Pages

Monday, 20 October 2008

Me And You And An Underdog Named HINDRAF

I happen to think that Rocky is a pretty good journalist when it comes to breaking news. But an opinion piece? Spare me. This one about HINDRAF is so very much spun on one side that it's almost dizzying.

It's incredible how Rocky and his faithful stalwarts consistently ignore the reason for HINDRAF's uprising.

No one wakes up one morning and decides to go on a march to demand one's rights. HINDRAF is no exception.

HINDRAF used to write very polite but grammatically incorrect letters to the government since 3 years ago.

I once joined a Malaysian Indian yahoogroup and I used to read with torrid fascination (at the grammar - these guys are supposed to be lawyers, afterall) the protests they made (and posted online) over the injustice of the government against the marginalised Indians.

Those letters were addressed to some place in Damansara - that I clearly remember.

Frankly, when they started out they were actually quite civil, but their pleas went to deaf ears. I think those letters to Damansara made a beeline for the trash can.

I don't know when, but at some point, their language started to get more aggressive. Maybe it was brought on by the "diligence" of various authorities in systematically tearing down temples.

Maybe it was the body-snatching. There have been more than a few cases where a particular Indian had allegedly converted to Islam. Upon his death, the religious authorities were quick to grab the corpse and bury it according to Islamic rites.

Personally, I see no justification in strangers burying the body. A funeral, in my opinion, is for the family to pay their last respects. But the religious authorities, backed by the government, showed absolutely no respect for the dead or his living relatives.

It may not have been the blatant discrimination, denying them of birth certificates that drove them down this path. Not the lack of opportunities to get an education. Not poverty.

I think it was that assault against their religion that was the final straw.

A wise government of a multiracial country will walk the path of moderation when crafting and exercising policies affecting all. In this country, and for that matter any other plural one, poverty isn't just the province of one race.

All suffer collectively and so the solutions should apply collectively. For lorry drivers, newspaper vendors, estate workers, housewives and shop assistants to suddenly come together and walk peacefully even in the face of water cannons and tear gas, something must have reached its limits.

In its zealous haste to bring the Malay citizens into the fold of development to stem their marginalisation, Umno as the linchpin of Barisan has marginalised the Indian citizens.

Knowing how many of them have been silently suffering for decades from towns to farms, it is not benign neglect. It is malignant neglect.

If Barisan was honest about wanting to improve the lot of the Indians, would there have risen a HINDRAF yesterday that they are quick to suppress today?

Now the political posturing is on the roll - don't say it isn't. But where was the government when the dirt poor Indians needed them?

Now HINDRAF is not perfect. Far from it. They do silly things and have the tendency to be myopic.

But are they relevant?

More than ever, I'd say. I believe in their cause to improve the rights of the marginalised Indians, but I also believe it should be inclusive of all races, and not just the Indians.

In fact, I've newly discovered that the Penans are being abused as well.

But as for HINDRAF, I have read most of their memorandums and heard their speeches. They have plenty of room for improvement when it comes to rhetoric, but I'm yet to be convinced it incites hatred towards others.

Besides, the last time I checked, they haven't been flinging molotov cocktails around, burning establishments or going around killing people. The worst they have inflicted on a fellow human being are what ... a bunch of roses and a teddy bear?

Malaysians thrive on exaggeration. And drama.

Teresa Kok was unfairly detained under the ISA. She had the sympathy of a lot of people, all fully deserved. But she wasn't served dog food, regardless of what she may claim, unless of course I can now claim to having eaten dog food before.

Am I offended? Hardly. More amused than anything, but if she continues on that vein, she's going to lose credibility, just like HINDRAF.

But was it exaggeration? Hell yeah, with a capital E! We're the drama mamas of Asia. The police report on behalf of the egg drives home my point.

And if I got a ringgit every instance a random Malay warns, "Don't play with fire" over some racial discussion he can't win through logic, I'd have William Henry Gates III polishing my shoes right now.

In fact, for the next Olympics due to be held on 2012 in London, someone ought to compose a song entitled "Don't Play With Fire" to be played while the torch is passed on, courtesy of the Malaysian delegation.

But that's the Malaysian mentality for you. And the sorry situation of the Indian.

The authorities don't think twice about bullying an Indian because he has no political or economic clout whatsoever. There are heaps of Indians with no birth certificates, no education and no one to stand up for them.

You think that's spin? Then read someone else who has been to ground zero.

Just one thing worries me. The Indians, under the banner of HINDRAF have finally lost their fear of dissent. Arresting their leaders barely does anything to quench their spirit.

Heck, they've been heckled, punched, tear-gassed, sprayed with chemicals, and you think a bunch of cops, who are afraid of being based in Lorong Haji Taib will intimidate them?

I fear violence. But HINDRAF has learned, unfortunately, that it is not civil politeness that gets them widespread attention, but excessive demands. The meek Indian is no more, today he boldly exchanges insults with policemen.

I wish they would put aside their differences and come together under one banner. But their cultural and socio-economic differences draw a huge chasm that is difficult to plug. I wouldn't know how to engage them - sometimes I feel I can barely even relate.

I was at the anti-ISA candlelight vigil yesterday. While chatting with Walla, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, a couple of HINDRAF supporters viewing me with mild suspicion.

Interestingly, in Malaysia, it is the average Indian who is most repulsed by his fellow brethren within HINDRAF. I've trawled the web and I see many making apologies on behalf of them.

Personally, I think HINDRAF goes overboard often and some of their juvenile temper tantrums do merit a proper bitch-slapping.

But their cause, and the other side of their story deserves to be told, if not purely for factual accuracy.

23 comments:

donplaypuks® said...

I have heard from several reliable sources that Hindraf resorted to that famous peaceful demo last year only after they had exhausted all avenues of apppeal to the PM, Toyo and various BN Ministers (including Nazri), and were either brushed off or totally ignored.

THe BN Govt now knows, after the GE 2008 debacle, what a monumental error they had made. But a racist core and false pride prevents them from addresing the real issues raised by Hindraf.

As for the Rockyhorrorshow, he is entited to his opinion, but one can clearly see his unwavering support for Mahathirism and this discredited racist, dishonest and corrupt BN regime. And therein, you have a clue to a man's true character. A leopard just can't hide its spots!!

http://donplaypuks.blogspot.com

walla said...

The ubersmart, handsome, lean and lithe one stands next to her....but she notices only a bunch of Hindrafs. ;P

On the statement made at the MCA elections that the whole problem was because Umno had become too dominant, Shahrir tried to explain it off by saying Umno had to be extra-strong to fight off the Opposition. In the other words of race politics, Umno admits to playing the zero-sum game of more for me by less for you by race.

He didn't realize that he has just confirmed the very thing that he wanted to justify away:

- one, Umno IS overly dominant, therefore confirming what the MCA said;

- two, it was BECAUSE of Umno playing the zero-sum game to its own benefit that the Opposition has found even more supporters.

After this, one can't be bothered anymore about Badawi trying to wriggle off by saying Umno doesn't bully its partners in the BN. If Umno has been saying all along that the BN partners practise consensus, how in tarnation did the perception now come out that there has been bullying? ;P

There you have it - a federal govt anointing itself as the saviour of this country while practising kiasu supremacy, bodysnatching, misuse of assets to the tune of 30 billion ringgit for just one state, and vote buying at a thousand ringgit apiece using money culled from taxpayers, most of whom are the very people given short shrift of its skewed policies and adhoc rules. So how is it going to have any money and energy left to help the really marginalized groups of the society that it wants to call Malaysian?

It doesn't. That's why it next blames its own BN component parties for not doing enough for their races.

A ferrago of lies heaped on a litany of threats wrapped in a conundrum of innuendos that hides the puzzle of Malaysian politics presented to the rakyat as a best-buy riddle.

See, didn't i say he was ubersmart. ;P

Antares said...

Eloquently put, Cranskter. On the most essential level I can't help but be moved and greatly heartened by the courage and passion of Makkal Sakthi and Hindraf. I would gladly dance in the midst of an orange river of Hindraf supporters any day - rather than dip my toes in a stinking stream of teargas dispensing riot police and Mat Rempit. The Hindraf supporters I have bumped into and observe on Malaysiakini.tv seem like a very sincere and lovable bunch of real Malaysians.

Crankster said...

DPP, they will never learn. But I believe we can only do what we think is right, and not try to control what we can't. The rest will work itself out.

Walla, UMNO is a study in contradictions. If you notice, few people even bothered to blog about the PM denying that UMNO was a bully. We have accepted that every word from UMNO must be a lie.

Antares, yep, their courage and passion inspires me too.

buyung7 said...

quoting from antares : 'eloquenly put'. feels good to know a lot of malaysian out there are passionate about this country + write elegantly!

Knights Templar said...

Me and you and a dog named Mutoo
Tapping' and livin' off the land
Me and you and a dog named Mutoo
How we tried being … free men

I can still recall
The Estates where leaves fall
And the mornings we were late
Ohhh … for the roll call….
The Mat Salleh ,he made us work
But then he paid us, below what it’s worth
Another tank of Latex and
Back on the road again

Me and you and a dog named Mutoo
Tapping' and livin' off the land
Me and you and a dog named Mutoo
How we tried being… free men

I'll never forget that day
We took Air Asia into KLIA
The cost of the ticket kept settlin
Down in my brain
Though it's only been
A hundred years or so…
We ol’ Indians still got no where to go
We’ve run out of gas and now
Back on the road again…

Me and you and a dog named Mutoo
Tapping' and livin' off the land
Me and you and a dog named Mutoo
How we tried being… free men

Patricia said...

Crankster,

Whatever I may have originally thought about Hindraf, I totally don't get their being so vilified now! It's being blown so out of proportion to their so-called 'crimes': be it the march to the palace, or to parliament, or the recent hari raya 'don't'.

I think this is a smoke-screen - to mask something else that's up.

Pat

ps

And don't you think Knights is turning into one damned good poet? ;)

Knights Templar said...

Pat ...it aint no Omar Khayyam lah ,its the plight of the Hindraf sung to the tune of Lobo's Me and you and a dog named Boo. Teachers....sigh !

Patricia said...

Crankster,

My apologies, but this one is for maligned teachers:

Knights, dearie, I know lah! Used to sing it. But I preferred 'How can I tell her about you?' ;)

Pat

Crankster said...

Thank you, buyung.

Knights, that was exactly what inspired the title of this post. Actually it was the sad refrain of "how I love bein' a free man" because it doesn't apply to everyone in this country.

Somehow, I don't think maligned teachers quite appreciate you thinking they don't know the song. ;-) But I think it was witty the way you changed the words to make it suit the local scene.

Pat, we've all been there. I thought HINDRAF were a bunch of nut jobs until I decided to quit the political correctness and look deeply into what the true problem was.

It's very easy to vilify a bunch of people who don't contribute much in terms of economy, who aren't particularly impressive or credible.

Remember how coverage of the Hari Raya "don't" - as you put it :) - never mentioned Haris, Zorro and co? You know why? Because they'd lend credibility to the cause. People would start wondering why lawyers, teachers, businessmen were protesting.

But a bunch of lorry drivers? Or road sweepers? Ah well, they're nothing but trouble. Might as well kick them around.

It's this sort of bullying that I absolutely detest.

GobloKing said...

crankster dear!
Exactly what I feel about Hindraf. I gladly & happily support the downtrodden - & Gawd knows (except it would seem semivaluewiththebeaveronhishead) how much the Msian Indians have gone thru here!

Every Msian deserves Respect & honor - not just the chosen few.

I never got it why MIC couldn't fight for ALL their brothers&sisters instead of being Brahmin-like when it comes to ensuring the progress of Indians

pardon me right now if I sound disjointed as am jetlagged & cranky
:) Big Hugs Sistah!

GobloKing said...

as for rocky. yeah...sigh sigh SIGH..or is it Why why WHY???

Knights Templar said...

I quite agree with you, Crank. The Dravidian lorry driver, DBKL sweepers and rubber tappers will be bullied ... simply because we are the minority and have, all along over time, been bullied.

And yes -- nobody mentioned the "Free RPK” followers who have a “better” status in society compared with the Indians there at the open house

In one of Zorro’s postings he wrote: ... they came out for RPK and all held under the ISA” -- RPK first, and then the all.

Ask any of the Pakatan bloggers -- did anyone take Uthayakumar’s wife to Kamunting, or at least find out who is helping the family in their time of need. All I read about is Marina (RPK’s wife). Check to see who attended the candlelight vigil held before RPK was arrested.

I respect you guys who have the spirit to try to get the ISA abolished, for it is a law that should be abolished forever. But don’t be a pawn in the hands of those who want only one man out ... for that is their politics. They need the Bangsa Malaysia numbers … and most of us are providing them with it.

As for Rocky, he is a friend and someone I have a few rounds with on and off … but his opinion pieces on Utusan and Hindraf showed what he is actually made of. I know his reasons, but they don't justify his actions. In the weeks to come, all will know why he wrote what he wrote.

As for me Crank …I’m torn in a catch 22 situation .A unconvicted murderer in one corner and the Politician i never trusted since I took up my job on the other. The Learned Antares wrote aptly in his Blog ‘As an unabashed and unapologetic admirer of Anwar Ibrahim’s extraordinary intelligence, political savvy, oratorical skills, effortless charisma” I couldn’t agree with him more ,Anwar has refined all those skills into a science “Malaysians now are drowning and we will grab any semblance of a rope … and the nearest rope that we all have now is Anwar.Crank ,you can agree to disagree with me …that’s what its all about …freedom of speech .


And voila my friend walla! A farrago of lies heaped on a litany of threats wrapped in a conundrum of innuendos that hides the puzzle of Malaysian politics presented to the rakyat as a best-buy riddle. You can't be more ubersmart than that my friend.

Shalom my friends.

Crankster said...

Hi Gobloking, that is my principle in life - to stand up for the downtrodden. Jetlagged huh? You must be back in KL? :)

Knights, in defense of those who put RPK above the other ISA detainees, I must say that he was a personal friend with whom they used to hang out, and thus the motivation is always personal.

RPK was a loose cannon but the more you get to know about him, he was a very caring fellow.

By the way, is Uthayakumar married? For some reason I thought he was single.

As for the dilemma of choosing between the said unconvicted murderer and the untrustable politician, my principle is simple. Support what is right.

I speak up against injustices done to Anwar, but I don't like the shameless defamation against Najib with all that Hindu priest shenanigans.

I'm fairly certain I'm not God, so I can't control what happens or is to come. But I can do what is right.

justmy2SEN said...

IT JUST BEATS ME TO THINK ABOUT HOW COME:-

Some indians with their right mind can even see ehat HINDRAF did wrong (refer: http://balankumarpremakumaran.blogspot.com/) but somehow suddenly a number of CHINESE who in real life who mostly don't give a damn about Indians BECAME SO INTERESTED ABOUT INDIAN'S SO CALLED PLIGHT IN MALAYSIA...

i call that pure hypocrisy, nothing less!!!!

I suggest you go and study on the chronological events/facts about HINDRAF before even trying to make as though what they do is NOBLE...

nstman said...

Malaysians in general and the Western media in particular would make a hero out of Anwar Ibrahim even if he is defiant of the law.


Is Anwar above the law or does he thinks he is above the law? Is he to be treated differently from other ordinary Malaysians? What makes he thinks he has immunity from being issued with an order to present himself at the police station for questioning? Are they not just excuses to provoke the police to arrest him so we Malaysians can make a hero out of him.


He is no Nehru,Ghandi or Mendela. If he had been selfless and as noble as those three gentlemen I would have great respect and sympathy for him, but he is not.His thirst for power has passed the threshold of decency, it's pure greed and self-glorification.


Many Malaysians still can't see through this man and where he is taking this country to.His dramatic and dreadful display of playing the victim to rile up his supporters into a frenzy has been his trade mark since his ABIM days.He has no respect for the democratic process, he glorifies demonstrations,intimidation and coercion as the right process to demolish an elected government.


The government may be corrupted,useless and led by a lame-duck prime minister but, what's the hell, the people had made their choice.


We have rightly or wrongly, put our fate in a government we chose and change if we had to, must be through the democratic process, unless Anwar Ibrahim sees it fit to start a rebellion against the government, which he is trying hard to do by arousing the sentiments of his supporters, to create civil disorder, which may and can lead to general chaos or even rioting.


Just go to any of the popular blogs in this country and see for yourself the kind of comments his supporters and blogs that support him make.He has become a cult figure to them. Any negative comment on Anwar would turn them into wild animals ready to jump on you and tear you to pieces.These are people who speaks about democracy and clean government but can only behaved in most uncivilised manner.It wouldn't be my wild imagination how scary it would be to put thousands of his diehard supporters on the streets.


Does Anwar cares whatever going to happen to this peaceful nation.I think he wouldn't give a damn as long as he can gain power, by hook or by crook.


Anwar's deleterious way will be his downfall again.

-naga- said...

Nstman, so you are willing to wait till the next election and suffer in the hands of the democratically elected muppets for the next 4 years?

If they can do so much damage since March, what about for the next 4 years? Are you willing to wait? Are you willing to put your life on the line?

Yes Anwar may not be seeking the seat in a fair manner, but given any day I would rather do anything possible to make the lesser known devil be in power than suffer in the hands of the known devil.

Moreover, there have been talks that Anwar will hold snap elections if he manages to get people to cross-over. You will have your democratic process by means of that snap-election.

If, by any chance, Anwar turns out to be a greater devil when he comes into power, then we all can kiss goodbye to this country and swim to Indonesia.

Anonymous said...

waishhnnavi waytha moorthy and 11 others have been arrested as she fulfilled her task of handing over a Deepavali appeal to PM to seek the release of HINDRAF 5, RPK and all ISA detainees before Deepavali. They are remanded at Putrajaya Police Station. Please send sms messages to your friends to make way to Putrajaya Police Station to show support.

Patricia said...

Crankster,

I just read that a little six-year-old was detained by the police. Apparently, with others on their way to deliver an appeal letter to the pm.

What in heck is going on?? I don't like the fact that this child is involved in the first place. But to detain her?? Come on. It seems like some unseen hands are trying to force the issue, don't you agree? Something is afoot, and it ain't pretty!

Pat

Knights Templar said...

The Child was in No way involved...she's 6 ..NO baby sitter and followed he mum there.

Crankster said...

justmy2SEN, it's about time the Chinese matured and came out in support of the downtrodden -regardless of race or religion. I've done my research, perhaps you ought to do yours?

Pat, that child probably ought not to be there. But her father is Waythamoorthy and her uncle is Uthayakumar. If her mother was not there, exercising her free will demanding for their freedom, who else will? Like Knights says, probably no baby sitter to watch her.

Honestly, that six year old has been used for political purposes like delivering roses and teddy bears. We frown over that, and probably rightfully so.

But we Malaysians don't know what happens around the rest of the world. For instance, in Northern Ireland, the IRA use children as physical barriers to avoid being shot at. They tote their machine guns and fire at the police, but the police are unable to return fire for fear of killing the little ones.

In comparison, delivering a little teddy bear or a bouquet of flowers is NOTHING. I'm a bit of a military enthusiast, so I've reading a lot about the SAS, SBS (boat squadron) and of course, the IRA.

Old Fart said...

I just got back from KK. Talking to a couple of very articulate Kadazans, it was obvious they had not a clue what Hindraf was all about. Their only view of HINDRAF was what was presented by the papers wtheyread over there. And it really was not complimentary.

HINDRAF have got to go back. There is no point saying "Indians are down trodden and have been marginalised. The only response I get for that from my Chinese friends is, "why can't they get up and go get it for themselves? Who asked them to confine their education to something that has not much economic value?

No one really wants to listen to these griping and this is where HINDRAF has lost its momentum with the masses. Yes there was some level of sympathy gained on 25th November last year. But that was more the awe and the respect for their determination in executing that rally and confronting the water canons and tear gas. For not running away.

I would suggest to HINDRAF that they first do something about communicating their situation today without having to cite things like marginalisation which somehow presupposes the complicity of the present government and takes on an accusatory approach.

This is just not needed. In fact, I would say that there is a case for all the displaced Indians who now feel marginalised. But they have got to start from the begining.

I know that when talking to the Kadazans, over the weekend, who knew nothing about what the HINDRAF complaint was about, taking the approach that I did I got their sympathy and in fact he made suggestions that i had not thought of before.

However, trying to get to the HINDRAF guys on this is quite another matter. It is not like as if the approach I am suggesting is anything new. Its been a round for quite a few years and I have written about it on my blog from about last year. Unfortunately it would seem like they only see the symptoms and are only able to respond to the symptoms like as if this is the cause. The marginalisation that they are talking about relates more closely to the symptoms rather than the cause itself.

Until HINDRAF begins to articulate their entire situation properly I cannot imagine that support for their cause or remedies to their situation can emerge that everyone will voluntarily subscribe to. Trying to score sympathy unfortunately will not take them to where they really deserve to go.

Old Fart said...

I just got back from KK. Talking to a couple of very articulate Kadazans, it was obvious they had not a clue what Hindraf was all about. Their only view of HINDRAF was what was presented by the papers wtheyread over there. And it really was not complimentary.

HINDRAF have got to go back. There is no point saying "Indians are down trodden and have been marginalised. The only response I get for that from my Chinese friends is, "why can't they get up and go get it for themselves? Who asked them to confine their education to something that has not much economic value?

No one really wants to listen to these griping and this is where HINDRAF has lost its momentum with the masses. Yes there was some level of sympathy gained on 25th November last year. But that was more the awe and the respect for their determination in executing that rally and confronting the water canons and tear gas. For not running away.

I would suggest to HINDRAF that they first do something about communicating their situation today without having to cite things like marginalisation which somehow presupposes the complicity of the present government and takes on an accusatory approach.

This is just not needed. In fact, I would say that there is a case for all the displaced Indians who now feel marginalised. But they have got to start from the begining.

I know that when talking to the Kadazans, over the weekend, who knew nothing about what the HINDRAF complaint was about, taking the approach that I did I got their sympathy and in fact he made suggestions that i had not thought of before.

However, trying to get to the HINDRAF guys on this is quite another matter. It is not like as if the approach I am suggesting is anything new. Its been a round for quite a few years and I have written about it on my blog from about last year. Unfortunately it would seem like they only see the symptoms and are only able to respond to the symptoms like as if this is the cause. The marginalisation that they are talking about relates more closely to the symptoms rather than the cause itself.

Until HINDRAF begins to articulate their entire situation properly I cannot imagine that support for their cause or remedies to their situation can emerge that everyone will voluntarily subscribe to. Trying to score sympathy unfortunately will not take them to where they really deserve to go.