Articles, Opinions & Views: Are the non-Malays overreacting? - 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

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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Are the non-Malays overreacting? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, September 04, 2019
Malaysiakini : “Those who use religion for their own benefit are detestable. We are against such a situation and will not allow it. Those who use religion in such a manner have fooled our people; it is against just such people that we have fought and will continue to fight.” – Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
COMMENT | Recently there has been outrage by mainstream Malay political operatives, activists, journalists and religious bureaucrats about the role the media plays – often times Malaysiakini – in ratcheting up racial and religious issues.
Malaysiakini had to put out an editorial position on this issue, reassuring people that reporting the news is not the same as stoking racial and religious anxieties. This has always been an uneven playing field. The major part of the problem is the race-based politics of this country.
The far right, which consists of political parties and their proxies, have been harping on this issue ever since the federal government fell to Pakatan Harapan, which includes the multiracial PKR and DAP.
Meanwhile, when it comes to Islamic provocations, the propaganda is that it is the non-Malays who are overreacting or taking advantage of the fact that the Malay community is split. Add to this the so-called 'social contract', which is a form of subservience to Malay political control, if not economic control.
Take this Dr Zakir Naik (photo) fiasco for instance. Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) president Aminuddin Yahya, writing for Malaysiakini, makes two important points:
"Dalam isu Zakir, saya juga berpendapat bahawa kenyataan beliau telah disalah tafsir akibat pelbagai faktor termasuklah perasaan prejudis terhadap beliau, 'overreaction' dan kurangnya amalan tabayyun dan berbaik sangka dalam masyarakat kita (On the Zakir issue, I feel that his statements were misinterpreted due to several factors, including prejudice towards him, overreaction and a lack of investigation and good faith in our society)."
"Apa yang paling mengecewakan kita semua ialah perpecahan kesatuan umat Islam merupakan antara sebab utama Zakir dilihat tidak dapat dipertahankan (What is most disappointing to us is the split of the Islamic community, which is one of the main reasons why Zakir is seen as indefensible)."
Think about it. The far right claims that the Chinese are ganging up on them, but have no problem talking about the splitting of the Malay community. What people forget about the 'buy Muslim products' campaign or whatever it is called – again Aminuddin's fingerprints are all over this in terms of promoting his religious agenda – is that it makes use of the legitimate economic concerns of Muslim small business owners and conflates it with the broader political struggle in the Malay community.
As usual, the economic superiority of the Chinese community over the 'disadvantaged' Muslim polity narrative is used, instead of analysing the reasons why the Malay-led federal government has, for decades, sidelined small Malay-Muslim business owners and created a class of corrupt Malay plutocrats, who are part of the reason of why these small business owners are disadvantaged.
Not to mention that the culture of entrepreneurship in the Malay community has been hampered by various religious edicts, which make it difficult for them to compete with ethnic groups that do not operate under such restrictions.
Malay power structures get outraged by the most insignificant comments, and yet they claim that people "overreact" to overtly racist or bigoted comments from Muslim or Malay personalities.
'Toxic' environment
I do not really blame the far right for this. Before the historic GE14 win, DAP and PKR managed to convince the base that Bersatu was needed to shore up Malay support and reassure the community that their rights would be 'protected'.
Hence, this so-called 'toxic' environment is the creation of everyone, and not just Umno-PAS or whichever Malay-Muslim personality de jure. This idea that fake news and hate speech is tearing up national unity is bunkum. The aim of such strategies is to tear up Harapan.
Harapan is not the country. Demonising the DAP, as the old maverick once said, is part and parcel of Malay politics. There is no real discourse when it comes to official narratives because Malay power brokers have no interest in a 'moderate' Islam or any kind of egalitarian policies.
The best example of this is the case of the Selangor fatwa against Sisters in Islam, labelling it "deviant." In response to the High Court ruling, the Selangor Islamic Religious Council head honcho Mohammed Khusrin Munawi said that the state fatwa committee designates "mana-mana individu, pertubuhan atau institusi yang berpegang kepada fahaman liberalisme dan pluralisme agama adalah sesat dan menyeleweng daripada ajaran Islam (any individual, organisation or institution that holds to liberalism and religious pluralism as deviant and straying from Islamic teachings)."
What does this tell us about the religious discourse in this country? Well, there really isn’t any, because Harapan, like BN, is not offering an alternative when it comes to the Islamic narrative.
Harapan’s religious czar Mujahid Yusof Rawa pontificates about a moderate Islam, but has no problem with a religious department in a supposedly 'progressive' state labelling a woman’s movement within Islam as deviant. This sends out a message to every Muslim that the far right and the religious bureaucracy control the official narrative of the state and Muslims had better watch their step.
This, of course, means that the non-Muslims are in trouble too. Why? Because progressive ideas that are needed to move the country forward must include the participation of the majority in the majority ethnic group, otherwise it will go nowhere.
Hence, anything the DAP says or anything coming out from the non-Malay wing of PKR runs afoul of the Islamic and racial narratives of Malay power structures.
Policy decisions then become racial and religious landmines, and the people who are seeking secular solutions are deemed enemies of Islam, which is basically a discourse non-starter.
False equivalence
This is why it is convenient for Harapan’s religious czar to make a false equivalence between extremists and Islamophobia. 
There is no Islamophobia in this country. What there has been is the systemic intrusion of Islam into our private and public spheres.  Keep in mind that this is a country where PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang gets to say that non-Muslims have to be “pak turut” (sycophants) and Mujahid cannot even bring himself to say that this is hate speech.
Basically, when people like Mujahid throw around the term 'Islamophobia', they mean people who are resisting attempts to erode the secular foundation of our country. In addition, lets us not get into the whole Malay and Chinese press. Non-Malay political operatives target an organisation like Sin Chew Daily because they seem to be stirring the pot when it comes to racial and religious issues. The best-known example is the khat controversy.
Therefore, what we are witness to is the Malay outrage we have to be mindful of, and of course now, the non-Malay subservience that targets the non-Malay press for rocking the Harapan boat. Meanwhile, the Malay press gets away with reporting news that is designed to reinforce nativist themes, while the rest of news organisations have to tiptoe around ideas or news which are deemed sensitive to the powers that be.
There is another point, a big one actually. The far right talks about how news organisations are stirring racial and religious issues, but the irony is that a good number of Harapan supporters do not want to rock the boat. They would be happier if certain news stories are not reported.
Why? Because some people are afraid. Afraid that if we push too much, things will fall apart. That if we highlight certain fundamental issues that were supposed to separate Harapan from BN, this would cause damage to the coalition.
The problem is not hate speech or fake news. The problem is that hate speech is actually doctrinal when it comes it comes to the state-sanctioned religion of this country, and that fake news is actually a political strategy which was created by the very people now bemoaning it.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 9:35 AM  
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