The government today declared the Hindu Rights Actions Force (Hindraf) an illegal organisation with immediate effect.
Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar said the decision was made after the ministry was satisfied with facts and evidence that showed "Hindraf had and was being used for unlawful purposes and posed a threat to public order and morality".
Only our government is capable of turning wild speculation into "facts and evidence".
Now it's no secret that I'm ethnically Indian. Malaysian at heart, but still genetically Indian. It's something I'm very proud of, and I wouldn't change it for anything in the world.
But being Indian doesn't mean I have to agree with everything HINDRAF does. I sort of lost it when HINDRAF lodged a police report over something offensive that they read in a personal blog.
Heck, there was a time when I thought they were a class act with their infamous lawsuit against the Queen of England.
Even today, I airily end a few arguments (in particular, the ones I'm losing) with my non-Indian friends, saying, "You cheap jerks just wait. One day you'll be eating the dust from the wheels of my new Ferrari once I get my cheque from the Queen." :)
Of course, some of those spoilsports do try to prick my bubble with mere technicalities. "Crankshaft," they say, "You'd first have to pass off as a poor, underclass, oppressed and suppressed Malaysian Indian."
It was a popular refrain within the petition. That, and near-slavery conditions.
Since then, it's almost been a year. I've seen more things, been more places and suddenly, I'm not laughing anymore.
I don't know what exactly HINDRAF meant by near-slavery conditions, but some of those hovels that the slum-dwelling Indians live in, are so deplorable that I cannot believe that the Malaysian government turns a blind eye to them.
I promised Pat that, I would one day blog about the life of slum kids in Malaysia. I haven't got round to it.
To be honest, it's too painful. And I keep asking myself if I should be doing more, and if so, what?
In one sense, I'm glad that HINDRAF opened my eyes. It pushed me out of my sterilised, bubble-wrapped, comfort zone into the harsh realities of life.
And it was about time the Indians stood up and started fighting for their rights. I have a friend who often tells me, "Ignore your rights, maybe they'll go away." She has a point.
But how HINDRAF "fights" for their rights has to change to a more inclusive approach. It's time to come together as one, as Haris Ibrahim says.
HINDRAF needs to change its stance.
And for the rest of us, it's time to, as Lulu says:
1) End Hindraf by ending their reason for existence.
2) Put a stop to discriminatory practices against the Indians, or any other race for that matter.
3) Give opportunities to who need that extra push in life.
Though seriously, you really think this ban has an impact on the movement? On makkal sakhti, a phrase even I wasn't quite familiar with prior to their emergence?
Check out The Facts of Life, Now That Hindraf is Illegal. I have a safron 'Free RPK' t-shirt and I plan to wear it to death!
Malaysia bans ethnic Indian protest group - International Herald Tribune