Articles, Opinions & Views: Nobody asks non-Malay politicians when they will ditch the bumi system - 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

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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Nobody asks non-Malay politicians when they will ditch the bumi system - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, February 08, 2021

Malaysiakini : If my answers frighten you, Vincent, then you should cease asking scary questions. - Jules Winnfield in the movie Pulp Fiction

COMMENT | Lee Hwok Aun of the Iseas–Yusof Ishak Institute asks, “Will bumiputeras ever relinquish the privileges they enjoy?”, believing, like a majority of non-Malays and 'liberal'-minded Malays, that this question, although provocative, is one that needs to be asked.

Mind you, this piece is not directed specifically at Lee, because this question and certain themes involving this question have been around for some time now.

In a charitable reading of the question, it is a red herring, but more often, it is a deflection from the mainstream politics of this country that enables the bumiputera system and which forms the basis of political compromises which over the years has had diminishing returns.

First of all, non-Malays and the politicians they vote for enable the system of privileges – as defined by the former deputy governor of the central bank that is the starting point of Lee’s piece – and other Malay uber alles policies that everyone seems to think are detrimental to this country.

Second, non-Malay politicians not only actively seek to promote such policies but do so in either overtly or sub rosa methods to cling on to the meagre influence the Malay uber alles establishment allows them to have.

Third, non-Malay political operatives savage each other. Normally this happens to operatives from opposing coalitions but it also happens fairly frequently within coalitions as a means to whittle away opposition from threats to the political stability of the coalition when it comes to bumiputera sensitivities.

Fourth, the political base of non-Malay political operatives, and by this I mean the base which was birthed with the ejection of Anwar Ibrahim from the Umno paradise have sublimated desires for systemic change in favour of a Manichean agenda of replacing Umno or whatever bogeyman they can come up with in lieu of promised egalitarian reforms.

Hence this question of asking will the majority ever give up their privileges is disingenuous. Why? Because there is no alternative when it comes to the bumiputera system and the reason why there is no alternative is because there are no political alternatives that political operatives are offering to the majority.

You can only ask this question – will bumiputeras ever relinquish the privileges they enjoy – when there is a clear alternative to the system that grants them those privileges.

There never has been an alternative to the kind of racial politics that BN offers, and there never has been an alternative ‘Malay’ political power structure for Malays to gravitate to. Mind you, this is not only a Malay problem; the other communities have the same problem.

Honestly, how can anyone even ask if Malays will ever give up their privileges when the supposed progressive polity in this country endorses a coalition which lynchpin was a Malay-only party which everyone, including non-Malay political operatives claimed, were needed to secure the Malay vote?

Does anyone else see the hypocrisy of even asking the question when everything political operatives do – from either coalition – is to ensure that that system of privilege is maintained? Nobody asks non-Malay politicians when they are going to ditch the bumiputera system.

Does stating clearly that the opposition is a secular and egalitarian opposition make the situation better or worse? Or is it better doubling or sometimes tripling religious funds, mucking about in religious spaces of the majority, in demonstrations of kumbaya, do more damage?

If you have a clear position then you get to ask the question, when will the Malays give up their privileges? But if you do not have a clear position, then what difference does the question make? Would voting for anything opposed to Umno/Bersatu/PAS suddenly save this country?

The erosion of support for BN amongst the non-Malay communities has little to do with ideology but rather, the excesses of Umno and the erosion of non-Malay ‘rights’ under successive Umno potentates, while the non-Malay component parties looked on while filling their coffers.

Non-Malay political parties have this delusion that they are independent operators. They are not. They are in reality proxies for Malay power structures, with varying degrees of public and private influence within Malay hegemons. To believe otherwise, would be delusional.

Every ‘Malay’ politician is acutely aware that championing the ‘Malay’ cause does not mean emancipating the Malay community but rather enslaving them. Of course, nobody thinks they are enslaving their community but carrying out so-called favourable policies meant to protect their community from the ‘others’.

The reality is all that these policies have done - religiously, sociologically, economically, or ideologically - is to instil a sense of independence in the non-Malay community and dependence in the Malay polity. I would argue (and have) that there is not really a sense of ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ in the general Malay community but rather a ‘Ketuanan Umno’ that has been the dominant expression of ‘Malay’ nationalism.

Folks talk about “utopian” ideals, but this is rather cynical and only in Malaysia can someone claim that baseline democratic principles or ideas are “utopian”. They are not.

Needs-based affirmative action and secular policies involving religion are within our reach or rather there was a time before the Arab-isation process that they were within our reach because we were more secular and egalitarian until the mainstream political establishment reengineered the political landscape after May 13th.

The reason why they are now considered “utopian” is because we have had successive coalitions and political operatives who slowly chipped away at principles they claimed they had in a bid to secure power. Those principles of egalitarianism and secularism were ditched in favour of pragmatic power-sharing which, turned out to be neither pragmatic nor any genuine sharing of power.

So until and unless there is a clear alternative to the system of privilege that is endorsed by mainstream Malay and non-Malay political entities, nobody gets to ask that question as a genuine starting point for a reasoned discourse on race in this country. The very question is compromised. It is only honestly asked when it is a reflection of the political landscape that offers an alternative.

It is a scary question and one that can only be really answered at the ballot box, which I suppose is the scary part.

Until there is a clear alternative, that question is a deflection, something people comfort themselves by asking because it feeds into the Manichean narrative that everything wrong in this country is because the majority does not want to give up their privileges.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 11:01 AM  
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