Articles, Opinions & Views: Don’t let racists hijack ‘basikal lajak’ discourse By Syahredzan Johan

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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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Don’t let racists hijack ‘basikal lajak’ discourse By Syahredzan Johan
Saturday, April 23, 2022

Malaysiakini : The magistrate’s grounds of decision for acquitting Sam is a 40-plus page judgment which examined the evidence thoroughly. Amongst others, the magistrate found that there were about 30 cyclists at the time of the incident and that Sam had limited sight distance as she was driving uphill and the youths were just beyond the crest of the road.

Meanwhile, the High Court judgment focused on Sam’s defence, which according to the judge, was not enough to raise a reasonable doubt for her defence.

On April 18, Sam successfully obtained leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal. She was also granted a stay on her prison sentence, pending the outcome of the appeal. Arguments from both sides will be heard when the appeal is eventually heard.

Sam’s case has garnered a lot of public interest. Her conviction and sentence caused a massive uproar. Many believed she did nothing wrong. While they sympathised with the families of the deceased, they felt that a motorist using a public road at 3am in the morning could not have possibly anticipated that there would be a group of ‘basikal lajak’ cyclists racing on the road.

They questioned why underaged youths could be out partaking in a dangerous activity without knowledge and supervision of their parents or guardians. Many wanted the parents to bear some responsibility for the tragedy.

Not a racial issue

Sam herself has expressed disappointment with how certain quarters blamed the judiciary for her conviction. Through her lawyer, she also was reported to have said that her case is not a racial issue but a public interest matter.

The incident is not only about a court case of a motorist who was said to have caused the death of eight young persons. It is also about the socio-economic situation of the families of these basikal lajak cyclists and the responsibility of the parents or society as a whole for the actions of our youths.

In addition, it is also about the culpability of road users when faced with dangerous activities by others on the same road. There are lessons to be learned from the tragedy.

But as Sam has rightly pointed out, the incident is not about the ethnicities of those involved. The race of the accused and the deceased should not be a factor. Despite some attempts by certain quarters to racialise the incident, most do not view it through racial lenses.

And rightly so; should we allow racists to hijack the discourse, the real lessons regarding that fateful and tragic night in Johor Bahru would be lost in the debate.

posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 12:28 PM  
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