Articles, Opinions & Views: Covid-19 - toxic religiosity and irresponsible Malaysians - 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

Photobucket
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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Covid-19 - toxic religiosity and irresponsible Malaysians - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Dompet Saya : Can you imagine what the majority Malaysian response if this virus cluster been from a Hindu or Christian gathering. It will be straightaway blamed on Ramasamy or Guan End of DAP.
Malaysiakini : “At this point in time, there are still gatherings going on despite the movement control order”From the Covid-19 frontlines
COMMENT | There is this clip of an Astro Awani programme where a talking head is making the point that the tabligh movement was a convenient scapegoat for the public – the Seri Petaling incident was a flashpoint – adding that political turmoil when the cluster first burst exacerbated a distrust of the system in general.
The problem with this kind of politically-correct nonsense is that it ignores the reality that some people have always been sceptical and antagonistic of the religious imperatives of the state. This is nothing new. The issue with the Seri Petaling tabligh gathering is the obstinacy, arrogance and toxic religiosity of members who do not want to be tested - and indeed believe that they owe no responsibility to the rest of society.
The most recent case, as reported in the press, was of a man suspected of having the virus and putting the lives of frontliners and civilians in danger because he did not reveal that he had attended the Seri Petaling gathering. Not only that he was aggressive, disrespectful and had the temerity to imply that the lives of all those in the safe zone were in the hands of God, even though it was he that was putting them in danger. “…our time is destined by God, our death is only upon His command”.
The fact of the matter is that the authorities have gone out of their way to make it easier for those who attended the Seri Petaling gathering to get tested without any sanctions from the state. This extends to those who may have been here illegally or do not have the requisite travel documents.
I am relieved that the state security apparatus, after numerous warnings, is attempting to hunt these people down because they pose an existential threat to the rest of the country. It is misleading to claim people are looking for a scapegoat or bogeyman. The reason why people are disgusted and afraid is because these people are not coming forward but instead, they are – I would argue maliciously – putting the lives of other Malaysians in danger.
All the state wants is for folks who have been to this gathering to present themselves for testing and if they are clear, they are free to resume their lives without any sanctions from the state. What the state is slowly learning is that decades of religious indoctrination have resulted in a form of toxic religiosity in which some people have no empathy for their fellow citizens.
Now I want to be clear. The vast majority of Muslims in this country do not think this way, because if they did, we would have an infection rate that is higher than what it is. Like most citizens in this country, they are anxious and worried. However, as I mentioned in my last article, as a society we have been lacking in personal responsibility when it comes to this pandemic.
Police personnel daily have been communicating with me about how citizens have been flouting the movement control order (MCO) notice. The traffic congestion at the Penang Bridge, where people were attempting to leave the island, is a case in point. One senior police officer told me that she does not understand how people could be so selfish and put others at risk.
The MCO here is not as strict as it is in some countries and it really should not be difficult to follow. We can and do have some sense of normalcy in that if we can afford it, we can do grocery shopping and have access to entertainment to relieve the boredom of being confined to our homes.
Some people do not have this luxury. I live among people where the majority are daily wage earners with very little savings. They do not have the luxury of communication on social media, where they can discuss ways on how to use this “free time” to contemplate the meaning of it all or the wider societal implications of a post-Covid-19 world. All their time is used for hustling for cash in a time when there is a partial lockdown. There is anger in the community where I live in, especially when someone like Ku Nan says that two million is pocket money to him when families are stretching fifty ringgit daily to ensure that everyone gets a meal.
Malay, Chinese, Indian or “foreigner”, they are doing their best to confine themselves to their homes while worrying about how they are going to pay for all this when they are not earning any money. They are not going about their business as if there was no MCO, like so many people seem to be.
So, we have two problems which need to be addressed and I wish we get daily updates from the police force on how the compliance with the MCO is. The first are Malaysians who continue going out and finding excuses to be out instead of quarantining themselves and the second, more dangerous problem, is the toxic religiosity of people who think that the rest of us do not matter.
The former can be dealt with tighter laws and harsher enforcement. I admit I do like that viral video of the policewoman hectoring folks to stay indoors. The latter is much more difficult to deal with and ultimately will prove to be the biggest danger this country is facing at the moment.
If you really think about it, what will make this pandemic worse will not be the policy missteps of the government, but the lack of personal responsibility of the citizenry.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 10:46 AM  
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