Articles, Opinions & Views: The white flag campaign does not equate to failing statehood, the emergency does - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy

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Hindu King
No Atheists
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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The white flag campaign does not equate to failing statehood, the emergency does - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Thursday, July 15, 2021

Malaysiakini : “That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn't even any rioting in the streets. People stayed home at night, watching television, looking for some direction. There wasn't even an enemy you could put your finger on.” – Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

COMMENT | As I said in my last piece, the “failed state” debate is a distraction. Our failing healthcare system is something that we can fix right now and without the usual horse manure navel-gazing that comes with attempting to solve racial and religious issues in this country, which are used by the political establishment (Perikatan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan) to divide us for political reasons.

This pandemic has given the political establishment an opportunity to redefine policy by bypassing sacred cows in the name of national security, but more importantly, to help the average rakyat in a bipartisan manner which could bring political dividends to a regime which half the voting public in the country thinks is illegitimate. In other words, fixing the healthcare system during a pandemic is a safe bet.

Indeed if the PN regime puts in as much effort into fixing the healthcare system now, organising policy around issues faced by frontliners and listening to health professionals, what they would be doing is winning this war, but more importantly, restarting the economy and we would be on the road to some kind of new normal.

Having said that, Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz’s statement that the white flag campaign is not an indicator of the country falling into failed statehood is pure bunkum. Now I get that some academics and activists might feel insulted when Malaysia was said to be on the path to failed nation status, but the reality is that the best indicator that we are on that road is the emergency declaration.

The emergency declaration by this regime is cogent evidence that this government has given up all pretence of having democratic institutions in this country. There are legitimate reasons why an emergency could be called and if this regime did not handle this emergency in such an incompetent manner, a defence could have been made in support of it. Hence, if the numbers went down and there was strict supervision of policy and procedures, the emergency could have been justified or at least the narrative controlled.

The reality of this emergency is that it is nothing like the kind of urgency we went through back in the day. On the ground, the way the state security apparatus is being used by this regime makes a mockery of what an emergency is and is further driving perception of the state security apparatus as minions of a tinpot dictatorship.

As someone who, as a young officer, was part of the state security apparatus and who was active during the real emergency, the way how this regime has abused this vital tool needed in national security issues points to the political and moral bankruptcy of this Malay uber alles government. And it is a dangerous tool because, unless controlled, will bring forth extremely dangerous consequences.

I was dismissive of the hand wringing when this emergency was first declared. The fact is that folks like to talk about democratic institutions and ideas, but they really have no political will to reform those institutions or stand up for those ideals. Hence the emergency, but more importantly the response to it, was always farcical to begin with.

The fact that the prime minister and his loyalists were trying to spin this as not an emergency but something more palatable, indicates that they were afraid of the consequences of “genuine” emergency and that they want the trappings of an emergency – the subordination of political and judicial oversight – in the hopes of maintaining power.

The fact that for decades these institutions were eroded and the opposition relied on their base that was not really interested in reform but engaging in personality politics is merely the chickens coming home to roost. The fact that the royal institution had to step in and attempt some sort of fig leaf strategy to reconvene Parliament is further indication that the charade of an emergency was for political benefit and not national security-related. The fact that since the emergency, Harapan has been doing the same thing that it does when Parliament is in session - nada - is indicative of how normal, not having institutions of democracy is in this country.

It just goes to show you how fragile democracy is, especially in this region, especially during a pandemic. With the pandemic in full bloom and aided by the incompetence of this regime, people really have no use for politicians who go on about democracy and Parliament. In fact, people are most often angry not that Parliament is closed down but by the discrepancy of treatment between the political elites and them.

While people are scrambling to make a ringgit because of loss of permanent income, the political elites are battling for power without oversight and consequences, which is what Parliament nominally does. But let us face facts, it has never really brought the reform that politicians tell us it brings.

So yes, the white flag campaign is not an indication of a failing state but the suspension of Parliament, the unequal application of the law, the ridiculous use of emergency powers for issues that could be handled by the existing legislation, the state security apparatus closing down food banks because of long queues, is indicative that this is a big step towards failed nation status.

A dangerous sense of normalcy seems to have set in. The opposition never really advanced any radical or reform-minded ideas which would change the political, social or economic landscape, which is why for most people Parliament is not such a big deal. Hence there are no real competing democratic ideas which would make it easier for folks to define what separates one theocratic ethnocentric power structure from the other.

Folks are more interested in how the government can help them – any government – than politicians arguing about debating the emergency ordinance. This is the danger of the emergency the government has declared. It further narcotises or radicalises people who think that the system has failed and I am not talking about minority communities in this instance.

The fact that there is essentially no Parliament, and things are going down the crapper, seem so normal. And really, things were already going down the crapper when there was a Parliament. If this is not the road to failed statehood, I do not know what is. It’s a journey, this road to failed statehood, and with each step, Malaysia gets closer to its final destination.

After all, when you narcotise people for decades with race and religion or when you continuously let them down after promising reform, does anyone really care if we are on the road to failed nation status?

Normalcy only lasts for so long.

posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 10:49 AM  
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