Articles, Opinions & Views: Better Harapan fails as one-term reformist government - 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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Better Harapan fails as one-term reformist government - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Malaysiakini : “Now you've given them hope, and they're unhappy. So the blame is all yours.” – Joseph Heller, "Catch-22".
COMMENT | "Do you want Najib to return?" I get this message from Pakatan Harapan partisans very often. Certain phrases and words – "Do you want Najib to return?", "1MDB", "global kleptocracy" and "fake news" – have achieved a kind of totemic significance for the Harapan political elite.
In Malaysia, we are more inclined to re-elect kleptocrats than to jail them. As far as Najib Abdul Razak's return is concerned, I suppose if you are a politician who has invested a lot in seeing the former Umno Grand Poo-bah in an orange jumpsuit, you may very well be in trouble if the shoe returns to the other foot.
If BN is voted in democratically, or if the realignment of Malay power structures results in Najib evading jail time, the average rakyat will certainly not be in the crosshairs of whoever crawls to the top of the dung heap that is mainstream Malaysian politics.
BN will attempt to spin their “victory” (however they engineer it) as a reaffirmation of the social contract and, no doubt, life will proceed as normal with the assaults on public institutions and public spaces, continuing much like how Harapan attempts to do so now.
I would rather Harapan be a one-term reformist government rather than be kicked out by voter apathy or anger because it continues to slip into a neo-BN stupor. If the majority kicks out a reformist Harapan government, then at least progressive forces in this country would not have squandered an opportunity to create a "new Malaysia" but were thwarted by those who want to live in a fascist state.
However, I suspect that most Malaysians just want a safe and stable country to live in and economic concerns outweigh whatever communal preoccupations they have. If Harapan can just keep its head down and work the reform agenda, I am sure a majority of Malaysians, regardless of their political preference, would vote for stability instead of buying into the racial and religious agenda of the acolytes (Umno/PAS and, of course, a section of Harapan which also includes the non-Malay political operatives) of a fascist state.
Take Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, for instance. He had so much goodwill when he stepped into office a second time. Even I sipped the Kool-Aid but fortunately spat it out as soon as I took a gulp. But if you are someone who has not drunk the Kool-Aid or at least someone who is white-knuckling it after swearing off the Kool-Aid, you may have come to the realisation that these people who promised you – us – a new deal, really want to give you back the old deal without the Najib family.
We were told that the prime minister has a Herculean task of reforming the system, aided by various cliques of notable personalities. Here was a man in a hurry. Instead, he mocks people who put value on Harapan’s manifesto. He backtracks on campaign promises, offers “sarcastic” answers in lieu of substantive ones, meddles in the internal party politics of coalition members, coddles religious extremists, alienates his base, courts a demographic using race and religion, enables a "kakistocracy", belittles his allies and engages in racism in the guise of realpolitik.
All he had to do was carry out the reform agenda and he would have been remembered as a reformist and not the architect of this Frankenstein monster of corruption and religious hypocrisy we call a political system. I’d pay to see that movie.
Meanwhile, non-Malay leadership is in the crapper. Lim Guan Eng, the finance minister of this country, is still busy engaging in a petty and vindictive feud with the MCA. After telling the MCA – your time is up, your time is over –  when it comes to relinquishing control of Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC), the MCA wins a by-election. A victory because the Chinese community is pissed off at the antics of the old maverick but also because the DAP is not only morphing into a running dog but a rabid one at that.
We worry about racial and religious issues. What exactly has Harapan’s religious czar done to ameliorate the fascist state agenda? Nothing! Mujahid Yusof Rawa could have been the great reformer like he positioned himself before the historic win. Instead, he babbles on about his compassionate Islam, with nothing to back up his claims.
Mujahid makes false equivalencies between liberals and extremists. I would argue that he has made the religious situation worse in this country because progressives in his coalition do not want to stand up to him and the prime minister and the “opposition” back his stance.
To understand this point, refer to my piece here, that is one narrative. What is Mujahid’s counter-narrative? While Isma may take potshots at Harapan as betraying the Islamic cause, it lists the numerous ways in which the Harapan government has been buttressing the Islamic bureaucracy.
I read all these hand-wringing pieces about how Harapan needs to fulfil its manifesto promises, but nobody wants to admit that the reason why nothing gets done is because there is no political will to get things done. The entire cabinet is genuflecting by instinct to the prime minister and Harapan seems to think that by deploying the old BN schemes, they will win over a sceptical public.
In this "New Malaysia", political operatives are busing kowtowing to the prime minister, redefining corruption to make it more palatable, jockeying for positions, waging battles with allies and blaming the acolytes of a fascist state (Umno/PAS) for everything wrong with this country.
Malaysians generally are not discerning when it comes to the kind of government they want. Everyone wants corruption to be controlled, the standard of living to be equitable and generally have a "live and let live" attitude. Reforms, in this case, should be manageable. Previous governments set a very low bar. The problem with the reform agenda is that it curtails power. It democratises public spaces and in most cases, makes accountability and transparency the focus point of governance. It would seem that most Harapan political operatives do not want this.
I would rather have a one-term Harapan failure, one that pursued these objectives instead of another BN - the original that I served - and which saw the destruction of everything that could have made us a regional superpower.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 1:59 PM  
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