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Citizen soldiers: a call to arms
By Lee Wee Tak
To paraphrased President Franklin Roosevelt, May 7 2009 is a day which will live in infamy.
Are we Malaysians really that shallow? A few sweets at election time and we sell our souls and the future of the nation? Some of us might be like that, some of us might still be like that come next GE and shall always be like that.
Ask ourselves this …
Would you WANT to be stuck in a system of selective application and gross disregard of laws and governance, feeding on scraps left by the greedy and privileged?
Go live in a country that has low level of corruption and fairness in drafting and enforcement of legislation and decide if the present administration is being fair to you or not. Some of us might have the answer already as millions of Malaysia had migrated overseas for a better life. Heck, even our ministers and their families utilizes foreign hospitals and universities. Why not bring the environment we carve for from overseas into our country?
Are you only good enough to bitch in mamak stalls or even afraid to speak out? I even heard a graduate from local university not wanting to vote at all fearing that if she had voted for the opposition, she would not get her housing loan approved by a bank.
What do you want and how much are you willing to do for your livelihood as well as for your children’s and their children’s?
This post is about what we, ordinary citizens and taxpayers, can do if you say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH and decide to take a stand.
Stephen Ambrose, a renowned American historian who wrote some historical masterpiece such as Band of Brothers, which was adapted as a TV mini series by HBO, Pegasus Bridge, We Die Alone, Victors etc., coined the term “Citizen Soldiers” and wrote a book about it. It is about ordinary Americans leaving their normal lives and came forward; suffering, dying, excelling and ultimately prevailing in World War II fighting the Germans and Japanese to protect their family, country and their way of life.
Not all of us can come forward and offer ourselves as a candidate for Parliament or State Assembly, Not all of us can be a Raja Petra Kamarudin. Not all of us can be a political party member and be as committed as those dedicated souls.
We can do as much, or as little as we can do. When we accumulate all the little effort of everyone, the combined impact is greater, much greater than the sum of its parts.
Let’s make a list of what we can do to assist and support those who are carrying the fight for us.
Know your rights as a citizen and taxpayer of this country. Be prepared to question and parry any attempt to infringe or violate what you are entitled to. Discard any irrational fear or herd mentality that would arrest your growth as a responsible and participative citizen in a democratic country.
Register yourself as a voter and make sure you vote. Get someone who has not voted before to vote. Make donations to the political party you support; either by voluntary contribution or attending their fund raising function. Value your hard earn money and refrain spending your money that would fund parties that infringe your rights as a citizen and tax payer of this country, if possible. A single word would suffice, boycott!
Get onto politicians’ blogs and participate in discussions to raise your awareness and share your awareness with friends and family. Provide constructive feedback to your Yang Berhormats to support and motivate them as well as to help them do their jobs better.
So far so good...not too difficult right? If you want to raise the stake then ….
Visit your Yang Berhormat’s service center and talk to him or her. Provide feedback, donations, constructive advise and whatever support you deem within your means and meeting the YB’s or his or her PAs’ needs. Talk to your friends and families about the service available at the service center.
Join political party of your choice as an ordinary member and participate in their activities. I have attended some parties’ function such as fund raising dinner, talks etc. I am always impressed by the quiet dignity, contribution and sacrifice of those ordinary members. I remember a DAP member I observed during the party’s Chinese New Year open house ceremony earlier this year. There was a Malay lady in tudung and DAP T shirt helping out in the event. Her quiet, non-nonsense and efficient demeanour had left an impression on my mind.
The list above is not exhaustive. I am not a very intelligent person yet I can come up with a few suggestions. Yours ideas are very appreciated. If you think some of the above actions points are valid, well, what are you waiting for?