My top five newsmakers of 2020 - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Thursday, January 07, 2021
Malaysiakini : "You learn eventually that, while there are no villains, there are
no heroes either. And until you make the final discovery that there are
only human beings, who are therefore all the more fascinating, you are
liable to miss something.” - Paul Gallico
| When DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang said in January that 2020 was the make
or break year for Pakatan Harapan, little did anyone realise that not
only a certain segment of the voting public had to deal with a backdoor
government but all Malaysians had to deal with a pandemic.
are of course obvious personalities, some would wrongly claim heroes and
villains, who were more high profile than my picks and an argument
could be made that they shaped this country's mainstream narratives more
than my choices.
I believe that these Malaysians highlighted the inequalities of the
system and defined the year in a more immediate way than the high
profile characters that in my opinion, were part of the problem.
top five newsmakers are ordinary Malaysians who, unlike politicians,
demonstrated what it means to be a Malaysian. Not in the sense of
manufactured ideology but rather by their actions, which hopefully
remind us that although the light at the end of the tunnel is distant,
it is still reachable.
Here are my top five newsmakers in no particular order.
If you are not aware of the kind of work that Code Blue editor Boo Su- Lyn does, you should pay attention to the work done by the editorial team of Code Blue, with its tagline "Health is a human right".
It is disappointing that during this Covid-19 pandemic, the work done by Code Blue in educating the public about not only their rights as citizens but the current health industry in Malaysia has gone unnoticed.
only time they get any kind of attention is when the state security
apparatus questioned Boo for reporting on supposedly classified findings
of the Sultanah Aminah Hospital fire which killed six patients.
Hopefully, Boo and her team at Code Blue
gain the attention they deserve and carry on educating Malaysians on
their health care rights. As someone who has followed her and her team's
work from the beginning, I believe they are onto something when it
comes to a national consensus.
From my vantage point- Boo was merely the messenger. She was doing her part
in ensuring the rakyat were aware of the facts that the independent
investigation unearthed. She was not making any allegations against any
parties beyond reporting and presenting the findings which, no doubt,
vexed corporate, political and institutional interests.
M Indira Gandhi
look forward to the day when I do not have to remind people of M Indira
Gandhi. I look forward to the day when I do not have to write about a
mother whose child was kidnapped and the state does nothing about it.
long for the day when Indira disappears from the news cycle and finds
some sort of closure with her kidnapped child. I long for the day when I
do not have to open an email and read of how another avenue has been
denied this mother from her representatives.
that day, I hope that Indira continues reminding the state security
apparatus how they failed a mother whose child was the victim of a
religious kidnapping. I hope Indira continues reminding the state how
they failed a non-Muslim mother, probably by design.
hope she continues reminding us that she has seen the twisted visage of
a state that claims that it serves all citizens but in reality is being
slowly subverted to a theocratic state. Indira also reminds us that
there are some issues that Harapan would not touch.
From my vantage point - Can anyone trust anything
the inspector-general of police says now? When conniving political
operatives (BN, then Harapan) tell us to trust the investigation, can
anyone take them seriously?
You do understand what this means,
right? Now when a Muslim convert or a Muslim kidnapper kidnaps a child
what he or she has is precedent that the state security apparatus will
do everything in their power to see to it that the crime results in a
Mary reminds us that no matter
how bad we think we have it, most folks have it worse. Mary reminds us
of those who have lost their jobs in this pandemic and have to actually
work for a living instead of planning how to topple governments and
being well paid for it.
Kudos to Seputeh MP Teresa Kok for actively getting involved
in Mary’s situation and encouraging others to do so. Unfortunately,
there are thousands of Marys out there and until we get leadership who
pays attention to them, this pandemic and its aftereffects are going to
create many more Marys.
From my vantage point - Look at the amount of effort,
work and indignities she has to go through to make ends meet on a daily
basis. And, can you honestly argue, that fat cat MPs arguing about
whether a government is legitimate or not (either side) and holding the
budget to ransom (again both sides) are of any use to people living in
Teoh Lee Lan
While the death of Teoh
Beng Hock has been passed over by the outrage brigade, the hard work of
finding justice not only for Beng Hock but for the hundreds who die in
custody falls on the shoulders of their loved ones. Lee Lan’s resilience
and crusade for justice cuts through administrations and is a reminder
to us that the more things change, they, unfortunately, remain the same.
The sister of Beng Hock in her own words
- “Has Perikatan Nasional (PN) gone mad? Has the country run out of
talent that a lawyer of such calibre is appointed to the
Attorney-General’s Chambers? Is there any hope now for justice and
vindication for the families of those who died of injustice? This
appointment has undoubtedly made our country an international joke."
From my vantage point - Where were all the high-profile ministers
who had no problem lurking around when it came to the memorials for
Beng Hock, but suddenly found themselves “voiceless” in the New Malaysia
that we were promised?
All I will say is
that Nur Sajat is a constant reminder to religious extremists of the
diversity of human thought and sexual expression. Sajat is also a
reminder that Harapan was not the progressive movement that Malaysia
Religious extremists of any religion find
comfort in marginalising communities but what folks fail to understand
is that after a while there are no more “small communities” to demonise
and soon everyone will be the target of the religion of the state.
I never thought that going on a religious pilgrimage would cause such uproar. Apparently, it does.
in her own words - “When I arrived here, I had the intention to
converse with God concerning my existence. Why was I born this way? Why
did Allah choose me to become like this? Why do I get a lot of tests?
Why do people say I am cursed and won’t go to Heaven?”
From my vantage point – I have to admit, I am impressed by how she chooses to conduct her life
in public. Not only does she have to deal with online opprobrium but
she also has to deal with the religious bureaucracy. When she pleaded
guilty and paid a fine for a Goods and Services Tax (GST) related
offence, the wolves were out linking her sexuality with her “criminal
conduct” forgetting the fact that Muslim politicians are at this moment
dealing with criminal cases of their own.