Thursday 12 February 2015

Compassion, Respect and a Sense of Fairness & Justice.

One of the first lesson of how one should behave in a civil society was taught to me in London where I went in the mid 60's supposedly to continue with my studies. I say supposedly because I did everything else, including marry, but study! 

That lesson was imparted upon me by my cousin with whom I have decided to stay with in Finsbury Park. Finsbury Park in those days is what Chow Kit is to KL today. It is a safe place to be in provided you behave yourself and know where NOT to go once the sun settles. I could afford the rent and the neighbors were the same shade as me - though darker, much darker. 

It was Winter and having unpacked my stuff onto whatever space there was in the Bedsit that was to be my home for a good many years, my cousin said that we had to go and get something for dinner. That something, whether it was dinner or lunch was invariably chicken, invariable fried and invariably eaten with rice for that was the extend of our culinary expertise. 

So off we went to the local grocery, picked up a chicken and I made my way to the counter to pay with the crisp pound notes I had brought with me from Malaysia. As I did so my cousin grabbed the back of my jacket and pulled me towards him with some considerable force and hissed "Tunggu!". And with a nod of his head signalled for me to get to the back of a line of blacks, Asians and white people all  waiting to pay for what they have bought. I looked at the line and as untidy as it was, it was indeed a line of people patiently waiting their turn - a Q. 

And that was how I first learned that in London you wait for your turn to do whatever it was you wanted to do when there are others who are there to do the same thing before you. Everybody wait with patience, good humour and a an unshakable belief that it is expected of them and they in turn expect it from others. When a deserving individual - a pregnant lady, aged seniors, disabled  - joins that Q, everyone will insists that that individual go to the front of the Q and be served first. 

That, I have learned, is the foundation of a civilized society. To each his due, respect for others, compassion and a sense of fairness for those who are less fortunate than you and the expectation that others will do as you do. Anybody that deviates from this norm is immediately taken to task, punished and if they persists in their anti social behaviour, ostracised. No exceptions. 

We all have expectations in life. Expectations moulded upon years and years of living with each other. There is respect, tolerance and a genuine liking, even love for each other's way of life. For a long time we have not bothered being "politically correct' when addressing the Chinese as Towkay, Nor have the Chinese been bothered about addressing the Malays as Encik or just the plain simple "Lu". The Indians have always been the race I love most to interact with  - not in a depreciating manner - but because their sense of humor mirrors mine. All I had to with my Indian friends was to look their way and with a shake of my head and a shrug of my shoulders say "Dey?"....and get a smile and a shake of their head in return. and from there life gets better! 

Today we can no longer do all that with the innocence that we once had. For you see the Q system that most of us have learned to respect and follow in our life are no longer  the way things are done since this Umno led BN government started to divide and rule our people and our nation.

Today that Umno led BN government have put the Malays and Islam at the head of the Q. 

Ketuanan Melayu ensures that a Malay is at the head of the Q in education, housing, job opportunities - in everything - even death. The Malay burial grounds are conveniently located while the Chinese and Indians are further afield. 

Islam now imposes its tenets and its "beliefs" upon the other religion in many ways. How impossible is it for the Christians to build a Church, how many Indian Temples have been demolished? How many bodies have been snatched from loved ones. And we are familiar with the issues surrounding the use of ALLAH and the seizing of Bibles. 

Once the Q system starts breaking down so will the fabric of society that has been built primarily on the premise that in life a few fundamentals must prevail:
  • Respect.
  • Fairness and a sense of Justice.
  • Compassion for others.
When those fundamentals are deliberately breached or dismissed for political gain then our society will begin to crumble and disintegrate - as it is now doing. 

That it had affected the non-Malays more than the Malays in the past three decades is a given because we know that the Malays are the "tuans" that this BN government are sending willingly or unwillingly, to the head of the Q.

What has made the situation untenable is that there are now many many Malays who are refusing to be sent to the head of the Q because their sense of fairness and decency tells them that it is wrong. Now even those Malays who have willingly taken their place when sent by BN to the head of the Q are beginning to realize that those sending them to the head of the Q had ulterior motives for doing so - they were expected to pay for that "privilege" of being sent to the head of the Q by giving their votes to their political"champion". 

Pay in a manner that has resulted in the Malays to become a race ostracized by the non-Malays, pay in a manner that demeans the Malay race as being unable to comprehend the basic rules of a civilized society. 

And more worrying this Umno led BN government now demands the Malays return the favor of being sent to the head of the Q by giving them carte blanc political license to be corrupt and arrogant in government.   

That is where we are at now. A people divided and governed by a corrupt and arrogant BN government devoid of any sense of justice, compassion and fair play!   

I am now 67 - a far cry from that teenage lad then newly arrived in the London of the mid 60's - but I have not forgotten that lesson of life that my late cousin, Aziz Yahaya, taught me - In life fairness,compassion and a sense of justice must prevail if we are to live in a civilized society. In essence we do not have that in Malaysia today. 

How each of us deal with this lack of compassion to respect and to help each other will decide what future we will leave our children and our children's children. Let us not allow politics, race or religion be the reason our future generation will not inherit a future better than the one we now have. Think and do what you think you must whether you are within BN or Pakatan Rakyat but tamper whatever you do with compassion and respect for others who are different from you.  Only by doing so will you others do unto you what you do unto others.   

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