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Has our fire been put out?

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The people appear to be cowering in fear after the GE13 charade; will we abandon the quest for a better Malaysia, wonders Rakyat Jelata.


Malaysians are fatalistic by nature. The belief in destiny is strong; superstition can’t change the course of history. Are we in danger of losing our dreams of a new Malaysia, a better Malaysia, not riven by ethnic and religious polarisation, and where respect for each individual’s human dignity and rights are a reality?

The old order we want to see as passé is still in place; are we simply to throw up our hands and say, “Nasiblah! Fated! Only God can help us now!”

Even as I write such words, there’s a sneaking feeling of hopelessness. Are the Rakyat going to accept this worsening situation? With crime rates climbing and seemingly justifying the shootings in this country, are we still going to blame Fate, God or any other supernatural force that we don’t understand or know nothing about?

It is cold comfort to realise that Fear still rules us. It is perhaps, the fear of self-sacrifice, fear of insecurity, fear of pain and suffering, fear of losing face. That is the trouble with us, we are AFRAID.

Is the indignation and anger we felt before the GE13 charade merely going to be suppressed and later taken out on those who can’t defend themselves, like the helpless migrants? Why should those who haven’t hurt us in any way become our “beating boys” when those who hurt us more deeply and cruelly are allowed to cow us? Does venting rage on an innocent person bring satisfaction and relief? Yet, the thirst for vengeance remains and burns like a wasting disease.

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What is the answer to our innate FEAR? We seem to have accepted and cultivated a culture of fear. Dressing it up in words like ‘respect’, ‘courtesy’, ‘etiquette’, and ‘culture’ that evade telling the truth. Truth is seen as ‘biadap’, ‘rude’, not acceptable, ‘western influence’, “not our culture”. We devalue Truth, it has become a ‘dirty’ word.

We still pussyfoot around the sticky, ‘sensitive’ issues, fearing to offend the powerful and influential. At any sign of unease, we quickly hide the truth, sheepishly pushing it under our seats, saying, “It doesn’t matter.”

When will we realise that truth always matters? When will we realise that if we continue to hide the truth, we eventually hide it from ourselves? We convince ourselves of the falsehoods we are led to believe – Black is white and White is black. We continue to nod in agreement to anything we are told to agree with.

Fear has also robbed us of our capacity to think, to use our God-given faculties. Our eyes may see, but our mouths describe the object differently.

The Rakyat are not in control; will we abandon this quest for a better Malaysia?

Hopelessly yours,

Rakyat Jelata

Rakyat Jelata is the pseudonym of a regular contributor to our Thinking Allowed Online section.

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