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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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Amanah’s sound and fury - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, December 17, 2018
Malaysiakini : What do we do now? - Bill McKay (The Candidate)
COMMENT | To be honest, I have always been ambivalent about Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah). As a splinter group of PAS, its creation was mired (rightly or wrongly) in the kind of DAP politics despised by the hardcore but not necessarily the Hadi supporting faithful of PAS.
Which is why Mat Sabu (who would make a better minster of tourism, arts and culture then his current Defence Ministry portfolio, which seems beyond his ken) reminding the Amanah faithful that they need Pakatan Harapan because they cannot stand alone, is music to the ears of many in PAS who still bear grudges.
The Amanah AGM has been getting some attention because the usually quaint party has been been expressing some sound and fury. This is to be expected in AGMs of these sorts (coming off a big win) especially from younger delegates.
It is a venting mechanism, which allows the older mainstream power brokers to get on with the business of maintaining power, but presents a veneer of radicalism. This “radicalism” is a good talking point for mainstream parties stuck in a rut of conventional politics, which they do not wish to abandon.
You know what is funny ? Amanah could be the kind of political party that could be effective in this country if it just discovers its cojones. However, this AGM does provide some interesting theatrics. If Amanah was really serious about reform, indeed if Harapan were really serious about reform they would pay attention to the issues brought up in this AGM.
I would argue that Amanah power brokers should make these issues “official” party policy so that Malaysians – however they identify themselves  – would have a better understanding of Amanah’s stance instead of relying on the fact that urban voters consider them a “moderate” Islamic party. A few issues stand out.
(1) What is the government hiding about Yemen?
This is a good question. Is the present government hiding anything that the former regime did in Yemen? Remember Saudi Arabia essentially uses other (Muslim) countries as mercenaries. I assume that with all the shenanigans that the House of Najib Abdul Razak was up to with the House of Saud, our boys were used as some sort of bargaining chips, for the 1MDB cover-up.

The present government should make public exactly what we did in this war which caused the death and misery of thousands of Muslims in Yemen. I can understand how the government would be hesitant in being transparent. Muslims in Malaysia are brainwashed into thinking that Muslims have to fear non-Muslims when it comes to their safety and security, hence revelations of how our troops were used by the House of Saud, in a conflict that is turning out to be a humanitarian disaster, would be shocking.
Remember that the kind of Islam that the House of Saud exported before the money ran out radicalised youths into believing that established Islamic hegemons were a detriment to the “true” power of the faith. Want to know how Muslims youths are radicalised? Well, one of the ways is that recruiters point to the horrors of Yemen perpetuated by corrupt Islamic kleptocrats.
(2) Malay privileges
I think it is great to hear a Malay/Muslim delegate of the ruling coalition party expressing the desire of most of the non-Malays in this country. However, wouldn’t it be great if Amanah actually made this official party policy? If the remarks of this young delegate sounded remarkably similar to the provisions of Icerd, why then did mainstream Malay and non-Malay power brokers remain silent, especially if this meant reaffirming the kind of Islam that is supposed to be to the kind preached to the thousands that showed up at the anti-Icerd rally?

Non-Malays need not worry, though. According to Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (photo) other governments need something like Icerd but here in Malaysia, we are unique and Islamic power brokers are more than capable of looking after everyone. So, we get a delegate calling for time limits on discriminatory practices and an older Harapan politburo member claiming that the Islam they profess is better than any international treaty. Who do you think is right ?
Remember, removing Malay privileges is not so that the non-Malays can compete with the Malays. Instead, it so that the Malays can compete with the non-Malays. These rights or privileges, or however you define them, are holding back the Malay community. Progressive voices in the community, which include academicians and politicians, have been saying this for years. This is why we get far right politicians making claims that if there was “discrimination”, why is it there are rich Chinese? The answer is obvious, Because those practices have not held back the non-Malays but instead screwed the average Malay.
(3) Essay writing competition
Some people do not think that this is a good idea. I think it is a great idea. I do think that this competition should only be for Muslims. Firstly, non-Muslims talking about Islam plays into the hands of certain morons and secondly, I do not want to read a piece by a well meaning or deluded non-Muslim, which would probably be used as propaganda to show how peaceful the religion of the state is.
But here is the thing though. Amanah has not given us its definition of “religious extremism”. How does Amanah define its stance when it comes to the other Islamic narratives out there? As far as I can see, what separates their form of Islam and the extremist ideas is better propaganda that works for urban audiences, but does very little for the rural heartland.

Is Amanah offering something different from mainstream Muslim narratives in this country? If you really want to change mindsets and use the propaganda organs at your disposal, here is my suggestion. Give someone like Siti Kassim (photo) a weekly talk show on RTM or whatever it is called now.
When it comes to Islam, unless Amanah can demonstrate otherwise, all these protestations about being different from PAS sound like a distinction without a difference.
(4) Broken election manifesto promises
So let me get this straight. The youth delegate rips up some paper as a symbolic gesture of how the rakyat feels of the Harapan broken promises but is confident that Tun would fulfil the promises in the manifesto? The same Tun that said the promise was made because they – Harapan – did not expect to win? The same Tun and Co, who have said that these promises are unrealistic to keep, considering the sensitivities of certain demographics?
The same Tun and Co, who have been waffling on nearly every single major campaign promise and claiming that further investigation meant that certain pernicious laws were of benefit to them? The same Tun who has said that our national debt is a trillion ringgit but we can afford R&D for a new third national car? But do not worry, apparently even Prophet Muhammad broke a promise, once, so how could we blame mere mortals, right?
(5) Empower the ulamas
I would think this is a good idea if the ulamas in Amanah were offering something different from PAS. But do we really need the ulamas in AMANAH getting into contentious religious squabbles with PAS and then retreating with their tails between their legs and agreeing with PAS, when the dust settles?
(6) Stand up to Mahathir on the third car
“Do not play safe, because we want to retain our position,” a delegate said. This may be true and it is linked with another important issue, such as taking care of the East Coast communities. Standing up to Dr Mahathir Mohamad goes beyond just the proposed third national car. It means a rejection of the kind of politics practised by Mahathir. Right now the coalition is dominated by sycophants. What happens when Mahathir is no longer in play? What is Harapan’s agenda, beyond just jailing kleptocrats?
So the big question is: can the sound and fury coming from Amanah translate to action? Or is this just an opportunity for some good press aimed at the demography that is keeping them afloat?
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 10:59 AM   0 comments
Good ones stay in Umno, bad ones take a leap of faith - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Mamakthir's Legacy
Malaysiakini : 'Do remember that dishonesty and cowardice always have to be paid for. Don’t imagine that for years on end you can make yourself the boot-licking propagandist of the Soviet régime, or any other régime, and then suddenly return to mental decency. Once a whore, always a whore.' - George Orwell, ‘As I Please: 1943-1945 Collected Essays, Journalism, and Letters’
COMMENT | Even as I write this, there will probably be more news of Umno members jumping ship. A few well-connected businesspersons of Umno political operatives have been calling me, “advising” me that their benefactors are going to jump ship and they are now part of a new dawn of Malaysian politics. And please, do not get triggered by the term “well-connected businesspersons”. All political parties have these people.
I have lost track of how many Umno rats are leaving the sinking ship. Readers of Malaysiakini have been sending me this bit (with smiley faces) from a piece I wrote in January of this year, about how Umno is afraid that Mahathir is still reshaping Umno. “What is Bersatu if not a reception room for possible Umno candidates who would jump ship if they thought that a weakened Umno would implode or that the current Umno grand poobah would bring the house of cards down which would jeopardise their economic security with his fancy new executive powers if Umno suffered electoral setbacks in the upcoming elections?”
This the game we are committed to play. If you voted for Pakatan Harapan, you must have known this would happen. And if you did not know this would happen, then you prove what Churchill said that the best argument against democracy is having a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
The commentary of this phenomenon has been fascinating in the sense that some pundits act as if this was not the inevitable outcome of the moves by mainstream powerbrokers to oust Najib Abdul Razak. This was never about saving Malaysia but rather about dethroning a kleptocrat who emerged from the breeding ground of mainstream Malaysian politics.

When Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng (photo) reminded Terengganu Bersatu chief Razali Idris to remember his “rakan seperjuangan”, who exactly is he trying to fool? If anything, for most of the people in Bersatu, their comrades have always been the Umno folk who ruled this country since independence.
Umno is not merely about personalities. It is an ecosystem with various organisms which want to impose hegemony for collective profit. This ecosystem can operate under any banner. Bersatu was never part of the movement to reform Malaysia but they were a part of the movement to dethrone Najib.
Razali is right on two counts. The first is that DAP is afraid of a stronger Malay/Muslim voice in parliament. To be specific, they are afraid of a stronger far-right Malay/Muslim voice in their coalition. Any rational person would be. You know who else is worried? PAS is also worried. At this moment, the Malay/Muslim far-right is dominated by Umno and PAS. They have managed to not only define the narrative but also managed to bundle up certain issues (and groups) which have nothing to do with race or religion – broken Harapan promises, for instance – and present them as an existential crisis for the Malay community.
Let us be honest here. There are many Umno people who despise working with PAS. They see this collaboration with PAS leader Abdul Hadi Awang (photo) as the first step to the Pakistanisation of Malaysia. They view Umno’s lack of leadership and perceived weakness as only benefitting PAS.

Jumping to Bersatu means that they do not have to put up with PAS anymore. They join a gang which is slowly growing and they do not have to flash their racial and religious bona fides because when Bersatu becomes the dominant Malay/Muslim powerbroker in Harapan, their Malay base will be satisfied that they are not under threat and they do not have to form allegiances with what is essentially a religious cult.
Instant reformers
The second is that post-May 9, the political climate and interests have changed. Just ask former Umno vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein who is alleged to be the mastermind behind these leaps of faith.
Hishammuddin may deny it, but there is enough circumstantial evidence to point to the fact that the powerbrokers in Umno, the warlords and their various schemes, understand that Umno is finished. Hishammuddin is merely an emissary hoping to gain favour and leverage for a post-Mahathir political landscape.
Some political operatives from Umno tell me that the recent anti-Icerd rally was a wake-up call for them. Without strong Malay leadership, the community is open to radicalisation which is not good for the country in the long run.
Asking these frogs to admit their complicity in 1MDB, as DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang (photo) wants them to do, is the height of political expediency. Do you think any of these Umno frogs would have a problem attacking their former comrades or admitting they were part of the problem?

They would have no problem repenting and most probably would make a religious pilgrimage to wash away their sins. They then would become instant reformers and all will be copacetic on the good ship Harapan. Asking for repentance or acknowledging abetting in the 1MDB scandal is merely a fig leaf for BN redux and the perpetuation of neo-BN policies.
PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim and his moves with Umno’s Nazri Abdul Aziz, for instance, is also a sign that Umno is going to fold or at least lose its once powerful position. While some Harapan people have taken offence to these moves, it is a far healthier stratagem in the short term, though in the long term, it could prove volatile.
Having a Malay caucus which supports the government mitigates the effects of power groups hoping to exploit racial and religious sentiment though it also means compromising on certain issues which, truth be told, is already happening in Harapan. When it comes to leaping frogs and backroom deals, I never thought I would say it but Khairy Jamaluddin and Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki have the right of it. They want some sort of reformasi in Umno. They are not alone. Many young Umno members want the same thing. The problem is that the old guard continues to stymie such calls for reformation.

Read my case for Khairy (photo) here: “I think what Khairy gets right is that there is a movement within Umno which understands that the far-right gambit is one of diminishing returns. As long as Bersatu has DAP and PKR as its wingmen, they control the middle-ground.”
Does this mean all is lost? Maybe not. DAP needs to step up its game. It should stop dispensing the Kool-Aid and act as an equal partner. It should not be in a hurry to abandon its principles to appease its Malay partners. Even if they are voted down, they should speak up.
And why do you ask that all this should fall on the DAP? Because they presented themselves as the “New Malaysians”. And when it comes to the frogs, this is the only thing you have to consider - when the Harapan grand poobah says there are "good" people in Umno, those are the ones who want to reform the party.
You may not agree with their ideas of reform or even that Umno could be reformed, but you are hypocritical when there is Bersatu in Harapan. The bad ones are taking that leap of faith into Harapan.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 2:40 PM   0 comments
Is the government afraid of local council elections? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Malaysiakini : "The ultimate goal is to bring back local government elections. Within the next 100 days I will try to come out with the legal framework and mechanism for this." – Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng.
COMMENT | The Harapan grand poohbah Dr Mahathir Mohamad comments that local council elections could lead to racial strife because of the urban/rural divide is the kind of horse manure that some Harapan operatives are pushing in lieu of policies that would enhance democracy in this country.
They say all politics is local and with this in mind, the continued reluctance of some Harapan political operatives to strengthen and enhance the democratic processes should convince rational thinking Malaysians that Harapan’s neo-BN polices are the framework for this New Malaysia.
When the prime minister claims that local council elections may produce the “wrong” results, what exactly does this mean? While the prime minister does not define what a “wrong” result is, it is pretty clear that a wrong result would mean that whatever racial formula that politics in this country is defined with would be chucked aside.
When political operatives clutch their pearls about the rural/urban divide, what they are worried about is that the rural demographic, which is continuously screwed over by the federal bureaucracy, would react in predictable ways to upset the apple cart when egged on by opportunistic political operatives. The federal government prefers it when it is the opportunistic political operative.
Kudos to the chief minister of Penang who stated his position without the predicable waffling of some political operatives who go against the federal line. Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow – by clearly stating that Penang has been preparing for local council elections for the last couple of years and is ready to go – is demonstrating the kind of change that many Malaysians voted for in the last general election.

It is also indicative that the current Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng (photo) was laying the groundwork for local government elections (if I am wrong please correct me), which is something to commend, unlike his recent obsequious behaviour when it comes to diktats from the corridors of power in Putrajaya.
The quote that opens this piece by Lim Lip Eng should tell you the importance of local council elections when it comes to the democratic process in this country. It should also tell you that, at one time not too long ago, Harapan political operatives were interested in restoring the process that was shelved decades ago. Why? Because they understand that this system works. They understand that this process repairs the democratic foundation of this country, which has long been eroded during Umno/BN’s administration.
For far too long, the federal government through their proxies have engaged in corrupt practices and destroyed the environments to satisfy commercial interests, while people who live in these communities have had very little say over.
Cynthia Gabriel wrote this: “It is troubling to see that Dr Mahathir appears cornered to racialising the issue as was done by various parties and by the BN previously” about Harapan seemingly taking local council elections off the table.

Remember when Lim Kit Siang said the same about Abdul Hadi Awang (photo) and the BN regime? In a speech in 2015, Lim Kit Siang neatly demolished the mendacious racial arguments put forward by certain political operatives to curtail the democratic process in this country.
Hadi, like many other political operatives, claimed that local council elections could lead to another May 13. This was Lim Kit Siang’s response: “It is, therefore, a great fallacy for anyone to assert that the restoration of local government elections could result in another May 13 race riots. However, with Hadi opening the way, I will not be surprised if this will henceforth be used by reactionary Barisan Nasional leaders as an additional reason for opposing the restoration of local government elections.”
Funny, right? I wonder if Kit Siang is surprised that reactionary Harapan leaders are opposing local council elections using the same argument?
Kit Siang’s formidable argument
Read the whole speech and you will discover that Kit Siang makes a formidable argument for restoring local council elections. He rightly points out that the urban demography is changing. It has been changing for years. Agreeing with Ong Kian Meng, Kit Siang wrote this: “I don’t think Kian Ming can be faulted when he concluded: “While the Malays may be slightly under-represented in the voting population in some of these urban areas because of their younger demographic profile, it is clearly wrong to say that the DAP will dominate local elections on the basis that urban areas are largely Chinese-dominated.”
Claiming that the current prime minister may not have the latest statistics as Kit Siang does now is a disservice to the powerful arguments that he made in the past - and a disservice also to political operatives, civil society, academicians and the spirit of the Harapan manifesto that promised a renewed spirit of strengthening democracy in this country.

Also, see the recent comment of Kua Kia Soong (photo): “In the 1960s, many towns and cities were run by the Socialist Front. This was the real reason for not wanting local elections and not because of the so-called “racial divide”. Anyway, Mahathir now heads the old “opposition”, so there is no reason to fear such competition.
This, of course, leads me to think that the real reason why some political operatives are concerned about local council elections is because it would demonstrate that the Malay community would desire to have clean local governments, contrary to the claims of mainstream Malay political dogma.
Local council elections could act as some sort of non-partisan political catalyst because ideas would be transmitted from the urban Malay demographic to the rural populace.
What would happen if the rural folk suddenly have all these fancy urban ideas about good governance, local activism and sustainable solutions to local problems, instead of the big federal government’s racial and religious solutions? What if they realised that they controlled the levers of powers instead of the people they elected?
More importantly, this would empower civil society actors, who may not have allegiance to the federal government, political parties or corporate interests but who genuinely want to serve the community. Local elections could also be a stepping stone for young people and their political activism, concentrating on local issues instead of attempting to grapple with larger issues that are mired in “Big Politics” which, truth be told, is not result-orientated.
So it is good that Mahathir’s statement is getting blowback. Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin statement that her ministry would continue pushing for local council elections is a welcomed departure from some of the statements by the other champions of democracy.
But there is no need for further study. Civil society and politicians have been talking about this for years. It is not as if we did not have local council elections before it abruptly ended. We know that it has worked before and what is needed is fine-tuning. Maybe.
DAP’s Phoong Jin Zhe, pleads that we should discard the racial lens for policy decisions – when it comes to something like the local council elections for example – but more importantly, his piece demonstrates that there are some Harapan political operatives who publicly disagree with the racial reasoning of the current prime minister when it comes to policy issues, instead of bending over. What Harapan needs is the DAP of the Old Malaysia as a vanguard for New Malaysia, not as a rear guard for Neo-BN policies.
Bringing back local council elections is going back to our democratic roots. If anyone is making the argument that it could lead to racial discord, or that we are not ready or there are bigger issues at play, we have to ask: do these people really want to “save Malaysia” or do they want to serve their partisan interests?
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 10:47 AM   0 comments
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 D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 1:21 PM   0 comments
Why is the security apparatus backing down in the face of threat? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, December 08, 2018
Malaysiakini : "We have many excellent ministers. But they are getting too easily spooked by rallies! Our police are good and have no problem dealing with two peaceful rallies held at different times and at different places." – Ambiga Sreenevasan
COMMENT | The postponement of the Suhakam festival – I loathe to call it a rally because it is not in form or substance – has grave implication for rational freedom-loving Malaysians, who are becoming an endangered species. I do not think most Malaysians understand the gravity of the situation. This festival has absolutely nothing to with the anti-Icerd rally, unless you consider irony a provocation.
What we have is two opposition political parties –Umno and PAS – dictating what Suhakam (an instrument of the state) can and cannot do. Taking cold comfort in the fact that the festival is still on albeit on a different day, is something right-thinking Malaysians will have to swallow since the government of the day is capitulating to bullies.
Mostly though, the far right has established the fact that it controls the discourse in this country. The far right answers to nobody, certainly not the government of the day. This has implications far beyond the anti-Icerd rally. What do you think would happen if any “progressive” organisation wishes to hold a rally, post-Dec 8?
Suppose Bersih decides (for whatever reasons) to hold a rally, to hold the government accountable and the Malay far right decides to hold a counter rally in the name of race and religion? What do you think would happen? Bersish which used to have the logistical and political support of (then) opposition politicians would now have to rely on its own devices, bereft of not only the political support it used to have but also a state which now views the threats of the far right as something it cannot handle.
The former Umno state always warned that rallies were a national security threat. State- sponsored thugs always made threats against those rallies. The state security apparatus always warned people not to attend those rallies. Yet some how, Old Malaysia survived. Why is it that the state security apparatus cannot handle the threats posed by far right opposition parties, now?
The quote that opens this piece by Ambiga is important. This new political terrain demands that the state security apparatus ensure that our democratic spaces are not open to abuse. While Umno and PAS have every right to hold its rally, the government has every right to hold its festival. More importantly, the state security apparatus has to reassure the Malay and non-Malay communities that they are safe operating in the democratic spaces of this country.
Multiple events like these are needed because the state security apparatus can assess how it trade craft – intelligence, response time, logistical, tactical , crowd control etc – functions in this New Malaysia. More than that, it dispels the perception that the state security apparatus is weak and unable to confront the challenges thrown its way by elements foreign and domestic which threaten the security of the homeland.
When Suhakam chairperson Razali Ismail claims the police have informed the prime minister’s office and Suhakam of security risks bordering on national security risks, do people realise what this means? It means that the security threat of the anti-Icerd rally borders on domestic terrorism. If this is the case, why hasn’t the state security apparatus contained the threat by informing the organisers of the anti-Icerd rally , to cancel the event? Surely the Suhakam festival does not pose a threat?
If the anti-Icerd rally poses a threat to Suhakam, this essentially means that the rally poses a threat to the government. We are not talking about two opposing NGOs having a rally on the same day as counter-narratives. We are talking about a political rally coordinated by two political parties which poses a threat – bordering on national security – against a festival by an instrument of the government.
Religious extremists
If the Suhakam festival really does pose a risk to the safety of Malaysians, then they should not only cancel the festival but the government should disband it. But does this make sense? The Suhakam event is a possible national security risk on Saturday but not on Sunday? All this demonstrates is that the anti-Icerd rally is the real threat and the state security apparatus does not want to deal with the provocations of the anti-Icerd rally. Why?
In other words, what should be sanctioned is not the target of those who pose a risk but rather the perpetrators who pose a threat to national security. This should be the goal of the state security apparatus. Mind you, I am not saying that the anti-Icerd forces do not have a right to demonstrate but if the state security apparatus thinks they pose a risk bordering on national security, then why doesn't the state security apparatus intervene?
From a public relations perspective, this does not look good. What the state security apparatus is saying is that they cannot handle the risks posed by the anti-Icerd rally. More than that, if the anti-Icerd rally poses a risk which borders on national security, the state security apparatus will not take action against those organising it but instead, inform the prime minister and an instrument of the state that they have to back down against a threat that borders on national security.
What message does this send to the Malay far right? More importantly, what message does this send to foreign religious extremists who have made it clear that Southeast Asia is their new theatre of operations? What message does it send to these people when the prime minster of a country has to back down from an event organised by an instrument of the state because the far right - racial and religious – in his country poses a risk bordering on national security, but the Establishment event has to be postponed and the rally which poses that threat gets to carry on?
This should not make sense to rational-thinking Malaysians. Mind you, it may make sense to partisans but the reality is that situations like these determine the political landscape of the country. It determines the way how the state security apparatus operates and it determines how policy is enacted not by the will of the people who voted in this government but by the far-right elements who are not in power.
To be fair to PAS, having interviewed security personnel who work these rallies and having friends in the various schisms of the party, I do not think that PAS poses a security threat when it comes to Suhakam festival. I do think that the bellicose statements of Umno and its proxies, do pose a problem for the state security apparatus.
Having said, that, these days, PAS has demonstrated that it is willing to sacrifice its principles and work with kleptocratic elements because its leadership, for whatever reasons, has determined that this is the best course to federal power. Hence whatever risk the rally poses also falls on PAS.
This really is a dark turn for civil society and rational Malaysians in this country.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 9:23 AM   0 comments
Bersatu’s racism and the danger of anti-Icerd rally - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
Malaysiakini : “That is straight up playing the racial card, there's no other way to see it. And I'm against it totally.” - Shahril Hamdan, Umno Youth leader
COMMENT | I hope people understand that when the Pakatan Harapan grand poobah Dr Mahathir Mohamad acknowledges that Bersatu is a racist party, he is essentially saying that every member of Bersatu is a racist. The party and its members are not mutually exclusive. It really is not important that Bersatu, although racist, is not against the other “not race-based” parties, but rather that these multiracial parties are willing to work with racists.
I am neither surprised when Mahathir flouts his racist credentials nor surprised that there has never been any pushback from the non-Malay power structures which supported him when he led BN and now Pakatan Harapan. BN Redux is the realisation that assuming federal power means ditching the Kool-Aid but still expecting the non-Malay base to behave as if hooked on it.
As I said six years ago about the realpolitik of Mahathir – “He never hid behind any politically correct justifications for his policies, making the social and economic inequalities faced by the community he claimed to represent as something beyond their ability to overcome and exacerbated by the presence of ‘foreigners’ who took advantage of their hospitality. This, of course, is pure rubbish but it is the narrative in which he chose to frame the racial discourse.”
I have no idea if it is tragic or funny, that the majority of the voting Malay demographic did not vote for Bersatu but instead voted for Umno and PAS. So while Umno political operatives are busy considering whether to jump ship to Bersatu if Umno cannot capitalise on the race and religion card, non-Malay power structures are getting nervous of the possible power Bersatu could acquire, which is why we hear rumblings about anti-party hopping laws.
Those in Umno, like the young operative whose quote begins this piece, have to grapple with the new reality - that a BN Redux means that they have become the far right. Umno has to hitch their wagon to PAS, who are embroiled in their own little power plays between the various factions which the non-Malay urban demographic have no idea exist, but would determine the nature of the alliance between Umno and PAS.
While I may be hypercritical of PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, at least he had the cojones to attempt a multiracial alternative. The drawback – politically – is he has to make all these pro-Malay statements because his bumiputera bone fides has always been in question. Not to mention the internal power struggles in PKR which Malay political operatives in Umno, PAS and Bersatu are meddling in, which gives the impression - sometimes unfairly – that PKR is the clear and present danger to Harapan hegemony. It is not.
I once wrote that if you set yourself as a champion of your community, sooner or later, your credentials will be challenged. The problem with Mahathir's babbling on about his racism and that of his political party, is that he will always have to answer to Umno and PAS when it comes to those issues that are sacred to the Malay community.
Mind you, those issues have nothing to do with development or standards of living, but rather issues that diminish the “rights” of the non-Malays in this country or hamper the economic development of a multiracial country in favour of the kind of “Malayism” that mainstream Malay politics want to impose on all of us, which is a balance between racial and religious supremacy.
This is reflected in the propagandising of issues like the injury of firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim in the recent temple riot. Numerous potentates have made pilgrimages to his hospital bed, while non-Malay elites and the vox populi have made sympathetic statements and started charity drives.
Kindly remember that someone like veteran journalist and now Bersatu member A Kadir Jasin in 2013 wondered out - “As has always been the case, when we send our policemen and soldiers into battle and are killed or injured, the chances are they are Melayus and Bumiputeras. Perhaps there is wisdom in getting more Chinese and Indians to join the armed forces so that they too can die for one Malaysia” – in ‘I wish to remain a Malay’.
We are talking about a system of beliefs here no matter how the Bangsa Malaysia types attempt to stick their heads in the sand, which ironically is not what the political operatives they voted for are doing.
A big anti-Icerd turnout?
When Ibrahim Ali says that there are too many Indians in the cabinet, he is just attacking a low-hanging fruit. Indian minsters are a target of opportunity because the Chinese community or at least, the Chinese minsters have to be handled in a different way. Claiming that Harapan is giving away power to a minority in betrayal of its defence of race and religion is the kind of trap, that Harapan always falls for because they are too scared to lose federal power instead of wielding it.
What are the themes of this narrative? They are all ahistorical. The reality is that Malay power structures have very little interest in raising the standard of living of the rural Malays because to do so would cost them votes. Look at what happens in urban centres. All this is important to remember when considering the real danger of the Icerd rally. Why is Umno and PAS determined to hold this anti-Icerd rally? They have already won this battle, so what would be the point of holding this rally?
If you think the Harapan establishment is worried about this rally, you should talk to some PAS political operatives and activists, like I have. They are extremely worried that the turnout will be low. They desperately want a massive turnout. If there is a low turnout, this would demonstrate that PAS is weak and is unable to carry out the threats of Malay/Islamic dissatisfaction that they believe will contain the Harapan regime.
For political operatives in Umno who do not want to work with PAS, it would be a lesson for the old guard that PAS is not a potent religious or racial force post-May 9. A low turnout would be a bummer for the current Umno hardliners because those operatives who were hedging their bets, would now be free to join the racist Bersatu without having to worry that Umno would have any power that could pose a problem.
Mostly though, the powerbrokers behind this rally want to remind Bersatu, which is weak, PKR, which is compromised, and DAP, which is subservient, that although Umno and PAS are not in power, they have considerable influence in the policy direction of this country. This is about demonstrating how the Malay far right is more powerful than the federal government.
See, when Malay political operatives talk about ultra-liberals, not spooking the Malays or any other rejoinders of compromise, all of this demonstrates to the Malay far racial and religious right is that the government is weak. That they do not have the support of the majority community.
While exposing corruption scandals works in the short term when it comes to destabilising Umno, the reality is that there are a younger set of leaders just waiting to assume control of a party which they believe still has the support of the majority of the Malay community. They do not even have to have money to do this because the political infrastructure is there in the civil service, the state security apparatus and the fact that they do not have to compete with an opposing ideology.
If this is dangerous to Malay power structures in Harapan, it is more devastating for the non-Malay power structures. How does the Harapan Malay elite demonstrate their Malayness? The answer is to encroach in the public and private spheres of the urban centres, that rural Malays are told is the existential threat to their culture and religion.
Malay political operatives will always be on the defensive when it comes to their racial and religious credentials. Bersatu’s racism is exacerbated by the enabling of the non-Malay power structures in Harapan.
This is the clear and present danger that Harapan supporters should be aware of. The enemy is within, and the anti-Icerd rally will determine how potent it is.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 10:25 AM   0 comments
The gov't wants you to spend more time with your family - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, December 03, 2018
Handiwork of fanatics who think like Khalid Samad
Malaysiakini : Clamping down on activities deemed detrimental to religious sensibilities using legal provisions is exactly the kind of sub rosa (under the nose) move that riles up the religious base.
Forget about all the sin tax collected, or the fact that entertainment outlets are a convenient mechanism for social interaction among the various ethnic groups in Malaysia. Enforcing stiffer regulations on how people choose to spend their time is the time-honoured way in which fascists slowly encroach into our public and private spaces.

"In Sabah, we have our own unique entertainment and culture, which may be different from Kuala Lumpur and we have our own plans."  – Deputy Sabah chief minister Christina Liew
COMMENT | In enforcing the 1am closing time for entertainment outlets as contained in their licences, Federal Territories minister Khalid Samad said it would serve "as a reminder to those in Kuala Lumpur to spend more time and money with their families rather than at entertainment outlets."
Really? The Pakatan Harapan government cannot ratify an international treaty like the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd), but it has no problem telling Malaysians how to spend their money? Whom they should spend their time with? I mean, what do people do with their families at 1am in the morning anyway? What does Khalid do with his family at that time?
Apparently, entertainment outlets have a very lax attitude when it comes to enforcing this clause in their licence. And who could blame them? Even when the economy is bad, people are partying like there is no tomorrow. Mind you, some people believe that the only way to party is to party like there's no tomorrow. But I digress. Sabah meanwhile, has pooh-poohed the idea. When asked, deputy chief minister Christina Liew said: "I don't think we have to worry too much about the (proposal) considering what we have here."
I have no idea what Sabah has there, but I really like it whatever it is. In the quote that opens this piece, Liew said that Sabah has a culture different from Kuala Lumpur. I wonder what this cultural difference is. Not to mention, don’t the people of Sabah want to spend more time with their families?


What exactly is going on here? Khalid claimed that the Kuala Lumpur City Hall received complaints about noise and other disturbances. But does anyone really believe this? I mean, sure, there would have been complaints from certain areas which would necessitate certain measures being taken, but a blanket enforcement of all entertainment outlets? This is not kosher.
DAP Bukit Bintang MP Fong Kui Lun is worried about this strict enforcement policy, as he should be. “I hope the government will not have a one-size-fits-all ruling. I can understand the rationale of limiting the operating hours of outlets close to residential areas.”
Moral policing
My own take is that entertainment outlets in residential areas should be closely monitored. Not only because of the noise pollution and other disturbances – whatever that means – but because many of these outlets serve as vehicles for money laundering, prostitution, illegal gambling and other illicit activities that cater to hypocritical suburban populations. Note that this is not a blanket condemnation on sex work, but this is not the article to discuss this subject.
Apparently, there were special considerations for certain entertainment outlets to close at 5am to cater to tourists. But these outlets were found to have catered to locals, and apparently, this is a bad thing. Can you imagine? The government is distressed that locals are supporting local businesses by spending their money. It seems that the government would rather people spend time with their families instead of supporting local business.


What the hell is the matter with these sanctimonious guardians of morality? It's okay for foreigners to spend money and contribute to the local economy, but when it comes to locals, this is not a good thing? I get that the tourist ringgit is important, but to dismiss the impact of locals contributing to the economy is damn well irresponsible. And to justify it on extremely stupid grounds – like a reminder for more family time – is just disgusting.
This is about moral policing. The government could, of course, rely on the fact that these entertainment outlets are going against clauses in their licences, but the reality is that whenever a government seeks to enforce certain regulations pertaining to entertainment, especially in a country dominated by Islamic imperatives, it is all about moral policing.
Moral mission creep
Clamping down on activities deemed detrimental to religious sensibilities using legal provisions is exactly the kind of sub rosa (under the nose) move that riles up the religious base. Forget about all the sin tax collected, or the fact that entertainment outlets are a convenient mechanism for social interaction among the various ethnic groups in Malaysia. Enforcing stiffer regulations on how people choose to spend their time is the time-honoured way in which fascists slowly encroach into our public and private spaces. What we are really talking about is here is that the Harapan government is telling you how to live. Look, the folks of the Kampung Manjoi incident were essentially pushing the same narrative. They did not want the local stores selling alcohol.


This is a variation of the same theme. The government is telling you how to spend your time and money. You spend time with your family because the government tells you to. All this is about 'sinning' at the expense of the 'sacred' family. Or so these religious types would have us believe.
This is how it starts. These are sub rosa moves, and nobody wants to say anything about it. I did not even bother quoting the various tourism bodies because these moves are not about foreigners, but about control of the locals. Otherwise, why start enforcing these types of things now?
Does anyone really think that by enforcing this regulation, that people will spend more time with their families? But that isn't the point, is it? In my experience, religious fascism is not interested in the outcome, only that the dictate is imposed. Would anyone really mind if there was stricter enforcement of entertainment outlets in residential areas? No, they would not.
Entertainment outlets looking for a bigger slice of the pie would move to places where there is more traffic, so establishments in residential areas that offer illicit pleasures will just look for more conducive environments. Legitimate neighbourhood pubs would not really mind closing earlier, because if they are any good, they would have an established clientele who would leave at a reasonable hour, only to turn up the next day.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng claims that the Harapan government needs three years to bring the economy back on track, but when we have policies like these rooted in the kind of moral policing that Sabah apparently does not need, who knows what other businesses would be targeted.
For every step forward, some folks want to drag us two steps back.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 9:03 AM   0 comments
Riots and racial bias - A reply - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Sunday, December 02, 2018
Malaysiakini : “And how easy it is to recognise the revenant shapes that the old unchanging enemies – racism, leader worship, superstition – assume when they reappear amongst us (often bodyguarded by their new apologists).” – Christopher Hitchens, Arguably
COMMENT | I just do not get it. PKR leader Rafizi Ramli in his opinion piece "Riots and racial bias" claims whenever racially tinged events happen, we must embrace objectivity and learn to see from the other’s groups perspective.
Unfortunately, being objective and empathetic – which is what, I suppose, Rafizi was aiming for – are mutually exclusive. Rafizi says that whenever incidents like the Seafield riots crop up, we see them through a racial lens. But this bias is a convenient distraction from the institutional racism that is far more damaging to this country, that also defines mainstream Malaysian politics.  It is difficult to tell people to embrace the other and be empathetic of our differences when the majority race is defined in the Federal Constitution and accorded privileges that when questioned is met with threats of violence. Seriously, this is country where some schools decide that there should be separate canteens for Muslim and non-Muslim students. And politicians wonder why people view things through a racial lens?

Going beyond this recent case, Rafizi is right though when it comes to non-Malay racism. There are those online who claim that Malays, when it comes to intelligence – hidden behind whatever euphemism they think smart – are genetically inferior. This of course is but just one example of the scintillating discourse when it comes to race and politics in the alternative media.


The Seafield riots were, in reality, a defence against the invasion of sacred ground. Take away the temple politics, corporate interests, a compromised security apparatus and partisan political correctness, what happened was that hired Malay thugs invaded the sacred place of Hindus, and violence erupted.
Racially charged
Veteran newsman A Kadir Jasin, for instance, think that the rioters should be punished. If Malays are caught, then so should the Hindu rioters. He uses racially charged language – "gelap (dark)"– and wonders why the state security did not have torchlights when questioning why no Hindus were arrested at the time. He then goes on to “school” Minister in the Prime Minister's Department P Waythaymoorthy for attempting to shine a light on the false narrative of the state security apparatus. And to think, his views are praised by some as being the voice of reason in this mess.


Think about this way. There have been many temple 'relocations' before and while there have been protests – and let's face facts, people can dredge up worse cases than these Seafield riots – the incidents have been relatively violence-free. Whenever there are threats of racial violence, are the non-Malays making those threats? Has a non-Malay politician ever threatened violence in furtherance of his or her political agenda? Have non-Malay activists ever threatened violence if the state does not conform to its agenda?
I will go further. It is incumbent on non-Malay political operatives to pacify the threats of violence thrown their way. It is incumbent on them to temper their political ideologies, and in some cases, subsume their agendas to appease mainstream Malay politics. This is why we have DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang walking back his stance on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd), saying that it is not worth ratifying it if it means there will be another May 13.

This is why we get non-Malay political pundits, activists and propagandists for the Pakatan Harapan regime, claiming that Icerd is not such a big deal and essentially pushing the “social contract – in spirit if not in substance – as a means of racial and religious compromise.


No threat
The non-Malays are a zero threat when it comes to the safety of Malays. Revise history however you want, but we do not control the state security apparatus, we do not control the bureaucratic processes in place in case there are riots, and we certainly do not control the royal institutions.


Ever since May 13, 1969, non-Malays have learnt to keep their mouths shut. Non-Malays political operatives who want political power have to attach themselves to Malay power structures, which peddle narratives that the Malay community are under threat.  And when Malays pose a threat to these narratives, they are labelled deviants, liberals or worse. So when someone like Zan Azlee writes about throwing away the crutches, he is vilified.
PKR president Anwar Ibrahim writes about our hard-won peace. What peace are we talking about here? Urban centres power the engine of economic progress in this country, but urban Malays and non-Malays who are are somewhat progressive in their views are reminded that the sensitivities of the rural electorate have to be taken into account. And these are normally racial and religious sensitivities.

This, I suppose, is the hard-won peace that Anwar is talking about. But is this really hard-won? We compromise, because to do otherwise would be suicide. The non-Malays have a good life in this country as long as we play by Malay rules. Partisan allegiance does not translate to patriotism. What is good for political parties does not mean that it is good for this country. Wan Muhammad Azri Wan Deris or 'Papagomo' gets arrested and people are happy. But what has he said that most mainstream Umno politicians have not said before?

Meanwhile, Umno are jumping up and down because Waythaymoorthy has not been arrested. But what has Waythaymoorthy said that most Indian activists have not said before, or even non-Malays online who go on about the 'apartheid' system here in Malaysia? Every time a situation like the Seafield riot happens, some folks say do not make the situation worse by writing about it. Or at least, writing about it in a way that goes against pleasant narratives about how we earned this blessed peace.
No, I think every time a situation like this happens, it reminds us of who we really are.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 6:48 AM   0 comments
Seafield temple fracas: How is your faith? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Seafield Temple - List of mosques built on the site of  destroyed Hindu Temples in India
Malaysiakini : “Every man who has in his soul a secret feeling of revolt against any act of the State, of life, or of destiny, is on the verge of riot; and so soon as it appears, he begins to quiver, and to feel himself borne away by the whirlwind.” Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
COMMENT | Saying the temple protests in the last two days were proof that “good gestures are not always appreciated”, Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin called on Malay groups planning to hold a rally next month to oppose Malaysia’s joining of the global anti-discrimination treaty, Icerd, to instead hold a rally for “Muslim survival”. People always ask me, what is the issue the Malay/Muslim far right have with temples? That is an easy question to answer. Hindu temples are all over the place. It is a fact that some of these structures are “illegal”. While some have a history like the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Temple, others have less of a pedigree.
Hindu temples are in your face. While Christian places of worship are subject to strict rules when it comes to Islamic sensitivities – the cross for instance apparently has a debilitating effect on some people – Hindu temples are gaudy architectural provocations for people who believe in the supremacy of their faith
But forget about this for a moment. If this was a mosque of more than 100 years old, and a court ruled in favour of corporate interest, what do you think the consequences would have been for the corporate entity when it came to this piece of land? I love the way how some people talk about legal judgments as if they are made in a vacuum when it comes to vested political and corporate interest. As usual, when it comes to an Indian issue, people have faith in the system.
The Perlis mufti, for instance, thinks that the BN government was too soft with these illegal Hindu temples. He wants the Harapan government to uphold the rule of law when it comes to a historical site which is essentially what the Seafield temple is. He believes this so strongly that he uses this incident to call for the Dec 8 anti-Icerd “celebration” to be one for Muslim survival.
I have very little interest in temple committees. I think that they are a bunch of parasites who use their office to further their own economic agendas that have very little to do with religion. In the Seafield temple case, for instance, I have no doubt that temple committee intrigue is part of the problem. There are more informed people who should have the courage to speak up on this issue than me.
Having said that, when it comes to religion in Malaysia, everything is racial. Asri (photo), for instance, prefers to use the law against what he believes is an existential threat to the Muslim community. Meanwhile, the “gangsters” who trespassed into this Hindu place of worship were relying on the weakness of the institutions to facilitate whatever they were allegedly hired to do.
Eyewitness reports claim that the state security apparatus was lackadaisical in containing the situation, while the state security apparatus claims that it had to be restrained because this was a place of worship and to do otherwise would add fuel to the fire. Who do you believe? How does your experience inform you about your faith in the system? Not an easy question to answer.
Fracases like these test your faith in the system. Is this a system for the "core" or is this a system for all of us? Some people got upset with those ministers who disputed the original “Indian vs Indian” police claim. This claim plays to the Indian stereotype that would make it easy to forget this issue and carry on playing the game of not spooking the Malays.
Look, when Ahmad Zahid Hamidi calls for the resignation of a minister for communal provocation, for merely speaking the truth, what does this tell you about the system? Think of it this way, Zahid, the former deputy prime minister, claimed that the Malays would run amock if Icerd was ratified and he gets away with it. What would happen if a non-Malay minister said the same thing to his or her community when it came to something they consider sacred?
When it was later confirmed by deputy inspector-general of police Noor Rashid Ibrahim that it was possible that the party that wanted to take over the land “...hired a group of Malay men to facilitate the process of taking the land. There is a possibility those (hired) were gangsters and for sure, the group of Indians tried to defend (the temple against the incursion)”, there was a caveat added that this was not a racial issue.
Even the temple people claimed that this was not a racial issue. The prime minister claimed that this was not a racial issue. Various ministers come out to claim that this was not a racial issue but the reality is that this issue will always be racial or religious because the system is set up this way. Whoever hired those “Malay” gangsters to invade a sacred Hindu ground did so with the knowledge that this was racially and religiously provocative.
The Perlis mufti, for instance, uses this incident to further his Islamic agenda. Politicians, meanwhile, attempt to use it to deflect from the situation by propagandising an injured fireman. I can see why. Far right Malay bloggers and propagandists have already started forwarding me literature that claims that it is the Malays who have to put their lives on the line and that these “Indians” are only good for drinking and rioting. All this is part of the “ketuanan” narrative that makes it impossible to have a reasoned discussion when it comes to issues like this.
Look at the difference between the Low Yat rioters and this incident. The rioters in this incident do not have the protection of the state. They are lucky that there are some politicians who would push back on official narratives that would seek to demonise the community at the expense of the truth – but ultimately, they have to have faith in a system which very often lets them down.
Who knows how this will play out? Hopefully, those people who allegedly hired these thugs would be dragged out into the light. The question is, do people have enough faith in the system to believe that the real culprits would be brought to justice – or would this just be another opportunity where the system finds a scapegoat?
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 10:16 AM   0 comments
Why doesn’t the gov't want to find Indira's daughter? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Malaysiakini : “I will be more confident of my identity, and I think I wouldn't have to be afraid of people asking me whether I'm a Muslim or an Indian.”  – Karan Dinish, son of M Indira Gandhi
COMMENT | Tevi Darsiny, the eldest daughter of M Indira Ghandi, said this to the Malay Mail: “For the past nine years, people ask us what are we, as in what religion are we? And my answer would be 'I'm a Hindu', with confidence. After today, I can say with assurance that 'I am a Hindu'." Tevi said this after the Federal Court nullified her and her siblings' conversion in January because it was carried out without Indira's consent.
Who is missing from this picture? That's right, her youngest child Prasana Diksa, who was kidnapped by their religious extremist father Muhammad Riduan Abdullah, and who still hasn't been located by the state security apparatus. What was Syariah Lawyers Association president Musa Awang's response to this after the landmark ruling? "There might be people who will take advantage (of the ruling) and abscond with the child and hide the child until the child decides (what religion they want to embrace)."
A reminder to anyone who cares why Islamic laws affect non-Muslims in Malaysia to contradict the lies and victimhood of religious extremists who claim otherwise: “A good example of this is the way how unilateral conversion robs a child of his or her right to decide if he or she wants to belong to a religion which has profound implications on the way how its believers live in a country where Islamic laws define Muslims and there are legal ramifications of being Muslim.”
The question now is not so much where Indira's youngest daughter is, but why the state security apparatus doesn't want to find her. If you really believe that it is doing everything it can to find Prasana, you are living with some serious delusions.

Keep in mind that in the cases of Indira and S Deepa, the state security apparatus assumed the role of antagonist and was an impediment to justice. This is a matter of public record and something most Pakatan Harapan political operatives can attest to. When de facto Law Minister Liew Vui Keong rambles on about why the government cannot interfere, or that he needs to consult the attorney-general, this horse manure just enables the state security apparatus to continue with their excuses as to why this kidnapped child has not been found.
A kidnapping
Make no mistake. This is a kidnapping. Even more insidious is that this is a religious kidnapping. Strip away all the legalese and this is what Indira's ex-husband has done. Riduan has kidnapped his child, and has demonstrated that he does not give a damn about the courts, the state security apparatus or the hypocritical new Malaysia politicians. He has done this in the name of religion.
I get that things may have changed from when I served with the state security apparatus, but the people I speak to now maintain that it has the capabilities to be one of the best in this region. An issue like this would not be much of a problem for them. What they don't have is the political will which enables them to carry out their duties.
As a member of the police force recently told me, "Siapa nak believe that our boys cannot find this orang bodoh, tuan? (Who is going to believe that our boys cannot find this idiot, sir?)" The police officer who said this may be young, but he has field experience in the anti-narcotics division. 
Why does the state security apparatus waste time in questioning someone like Minister in the Prime Minister's Department P Waythmoorthy for comments he made ten years ago, but can't seem to find this kidnapper, who isn't exactly the brightest bulb in the box?
Back to religion
It makes you wonder. Has this got something to do with religion? If a Hindu parent had unilaterally converted his children without his Muslim's wife consent – yeah, I know how it works in Malaysia, but work with me here – what do you think the response of the courts, the state security apparatus, but most importantly the non-Muslim politicians would be?
If this man had kidnapped his Muslim child and was making her live as a Hindu, what do you think the outrage would be like? I am sure the best of friends, Umno and PAS, fueled by the blossoming bromance of Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Abdul Hadi Awang, would hold a rally, and maybe even change laws, because nobody wants a riot, right?
This issue really pisses me off. This is a win that Harapan needs. This is something which would legitimise the already compromised state security apparatus. And yet we have tone deaf politicians making the situation worse.
What do we get? We get a law minister who more or less washes his hands of this case. We get someone like Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran, who did a lot for this case, but who now says dumb things like he not being able to be "directly involved in the case," and that it would be "improper to interfere in another minister's portfolio." Really? As an elected representative who has firsthand knowledge of this case, who understands the duplicity of the then-Umno state and the utter indifference of the state security apparatus, you cannot counsel the relevant ministry of what needs to be done? This is how Harapan politicians are going to play the game?
You know what the religious extremists in this country want? They want this young child to grow up to be a Muslim woman and bring forth more Muslim children. They want her to have no choice, like how Indira's other children had no choice when it came to religion.
Tell me if I am wrong? Tell me if I am being racially or religiously insensitive? If this case is forgotten, if Indira's kidnapped daughter isn't found, this will be on the heads of the Harapan politicians who had no guts to facilitate her recovery. This will also be on the state security apparatus who continue to provide evidence that their agenda is not to serve the people but other sub rosa imperatives.
People should stop asking where Indira's kidnapped child is, but why the Harapan state does not want her to be found.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 11:37 AM   0 comments
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