OUR POLITICS OF SHAME & SHAM

Posted on February 21, 2012

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Even forgetting anything that was adverse that might have gone before in our fifty-five years or forty-nine years of independence as a nation, what had transpired on our political front just this past week fills many Malaysians with deep disgust and nausea. With our eyes, ears, minds and hearts we have been witnessing a politics of shame and sham.

I refer to ongoing comments in our so-called alternative media with its name-calling, foul language and complete lack of respect for other people’s points of view. And to the terrible going-ons in a so-called political debate when the host organisers treated a chief minister of one of our states with such low esteem live telecast for all to see and hear. (What will happen if we treat the respective elected heads of federal or state governments who come from the political party we oppose in such a disrespectful way?) I refer to the attack on the motor vehicle of a leading political leader of the nation as he arrived for a ceramah in an otherwise idyllic kampung (village) when young people let themselves down rather badly endangering other people at the same time.

With such venom and ill-feelings and an attitude of thorough disregard for one another, I do feel with many Malaysians about how we as a country can possibly go into a General Elections. If better sense and calmer minds don’t prevail, how can the general populace feel safe when general elections are called and when the election results are announced?

Beligerent behaviour in word or deed is not Chinese, Indian, Malay or Asian. This is bad manners and disgraceful conduct that no religion or culture or custom could possibly condone or approve. It shames our nation, culture or religion. It places us in low social esteem. Regardless of which side is responsible.

We need to raise the level of Malaysian political art and science. EVEN should what either political side wish to say is, as each side may claim, correct and truthful, the way they say it must be of higher class and maturity. Neither can those of us who are not career politicians be exempted from complicity since there are not just sins of commission but also sins of ommission. If we as a people allow a political culture of low standard to prevail, we too have to assume some responsibility for such an unpalatable situation as our country has found itself in.

The hosts, organisers and moderators of a political debate or the enforcement authorities keeping peace and order at a political ceramah must not take sides but act with honour and impartiality. Political leadership on either side of the parliamentary divide must please set the example for honourable speech and conduct. By all means address issues of great import and consequence to people and country but we all (people’s representatives and voters alike) need to be more circumscribe with our words and demeanour.

Let’s speak (and write) our minds but without calling others derogatory names and think and use expletives and even make rascist remarks or insult other people’s parents or parentage. Such words and actions will certainly sow hatred and discord but not necessarily get important messages and issues across.

A basis of what constitutes evidence to demonstrate truth must be accepted by all sides. Half-truths feed anger and hatred and provoke frenzy in people, young or old. Most certainly and surely the honest truth is very much needed. But for our respective messages to be successfully and effectively delivered to whatever audience we are targetting, we need to say it in ways that are more hearable and receivable. Wild blusterings, rudeness and crudeness let alone violent actions only work for a short while if at all whether with children at home or in the classroom or adults in workplace or political forum. After a while, it turns people off and the loser will be our respective political platform and people’s regard for us. There is much wisdom in the following saying: “Your conduct speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you are saying.”

“Kurang ajar”, “bo kak see” behaviour shames oneself, one’s parents, one’s religion and culture, one’s language, and one’s country. Can we please all do better on this score? Our nation is in a very critical crossroad; many things are not in right balance or equilibrium; quite frankly and evidently, many things have gone seriously wrong. Is winning everything even to the extent that we cross the finishing line first minus our self-regard and reputation and savaging every legitimate rule of the game? What kind of victory would that be? And what kind of country will that leave us?

Well before the general elections, I pray the sitting government and the loyal opposition will resolve to please sit down and put country and people first and determine a peaceful and mature path that will show that our country knows how to conduct democratic and fair elections and maintain peace and order despite our political differences. Not just for the purpose of promoting a credible face to the international community but to promote peace and justice among all of us in the country.

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Posted in: Elections