Friday, 13 November 2015

Flogging A Dead Horse

Antares has an excellent piece over at MAGICK RIVER entitled Chief Rosy Lips, no use flogging a dead horse, catch a bus!

It was written over three years ago, but is still relevant today.

How, you ask.

Well. According to the news, Malaysia is keen to emulate the United Kingdom (UK) in the management of its National Security Council.

Now the UK has one of the highest number of public cameras in the world. Wherever you go on the streets, you're probably being watched. The UK was intending on buying water cannons to use on protestors in London. It's moving towards 1984, if you know what I mean.

The irony is that the UK is where Eric Blair, better known as George Orwell, came from.

And Malaysia wants to "toughen up" on security. Now, if you are aware of Orwellian speak, you would know how backward a step like that could be.

Remarkably, the Brits haven't been as vocal as I would have expected.

I think most of us are aware of how nefarious our government has been. We need to bring this government to account, but more importantly, we need to guard against it worsening.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Cracking Down On Dissent, The BN Way.

The disappearance of the MH370 showed how petty and shallow foreign mainstream media could be.

From America's CNN to the UK's Daily Mail, the portrayal of Malaysia was that it consisted mainly of bumbling incompetents. Perhaps MAS and the DCA could have been more forthcoming but this was an unprecedented situation and no one was prepared.

So I find nothing to be ashamed of Malaysia for that.

But what does embarrass me about Malaysia, is the way the BN government cracks down on dissent.

“The Malaysian government has revealed itself as petty, vindictive, and brittle when thrust into the limelight on the eve of important state visits. Going after activists, journalists, and opposition leaders are not the actions of a confident government committed to promoting respect for human rights, and visiting leaders need to say so.”

- John Sifton, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch

The visiting leaders in question are United States President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, among others.

Now I confess I don't know much about Japan. But the USA is not in a position to preach because its human rights record when it comes to African Americans leaves much to be desired.

So visiting leaders might have reason to keep their mouths firmly shut.

However, we Malaysians don't need to be silent. And thousands did not remain cowed. My respect to those of you who went out and protested during BERSIH 4.

My respect to Zunar who has fearlessly drawn cartoons that so uncannily depict the situation in Malaysia.

My respect to Adam Adli who faithfully pushes on for political reform.

My respect to Haris Ibrahim who is being tried for words he purportedly uttered at the KL-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall in May 2013.

My respect to law professor Azmi Sharom who moved to challenge the constitutionality of the Sedition Act 1948, which was enacted even before independence. The Federal Court dismissed it on the 6th of October.

And I never thought I would say it, but despite my reservations over Mahathir, I am pleased that he is speaking out. Read what Zaid Ibrahim has to say about the harassment of Tun M.

But more importantly, support the political activists who risk their well-being to fight for your freedom.

P.S. Who is Khalid Ismath and why was he under solitary confinement?

Monday, 9 November 2015

Authorities Underestimate Protests. It Happens Everywhere.

I meant to blog about the BERSIH 4 protest. But I am not in KL at the moment, and I don't have any news on the ground.

My life has taken lots of unexpected turns though I constantly learn more about myself and my fellow Malaysians from observing non-Malaysians. It's strange.

For instance, I always thought that underestimating the numbers in a protest/demonstration was a Malaysian/BN government thing.

Evidently not. Some of you Malaysians (yes, I have discovered that many of you are politically savvy and know what goes on around the world) may know of the student protests in London because the Tory government, in its austerity drive has actually decided to slash student grants.

Those of you who had to pay off your PTPTN loans will find it hard to sympathise, because you had to fork out a monthly sum or risk that massive administrative fee. Others may have finally given it the boot.

You see, the thing is, equal opportunities for students of all social classes to get a tertiary education based on merit, was what made Britain great once upon a time.

At the height of their prosperity, they even invited foreign students, gave them scholarships, grants and opportunities to live and work in the UK. That was what made Britain and Malaysia different.

But those days are over.

The Conservative government ruling Britain today (known as the Tories) have decided to generously endow their cronies and by extension themselves, by pardoning the bankers while at the same time slashing benefits for those deserving of it.

I concede that there are some benefit claimants in the UK that would be better off just getting off their lazy arses and working for a living. But they're not the ones I am talking about.

In this case, the students are protesting the withdrawal of grants because what will happen now is that only the wealthy people will have access to a university degree.

The rich will get richer, and the poor poorer.

It's the same thing that Najib is doing, except Najib doesn't seem to feel the need to do it under wraps. He just blatantly exposes himself like a mentally-ill flasher.

Interestingly, Malaysia is in a good place. Tun Mahathir, who makes a habit of criticising those he appoints "to the throne" has been throwing brickbats at Najib. And Bank Negara has frozen Najib's accounts.

The next few months would be interesting to watch. Mahathir is now being investigated by the police for defamation. Is Malaysia a police state that blindly does the bidding of the top power?

Or at some point, will the nation realise that we don't have to be a tin-pot dictatorship?