Articles, Opinions & Views: Umno's progressive caucus - 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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Umno's progressive caucus - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Thursday, November 19, 2020


Malaysiakini: “At the moment, Umno is perceived to be so conservative, an Islamist party, a party that propagates propaganda, this is what is clouding the party now, but Umno is not like that. - Umno Pulai Youth wing member Muhammad Shaqib Shahrilnizam

COMMENT | An old Umno hand wanted to know what I thought of the nascent “progressive” caucus by young leaders within the party.  One of the movement’s founders gave an interview in the press where he claimed that a "silent majority" felt left out from the policymaking process in Umno.

Muhammad Shaqib said: “The idea of the caucus is to bring a new narrative that is more friendly towards the people.  "We need to find a new narrative so that people would appreciate Umno and they feel Umno is one of the places where they can express their ideas, concerns and even a place where they can fight for." The fact is that it is pointless to have a progressive caucus if it does not have a progressive voting base. 

And what Umno, the state – which at one time was Pakatan Harapan – the vast religious bureaucracy, the various propaganda organs, the state security apparatus, the media – mainstream and alternative –, religious figures, political figures but most importantly mobs – online and off – have constrained our public spaces making it impossible for citizens but more importantly, for the Malays to express their progressive ideas.

Take Fadiah Nadwa Fikri for example: Make no mistake, what Fadiah wrote is but one side of the argument. A side which has been forcibly silenced over the long Umno watch and now it would seem attempted to be silenced by the nascent power brokers in Putrajaya.

“It is a side that many Malaysians subscribe to but who fear speaking up for a variety of reasons. It is a side which is a game-changer when it comes to how politics is perceived, practised and evolves in this country. This is the reason why some fear what she wrote.”

To be honest, even when the opposition claims to be a “progressive” force in this country, I am sceptical. I have no idea what Malaysian political operatives mean by the term “progressive”, but I do know that political operatives are scrambling to find ways to attract the youth vote while denying them avenues of expression, especially ideas like speaking truth to power.

Say what you like about Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, but lowering the voting age to 18 and his determined efforts to put youths front and centre, are initiatives Malaysians should have been able to get behind. When defining what he believed was “progressive” politics, Muhammad Shaqib claimed it was “Malay politics, while at the same time pushing for equity and moving away from racial politics.”

Now, I do not mean to rag on the young man, but the way how you move away from racial politics is by proactively advocating for policy positions and institutional changes that move away from racial politics. Understand now that as someone who has drawn politically incorrect lines in the racial sands of Malaysian politics, I am not sympathetic to the idea that racial preoccupations should be dismissed outright.

I do believe that there is a ‘Malay struggle' going on in the greater Malay polity but the struggle is a reaction against the dereliction of duty that a sizable fraction of the Malay community accuses Umno of.

This dereliction of duty does not necessarily mean that these folks believe in “progressive” ideas, but rather they believe that what they are entitled to as citizens with special rights has been denied them, especially when they see how the non-Malay communities are “thriving” without any kind of or minimal state assistance.

You can see this idea crop up whenever the old maverick speaks of the “racial inequalities” in Malaysia and why Malay special rights are needed. As usual, he uses non-Malays – read Chinese – as the economic and social scapegoat: "If we take out the Chinese and all that they have built and own, there will be no small or big towns in Malaysia, there will be no business and industry, there will be no funds for the subsidies, support and facilities for the Malays."

Now some folks, especially young Malay leaders, have this rose-tinted view of what Umno was as some sort of ideal when it came to race relations in this country, and somehow the “Malay struggle” was “pure” and unsullied by the racist policies and rhetoric that define Umno now.

This in itself is a kind of propaganda. While Umno may have slipped into a racial and religious quagmire and instituted a functioning kakistocracy, the reality is that, as long as the non-Malays held up their end of the social contract by voting for Umno surrogates and the Umno leadership was united, the political environment, although dysfunctional, was stable.

Young Umno Malays mistake this "stability" as some sort of equitable racial bargain. It was not.

The problem with politics in this country, and specifically with the kind of politics and policies which Umno advocates, is that it has created two classes of Malays. The first is the political class, to which most of the religious and racial dogma does not apply, and then there is the average Malay, who is not so lucky.

What I find interesting though is the response of the old school Umno men and women, who view the current class struggle with bewilderment. Many of these men and women were present when Felda schemes (for example) were functional enterprises staffed by non-Malays and Malays who viewed such endeavours as essential in furthering the goals of the social contract and uplifting a disenfranchised community.

These Malaysians (Malays and non-Malays) viewed paternalistic laws as a safeguard against provocations by either side of the political divide. This does not hold true now and perhaps it never did.

I have no idea how this progressive caucus would work or what it would be interested in advocating, but as long as political coalitions continue encroaching into our public and private spaces and continue using state laws and mob mentalities to define and restrict discourse, there will never be a progressive base which would move this country forward.

This is truly a case of reaping what you sow.

posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 10:34 AM  
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