Wednesday, 27 February 2008

The Price of Votes & Convictions.

"The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity, and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity, will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water."
- John W. Gardner

Before I start on matters at hand, allow me to wish my Dad, A Very Happy 77th Birthday - may the good Lord Bless You.
Pa, I apologize for the fact that your dreams for this nation have not materialized as yet, and it appears that it is slip-sliding into a very precarious position of uncertainty. I shall come however, to take Mummy and you to the voting centre on the 8th of March.

Let's move on now ....
There's nothing like a Sunday, sitting at a comfortable place with your "worries" put aside for some moments, and thinking or reading what you what you really enjoy, oblivious to the hustle and bustle around you.

As I sat in Starbucks yesterday, sipping my iced tea, listening to music and doing some reading, I received a text message. It was one of those messages that are meant to campaign for one party or other - in keeping with the Election season.
It went like this -

"Gerakan is contesting 12 Parliament seats and 31 State seats. All 43 of them r Chinese. No Ind. They say no capable Indians in Msia. This is what multi-racialism is all about, in BN. DAP is fielding a record 30 Inds - 10 for Parliament and 20 for State seats. Dear bros & sis, lets show that we can make an impact and we can deny BN 2/3 majority .. pls send to 10 Indians."

It must've been a message that started in Penang, where the "great battle" is supposed to take place - and it found its way south.
After an hour or so, the same message came from somebody else, then another. This morning, another one more came!

Pardon me for not applauding DAP's "achievement" - I found the message laughable at best .... and in a sense, actually degrading!
(but of course I did forward it to one, when the "message within" struck me as odd!)

Let us take stock of Gerakan first.
Gerakan is basically a party with a constitution that isn't racially exclusive, just as PPP. However, it is a known fact that in practise, one caters to the "Chinese" and the other, "Indians" - in line with the BN concept of political, racial segregation. They thus, are only practicing what they preach - i.e, racial exclusivity and fragmentation of the people's representation in the Parliament.
No doubt, Gerakan was established with noble ideals which were a real threat to the hegemony practised by the racist parties in power at that time - and as such, it was seduced into a "working formula" which in due time corrupted the membership, and was thus rendered impotent as a force to be reckoned with at national level politics. It has today been reduced to just another race-based party that has only a sprinkling of representation from "others". Yes - they too have been reduced to just another racist party, as their partners in this crime of RACISM and aparthied.

DAP on the other hand, while blowing the altruistic horn of multi-culturism and pluralism, is dominated by the "Chinese" with some "Indian" representation. It was odd that they don't seem to be able to find Malays in their midst to justify this claim.
After fifty years of blowing their horn of pluralism, intentionally or otherwise, they have failed in their mission to convince the people that they don't play the "race politics", in line with the ruling coalition.

Why then have they chosen to to ride on their moral high-horse of "pluralism"? They have failed to convince the Malay voters that they would be a viable alternative, and that they could be trusted to take care of their interests.
The campaign video on YouTube was pathetic at best- with the narrator (was it Mr. LKS?) speaking Malay with an obviously "Chinese" accent.
The sorry attempt at speaking good Malay, would only reach out to "Indians" and other communities that haven't really integrated themselves to Malaysian norms after half a century of calling themselves "MALAYSIAN".

A Malay wouldn't want to listen for more than 5 seconds to someone who "murders" the language, his mother-tongue and National Language.
Would it have been too difficult for Mr. LKS to hire a professional speaker to get his message across?
I don't think so - there are many people of various ethnicity who speak Malay fluently, and he's definitely not one of them.

The reason I mention the accent (alright, I admit ... that was a "cheap shot"), is the fact that for one to actually want to integrate into society at large, one has to be able to at least speak the language well. Language is the "key" to integration in any society.

Take USA for example - do you really think all these guys who shout out their "rights" like misfits in parliament, would or could do the same in US of A?
Definitely not.
Were it the US of A, I would bet that in 6 months, Mr. LKS, Semi Value and the others would've "acquired" the American accent through intensive training.

I call upon all MPs from all parties to seek professional assistance where speaking Bahasa Malaysia, Bahasa Melayu or whatever you call it is concerned. Let us not be too arrogant in claiming that it is our right to "be ourselves" and expect "tolerance", when we have not made an earnest attempt at speaking the National Language well, after half a century. One's ethnic heritage isn't a barrier - only the will, or rather, the lack of it.
Without linguistic proficiency, to expect "acceptance" among the people, would be foolish, and very much desirable to the practitioners of "apartheid" - Malaysian style.

What I intend to say here, isn't so much as to run them down during this time of intense political campaigning.
On the contrary - I intend to appeal to all Malaysians to stop looking at ethnic representation in describing "achievements". It means nothing, if it isn't demeaning.
It only says that you cannot be trusted, unless you are of "my kind".

I call upon all groups/ communities to give due respect to the National Language and cut down their racist rhetoric during this campaign season.

All those of you who fight for "Bangsa Malaysia", ask yourselves if you could speak Malay as a person born and bred in Malaysia should. Or would you make the excuse that you opted for vernacular education, and only mingled with those "of your own kind", and are thus exempted from this necessity, in line with desires of the racists who have never really encouraged integration. Who are we to demand "acceptance" when we highlight our "difference" the moment we speak?

Dear friends, do not live under the impression that we did have a common identity at any one time in the past - we never had it. The Brit "masters" never did encourage it, and the post-independence governments simply perpetuated it in the name of "tolerance" under the much lauded "social contract", that practiced "separate development" as in the Pietr Botha regime of South Africa.

The "Indians" of SA in general, although denied equal rights, were adept at their business ventures and as such were economically self sufficient and had little to complain, except where "human rights" were concerned. They came into contact with "others" only when the need arose - just as it was in Malaysia during the time of the "White Tuans", and immediately after they left, to have their legacy perpetuated by the "New Tuans" and "Kapitans" - with each ethnic community "taking care of their own interests".
A problem was not perceived as that of national interest, but exclusive to that of only a particular community - just as illustrated by the "Hindraf Phenomenon".

While it may have been the tyranny of the minority in SA, it is just vice-versa in Malaysia. Yes - they too had a "social contract" - they only difference is, in Malaysia, it is apparently "in favour of the majority" (or so they would want to have you believe, to justify the "social contract").

The truth however is, that the minority bourgeoisie elite of each community are the ones who reap the harvest - lock, stock and barrel.
All these, while the commoner becomes the second-class workhorse in a rat-race, or the apparent beneficiaries are kept in psychological or socio-economic straightjackets, being blinded by sentiments of racial and/or religious chauvinism/prejudice, that dull the senses.

Dear friends and potential Members of Parliament,
Do justice to the citizenship of the country.
Speak the language of wisdom and reject "racial/ religious profiling".
Seek common ground, instead of highlighting differences in word and/ or deed.
Please refrain from playing to the gallery of racism and religiosity - it is the playing field of criminals. Be ashamed of the religious/ racial chauvinism and exclusivity.
Appeal to universal values that you would be proud of wherever you go.
Do not be drawn into competition in conflicts of ethnic/ religious exclusivity or supremacy and keep the interests of "Nationhood" at heart.

What we are experiencing as a Nation, is "teething problems" in integration- the fallout of the increasing awareness and contact among Malaysians from all walks of life, as a result of communication, and breakdown of the barriers that are upheld by the "social contract".
Many are intimidated by "perceived threats" of dispossession, and others, of reactionary prejudice, played up by unscrupulous politicians and religious zealots, for political mileage.

Conflicts are bound to surface with regard to the debate pertaining to the colonial formula of "separate development" that is practiced by the ruling coalition.
Let us not play along with it.

To the ruling coalition - I call upon you to seek intellectuals who can articulate their ideas of nationhood, instead of imbeciles and gangsters who further inflame sectarian politics in the interest of further consolidating political power that corrupts.
Do away with the uneducated and small-minded extremist elements that feed the rot in the party, and the nation at large.
Reject race based political initiatives and political dynasties.
Welcome intelligent debates in a civil manner and be bold enough to reprimand misbehaviour among party members.
Encourage freedom of thought, and do not expect representatives to "toe the party line", instead of keeping interests of the nation at heart.
Look upon your "adversaries" in the "opposition" as partners in nation building, as opposed to "enemies of state" - as currently practiced.
Break down the virtual walls of sectarian partisan politics, and cut out the racist rhetoric that is the root of all the problems that you face.
The political ghettos and national fragmentation that are testaments to your policies and achievements, will not serve to build a national identity. Resorting to "arabisation" in the name of "religiosity" would only serve to emasculate the rich heritage that has evolved over the centuries. The adoption and enforcement of cultural attributes from an alien land, would only serve to confuse the very ones you seek to uplift and thus, would become their Achilles Heel.
Last but not least, cease from subverting the sanctity of the very constitution that's the cornerstone of the Nation- by amending the constitution at liberty and abusing the mandate of the people - symptomatic solutions that render the constitution meaningless, is nothing but a prescription for civil strife and discord, that doesn't augur well for the future.
Free the media and refrain from turning them into instruments of nonsensical propaganda to fool an ignorant public (which may be desirable, to the leeches of the nation).
Free our institutions of higher learning from the political stranglehold that they now drown in - what would result is, nothing but a generation of mindless adults who are but "educated into imbecility".
Do not perceive a vote for the "opposition" as unpatriotic, lest history casts you alongside Hitler's Reichsmarshall Hermann Goering who declared that "people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and attack the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger".

As for the Election Commission - do justice to the office that you hold, instead of being the handmaid for certain unsavoury characters.
Arbitrary rules that can be made and retracted at one's whim & fancy while you ignore the law, wouldn't help you make claims of "impartiality".
Do have a sense of shame, when you speak of "a level playing field", accountability, transparency and the desire for the authority to charge voters for libel in Kangaroo courts.

With this, I call upon all Malaysians to cast their votes wisely taking into consideration the evils that are prevalent in our political environment.
Let us not forget our human rights, and be like workhorses that only work so as to be given their fodder.
Cast your vote with a conscience and look before before you leap. It is what makes us superior to the lower life forms of the animal kingdom.
Forget not, that we owe it to the younger generation - to guide them through the trials of nationhood, for a better future.

Let us not seek honour in conformity - Together, we can make a difference.

The human race's prospects of survival, were considerably better when we were defenceless against tigers, than they are today, when we have become defenceless against ourselves."
- Arnold J. Toynbee