Articles, Opinions & Views: Harapan in 2020: Go big or home - 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 in 2020: Go big or home - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, January 29, 2020
Malaysiakini : “Once a country is habituated to liars, it takes generations to get the truth back.” - Gore Vidal
COMMENT | DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang says that 2020 is the make or break year for Pakatan Harapan. Kit Siang is correct because the vagaries of a political milieu have always been defined by time. However, so far, Harapan’s messaging has been absolutely abysmal. Add to this, Harapan seems intent on shooting itself in its foot and what we are witnessing is a coalition that seems to exist only for the power brokers to manoeuvre themselves into positions of influence.
Harapan officials have been making a big deal of Malaysia’s improved ranking in Transparency International's (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2019. Kit Siang wrote: “If there had been no change of government, Malaysia will be sliding down the CPI score to the thirties bracket, to find new company among the more corrupt nations of the world in the lower rankings.”
Now, whether you choose to place any faith in these rankings is beside the point. Some folks may ask, isn’t anyone bothered about corruption? I think they are but the reality is that Malaysia has always struggled with its corruption issues. There are two aspects to this issue. The fist is that the average rakyat believes that politicians are corrupt, so perhaps Harapan political operatives are less corrupt than the regime that was kicked out, but the point is the average's rakyat's expectation is extremely low.
The second aspect is that corruption in this county is intimately linked to racial issues. Whether the narratives of corrupt Malay/Muslims stealing from the coffers or the rich Chinese plutocrat class engaging in financial malfeasance with the political power elite or even the sacred cows of the Malay community, the royalty and their links to both power structures become a flashpoint which subsumes policy considerations.
Harapan’s problem was its claim that if the Najib regime continued, it would be the end of Malaysia, and when the people – and you don’t have to be particularly sophisticated either – notice that change has been barely perceptible, they begin to wonder if there was anything really wrong in the first place. Keep in mind that the opposition (then) was always claiming that the Umno/BN regime was corrupt. There was always this kind of apocalyptic vibe in the way how the opposition defined the discourse.
All those old narratives that the opposition used against the BN regime has come back to haunt them. I keep telling Harapan political operatives that if they do not want to honour the manifesto, at least put out a detailed list of everything that Harapan has accomplished – and I mean detailed, not just a wish list or some half-baked presentation – but real concrete steps that Harapan has taken and which are fundamentally different from what BN did.
Instead, all controversies have been manufactured by Harpan from the khat/Jawi fiasco, to the Lynas con and backtracking on important nation-building initiatives like the Rome treaty and Icerd. I’ll give you an example. The Orang Asli issue has always been problematic but Harapan has been making some positive moves in this area – the most important of which is the appointment of Juli Edo to head Jakoa – which does not mean that all is kosher for the Orang Asli.
A report card on this issue can be read in New Mandala by academician Rusalina Idrus: “As for Pakatan Harapan, it needs to step up and to be consistent in their commitment to the Orang Asli or risk losing Orang Asli support down the line. But it is about more than just winning votes. It is about addressing past injustice and discrimination. The PH (Harapan) coalition came about based on grounds of fighting injustice. The government’s commitment to the Orang Asli will be a test of its moral standing. It is not just political will that is needed, but also moral courage. As Tijah points out, it still remains to be seen if this new government has the courage to do the right thing.”
While I understand that the Orang Asli issue may not be sexy enough for most folks, what this demonstrates is that there can be movement in Harapan if, as Rusalina points out, there is a political will - but more importantly - moral courage. As Mariam Mokhtar wrote: “Radical measures will involve race and religion, but which MP dares to buck the trend? Harapan's decline is not just Mahathir's fault. Harapan MPs have a collective responsibility, but it is their arrogance and refusal to listen which disgust us.”
If Harapan is to remain a viable choice, as opposed to a single shot one, they have to think big and not allow themselves to be constrained by conventional political/racial wisdom. Not spooking the Malays and constant worry of what Umno/PAS would do in any given situation is what is crippling Harapan. Another important issue that Harapan needs to face up to is voter apathy among its base. What Kit Siang should really worry about is that for the decades BN ruled, there was peace and stability, even though racial and religious policies were running this country.
Once the base starts realising that a change in a government really does not mean a change in policy, people will stop participating in the process. And the Harapan base is really a big problem for the coalition. On the one hand, you have those Harapan partisans who believe that the presence of Mahthir was the affirmation that BN-style political social contract politics defined Malaysia. On the other hand, you have the Reformasi-inclined partisans who believe that the system needs to change. In other words, Harapan must define itself beyond the whole 1MDB issue. Look at it this way.
Umno/PAS know exactly who they are. The MCA and MIC, if they choose to join whatever coalition that comes from this dalliance, know exactly what their subservient role is. Meanwhile, in Harapan, the DAP has to contend with the running dog narrative, and Malay power structures are busy attempting to contain each other. Umno/PAS are seen as stable while Harapan parties look like they cannot even organise an orgy in a brothel.
Harapan has been doing everything in its power to alienate its non-Malay base and screw over the progressive Malay element in Harapan. Non-Malay operatives have been bending over backwards attempting to project a benign face of Chinese influence in Harapan.
And please, let us not have this nonsense talk of “moderation”. Moderation has always been defined, not by values or policies – which are predicated on not spooking the majority – but rather on compromise at the expense of oversight and accountability. Every political party has its definition of moderation.
I hope Lim Kit Siang understands that if Harapan continues playing the same BN game in 2020, this really could be a one-term administration.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 10:04 AM  
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