31 August 2011

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 August 31, 2011
A wish list of freedoms

We still need the fundamental freedoms that every human being desires, especially freedom of speech and expression. Our foreparents understood 54 years ago that we had a fundamental right to freedom and self-determination.

FIRST of all, let me wish everyone Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Also, as the days happen to almost coincide this year, Selamat Hari Merdeka. In many ways, this is very significant.

Raya is the day we free ourselves from a month of abstinence and restraint. Ramadan is a time for reflection on what good we have, or have not, done over the past year. It is a time to ask for forgiveness for our past sins and mistakes, and hurt we may have caused others.

Sadly, this Ramadan has hardly been an exemplary one. With insults galore, shouting and screaming, burning and threats, it has hardly been one of restraint and reflection, at least on the part of public figures. Nor was there any sense of shame at these violations of the good and holy month.

Since Raya coincides with Merdeka this year, I thought I would write a list of freedoms we should give ourselves in these coming months, besides the freedom to now eat.

First, let us have Freedom from Imagined Slights. I am sick and tired of the people who have nothing better to do than scour the media for all sorts of insults, while at the same time feeling entitled to slight others.

Some people’s skin is stretched so thinly over their rounded bulks it’s a wonder it hasn’t ripped. Every little imagined offence calls for protests and demos, almost always outside mosques after Friday prayers. One wonders if God feels slighted at this trespassing on His property, which should be oases of calm and tranquility.

As a corollary to that, let us also have Freedom from One-Sided Prosecutions. For example, some people seem to insist on having the monopoly on being sensitive. Everyone else is assumed to have thick skin, so much so that it is now apparently OK to insult people to their faces.

Thus, action is taken only when they have been offended, but never when they offend others. One has to wonder what is so great about displaying such thin skin? Won’t you wither under the sun?

Let us also demand Freedom from the Forgetful Politician, that is, those who forgot who voted them in. First off are those who insist that we should be grateful that they are there to lead us. Talk about a circular argument!

Then there are those who, although usually insisting that Malaysians are a unique species of people, totally different from everyone else in the world, are then quick to equate those same Malaysians with the worst of foreigners, those who riot, loot and destroy property.

Makes you wonder how that gels with our tourism campaigns. Are we supposed to be nice hospitable people or rioters?

One great freedom that I really wish we would give ourselves is Freedom from Snoopers, especially those intent on sticking their noses into our private lives. If one wants to create a moral society, then let’s widen that definition to include ethics instead of just keeping it totally focused on our sex lives.

A moral society is not just one where everyone behaves well sexually, if such a thing even exists, but also where people feel a strong civic duty to uphold the law, not be corrupt, treat the poorest and most vulnerable well, and protect and preserve the environment.

Instead, we have increasing official “busybodiness” coupled with the encouragement of society to be bu­sybodies. Thus our young feel that they are constantly under suspicion of doing something bad, even when they are not. Does this stop all sorts of social ills? Of course not.

Indeed we should also demand Freedom from the Ostrich, the stick-their-heads-in-the-sand attitude that insists that some things just don’t exist in our country. On the one hand there are people who see a conspiracy under every pebble and on the other there are those who just refuse to connect the dots.

For example, young people don’t have to become pregnant outside marriage if we educate them and provide the services they need to make the best choices. Instead, we refuse to educate them and then blame them for having babies out of wedlock. Some even insist that the solution is to marry them off early.

That’s where we need Freedom from the Short-sighted, those who only think in terms of short-term solutions and not the harm that will come many years down the line.

At heart, however, we still need the fundamental freedoms that every human being desires, especially freedom of speech and expression. Without these, the Snoopers, Ostriches, Short-sighted and all these others will continue to thrive and make our lives miserable.

Our foreparents understood that we had a fundamental right to freedom and self-determination 54 years ago. Let’s not forget that the next time we vote.


20 August 2011

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 August 17, 2011
We are always an ‘exception’
By Marina Mahathir

Malaysian policies often state that we are different and therefore cannot be compared with others. Yet those who join peaceful marches are likened to British rioters. Suddenly we are the same?

ARE we getting progressively schizophrenic? Judging by current responses to events around the world, it would be easy to conclude that we are.

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes it difficult to tell the difference between real and unreal experiences, to think logically, to have normal emotional responses and to behave normally in social situations.

If you read up on Malaysian policies and statements on various issues, the one striking factor is our insistence on exceptionalism. That is, we are different and therefore cannot be compared with any other country.

Fiery aftermath: The violent riots in London left many properties in ruin. — AFP
In the early years of the AIDS pandemic, we thought we were protected because we were different. If non-Muslims in other Muslim countries use the word “Allah” for God with no fuss, ours can’t because we are different. We are apparently unique and incomparable to anyone else in the world.

Which is why it puzzles me that all of a sudden our citizens, or at least the ones who want to voice their opinions with peaceful assemblies and marches, are being compared to British rioters and looters.

If we are always different, how come suddenly we are the same?

Going by the statements of our leaders, basically we are nothing more than savages who would rob, rape, loot and pillage given half the chance. Therefore, we need all sorts of laws to keep us in check and not venture in groups of more than five outside our homes.

Now, this is why that schizophrenic inability to think logically comes into play. Despite evidence that none of the 30,000 or so peaceful marchers last July robbed, raped, looted or pillaged, our leaders insist that we would have. They must be looking at mirrors.

Just a few days ago the fellow who demonstrated how inconvenient a protest is by inconveniencing everyone in Penang declared that he would burn down two online news portals whose reports he disagreed with. Now if that’s not London rioter behaviour, I don’t know what is.

More disturbingly, after already having insulted all the good citizens who exercised their right to peaceful assembly, our leaders go on to insult them some more.

Instead of being proud that we did not have the type of violence that the UK experienced, instead of talking about how so much more civilised our people are, our leaders liken us to rioters who have vandalised, stolen and killed.

Talk about the inability to distinguish between reality and fantasy.

A certain amount of hypocrisy also rears its ugly head. What if Mark Duggan, the man who was shot by police in London and whose family’s peaceful protest became the original rallying cry for the rioters, was Mohamad Duggan?

Between 1987 and 1993 and 2000 and 2005, the Palestinian people went through two uprisings against the Israeli government, known as the First and Second Intifadas, respectively. Both Intifadas involved demonstrations, protests and, yes, a certain amount of violent rioting.

They were met with an even more violent response from the Israelis that resulted in many deaths and the eventual blockade of Gaza, still in force today.

Our government supported the Intifadas then. Does that mean that our government supports the right of Palestinians to demonstrate, protest and riot, but refuses its own people’s right to do much less, that is to just march peacefully?

Or is the logic that when governments are democratically elected, its people then lose the right to protest against them?

Conveniently ignored, too, is the fact that in the UK, protests and demonstrations are held all the time without the type of violence we saw recently.

One of the biggest was in 2003 when hundreds of thousands of people marched against the Iraq war. At the time we looked benignly at this because we had the same stand. Did we tell the Brits and others round the world that they should not demonstrate against the war?

So what is the message here? We may be trusted to peacefully protest as long as the subject of our protest is in sync with the Government’s. Otherwise, if we should protest for free and fair elections, against corruption or anything else that the Constitution gives us the right to, we are labelled as unpatriotic thugs out to disturb the peace and destroy the economy and image of our country.

Looking at the UK riots, are we even talking about the same thing? What cause was the UK rioters espousing?

Some wide reading instead of political posturing might be more beneficial here. The UK rioters did not loot bookshops, and some have suggested it’s because they don’t like to read.

Perhaps they are not unlike some of our politicians.