Articles, Opinions & Views: Rude immigration officer, the cowardly tyrant - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy

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“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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Rude immigration officer, the cowardly tyrant - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, October 22, 2018
Malaysiakini : “Totalitarianism in power invariably replaces all first-rate talents, regardless of their sympathies, with those crackpots and fools whose lack of intelligence and creativity is still the best guarantee of their loyalty.” – Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism
COMMENT | People often ask me if I think all these high-profile corruption cases of Umno potentates are politically motivated. Truth be told, these cases do not concern me. The political elite cannibalising each other for taking from the trough is part of the zero sum game of politics.
No, what bothers me – besides the nurture of religious extremism – are cases like the immigration officer who was rude to the pregnant woman and her husband, and which has got Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy all worked up – and rightly, too. Claiming that I have mostly positive experiences with the bureaucracy is irrelevant. What is important is that every day, people from disenfranchised backgrounds, who do not have privileges that come with being “middle class” (regardless of ethnicity) are at the mercy of petty tyrants who exercise power merely because they can.
What really bothers me about this whole incident – and I know it should not – is the way how this immigration officer responded to someone who was of higher authority and who wanted to resolve a situation that this immigration officer created.
The unmitigated gall of this officer to accuse Seberang Perai municipal councilor K Jason Raj of misuse of power when, I am sure, if this were an emissary from the former Umno regime, this officer would be on his hand and knees attempting to remedy the situation as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Can you imagine what the Umno response would be to lackeys speaking rudely to them? Can you imagine the response that this rank insubordination would receive back in the good old days of Umno rule?
Instead, this officer has suddenly discovered his cojones, most probably because he thinks that there is nothing the Pakatan Harapan political elite could do to him, because this is supposed to be a ‘New Malaysia’ and he probably assumes the Harapan political apparatus does not want to spook the civil service.
Many years ago, I found myself in a similar situation with different results. I knew this young plumber who married a Vietnamese girl and they were going though similar problems with an immigration officer. Their papers were in order but as usual, the bureaucracy revealed its ugly, often racist visage.
After weeks of frustrating engagement with this officer, the young man came to me for help. I knew him because he did work around the apartment complex I was living in at the time. Speaking to friends in the immigration bureaucracy, this matter was classified as discretionary in nature and since the young couple had the requisite paper work, there really should not have been a problem. As usual, this is about pushing around the little guy, Thaya, a friend cavalierly intoned.
I accompanied the young couple for their meeting, and there in the office of this immigration officer, my blood started to boil. Listening to this cretin endlessly drone on about mutual associates in the state security apparatus, reminded me that I needed to get new friends. The old air conditioning unit emitted irritating clicking noises, which sounded like a countdown to my imminent explosive rage.
Officer’s overtly racist statements
What was worse was his overtly racist statements about the young couple, whom he thought could not understand his broken English, which was his preferred method of communication even though I began the conversation with my adequate Malay. No doubt, all this was done to impress me and exclude the young couple from the conversation.
He was talking about how there were too many “foreigners” in this country and that maybe this young man married this young girl because she was "morally loose". I sat there with teeth clenched , a snarl which looked like a smile slowly escaping my lips. Since the goal was helping this young couple and not feed my sense of self-righteousness, I just kept quiet hoping my silence registered as disdain.
Sitting there listening to a racist blather on about the people he knew, that we knew and the state of politics in this country, surrounded by religious accoutrements to signify piety where there was none, was an exercise in self-restraint. I remember the cold coffee which we did not touch and that stupid grin on his face whenever he thought he said something amusing.
After a while, maybe because he was bored or perhaps, because of the murderous look that was slowly emerging from my face, he signalled that this meeting was over. He signed whatever papers that needed to be signed – that should have be signed – and the kids and I made our way to lunch. What really bothers me, is how thankful this young couple were and that they were sorry to inconvenience me. "Uncle, they always, treat us like", they said. "They" meaning the bureaucracy. I suppose.
Whenever I read these stories in the press about these petty bureaucrats stomping on the little guy, it pisses me off. These cretins are the people who truly make life difficult for people, even more so than the politicians. We pay their salaries and they dare behave like this? Some folks do not understand how difficult it can get. If you are poor, disenfranchised from what many of us take for granted, it can be a hellish experience engaging with the bureaucracy.
If you think you have your horror stories, try reliving them, when you do not have much money, are not educated enough to know that there are other avenues to get remedies and when you present an image where these petty tyrants assume that this gives them the licence to trample all over you.
I realise in the greater scheme of things that this new story does not mean much. We have a whole host of issues that demand our attention. I suppose I am disconnected from the mainstream of political discourse because I read all these reports from various NGOs, especially Tenaganita, which deals with issues like these every day. Or listen to the grassroots of political parties, who do not get the spotlight that political operatives get.
I sincerely hope that whatever Ramasamy does, it makes life miserable for this immigration officer. I need my dose of schadenfreude.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 8:51 AM  
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