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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

To free is to save

May Chee Chook Ying | TMI

Civil society is under siege in Malaysia. That does not augur well for a nation, touted by the powers-that-be, to be the best democracy in the world. How on earth can anyone even begin to espouse a democratic way of life if he doesn’t even recognise the role civil society plays? Is this so-called democratic government effective or legitimate, at all?

According to a mainstream newspaper, some RM20 million was poured into 11 organisations in a plot to destabilise the government. RM20 million from genuine benefactors can destabilise the government when hundreds of billions plundered by present and past leaders have gone unchecked?

If at all the present government can be destabilised, it can only come from its own undoing! Don’t go pointing fingers at others. “Sila tepuk dada, tanya selera!”

A large part of humanity lives in darkness, even now in the 21st century. We have seen how, in Tunisia, fruit-seller Mohamed Bouazizi immolated himself to draw attention to police corruption and ill treatment. Will history show that this selfless act of sacrifice as an exercise in vain? I’m no soothsayer but I think history will show, in time, how a solitary act of selflessness and sacrifice will liberate a huge chunk of humanity. It always begins with that solitary act. Always.

When I first started working almost three decades ago, I saw a copy of Aliran on a table in the staff room. What I read both shocked and mesmerised me. The founder himself wrote with such courage and tenacity. I was instantly converted and started to subscribe to Aliran soon after.

From his writings, I learnt about inequality in society. I learnt about how each of us can play our role in bringing about a more equitable Malaysia. I read about how we should demand good governance and how we should hold the government of the day to account.

Now, when I read what “he” has to say, I die a little inside. He was one of those in civil society who could have resurrected our ailing nation to a new life. He could have taught us how to rise up to a tyranny.

Instead now, with what he has to say, he justifies their very existence; to continue to oppress the people he once loved and cared for, so much so that he fought with his every being. I feel as if we have lost a comrade and the world is a little darker now because he has gone to the “other side”.

But I have to thank him for the seed he sowed in me years ago. Thank you for teaching me how to love my neighbour and to stand up to injustice, inequality and untruths. For me, once upon a time, you were the one who could “awaken, animate and impel”. I miss the old you. I really do.

Media funded by political parties can never, ever, play the role of true journalism. So, it’s only proper not to rely on such parties. Malaysiakini and CIJ are right to seek funds from elsewhere to remain independent and to be able to aid projects that promote press freedom in the country and elsewhere.

Their efforts to remain independent and with unbiased reporting, allow the people to make their own informed decisions regarding issues close to their hearts should be lauded. Theirs should be a public forum where conversation, debate and dialogue must be encouraged to bring about a lively democracy. Not one “yang sudah mati pucuk”!

The oppression of rural and urban masses is perpetuated by preventing people from grouping together to discuss and understand their situation, including their rights. This “hidden violence” opposes unity. In my humble opinion, that is the aim and hopeful end result of this present selective persecution by our cowardly powers-that-be.

Yet, I thought I read somewhere that they have delivered and asked to be given one more term to do more. More damage? Are you out of your mind or you do you think I’m out of mine?

Did someone say we need not have a human rights watchdog? You mean you can guarantee that there won’t be any more custodial deaths? Did Kugan, Teoh Beng Hock, and more than a hundred of others die because their lives were worth a lot less than yours?

You know now why we have to continue to support the LFL? Some people are numbskulls, alright!

No one on planet Earth can doubt for a moment, the good works of SUARAM. Only morons, thieves and buyers of submarines that don’t dive! To harass and intimidate those who campaign against corruption and abuses is as good as digging your own grave. Morons, alright!

As for the young movers and shakers in LoyarBurok, to whom the future of Malaysia rightfully belongs to, like I’ve said before, no one can take away the good you do no matter how they spin! Keep up the good work, guys, and do not be intimidated by those who refuse to free their minds, bodies or souls. Those who are held captive by their office and ambitions. Those little people.

I would have left out many others who have done a lot and are still doing a lot for society, at large. Please forgive me this transgression of mine but know that there are many of us out there who can’t do without you people. We are eternally grateful to all of you who are in civil society and other organizations who do your bit to watch over us and give us hope for a better tomorrow.

Those of you who through your good work, help us to understand and advance ourselves; to grow . Those of you who deny yourself time and privilege to educate our conscience. Those of you who through your own example, guide, influence and give us a direction in life.

Be comforted in the fact that those who love the truth will recognize the truth. I’ve faith that most Malaysians do and to them, you are our towering Malaysians. Syabas to all of you!

This is an exceptional moment. We, fellow Malaysians, share the same history and like it or not, we must accept a common destiny.

For Malaysia’s true destiny to be given the chance to be played out, we must overcome our very own insecurities and not to be divided by our inherent differences.

We must not be afraid. We must, be like those above, stand our ground and remain steadfast. Demand that we be a free people, the way we are supposed to be. To give the present government another term is to delay our very own resurrection; to rise to a new life, living with integrity, dignity and in truth.

We must know our goal, walk towards it, achieve our truth and arrive at life. We will orient our own history, not stooges who repeatedly fail us.

To free is to save. Let’s free Malaysia. Let’s save our motherland. Have faith and God bless.

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