Monday, September 13, 2010

John Lennon, Bob Dylan ... and Namewee shape public conscience

An e-mail I received among many unsolicited ones caught my attention recently but this one, unlike the rest, is relevant as Malaysians celebrate their national day on 16 September and something that should arouse their national conscience. 

It is indeed sad that today's young generation suffers from the same plight that I described in an article I wrote and was published in Malaysiakini and the Centre for Policy Initiatives website a couple of weeks ago. The plight of the Merdeka Malaysian persists but for how long? 

Victimization is the 'bastardization' of every noble virtue and contradiction of everything the nation stands for. When patriotic and concerned Malaysians are persecuted (selectively) for trying to do the right thing for their country, something is drastically remiss. 

The e-mail was from Wee Meng Chee and it read, "Many accusations have been made upon me since 2007, and this time I like to defend for myself as nobody seems to be defending for me in the political arena. My name has been used on many incidents by politicians over the years, this time I am not going to let empty accusations with no basis being laid upon me again. I am only an individual with no political agenda or motives, who wishes to voice out his opinion against racism in this country." 

As those who may have read the full press release  of this young man better known as Namewee, it is yet another heartfelt and desperate plea of another victim of selective political persecution.

And the irony is all the victims -- from academics who exposed wrongs in the system to now patriot-in-exile Raja Petra Kamaruddin -- only wanted the best for their country, and acted openly and legally within their constitutional rights. 

Instead the real culprits escape admonition and punishment while the innocent ones suffer retribution.
 

Win by kicking the opponent 

Is the country now at a stage when those given the power to administer have lost their moral equilibrium and cannot tell the difference between right and wrong? Is political expediency the priority instead of justice for the victims and protection for the whistleblower? 

There are too many Malaysians who no longer uphold what is true and fair and virtuous but resort to animal instincts and will retaliate irrationally and unjustifiably against anyone who points out the error of their ways or oppose their ideas. 

They no longer know how to play the game but still want to be in the game. They hope to win by kicking their opponents and even the umpire! 

Namewee may be unconventional and speaks in the way he knows best through music and satire, in the tradition of protest, but it has turned out to be another instance of 'casting pearls before swines' as the saying goes, and indeed those who should know better have turned around to devour him. 


The older generation has seen it all before and many have resigned themselves to be perpetual victims of officialdom and the authorities' idea of justice, but the young generation cannot allow itself to be cowed and suffer a similar fate of their elders. 

"What to do?" the typical rhetorical retort of many pessimistic Malaysians won't do. 

"Just do it" is the approach of the young.  

Young are acting where old dither 

The future of their nation depends on their active participation and if the youth can be encouraged to play a more positive role in their country with the same passion they play the computer games, there is greater hope for change. Nothing should thwart their spirit and sense of outrage at societal wrongs. 

That is why Namewee wrote, "this time I am not going to let empty accusations with no basis being laid upon me again." And rightly so. 

You can only retreat so far, but when your back is against the wall, what you have to do is patently obvious unless grovelling like a cornered animal is a fate you choose. 

That is why more and more Malaysians from all races and walks of life are now realising that the future is in their hands and are beginning to come to life politically and taking their stand against all that is wrong and destroying their country. 

The days of Malaysian 'Nazism' -- the repugnant doctrine of racial superiority and prejudice -- must soon come to an end because there is a better way, and when Malaysians think of national day they must denounce the national shame of racism. 

Racism and corruption remain the twin foes of the nation and while every national leader has sounded the battle-cry against them, there is nothing they have done as concrete evidence of their sincerity. In fact one has even done the opposite and become an ardent supporter of the lost cause and added fuel to the fire of racial bigotry.  

I was travelling on an interstate bus a few days ago when the female Malay schoolteacher passenger sitting next to me discussed the case of the school principals who made insulting remarks to the students. She and I agreed that while some students may be mischievous, and some even arrogant, it was wrong of a school principal to use the racist language. 

Why is it so difficult for the authorities to step in and deal with something that is purely administrative and blatantly wrong, in an expeditious manner? Justice delayed is justice denied. That there is more than one glaring incident is cause for serious concern. 

The repugnant foot-dragging 

From media reports we are also told that certain groups spread the racist message in their centres of learning and coupled with politicians who major on racist policies and make wild racist threats. Such indoctrination methods are treacherous to and hijack the national agenda of racial harmony. 

It is this angst against the foot-dragging approach of the authorities against the racist school principals that prompted Namewee to do what he felt he had to do. It was the same sense of repugnance that makes others criticise the authorities when things go awry. 

No one is a proper citizen of a country who is unwilling to stand up and be counted and make the loud noise when all is disturbingly silent in the face of flagrant abuse of power. Populists and patriots may be like chalk and cheese. 

Hollow citizens do not make for a solid nation and young people like Namewee should be encouraged not discouraged from playing a significant role in shaping the public conscience and the destiny of his homeland. 

Let us not forget the late John Lennon (left) and Bob Dylan and a host of other musicians and songwriters did influence public opinion against the many wrongs they saw in their societies and while some of their antics may seem outrageous, they pale in comparison to the wrongs perpetrated by those they criticise. 

Namewee is not alone because the nation and all it stands for stands beside him. Indeed he is a true son of the nation and I hope as a passionate young citizen with a cause, he will prove his critics wrong and defend his country from those who want to harm it with their bigotry.

By: Steve Oh in Centre For Policy Initiatives

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

this article is so 'chinese'...go back to mainland and never come back

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