Articles, Opinions & Views: Promises broken because of weak opposition? Not really - 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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Promises broken because of weak opposition? Not really - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, August 27, 2018

Malaysiakini : “‘Hush. Don't ask any questions. It's always best on these occasions to do what the mob do.’ ‘But suppose there are two mobs?’ suggested Mr Snodgrass. ‘Shout with the largest,’ replied Mr Pickwick. Volumes could not have said more.” – Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers
COMMENT | Wanita MCA vice-chairperson Ong Chong Swen claims that a weak opposition is why Pakatan Harapan is not keeping its promises. Any time a political party does not keep its promises, it really has nothing to do with the opposition. A weak ruling coalition may walk back on its pledges if it does not have a common platform, or if the diverse interests of its members clash. But this is not why Harapan is waffling on its campaign promises.
An effective opposition is forged, not prefabricated, as I discussed here – “When the opposition first started, it was a movement to change the country. The opposition wanted Malaysia to be a truly egalitarian place and the DAP was the vanguard when it came to the various initiatives to save Malaysia over the years.
“A real opposition is forged over years of rejection by the very public they choose to serve and of the ideals that sustain them. And PAS and DAP, although diametrically opposed, were the opposition that mattered in Malaysia.” Harapan is waffling on its promises because its base does not demand that it keeps them. Often, this base and various political pundits make excuses for why Harapan needs time to fulfil certain promises instead.
This may be true in specific issues – like education reform, for instance – but where repealing certain laws, abandoning certain propaganda organs, or just fulfilling certain promises such as recognising the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC), this excuse of needing more time is complete horse manure.
When Umno was in charge, they made decisions unilaterally without the excuses of coordinating with various ministries or consultation with anti-democratic/pro-religious stakeholders. They did it because they were, at the time, secure with their base. The same cannot be said for Harapan. When the idea of not spooking the Malays is not dominating policy decisions, issues like the UEC are buried beneath oftentimes banal scandals. Most days, political operatives are too busy shooting their mouths off bringing red meat to their base, and not holding their political parties to their election promises.
Come on. When Dr Mahathir Mohamad was an Umno operative, he made unilateral decisions all the time. He got things done with just a stroke of a pen. Of course, during his brief tenure as opposition leader, he disavowed those things which were deemed not kosher and pleaded ignorance.
An old hand
Before May 9, at one of the various people’s forums I attended, one extremely prominent social activist said that the reason why he supported Mahathir when he joined Harapan was that he was an experienced hand.
When it came to running the country, Mahathir had access to people and skills – not to mention personal relationships – which would ease the transition of power and solve problems created by the kleptocratic Umno regime.
Since I had publicly endorsed Mahathir in various op-ed pieces, I was in no position to argue otherwise. But when the old maverick says dumb stuff like the reason why the Council of Eminent Persons is needed because he has an inexperienced cabinet, I cringe.
Look, you appointed these people. You appointed someone with zero experience in military matters or defence issues to lead the Defence Ministry. You appointed someone with a religious education background to lead the Education Ministry, which should be righteously secular. Most glaringly, you appointed someone with zero experience in anything to lead the Youth and Sports Ministry, a cash-rich ministry with a long history of plunder by bureaucrats.
So, really when you say you need experienced people to do God knows what, and who handed you a report which at the time of writing is secret, you have to wonder: Would an effective opposition make a difference? But of course, now Mahathir wants to keep the OSA because some things need to remain secret.
In a bind
Seriously, even if the MCA said something constructive, the mobs would tear them to pieces. Meanwhile, DAP political operatives hardly raise their voices against anything Mahathir says, because to do so would mean that they were somehow in charge. And God knows, we do not want to spook the Malays. Or, at least, I hope that is the reason, because if they truly supported whatever the prime minister says or does because they think he is right, we are truly screwed.
Someone like Kua Kia Soong questions why Harapan is reneging on its election promises or at least waffling on them, and he is vilified. But every one of his articles is a reminder that the promises made could be carried out if there was a political will to do so; or if there isn’t, if Harapan supporters kicked up a fuss.
Every time the MCA raises an issue, they have their track record about collaborating with Umno thrown back at them. Never mind that the real power brokers in Harapan are not only cut from the same mould as Umno, but as the weeks have dragged on, are demonstrating that they are playing the same games they did when the party was at its nadir.
It really does not matter if the MCA could make a political living by eking out various electoral victories, because the reality is that for the time being – maybe even two election cycles – Harapan has the goodwill of its base. This, of course, is not really ideal, because its base is not as secure as the political elites of Harapan would like it to be. Which is why Harapan supporters are in such a bind. If supporters push for the reforms that Harapan political operatives promised, this could damage the already shaky foundation that holds the coalition together.
If they do not push for those reforms and promises, we could end up with BN redux. Harapan political operatives know this.
They have always known this.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 10:54 AM  
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