Articles, Opinions & Views: Harapan’s enemy within - 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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Harapan’s enemy within - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Malaysiakini : “Success sometimes may be defined as a disaster put on hold. Qualified. Has to be.”
– Nadine Gordimer, ‘Get a Life’

COMMENT | Opposition political operative Nazri Abdul Aziz’s contention that he does not foresee Umno coming into power anytime soon but that an alliance with PKR is possible is an interesting comment for a variety of reasons.
Nazri the brigand/politician understands the game far better than most Umno political operatives, and with the party now in a state of post-traumatic stress, his maverick nature goes unchecked while the rest of his ilk run around like headless chickens.
Part of it is because Nazri is just at adept as slaying Malay sacred cows as he is nurturing them. He understands that Umno was merely the gravy train, and his rhetoric now is that since the train was derailed, why not just commandeer a new one for the betterment of the mainstream Malay political class?
Could this be part of the psy-war that Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin claims are the recent moves by Umno to form alliances with PKR (among others), the perceived weak link of Harapan?
It could be, but the reality is that as long as the Malay vote, unlike the Chinese and Indian votes, is not secured by the Malay power structures in Harapan, there will always be plays by Umno to destabilise the coalition, or even better – align with an insecure power structure.
An old friend, who was an early supporter of Dr Mahathir Mohamad joining the opposition, made it very clear early on that the goal of removing then-prime minister Najib Abdul Razak was paramount. The old maverick had intentions of reforming the system, but not Malay politics – a system which, my friend claimed, was too far down the road to reform.
This friend now acts as consigliere to one of the numerous powerbrokers attempting to shore up Malay support for the Bersatu base. While I think that the attempts by Umno to destabilise Harapan with these manoeuvres are worth paying attention to, I also think that what will ultimately cause more damage to the coalition is the kind of culture that sustained BN for decades before they were voted out.
Internal schisms
Critics of PKR used to say that the party had Umno DNA, so it must be strange to have Bersatu in the mix now, which its founders claim is a pure uncorrupted version of Umno and its original intent. Or is that original sin?
The influx of new grassroots members from Umno into Bersatu does pose a problem for the new government. The aforementioned consigliere tells me that these new members join because they believe that Mahathir and his men will take care of their interests, and because of the anti-PRC narratives (which has some blowback on the local Chinese population) and the peals to race and religion, they truly see Bersatu as the new Umno. “They do not really understand the reform agenda,” my friend says, because while they believe that Najib was a “thief,” they did not get that it was the system that needed to be reformed.
This, of course, poses a problem, especially to those Bersatu members (the intellectual cabals as I call them) who truly desire reform; the civil servants who do not understand that it is not their job to support Bersatu, but to serve the people; as well as other Harapan members involved in their own schisms, and struggling with the new reality of being the government instead of rabble-rousers, which was in some ways much easier.
This does not take into account Umno potentates like Mustapa Mohamed who are told that they have to show some kind of "difference" if they are to be accepted into the New Malaysia coalition which is Harapan. All of this is just drama for people who are enjoying all the schadenfreude they ever wanted from the slow demise of Umno not realising that sub rosa moves are being carried out to shore up support for a Malay base. It is one thing to use race and religion when your opposition partners keep quiet because they do not want to rock the boat on the way to Putrajaya. It is another game entirely when policy decisions are based on race and religion, and your partners have to keep silent because of their bases.
However, this is just one aspect of the problem. The internal schisms within PKR also contribute to the lack of trust in the Malay community, because for all intents and purposes, the squabble between the Malay powerbrokers in PKR is a sign of weakness that they cannot defend what Malays are told to be scared of losing.
The fact that Bersatu has to cannibalise from Umno is also a sign of weakness from diehard grassroots Umno supporters, who now view the current prime minister as some sort of hate figure.
Mix this with the machinations of PAS who – depending on whose rear ends they are kissing – are resurrecting the ‘Mahafiraun’ narrative for a new generation, but with unknown variables, because we now have Umno members who truly see the old maverick as a traitor to race and religion.
As one DAP political operative confided in me, “Only god knows what the real relationship is between Malay powerbrokers in Harapan is.” She says that some confuse a "unified front” with sycophancy, and what is troubling is that political operatives are acting the way BN political operatives did, instead of in accordance to the new paradigm, as was promised.
Paradise lost
Always remember that Mahathir was much beloved before Anwar Ibrahim’s fall from grace, and that the current prime minister always seems to grow a personality cult wherever he plants his flag. Some folks actually forget his long record of political dysfunction, and use his long “experience” as prime minister as some sort of fig leaf in their partisan fervour.
DAP’s Charles Santiago echoed this sentiment when he warned of the growing “yes men” culture in this new administration. “The cabinet is largely dependent on Mahathir, and that’s a mistake,” the Klang MP said in an interview, days after Mahathir’s public admission that he was not happy with the ministers he appointed four months ago. Santiago said that while ministers must toe the line, they should also have the courage to question their big boss. “If Mahathir says no, then you have to question and ask why. If you just say, ‘Mahathir wants it,’ then it shows you’re weak.”
This, of course, is to be expected. BN is a victim of its own success. For years they coasted on the fact that Malaysians were comfortable with the system. While Harapan (as yet) cannot claim to enjoy the same support as BN at its zenith, the reality is that the fear of some of some in Harapan of alienating the Malay base is resulting in all sorts of screw-ups.
Coupled with this is their confidence that the Harapan base is with them, and that there is practically no opposition but Umno, which is a dangerous brew of insecurity and arrogance. Does all of this sound familiar? The insecurity of the Malay base coupled with the arrogance that their base – non-Malays included – will support the ruling hegemon?
Another DAP political operative echoes my belief that the disconnect between the rural and urban youths and their predation by Malay power structures – using race and religion for the former and the Bangsa Malaysia Kool-Aid for the latter – will come back to haunt Harapan.
The predation of young people by Malay powerbrokers using race and religion and the enabling of non-political operatives is straight from the Umno playbook. As one young Malay activist/journalist (and who took exception to my last piece about Anwar), plying his trade online told me, that people do not really need to worry about Umno joining the new establishment because if the “Umno culture” (which also means the complicity of non-Malay power structures) carries on, this would do far more damage to any kind of reforms that are needed in this country because it would that people accepted the old comfortable ways of BN.
So while Umno may still pose an external threat, a culture that is slowly growing in Harapan has to exorcised.
As always, the more dangerous adversary is the enemy within.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 2:51 PM  
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