I can recall with much clarity and detail the first time when we as a nation lost our innocence. That was on the 13th of May 1969. I was a 22 year old in London aware that the Malays were in the dominant faction in Government. That the Malays was in control of the Police, the Army and all other aspects of Malaysia that was needed to ensure that the Malays would be in a position to defend their race from any attempts by the Chinese to take advantage of the chaos and uncertainties that existed within Malaya then. That was all that mattered then! How shallow was I then!
The next time was when Dato Harun Idris was arrested for corruption, put on trail and incarcerated. For a moment I wanted to be with the crowd that wanted to defend Dato Harun – that scion of the Malays who have been a symbol of the Malays rattling their swords to tell the others in Malaya to cease and desists taking Malaya from the Malays! Corruption was then a foreign word to me. One that I associated with Africa. Again ignorance is bliss!
Then the Two M’s quarrel. I wanted Mahathir to win the fight. Musa to me, was already suspect in his personal affairs and I consider his dalliances outside politics to be unworthy of a DPM, what more a PM. Ditto for Ku Li.
Anwar Ibrahim’s ouster as DPM was surreal and yet expected. Surreal because this was a man touted to be the next PM and seemingly well on his way to being just that. Expected because in the manner he had conducted himself politically, I thought it was a matter of ‘Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall’. There were too many corpses littering his way towards the DPM.
At the 12th General Election I was the fly on the wall. I was outside Pak Lah’s house in Jalan Bellamy when he went to Istana Negara to take his oath of office when he first became PM. And now years later I watched as a bewildered Pak Lah declared BN the winner in the 12th general election even as Pakatan Rakyat assumed its role as an effective opposition and government in waiting.
And from that 12th general election to today – January 2013 – I watched as UMNO played out its Winter of Discontent. Uncomfortable in its role as the underdog and yet with guns blazing away at its nemesis – Anwar Ibrahim and Pakatan Rakyat – even as this once great political institution starts its death throes.
And today the coming 13th general election.
All these moments that I have mentioned are the times when I felt myself drawn into the vortex that these incidents invariably creates. You are no longer a bystander unaffected by events.
Some jump in headfirst guided only by their passion and commitments to long held beliefs and start punching their way through any opposition that stands in the way.
Some look at how the wind is blowing and take the side of those they perceive will be the ultimate winners of the conflict.
Others weigh their options. Consider possibilities. Seek to understand the right and wrongs of both sides and then make firm commitments to the side they believe to be right with nary a thought to their own comfort of personal safety.
And they are still others that will stay their commitments because they think none are worthy of their confident and will still wait to see what emerges from the gutter from where Malaysian politics now resides. Each looking for anything that would reinforce what they already believe in – that only UMNO can deliver political and economical stability or that only Pakatan Rakyat can bring about real change in a Malaysian politics brutally corrupted by 55 years of UMNO rule.
Our expectations are high because BN and PR have promised much if elected to office. The future looks hopeful and exciting. Political intoxication overcomes the more susceptible amongst us all. Activism is the order of the day and we are just that close to having an Arab Spring of our own!
But so far our collective indifference to matters that do not immediately affect our family and us still rules. They people by large are indifferent to who would govern them post the 13th general election. They will go and see Najib or Anwar at Ceramahs more for what they can get in entertainment value to brighten up their dull everyday existence or for what they can get in terms of food or money to make their lives more bearable.
And in all this mix we – me and my fellow blogggers – try to make some sense of it all. That we may sometime get it all wrong is par for the course. For me personally I try to temper my thoughts with those of you that have a view, opinion or hold dissenting arguments against mine – and to the best of my abilities- weigh these arguments with a rationality born of my experience and exposure to the Malaysia that I know with the Malaysia that I want. And again invariably I may get it right and I may get it wrong and that possibility either way makes everyday of powering up my PC a challenge and a joy.
That is why I work on my blog many hours a day. That is why I read every comment that comes my way – buoyed by those of you that are in agreement with what I write and challenged by those who do not. Bring it on! I can take as good as I can dish it out…but always I do not forget that there are more important things in life than Politics!
There is our life to lead. Love ones to be with. Good food and good company to enjoy. The poor, the needy and the under privileged awaiting our help and never forget that death awaits us all ! So please friends live your life accordingly!
And thank you for reading what I write. I am grateful that you do! I really really am!