Articles, Opinions & Views: No business of the media to build inclusive narrative - 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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No business of the media to build inclusive narrative - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, March 25, 2019
Fake News????
Malaysiakini : COMMENT | “The Press, Watson, is a most valuable institution, if you only know how to use it.” - Arthur Conan Doyle, “ Adventure of the Six Napoleons/The Adventure of the Crooked Man”
The last people who should help build an “inclusive narrative” are the media. What does an “inclusive narrative” really mean? It seems to me that when people say the media should concentrate on “positive news,” what they really mean is that the media should concentrate on news that demonstrates the political system is working.
This would not be a problem if the system was functional, but in most cases it is not. Media organisations are beholden to a whole range of special interests, to their subscribers and sometimes to the bases of certain political parties. It happens in the West and it happens here.
I have no idea how the media can help build an inclusive narrative, but I know that when people start looking at the media for help in addressing problems that are systemic, instead of going to their elected officials, we are scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Take the example of the lighted cross incident (photo, above). It was claimed the press drove this issue. How? Was the press not supposed to report on this issue? In any functional democracy, this would be a non-issue.
But here, it raises so many issues. We live in a country where the symbols and rituals of other religion are considered a threat to the dominant religion. We live in a country where the law is used to constrain speech the majority considers an insult to their religion. So, of course, when an issue like this crops up, what happens is people use it as a springboard for all the cultural and systemic issues they bury deep down inside, but which erupts when people talk about their faith.
As far as I am concerned, the lighted cross issue was a good opportunity to talk about how the kind of propaganda non-Malay political operatives disseminate when it comes to the religious narratives like this, and how the business community should not be in the business of mixing commerce and religion, as I said earlier:
“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.”
There are already so many restrictions on the press in this country. There are so many laws that restrict freedom of speech and expression. When people are afraid of words and ideas, it is pointless asking the media to help build an inclusive narrative. You do not build an inclusive narrative when religious and racial flashpoints cannot be discussed in an open manner. Instead, people are warned – the press included – that the sensitivities of the majority could result in racial or religious violence.
Instead of talking about an inclusive narrative, why don’t we talk about how the counter-narratives of the Harapan state against the narratives of Umno and PAS are not working. Maybe they are not working because the Harapan state has no counter-narratives. Maybe they do not have a counter-narrative because the only people who are interested in an inclusive narrative are the non-Malays and the Malays who are deemed liberal. Maybe there is no counter-narrative because the non-Malay politicians in Harapan are mindful not to spook the Malays.
Maybe there is no counter-narrative because the Harapan government uses a women's' march to target the LGBTQ community and then investigate the women's march for sedition.
Maybe there is no counter-narrative because the Harapan government does not want to confront the Malay far right because, ideologically, they are not that far apart. If you think the media can build a counter-narrative or even an inclusive one, you are gravely mistaken.

Activist Siti Kassim (above) raised an interesting point. Why isn't the government using the propaganda apparatus at its disposal to offer a counter-narrative? Forget for a moment that the state media apparatus should not be used as a propaganda tool, but if Harapan is really interested in countering the religious and racial narratives of Umno/PAS, why isn’t it using the tools at its disposal?
Again it all boils down to the fact that the Harapan government does not have a counter-narrative. The coalition may have a parallel narrative, though.
The media in this country cannot take a stand on issues when it comes to supporting or rejecting certain policy issues. If the media advocates such, the wolves will be at their doorstep and you can bet your last ringgit, they would not get any help from the so-called progressive government that was recently voted in. This is one of the reasons why columnists, for instance, have disclaimers at the end of their pieces.
Have you noticed that when the state does something inclusive and the press reports about it, there is backtracking on the issue? People talk of the backtracking on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd) issue, but nobody talks about how the press examined this issue, was supportive of it – a certain section anyway – and all this was part of the inclusive narrative some people are talking about.
Since we do not have a mono-lingual media - thankfully - different communities and the media they consume view issues in different ways.
Unless and until political operatives are held accountable and confront the hard questions this country faces, the press, unfortunately, does not offer anything much, beyond feeding partisan appetites for profit and waiting for that knock on the door.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 5:52 PM  
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