people working the system with the collusion of the Umno state, there was always no evidence.”
The reality is that there was always evidence. Evidence that this country was being raped and the perpetrators knew that they could get away with it. They could pretend to be religious, cloaking themselves from scrutiny by using race and religion. This probably explains why I despise the snake-oil peddlers of any religion and their sycophants who in their pious support of any political coalition, allow political operatives to sometimes literally get away with murder.
Of course, there is that rational part of me that understands that feelings such as these is not about justice but vengeance which is a predictable response to the inequalities of the system, which goes far beyond Umno.
Just recently I met this Malay couple who had lost their son, murdered in custody, they claimed. This was not one of those cases that were highlighted in the press maybe because their son was a criminal. Just a petty thief who never hurt anyone. But he died in custody a couple of years ago. They wanted to know why their son had to die for his crimes but people who steal millions meant for the citizens of this country go free or are never even investigated?
I have no idea how to answer questions like these. It doesn’t feel right, telling people who have lost children or partners, that this is not just about corrupt politicians who most probably are making deals to ensure their political survival. That this is not just about Umno.
I do know this though. While I know that there will be more Umno big fish that will face the music, there will be many more who will be let off the hook.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 10:06 AM   0 comments
Why would Mujahid say what he said? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, October 08, 2018
Malaysiakini : 'When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion.' - Abraham Lincoln
COMMENT | For some time now, I have been a strong advocate of a counter-narrative to the mainstream dogma of Islam in this country. This while the Pakatan Harapan regime has been cowardly in their response to issues ranging from the public canning of lesbians to coddling extremists like Zakir Naik and the Kampung Majoi incident.
The latest is from Mujahid Yusof Rawa, minister in the prime minister’s department, regarding all matters Islamic and his dust-up with The Star over its headline and is worth paying attention to.
If people have been paying attention, there really is not much good news when it comes to Islam in this country. If anything, the Harapan regime has been derelict in their duty in confronting the extremists in this country.
So why would Mujahid make statements such as the ones he made in an interview in The Star. Let us examine these statements.
1. “Let’s say you commit something within your personal, individual sphere – I will not interfere.”
What does this mean? That Mujahid personally won’t knock down doors and drag Muslims out of their private spheres? Is he speaking as a minister in charge of Islamic affairs or is he just shooting the breeze, his words having no meaning in a policy sense and are not worth considering?
2. “For example, consumption of alcohol is wrong for a Muslim, but if you consume it within your sphere, then as part of the government, I will not interfere.”
Now, he is talking as someone who is part of the government. Well, if he talking as a representative of the government, what does this mean? That there will be no more raids or whatever else kind of moral policing? Because if his words do have meaning as a representative of the government, what else could they mean in terms of policy?
3. “My concern is what goes on in public that encroaches on sensitivity, legality or criminality. Only then does the government come in, not because we want to be moral police but because we want to secure the public sphere.”
So now we know for sure that Mujahid is speaking as a government official. The use of the term “we” signifies that this is government policy and not some sort of personal preference. So, could we assume that there would be no more moral policing in private spheres as opposed to public ones? Apparently not.
4. “The government’s narrative of Islam will translate into our policies, all the Islamic judiciary activities, all our relations with other faiths.”
Here we go again. Mujahid says that this opinion of his would translate to government policy. So if a rational person reads this, what would they conclude? That the government will not carry out moral policing in the private sphere but would do so in the public sphere so as to not hurt the sensitivities of the majority, right? Apparently not.
5. “This issue of enforcement on khalwat has been misused and exploited in some cases. It is important that they (enforcement officers) do not interfere with the individual sphere.”
Here we go again. Mujahid claims that enforcement has been misused but more importantly officials should not interfere in the private sphere of Muslims. So this would mean that it is government policy not to raid private spheres of Muslims, right? Apparently not.
6. And this bit of reportage – “Although such raids fall under the state jurisdictions, he is engaging the religious agencies at state levels to convince them to adopt the stance of the federal authority.”
So why exactly is he engaging the state religious authorities? If by his own admission it is the government policy not to interfere in the private sphere of Muslims, what is Mujahid attempting to convince state-level actors to do?
Now apparently to the current Harapan Grand Poobah, all this sounds great. So much so that Dr Mahathir Mohamad goes on about how Islam has been given a bad rep by the hardliners. Mind you in his first incarnation as prime minister in the old Malaysia, the prime minister admitted in an interview with Time magazine that he kept hudud at bay but when he stepped down Islamic mischief soon began.
Grand words
“They were not able to make any progress with their hudud laws during my time. I didn’t tell them that this Islam is out-of-date or anything like that. I said Islam stresses justice and what you are doing is to create injustice, therefore it is wrong.
“But when I stepped down, they brought it up again. Hudud is man-made; it’s political, it is just meant to show that you are very Islamic [...] Today, Muslims are in a lot of turmoil, and it’s not because of Islam. It is because they reject Islam,” said Mahathir. Speaking of not allowing "them" to make progress with their hudud laws, perhaps, the current Harapan regime should demonstrate such resolve by not throwing more obstacles in front of former Simpang Benut MP Tawfik Ismail's challenge against Hadi tabling of Act 355.
The Attorney-General's Chambers may think this matter is now academic but as Tawfik’s lawyer Rosli Dahlan – a lawyer who defended the late Kassim Ahmad and a recipient of the transgressions of the Umno state – claims, how could it be academic when Hadi will no doubt attempt to table the act again?
A far more honest approach would be for Harapan political operatives make their stand clear - now - on Hadi’s bill, stating they will not support such a bill – in keeping with the prime minister’s history of keeping hudud at bay in the old Malaysia – or agree with Tawfik’s contention that Hadi’s proposed act is unconstitutional. But, as usual, I digress. However, the prime minister backing up Mujahid's stance that the federal government will not intrude into the private sphere of Muslims in this country is a good first step. Reading the old maverick's rather forceful defence of Mujahid policy intent and the kind of Islam Harapan wants to promote is a positive indication that (perhaps) this was really a new-ish Malaysia.
No doubt the media in question is going to fold. This is why some people in this country despise the political operatives from Amanah. They do not have the guts to be a moderate Islamic party but have no problem attacking PAS's conservative stand. What I do not understand is why Harapan doesn't make the argument that moral policing is expensive? We are supposed to be in a time when the government is on an austerity drive. Lim Guan Eng is worried that he would be the most disliked minister of finance because of the cost-cutting measures that are going to be in the next budget.
Shouldn't this be the time when the federal religious bureaucracy chips in and help save Malaysia too? Shouldn't this be the time when state religious departments in Harapan-controlled states do their bit when it comes to cost-cutting? As I said policing morality takes time and money. Both of which are in short supply.
The fact is that Mujahid is not confident enough to promote the kind of "moderate" Islam that he goes on about. The prime minister, who apparently does not have a problem with what Mujahid said, is now left hanging while Mujahid’s minions promise stern action against The Star for what some would (mendaciously) argue is a faulty headline.
Before the election, grand words flowed from Mujahid's mouth but now, he is just another Islamic bureaucrat playing to specific bases knowing that the Harapan base will not hold him accountable for failing to further a so-called moderate Islamic agenda.
So I guess the more important question is not why Mujahid said the things he said but can anyone trust whatever comes out from his mouth?
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 4:07 PM   0 comments
MCA should leave BN - but never join Harapan - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, October 06, 2018
Malaysiakini : “Whenever a theory appears to you as the only possible one, take this as a sign that you have neither understood the theory nor the problem which it was intended to solve.” – Karl Popper
COMMENT | Should MCA leave BN? The short answer would be yes. Remember in the Balakong by-election, DAP national chairperson Tan Kok Wai challenged MCA to leave BN if it lost the seat. Not only that, he also said that MCA should join Pakatan Harapan in the future, if they agree with the coalition's principles.  I have no idea what Harapan’s principles are, but if Tan’s muddled thinking about race-based parties is anything to go by, these principles must be really screwed up. This is what Tan said about race-based politics: “Malaysia is a multiracial country. If race-based parties continue to exist, they could affect the harmony and unity among the people, as they are only looking out for themselves,”
How anyone can say this with Bersatu as the anchor for Harapan, when political operatives claimed that Mahathir and Bersatu were needed to secure the Malay vote, and a bumiputera congress was held to assuage the anxiety of Harapan-supporting Malays is beyond me. But then again, this idea of multiculturalism was always a non-Malay meme. Mainstream Malay politics is not about inclusivity.
So is this idea of leaving BN something MCA should consider? After May 9, MCA operatives have been more amenable to having conversations with me. Before, there was understandably a reticence in our conversations; these days, MCA operatives are more open to a kind of no-holds-barred discussion about the state of the federation. When I look over some of the social media data, graphs and what-have-yous that MCA operatives have me study, along with other open source material, I always tell MCA that they are misreading the “running dog” narrative that fuels mainstream non-Malay politics.
Look, the Chinese community, no matter what the Kool-Aid says, did not abandon MCA because they were a race-based party, but because they believed that MCA were subservient when it came to the racial and religious based provocations of the Umno state.
Why leave?
The 1MDB issue was a powerful narrative, but the truth is that MCA was bleeding support long before the excess of the Najib regime sealed Umno' fate of May 9. This idea that we are living in a postracial Malaysia is complete nonsense.
Even hardcore Harapan supporters make excuses for its racial politics because they know that ultimately what determines how 'new' the 'new Malaysia' really is how far the mainstream Malay polity will go. Non-Malays are shamed into agreeing with politically correct narratives of a postracial Malaysia.
The reason why the MCA should leave BN is not as some sort of display that the MCA disavows Umno, but because Umno may not last much longer. Better leave when Umno is at least still maintaining some hold over BN, then leaving as a fait accompli. Right now, Umno is losing the political war of attrition, waged by Bersatu and factions within PKR.
When incumbent PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali says that Umno representation may soon whittle down to nothing, people should pay attention. I have often said that Azmin is one of the most cunning political operatives in this country, and certainly one whose ascension will eventually determine the direction of mainstream Malay politics in this country.
Umno operatives tell me that if MCA leaves BN, this would sound the death knell of the party. They are wrong. The MCA is already dead in the water. I remember the days when the DAP had no support from the Chinese community and were alone in their fight against the Umno regime. This time it would be easier.
The MCA as an oppositional voice does not have to start from scratch. While people are comfortable with Harapan now, if the excesses pile up, there would be a shorter period for a popular revolt most probably within the non-Malay community.
This idea that people would not vote for MCA because they are a race-based party is naive. If DAP, which is supposed to be the non-Malay safeguard against bumiputera excess, lets non-Malays down, then MCA regardless of its 'race-based' status is the sole secular alternative in town.
Just to recap of what I wrote in my open letter to the MCA -“While I am ambivalent about you opening up, what I do know is that you do not have to be a multiracial party to advocate secular, egalitarian principles – contradictory as that may seem – and act as a watchdog for corruption in the new government.
At this moment, anything you say will be mocked, and your political operatives vilified. But here’s the thing. The same happened to the opposition during the long Umno watch, before the charismatic Anwar Ibrahim cobbled together an alliance which eventually brought down the Umno state.”
Remember mainstream Malay politics always demonise Chinese-based political, economic and social structures. During the election season, it was the yellow peril narrative (China) from Harapan and the Chinese-dominated federal government narrative of Umno. Both demonised a certain community with the aim of galvanising Malay support. This is the bedrock of mainstream Malay politics.
Stand and deliver
This is why the MCA needs to stand and suffer alone if need be, building back its base without Umno and certainly not with Harapan. If the MCA folds for whatever reason, non-Malay Malaysians will have no secular alternative which has been in the federal and state bureaucracy. There will be no other non-Malay power structure to rally around with the experience of dealing with Malay hegemons.
And while some people will laugh now that Harapan will never accept the MCA into their fold, who knows how things will turn out. There may very well be a split in the Chinese vote too. When this day happens, there will certainly be overtures to the idea of Chinese solidarity.
Right the now the gameplan is to destroy BN, but specifically for Malay power structures to consolidate power to ensure some sort of stability. The reality is that the personality politics as exemplified by the current prime minister will not last forever. Maybe not even a full term. Add to this the internal power struggles within Harapan and PAS, which is a far more dangerous adversary than Umno, and what we have is a possible spring of theocratic discontent.
The MCA needs to leave Umno and remain independent not as some sort of penance – May 9 is penance enough – but because soon Malaysians will understand that we will always need a secular racial alternative to mainstream Malay politics.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 3:56 PM   0 comments
Malaysia does not need hate speech laws - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, October 03, 2018
Is pointing out HATE against the Jews and Non Muslims which is divinely sanctioned by their scriptures covered by the hate speech laws???? Becareful what you wish for. Jews ruling the World by Proxy, is hate speech. That was Mamakthir.
Hate Crimes Laws, such laws, while claiming to promote tolerance, actually lead to the end of free speech!
Malaysiakini : “The concept of ‘micro-aggression’ is just one of many tactics used to stifle differences of opinion by declaring some opinions to be ‘hate speech’, instead of debating those differences in a marketplace of ideas. To accuse people of aggression for not marching in lockstep with political correctness is to set the stage for justifying real aggression against them.” - Thomas Sowell
COMMENT | As someone who is routinely accused of hate speech, this article may come off as self-serving. Just before May 9, a group of “young Malay professionals” claimed that I should be investigated for stoking religious and racial sentiments. Add to this the reception of my article on “civilising Islam” from the Malay far right, this means that for some people I am/was the poster child for hate speech laws.
Never mind, for in all those articles I was merely offering an opinion on public comments of what political and religious operatives of the state said in the name of religion or on racial privilege. Facts were not important - only the emotions the articles were brought forth. In most of the comments section of those articles, racial and religious invectives were used against me and the majority of comments were ad hominem, instead of addressing the points I raised.
When we talk of hate speech, Pakatan Harapan supporters are quick to point to Umno or PAS or any of the numerous political operators or provocateurs that ply their trade in the public spaces of this country. They never really address the hate speech emanating from the base against anyone who goes against the groupthink that is pervasive in the then opposition, now establishment media. Political correctness (which is bad enough) only applies to partisan correctness. Here’s the thing though. Who defines hate speech? More importantly, who has the power to sanction speech they deem hateful? I’ll give you an example.
Gobind Singh Deo (photo) talks of the need for hate speech laws because of what Raja Petra Kamarudin said about Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department director Amar Singh’s turban, for the Sikh community this was an attack on their religion.
From a news report: “He also pointed out that Malaysians were a multiracial and multi-religious society, and therefore, such attacks against anyone to go unnoticed should not be allowed.” Except, of course, that hate speech occurs every day in this country and because of who it is directed at, the state turns a blind eye. When a woman writes something that people do not agree with, they resort to misogynistic hate speech to vilify her.
When a person talks about specific laws on racial and religious equality, the person's race is used as a starting point of the criticism, often in racist ways, especially if his or her comments go against the conventional narratives of the state or the people who support the state.
Of late, there is a mendacity when it comes to freedom of speech in this country in the way how the Harapan regime is restricting it and how the base seems to be embracing it.
While journalists are getting used to the freedom to operate without the boot of the state on their necks, they now have to contend with the reality that the government can now sue for defamation. Journalists are not the only people affected because there is a range of public dissent from various quarters that would be subject to such law(s).
The grey areas
Meanwhile, the racial and religious discourse in this country has taken a new turn with the proposed Racial and Religious Hatred Act, which I suppose is some sort of hate speech law. I wrote about the landmines of such a law here, but what I find fascinating is the kind of unintentional consequences that such a law can produce:
“I have to call out this horse manure on this particular sound bite. It sounds good when Mujahid claims that this Act would be used not only on those who insult Islam but also against those who insult the other religions. But here’s the thing: In order to do that, all religions must be treated the same. Is Mujahid actually claiming that all religions are treated the same in Malaysia or is this just another convenient sound bite to lull people into a false sense of security?”
I’ll give you another example. People like Anwar Ibrahim talk of the “super liberals”. In this country the Islamists, Malay far right and even mainstream Malay political operatives demonise these groups which they consider anathema to their race and religion. Isn’t this a form of hate speech?
Haven't these groups of people, comprising religious people, women and Malaysians in general who want certain democratic rights, been subject to the kind of abuse - physical or otherwise - that hate speech laws are supposed to contain?
If we are really honest, let us talk about the LGBT issue. We have had Umno politicians claiming to want to “destroy” these people. We have been told by no less than the prime minister that the LGBT culture is not accepted in Malaysia – many people talk about gay marriage but this is a red herring.
When violence is committed against people from this community, it is not because they are advocating equal rights for marriage. They are going about their lives but the state insists on intruding into their private spaces or hoping to catch them to prove a point to believers and non-believers.
Isn’t this a form of hate speech? But because it said by religious proponents or politicians, it means that it is not sanctioned by the state. And this is really the problem here. There are laws in this country for incitement, harassment and a host of other identifiable actions that make racial and religious provocations easier to handle if the laws were applied equally to all. However, the ambiguities when it comes to certain speech and topics are the grey areas that are only controlled by fascist mechanisms.
Suzanne Nossel (photo), the executive director of the PEN Centre, writing in Foreign Policy magazine after the events of Chancellorsville, clearly defines the problem with hate speech laws and some of the points I raised:
"But if hate speech became the basis of convictions and jail sentences, such ambiguities and subjectivities would be untenable. If individuals cannot be sure what might be judged hate speech, they will have no choice but to avoid all manner of legitimate speech for fear of legal jeopardy. “News organisations, radio shows and websites would have to employ armies of lawyers to help scrub speech that anyone, anywhere might consider offensive enough to cross a vague legal line."
Indeed hate speech laws that are being considered here and practised elsewhere are often reactionary. Specific incidents often act as a catalyst, without consideration of the wider implications of such laws. Add to this political will, which seems silent when it comes to pervasive transgressions but narrowly hones in on issues that enjoy partisan support, then the issue is further complicated.
Malaysian should be wary of such laws - especially when proposed by honest brokers.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 9:23 AM   0 comments
10 questions for Khairy, starting with 'Malay wisdom' - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, October 01, 2018
Gov't schools teach wife beating, Chinese schools teach science by Mariam Mokhtar
Malaysiakini : “I'm sorry, did I break your concentration? I didn't mean to do that. Please, continue, you were saying something about best intentions.” – Jules Winnfield, Pulp Fiction
COMMENT | Dear Khairy Jamaluddin, I do not normally write open letters. The last one I wrote was to PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, and he didn’t reply. This made me, as Donald Trump would put it, sad. Now, I know I have publicly declared you as my bête noire. But really, this was when Umno was winning, and as you can tell I was pretty pissed. So don’t take it to heart.
Anyway, since you are the only one from Umno who speaks “sense,” as Hannah Yeoh claims, I thought I would address these question to you. I had attempted to address these question to some of my other Umno friends, but they demurred. Truth is, I also asked some of these question to Pakatan Harapan operatives.
Same reaction. So, I thought, why not Khairy, who really has nothing to lose. Sorry, didn’t mean to bring up losing. Anyway, the last article I wrote was about the eventual sublimation of Umno into Harapan. I received a lot of hate mail from my Umno friends, who said that I should give the opposition a chance, like I did when Harapan was not the establishment.
Now, I don’t know if all these people are your friends, but most of them said that you are the future of Malay politics, even though most of them could not stand your guts. I really couldn’t tell if this was because of what you say, or because they had nothing new to say. But don’t worry. I won’t hold your political baggage against you because, well, I voted Harapan in and those guys have baggage up the wazoo. I’ll ask the question and give a little context in italics.
1. What is Malay wisdom?
I addressed this question to a few political operatives from Harapan and they said, whatever Dr Mahathir Mohamad says. Ok, I’m kidding. They told me that by asking this question, I was spooking the Malays.
All jokes aside, one of them said, it was Khalid Samad’s explanation of the move to compel tahfiz centres to register with Jawi. I thought that this was a pretty good answer. And of course, this same political operative said, “What the hell is Malay wisdom?” This political operative is Malay, and even she has not heard of Malay wisdom. I tried asking some of my friends from Umno, and they said Malay wisdom, is listening to Mahathir when he told them to dump Najib Abdul Razak. So I guess there is something to listening to the old maverick, but I digress.
2. Since the majority of Malays voted for Umno and PAS, do you really think that they want a progressive Umno?
See, when you talk about progressive values or ideas, this appeals to a specific base. I wonder if the Malays who voted for Umno and PAS – even if they knew Najib was a kleptocrat – really want the kind of ‘new Malaysia’ that some folks keep babbling on about?
I spoke to a few Malay Harapan operatives, and they attempted to avoid the question. But you made some pretty interesting choices in your manifesto, like appealing to the woman vote by creating a woman's seat for the Umno vice-president post. That’s pretty progressive, but since you lost, do you think that progressive is the way to go, especially since Harapan also struggles with this issue?
3. The talk among Umno potentates is how they will pay for things now they aren’t in government. How exactly do you think that Umno is going to keep the base intact when the usual modes of enticements have been cut off?
I mean Harapan talks about an austerity budget, but I am thinking that Umno must be really scrambling for funds to keep the base happy. Some folks have told me that they’re wondering if they’ll be targeted by the Harapan state next. I mean all that looting was not solely done by Najib, right?
4. You mooted the idea that Umno should or could be multiracial. How exactly would this work, when someone like Mahathir says the reality of Malaysia is that the majority needs a race-based party?
Is conventional Malay thinking wrong? If so, then why stick with Umno or even attempt to reform it? If conventional Malay politics is wrong, does this mean without an infusion of talent from Umno, Bersatu is doomed to fail?
5. Do you think lesbians should be caned?
Corollary to that, do you think that watching lesbian S&M porn is worse than watching a livestream of two lesbians caned by a woman officer? I only ask because some people are worried that the Communications and Multimedia Commission are monitoring them when they watch porn, which is not really true – I think – but who knows with this country.
6. Do you think that Umno should cut ties with Najib?
Some Harapan supporters have said that Umno is complicit in what Najib did. Just recently, Lim Kit Siang said that Umno should cut ties with its former president. What is your stand on this issue? From interviews, I know you say that Umno drank the Kool-Aid, but do you think that having Najib around does anything for Umno?
7. If Umno somehow manages to make a deal with Harapan, what would be your response?
Do you think that Umno should make deals with Harapan to form the government? If not, why not? Many of the Umno folk I have spoken to seem to think this is a good idea. Some of your public comments seem to imply you do not.
8. Which is worse, a kleptocracy or a theocracy?
I have said the latter. Some folks think the former. As someone who has been part of the former, what do you think? This also goes for working under – sorry, with – PAS. Do you think this political copulation unnatural?
9. Do you think that Umno should punish defectors, or do you think that maybe you should seriously consider abandoning Umno?
I only ask because I find the current crop of young Harapan political operatives pretty boring. It’s all about kowtowing to the old maverick, or fretting if Anwar will become the next prime minister. I think that you want to be the next prime minister.
10. What recent event do you think that Harapan handled badly, and what would be your response if you were a Harapan political operative?
Well, these are the ten questions. Hope you reply, unlike Hadi, which again, I was extremely sad about.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 11:43 AM   0 comments
The Legacy of Mamakthir when he kicks the Bucket!!!!
Saturday, September 29, 2018
Vizu Polls as of Tuesday, December 11, 2012

posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 2:19 PM   0 comments
Believe it, the Umno-Harapan unity gov’t is already forming - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Mamakthir's legacy when he kicks the Bucket !!!
Malaysiakini : “Our fight is a fundamental fight against both of the old corrupt party machines, for both are under the dominion of the plunder league of the professional politicians who are controlled and sustained by the great beneficiaries of privilege and reaction.” – Theodore Roosevelt
COMMENT | I just do not get it. There seem to be two narratives when it comes to this idea of a unity government. The first is about how Pakatan Harapan de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim and his coterie are working in a sub rosa fashion with Umno to form a unity government, while the second is about how Umno is going, hat in hand, to Malay power structures in Harapan to cease being a “government in waiting.”
Both narratives are false because the reality is that a unity government is already forming. What I don’t understand is why people really think that the big bad wolf is still Umno, as if it will be the catalyst that would down the Harapan regime. The existential threat to Harapan is not Umno, but an ideology that paralyses any progressive destiny of Malaysia.
Umno does not have to form a unity government with Harapan before the next election – because by the next election, there will be no Umno. When the old maverick and now Harapan grand poohbah Dr Mahathir Mohamad claims that Umno is finished, it is not because the people voted Umno out. The party still has support of the majority of the Malay community.
War of attrition
What is going on now is a war of attrition within Malay power structures, which means that Umno rats are abandoning ship and heading to other ‘Malay’ lifeboats. Malay power structures in PKR and Bersatu have openly said they would accept Umno into the fold.
While they make weak qualifications of membership, the reality is that Harapan needs a strong Malay mandate if they are to throw their weight around in a multiracial, multi-religious coalition, which they have never been comfortable with. The old maverick knows this, and so do the political operatives – Malay and non-Malay – within Harapan.
PKR lawmaker Wong Chen (photo), in dismissing the idea of a unity government, rightly pointed out that - “That question is best addressed to Bersatu because Umno members are leaving to join Bersatu.” People pay attention to the powerbrokers of Umno jumping ship, but the reality is that Umno has been haemorrhaging grassroots members to Bersatu, and to a lesser extent, PKR.
While PAS may have picked up some support because of the new anti-Mahathir feeling of some Umno members, the biggest draw by far has been Bersatu, which is seen as the new face of Malay politics.
Bersatu they stand
While some folks have no problem demonising Anwar for his apparent racial and religious politics, the fact is that Bersatu as the so-called champion of Malay rights and Islamic superiority is the main draw for people who want to abandon Umno. My reading of why Anwar is blathering on about race and religion is that because he understands that the Malay vote base is more comfortable with a race-based party like Bersatu, and not a nominally multiracial outfit like PKR.
Indeed, Bersatu benefits from Anwar’s and Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail’s rather silly pronouncements, because eyes are diverted away from Bersatu and the old maverick’s shenanigans when it comes to policy decisions, the Harapan manifesto, and the ambivalence towards the rising tide of Islamic provocations in this country.
Not to mention, the old guard of Umno who really did not like former president Najib Abdul Razak is working the levers ensuring that Bersatu is the main beneficiary of those exiting the former ruling party. While Anwar may say that he has no fear of Mahathir and his personal relationship is good, his actions and those of his supporters betray the deep anxiety they have of the way the political terrain is shaping in this post-Umno reality.
So the old maverick does the needful and reiterates his pledge that Anwar would be the next prime minister. But you have to wonder if Mahathir is saying this amid talks of a unity government, doesn’t it just further the narrative that Anwar is impatient, which inflames the Harapan (non-Malay) base against his former protégé, because the majority of the Malay base is already sceptical?
‘Glory days’
People who think that the destruction of Umno is some sort of closure to the racial and religious politics in this country are fooling themselves. Beyond the urban centres where Bersatu and PAS are eventually going to have their showdown, the politics of race and religion will be the battleground. This will seep into the urban enclaves. It always does. Back in the day, the current prime minister had no problem with the help of his non Malay counterparts launching offensives against PAS, but at the same time, working the Islamic angle to his advantage.
Many Umno supporters who are thinking of jumping ship tell me that what they see forming is a return to the old days, when the Chinese and Malays were “working together” under the great Mahathir. They see this as a return to the glory days. This is swell for them, but it was then that the roots of destruction of this country were planted. Rational Malaysians should not buy into this propaganda of a unity government pushed by the political elites. The narratives that Harapan rejects any form of unity government, or that some in Harapan are working towards this aim, should be rejected.
Remember, the ‘ketuanan’ system that many in Umno find appealing has been replaced with the slowly forming pillars of BN Redux - “don’t spook the Malays” and “coming as close as we can to get the government to say those laws are wrong.”
The first is the foundation of the ‘ketuanan’ system, which is what Umno political operatives - and really, every mainstream Malay political operative - need to sustain political power, because they do not want to discover new ways.
The second is the compromise with non-Malay power structures, which is the easy power-sharing formula that worked so well at the height of Mahathir’s reign. In the current climate, there will be more big-name casualties when it comes to the malfeasance of the Najib regime, and there will definitely be more defections – after a suitable period of contriteness of course – of Umno members to Bersatu and PKR. Anwar’s Port Dickson gambit will determine if he remains a player when it comes to this high-stakes Malay political game.
But make no mistake, the unity government is already forming, and while the body of Umno will be destroyed, its soul will find a new vessel.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 2:12 PM   0 comments
The Late Reverend Father Mari Arokiam
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
He was a gem of a person. The soldiers in Batu 5 Camp, Mentakab, Pahang, Seventh Rangers (Mechanized Infantry) loved him. He blessed us all before our departure to Somalia, a very challenging task. We came back safely. With the exception of two soldiers who joined us later from KL. May he rest in peace with our Lord - Major D Swami (Retired)

Born : 09.10.58 Ordained : 08.09.92 Departed : 15.09.18 The life story of Fr Mari Arokiam. May his soul rest in peace and May the Lord welcome him home in his kingdom.🙏🙏 The ONE priest who was very different from others. We that have been touched by him, in our hearts he will remain with love and fondest memories.
Watch and listen to the challenges he faced taking this step to shepherd souls.

posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 9:00 PM   0 comments
Two pillars of BN redux courtesy of current political operatives - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Malaysiakini : “What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.”  ― Thomas Paine, The American Crisis
COMMENT | Law lecturer Azmi Sharom's characterisation of the Official Secrets Act in a recent forum as “the giant mad elephant in the room” is noteworthy for a couple of reasons.
The first is that the state always wants to keep secrets from the public; and the second, it points to the mendacity of this new regime, that yet again they are waffling on something they could easily accomplish, except that they too, now understand the advantage of keeping things from the public.
Let me be very clear. In my other life when I was part of the state security apparatus, I was involved in operations that were deemed by the then Umno/BN establishment as “secret”. In my writing against the Umno regime, I made it clear that I was of the opinion that there were operations carried out by the state security apparatus, sometimes working in concert with other ministries, that justified it being classified as secret. 
Unlike some writers, I had no problem acknowledging that certain actions deemed illegal or immoral were necessary for the sake of the nation’s security. Many have disagreed with me but I have not retreated from this position.
At the same forum Azmi (photo) was speaking at, DAP’s Steven Sim, who is also the deputy youth and sports minister, laid out the government’s intention to either arm or repeal the OSA and along with the latter, make specific exceptions in this new Freedom of Information bill.
I of course am for the latter and in my opinion, the former is just another way for this new administration to fall back into old BN habits. Within that narrow range of exception, especially when dealing with national security, there are several issues that should be kept from the public.
These include certain sensitive operations, trade craft, confidential informants, illicit payments for information and a host of other issues that do not neatly fall into the ambit of legality but are necessary to safeguard our nation.
As discussed, these are extremely limited exceptions. In the past, the reputation and security of the country were compromised when the former regime demonstrated that issues classified as “national secrets” were in fact secrets that were damaging to Umno. Not to mention back in the day, we were supportive of all sorts of groups, which blowback we feel now. So there is that.
So when politicians talk about freedom of information and how sometimes it needs to be protected, we should be mindful of what needs to be protected.  Sim is absolutely correct when he argues that when one cites “national security”, they should be questioned as to what exactly they want to keep from the public and how it relates to national security instead of political interests.
However, what was disappointing were Sim’s comments when it came to the question of “Asian values”. God, I really hate it when politicians talk about values. It gets even worse when they talk about “Asian” values. I have noticed this trend when it comes to the non-Malay component of Harapan - Sim has not been the only political operative to voice out such sentiments. Rational Malaysians who care about this country should pay attention to this kind of justifications from politicians.
Sim (photo) made two points worth considering. The first is: “It is also not fair for us to not take into consideration certain sensitivities – religious values, cultural or traditional world views – when it comes to governance, legislation and the rule of law.”
Really? Could you imagine if an Umno politician said this? Actually, you do not have to imagine. Remember when Bersatu member Rais Yatim babbled on about “our” civilisational, education and country's values, when rejecting the Harapan pledge to recognise the UEC? This is exactly the kind of considerations that only a certain segment of the population wants their leadership to take into account when it comes to governance and policy-making.
The difference here is that it is a DAP political operative promoting this line of reasoning when it comes to a particular issue – freedom of information – and the reality is that his comment could apply to any policy issues that the Harapan regime is considering.
Whose values?
And here’s the real problem. When it comes to religious values or cultural values, whose values are we talking about? In my piece rejecting this horse manure that Rais said, I wrote this – It all boils down to whose values we are talking about, right? Whose civilisation are we talking about? Whose dominance determines the qualities of being ‘Malaysian’, whatever the hell that means? Non-Malay culture has its foundation in thousands of years of building up to something. So do not tell me about the “core of civilisation”.
And really what does “traditional world views” mean? I guess it means anything we can shoehorn into our values system because local politicians are always going on about the evil “Western” values that threaten to destroy the fabric of this country… or is it the fabric of Malay society?
And the second point Sim makes is as follows: “It is very easy and popular to say that everyone is universal and everyone has the same idea of freedom, human rights and freedom of information”. Why do I think, that before May 9, many political operatives especially from the DAP would have had no problem proclaiming the universality of values when it came to freedom, human rights and freedom of information?
Not only that, the true Muslim meme, which is predicated on the idea that universal values cut across religious lines, as well as opposition-supporting Muslims would have had no problem with the supposedly secular values of the opposition. So, what changed?
Since coming into power, non-Malay political operatives have suddenly become sensitive to what MCA and MIC went though all those years kowtowing to a certain racial group and justifying such actions with dodgy ideological claptrap, like social contract and power sharing.
In the meantime, some political operatives from MCA and MIC discovered that being part of the opposition meant that they had the freedom to espouse universal values as a panacea to the racial and religious toxins of Umno. Indeed, the whole Bangsa Malaysia kool aid is predicated on the acceptance of universal definitions of those values.
However, being the establishment now and having to take into account the sensitivities of Malay power structures and their voting base, non-Malay political operatives suddenly find themselves constructing two pillars for this new Malaysia. These pillars seem to be, “Don’t spook the Malays” and the second is when justifying inaction - “Coming as close as we can to get the government to say those laws are wrong”.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 8:59 AM   0 comments
Gov't schools teach wife beating, Chinese schools teach science by Mariam Mokhtar
Monday, September 24, 2018
Malaysiakini : COMMENT | The rakyat did what was right for Malaysia, but some ministers in Pakatan Harapan give us cause for concern. A change from Umno-Baru/BN to Harapan is not like changing clothes.
It is a requirement of change that we deal with all the problems which almost destroyed the nation, but change also means tackling head-on, the issues which some of us term "sensitive". So, how's this for double standards? When critics and columnists censured Umno-Baru, and singled out their leader, the disgraced, former prime minister, Najib Abdul Razak and his wife, the former self-styled 'First Lady of Malaysia' (FLOM), we were described as courageous and "talking the truth".
Today, we realise that Harapan's politicians only want reporters who are "yes-men". The rakyat voted for change. We demand politicians with high standards of integrity, honesty and principles. Many of us are unhappy about nepotism in the various political parties. Despite acknowledging our views about this, Anwar Ibrahim and his inner circle, pushed ahead to engineer a by-election in Port Dickson. Manipulating the electorate is not change for the better. He should unify and strengthen his party, instead of being distracted by the race to the top.
Columnists (and cartoonists) recall a time when their work was not published by independent newspapers, for fear of the authorities. Today, many publishers still pander to the ruling party, and the voices of the opposition and critics of the new administration, are largely unheard. Little has changed in the media.
We cannot undo 61 years of mismanagement, misrule, corrupt practices and injustice in 100 days. It may take several terms of office. Already, power has got to the heads of some Harapan politicians, who act like Umno-Baru Version 2. It is the rakyat's responsibility to censure misbehaving Harapan politicians. Those who hold public office must observe a code of conduct.
The Deputy Home Minister, Azis Jamman (photo), was accompanied by his aide, on a visit to have his eyes checked, when the aide took an upskirt photo of the optician. The aide was sacked when his sexual indiscretion was publicised. An aide is for work, not personal use. Don't blame Harapan's critics, if BN were to seize back control.
Safeguard the children
The Deputy Prime Minister, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (photo), who is also the Minister for Women, has failed to protect and safeguard the rights of children. How many children will suffer, before drastic action is taken to stop paedophiles from giving Islam and Malaysia a bad name?
Would she marry off her granddaughter to a 40-year-old man? Will she advise Muslim families to practise birth control, to stop them from having large families? In the second child marriage, the parents exchanged their daughter, one of 13 children, for a dowry, so their child could escape the poverty trap, as the second wife of a man, who is old enough to be her father.
Yesterday, we learnt that a single mother will be whipped for selling her body in exchange for money. Her husband had failed to pay any alimony. This story of the single mother, prostituting herself, to support herself and her children is not new. It has existed for decades. Wan Azizah is in a strong position to act to change the fortunes of single mothers. We used to criticise Umno-Baru ministers for the same failure.
The ex-husband who abandons his wives and children, without paying maintenance, should be severely punished. Men who abandon their wives and children are becoming the norm. Some refuse to divorce their wives, leaving them in a bind, if they find a new love.
It is not just about love and marriage. The syariah laws pertaining to inheritance need an urgent review. Single women are also at risk when their parents die. If they predecease their parents, their money and property will go to the baitulmal fund, if they have failed to make a will.
The two-tier system of civil and syariah laws has to be disbanded. Men find the loopholes in the syariah laws and take advantage of them.
Overhaul the education system
The Minister for Education, Maszlee Malik, has failed to overhaul the syllabus for Muslim children in schools. An examination paper showed how young Muslim adults are told that wife beating is acceptable; furthermore, men are taught how to beat their wives in the Muslim way. Elsewhere, a new wife is told that she cannot leave the house without her husband's permission. She is not a slave.
A few years ago, a teenager said that in her school, sex education was about the many ways of preparing delicious rice dishes for her husband. Sex education is not about the ability of the wife to be a whore in bed, a cleaner and a good cook. The root of the matter is how Islam is practised in Malaysia. Our interpretation of the Koran has been hijacked by certain warped mullahs.
Wan Azizah cannot look over her shoulder to see if her husband approves of her actions. If she does, then she is not fit to be a minister. Like her, the other Muslim ministers, like Maszlee and Mujahid Yusof Rawa, the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, need to lead the way and overhaul the system, where Muslims are concerned.
Malaysian children who attend Chinese, and International schools focus on science, technology, IT, and the creative arts, to expand their minds. Malays in government type schools, and tahfiz schools, are returned to the stone ages, where males are taught how to control their women.
A vote for change on May 9, was not a vote for Umno-Baru ministers to be replaced by Harapan ministers who would continue with the old ways. It was certainly not a vote for ministers to do nothing, but hide behind the cloak of religion or male superiority. On May 9, the rakyat voted for a radical overhaul of the way Malaysia was governed. Unfortunately, we must now question, if some in the Harapan government are capable of administering this change.

MARIAM MOKHTAR is a defender of the truth, the admiral-general of the Green Bean Army and president of the Perak Liberation Organisation (PLO). Blog, Twitter.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 1:00 PM   0 comments
Is Malaysia a secular country? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy

A quick lesson in the history of Islam
Malaysiakini : “My people are going to learn the principles of democracy, the dictates of truth and the teachings of science. Superstition must go. Let them worship as they will; every man can follow his own conscience, provided it does not interfere with sane reason or bid him against the liberty of his fellow men.” – Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
COMMENT | The same day Malaysiakini runs a piece about DAP’s Lim Kit Siang saying in Sydney that he has no doubt that Malaysia is a secular country, the fabulous Siti Kasim asked our Education Minister Maszlee Malik why there is a ‘ wife-beating’ question in an Islamic Studies exam paper, followed the next day with a rationalisation of ‘ death to apostates’ in a revision book.
Meanwhile, the affable Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu is determined to counter the bad rap of Islam but offers no other narratives that would give the religion in this country a better image, and PKR’s Wan Ji Wan Hussin – labelled a deviant by the former Umno regime – is attempting a discourse within his religion, which as far as I am concerned is a good thing, even it would probably not gain much traction with the mainstream Malay political elite.
And of course, a woman in Terengganu faces whipping for supporting herself through prostitution because her husband has not paid alimony.
Is Malaysia a secular country? The old maverick who is now prime minster (again) certainly didn’t think so. He referred to Malaysia as a fundamental Islamic state, and reminded people back in the day that it was not a ‘moderate’ Muslim country. Perhaps his thinking has changed in this “new” Malaysia, but I do wonder if any of the Malay political operatives from Pakatan Harapan would endorse Lim's message that “constitutionally” we are a secular country.
Besides the Malay political operatives from DAP, Lim’s message would carry more weight – and would be true in some sense – if a majority of Malay political operatives from Harapan endorsed the elder statesperson's message. I will wager that there will be no such endorsement from the mainstream political class, and I will also wager that this statement will sooner or later be used as a weapon by the Islamists in this country.
The mainstream Malay political class in Harapan will make some sort of weasely statement confirming that Malaysia is a moderate Islamic state which respects the rights of all peoples, and the base will just forget about this incident, with more news of the plagues on house Najib offered as bread for the circus.
‘As close as we can get’
What would these statements sound like? Well, they would sound like the feeble statements made by DAP’s Syahredzan Johan when he said this – “And as for the recent caning of the two women (in Terengganu), we have come as close as we can get to a government saying the laws (that led to the prosecution and caning) are wrong.” Really?
That is your pitch to young people that Malaysia is a secular state, that the Harapan government came as close it could, that caning two women for sexual acts that the religion of the federation deems immoral is wrong? This is the best you can offer young Malaysians as to how the political apparatus of the DAP defines a secular state?
So if two young gay Malays come home and are caught (most probably in the privacy of their home) by the religious police for engaging in sexual acts deemed immoral and are punished for it, what they can be assured of in this so called secular country is that Harapan will come close to deeming such actions by the religious apparatus wrong? Which is more dangerous, "not spooking the Malays" or "coming as close as we can to get the government to say those laws are wrong"? (The latter, by the way, is my new favourite phrase.)
When we talk of Malaysia being a secular state, we are talking to an urban audience, which laps this kind of horse manure up. We are certainly not talking to the so-called rural heartland, not to the Malay vote base of Bersatu, Amanah and PKR. And we are certainly not talking to the those who voted for Umno and PAS.
That’s the divide, right? Secular is what divides non-Muslims (and those Muslims who are demonised for thinking the same way as the ‘nons’) and the theocratic political mainstream Malay power structures.
When Syahredzan (photo) talks about the blurring of lines between politics and religion and that the government is concerned about this, everyone assumes he is talking about the machinations of Umno and PAS. But really what people should be worried about is the syariah-compliant guidelines being cooked up by the Harapan regime. Of course, all this is supposedly done to protect the rights of Muslim women, and not as a means of societal control.
Or how about when Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Fuziah Salleh, talks about how the Harapan government is committed to uplifting the Syariah Court system – "In relation to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 and other relevant laws, we are looking at them in more detail and … we are committed, ready to amend the act in empowering the Syariah Court as a whole," – which I referenced in my piece of how some of my Malay friends think public caning is a good idea.
What is the most dangerous aspect of all these manoeuvres? Many Harapan supporters will make any excuse, when Harapan Malay and non-Malay political operatives engage in the Islamisation process in this country. They minimise when they should be dissenting. You know why? Because although they have no problem attacking PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim when he cautions against not spooking the Malays, these people do not want to spook the Malays either, lest their non-Malay political operatives get kicked out of office. They allow Harapan to get away with things that they never would allow the Umno state to get away with.
Secularism isn’t about theory
Everybody writes about how the Federal Constitution is supreme, but is it in practice? You could mount an argument about why the public caning of those two women went against the constitution, but what does this mean in practice? Absolutely nothing. And secularism is not about theory. It is about practice. Sure, there are variations of secularism, but where it counts, it means that the religion of the federation – which is ridiculous if you make the claim that yours is secular country – does not in practice trump the constitution.
Have the mainstream Malay power structures in Harapan come out with a statement recognising the supremacy of the civil courts over the syariah courts? No, they have not. A couple of months ago, when I asked what was Harapan’s Islamic agenda, I referenced the flash points that we should pay attention to – “These days, it would seem when it comes to these types of provocations, the ruling establishment is silent. Since Harapan took over, we have had provocateurs at Kampung Manjoi, a prime minister hopeful telling us not to spook the Malays, a mufti telling a deputy chief minister of a state to leave the country if he loses a rigged debate, and of course, a Malay politician threatened with death because of the fake news that she wants to destroy an Islamic institution.
We are supposed to believe that this is a normal situation? We are supposed to not draw attention to this because the hard work of ‘saving Malaysia’ means we have to put up with this horse manure?
So please don’t tell me that there is a blurring of lines and that the Harapan government is monitoring it. I would argue that in many instances, it is the Harapan government which is doing the blurring.
I would also argue that they do this because the non-Malays who used to be that line in the sand when it comes to the Islamic state are now worried that dissent would mean going against the groupthink, and upset the balance of power that this ‘new Malaysia’ desperately needs.
Actually what this new Malaysia needs are Islamic counter-narratives that would ensure that the secular road is not closed to us. But of course, the political operatives in Harapan do not want to gamble on other Islamic narratives.
Their supporters are too blind to notice that it is not Umno/PAS that is defining the narrative, but rather the Harapan establishment ceding ground because the base allows it. The strange thing is. I do not blame the majority for wanting their Islamic lifestyle (or should that be Arabic lifestyle?). But why am I am resisting? Why am I fighting this?
Because I remember a time when it was not like this. I remember a time when religion did not divide us, and my Malay friends were not so afraid – not afraid of their religion and certainly not afraid that their religion would be conquered by the non-Muslims. You could say that I am not fighting for some sort of utopia, but for a past where one could make a credible argument that we were a secular country.
What did LP Hartely say? “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”
They certainly did.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 12:37 PM   0 comments
Suhakam can’t be rights advocate if told to marginalise LGBTs - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, September 22, 2018
Malaysiakini : “Harapan, being politically and ideologically similar to BN, does the same thing any authoritarian regime would do: discipline, punishment, and control.” – Maryam Lee, 'Making sense of GE14 from a dissenter's POV'
COMMENT | When Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad reminds Suhakam that our value system is not the same as the West, this is complete horse manure. Are there differences in what we as Asians value than that of the West? Sure, there is. You could make the argument that what we value as a community, regardless of race and religion, differs from the West. So, there’s that.
But when it comes to the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) issue, what separates us from the “West” is that we are bare naked hypocrites. Indeed, all you weaselly politicians are big stinking hypocrites. And anyone who supports you in this thinking is a big stinking hypocrite, too.
When the Wikileaks cables scandal erupted many years ago, tongues were waging of the gay politicians within the then Umno establishment. Does anyone really know of the gay politicians in the now Harapan establishment? What about the grassroots level operators who are gay? What about the propagandists from Harapan – DAP, PKR, Bersatu, even Amanah – who are gay?
All these gay people helped create your new Malaysia and you have the audacity to lecture Suhakam about not following Western values? But forget about that. Even in the old Malaysia, there were gay people who were part of the gravy train and who had no problem weaponising sexuality to destroy people, especially if they were part of the opposition or who sympathised with the opposition's values.
In fact, whenever the state wants to demonise an opponent, they usually claim that the opponent is attempting to propagate Western values when it comes to issues which at the core are about freedom of speech or expression, sexuality being part of the latter. You know what really bothers me about this whole issue? It like this. First, the establishment attacks people who have very little say in society. They attack them along racial or cultural values lines because they know they have the support of other “religious” people. They know they can get away with it because people do not really care.
Then they move on. They always do. Take these attacks against lawyer/activist Fadiah Nadwa Fikri. You really think that the attacks against the LGBTQ community and Fadiah are not part of a larger narrative of social/political control? The difference between the two is the reception of the public. In Fadiah's case, what she dissenting against finds some currency in the way how some people think of state power when it comes to history and the royal institution. So, the establishment is careful in the way how they handle the Fadiah issue.
But when it comes to the LGBTQ community, they know that people generally do not care for obvious religious or cultural reasons. They also know that their hypocrisy will not be unmasked on a political level because while political parties rely on gay people, they know that nobody wants to rock the boat in case the balance of power is threatened. So, all that is left are gay activists, and nobody cares much for them or their cause.
Meanwhile, people are licking their lips at the situation the former Umno grand poohbah Najib Razak finds himself in, and the prime minister gets to remind a human rights organisation to marginalise certain people based on their gender or sexuality. The state security apparatus gets to mess around with an activist who is challenging the official narratives, pedophiles have a field day because child marriage laws allow them some leeway in their perversion because religious people are more involved in the sex lives of consenting adults than the grooming – see what I did there? – of children.
Messy issues
Come on, how many lawsuits and state-motivated legal harassment against opposition-now-establishment politicians have been dropped? How many legal suits against media practitioners who were supposedly pro-opposition have been dropped? You think this is a coincidence? If the state wants to disentangle itself from what it did before, it can. The reason why Fadiah is attacked is the same reason why the LGBTQ community is attacked. Because this is what the state condones.
In Fadiah’s case, you really think that whoever these goons are that lodged a report against her, does not have the backing of the state? What I mean is, it is convenient for the state that a police report was lodged and the state security apparatus investigates because then they do not have to deal with the messy issues that Fadiah brings up. But what really bothers me is the hypocrisy. The former prime minister rewrites his own history all the time, so why shouldn’t the average citizen, do the same.
Similarly demonising the LGBTQ community is easy because then the state does not have to answer questions of how the religion of the state has played a part in how various communities are at each other’s throats and how the religion of the state has hampered the growth of a community which we are told are in constant need of state intervention. Remember the syariah-compliant guidelines for the private sector? Here’s what I thought of it -"This is how it starts – innocently enough. Hidden behind a message of fairness is actually the tools for compliance. Guidelines eventually become dogma, and because they think people will not notice – most often they do not – they encroach into our public and private spheres uncontested."
People always forget that things start small. Brazenly telling a human rights organisation to marginalise a certain segment of Malaysian society or the state security apparatus investigating an activist in violation of promises to respect freedom of speech and expression is the larger narrative of state control. That’s how the state manages to divide us. First, they attack easy targets, then they normalise fascism by rejecting counter-narratives.
This piece ends which a question Fadiah asks - “Does that mean the change on May 9 is just an illusion?"
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 10:33 AM   0 comments

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