Articles, Opinions & Views: Harapan, stay out of the comment section - 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, stay out of the comment section - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Singing a different tune now, de Puddy CatAmendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."   “I don't agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Unfortunately, the quote isn't real — or at least, it's not really Voltaire. It comes from a 1906 biography by Evelyn Beatrice Hall, in which it was intended to represent a summary of his thinking on free speech issues.

 Malaysiakini : "One of the problems with defending free speech is you often have to defend people that you find to be outrageous and unpleasant and disgusting." - Salman Rushdie
COMMENT | When Gobind Singh Deo says he is considering creating legislation that takes action against news portal operators who do not take action against readers who leave comments “that touch on racial, religious and royal institution sensitivities,” what he is doing is curtailing free speech in Malaysia.
Whenever political operatives talk about the sensitivities which revolve around the 3 “Rs,” I always wonder why they do not talk about the big “G” – gender. What about the misogynistic rhetoric in the comments sections, especially against women when they offer outlier views?
Remember when Maryam Lee was viciously attacked for her role in the Undirosak movement? Empower (an NGO) summed up the situation: “Instead of demonstrating maturity when engaging in the discourse, many supporters of the opposition resorted to unwarranted sexist, misogynist and extremist harassment against Maryam, and targeted their attacks solely at body shaming and (at) her identity as a young woman.
“Many of these attackers have accessed, taken and used her pictures without Maryam’s knowledge and consent. They further manipulated and/or morphed her photographic images into sexually explicit ones. “These images are accompanied by extremely demeaning and sexualised insults and name-calling.”
My take on those cowardly attacks on Maryam Lee (photo, below): “Nearly every opposition personality laments the fact that the opposition is under attack by the establishment propaganda instruments, but ignore the lies and online abuse committed by their supporters. This is a reckless omission because (1) this is reflective of the kind of Malaysia they want to create and the people who support them; and (2) the racist comments – not so much the misogynist comments – are used by the establishment to demonstrate the hypocrisy and race hate of the opposition.”

There is censorship in Malaysia. The press practises self-censorship when it comes to news stories and certain opinions. There are laws that restrict free speech. What we are talking about here is the Harapan regime's attempt to silence the average citizen from expressing his or her perspective as it relates directly to news reports. Even when it comes to certain social media posting – Facebook, Instagram, etc – this is not the same as news stories and the reception it gets from the subscribers of news portals.
Some of these comments are bigoted, racist, lies and not only contribute but sustain the toxicity in the national discourse. I understand why some people would be offended by the speech in comment sections of news stories. Indeed, many news portals have their criteria as to what kind of speech should be restricted. There are many who would argue – considering the vile rhetoric - that this is not enough.
Claiming to want to instil responsibility by holding news portals responsible for what happens in the comment section is mendacious. Comments sections, by nature, are reactionary. When people read the toxic things political and religious operatives say, they will react. Reacting even if it means being racist or bigoted, unfortunately, is a legitimate, if morally reprehensible (not to mention hypocritical), form of expression.

When Lim Kit Siang (photo, above) says something like this, for instance - “If Malaysians can develop a healthy scepticism of what they receive on the social media and check their veracity before they share it with others, it will be a big step to check the abuses of social media in the country” - he is missing the point.
The reality is that toxic material, and this includes lies and “fake news,” are intentionally passed around by partisans, even though they know the veracity is suspect. The same reasoning applies to comments in the comment sections. Anonymity, often times, brings out the worst in people. In fact, there are subscribers who make toxic posts on news stories, and generally behave as if the comment section is their own personal venting mechanism for the apparent discrimination they face from a system they keep voting for.
Some people have questioned how Harapan is going to police the comment sections and social media when it comes to this issue?
They do not have to. What they can do is make enough examples of individuals who go against this supposed law, expand the type of comments the state finds unacceptable and Malaysians will fall into line. Furthermore, news portals will, on their own initiative, crack down on what they think the state finds offensive, and subscribers would be penalised, based on the fear of repercussions from the state.
So, when Gobind says he is considering legislation to penalise news portals that allow certain comments to pass, some people think this is a good thing. This is a bipartisan issue because both camps think their speech would be protected and the other side censured.
How are news portals going to determine which comments from readers need to be censored? Outright racists and bigoted comments are easy to spot and I suppose one could make the case – I would not – that they need to be censored, but what of comments which make people uncomfortable and, hence, are termed as inciting racial or religious discord? How are news portals supposed to police these types of comments?
Have you noticed that whenever political operatives say they have received numerous complaints on an issue like this, for instance, they never give examples as to what constitutes censure-worthy speech It is always in the abstract.
Is this any reason to censure such speech? This is a country where race and religion for the majority community are not mutually exclusive. This is a country where some minorities claim they are living in an apartheid system. This is a country where the ruling coalition makes the claim that it needs a race-based party to win elections.
What Gobind is proposing is just another Harapan red herring.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 10:39 AM  
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