Articles, Opinions & Views: Is patriotism worth RM250? - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy

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No Atheists
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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Is patriotism worth RM250? - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, August 11, 2018

Malaysiakini : “The flag is the simplest and cheapest symbol and for the cost of eight cigarettes, we can buy and wave the flag.”- Rais Yatim, in 2013 when he was the social affairs and cultural adviser
COMMENT | When some people say we can finally raise the Jalur Gemilang with pride after May 9, I go, huh? Why can we finally raise our national flag with pride? I suppose you could make the argument that we finally become a democracy, if the yardstick is changing governments, that is. But some would argue that the big change was merely a reshuffling of the deck.
Indeed, waving the Jalur Gemilang and patriotism go hand in hand. Except, if you’re from the LGBTQ tribe, or liberal Muslims or ‘chauvinistic’ Chinese, or ‘traitorous’ Indians, or not from the 'bangsa' Malaysia tribe (the negation of ethnicity/culture in favour of partisanship), then waving the flag or even depictions of you waving the flag means that you are promoting something which goes against the group think of the state or not wanting to spook the majority in case they have second thought about the Pakatan Harapan government.
In January of this year, I asked why would the non-Malays be patriotic to this country –
“And really, what is it the non-Malays have to defend? We have to defend our ‘success’ in Tanah Melayu. We have to defend the fact that we have to work hard because we are not beholden to a system of privilege – ideological, religious and constitutional – that enables us to think for ourselves and realise that the world does not owe us anything. “We have to defend how we spend our wealth – too expressive in the luxuries the fruits of our labour afford us, and we are deemed un-Islamic, corrupt in our excesses, and of course, corrosive to the Malay/Muslim community.”
Please do not claim that things will not change immediately. That is not what I am saying at all. I believe that deep down inside, people know this. They know the freak show when they see it. 
It never ceases to amaze me that certain types of governments always need to foster, instil, encourage or in some cases, enforce a sense of patriotism on its citizens. That is really what’s bugs me about the re-branding of the Biro Tatanegara (BTN) courses, for example. Why do people need to be reminded or taught about being patriotic to the country? I mean we know, or should know, that any kind of state propaganda is there to enforce allegiance to political parties and not democratic, independent institutions, right? The irony, of course, is that people generally have more loyalty to political parties than any other institution in the country. They have more faith in political parties than democratic principles or ideals. In other words, partisanship is tangible, while any other kind of patriotic feelings to the country is not. 
And what the hell does patriotism mean anyway? I can tell you who should not define it. I can tell you when the state attempts to define patriotism, it is always extremely dangerous. The last people who should define patriotism are people in power. The last people who should define patriotism is the religious elite. In other words, if you have some power over your countrymen, you are in no position to define what patriotism is but it normally means that these tyrants do. 
RM250 penalty 
What really ticks me off is when bureaucrats and politicians weigh in on patriotism. Kuantan Municipal Council (MPK) administration reminded business owners that they faced a RM250 compound if they failed to fly the Jalur Gemilang. This clause is apparently in the business licence agreement. 
MPK public relations officer Izad Zainal Muhammad Safian babbled on about how this would “foster patriotism among Malaysians, especially traders in the council area, by flying Jalur Gemilang and the Pahang flag. You can bet your last ringgit that fines collected for not being patriotic is going to line the pockets of you knows who. It sure as hell not going to benefit the people in any way. Really, a municipal council telling traders to be patriotic. I get that they are the middlemen but seriously, you really think that this type of "extortion" encourages patriotism? 
Being forced to hoist the flag with a RM250 penalty for failure to comply, does not foster patriotism amongst traders who just wish to make a decent living. Who makes these flags and who profits from the enforced patriotism of these traders? Always follow the money trail. But really, when you have to force people to wave the flag, do you really think that people would feel any sense of kinship to their countrymen or the state? 
You see these big companies going all out during the patriotic season, and you just know the bottom line is part of their consideration. I do not blame them. It’s all part of the capitalist system, but here in Malaysia where we have plutocrat-politicians, you just know that the big companies will have incestuous links with the ruling government. Corruption and patriotism go hand in hand, and believe me, they pay more than just RM250. 
Small traders who have to deal with low-level bureaucrats and mid-level politicians, of course, have to play a different game. RM250 may not mean much, but to some people that is a sum they could do with. Former minister Rais Yatim back in 2013 - the quote that begins this piece – went on about how students, young people and the denizens of urban areas were not patriotic enough. Of course, instilling patriotism meant loyalty to the state which at that time was Umno, but really this is Malaysia, so when people tell me that they have loyalty to the country what they really mean is that they are glad that Harapan is now in the driver’s seat. 
So it’s funny, right? Young people and urban folk were the catalysts for kicking out BN and for Rais Yatim getting his new job, whatever it is. A political conversion brought upon by young people and urban folk, who had very little patriotism to this country. I can understand why the former Umno regime was worried about why people were not patriotic enough. Their jobs depended on it. 
The same applies to the Harapan bunch. You really think they have any allegiance to the democratic institutions/principles of this country? If they did, they would not be reneging on their promises which would cost them nothing to keep (if it did cost them something, why make it in the first place?) or poking their noses into the lives of people on religious grounds. 
Also, when a judge denies a gag order on Najib's corruption trial because it goes against free speech but the MCMC issues a guideline against the use of specific words by broadcasters, does anyone else see the hypocrisy in this? Let me guess, those lists of banned words and books, is something Harapan either on a state or federal level will not get to.
People have to discover why they are patriotic to this country or if patriotism is even something worth thinking about. But if its value is RM250, I can assure you, you are doing something wrong.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 11:43 AM  
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