Articles, Opinions & Views: Tommy Thomas' critics give his book good publicity by Mariam Mokhtar

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“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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Tommy Thomas' critics give his book good publicity by Mariam Mokhtar
Friday, February 05, 2021

Malaysiakini : COMMENT | The thing that can easily rile many Malays, especially civil servants, is their egos. It's huge. They don't take kindly to criticism. Some may claim that by extension, any criticism is also an attack on their race and religion.

I haven't yet purchased a copy of Tommy Thomas' book, "My Story: Justice in the Wilderness", but now, like most other people, I will buy a copy before it is banned or is out of circulation.

The comments by the felon, Najib Abdul Razak, his brother, Nazir, former director-general of the Judicial and Legal Training Institute (Ilkap) Mohamad Hanafiah Zakaria, former attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali, and current AG Idrus Harun about Thomas’ book, have aroused my curiosity.

They are upset with Thomas' personal opinions and have either filed lawsuits or lodged police reports. Nazir needs to read Britain's declassified reports on May 13, and civil servants should grow up and stop surrounding themselves with sycophants. The Malays have lost their competitive edge. They collect praise, like former police chief Khalid Abu Bakar used to collect tweets and social media likes.

For many Malays, especially those serving in the government and the civil service, ego comes first. His race and religion share equal second place. His wife may be at number 10. His mother, probably number 7. The ranking is probably different for Malay women. Vanity about their husband's pay-packet ranks highly, especially among the Mak Datins (Malay tai-tais). The pressure to look youthful is probably number 3 on their list.

Having been brought up to consider himself as a member of the master race, his views and outlook on life, including his self-worth are biased. The Malay civil servant exhibits even more extreme feudal tendencies than an ordinary person. In the community, he serves those who are above him in the social ranking. The bowing and scraping are more intense if he has to address a datuk or royalty.

In his workplace, he shows deference to his superiors. The higher the rank, the more that person is worshipped like a deity. As a senior civil servant, he knows that his juniors look up to him and he is aware that, given half a chance, a few would stick their knives into his back. 'Maruah' matters and this explains why some are upset with Thomas' book.

The junior civil servant has a job for life. He clocks in, clocks out, does the minimal amount of work required and prostrates himself before the people who matter. In time, he will work his way up the greasy civil service pole, in a dog-eat-dog world. Just observe how little Napoleons treat members of the public who are poor and illiterate at government counters. It's not nice.

Rice bowl

I recently wrote about a person who had clearly been promoted well beyond his capability, but some former civil servants disagreed.

My argument was that there were other capable people who were not 'yes' men, who were better qualified and whose experience in various fields would be advantageous. Meritocracy should be the main criterion, and people who are willing to question their superiors would make better candidates.

The retort I received was that the man who had been promoted was a relative of so-and-so and how dare I question the appointment, especially as the candidate played golf with the head honcho.

So, is that it? According to this former civil servant, golf is the deciding factor. Is this how ministers are appointed? What if potential candidates for important positions pretend to miss the ball, or fluff putts, and allow the head honcho to win and make him thinks he is the best golfer in Putrajaya? If some former civil servants prioritise golf, then you know why this country is in a mess today. You then wonder about the calibre of the current civil servants.

Perhaps, in another 10 years, when Malaysia finally hits rock bottom, the current crop of civil servants who enter retirement will emerge to demand action and reform, and call themselves the G50 group. When asked why they did not speak up before, the former civil servants will say, "At the time, I suffered from PNS."

For those who are unaware, PNS is Periuk Nasi Syndrome.

posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 2:55 PM  
  • At 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    10 yrs to rock bottom? Very optimistic.

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