Articles, Opinions & Views: Playing the same game with hate speech laws - 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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Playing the same game with hate speech laws - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, June 24, 2019

Hate speech double standards give REAL fascists a pass
Malaysiakini : "They are urged to take practical steps, not just make statements that result in nothing." - Kerk Chee Yee
COMMENT | DAP's Malacca state executive councillor Kerk Chee Yee posed a challenge to Umno and MCA to disavow comments made by a PAS political operative to end vernacular schools. I have no idea what “practical steps” that could be taken by MCA and Umno beyond their usual pusillanimous rhetoric when it comes to the extremism of the far right, but I do think that Pakatan Harapan is in no position to lecture anyone on “practical steps”.
My opinion on Harapan’s desire or, should that be a threat, to enact hate speech laws is a matter of public record. I am against such initiatives. Here is the thing, though. Harapan likes to talk about how this is a new Malaysia, but what the ruling coalition always ends up doing is playing the same game as it did when it was in the opposition.
The comment by Kerk, for instance, demonstrates that Harapan parties are not really interested in their own ideas about what constitutes “hate speech” but would rather “challenge” all and sundry because it makes them look good to their base. The extreme rhetoric of the far right then becomes a useful tool for Harapan to further deflect from legitimate questions about their competency - and an opportunity for the already toxic race relations in this country to further muddy the waters when it comes to public policy. While I oppose on principle any attempts to further curb free speech in this country, what I want to know is how committed Harapan is to hate speech laws, or is this just another attempt to deflect?
Instead of asking MCA and Umno to make their positions clear whenever extreme speech is used by the far right, what I want to know is what practical steps are being taken by Harapan to curb these “hateful” speeches, instead of dragging in other political parties?
Nearly all the Harapan big guns have come out in support of hate speech laws. Mujahid Yusof Rawa, the de facto Islamic affairs minister, of course, came out in defence of hate speech laws in the cause of defending the sanctity of Islam. There were proposals by the Harapan government to get into the comment sections of online news portals, and who could forget the proposed Racial and Religious Hatred Act which, we were told, was there to safeguard our interest when it comes to hateful speech.
Speaking of this Act, would the comments made by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, this specifically - "The general election had just concluded and there was a change in politics, the government is dominated by non-Muslims and there are many instances of Muslims being challenged...” fall afoul of the proposed Racial and Religious Hatred Act, for instance?
It would be nice if Mujahid answers this question. Indeed, I want Harapan political operatives to answer this question. Harapan likes to make a big deal about how this is a “new” Malaysia. Now, no matter what you may think of hate speech laws, the big question, is how will Harapan, especially the Malay power structures, react to their speech being curbed under these proposed laws?
Or how about this: Ahmad Zahid Hamidi goes on about the “plot” to create more seats for the DAP. Public comments by Zahid demonstrates that he views the DAP as a race-based Chinese political party out to usurp Malay rights, or whatever you choose to call it. Would demonising the Chinese community by proxy fall afoul of hate speech laws that Harapan claims it wants to enact?
Harapan political operatives, especially non-Malay political operatives, most often use these occasions – when PAS, for instance, openly says things that most Islamists in this country, including those in Harapan, subscribe to – to create a counter-narrative of victimhood. It is politically beneficial because it makes a target of the far right instead of the policy failures of Harapan.
Now, whatever you may think of hate speech laws and you may be like me, who opposes these attempts to curb free speech, the reality is that Harapan could do something if it really wanted to. Why make these proposals if you do not have any intention of enacting them? Why makes these proposals and not define “hate speech” when it comes to pushing racial and religious agendas?
Rejecting the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the Harapan's failure to observe Icerd tells a different story when it comes to all this talk about hate speech laws. While someone like Kerk demands action from Umno and MCA, why is he not demanding that the Harapan government do something about laws which Harapan claims would curb hate speech?
Why is Kerk not asking the Harapan government, which he is a part of, to carry out their reforms when it comes to hate speech laws in this country? If the Harapan government is committed to “opposing” hate speech, like it claims it is, why isn’t it going ahead with these laws, instead of sniping like schoolchildren in the playground, when PAS and Umno or the far right make comments that are racially and religiously provocative? I think we know the answer to that, right? Harapan cannot afford to enact any kind of hate speech law because this would mean that race, religion and royalty cannot be weaponised anymore. Not only would the far right be caught up in these laws, but so would the Harapan Malay/Muslim political operatives.
Hate speech law is unenforceable in this country because it strikes at the desideratum of the racial and religious politics as advocated by mainstream Malay power structures. It also makes the “inspiring” work of someone like Zakir Naik, criminal. Think about that, Kerk.
Having said that, as someone who opposes these kinds of laws that curb speech, I would pay good money to see someone like Latheefa Koya – considering her rhetoric against the far right and her coalition – become the hate speech czar in this country. This would really send shivers down the spines – if they had – of the race and religious supremacists out there.
If speech is going to be curbed (and most probably someone like me would be caught in the crosshairs), I want a large side order of schadenfreude to go with it.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 11:26 AM  
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