31 December 2009

The articles are captured from the original writer, MsMarina (with her permission). SambalBelacan is just compiling articles to make easier to find. Any comments received will remain un-respond because it's not mine.Reach her at her very own blog at http://rantingsbymm.blogspot.com/ Please.
Wednesday December 23, 2009
The good, the bad and the new year

Despite the nasty and horrid things that the year witnessed, there is hope yet for us yet as the people become more aware of their rights and are willing to stand up for them.

SINCE this is my last column for the year, I thought I’d do my usual list exercise. It has been a very eventful year to say the least so I thought I would list out what I’ve been happy about and what I haven’t been happy about this year.

Let’s start off with Things I Wasn’t Happy About:

1. The way some people behave so badly with such impunity, as if they know they can do anything and get away with it. Top of the list are those “cow-head protestors” as well as their brethren who declared Malays “first-class citizens” and all others, “second-class citizens”. No throwing the book of sedition at them, not even a sharp rap on the knuckles?

2. The shrinking of public space for debate and discussion especially on matters of religion and race. If anyone tries to give alternative viewpoints, they are immediately shouted down or a police report is made charging them with everything from insulting God, religion, the Sultan and whoever has the thinnest skin. And we call ourselves a modern nation?

3. The refusal to get out from under the cloak of denial on all social problems. If there is a problem among our people, the answer is always more religion, particularly the form that refuses to entertain any discussion on the subject. Somehow we expect the matter to disappear just like that. Unfortunately, they fester and will ooze slime endlessly whether we like it or not. This would include issues like drug use, Mat Rempit and incest.

On hold: It is clear now that nobody really wants to whip Kartika. But unless someone comes out and clearly states that she’s been pardoned, her life will remain in suspension.

4. Related to that is the apparent wish that the Kartika problem will just go away. It is clear now that nobody really wants to whip her. But unless someone comes out and clearly states that she’s been pardoned, her life will remain in suspension. There is nothing just and fair about leaving her in abeyance like that. Some closure for her is needed.

5. In conjunction with that is the apparent belief that the only good Muslim is the one that wants to be punished while those who question injustice are painted as disbelievers. At the same time, those who are disobeying the courts, such as the men who are refusing to pay court-ordered maintenance for their children, are never painted as bad irresponsible Muslims. Are we naming and shaming the wrong people?

6. The complete lack of common sense on the part of some of our leaders is a cause for concern. If there are two groups at odds with one another, you don’t sit down with just one and then declare their grievances are justified. Nor do you express sympathy for someone who’s been responsible for many violent deaths and say that you could have rehabilitated them. Even sillier, you don’t try to equate the “pain” a chair might feel upon being whipped with what a human being might feel.

7. While some leaders talk about eliminating corruption, most remain blind to obvious questions, such as, how come a public official can afford a RM25mil mansion? No wonder cynicism reigns!

8. The increasing racist tone by which we refer to foreigners within our midst, especially those who are from countries less developed than ours. Racist monikers may not be okay for our own people but apparently okay for others. Also despicable are the sweeping generalisations about foreigners as criminals, conmen and prostitutes.

9. The constant politicisation of everything. Really, neither politics nor politicians are the most important things in the world.

Things I Have Been Happy About

1. The increase in the number of people who have become more aware of the issues surrounding them and are keen to express their opinion on it, mostly online.

2. The many young people who are not only increasingly aware of issues around them but will also take action to effect some change. The most impressive is the MyConstitution campaign to educate the public about our ‘Document of Destiny’ but also other smaller projects such as Fast for the Nation which does more for unity than any government project could.

3. The effectiveness of social media especially Facebook and Twitter in connecting like-minded people together so that they can share experiences, learn from one another and get organised. As always young people are way ahead of adults, especially those in government.

4. The fact that we can talk about human rights without the ground opening up and swallowing us.

5. The continued belief in this country, despite all the nastiness, and the willingness to stay and fight gives hope.

There’s probably more I could be happy about if I thought hard enough but the horrid things somehow come quicker to mind.

Whatever comes along, things must get better in 2010. Wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy Muslim and Gregorian New Year!