Articles, Opinions & Views: Do non-Malay politicians really want 'difficult' conversations? - 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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Do non-Malay politicians really want 'difficult' conversations? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Malaysiakini : “Our debates, for the most part, are examples unworthy of a playground: name-calling, verbal slaps, gossip, giggles, all while the swings and slides of governance remain empty.” ― Toni Morrison
COMMENT | Bukit Tengah assemblyperson Gooi Hsiao Leung started off by telling Kepala Batas MP Reezal Merican Naina Merican to stop exploiting the ‘building cross lighting’ issue because “we” have to “stop pandering to opportunistic extremist groups which very often will claim that Islam has been offended or is under threat without any basis".
In a follow-up piece after positive readers’ reception on Malaysiakini and hostile reception on Sinar Harian, among others, he said that it was time to have “difficult” conversations about race and religion. Really? Okay…
First off, Gooi says that “we” have to stop pandering to “opportunistic extremist groups”. Agreed. What is Gooi's stand and the stand of non-Malay political operatives on the Pakatan Harapan’s government’s decision to ban Israeli athletes for the World Para-Swimming Championships in Sarawak and Malaysia’s decision “not host any event that has representation from or participation of Israel” as articulated by Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah?
Please do not give me this horse manure about the Palestinian plight because hosting international sporting events and the Palestinian land grab issue are mutually exclusive. What Malaysia is doing is pandering to opportunistic religious extremists who just happen to be in the federal government and, of course, in the opposition.
Gooi goes on to write that “we” have to look to our Malay leadership in Harapan to start having these difficult public conversations on race and religion”. Oh, so by “we” he means the Malay power structures within Harapan - a coalition led by a political party that claims to be needed to secure the Malay vote (endorsed by non-Malay components) and which has positioned itself as the sole custodian of the Malay “struggle”.
If Gooi really believed this, why respond to Reezal? Why mouth off to him that “people” are tired of Umno leaders exploiting racial and religious issues? The only people who are tired of it are generally the non-Malays.
Could Gooi not find a moderate Malay Harapan political operative to tick Reezal off? Instead, what we get is reportage about Tok Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat and the cross, some sort of Rashomon retelling of a tale while forgetting his hardline social, economic and political views on Islam.

You really want “difficult conversations”, Gooi? When it comes to discussion on racial and religious issues, what use are non-Malay political operatives? Remember a couple of years back when senior Selangor state executive councillor Teng Chang Kim wondered out aloud if his error of mistakenly inserting some guidelines for non-Malay places of worship meant he should resign? This caused a brouhaha that displayed the mendacity of the so-called progressive political operatives who now play dumb.
Here’s a recap: “Meanwhile, Selangor state assembly speaker Hannah Yeoh said that 'I strongly urge BN politicians to fix the said guidelines in their respective states instead of wasting time in futile politicking’, which is one of the more craven types of deflection ever uttered by an opposition politician and which, hopefully, opposition supporters will not fall for.”
Non-Malay political operatives have no problem speaking about this issue in their echo chambers but have things changed since Harapan took over the federal government? What are the “guidelines” on non-Malay places of worship now that Harapan has federal power? Are the non-Malay political operatives speaking up or are they waiting for Malay political operatives who are too busy not to spook the Malays?
PAS information chief Nasrudin Hassan then brought up the “Christianisation” agenda, again. First off, for those of us who have used the term “Islamisation” or “Arabisation”, it is cool to have this thrown back at us. Secondly, someone asked me about the “Hindunisation” of Malaysia and I replied we already went through it but all evidence is being slowly erased and apparently retconned.
As Trump would say, so sad
Anyway, the PAS info chief claimed that one of the founders and managing director of the project was linked to some group which he claimed was interested in “Christianisation”. According to this group’s website, they have an agenda of "[…] transforming the marketplace with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ one entrepreneur at a time”.
So yes, they have a Christianisation agenda. Is it wrong for this person to be involved in such a group? Well, no. This is supposed to be a free country and if Islam has a religious way of doing business why not the evangelical wing of the Christian faith (as opposed to the mainstream Judaeo-Christian canon of economic and political theories).
PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang is vice-president of an Islamic international organisation that Saudi Arabia has disavowed as a terrorist outfit. So as far as associations with dubious organisations go, we have far greater problems to handle. So instead of confabulations as to why a cross mysteriously appears, it would have been honest if the non-Malay political operatives say “so what?” Instead of going on about why some Muslims would feel offended by this cross or would use it as a political weapon, everybody should instead say, “Yeah, this is supposed to be a free country, so what if they put up a cross?”
The real question is - since the Penang MBPP has been ordered to investigate - what happens if there was an effort to put the cross up as a symbol of god knows what because this was considered some sort of Christian project as per the agenda of the organisation that was cited? All this does is just give evidence of a particular agenda that the far right has been going on about for years.
When Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow had full confidence that his deputy P Ramasamy could explain himself when it came to his alleged links with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), I wonder if Chow is also fully confident that this developer can explain their relationship, if any, to this Christian group?

The project was greenlit by the state and any resulting issues should be handled by the state, including individuals who suddenly remove Facebook posts which give probative weight to the allegations of far-right political operatives.
Non-Malay political operatives like to talk big about religious freedoms but do nothing when it comes to enforcing such principles and would rather rely on their online mobs to anonymously attack while doing nothing themselves beyond not spooking the Malays and wishing their Malay counterparts would have difficult conversations.
On certain platforms, a political operative like Gooi will get all the support he needs. Non-Malays would flock to his banner. Gooi wants the Malay power structures which he terms “moderate” to have this discussion. Why should they? They have their base. This discussion needs to be had between the Malay and non-Malay power structures in Harapan and they should come up with a centrist agenda as a counter-narrative to the far-right agenda.
The predictable backlash against Ramasamy when he notes that the developer needs to be more “ethical”, is symptomatic of a partisan base which ignores provocative actions but does not hold their political operatives to account for not creating a political atmosphere in which such actions lose their provocative nature.
This is why I always advocate that non-Malay religious operatives should be strictly secular. This is why I always advocate that non-Malay political operatives should leave their religion at home. This is also why it is dangerous for religious people in the business community to mix religion and politics and assume everything changes because their anointed assumes federal power.
Non-Malay political operatives should be talking about religious issues because, in my opinion, these are the existential threats facing this country. But to do so, they need to be credible and more importantly, ruthlessly secular.
Instead, all they do is engage in perfidy.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 12:46 PM  
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