Thursday, 5 January 2012

Tunjuk Perasaan Is Good

I can't stop myself, not to share this enlightened article on street protest and corruption.

Totally agree with her, the real enemy is NOT those people carrying placards or marching down the streets, but those who sitting in the air-conditioned room, buying condominiums for cows.

Demonstrasi is tunjuk perasaan, and how harm can it be? Again, I agree with her, most of Malaysians are not the type that will burn down the Pavillion or loot the 7Eleven or Kedai Jimat. At least, NOT me and I'm very sure, NOT my family or my dearest friends.

Aren't you too?

I hope you will enjoy reading the article below, as enjoyable as I was.


Making liars of heroes and truth-telling a crime

January 04, 2012

JAN 4 — Our government is very keen on making non-sanctioned demonstrations criminal. Yet our national language interprets demonstrations differently.

In proper Bahasa Malaysia, "demonstrate" is not "demonstrasi" or "mendemonstrasi" or other similar bastardisations of the English language. To demonstrate, in Bahasa Malaysia, is to "tunjuk perasaan" or "show feelings/emotions."

Taken literally, to show how you feel, especially if your sentiments are anti-government, is a crime.

The simple truth is that our publicly-elected leaders... are (mostly) liars.

I am sure that someone is going to call me out for such a sweeping statement. Perhaps it is different in other countries, but in Malaysia, to be successful in politics, it is generally accepted that a politician's main role is to deflect blame, justify inconsistencies, injustice or prejudice and follow the party line, especially when there's conga music.

Some politicians, while not outrightly lying, do not speak the truth. Ah, semantics.

I am frustrated at times by my fellow Malaysians who say that demonstrations are "not our culture." While I think that mere demonstrations alone are not effective, I still think that citizens have the right to demonstrate should they wish. Waving placards, chanting slogans; those are harmless things. I doubt Malaysians are the sort to set Pavilion on fire and loot its outlets.

At heart, many Malaysians are meek and cowed. It's been indoctrinated in us from kindergarten. Sit quietly. Raise your hand if you need to use the bathroom. Make orderly rows and stand at attention to hear your principal speak at assemblies. Never show you're upset, angry or dissatisfied. Respect your elders, even your uncle who you know cheats on your aunt and gambles away their income. Even your Moral Education teacher though his arm lingers far too long on your shoulder and keeps asking you to come over to his house for "extra classes."

What does it say about our local culture when a film that romanticises sexual slavery and celebrates misogyny makes over RM10 million at the box office? Amir Muhammad calls it a "perverse paean to female masochism." The heroine "submits" to being sold as a sex slave, then to her "owner's" marriage proposal and then to being in a polygamous marriage. Talk about a love letter to Stockholm Syndrome.

But Malaysians are expected to be just like Maya Karin's character. Endure the pain when our caretaker takes advantage of us; believe the lies and empty promises. Convince ourselves that the suffering, the debasing of our will, emotions and thoughts is all part and parcel of being a true, patriotic Malaysian.

Someday I want a Malaysia where its citizens are free to tell their politicians bluntly that they suck. No pussyfooting, no hiding behind news portals or questionable blogs. "Dear YB, you are doing a horrible job. Just thought you should know."

I suspect if I tried to do that with an Umno politician, I would start to see strange men watching me from behind newspapers or anonymous comments on my blog decrying me for my "lack of gratitude."

So if you're a real Malaysian, start caring about your fellow Malaysians and not the politicians. When that man walks down the street with a sign saying "Stop Corruption", let him pass and don't make him out to be the enemy. The enemy is the one sitting in an air-conditioned office, buying condos for cows.

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