Articles, Opinions & Views: Is wooing PAS a good idea? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy


 
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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

Photobucket
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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Is wooing PAS a good idea? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Malaysiakini : Renji - Another well argued article. Why is Thayaparan the only writer on what’s going in in Malaysians politics worth reading? In my view it’s because he is objective, honest and truthful. The paucity of comments demonstrates that few really want to see the wood from the trees.   

“In politics, what begins in fear usually ends in folly.” - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

COMMENT | This is God’s honest truth. I am more wary of the crypto Islamists within Pakatan Harapan – more so now that Harapan is the establishment – than I am of PAS. 
There was a meme floating around before the Cameron Highlands by-election, that Harapan should be working in some form or another with PAS. After the by-election, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail was asked, considering the results, if it was time for Harapan to woo PAS.
Malaysiakini columnist P Gunasegaram advances the same idea in his post-mortem of the Cameron Highlands by-election: “And they should not exclude a possible alliance with PAS for this, thus pulling the carpet from under Umno. This may require a leadership change within PAS and the dropping of DAP’s virulent opposition to the Islamic party.”
About the only thing I disagree with Guna’s point is that it is not so much the DAP's virulent opposition to PAS, but rather that the DAP has hitched its wagon to Amanah’s narrative of Islam, and any sort of relationship with PAS would be defined by PAS trolling Amanah in the religious, political and social discourse.
I do not think people understand how damaging the fallout has been with Amanah splintering from PAS, or how PAS blames the DAP for this. When the so-called moderates of Amanah left PAS, a vacuum was created in the Islamic discourse in PAS, which has not been filled. This suits PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang just fine.
Two points I have made before need to be considered. The first when I warned not to underestimate PAS: “Some opposition analysts think that PAS was crippled when Amanah broke away, but my thinking is different, especially when speaking to PAS grassroots-level organisers. While a political party needs a robust dialectic within it to remain relevant, PAS is now free to define (centrally) its own version of moderation without having to rely on non-Muslims (or Muslims who are simpatico to non-Muslim politicians) input to craft a narrative which resonates with their ever-growing base.”
And the second, when I warned of PAS’ foreboding green tsunami: “PAS has remained true to its principles, and in numerous articles that mainstream English speakers can’t be bothered to read, told their supporters that winning the federal government at the expense of their Islamic values is not something which PAS desires. What they want is a Malay/Muslim tsunami which legitimately leads them to federal power or to create coalitions with like-minded political hegemons, so long as power-sharing does not involve them in betraying their Islamic values.”

Non-Malays think Hadi (photo) is the problem. He is for them, but for most of the base, Hadi is doing a great job. Strategically, PAS is not working with Umno. It is Umno that is working with PAS. Hadi has managed to define, sometimes through proxies, the Islamic narrative in this country and had made federal Islamic institutions irrelevant when it comes to the Islamic narrative in this country.
While people may snigger and claim that Hadi has been bought and paid for, the reality is that PAS has leveraged its indifference to moderation, as a means to federal power, into a powerful symbol of racial and religious unity.
Anecdotally speaking, one of the benefits of attending the anti-Icerd rally was to observe and listen to the PAS base and what they thought of the political climate, which on the one hand does business as usual and on the other attempts some kind of reform. What people do not get about some PAS partisans is that when they see politicians caving in or back-tracking on policies that undermine the Islamic narrative of PAS, they become more convinced that the politicians are cowards and out to subvert Islam, and that PAS is the line in the sand when it comes to their souls.
Brilliant moves of Harapan?
Some people may think these are brilliant moves of Harapan in burnishing their Islamic/Malay credentials, but all they do is remind people that Harapan political operatives are duplicitous and weak compared to the political operatives in PAS, who have always made their positions clear.
Any discussion about “constructive” dialogue, when it comes to Islamisation and moderation, cannot happen in the current political climate, and it is not because of PAS. Forget about PAS’ history of socialism or whatever left-leaning ideas that were the foundation of the original struggle. What we have today is an Islamic party committed to the religious dogma it has imported from external forces that seek to define the Islamic narrative in Southeast Asia in this post-Pax Americana landscape.

An unbiased reading of the conflict between DAP and PAS is that it is not an overt religious conflict, but rather that PAS believes that the DAP is carrying out a sub rosa agenda of Christianisation and a racial agenda under the cover of the kind of multi-cultural agenda they are pushing.
Whether this is true is beside the point. If the DAP had remained committed secularists and did not demonise the MCA as betrayers of the Chinese community, thereby defining the conflict as racial with the BN hegemon, this would have redefined the religious and racial narrative with PAS.
PAS understands all to well that it would be more difficult for them if they were dealing with committed secularists and a race-neutral political party. They know it would be harder to convince a sizable section of the Malay community of a nefarious Christian agenda if there was no circumstantial evidence of such political operatives talking about their religion.
If we had an authentic non-Malay political party which did not think that securing the Malay vote meant pandering to the same preoccupations that the Malay power brokers do, it would be harder for PAS to make the argument that the Malay community is victim to a plot to destabilise race and religion in this country.
A post-May 9 PAS is not interested in moderation as defined by the non-Malays. Why should we, one PAS strategist asked me: “Look at the Harapan manifesto. They buat (make) so many promises. When we object they called us racist. Now dia bikin the same thing as us. Dia (Harapan) tipu (deceive) and they say we cannot be trusted. How-lah, Thaya?”
In my opinion, working with PAS is not the answer. What Harapan needs to do is to redefine the Malay discourse in this country, which does not necessarily mean official proclamations of needs-based policies. Limiting the Islamic bureaucracy, democratising the spaces in which Malays hold their discourse, and facing head-on Islamic transgressions – as Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad (photo, above) claimed he used to do – is what will keep Islamic extremism at bay.
Affecting policies for the Malay community through independent institutions, reforming the education system (minus religion), constantly monitoring corruption in agencies tasked with helping Malays mitigates the corrosive politics of race and religion that PAS and Umno are dishing out.
All these reforms do not necessarily cater to the non-Malays, which should be an idea of how Harapan can out-manoeuvre PAS and Umno, while still playing the race and religion card.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 5:09 PM  
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