Monday, 17 December 2007

A Malaysian Disease of Fear and Apathy

So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannise will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men.”
- Voltaire

There have been many “unsettling events “ of late in Malaysia. All events are attributed to the “weak leadership” of the person in authority, ie the PM, AAB. Many whack him with glee so as to give vent to the anger and frustration that they feel. They curse him, call him all sorts of names, belittle him, smear his family/ wife, laugh at his “ideas” or at him sleeping, cry foul with the projects he launches or actions he takes and what not.
Some even go so far as to belittle the Raja-raja Melayu for not doing anything to improve the state of the nation!
IMHO, he's not to blame for his incompetence, idiocy or corruption (as those who accuse him) – the ones who are to be blamed are people like me, the citizens of this nation, for putting him there. He is simply exercising the powers bestowed upon him – just as we have surrendered it to his office with chest-thumping “patriotism”, during the time of his predecessor.

Yes – we asked for it, and he's simply handing it to us on a silver platter. I'm not writing this to defend or criticise him . This is just attempt to illustrate an attitude that has been prevalent in Malaysia, for the past few decades. It is more of “introspection” on my part, after reading what RPK has written in Heal Thyself. What he said is indeed very true – Malaysians are a shameless and thankless lot who just love to complain about a system that deprives them of their rights, but don't wish to do anything about it, except whine. Malaysians are still in slumberland like suckling babies, where their human rights are concerned. Malaysians are still consumed by their own selfish desires, which helps the agendas of the tyrants and exploiters. Malaysians are quite an ignorant and gutless lot (and that includes me, to a debatable extent). Malaysians are only interested in “cari makan” and having fun while the going is good. Malaysians are generally “morally corrupt”, so much so, they do not believe in standing up for their rights – more so among the Bumiputras of a very dominant political party.

It is because “we” do not see the need for the people to assert their rights and do not see the need for counter-checks on the government, for fear of dispossession – a fear that is exploited by those in power.
It is this fear, the fear of being labeled as anarchists, seditious and a traitor, the fear of losing their “rice bowl”, the fear of retribution and persecution that is instrumental in “keeping them in place” for the benefit of despots.
Lenin once said: "I think we must stick the convict's badge on anyone and everyone who tries to undermine Marxism ... even if we don't go onto examining his case". (It makes me wonder if our “leaders” seek to emulate Lenin).
It is these fears that actually rule the minds and hearts of all Malaysians today, to varying degrees (including me!), save a few (like Raja Petra, Bakri Musa, Kadir Jasin, Anwar Ibrahim, LKS, Hadi etc) who are courageous enough to stand up in the face of threats of “pantang dicabar” and being called “monyet” by some colorful characters.

This was quite evident from the many people who came forward to complain about the recent rallies by Bersih and Hindraf. (Even though I support their right to march/ rally/ protest, I do not however approve of Hindrafian ideas or methods, although there are legitimate concerns that they wish to highlight – but that is a different story).
We even had a coalition of (apparently) hundreds of NGOs called DAMAI that materialized out of the blue, in support of the high-handedness of the “system”!
They who condemn the rallies are the kinds of people who set the stage for tyranny, despotism, cronyism and corruption (at least, I believe in the freedom of expression, albeit peacefully, whether right or wrong).
These guys come out shamelessly (in fact, proudly) to run down the idea of “freedom of expression”, desiring or preferring the idea of “peace, prosperity and order” as defined by their masters. In fact, these guys would meekly do anything at the bidding of their masters, as Pavlov's experimental dog.
The leaders of these organisations are either totally ignorant of the principles of Democracy, or are aware, but knowingly choose to ignore their moral duties in return for financial or other forms of rewards/ awards. They have sold-out their moral duties of being a counter-check mechanism to the authorities.

Allow me to quote Dr. Cooray in his very interesting thesis, The Australian Achievement: From Bondage To Freedom:

All persons (individuals, institutions and government) are subject to law.
Supremacy of the law is a fundamental concept in the western democratic order. The rule of law requires both citizens and governments to be subject to known and standing laws. The supremacy of law also requires generality in the law. This principle is a further development of the principle of equality before the law. Laws should not be made in respect of particular persons. As Dicey postulated, the rule of law presupposes the absence of wide discretionary authority in the rulers, so that they cannot make their own laws but must govern according to the established laws. Those laws ought not to be too easily changeable. Stable laws are a prerequisite of the certainty and confidence which form an essential part of individual freedom and security. Therefore, laws ought to be rooted in moral principles, which cannot be achieved if they are framed in too detailed a manner.
The idea of the supremacy of law requires a definition of law (to which the above principles may go some way). This must include a distinction between law and executive administration and prerogative decree. A failure to maintain the formal differences between these things must lead to a conception of law as nothing more than authorisation for power, rather than the guarantee of liberty, equally to all.
The rule of law ensures that individuals have a secure area of autonomy and have settled expectations by having their rights and duties pre-established and enforced by law.”

The “troubles” that we face today, is the consequence of events that began a couple of decades ago- it has drained the coffers and it has begun “hurting”. As TDM said, “The people deserve the Govt that they have/ get” - I don't know if he borrowed the quote, but that is definitely the truth.
Malaysians deserve the plunder that they bargained for, as they sold their souls for peanuts. So much so, some newer “leaders” actually believe that the people are monkeys who should be spanked, should they speak up!

The people” have chosen an elite that has no respect for the law, to run the country. These elite have manipulated the law to suit their interests, and in return, have “paid-off” their supporters, using policies, projects and financial “incentives” that feed and inflate their (the supporters') egos to bursting point.
This has been a fact of life for the “chosen ones” for the past three decades, and has resulted in them being politically subservient to their “masters”.
As a result, what we have today, is a tyranny that uses (abuses, rather) methods and principles of democracy, in order to subvert democracy itself – it is the tyranny of the elite using the majority, to subjugate the minority.
The very principles and spirit of the constitution is subverted by numerous amendments and newer laws, to facilitate the elites' grip on power. As a result, the highest body or authority in the land is the executive, and not the law – the law is there to protect the the executive, and not the people.
The law is subject to the executive as in a dictatorship, and not vice versa, as in a democracy. The people, bribed into submission, have willingly given up their rights to the elite “group of rulers”, for pittance in return, as what happened in UMNO Baru during its formation.

Then there is another group of people, (I refer to my earlier post) who give accolades upon accolades to the “wise, patient, and benevolent” leadership for a the momentary “glory” of seeing their names or photographs being published in the mainstream tabloids/ media.
It really beats me as to what they could possibly gain from such an endeavor.
Understandable, it may be, if these guys get paid by the thousands for betraying the constitution and the idea of freedom.
But these guys do it for absolutely nothing at all!! It really beats me as to what the driving factor may be.
With guys like these around, is it any wonder, as to why the country is the way it is?
These guys have effectively given up their rights as individuals, as citizens and as human beings with a moral code, in order to suck up to the ruling powers!
They forget that it is the ruling powers who are the ones that should be sucking-up to them, as it was they who put the government there.
The law is there to protect the people, and not the ruler – if it were to be vice versa, what we get is an autocracy, where the executive dictates the law.
If it were vice versa, what we would have is a bunch of thugs, out to rape the nation.
Men who wield power aren't angels – and therefore, we need law and rules to keep them in check.
It would be unwise of the people, to give too much power to the executive.

Sadly, this is what many Malaysians subscribe to, in their ignorance of their rights as citizens of a democratic nation – this is what is lauded as “Asian Values”. This was what led to the downfall of every known civilisation (asian or not) – and yet, it is what they have chosen to have.

Someone once said, “It would take the 'devil in you' to succeed in anything that you seek to achieve”. One thing is for sure – this “devil” has been effectively suppressed by the “rulers” through various forms of gratification that have been declared legal.
It would definitely take a lot more than what is being dished out by the system, for the Malaysians to awaken the “devil” within.
Although still quite silent, the "devil" has definitely begun to stir, with the help of some angels......