Sunday, September 16, 2012
Unnecessary Divisions
Ku Ali is one romantic dude. He loves his country way too much and wishes his fellow countrymen a very Happy Malaysia Day 2012.


49 years ago, this country Malaysia was formed.  Her birth was not without complications. The differences between the various peoples inhabiting this new Malaysia, spread across both sides of the South China Sea, were significant. These differences had to be reconciled, into a national compromise, without diminishing the unique identities of each group. That was a delicate task in itself. In addition, this new Malaysia had to endure hostilities from her neighbours, whom had challenged her very right to exist. They landed troops on our soil to emphasize their opposition to this newly formed Malaysia. Internal divisions, combined with political manoeuvrings, eventually saw the exit of Singapore from the Federation in 1965, thus forming the current state of Malaysia.

Despite it all, Malaysia stood strong. We were united in repelling the Confrontation of the 1960s. We chose to put aside our differences, so that a feeling of national belonging can take root. In that process, we did not demand any group to dilute their uniqueness. Instead, we encouraged each group to preserve their traditions and gave breathing space for all to flourish. We chose to let past conflicts, be it domestic or international, to be just entries in our history books – recorded, but not dwelt upon. We chose to be united in what mattered. We chose not to be bigots. We chose be good, kind, generous, and forgiving. We chose to make this country work.

However, these past few years have seen the emergence of certain groups within our society that refuse to allow this country to work. We say they ‘refuse’ because they sought, through their actions, to create unnecessary divisions in matters that Malaysians have decided to be united in. They form a minority in our society, but their voice is disproportionately loud.

We are not referring to the typical political divide which is so commonplace today, as we uphold the right of all voters to be politically biased as deemed fit. This is a fundamental right of citizenship that we shall respect, protect and encourage. The nature of the divisions created by these dissenters is much graver, as they involve the distasteful practice of politicizing things that should not be politicized. The phenomenon of creating senseless division alludes to the rise of the unintelligent amongst us. Let us look at several examples, so that we may better understand the nature of these divisions and its threat to our survival as a nation.

In September 2011, a Malaysian journalist, Noramfaizul Mohd. Nor, died in the line of duty. The whole nation was united in grief, as we waited for his remains to return home. Uneasy with this show of unity, certain groups had to find faults and put blames. As if, those they blamed for this had actual power over life and death. They forgot that death is the prerogative of God. And they also conveniently forgot that Noramfaizul was an experienced journalist (who had covered various conflict zones) and had made this choice to enter Somalia freely. We feel the dissenters had hijacked a day Malaysians could have been proud of, when we welcome home a son who had died a hero. This they did because it has become a culture for them to blame everything on their enemy, even in matters that need no blaming. We are unimpressed.

In the recent Olympics, another son, Datuk Lee Chong Wei, had done us proud. He not only brought home a silver medal, which is a great achievement in itself, but charmed the World with his dignified grace, sacrifice and humility. He apologized when he did not have to. He united us. We put aside our differences and just focused on being proud of this nation. As expected, uneasy with this unity, an unintelligent MP had to make a statement. He ridiculed our hero, whom had managed to unite us better than any politicians could, in the public domain. Bad move, YB. We are unimpressed. As a famous American judge once said: “Beauty fades, dumb is forever.” The only consolation to this case is that we can confidently reveal that we had no part in placing this mediocre person in Parliament and he is not our representative.

This year’s Merdeka celebration was a joke. It was hijacked by politicians in a bid to woo us. This is the problem with the unintelligent amongst us. They do not understand that we are unimpressed with things that do not make sense. It does not make sense to have several themes for an occasion that is supposed to belong to all Malaysians, and not to politicians. Firstly, there is no need for slogans, as slogans mean nothing if nothing is delivered. Secondly, if they feel they absolutely can’t live without a National Day theme, the least they can do is to agree on just one. If we can’t even set aside our political differences to honour Merdeka, what hope is left for this nation? Let us be clear, we are unhappy.

The hooliganism displayed on the eve of this year’s Merdeka was a most unacceptable show of stupidity. So much was wrong with that incident. We feel repulsed at the reporting that focused too much on the picture stomping, downplaying the main offence – the displaying of an alternative flag and distribution of flyers urging our current Flag to be replaced.

As distasteful as it was, the picture stomping was a personal attack. If the Prime Minister and wife feel offended, they should sue. Or, if they feel particularly generous, they may forgive. But only they have this right to pursue the case or to forgive, and nobody else should meddle and interfere. The Prime Minister and wife are individual citizens. They are not national symbols. Why should we fight personal battles on their behalf?

We consider the flag incident to be the most serious and treacherous crime against our nation. The Malaysian Flag is a national symbol, and any contemptuous display against it is construed as an act of lèse-majesté. It is a most heinous offence, as it injures and compromises the dignity and sovereignty of our country. The hooligans that waved this alternative flag apparently wanted to educate the public on an alternative historical narrative. We wonder whether they actually realize the flag represented the Melayu Raya aspirations. Nothing is wrong with that aspiration, except that it was a goal that was rejected. Reviving that idea and pursuing its goals mean that Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei would eventually have to cease existing as separate, sovereign nations. Is that good or bad? Only time can tell. But the fact remains; it is a path we had rejected.

For 55 years, our people had chosen to rally behind the Jalur Gemilang. If the purpose was educational, the place for the Sang Saka Malaya is in academic journals or museums. It cannot be displayed alongside the National Flag with the same dignity. We must accept, the Sang Saka Malaya was the flag that was not chosen. So please, do not force it upon us.

Since we are on the subject of flags, we feel compelled to inform that the National Flag’s dignity had been compromised for years. This is because, in Malaysia, we have this misguided understanding that the wearing of the Flag as pieces of clothing is an act of patriotism. That act is actually a clear form of lèse-majesté. This is because, in producing such garments, the Flag is cut and mutilated, and when worn, the flag is insulted further by being sat upon. The practice destroys the majesty of the Flag and reduces its status to just an ordinary piece of cloth. Let us put a stop to this indignity.

How should we handle these divisive elements in our mids? Some has suggested leniency and forgiveness. We feel this is not the way.

Firstly, it sends out the wrong message. It says that we do not care, and these incidences are insignificant. It says that we accept our dignity being defiled. It says we tolerate stupidity and hooliganism. It says we may be bullied and trifled with. It says we would not rise in defence of our nation. It speaks of complacency. Tyranny, by either the minority or majority, should not be allowed to take root and prevail.

Secondly, we should not be lenient for the sake of the hooligans. Being unintelligent and immature is not a crime. However, they need to be redeemed. One of the ways to earn redemption is by bravely accepting punishments befitting the offence. Grovelling for leniency and forgiveness is pitiful, and cowardly. Cowards can never gain redemption. Thus, we urge the deviants amongst us to take the opportunity, when sentences are passed, to redeem and rehabilitate your membership in this society.

Several offenders related to the flag incident had been identified. We hope their parents and authorities will not deny them the opportunity for redemption. Please grant them appropriately harsh punishments so that they can be seen as brave individuals, rather than cowards.

We want this country to work. We want to be united in things that matters. So let us send a clear message to those who sought to create unnecessary division in this country: We do not want you.


Remember the name, it's Ku Ali. In case you have forgotten already.

P.S. Click here here here and here for his old ramblings.
posted by Izham Ismail at 11:11 pm | Permalink |