Articles, Opinions & Views: My picks for the top 5 newsmakers of 2018 - 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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My picks for the top 5 newsmakers of 2018 - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, December 24, 2018
Good one Commander! A very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you and all the people you love. 🎉🍻🥂🍷🍸🍾🍺💐🥃 God bless!!!
Malaysiakini :“Show me a hero, and I'll write you a tragedy.” – F Scott Fitzgerald, Notebook E
COMMENT | This year, when compiling my top five newsmakers and news stories, I thought I would do something different. These are not the obvious choices of top newsmakers, and comprise those who got lost in the toxic brew of dashed expectations and cynical political manoeuvrings of the news cycle.
I am loath to give politicians any more publicity, even on my meagre platform. As far as I am concerned, the Pakatan Harapan government has no excuses for not carrying out their reform agenda.
They have controlled states, and supposedly have the experience, but what we have been witness to is an endless succession of politically motivated stalling tactics, embraced most often by partisan fervour.
I would like to think these five newsmakers remind us of who we are, but more importantly, where we are as a country. The fact that this list includes three people who are not with us anymore is – or should be – a stark reminder that who and where we are at the moment means that we should stop dreaming about a New Malaysia, but open our eyes and confront the Malaysia before us. In no particular order, here are my picks for the top five newsmakers.
M Indira Ghandi
Supposing someone kidnapped your child, what would you do? Supposing this was done on religious grounds? Supposing the state chose not to help you because it needed to reinforce the primacy of the state sponsored religion? What would you do?

Even now, the state refuses to codify laws that would put a stop to such kidnappings, hiding behind legal precedents in a cowardly manner to safeguard religious and racial interests. 
I honestly have no idea how M Indira Gandhi and her family continue with their long struggle to find their missing family member while the state claims ignorance. How do politicians live with themselves? How do their supporters rationalise their anointed inaction? There will be no grand gestures for someone like Indira and her family. They are alone in New Malaysia.
From my vantage point – “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."
Fadiah Nadwa Fikri
The continued attacks by a state which is slipping into a kind of fascism is shocking not only because of its hypocrisy – which is expected in a fascist enterprise – but also because the state understands the danger posed by people like lawyer and activist Fadiah Nadwa Fikri.

Most often politicians are gutless. They hide their cowardice behind concepts like pragmatism and consensus, but the reality is that they are just as invested in the system as the foes they demonise.
Fadiah’s dialectic – as with that of Maryam Lee, for instance – is the finger to the establishment and its partisans who view change as detrimental to their interests. I believe we will see more persecutions by the state against individuals like Fadiah.  But the reality is, that if more people speak up like Fadiah or support Fadiah, then there could be a New Malaysia.
From my vantage point – (Fadiah in her own words) "Any attempt to break the fortress built around this existing system in order to democratise the space for people to assert their political existence is often met with harsh criticism and rebuke. As a result, the power to shape the future and direction of the country remains in the hands of the privileged few, thus further alienating the voices of the many, in particular the marginalised. Genuine democracy which seeks to place people at its heart therefore remains out of reach."
Pastor Raymond Koh
Not just the pastor Raymon Koh but also, Amri Che Mat, Joshua Hilmy and his wife, Ruth Sitepu. Who made them vanish? Why isn't the Harapan state interested in discovering who made these Malaysians disappear? I suspect that the truth may be too shocking for the rakyat.

What is extremely worrying is that if state actors were involved, they are operating with impunity.  What would happen if more people vanish? How would the Harapan state handle this? Are there secrets that should be left buried or does the truth set us free? The disappearance of Koh is a festering wound that points to something deep and malicious in the corridors of power.
From my vantage point –“Whoever these people are they were confident that the narratives of the state security apparatus would shield them from whatever repercussions of the former Umno state and, here is the important part, may very well shield them from the sanctions of the Pakatan Harapan regime.”
Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim
Who was Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim, the young man who died carrying out his duties? We will never know. As we will probably never know of the people who carried him to safety. These people are not part of the narrative.

The death of Adib has been used by politicians in Harapan, Umno and PAS as a means to carry out the old agendas that are running this country. The propagandising of the death of the young firefighter is perhaps the most shameful act in this new Malaysia. It has stripped bare the politicians who claim that they have the interests of the rakyat a heart, but in reality have only their own.
It demonstrates the lie, that non-Malays are equal citizens of this country or in whatever political structures they cling to. This is a horrendous legacy for a young man, whose family deserves better.
From my vantage point – "The real perpetrators of this crime are going unpunished. The people who attacked Adib should be brought to justice. No doubt about it. However what of the people who caused this riot? What about the people who paid Malay thugs to trespass onto a place of worship? What of the state security apparatus which failed to provide a credible answer to response times to contradict eyewitness reports?"
J Soosaimanicckam
A young man wants to serve his country. He comes from a community which has been portrayed as not interested in serving the country. Remember what veteran newsman A Kadir Jasin once said - "Perhaps there is wisdom in getting more Chinese and Indians to join the armed forces so that they too can die for one Malaysia.”

How the Naval Establishment reacts to the death of J Soosaimanicckam has been shocking. There have been no grand pronouncements by interested parties, because nobody cares that young men die in service. 
This is not a non-Malay thing. This is a Malaysian thing. Young Malaysians – Malays and non-Malays – have died in the system for a variety of reasons and nobody cares. Nobody cares because politically, it means very little. 
This is even more dangerous in Malaysia because the system is set up along racial and religious lines, and the establishment has a history of cover-ups and denials. As long as the system is set up this way, I would be very careful in encouraging our young people to serve the state security apparatus. Some people may not like me saying this, but someone has to.
From my vantage point – "This kind of thinking is the foundation on which corrupt systems thrive. These deaths and the corruption endemic in these types of systems carry on because the public is more interested in the scandals and corruption of the political elite. The death of Altantuya Shaariibuu holds more public interest than the murder of servicemen."
Next up, my top news stories of the year. Merry Christmas Malaysia, whoever you are.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 9:11 AM  
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